A Vigil for Justice: Episode 24

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A Vigil for Justice, is a serial thriller fiction novel. Updates of 1,000-1,500 words will be posted every Friday.

Recap: Sixteen-year-old Melanie Craig and her family live in the small Colorado mountain town of Blue River. Since the end of World War Three, the economy in the United States has dropped out making funding law enforcement impossible and increasing crime rates in all, but the smallest towns. The government passes a Law allowing anyone over 16 to kill three other people during their life. Vigilante justice doesn’t seem like the right solution to Melanie, but she has no choice other than to learn how to protect herself and her family.

Seth stalked back up the stairs toward the room he and Mitchel were sharing.

Mitchel’s hazel eyes drifted to Melanie. They remained there for a few seconds and then he followed his twin up the stairs.

Melanie looked down at her mother who was still seated against the door with her knees pulled to her chest. There was a bang and raised voices from Seth and Mitchel’s room.

Melanie closed her eyes and took a deep breath. As she opened them again, she exhaled. “I’m going to get Sam.”

Jennifer nodded pulling her lips in and pressing them between her teeth.

Melanie took the stairs two at a time on her toes. She tapped her knuckles on the stark white closet door. “Sam?” She slide the closet door open. Sam was curled up in a ball, legs tucked into her nightgown, sleeping on the floor. Her head rested on her hands, palms pressed together. Melanie smiled. She left the door open and Sam sleeping.

She walked back down the hall stopping outside the guestroom door. Mitchel and Seth were talking with low voices. She knew they would leave. The question was when.  She ran her fingers through her hair and her elbow bumped the door.

Seth pulled the door open and stared at her. “What?”

Mitchel pushed his brother aside and wrapped his arms around Melanie kissing her on the forehead.

Seth let out an exasperated snort.

Mitchel put his hands on both sides of Melanie’s face. “It’s better if we leave. Staying will only cause a division within Blue River and everyone needs to stand together.”

Melanie nodded. He released her face and embraced her.

“I’m going with you,” Melanie whispered.

“Stay here where you will be safe.”

She stepped back from him, breaking his hold on her. She shook her head, eyes narrowed and eyebrows scrunched together. “I’m not safe here. Look what’s happened over the last few days.” She waved her hand through the air.

Mitchel’s eyes move to something behind Melanie. Melanie turns. Jennifer is standing in the doorway, her hands on her slender hips. “We are all going.”

Melanie’s mouth drops open.

“Shut your mouth Mel, it’s not pretty like that.” Jennifer smiles at her daughter. Melanie rushes to her mom and throws her arms around her.

“This is crazy. It’s chaos outside of Blue River. You’ve seen the news, read the paper—”

Jennifer let go of Melanie and held up her hand. “Families stick together, Mitchel. We move as one. Plus, Melanie is right, Blue River won’t be safe for long. It’s turning into a witch-hunt.”

Mitchel looked at Seth who shrugged his shoulders. “We need to go to our house and get some things.”

“I’ll help,” Melanie said. She wasn’t going to give him a chance to leave without her. “When are we leaving, mom?”

“Two days should be enough time. We will make our way toward the closest safe zone.”

Melanie nodded. Two days, there was a lot that needed to be done.

 

Mitchel’s truck bumped down the dirt driveway to his parent’s home. “Thanks for coming,” Mitchel said. “I really didn’t want to come back here by myself and Seth doesn’t want to ever come back here.”

Melanie laid her hand on his.  “What do we need to get while we’re there?”

“Life insurance documents, ammunition, guns, clothing, and all the camping gear. Seth and I thought we’d be safer staying outside the cities unless we knew we had friends on the inside.”

Melanie looked out the side window. A doe and her fawn were standing at the side of the road with wide-eyes and forward ears. She glanced in the rear view mirror and watched them bounce across the road.

“You’re right. I’ll text mom and let her know to pull all of our stuff out too.”

Mitchel pulled the truck forward onto what would be a front lawn in most houses, but was just dirt at the Bateman house. He backed the truck up to the porch. “Let’s do this.”

The front door had yellow police tape across it. Mitchel glanced at Melanie. She shrugged and they ducked under the tape.

Kitchen chairs were toppled, broken dishes littered the floor, and pictures had been ripped from the walls and replaced with fist size holes.

Mitchel’s face took on the emotionless mask he usually wore whenever she saw him within these walls. He pointed toward a hallway closet. “Sleeping bags and rifles are in there.”

Melanie nodded and left him to sift through his childhood memories and put whatever he could back together.

Melanie pulled the closet door open. It was stuffed full of outdoors gear, much of it still had the price tags still attached. It was impossible to imagine Mitchel and his dad taking a backpacking or fishing trip together.

She began pulling everything out. There was really no point in not making a mess or putting things back they didn’t need. She carried sleeping bags outside and lowered the tailgate on the truck. Mitchel came out behind her with a duffle bag of clothes for both Seth and himself.

They worked in silence until the bed of the truck was full.

“I think that’s it,” Mitchel said.

He looked over the house, its peeling paint and broken screen door.  “I hate this place. Let’s get out of here.”

Once they were on their way, Melanie asked, “Can we stop by Holly’s?”

Mitchel nodded and turned down Holly’s street.

They didn’t stay at Holly’s long. Drawing out goodbyes was never a good idea. Richard thought they were making the right choice. He agreed that Blue River was not going to be safe much longer.

“When are you leaving?” Holly asked wiping tears from her cheeks.

“Two days, on the morning of the 9th,” Melanie said squeezing Holly’s hand and giving her another hug. “We’ll write when we reach the safe zone.”

Mitchel and Richard shook hands. “Thank you, Mr. Stein.”

“It was my pleasure, Mitchel. Take care of yourself and Melanie.”

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