DJ stared at each of his brothers, daring them to say anything. None of them did. Not that it surprised him. They loved her almost as much as he did.
Sarah. Sarah Maria Consuela Howard. It had been over seven years since any of them had seen her. After finishing university, she had worked as a teacher in London for a couple of years. Dec had checked up on her at least once a month then. What she had not told him until the very end was that she was pursuing another goal: becoming a nun.
Damn, the woman. He did not believe for a single moment that her destiny was a barren, sexless, religious farce. It was not just how beautiful she was either. There was something about her, some indefinable quality. Sarah was a woman meant for loving. The kind that men queued to cherish and protect. Fuck, he and his three shit brothers were at the head of the line. “Fuck!”
“She’ll be alright,” Damien squeezed his brother’s shoulder. “She was always resourceful.”
DJ shook his head, “She had to be. Growing up in that house. I wish I’d killed that bastard myself.”
“You were just a kid. No one knew. She never told anyone the truth,” Damien consoled.
DJ pounded the table, “That’s just it. She fucking should have. Told one of us. If not us, then Mom, at least. She knew that we’d help. Somehow.”
Dec looked up from the laptop, “You know better than that, big brother. Look how badly the police and Social Services fucked it all up in the end. She was worried about her mother, what her old man would do to the woman.”
DJ shook his head. Even if they were right, it did not make the situation any better. Sarah was doing some fucked up penance for a sin that was not her own. Hell, even her bible said, ‘an eye for an eye.’ She had done the world a favor. Of course, her gentle soul would never see it that way.
And what happened afterward was a whole other nightmare. Perhaps if their parents had been allowed to foster her, things might have turned out differently. But placing her in that damned jail for juvenile delinquents where she did not belong had only intensified the guilt she felt.
But he could not change the past. And the future was getting out of hand quickly. They were running out of time. At least if Doc was right. “So, next stop La Isla Mujeres then.”
Darren shook his head, “Nope. The next stop is Senegal.”
“What the fuck? Senegal? That’s the wrong damned direction,” DJ exploded as he glared at his youngest brother.
“Not in this case. This plane is light range. That means it has a range of just over two thousand miles. That is almost five thousand, over open water. Not happening. The best option is to take this in stages. Here to Senegal. Refuel. Then Senegal to northern Brazil is the closest point between Africa and the Americas. Refuel again there and then fly north over land to La Isla,” Darren explained.
“How fucking long is that gonna take?” DJ demanded.
“A couple of days, if we’re lucky.” Darren did not tell his eldest brother that he feared that they might need to find alternative transport for that final leg of their journey. This jet was older than any of them and had seen better days. Its last few years, especially, used to ferry food and medical supplies into African war zones, took their toll.
“Damn, Daniel!” His brother cursed.
Damien shook his head, “Don’t be so tough on the old man, DJ. We’re lucky as hell to have a plane at all. The way things have been going the past few days. The whole fucking planet is in a panic. I bet he paid top dollar for this plane.”
“A tenner is probably more than the damned thing is worth,” DJ complained though they could see that Damien’s reminder had taken the edge off his anger. But it always boiled just below the surface. That anger kept him going in the worst of situations. It was what had made him so good at his job. And there was no doubt that they would need it now.
“So, what the fuck are we waiting for?” he asked.
Dec closed the laptop, “Nothing. I have covered our tracks. Or as well I could. Anyone with half a brain will pick up my hacking. But I’m hoping in this chaos, it will buy us a couple of days.”
“I think Her Majesty has a bit more to worry about than four deserters right now,” Damien chuckled.
“Let’s go then,” Darren said as he sent a silent prayer to Sarah’s god or whatever was out there that they made it in time. Hell, that they made it at all.
DJ was the first one on. As Darren said, the inside of what might have once been a top-of-the-line private jet was gutted. It resembled any of the hundreds of military planes that he had jumped from. DJ automatically reached for the parachutes, tossing one to each of his brothers as they entered. He and Damien buckled into the benches against the wall. Dec would do his best to co-pilot or at least navigate.
He stared out the tiny window next to him into the darkness. “How long will this leg take?”
“Four hours, give or take, depending on the winds.” It was Dec who answered as Darren focused on the hundreds of knobs and buttons. “Just enough time for me to practice my French. It’s been a while since I spoke it.”
DJ knew that they were lucky to have his brother along. The man spoke half a dozen fucking languages, knew almost everything about computers, and wasn’t half bad in a pub brawl. But he would never get over his jealousy or rage. While he was gods knew where, it had been Dec’s responsibility to look after Sarah. He should have stopped her. Hell, claimed her if he had to. Then at least one of them would be happy. And she would not be so damned far away. In danger.
“We’ll make it, big brother. We’ll save Sarah.”
“Yeah, but will you still have all your teeth. Do you have to be such a fucking optimist all the god damned time?”
“It’s what Damien does, DJ. He’s the peacemaker,” Dec smiled over his shoulder.
“Everyone buckled in?” Darren was already taxiing the plane down the private runway. “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
His brother pulled back on the throttle, and the plane began its ascent. Fuck, he hated this part. He always had. No matter how many times he flew. And this time especially, as the damned plane struggled to gain altitude. He shook his head; something told him that getting to Sarah and then to that damned hippie commune that his mother and her new family called home wasn’t going to get any easier.
DJ wasn’t usually the type to second guess decisions. That shit got you killed. But he had to wonder – had they waited too late? Not that he gave a shit about his life. Maybe some about these little shits that his mum and dad had saddled him with. But it was her. His Sarah that he worried about. It was too late for the likes of him to pray, but if there was a god, maybe he took care of the innocents like Sarah. Except DJ had seen way too fucking much to even believe that. How many innocents had he seen blown away?
Even Mr. Peacemaker seemed quiet.