Stacey watched Elvira peel off down the country road away from the trailer, kicking up dust and dirt. Should she be surprised? She did not even question who it was. Could she blame the woman? Hadn’t she fantasized about the same thing herself for decades?
But as Reb took off across the dry grass, waving his arms and screaming, like a madman, she turned and opened the front door to the trailer. Bebe and Grace looked up as she walked in, “Where’s Wanda?” Not that she needed to ask. But maybe some part of her still wanted to deny the truth.
“She went out back. Said she wanted some privacy to call her daughters,” Bebe answered.
Stacey nodded; if she were going to follow through on the plans she had made for most almost three decades, she would want to say a final farewell to her girls too.
Chad popped his head around the corner of the bedroom doorway, “What’s up? Rose has just fallen asleep.”
Reb came barging in the front door behind her at the same time, looking around the room. “Shit.”
“I don’t know, I think this might warrant one of Jack’s ‘shit, piss, cock, cunt, mother fucking sons of bitches.’” She smiled at Chad. “Trust me, they heard it all already.”
Why was she so incredibly calm? Had some part of her been expecting this all along? Did she want it? Was she living vicariously through Wanda? Happy that the other woman dared to do what she had always wanted to, planned to do when this day finally came?
“Wanda took Elvira.” There was no doubt in her mind, even as she looked to the bar between the living room and kitchen at the empty space where she had put Reb’s keys earlier.
“We have to go after her,” Chad stepped from the bedroom, closing the door quietly.
“No, you need to stay here with Rose and the girls.” She looked at Reb as he ran his fingers through his long, thinning hair, “I think I know where she’s going.”
Both men looked at her, “After Kerr, of course, but we have no idea where to even begin looking,” Reb started to pace.
Stacey closed her eyes and did that half prayer thing. She still had no idea who or what she spoke to. It, sure as hell, was not the vengeful god that her father had preached about. But she was not ready to embrace this celestial bullshit that Reb’s mother and sister spoke of either. But for as long as she remembered, she had sent her pleas up to whatever was out there. Even when they went unanswered. Long after she realized that if there was something, he/she/it did not give a flying fuck about her or her little problems. Still, she ‘prayed.’
This time it was just one plea – could she go back there? Stacey remembered what Wanda had said on that trail in Agartha. Her daddy’s old hunting cabin. She’d lay dollars to doughnuts that was where the woman was heading. Was Kerr there? It was likely that the man had been.
But was he still? It had been days since J. T. Tyler had issued a federal warrant for the man, based on Bebe’s testimony and evidence they had discovered at the Garcia compound. If the man had a lick of sense, he’d be long gone by now. But Stacey knew the man’s weaknesses – greed, hubris, and arrogance. It was a lethal combination.
Knowing the ‘good’ sheriff as she did, it was just possible the man was arrogant enough to think no one would find him. He would want to take as much of the hidden wealth he had robbed from the people of this town and acquired from his illegal activities with Garcia with him.
What Wanda and the others did not know was that she knew where the cabin was. It had been almost twenty-five years since she had been there. The thought of going back was enough to turn her stomach. But it had been some perverse delight for Kerr, meeting her at his father-in-law’s cabin. Of course, back then, the man was his boss, not his father-in-law. But somehow, he had gotten the key.
The sick bastard got off to forcing her to meet him there. He said that if she ever told anyone, he would claim it was all consensual. And her coming there of her own ‘free will’ would prove it. But there was nothing ‘free will’ about it, not when he made threats about all the accidents that could happen to her daughters. About how she would go to prison for leaving them alone in that old tinderbox of a trailer.
She hadn’t had a choice about that either. It was leave them while she worked, let them go hungry, or have social services take away her only reasons for living. Maybe she should have been more selfless, turned her girls over to foster care. And if she had been guaranteed that they would find a good home together, she probably would have. But she heard all those stories about what happened to foster children. She might not have much or be much of a mother, but one thing was for sure, she would die for those girls. Or worse. So much worse.
She felt strong hands gripping her shoulders, turning her frozen body. Fingers gently lifting her chin until she stared into those warm brown eyes. “What is it, sweetheart? What do you know that you’re not telling me?”
She could not lie to this man, ever. “I think I might know where she’s going. Where Kerr might be.”