The Man He Used to Be, ch. 8

by: Marty Chrisman

“Dang it, Uncle Jesse” Bo said in a discouraged voice “Nobody seems to know nothing.”  The Dukes and Shelby were sitting at the kitchen table discussing what to do next. It had been over twenty-four hours since Shelby had seen Luke forcibly taken and there was still no sign of him. Even though none of them had put it into words, they all knew that it might already be too late for Luke.

“Somebody has to know something.” Jesse said “This wasn’t just a spur of moment thing, somebody planned it out.”

“But how are we gonna find out who?” Daisy said in a worried voice “And why?”

“I don’t know, baby. I just don’t know.” Jesse admitted

“We got everybody in Hazzard looking for him.” Bo said in an irritated voice “And we’re checking out every place we can think of where they might be holding him.” He didn’t say it out loud but in his mind he added to himself Or where they might have dumped his body.

“At least Roscoe believes us now and is helping look for him.” Jesse said somberly. “But he ain’t having much luck either.”

“Y’all said you didn’t think those guys were from around here.” Shelby said “So that means they don’t know the area, they’d have to have somebody local helping ‘em.”

“Yeah,” Bo said, putting his biggest fear into words “But who’s to say they haven’t already killed Luke and dumped his body somewhere?”

“The question is still why did they take Luke in the first place.” Jesse said “We figure that out maybe we’ll have a place to start looking.”

“What about Boss Hogg?” Bo said “How can we be sure he ain’t behind all this somehow?”

“Now J.D. Hogg might be a lot of things” Jesse said firmly, shaking his finger at his youngest nephew to emphasize his point “But he’d never do anything to intentionally hurt anybody and that includes you boys.”

“I gotta go to work” Daisy said, close to tears, shoving herself to her feet. She gave her younger cousin a kiss and a hug, then gave Uncle Jesse one too “Call me if you hear anything.”

“And I’m going to look for Luke some more.” Bo said, struggling to keep his own emotions under control Without any idea where to look for his older cousin, he knew it was pretty much useless but he still had to try. At least that way he felt like he was doing something and it kept his mind occupied.

Daisy and Bo both left, leaving Shelby with Uncle Jesse. Jesse was glad to have the company. The Duke family owed a lot to Shelby for the help she had already given them. She was smart and able to look at things from a different point of view because she didn’t have the same emotional connection to Luke that the rest of the family had. Since she wanted to help as much as she could Jesse had insisted that she stay with them at the house until they found Luke, one way or the other.

Luke was still alive but his strength was starting to give out. The Porter boys had beaten him again and taunted him, continuing to threaten him with more unnamed tortures. Bobby had amused himself earlier by burning Luke several times with a lit cigarette and Billy had cut him across the chest with a knife. Their sole purpose was to inflict as much pain on Luke as possible. Annoyed because Luke refused to give them the satisfaction of crying out in pain, they had continued their abuse until he passed out.

Christy was not pleased when she arrived and discovered that Luke was unconscious. She couldn’t have her fun with him unless he was awake so she could watch him suffer. Smiling darkly, she walked over to a makeshift table sitting in the corner and picked up a salt shaker. Unscrewing the lid, she poured the salt into the palm of her hand and walked back over to Luke.

“Wake up, Luke.” She cooed “You’re gonna miss all the fun….” When Luke moaned softly but didn’t respond in any other way. She smiled coldly as she rubbed the salt into the open knife cuts and burns on his chest and stomach. Luke responded immediately, his eyes opening and his head jerking back as he screamed in pain. “Good, you’re awake.” Christy said sweetly.

Luke gasped, struggling to catch his breath. His chest felt like it was on fire. He stared at Christy, his eyes filled with a cold, deadly rage. It took a few minutes, but he managed to pull himself together, pushing the pain to a place deep within his mind where he could control it. He refused to give Christy the satisfaction of seeing just how much she was hurting him. Sweat covered his face from the effort but somehow he managed.

He flinched as Christy reached out and gently ran her fingertips down the side of his face. Her touch revolted him. Christy smiled at his reaction. It didn’t matter, she had Luke Duke right where she wanted him. She moved closer, smiling smugly, as she slid her hand down lower, touching him in places he definitely did not want her touching him. He knew that she was getting off on being able to do whatever she wanted to him without him being able to stop her. He felt her lips brushing against his shoulder in a light feathery kiss, then moving up to the side of his neck.  Suddenly, she bit him hard enough to draw blood. A few choice words escaped from Luke’s mouth as she bit him again.

“Now Luke,” Christy said, stepping back “That’s no way to talk to a lady.” She smiled as she licked his blood from her lips.

“And you sure as hell ain’t no lady.” Luke growled, he could feel the blood running down the side of his neck and onto his shoulder.

“Now what would your Uncle Jesse say about you talking that way?”

“He’d say the same thing.”

“Guess the boys are just gonna have to teach you some manners again.”

Luke tried to brace himself as the Porter boys moved closer and began to beat him again with their fists. It didn’t take long in his weakened condition for him to pass out again. Billy grabbed Luke’s hair and jerked back his head, using his free hand to raise one eyelid to make sure Luke was really out and not just faking it. Letting Luke’s head fall forward again, he looked at Christy and said “How much longer we gonna keep this up? He ain’t gonna last much longer.”

“We’ll get rid of him tonight, after it gets dark.” Christy said “Put a bullet in his head and throw him in the lake out there.”  She looked at the Porter brothers “In the meantime, do whatever you want to him. It don’t matter now.”

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