Sins of the Father: Epilogue

He had ditched the Jeep a couple of cities back. The Greyhound bus he rode in was almost empty. His pack sat in the seat next to him where the boy should be sitting. He still couldn’t believe the boy had betrayed him. The boy had screamed like he was some kind of monster. He didn’t have time to reason with him. He could’ve picked him up and carried him, but he knew the Sheriff wasn’t the only one in the woods. He couldn’t risk getting captured, and he couldn’t protect the boy if they started shooting at him, so he had left him there. He wondered where the boy was now. Probably in some shitty foster home. He’d been in a foster home once when his dad had gone to jail. He’d taken off as soon as he got the chance. It was better to be on your own than live like that. The people had actually locked their food up, so the kids in the house couldn’t eat very much. He clenched his fists. If his boy was in a house like that, he’d kill them. He forced himself to relax. He couldn’t worry about the boy now. His boy had made his choice. He’d have to live with the consequences. When things cooled down, he’d come back to Colorado. He’d find his boy again and that bitch of a Sheriff would pay.

Sins of the Father: Chapter 27

After Drake’s sentencing, Madison met with the mayor and the investigator from CBI. She wanted to be done with this whole ordeal. She hoped that with a few days of quiet, the mayor would finally accept her letter of resignation. After giving an account of the events leading up to that night in the clearing, Madison offered her resignation. The CBI investigator agreed with her that it was the best way to end the affair quietly. Since the mayor had hired her, he was also facing some flak for his decision. He accepted her resignation and a signed statement taking full responsibility for her actions as well as for the deployment of Hal during the exchange. 

After her meeting, she returned to her house. Drake was playing video games with the sitter that Rosie had recommended. After paying the sitter, Madison returned to packing up the house. She had only had her house on the market for a week before it sold, and now she and Elijah were moving back to Denver. Her former partner in the Homicide Unit had opened up a private security firm, and he had offered her a job despite her record as the Fruita Sheriff. She had filed paperwork to adopt Elijah, and Jack Hammond had transferred Elijah’s case to the CPS department in Denver. The child psychologist had been instrumental in Hammond deciding to let Elijah stay with her. She had endangered him in the debacle with his father, and she had almost lost him. In the end, Elijah had finally talked to the psychologist. Madison didn’t know what he had said, but whatever it was had convinced the psychologist to help Madison fight for him.

She sighed. She hoped that Elijah would speak to her again some day. For now, she spent as much time with him as she could. She hoped she would regain his trust eventually. She had been packing for a couple of hours when the doorbell rang. She was glad for the break. Going through Drake’s things and packing them separately was breaking her heart. She had decided that she would put all his things in storage until he finished his sentence. Even if he didn’t want to be with her any more, she didn’t want him to come out into the world with nothing. She had also arranged to have his commissary funded every month. She hoped he wasn’t too stubborn to use it.

Hal stood at the door with a pizza and a bag of drinks.

“Hal, what are you doing?”

“I figured you could use some dinner.”

“You figured right.”

“Come on in.”

Elijah’s eyes lit up when he saw the pizza. Pausing his video game, he ran into the kitchen. She heard the clatter of plates as he began to set the table. He was always doing things like that—helping her set the table and wash dishes.

“I guess he’s hungry.” Hal said.

Madison took the drinks from him and walked him into the kitchen. Elijah was waiting at the table. When Hal set the box in the middle of the table, Elijah helped himself to a couple of large pizzas. Madison gave Elijah a coke from the bag while Hal opened a couple of beers for them. They ate in silence for a few minutes. Then, Hal took a swig from his beer, and wiped the pizza sauce off his chin.

“When do you leave?”

“The closing’s next week, and then we’ll go.”

Hal said, “You were a good sheriff, Madison.”

“Thanks, Hal. I don’t think the rest of the town shares your opinion. I really screwed this up bad. I should have listened to you.”

“You did what you had to do—what anyone would do in this situation.”

“I guess.” Hal’s words meant a lot to her, but they didn’t make her feel any better. She would probably never work in law enforcement again, but Hal was right. She had done what she had to do.

“I don’t know if you heard. They appointed me the interim Sheriff until they can replace you.”

“I thought they might. They should just hire you.”

“I don’t think I would want the job. Too much paperwork. You know I like to be in the field.”

Madison nodded. That was one thing being the Sheriff. Along with the responsibility came mounds of paper work. She had to admit she hadn’t enjoyed that part of the job, either.

“I know, Hal, but you’re a natural leader. You would be the best man for the job.”

“I don’t know about that. I told Mayor Rodriguez that Randy was the best man for the job.”

“Randy would be good, too, but you would be better.”

“I’m actually considering another job offer.”

“You are? Where?”

“I’ve been talking to the Denver Major Crimes Unit.”

“Are you sure, Hal? I thought you preferred small towns.”

“I thought I did, too, but I think I can make more of a difference in a larger unit. Any way, I want the chance to try.”

She was surprised that Hal was also leaving the Sheriff’s office, but a little pleased as well. She was going to miss him, but, if he were in Denver, they would be able to get together every now and then.

“Besides, I have a close friend who’s moving to Denver.”

“Hal…” Madison didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t deny that she was attracted to Hal. He understood her in ways that Drake hadn’t, but she still loved Drake. She wasn’t ready to move on yet.

“Madison…” he said, mimicking her tone. “I have to get going. I have some paper work to catch up on. I’ll see you in Denver.”

Madison walked him to the door and gave him a quick hug.

“I’ll see you.”

She and Elijah washed up the dishes together. When they were finished, Elijah grabbed her hand between his own and pulled her into the living room. She had more packing to do. She didn’t really have time to play a video game, but one look at Elijah’s wistful face broke her resolve. She had all day tomorrow.

“What’s it going to be, Elijah, MarioKart or Super Smash Bros?”

Elijah jumped onto the couch and handed her Drake’s 3DS. Madison settled in next to him as he began to punch the buttons on his game. She felt her heart grow warm. She may have lost the love of her life, but Elijah was helping the hole in her heart heal.

Sins of the Father: Chapter 22

He kept his hand wrapped tightly around Drake’s bicep. He didn’t need more than that to control Drake. He kept the gun he had stolen tucked in his waistband under his hoodie, but he would only use it if he had to. If guns started firing, his boy might get caught in the crossfire. He could see his boy standing next to that bitch of a Sheriff. He looked good. At least, they had been taking care of him. He had new clothes on. He couldn’t see the boy’s face. He was backlit by the headlights, so his face was in shadow. He hadn’t thought about the headlights. He didn’t know if he wanted to walk into a pool of light, but he had no choice. This was his only chance to get his boy back. If he pulled out now, the Sheriff wouldn’t bargain with him again.

He suspected that someone was up in the trees somewhere, but he couldn’t spot him. A few moments after he and Drake had settled into the trees around the clearing, he had heard a car engine. He’d only heard the sound for a moment before it was cut off. He didn’t know if the car had stopped near the area or if it had driven away. Again, there was nothing he could do about it, anyway. It didn’t matter if the Sheriff had broken her word. He had expected it, as a matter of fact. People like her broke their word all the time when dealing with people like him. With Drake, by his side, however, no one would be able to get a clean shot at him. Once he had the boy and was done with Drake, he was going to run like hell into the protection of the trees and back to the old Jeep. He had found a second way into the clearing. They would have to scramble up through the trees, but his boy was strong. He knew he could do it.

They had reached the edge of the clearing. He paused for a moment and scanned the trees surrounding the clearing one more time. He still couldn’t see or hear anyone else. Nothing but the breeze whispering through the pine needles. Before they stepped into the grass of the clearing, he whispered in Drake’s ear.

“Remember. You’re not going to play the hero. It’s too late for that.”

Drake nodded, but didn’t answer him. The man gave his arm a hard shake, and he could feel Drake wince in response. Satisfied that his hostage was still compliant. he led him towards the light.

When Madison saw the man and Drake step into the light, she almost took a step back. Drake was a tall man, but the man who held him hostage was even bigger. She had known he was big from the footage they had of him, but seeing him in person was different. His arms and chest were roped with muscle. The man had one huge hand dug into Drake’s bicep. The light from the headlights illuminated his face even though he had his hood up. His eyes were dark like Elijah’s, but they were cold and dead.

She finally tore her eyes away from the suspect to look at Drake. Drake was staring at her, his blue eyes bloodshot and glazed with fear. He was pale and sweating. His cheek was badly bruised, but she couldn’t see any other injuries. She began to breathe again. Just a few more minutes and she would have Drake safe and the monster would be in custody. Again, she refused to let herself look around for Hal, but returned her gaze back to the man.

“You’re late,” she said as she decided to take the offensive. She kept her voice cool and business-like.

“Sorry, Sheriff. I had to make sure you abided by your word. You didn’t bring anyone with you, did you?”

“No, I wouldn’t do that.”

The man granted. “Of course, you wouldn’t. Just an even exchange, right? Your man for my boy.”

Madison waited for a shot to ring out, but nothing came. Maybe, Hal couldn’t get a clear shot. Drake was standing right next to the killer. Hal wouldn’t risk hitting Drake.

“That was the agreement. Let Drake go.” The man looked at Elijah.

“Come on, boy. It’s time to go.”

Elijah shook his head.

“No? You’re telling me, no, after everything I’ve done for you?”

The man looked shocked, and then pure rage slithered across his face.

“You don’t say no to me, boy. You’re my son. You belong with me.”

Madison wasn’t shocked to hear that Elijah was the man’s son. It made sense. At first, she had thought that maybe Elijah and the man were just travelling together, but no one would risk themselves, like the man had, for a casual travelling companion. She refused to call the man’s obsession love, but he was loyal to his son. She braced herself. The man had risked a lot to be with his son again, and now his son was rejecting him. She had to be ready for anything the man did. She hoped Hal was ready as well.

The man moved so fast that Madison was stunned. She saw the flash of silver and then blood erupted from the side of Drake’s shirt. The man launched Drake at Madison. She took the brunt of his weight and they both toppled to the ground. The man lurched forward and grabbed Elijah. Still, Hal didn’t fire. She realized that the man was carrying Elijah, so Hal would not have a clear shot again. She pushed herself from under Drake and flipped him onto his back to see the damage. Her cell phone rang.

“Madison, I couldn’t get a clear shot.”

“I know, Hal. It’s Drake. He…”

“I’m going after them. I won’t let them get away.” And then the line went dead.

Madison realized that Hal was right. They had to keep that man from getting away. Taking her coat off, she pushed it onto Drake’s side.

“I’m sorry, Madison. I didn’t…”

“Don’t talk, Drake. I need you to hold this onto your side. I have to go after them.”

“No, Madison. You don’t know him. He’s…”

“I’m not alone, Drake. I have Hal. He’s already in pursuit. You have to hang on for me, all right?”

Drake nodded.

“Don’t worry about me. Just take care of Elijah.”

Madison nodded and ran towards the dark trees.