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.
Sam sat at Melanie’s feet coloring in a princess coloring book and telling Melanie the story of Beauty and the Beast.
“At first, Belle thought the beast was mean and ugly. Then she learned that he was only ugly on the outside. And he was mean because other people were mean to him. And then she loved him. And then they were happy.”
Melanie was only half listening to her sister as she worked on her ipad trying to find the best route to the safe zone in Oregon. She wanted to go through as few major cities as possible.
Sam tapped Melanie’s knee.
Melanie pulled her eyes away from the screen. “What? Sorry Sammy.”
“I was telling you the most important part.” Sam stuck out her lower lip and hung her head. Her long honey hair fell forward, and Melanie had to smile.
“And what is the most important part?”
Sam smiled shyly and tilted her blue eyes up to Melanie, her smile growing with each moment.
Melanie arched her eyebrow and waited.
“Oh all right I’ll tell you.” Sam looked around the room and climbed up on the couch next to Melanie.
Melanie slid the ipad off her lap and onto the couch.
Sam cupped her hand around her mouth and Melanie’s ear. “Sometimes beautiful things are hidden inside of something ugly and mean.”
Melanie grabbed ahold of Sam and tickled her. Sam threw herself back on the couch and tried to squirm away laughing wildly.
“It’s good to have you back and hear her laugh like that,” Seth said as he came in from the kitchen. He sat in the blue and green armchair in front of the boarded up floor to ceiling windows.
“Help me Seth!” howled Sam.
“No way,” he said taking a sip from his coffee.
Mitchel came in carrying two cups of coffee and the newspaper under one arm. He set one cup on the table by Melanie and then took the other armchair.
“Mitchel,” Sam whaled, “help!”
Mitchel laughed, “You’re on your own with that one kiddo.”
Melanie stopped tickling. “All right Sammy, there’s coffee on the table and I don’t want you burned. Why don’t you go get some cereal or make some oatmeal for you and mom? I bet she’d like to have breakfast with you.”
Sam’s eyes got wide. “I almost forgot she was here. I’m going to get flowers from outside.” She dashed toward the front door.
“No.” Melanie lunged for her sister barely catching her arm.
Melanie heard her sister’s arm pop and Sam dropped to the floor screaming.
Karalynn came running into the room eyes wide. “What happened?”
Melanie knelt next to Sam trying to scoop her up in her arms. “I’m so sorry Sammy. I didn’t mean too. You can’t go out front.”
Sam curled into Melanie’s arms sobbing. Melanie rocked her. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Sam began to quiet to a whimper. Her injured arm tucked in between her and Melanie.
“Sam ran for the door and Melanie grabbed her arm. It’s probably broken,” Seth said sipping his coffee.
“It’s broken!” Sam screeched. “You broke my arm.”
Melanie wanted to wrap barbed wire around Seth’s mouth, but a glare would have to suffice. Mitchel hit his twin in the shoulder. Seth looked up at Mitchel. “What? I heard it pop from here.”
Three security guards garbed in black from head to toe burst into the house from the kitchen door and the front door. Karalynn held up her hand and they stopped.
Sam began to cry in earnest again.
“What’s going on?” Jennifer called from upstairs.
Melanie shot Mitchel a wide-eyed look. “Don’t let her get up. She could rip something. Tell her I’ll bring Sam in just a second.”
Mitchel trotted up the stairs.
Melanie tried to get up and then had to adjust Sam in her arms. Sam cried out as her arm was moved. Melanie pushed to her feet. She carried Sam up the stairs to her mother.
Jennifer pushed herself to a sitting position on the bed as Mitchel moved the pillows behind her. Melanie laid Sam down next to Jennifer. Sam held her arm to her chest.
Jennifer reached for the arm.
“No, no, no,” Sam said, tears sliding down her cheeks.
“Melanie didn’t mean to Sammy,” Jennifer said.
“I know she didn’t,” Sam said between breaths. Her nose was running and she rubbed it on her mother’s blankets. “I just wanted to get you flowers for breakfast.”
Jennifer smiled and brushed Sam’s hair back around her ear. “I don’t eat flowers.”
Mitchel put his arm around Melanie and lead her out of the room. Once in the hallway, he wrapped his arms around her, and she buried her face in his chest. They’d have to go back to the hospital. She sighed. God! Would they ever get out of this city?
Mitchel rubbed her back. “Come get some coffee.”
They went back down stairs. The guards had gone and Karalynn was in the kitchen making oatmeal.
Seth sat in the same spot reading the newspaper.
“Did you find a route?” he asked looking over the top of the paper.
“I think so. It will take us through Ogden, Utah, but that’s the only big city,” Melanie said as she sank onto the couch and picked up her cold coffee.
She took a sip and scrunched up her face. Mitchel took the coffee from her. “I’ll get hot coffee.”
“Thanks, babe.” She turned back to Seth. “Anything interesting?”
“There was another murder. Homeland security think it was the same guy. How long will the trip take?”
Good question. Melanie thought. This portion of the trip wasn’t supposed to be a month, but that’s basically how long they had been in this boarded up house Denver. It was about 1800 miles to the safe zone from here. It might as well be on the other side of the world.
Thankfully, Holly’s family had waited rather than pushed on without them. It would be safer in a caravan. She was surprised they hadn’t come in when Sam was screaming now that she thought about it. Maybe they didn’t hear her, out there in the fifth-wheel. It was possible.
“It’s hard to say. My mom will need to take more breaks. We should combine cars. You could drive Mitchel’s truck and we could take mom’s van.”
“I’m not leaving my car,” Seth said.
“Why not? We don’t need it and it is wasting money to take it.”
“I need my space and it’s my money.”
Melanie clenched her teeth. Seth was frustrating sometimes.
Mitchel came back in with her coffee. He looked back and forth between them. “Everything all right?”