by: Kristy Duke
Excitement and disbelief heavily floods within me as I open the heavy wooden door to find the large room to be lined and filled with thick heavy shelves that are packed with stacks of hundred dollar bills on the left side of the room. On the right side of the room, the shelves are lined with all sorts of different kinds of food and drinks. All left unguarded and for the taking…by me. I hear myself laugh aloud as I am filled with greed and happiness and I quickly step into the room, taking it all in, not knowing where to start. Quickly I grab a thick heavy warm sandwich and take a big bite of it before moving over to grab a thick stack of new bills and begin fanning myself with it…
“Jefferson Davis!” the familiar sound of Lulu’s voice slowly pierces through my sleep, throwing me out of the large room filled with money and food and back into my large room filled with thick darkness. “Jefferson Davis! Wake up!”
For a long moment, I stare through the darkness before my eyes adjust to the darkness and I find her leaning over me as she places a thick hand upon my shoulder. Disappointment and anger floods through me towards her for waking me up from my dream and I quickly shove her hand away to roll over, away from her. “No, no, not now,” I hear myself groggily say, closing my eyes in hope of revisiting the large room once more, “I’m going to sleep in today.”
“No, you are not!” Lulu yells, her voice gets an high pitch as it does when she is frightened or upset, “We’ve been robbed!”
“Robbed?” I hear myself ask before I am quickly thrown fully awake to quickly sit up in bed as Lulu reaches over to turn on the lamp that lies on the bed stand besides my bed. I blink away the brightness for a long moment as my thoughts slowly grasp what she had just said. “You just say we’ve been robbed?”
“Yes…robbed,” she nods and I look up to find tears in her eyes, “the bathroom is a mess. They threw everything on the ground. All my mama’s jewelry is gone! My own jewelry is gone! I…I -” she goes silent for a moment as I climb out of bed, “I haven’t been down stairs yet.”
I eye her for a brief moment before I quickly walk past her and out through the open door and out into the hall way, turning the lights on as I go before I step into the bathroom. Despite her warning, surprise, fear, and anger rush through me at seeing brushes and combs and towels thrown on the ground. The medicine cabinet door is open and pill bottles are thrown all over. The shower curtain is torn open and our bar soap and hair soap lie on the bottom of the bathtub while the toilet lid is open and the box of Kleenexes lie on in the corner on the floor. Eyeing the room shortly, I quickly turn around to walk out and past Lulu and down the hall to glance into the two guest bedrooms to find them both to be a mess as well. Fear and anger accelerate within me as I walk back out into the hall to eye Lulu for a long moment before turning towards the stairs.
“I’m going downstairs to look around and to call Rosco,” I state as panic begins to settle in, “you stay up here in the room til I say it’s safe.”
Lulu nods with tears in her eyes and as she turns to do as I told her to do, I quickly walk down the stairs to find the dining room to be neat, yet it is apparent by the disarray chairs and pictures that someone was in here. That someone was in here looking for things to take, looking for things of value. “Damn it,” I hear myself cuss as I walk into the kitchen and begin to throw open cupboards open and my panic sky rockets within me as I see my trophies and money box to be gone along with my boxes of cigars I had stacked in there. After a long moment of looking around the kitchen I walk into the living room that looks to be as the kitchen and dining room looked; in order, but apparent someone was there and took things. “No, no,” I hear myself muttering as I take note of all that was gone, especially my other money box I had locked away in my desk drawer.
After a short moment of taking in my living room, I quickly pick up my black line phone to quickly push in Rosco’s home phone number. As the phone begins to ring in my ear, I glance up at the large grandfather clock that sits in the corner that reads that it is three in the morning. “Hello,” Rosco’s groggy voice slowly says after the fifth ring, “who ever this is, it must be good. It’s three in the morning!”
“Rosco!” I quickly state as my panic and fear continues to escalate within me as questions rush rapidly within me, “I know it’s early and trust me, I wouldn’t be awake and calling you right now if it wasn’t important! I’ve been robbed!”
“Boss, is that you?” he questions, his voice more alert, “You’ve been robbed?”
“Yes…robbed!” I respond, panic is clear in my voice, “Lulu just woke up when she got up to use the restroom. The restroom is a mess, my money boxes are gone, my trophies. Lulu’s jewelry is gone! You need to get Enos and get here and do your police work! Whoever did this may still be in Hazzard! I want them caught!”
“OK Boss,” Rosco finally responds, “I’ll call Enos and get my stuff and be on my way. Hang on.”
“I’m hangin’,” I state as I quickly hang up the phone before I grab a notebook out of a desk drawer with a pen before I sit down in my chair to begin to list all that I know of so far that is missing.
***SHERIFF ROSCO COLTRANE***
Fear and worry continue to eat away within me as I tiredly stare at the closed door that stands several feet away from my desk, blocking my small office away from the rest of the police station. My thoughts continue to rotate quickly within me from the robbery at The Boar’s Nest, to Bo’s mysterious attack in his barn, to Hogg’s robbery that had happened sometime last night. Sighing heavily, I slowly glance down at my notebook that lies open on my desk that I had scribbled several notes on from what I had saw this morning when I had ran over to Hogg’s house after he had called and woke me up. For once, he wasn’t exaggerating. Not only was he robbed, but whoever robbed him left his upstairs a mess, while the downstairs had been heavily robbed, but everything had been left in place. Signifying there is at least more than one person who had broken into his house.
After rereading my notes, I slowly turn the page where I begin to make notes of the date and all that had happened at The Boar’s Nest before marking the date and the small facts that is known of Bo’s attack before making note of the date and information upon Hogg’s break and entry last night. After marking that down, I once again look through them as I attempt to find anything common between the three from the little that is known about each event. Shawn had supposedly played the good guy in both the robbery at the Boar’s Nest and of Bo’s attack while both Hogg and the Boar’s Nest had been robbed of money. Yet, with what is known, there seems very little to nothing that connects all three events together, but it is too coincidental for them not to be somewhat connected.
“Damn it,” I say out of frustration before tossing my pen down and stiffly standing up to walk out of my office to find Enos at his desk, working on paper work. “Enos,” I sourly state as I make my way past his desk and he slowly glances up, “I’m going to the Duke farm. I’m going to re-interview Bo and Shawn. See if they have anything new to say or to add from their last interview or perhaps see if I missed something last time. Perhaps that may help put some light on Hogg’s robbery.”
“OK Sheriff. You want me to come with you? Perhaps I can interview one and you the other?” he offers, looking up hopeful.
I go to refuse his offer before thinking otherwise. “That may be a good idea, Enos. Good thinking,” I offer a small smile and he quickly stands up from his chair with a grateful smile at me.
* * * *
Silence engulfs within the stuffy patrol car as we approach the Duke family farm as a wave of nausea forcefully hits me as my thoughts continue to be wrapped around all that has happened in Hazzard. “We’re here,” I break the silence as I turn into their driveway and relief slowly runs through me to see all vehicles parked in front of the old farm house. Parking the patrol car next to Jesse’s dirty white truck, I turn to Enos and state, “Bo may be more opened to you than he would be to me, so I’m going to give you him to interview and I’ll give Shawn another try. Perhaps once we are both done, we can confer and compare notes before we interview them together if I feel that is necessary.”
“OK Sheriff,” Enos nods slowly as he glances up and I follow his look to find Jesse looking out the small window that lies several feet from the door, “where do you want to do the interviewing at?”
Opening my door, I slowly say, “How about you take the living room and I’ll take Shawn out on the porch?” I pause and he nods as he opens his door and we silently get out to meet up with each other near the steps, “Figure it’d be best that we interview them alone and in private. Meaning Jesse, Daisy, and Luke is going to have to find some other place to be at while we do our interviewing.”
Enos nods and as I go to knock on the door, Jesse quickly throws open the wooden door to peer out through the screen door and regret heavily floods within me as I am quick to notice the intense worry and fear within the patriarch’s crystal blue eyes. Regret of being at their farm to ask more painful questions of his injured nephew, no doubt the source of his fear and worry. After a brief moment, he slowly opens the screen door and says, “How may I help the two of you?”
I nod at the elder Duke while swallowing hard. “I am sorry to disturb you and your family, Jesse, at such a hard as of now that you and your family are going through. Please know I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t important,” I slowly reply as I take off my black hat, “Commissioner Hogg’s was broke into last night and he was robbed. Everyone is OK other than being upset, as all can imagine.” I pause to let it all sink in, “We all have reason to believe that his robbery is connected to Bo’s attack and of the robbery at The Boar’s Nest.”
“I’m sorry to hear about Hogg’s robbery,” Jesse skeptically responds, “but I don’t know how I can be of help to you.”
I nod again at him. “Well Jesse,” I slowly state, “we are going to have to interview Bo and Shawn again to see if we can get any new information from them or perhaps see if there was anything that we could have missed last time.”
He begins to shake his head. “Look Rosco, Bo has already gone through enough with his attack, your last interview, and his stay at the hospital. He wakes up every night with nightmares from it,” he pauses sadly for a short moment, “he don’t need to relive it again by Besides,” he breathes out heavily as more worry seems to cross his aging face, “he refuses to talk about it just as much now as he had then. He won’t talk to me about it, I highly doubt he’ll talk to you. So I see very little reason of putting him through all this again.”
“I understand that, Jesse,” I slowly respond as I begin to get impatient with him, “but I at least want to try to talk to him. Or Enos here will.” I pause shortly, looking over his shoulder to see Luke standing a couple of feet behind him, looking as if he’s ready to step in if we won’t leave his uncle alone. Looking back at Jesse, I state, “I understand this is hard on Jesse. That it’s hard on you all. Truly, I do. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think this is important. Not only for you or for Hogg, but for the whole of Hazzard. We need to get who ever is doing this before they rob anyone else. Before they attack anyone else. And in order to do that, we need to get all the information we can about what has already happened, which is why we are here.”
He looks at me for a long moment as he silently thinks about what all I had just said before he takes a long step back and opens the door for us and we slowly walk into the kitchen where we find Shawn sitting in the corner. “Guess you’re here to talk with me, then,” Shawn dryly states as he hesitantly stands up, “let’s do it and get it over with.”
I nod silently at him. “I appreciate this Jesse, Shawn. I know this is hard,” I state eyeing them both, “I am going to take Shawn out to the porch to talk with him while Enos will talk with Bo in the living room. We’ll need to talk to them alone for the moment. It’s appreciated.”
Jesse eyes me for a short moment, hesitancy of bringing his nephew out to this shines clear in his eyes. He finally nods as he walks towards the living room where he says, “Bo’s taking a nap. I’ll go get him,” he pauses as Enos joins him at the entry way of the living room, “as I said, I doubt he’ll open up much about it. But you can give him a try, I guess.”
Enos nods as he follows Jesse out to the living room. As they disappear, I turn to Shawn and say, “Well as you said. Let’s do it and get it over with.” I slowly lead him out to the porch where he quickly takes the bench swing and I slowly lean against the corner railing and take my notebook out. “As I said, I appreciate you cooperating with me on this, I know I already talked to you a couple of times about each incident, but I want to go back over it and see if we missed anything. We’ll start off with the robbery at The Boar’s Nest and then go to Bo’s attack. Feel free to volunteer any information that you feel may be important that I may not ask about. I want to know everything you know.”
“Of course,” he nods slowly as he rests confidently in the bench, eyeing me with green eyes, “How about I tell you what had happened, how I saw them happen, and then you can ask your questions. That be any easier?”
I nod. “It may put a different twist on it,” I slowly state, “start off with the robbery and I’ll ask questions afterwards before going to Bo’s attack.”
With notebook and pen ready, I lean back as Shawn starts to explain his first night back in Hazzard, of going to The Boar’s Nest to hang out with Cooter and Luke to catch up on old times.
Fear heavily courses through my pain-filled body as I am abruptly thrown awake from another intense and vivid nightmare of being forced to watch Shawn violently executing Luke, Daisy, and Jesse. Fighting for air, I slowly shove myself into a sitting position as I struggle to shove the vivid scenes out of my mind with little success and I hesitantly glance over at Luke’s bed. After a brief moment my eyes adjust to the thick darkness that hangs heavily within the small room and I am surprised to see Luke’s dark shadow of a figure lying still on his side, facing me. The past few days that I’ve been home and had waken up from an nightmare he was awaken up by it and by my side to help me sit up and to help me with my inhaler while asking his worried question. Yet he remains asleep and snoring slightly. I find myself sighing in relief only to send fiery pain deep within my lungs and I slowly grab my inhaler off of the nightstand to shove it into the pockets of my pajama bottoms.
Silently watching Luke, I slowly shove my legs off of my bed to grab my crutches that rest standing up against the nightstand and use them to force myself onto my left foot. As Luke remains asleep, I silently make my way to our closed door and as I slowly open the door, the door squeaks and Luke snorts loudly and his snoring comes to an end. Listening into the loud silence that follows, I steal a glance over my shoulder to find Luke rolling over before he goes still once more where his snoring starts up again. Another moment passes before I turn and make my way out of the room and close the door behind me before I make my way through the dark hallway and into the dark living room. Approaching the couch, I quietly glance down to find Shawn silently asleep under a thick blanket, his large hand resting upon his face as if attempting to hide. Finding myself holding my breath, despite the pain, I slowly make my way out of the living room and into the kitchen where I slowly turn on the lights while watching Shawn’s still figure. Seeing that he’s still asleep and lying still, I let go of the breath I had been holding and fall into painful coughing that I attempt to quiet through the crook of my elbow.
Resting upon my crutches, I dig my emergency inhaler out of my pocket to put it in my mouth to squeeze a spray of medicine into my mouth. I follow the normal sequence of my medicine through five rounds before relief begins to settle within me and I re-pocket the inhaler. Sighing heavily, I silently look back into the living room and at Shawn and am relieved to see him still asleep on the couch and in the same position he had been in when I had walked past him. After a silent moment, I slowly turn and make may way to the table where I silently pull a chair out and struggle through the pain and my braced leg to slowly sit down where I rest my crutches on the counter behind me. Turning back around, I slowly pull the folded newspaper from yesterday over from the middle of the table as I attempt to ignore the scenes of the nightmare that continue to plague me.
Opening the newspaper, my eyes quickly fall upon the large cover story with the large bold title that reads: THREE KNOWN MEN WANTED FOR THE MURDER OF ATLANTA’S WELL LOVED MAYOR. My heart painfully comes to a halt as I look at the three large photos of the wanted men for the murder of the mayor a few weeks ago and heavy recognition falls upon the man in the middle. The middle of the three men holds the name of Liam Brock in bold letters under the photo, but the ornery grin and the scar that runs through his bushy left eye brow screams of Shawn. In the photo, Liam has dark hair with dark eyes with a thick dark goatee whereas Shawn has light brown hair and green eyes with no facial hair. But eye and hair color could have been easily altered to disguise who he really is as could his name with false identification. I sigh heavily as I attempt to convince myself that it could be anyone, but deep down, I know it has to be Shawn. The same shape of face, the same look in his eyes, the same ornery smile, and the same rough looking scar cutting through his left eye brow that he claimed had happened at an accident at work. Plus, it would explain where he had gotten the briefcase full of money I had seen him with in the barn as well as why he was so quick to attack me when he saw that I had seen him with the money.
For a long moment I am paralyzed with fear as I stare at Shawn’s photo, my thoughts racing from his violent attack in the barn to his violent threat and onto the warning letter I had gotten the other day. Eyes and ears are upon me. Yet, if it was Shawn who had killed the mayor, it is my duty to report what I know to the authorities so they can bring him in before he kills or hurts anyone else. Only to remind me of Enos’ repetitive questions that I had stubbornly refused to answer yesterday and his own frustrated responses of how whoever attacked me should be stopped before he attacks anyone else. Eyes and ears are upon me. Chills race heavily down my back as questions build within me, my thoughts remain focused upon Shawn who lies asleep only feet away from me.
“Damn it,” I cuss silently as I glance around the familiar room, in search of any camera or micro-bug only to come up empty as I had assumed I would. Glancing down at the paper, I am convinced that I no longer am able to ignore the attack or the money I had seen with Shawn. I have to do something before he kills someone. Perhaps Luke, Daisy, and Jesse. I have to do something before my nightmares become a reality. Yet if I say anything to anyone. . .
Eyeing Shawn’s picture, a voice from the past screams loudly within me. A voice from a year ago, of FBI Sergeant Frank Mills saying, “Threats mean nothing to the bad guys. Threats are only meant for you to do what they want you to do. Nine times out of ten, their threats are what they are intending to do whether you do what they want you to or not…you do what they want, it will only prolong their whatever their intentions are until after they get what they want from you. Then they’ll do whatever they threatened to do…as I said, threats mean nothing to them, but to get you to do what they want you to do.”
Thinking of Mills and looking at the article a small idea slowly begins to form and I desperately struggle to think of a place I could be hidden from their eyes for a couple of minutes. Only to come up with the bathroom as common sense tells me that they’d only place a bug in there, after all, who wants to watch people use the rest room? Sighing heavily, I slowly grab my crutches to pull myself up as I place the paper under my arm pit and I slowly make my way out of the kitchen where I eye Shawn momentarily before I turn and make my way to the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, I close and lock the door behind me and put the faucet on full blast before pulling a small whisker scissors out of the cabinet. Leaning against the counter for support, I carefully and quickly begin to pull the cut the article out before I find a blue ink pen to circle Liam’s slash Shawn’s picture out and write something quickly next to it. Putting the pen and scissors away, I fold the cut article up and shove it into my pocket before I turn the water off and make my way back out of the bathroom and back out to the kitchen where I shove the folded front page newspaper into the garbage.
“Bo,” a tired voice from behind sends more fear rushing heavily within me and as I turn back around, I find Jesse standing in the doorway, watching me with worried eyes, “another nightmare?”
I watch him for a short moment before I glance at the clock for the first time to find that it is now two in the morning before looking back at him, who waits patiently for my answer. Resting upon my crutches once more, I slowly say, “Yeah. Something like that.”
He nods as if in understanding before he walks farther into the kitchen to slowly approach me before coming to a halt a couple of feet in front of me. “How you feel?” he asks, “How’s the leg?” His eyes move from mine to my braced up leg.
I momentarily follow his eyes down to my leg as my thoughts filter back and forth to my vivid nightmare of Shawn killing Jesse, Luke, and Daisy to the article clipping that is folded up in my pocket and back to the nightmare again. Deep down I feel like saying, ‘I’m scared Uncle Jesse. That’s how I feel. We’ve got a murder sleeping several feet away on the couch; a murder y’all trust and like, who could at any minute turn around and shoot y’all in the back for the fun of it! I know it and yet can’t say anything to anyone about it. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared, Uncle Jesse!’ Instead, I look back up at him and say, “It hurts,” I pause for a short moment, feeling awkward with the uncle who had raised me since I was under a year old, “but it’s been worse.”
He eyes me skeptically before his eyes fall back on the small clock and back at me to say, “You still have another hour before you can take any more of your medicine.”
I nod at him as silence awkwardly makes it’s way between us and my thoughts fall steadily upon Shawn, of his attack, his threat, and the article I had just saw and read. Deep down, I know I can’t keep quiet about Shawn now that I know what he has done, what he is hiding, yet if I say anything to anyone my nightmares will become a reality. But wish Shawn hiding out in Hazzard, at our farm, my nightmare may become a reality if I don’t do anything about what I know and I’d be left to blame. Looking up at my uncle, I am burdened with a heavy sense of being alone, helplessness, and vulnerable as the questions once again begin to race within me. Only to send my thoughts back onto Luke. If I could tell Luke, he would know what to do. He would be able to take what I know, think about it for a little while, and come up with a solution that would help save Hazzard the violence and trouble that Shawn and his two friends has planned for Hazzard. Luke always knows what to do and how to get us out of trouble. But I can’t tell Luke. And if I could, would he even believe me about Shawn? Would he believe it was Shawn who had attacked me in the barn? Or would he only get upset at me for supposedly making it all up to get Shawn in trouble?
Looking away from Jesse, I glance through the open window that lies over the kitchen sink and into the blackness of the night as if searching for answers. With thoughts of Luke, sadness seems to crowd out my fear of Shawn and of his two associates in the paper. Sadness in thought of how Luke will react and feel once it is made known of who Shawn really is, who he had become over the years since he left Hazzard, once he knows why Shawn is in Hazzard. Only to create more anger and hatred towards Shawn. Anger and hatred at him in strong conviction that he’s only using Luke to his own advantage, the only reason Shawn is in Hazzard is to use Luke as cover to hide out from the law in Atlanta after what he had done. And Luke, who had always liked and seemed to work hard to acquire Shawn’s acceptance and respect, full heartedly believes Shawn, believes in Shawn. And when Shawn’s dark secret becomes known, it’s going to tear Luke apart, hurt him emotionally. It tears heavily within me at the thought of Luke being hurt by Shawn, despite my hatred and fear of Shawn. If only Shawn and his new friends would pack up and go hide else where. . .
But with me seeing the briefcase full of money, of being a witness, there’d be no way they would just pack up and leave. Not unless they could guarantee that I wouldn’t say anything to anyone, which would probably mean killing me, something I am sure Shawn would be excited to do; as he had said in the barn. The only reason he had given me as why he hadn’t killed me in the barn when he had the chance to was that he still had plans for Hazzard and killing me would ruin them. Chills heavily race up and down my back as I think of what Shawn had said as my imagination quickly comes to deadly conclusions as to what Shawn’s plans are for Hazzard. He’s killed before. . .
“Bo,” Jesse breaks the silence as his hand lands upon my shoulder to make me jump slightly and I let go the breath I had been holding. As I take my attention away from the darkness outside the kitchen window and look over at him, he forces a small smile at me before saying, “you want to talk about it?”
I am too quick to shake my head at him, my thoughts still focused upon Shawn. “No, not really,” I slowly lie, quickly looking away from him back outside to allow the silence to build between us again. Looking back at him, I slowly say, “Sorry to awake you or worry you. Trust me, I’m fine. I just couldn’t go back to sleep.”
He nods doubtfully at me. “Well, maybe if you don’t want to talk about it,” he slowly begins to say, “perhaps we should go back to bed and try to get some rest while we can.”
“Yeah. OK,” I nod at him as I move a couple steps to the entry way to the living room and as my eyes fall upon Shawn’s still body, fear builds within me once more. Looking over my shoulder, I say, “Night Uncle Jesse.”
He forces another smile as worry shines deeply within his crystal blue eyes before he gives me a short nod. “Night Bo,” he finally states.
Exhaustion slowly flows through Shawn’s tense body despite just waking up only moments ago from his night’s rest on the comfortably old couch in the Duke’s living room. Looking at himself in the oval mirror in the bathroom, he quietly acknowledges how much city life has changed him over the last twelve years. Of how different he truly is from the Shawn he had been when he had lived in Hazzard. Before moving to the ‘big city’ of Atlanta, he lived life on the wild side and had caused trouble in any way possible. From road racing to running and making shine to fighting and being the class bully to those he didn’t like. He even stole a few things from people here and there for the fun of it. From joining Landon and his new group of friends in Atlanta, he has moved from living life on the wild side to living life on the criminal side. As his troublesome ways in the past moved from a way to have fun and see what all he could get away with to a way of life, a way of survival. It was no longer a way of life or a choice for him, it was who he is. Looking in the mirror, he knows and accepts the fact that there is no way of turning back for him. He’s gone too far to turn back, he’s changed too much to turn back now.
Yet, after a month of living in the Duke farm and hanging out with Luke and Cooter as he once was, he strongly yearns to return to who he once was. To move from pretending to be someone he isn’t to become the man he is pretending to be while he is around the Dukes and Cooter. Looking in the mirror, he is become troubled as his imagination brings him to how Luke and Cooter would react if they knew it was him that had beat Bo up so badly, if they were to find out who he has become. He imagines shock, hurt, and anger deep in their eyes, imagines Luke’s need to seek vengeance on him for hurting Bo so badly. And for a moment, imagining their upset reactions would be, guilt slowly builds within him for what he had done, for who he had become. Though, his guilt is short lived as he shifts his thoughts back to the barn and beating Bo, of his blue eyes looking pleadingly up at him as he struggled to breathe. Of the fear that had shone upon his pain filled face. And excitement and resentment quickly takes over the guilt of what he had done and become. Excitement at the pain and fear that he had put Bo through. Resentment for the fact that he held back and that he didn’t kill Bo as he had yearned to do ever since he had become friends with Luke in grade school.
“The time will come,” he mutters silently to himself, reminding himself to have patience and that he will make sure before they leave town to kill Bo. Luke would be devastated if something would happen to Bo, but Shawn knows, that he’d be doing Luke a huge favor by killing Bo. Give Luke time to deal and heal with the loss and he’ll come to acknowledge the huge favor Shawn had done for him. He’d be grateful, Shawn is sure of it.
Sighing heavily, Shawn takes a last look at himself in the mirror, before he slowly takes a step back to walk over to the door to open it and turn off the lights. Walking out into the living room, he is greeted by Luke who has a look of urgency upon his face, clearly worried and upset about something. “Damn Luke, why you let me sleep in?” Shawn questions, looking at the clock on the wall that now reads nine in the morning, “I can’t believe I slept that long. . .”
Luke shrugs as he comes to a halt. “Figured all that partying last night musta worn you out, so I figured I’d let you sleep in. Through chores and all,” Luke forces a smile as Jesse walks out of the kitchen and Shawn notes that he seems to have the same look of urgency and worry across his face, “besides you’re on vacation. I’m sure you didn’t come here to do Bo’s chores and would want to catch up on your sleep while you can.”
“Much appreciated, but you know I wouldn’t have minded being woke up to help out with chores,” Shawn offers as he watches Jesse for a brief moment before facing Luke and asks, “What’s wrong? You and Jesse both seem upset and worried about something.”
Luke forces a small laugh before growing serious and shaking his head as if in disbelief about something. “Well,” he slowly begins, “we got back from doing chores a few minutes before you woke up to find The General Lee gone as well as Bo. Reason being that they left together and Bo in his condition, it don’t sit well with us to think of him out there driving with that injured leg of his. Shoulda known he’d try a fool stunt like this…Bo is never one to be left sitting around too long. Or known to stay out of a car as long as he has thus far. So I guess we’re lucky that he waited this long to take off on us,” Luke goes quiet for a long moment, “Damn, we shoulda saw this coming.” He repeats, his voice full of anger and dread before falling quiet as they both watch Jesse angrily walk back into the kitchen. “Not only that, but Bo’s refusing to answer any of our calls on the CB. Our next option is to climb into Jesse’s truck and look for him ourselves. Problem being, there is so many places he could be…” Luke lets his voice trail off as he runs a muscular hand through his dark curly hair, a movement that Shawn remembers Luke doing when upset or worried about something.
“How Bo manage to get in and out of the windows with his crutches and with his knee the way it is?” Shawn ponders out loud as his thoughts return to Landon and the rest who would know exactly where Bo is at through the tracking device and the microphone bug that he had planted within The General, Bo’s boot, and in his crutches. It would bring appreciation from Luke if he were the one to come up with Bo’s location, but would also bring suspicion from him as well. Instead he asks, “Where’s Daisy at? We could use her jeep, my car, and the truck to look for him.”
“At work. Guess Boss has everyone at work early today for a meeting of some sort,” Luke shrugs, “but your car would give us an extra set of wheels. We could also call Cooter, am sure he’d want to help in any way he could as well.” Luke goes silent for a moment again, as if thinking of something. “I just don’t know where he’d go…I can think of several places, but don’t see why he’d go to any of them for. I guess to just get away, but he’s got to know we’d find him gone and would be worried. That Jesse would be upset at him for it. As for your first question, I don’t know. Am guessing it took awhile to maneuver everything to get in the damn car.”
“Well, I called him again. Still no answer,” Jesse welcomes himself into their conversation, too angry and worried to worry about intruding, “guess that shouldn’t be surprising. He’d know we’d be telling him to get his fool self home and asking him where he is at. Damn, I shoulda seen this coming,” he repeats what Luke had said only moments ago and Shawn glances over at Luke who only nods at him, “when we find him, he’s going to wish he forgot how to drive…since he’s obviously forgot how to use common sense! What got in him to try a fool stunt like this?”
“You said yourself, Jesse, we should have saw this coming. You can’t keep Bo away from that car for too long no matter what,” Luke boldly speaks up, “we was just assuming that with his leg like it is that he wouldn’t be able to get into the damn thing. Guess we were wrong.”
“Shouldn’t assume anything with Bo,” Jesse slowly agrees before going silent, “I already called Cooter. He said he hasn’t heard or seen Bo, but he’s on his way over.”
Luke nods his approval. “Good. Shawn here came up with an idea,” Luke states as he points toward Shawn who silently listens into their conversation, “once Cooter gets here, we could all separate and look for Bo. Sooner or later one of us will be bound to find him.”
Jesse nods slowly. “Sounds good, but I want it made clear that if any of you find him instead of me,” Jesse pauses thoughtfully, “I want you to call it in to me. I want him in that truck with me going home. Luke can drive The General home.”
Shawn nods, enjoying seeing Jesse so upset at Bo.
“Got it,” Luke states, seeming to calm down some since they’ve come up with an idea, “Come on Cooter…” Luke urges Cooter as he looks out the front window in hope of finding Cooter’s rusted tow truck.
Pulling my old car to a slow halt besides the famous reddish orange race car, my questions continue to race in my head as I slowly go over the phone call I had received an hour ago from Bo Duke. The moment that I had answered my old phone in my small apartment to hear Bo’s weak and pain-filled voice, I had wondered what he was up to, had questioned his motives. After seeing the pictures in the local newspaper of him in the hospital and the article describing how bad he had gotten attacked by the mysterious attacker, I didn’t expect to hear or see of him in some time. Yet when I had answered the phone, it was Bo on the other end telling me he had something for me and to meet me at the old Indian Caves, the cave we had hid out at while skipping school. I had told him I would be more than glad to stop by his old farm, but he had quickly denied me, saying he needed to get out and that this was his perfect excuse to do so. It sounded like something Bo would do, even in his condition. It is well known that him and The General could never be separated for too long. But something just didn’t seem right which sends worry, doubt, and questions rolling through me as I slowly climb out of my open car door before quietly closing it.
Walking past The General, I casually glance in through the open passenger door and I slowly begin to wonder how he could manage to get in and out of the open windows with his brace and his crutches. Knowing Bo, he’d find a way to get into the damn car one way or another. No matter what it took. A small smile forms with that thought and I shake my head at Bo’s stubbornness before I walk past his beloved car to walk into the dark cave. Walking into the damp and dark cave, I silently recall the many times we had hid out within the cave in the past, either from skipping school or hiding from the law. Bo, Dobro, and I.
“Brody,” Bo’s familiar voice rings through the silence and as I take another step into the darkness, I find Bo forcing himself to his feet with the help of his crutches before he reaches down to grab a plastic bag off of a large rock. “I appreciate you meeting me like this and so quickly. I know it is odd timing with all that has happened,” he goes quiet as if troubled by something, looking away as he does so. Looking back at me he continues wheezily, “but I just had to get out of the damn house. It gets suffocating after awhile. It gets too small. Jesse and Luke’s gonna kill me when they find me gone. They’re probably out there looking for me…heck I know they are. They kept calling me on the CB and had to ignore them for once,” he pauses once more, breathing forcefully, “but I had to get out.”
“It’s not a problem. It gave me an excuse to not clean my neglected apartment,” I force a small laugh, “How you doin’ Bo? I was pretty worried when I saw that article and your picture. You got beat up good. I’m sorry that I didn’t visit you when you were in the hospital. I thought about it, but Cooter tol’ me you were having a hard time with all that you went through and well. . .I thought it’d be best to wait until you got home and recovered. I know how it is with too many people hovering over you, asking all sort of questions.”
Bo nods as he seems to grow distant. “You’re fine,” he finally answers and grows quiet once more, a troubled look crosses his face, “Look, I can’t stay out too long. As I said, they’re looking for me and sooner or later they’re going to be looking for me here. In fact, I’m surprised they ain’t here yet.” He goes silent as he looks at the bag in his hand as if noticing it there for the first time. “Anyway, I thought you might enjoy these.”
He hands me the bag and I eye him skeptically before I glance into the bag and through the darkness I make out several thick paperback novels stacked thickly in the bag, Looking up at him, I find myself laughing at him before seeing the serious look crossing his face. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to laugh, but this has got to be some kind of joke. I mean we all know just how much you hate reading. And now you expect me to believe that you read all these books?” I question and he silently shrugs his shoulders at me, “No way have you read these books, you haven’t even looked at any of these books. Hey look, if you wanted to get out, you could have just as easily told me to meet you here. You know I’d have done it without questioning you.”
He shrugs again. “I know it’s hard to believe that I would read or look at any of those books, but believe it or not, I have. They were really good. Guess with all this time I have on my hands now, I found myself a new hobby,” he pauses for a long moment, fighting with his asthma to breathe, “As I said, they’re really good. I think you’d like ‘em too, if you gave them a chance.”
“I still don’t believe that you read any of these,” I boldly state and a look of desperation seems to cross his face, “but I’m glad that you supposedly found a new hobby in your free time. But there is no way you’ll get me to read any of them. I hate reading as much as you do…er…or did. I don’t have the patience to sit and read nor do I have the free time to do so. So you might as well as take ‘em back with you. Perhaps you can supposedly re-read them. As I said, I don’t believe that you read any one of them.”
His desperate look turns into one of panic almost and I begin to feel guilty for calling him a liar and refusing to take the books he is offering. “Look, I didn’t think I would like it either, but I had to do something or else I was going to go crazy locked inside. So I gave it a try and enjoyed them. Believe it or not,” he finally states, each word is forced out with impatience laced around them, “and I thought you may like it as well. You’d be surprised at what you find in between the covers of the books. I know I was.”
Everything seems to come to a halt as he goes silent once more, his last sentence brings chills up my back as I begin to read into what he is trying to tell me without using words. He needs help. I force a smile at my best friend, hoping that I won’t disappoint him any more than what I already have. “Well,” I state slowly as I slowly take the bag to my side, signaling to him that I was going to take them, “I guess I do have a few minutes at night before going to bed that I could start trying to read a book or two. Guess I could give it a try,” I shrug, “you’re right, I might like what I see. But I’m not promising you anything other than to give it a try.”
He smiles in appreciation at me and relief floods his pain filled eyes. “You won’t be let down, Brody. Daisy has some good books on her shelf. No wonder why she likes reading so much,” another smile before it quickly disappears as tires cut through the silence outside of the cave, “Damn, it’s gotta be Luke or Jesse.” He shakes his head as he eyes me and then the mouth of the cave, “They’re gonna kill me. Guess it’s better to do it now and get it done with instead of having to go back home to face them.”
I put a hand upon his shoulder as I glance down at the bag he had given me, wondering what it is he is hiding. Looking back at him, I state, “I’m sure they won’t kill you too badly in the shape you’re in now. They’ll have some pity for you. Though I do have to agree with them…you shouldn’t be driving in your condition,” I go silent as a car door slams shut and it echoes off the thick stone wall of the cave, “I’m sure that doesn’t help you much.”
Bo shakes his head. “Not really,” he finally states as we both watch the mouth of the cave before Jesse figure comes into sight before he walks forward to be swallowed by the darkness of the cave.
“Bo, I saw The General parked out front, I know you’re in here. You too, Brody,” Jesse states as we watch his shadow approaching and I eye Bo for a moment as Jesse calls my name, “You might as well as come forward and save me the trouble of having to walk all the way back there to find you!”
Bo sighs heavily before he begins to cough forcefully and as his coughing resides, he nods at me before he forces himself forward with his crutches and I slowly follow him. “Look Jesse,” Bo states as we approach Jesse, “I know you’re mad at me, but I couldn’t stand to stay in the house any longer. I had to get out, if even for a few minutes.”
“Mad at you? You don’t know just how mad I am at you! Or how worried I am!” Jesse yells, his voice booming back at us from the stone walls, “Or how much trouble you are in! You’re damn lucky you are in that brace otherwise I’d have half the mind to take you back to the barn as I use to do when you snuck off like this! Then again, if you are able to climb into that damn car of your’s, maybe you’re not as hurt as you make yourself out to look as you are!”
It goes quiet as I listen into Bo’s forceful wheezy breathing, feeling awkward to be stuck in between them while Jesse’s yelling at Bo. Finally Bo says, “I’m sorry, Uncle Jesse. It was stupid, I know.”
“You can say that again. What made you do a fool stunt like this?” Jesse pauses, waiting for an answer, when he doesn’t get one, he continues, “Your doctor told you to take it easy, stay home, get rest. Rest your leg. You strain that leg of your any more than it is, he’s going to have to do surgery on it and who knows if it’d ever be the same before the attack if he has to do that! You want that to happen?!”
“No sir,” Bo says and I glance over to find him shaking his head, his head bowed down, looking down at the ground,
“Me either! Not only would it mean me worrying about you longer than I already have to, it’d also take you away from your chores and from the work out in the fields. So far, Shawn has taken up your work, but he’s not going to always be here to help you out…who you seem unappreciative of him!” Jesse sternly states, “Not only that, but we are struggling to make ends meet, to have enough money to pay for the mortgage, for food, and for your hospital bill. You think we can afford to have surgery on your knee? For another hospital stay, as it would assure?”
“No sir,” Bo replies, still refusing to look at Jesse, “I already told you, I was sorry.”
“Not sorry enough. No, we can’t afford it…especially if it could be avoided! What made you do a fool stunt like that?” he questions again before letting out a breath of expiration, “Never mind. I’m going to make sure you don’t try that again. Give me the keys to The General.” When Bo doesn’t do as he is told to, Jesse sticks out his hand and in a stern whisper, says, “Now Bo.”
With that, Bo quickly digs in his pocket and hands Jesse the keys.
“Well Brody, sorry to make you be a witness to this and cut your visit short, but Bo here has to go home and get his sorry self to bed before he does any more damage,” Jesse says to me and I find myself nodding at him. He turns to Bo and says, “Shawn is on his way here…should be here soon. He’ll drop Luke off and he’ll drive The General home. As for you, you won yourself a trip home in the passenger seat of my truck and if you knew what was best for you, you’d be getting there as fast as your bum leg will allow you to.”
Bo eyes Jesse for a short moment before giving a short nod and he begins to make his way past Jesse and I slowly follow them out of the cave just as Shawn’s sporty car pulls to a halt behind Jesse’s truck. Bo freezes momentarily as Luke quickly jumps out of the passenger seat and slams the door shut, he eyes me angrily before he turns his angry attention onto Bo. “What were you thinking to drive The General like that? You don’t want to be walking any time soon, do you? Ah of course not…that braced knee is what keeping you from doing chores, from doing anything!” Luke angrily accuses Bo as he quickly approaches him to get in his face, “Well maybe Shawn should stop doing them for you so you can do them yourself, because obviously your knee isn’t slowing you down too much if you’re able to get it through that window there!”
I open my door as I silently watch them, feeling bad for Bo as both Jesse and Luke seem to focus their anger upon him.
“I don’t know, Luke. OK? I don’t know. I couldn’t stand being trapped in the house any longer! I needed to get out,” Bo says, his voice quiet but full of agony, “it seemed like that was the only chance I was going to get on getting out of the house, so I took it. Stupid, I know…then again, I’ve never been the one to be accused of having too much smarts to begin with.”
Luke eyes Bo for a long moment before looking up at me and over at Jesse. “I’ll take The General home,” he takes a couple of steps back before saying over his shoulder to Bo, “Enjoy the ride home, Bo.”
“Get in the car, Bo,” Jesse sternly states as quiet began to sink in. Bo nods before he turns and waves at me before turning back around to struggle with his crutches to open the door. Jesse watches from the driver’s door as Bo throws his crutches into the bed of the truck and fights with his braced knee to work his way up into the passenger seat before weakly closing the door behind him. Jesse quickly gets in and starts the truck before he backs out of the small muddy land and onto the dirt road and I watch them disappear before I do the same.
Exhaustion heavily rushes through my pain-filled body as I stare silently out of the dirt splattered passenger window while Jesse’s and Luke’s angry words harshly yells back at me from within. Harsh words that were spoken out of anger, worry, and disappointment as they continue to believe that I had snuck out so I could once again drive The General, to get away from the house. And I didn’t say anything to make them think otherwise, in fact, had boldly lied to them to agree with their assumptions of why I had snuck off as I had. If only they knew why I had painfully forced myself into The General’s open windows and put up with the throbbing pain that had cut through my knee as I used it to hit the accelerator and brakes, of why I had snuck away to meet Brody, they’d understand. They may even have been proud of me for trying to do the right thing. If they knew, they wouldn’t be upset at me, they’d be doing anything they could do to help stop Shawn and his friends from hurting anyone else. But they don’t know and can’t know. Not until Shawn and his friends have been arrested and I can be assured that everyone is safe.
Forcing a deep breath that sends fiery pain deep into my lungs, I slowly look away from the familiar scenery to glance over at Jesse who quietly stares out of the windshield in front of him, his knuckles are bone white as he angrily holds onto the steering wheel. A deep eerie silence continues to grow within the cab of the truck, the silence Jesse had created as soon as both doors had been shut and the engine was started. I had attempted to apologize again for what I had done as he backed up into the road and he had sent me an angry look that had clearly told me that I am in enough trouble, it’d be better for us all, if I were not to say anything more. It was the silence he has always used on either Luke, Daisy, or me when we had done something that had greatly upsetted him. It was a silence that underlined his anger and disappointment in us better than any words could ever describe or explain it to us. It was the silence that I had dreaded the most. Yet, it was the silence that I knew better, from experience, not to interrupt.
I sigh heavily as I turn away from Jesse to look out of my window to find the farm coming into view and I silent acknowledge that it’s only get worse. We’ll get home and Jesse will use the least amount of words to quietly tell me what my punishment will be as he continues his silent treatment towards me. When he gets done, Luke will be quick to pick up from where Jesse had left off by yelling at me about how dumb I was to do what I did. And for the most part, in the past I had deserved the silent treatment and whatever punishment Jesse had silently chosen for me; whether it was a whooping in the barn with his big leather belt or adding more chores to be done daily for a lengthy period of time. Perhaps even deserved Luke’s lengthy lectures and his own way of punishing me for whatever I had done. But not this time. What makes it worse is that it is all because of Shawn. . .
As Jesse slowly pulls into the dirt drive way of the farm, I silently watch through the side window, Luke closely following us in The General with Shawn’s new car behind Luke. Watching Shawn, I silently begin to wonder and worry if him or his new friends that had put the bugs and cameras in the house had caught onto what I was doing. I had quickly grabbed a few books from Daisy’s book shelf in her room and shoved them into a bag before I had grabbed out of my pocket the short note I had wrote in the bathroom, in a closed fist I had quickly shoved it into the bag and into one of the thick books. Hoping that Brody would take the books and find it in there. Which is a long shot. And now with Brody seeing Jesse’s and Luke’s anger towards me and seeing that Jesse had taken my keys, now who knows if he’ll even do what I had asked him to do? Or if I’ll be able to find a way to sneak away once more to meet up with him as I asked…I could easily hot wire The General or the truck if need be, but now that I was caught sneaking out, they’ll be more watchful of me and what I do.
“Get out,” Jesse sternly and quietly states as he turns the ignition off and I slowly look over at him only to be looking at his back as he has already unbuckled and opened the door and is stepping out of the truck.
Nodding silently to myself as I attempt to ignore the throbbing pain that pierces through my knee, I slowly turn around to find Luke standing at my door, holding my crutches with one hand and the other hand upon the door handle. As I move to open the door, he quickly opens it for me as he thrusts the padded ends of the crutches at me and I hesitantly take them from him to slowly shove myself off the old seat. Despite the anger that seems to radiate from Luke, he carefully helps me out of the truck and as I move forward, he closes the door behind me. I eye him momentarily, before hesitantly saying, “Thanks Luke.”
He nods at me as a look of understanding flashes in his eyes before being replaced with a look of anger and impatience towards me. “You best be going,” he gruffly responds as he motions for the porch and the front door and I notice that Jesse has already disappeared within the house, “you know he don’t like waiting when he’s upset with one of us. And you can bet The General that he’s upset at you for the fool stunt you just pulled.”
I eye The General briefly before glancing up at Luke to slowly nod as Shawn slowly approaches us, a look of satisfaction wrote across his face; looking like the pet cat who just ate the pet canary. “Didn’t get too far, now did ya?” he finally asks, no longer able to contain his excitement, “Tell me now, Bo…was your attempt of escape from the ol’ house worth the trouble you are now in?’
I stare angrily at him, wanting to lean over and punch him as hard as I could despite the throbbing pain that has now seemed to consume my whole body. “Glad to see that you’re enjoying all of this, Shawn, but I got a news flash for you; it don’t concern you. In other words, stay out of it, idiot!” I harshly yell back at him before spitting on the ground, just barely missing Shawn’s expensive leather boots.
Shawn’s smile quickly evaporates with a look of anger and hatred towards me and as his body tenses up and as he goes to respond, Luke quickly grabs Shawn by the arm and shoves him to the side. “And I’m glad to see you in so much trouble, to see you in so much pain. Your attacker should’ve finished the job. Would have done Hazzard a world of good to be rid of the town retard!” Shawn angrily yells over Luke’s shoulder and Luke abruptly and harshly sends a solid right hook punch into the left side of Shawn’s face. Shawn yells out in surprise as he falls backward a couple of steps and his hand quickly goes to his cheek where Luke had just punched him at.
“Don’t you dare talk to him that way!” Luke yells as he walks over to Shawn and tightly grabs him by the shirt and jams his back into the weak porch boards, “You understand that, Shawn? I’m of mind to use you as my own punching bag…if you were anyone else -” Luke goes silent as if realizing what he had just said and he sends another punch into Shawn’s nose, “No one treats him that way and gets away with it. No one! Including you! Understand?” Shawn silently nods as he attempts to shove Luke back who tightly holds on, “Thought you might. If I hear any more or see any more of that, I’ll give you a beating that’ll make you wish you never came back to Hazzard! You understand that?”
Once again, Shawn nods as his hand goes to his nose that is now bleeding from Luke’s punch and he looks bewilderedly at Luke before angrily eyeing me over Luke’s shoulder. Catching him looking back at me, Luke shoves him harder against the boards to direct his attention back to him just as the screen door squeaks open. Luke and I glance up at the same time as Jesse angrily walks out onto the porch, angrily eyeing me and goes to yell at me to get in before he sees Luke holding Shawn against the porch wall. “What in tarnation is going on out here?!” he yells as he directs his attention onto Luke and Shawn and he quickly walks down the stairs to get a closer look, “Luke, what’s going on?!”’
Luke exhales heavily while eyeing Jesse and then Shawn before he roughly shoves Shawn off to the side before he sends a trembling hand through his thick hair. “Perhaps you should tell him what’s going on, Shawn,” he finally states, “what you just said to Bo over there.”
Shawn stares at the blood on his hand and up at Luke, still surprised that Luke attacked him. After a long moment, he looks up at me and says, “Look Bo,” he pauses and a hint of fear enters his eyes, fear that he almost allowed his own secret be known to Luke in his anger outburst, “I’m sorry. I was way out of line. You’ve got to believe me when I say I didn’t mean a single word I had just said. You don’t deserve any of it and I don’t wish any ill upon you. You’ve been through enough already,” he goes silent, struggling with his made up apology, “It was all said out of anger, that’s it. I’m sorry.”
Jesse’s anger has now blown over into confusement as he looks from me to Shawn and over to Luke who continues to eye Shawn angrily. “If I didn’t know you better,” Luke begins to say, “I’d say it was you who had attacked Bo in the barn there. Was it?”
I am surprised at Luke’s bold accusation of Shawn who now eyes Luke with large eyes while he quickly shakes his head back and forth. “Of course not! I just told him I said it all out of anger. He called me an idiot, he spit at me! I think I have the right to be upset,” he pauses, attempt to back peddle his way out of the hole he had just dug, “not that, that gave me the right to say what I did, but that’s why I said it. I can’t believe you would accuse me of doing something like that! Getting punched, I deserved that. But being accused of attacking your cousin? I’m insulted that you’d even think that!”
“Right now, I don’t care what you think, Shawn,” Luke shakes his head as he steps farther away from Shawn before catching Jesse’s confused look, sighing heavily, Luke goes into detail all that was said and done before Jesse had stepped out on the porch to yell at me.
Intense anger flashes in Jesse’s eyes as he hears what Shawn had said to me and he quickly looks away from Luke to Shawn and he quickly approaches him. “I hear you talking or treating Bo or any other of my kin in the way you just had, you are out of my house and off of my property! You’ve got one more chance to redeem yourself,” Jesse pauses heavily, “Understand?” Jesse waits for Shawn to nod before he slowly moves away from him to walk towards me, “All this doesn’t undo what you did. In the house you go.” His voice now lacking the anger he had towards me only moments ago despite the threat of his anger he had just said.
“Yes sir,” I nod at him before I turn, ignoring Shawn, and slowly and painfully make my way up the stairs and onto the porch where Jesse makes it to the door before me to open it for me. Once inside, I don’t stop to see what Jesse wants, but instinctively make my way to my room where he has always sent us to before he either called us out or came to us to talk to us about whatever we did. Though this time, he quietly follows me into the room before closing the door behind us and he motions me to sit upon my bed. I nod quietly as I slowly comply to what he wants of me before looking up at him and saying, “I know you’re upset at me and why. What I did was dumb,” I pause thoughtfully for a moment, “but I was feeling trapped in here and couldn’t stand it much longer. I know y’all mean well and all, but these four walls were becoming more like a prison than home. I couldn’t stand it any longer and just wanted to get out for a few minutes.”
Jesse slowly nods as a look of understanding crosses his face as he slowly sits down upon Luke’s bed, a look of exhaustion surrounding him. “Well I had this whole long lecture I was going to give you, mainly a repeat of what Luke and I said to you at the cave,” he sighs wearily, “and all that still rings true. What you did was dumb, but I also understand where you are coming from. I’m sure you feel trapped, but that’s not of our intentions, Bo. You only got home from the hospital a couple days ago, you’re still in a lot of pain, still weak and vulnerable no matter what you think. You have doctor’s orders to stay home and rest until otherwise stated. Not only that, but your attacker is still out there, who’s to say he won’t come back after you?” he goes silent as he seems to be lost in fearful and worrying thought. Looking back at me from staring at the floor under his beat up work boots, he eyes me with fearful and serious blue eyes before saying, “But now after hearing what was said and done out there, of what Luke had said to Shawn…I think I have a more troublesome and important question than what my lecture was.” He goes silent once again, obviously troubled with what is worrying him, “I know you don’t want to talk about the attack and who attacked you was. And up to now, I’ve respected your wish, and believe me, it is hard seeing you like this and not knowing the who’s and the why’s behind it. Especially since we all have the feeling that you do know. And that you are either protecting whoever did this to you or someone or something else. But right now, I don’t care whether you want to talk about it or not, what I care about is you and what your future will hold. I want an open and truthful answer,” he goes silent as he looks around the closed room, taking it all in as if this was the first time of seeing it. Looking back at me, he heavily exhales and asks, “Was Luke right? Was it Shawn who attacked you in the barn?”
I eye him quickly before looking away, thinking of all that he had just said while quietly reminding myself of his threat, of what the note in my pajamas had said. Looking back at him, I give a small sarcastic laugh before slowly saying, “Luke wasn’t right in accusing Shawn…it wasn’t Shawn who attacked me. It was someone I had never seen before.” I force myself to look at Jesse while I lie to him, my words are spoken slowly and with great thought in order for him to buy into my lie in fear of what would happen if he refused to believe me. “As Shawn said, I called him an idiot and had spit toward him…I intentionally didn’t get him, but nonetheless, I shouldn’t have done it. He was upset and I’m sure he was telling the truth when he apologized and all that he had said afterwards.”
Jesse eyes me for a long moment before he lets out a long breath he had been holding in, relief floods across his face before he shortly nods at me. “Well I am glad it wasn’t Shawn,” he finally states, seeming to buy into my lie full heartedly. “I just wish I knew who it was…that someone knew who it was so they’d be caught for what they done to you. Before they try to do it again. To you or to someone else.” He pauses heavily. “You know I’ve got to ask. You want to talk about it? Who was it? What he look like?”
I eye him with impatience. “No, I really don’t want to talk about it any more. I didn’t see who it was other than it was someone I haven’t seen before. Including, Shawn. And maybe I don’t want to remember, but I really can’t remember everything that happened. I just remembered walking into the barn and that guy was in there and of him attacking me. Next thing I know I’m waking up in the hospital with everyone asking questions,” I slowly state the same story I’ve been telling them, wishing badly to tell him the truth, to talk to him. Talking to Uncle Jesse had always seemed to make everything OK, no matter what. “I’m sorry, Uncle Jesse.”
He nods at me as he leans over and pats me on the knee. “It’s OK, everything will be OK,” he states as he forces a smile at me as he stiffly stands up, “Well after your car ride, I think you should get some rest. Perhaps once you wake up and you feel up to it, I’ll beat you in a round of cards.”
I fight back a yawn as I nod at him. “OK,” I slowly state and he leans over to give me a hug and I hug him back before he lets go.
“You get some rest, now,” he forces sternness in his voice as he smiles at me while helping me to lie down on my bed. I slowly nod at him as my eyelids become too heavy to hold open and I quickly fall into a deep sleep.