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.
The sun was setting as they pulled up to the fifteen-foot barbed wire fence surrounding the safe zone. A ten-foot cinder block wall was fifteen feet inside the fence line. Military men wearing green camouflage and carrying light machine guns or LMGs patrolled in and outside the fence line. Cinderblock towers sat along the wall every fifty feet with gatling guns peering over the edge of each huge spotlights making the area look like noon.
The mile surrounding the fence was scorched leaving blackened patches of what Melanie could only assume had been brush of some type. The trees had been felled and their stumps dotted the clearing. Melanie’s stomach clenched at the sight of piles of ash surrounding the burn skeletons of homes.
Their small caravan was crawling along the road. One of the soldiers held up his hand and six of them held their guns at the ready while two approached by a few feet. “I need you to all exit the vehicles,” the one nearest the truck called out.
“Wait for me to help you,” Mitchel said.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she said glancing at all the soldiers with guns. She and Mitchel had removed their guns and knives before the entered the clearing.
They all piled out of the cars. Melanie tried to land mostly on her left, but her right still sent a dull ache through her leg when she balanced herself on it.
“I need all of you to lift your shirts and turn in a slow circle and then your pant legs,” the soldier said.
As they turned around, he asked “Are you seeking entry into the safe zone?”
“Yes,” Mitchel said.
“We’ll need to scan your safe chips and research your back ground. It takes 24 hours. You can stay in the city and return tomorrow at this time.”
Melanie flashed a glance at Mitchel. There was nothing they could do about it and they both knew it.
The soldier lowered his gun and began to approach them another soldier followed, but held his gun at the ready.
The soldier who had been speaking to them had sandy blonde hair. His high cheekbones and narrow nose were stern and no nonsense. His grey eyes locked with Melanie’s as he patted her down and then moved on to Mitchel. Melanie assumed the others were experiencing the same thing behind her.
“I’m Sargent McCall. I’ll be handling your intake. When you return, you will ask for me.”
Melanie felt the rest of her family approach from behind.
“Is there somewhere you would recommend staying?” Mitchel asked.
“On the outskirts of the city. There’s a Little America, which has guards. It’s a little expensive, but when you’re talking lives, it’s reasonable,” Sargent McCall said.
Jennifer stepped forward. “What about a doctor? Melanie rolled her ankle this morning and it’s pretty swollen.”
McCall looked Melanie up and down. “You’re better off waiting until tomorrow.”
He scanned each of their wrists. The scanner beeped each time he found their SAFE chip. She watched intently as he scanned Seth. There was no way he would pass. How could he? He had killed so many on their way here. Please don’t beep. Please don’t pass the background check.
Seth beeped and Melanie’s heart crashed into her stomach.
They all climbed back into their cars and began back down the road.
Mitchel pounded his hand on the steering wheel. “Why couldn’t it be easy?”
Melanie brushed her fingers through his dark hair. “Tomorrow’s not so far away.”
His knuckles were white as they drove closer to the city.
They found the hotel without much difficulty. Men clad in black holding the usual AK-47s patrolled the building. They stopped them and asked their purpose. Melanie explained they just needed rooms for the night because they were waiting to get into the safe zone.
Mitchel ran inside to get rooms for them. Melanie couldn’t stop moving her eyes over the dark streets despite the guards. Guards hadn’t saved Holly.
He returned in a few minutes and parked the truck. Jennifer and Seth parked as close as possible.
Mitchel came around to her side of the truck and lifted her down.
“Thanks,” she said.
“Stay here while I get some clothes for tomorrow.” He jogged over to the van where Jennifer was already digging in the back.
As they entered the hotel, they were stopped by the bellboy. “You have to pay a deposit for that dog and you cannot leave it alone in the room.”
“That’s fine,” Jennifer said, setting her and Sam’s stuff on the floor. They waited while she paid.
They loaded onto the elevator. Mitchel pressed the number six. “I thought it best to be in the middle somewhere.”
The digital voice announced each floor as they passed and stopped on six. Mitchel handed both Jennifer and Seth a key card. “I got three rooms.”
“Mom you take Daisy,” Melanie said.
Mitchel scanned the card to his and Melanie’s room and propped the door open with his foot. Melanie hobbled into the room. Mitchel set their stuff down and then checked everywhere to make sure the room was empty.
Melanie turned on the small lamp and sat on the edge of the bed. Mitchel came over to her and took off her shoes and socks. She un buttoned her pants and he pulled those off too. She took ahold of the top of his pants and pulled him toward her as he pulled his shirt over his head.
Screaming down the hall ripped them out of their sleep. They both bolted out the door guns in their hands. Melanie saw her mom peeking out her door.
“Close the door and lock it mom.”
Melanie turned and ran after Mitchel who was already down the hall gun at his side. As she passed the door next to theirs, Seth came out with gun in hand and followed behind Melanie.
A house cleaner stood screaming with her hands over her face. The door before her swung opened. Mitchel stopped with his back to the wall right before the doorway. Melanie and Seth caught up to him. Mitchel threw a quick glance around the doorframe.
The color faded from his face.
Oh God not again, Melanie thought.
“Stay here,” Mitchel said.
“No,” Melanie said.
And they went into the room guns raised.
They went through the room systematically. There was no one there. Alive.
A couple lay split open from throat to pelvis upon the bed. The metallic sweet smell of the blood didn’t hit Melanie until they had cleared the room and she had looked on the bodies.
Melanie sank to the floor. Her ankle shooting pain up her leg and her legs failing her. Mitchel picked her up and left the room. He set her on her feet when they reached their room and he had shut the door.
“Everywhere we go, disemboweled bodies follow,” Mitchel said. He took Melanie in his arms and rested his chin on her head. She wondered if he had figured it out and could accept that his twin was a killer. What he would do about it?
She squeezed him tighter.