Dr. Ambrel: Did you need something, Dr. Wincott?
Dr. Wincott: No, I was just placing my latest report in the file.
Dr. Ambrel: Excellent. I wanted to go over it with Deputy Hadley – do you know where he is?
Dr. Wincott: He said he was going home for a while to get a shower and some sleep before he has to go in to see his real boss – it seems we’ve been monopolizing the poor man to the point of exhaustion.
Dr. Ambrel: Yes, I suppose so. I wonder if you could take my file and the case files box into room 612? We need to be prepared to prove to our new team what we are up against with Thomas Hewitt.
Dr. Wincott: Of course, it’s no trouble. I’ll take them now.
Dr. Ambrel: Thank you. I might be a little late; Dr. Sorrel wants a word with me.
Dr. Wincott: I may get the team started then, just on the new report on Miss Trambler. We’ve asked them to meet so late as it is…
Dr. Ambrel: That will be fine, although we could have the session tomorrow morning.
Dr. Wincott: If you want Deputy Hadley there, he couldn’t meet in the morning.
Dr. Ambrel: Yes, I suppose that’s fine. I merely want to get started, so the lateness of the hour isn’t a problem for me. Don’t forget the files on your way out, please. Do you need help carrying the box?
Dr. Wincott: I can manage.
Dr. Ambrel: Dr. Wincott, wait a moment. I wanted to say I’ve been impressed with your dedication to this endeavor. You seem to want to study Thomas Hewitt as much as I do.
Dr. Wincott: He is … fascinating. Thank you, Dr. Ambrel. I’ll get these down to the others.
Author’s Note: In case you missed the new stuff mentioned in the notes, please pause on this chapter and re-read the end of chapter 13. I added a couple of new short scenes that build up the action for the next part. Without them, this chapter may be a little confusing. Thanks for Reading! – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic) (anongrimm-blog.tumblr.com)
Amarie glared when Dr. Wincott walked in. She was better than the others, but not by much. She was carrying a big box, with some sort of rolled up cloth on top of it. She set the stuff down on the chair by the door and brought the rolled cloth to her on the bed.
“These are for you, please put them on quickly.”
“Clothes?” Amarie touched them cautiously. “Real clothes?”
“They are called maternity clothes. You should be dressed for this session with the others. There are shoes, too. I have to take the box down to my car and then I’ll be back up. If I don’t get here in time to take you myself, the nurse will come with an orderly to escort you. It’s just down the hall.”
Unrolling the clothes wrapped around a pair of socks and thin shoes, she looked up at the woman. “I’m scared o’ talkin’ to those people.”
“Just get dressed, please. I have to go. You’ll do fine, and I’ll be with you before the questions start.”
Bewildered, she watched the woman open the door, pick up her box, and disappear. The click of the lock sounded and left her in silence.
Carefully getting out of the bed and using the handrail for balance, Amarie hissed when her bare feet touched the cold floor. The clothes thrilled her. She’d been in their hateful split-open night dresses since she had first woken up in the room.
Been in these damn things any other time those awful people talk to me. Why lemme have clothes now? Yanking the thing off of her swollen body, she leaned against the bed to slip on the panties and loose soft pants. Who cares why, I want ‘em.
The bra was a little hard to work, she’d rarely had one to wear before, but she wanted to put on any layers she could. The shirt was soft too, and huge, but it actually fit over her round heavy belly. She walked to the chair and sat to put on the socks. The little shoes didn’t have laces. Slipping them on, she stared at the bed across the room.
Whoever comes, they’ll be angry if I’m not in it, but I don’t care. Hate it.
She heard footsteps coming and the squeak of the wheelchair they used when they took her out for what the nice doctor called ‘tests’. When the door opened, it was the doctor with the droopy smile. Her heart sank. Cruelty she could deal with. This was the one who kept grabbing at her.
“Let’s get you in the wheelchair, missy.”
“Don’t need help, I can do it myself.”
“We can’t risk you falling. Where did you get those clothes?”
“Dr. Wincott – she told me to get dressed, she brought ‘em. She’s comin’ right back to get me.”
He ignored her protests along with everything else and came up to grip her shoulders. When she tried to hit him, he grabbed her wrist and twisted it – just enough to make her gasp in pain. Using it to control her, his other hand squeezed and groped at her breasts again.
“You’re a pretty thing. Did you know that a pregnant girl can still please a man?”
Capturing her other wrist, he forced her hand to touch his nasty dick. It was already hard inside his pants, but it was laughably small.
“Lemme squeeze it,” she whispered.
With a grunt, he let that wrist go. Amarie stroked it once, squeezed it a little as if she wanted it, and then fisted her hand over it and hurt him as bad as she could.
He never shouted or cussed, but the backhand blow across her temple stunned her for a moment.
“Little bitch,” he hissed in her ear as he bent lower. “Shut up and be still or I’ll leave bruises. I can always say you refused my help and fell.” His hands were on her then and she froze. Fingers shoved roughly into the waistband of the pants and panties and stuffed up inside her. “There, see? Yeah, you’re just another country whore. We’re going to have some fun later tonight.”
Glaring up at him, not caring about the clothes or anything else, she forced herself to relax her lower body and gushed piss all over his hand, wrist, coat sleeve, and the chair. He shouted in disgust that time and hit her again, but she didn’t cry out. He had left the door ajar and someone else was coming. It was the nurse, but anyone was better than being alone with this one.
“What’s wrong, Dr. Butler? What is – oh you dirty thing, you don’t even care, do you? Just a filthy animal…”
“She didn’t tell me she needed the bathroom, she just messed herself.”
The nurse pinched Amarie’s earlobe hard with her fingernails, making her gasp. “We don’t have time to clean you up, so guess what, dirty girl? You get to go to the session as you are. Could you get her into the wheelchair, Doctor? I’ll get a blanket; we can fold it and lay it over her lap.”
Grinning at her, he grabbed her upper arms and made her move to avoid getting them wrenched. The nurse had draped the thick white blanket over the seat of the wheelchair moments before he dropped her onto it. As he covered her in the rest of the blanket, he groped her breasts again.
“I need to wash up,” the man told the old frowning skinny nurse.
“Feel free to wash your hands and take off your jacket, Doctor, but we have to get going. I’ll get her down the hall, come along as fast as you can.”
Amarie looked back and saw him staring at her as he rubbed his crotch. Shuddering, she slipped her arms out from under the blanket and gripped the armrests of the wheelchair until her knuckles went white.
The room she was taken to was full of couches and armchairs. A television on a dresser was turned off. The only person in there was the other doctor she hated, the cold older one.
“Why does she smell like an outhouse?” he asked, wrinkling his nose.
“She decided to have an accident rather than tell Dr. Butler she needed the bathroom. She got it on his sleeve, he’ll be here shortly,” the nurse replied.
The man didn’t even look at her after that. “Dr. Ambrel had best not be late. Where is Dr. Wincott, or that deputy?”
“They should be here by now.”
Amarie let her head droop. How can I keep away from that awful man if he comes back later? I could tell Dr. Wincott, but I already did, and she didn’t seem too fussed ‘bout it… She tried to think of another way, but their casual abuse and neglect had drained her. Is my nice doctor comin’ here? Maybe if I told him, he’d do somethin’? The wet clothes and blanket were awful, but at least it had made the man stop. Made him pretty mad, too…
He was leering at her as he came into the room, still in his jacket with the sleeve rolled up. He waved to her, wriggling his fingers. She shuddered again and tried to remember Tommy’s hands touching her instead.
Then the others arrived, including her nice doctor, but Wincott still hadn’t come. Sniffing, she felt fear rise to choke her where she sat. It was already dark. Once the questions were over, the leering man would come in and hurt her; he wanted to do things to her.
Could I … pray? My family always prays before meals… Letting go of the armrests, she laced her fingers over her lap. Please, God, if you can hear me, please lemme get home with my baby. These are bad people. The nice doctor, he won’t let ‘em kill my baby, but they want to. Please help me, please … or that nasty man will hurt me more. I just want Tommy. He’s so good, please… Snuffling, trying to hold back tears, she began to tremble.
“Amarie, are you all right?” The nice heavy doctor came over and took the chair closest to her, away from the others. He didn’t try to touch her, but his voice was low and kind. It made her start to cry.
“There’s no need to be upset,” the one called Ambrel told her. He was the one who had sent people to take her away. “Dr. Wincott should be here, she was going to bring the files on Hewitt. Have you seen her, Dr. Graham?”
“No, I have not. Let’s begin, please, the files can wait. Nurse Brigham, will you close the door?”
“What is that noise?” Ambrel asked. “Are they vacuuming or something? Nurse, could you please ask them to stop?”
Frowning, she nodded and opened the door wide just as the noise got closer and louder.
Amarie’s head jerked up in shock to see a familiar whirring blade chew and cut into the nurse’s skinny arm. Before the severed limb fell, the people in the room surged up in a panic with shouts, curses, and screams.
Tears flowed down her face at the sight of her brother – her husband – striding into the room with a howling roar. The chainsaw was swung into the oldest doctor, his body, opened wide, falling on top of Ambrel, who was staring in horror.
“Tommy!” she shouted in pure joy. The raging huge figure checked and turned to face her. “Look out!”
The doctor who wanted to hurt her that night was aiming a kick at Tommy’s knee. The man’s face was twisted with fear and hate – and then it was blown to bits.
Uncle Hoyt charged through the door. The report of the large handgun made her ears ring but she could still hear his whoop of triumph as he fired again, into the thigh of Ambrel.
Tommy was heading for her, and the nice doctor.
“No, wait, stop! Tommy, stop, not him! Get behind me, mister, please!” He wouldn’t move, intent on protecting her somehow. She grabbed his wrist and pulled with all of her remaining strength. “He won’t hurt me! I don’t want him to hurt you!”
“Amarie,” the doctor cried out, “this is – insane!” He stepped beside her but she got her feet on the floor and scooted the chair in front of him.
“Tommy, stop!” She cried harder when he obeyed. “Thank you… He’s kind to me, okay? He helped me. Listen to Uncle Hoyt, now.”
“Get over here, son, and finish off this screachin’ old bitch!”
Amarie could barely see through her tears as he lumbered away and shoved the blade into the chest of the nurse. They came … for me. They came… Oh, Tommy…
Uncle Hoyt kicked the corpse off of Ambrel and held his gun on him. “You must be the motherfucker who ordered the grab o’ my niece – I gotta present for you, Dr. Ambrel, from Deputy Hadley.” Reaching into the front pocket of his blood-spattered sheriff shirt, he pulled out a pair of fingers and plunked them onto the man’s chest. “He’ll be added to the pot – it’s a shame you won’t be joinin’ him there.”
“You … can’t do this… I wanted to help Hewitt, he needs … help…”
“Tommy? You want this cocksucker’s help? C’mere, son.” Uncle Hoyt moved away as Tommy turned. Heading to her side, her uncle ignored the doctor behind her and smiled down at her. “You okay, niece?”
“I’m fine now, Uncle Hoyt.”
“Please don’t do this,” her doctor begged, his hands upraised.
“Shut up. What you wanna keep this one alive for?”
“He was kind to me and he wouldn’t let ‘em kill my baby.”
“Aight, then. Makes things a bit more complicated … but if you want him alive, he lives.”
They looked back at Tommy who was staring down at Ambrel. Amarie shivered at the way the man stared up at him – like he was trying to study him even now.
“Thomas Hewitt,” Ambrel said, wincing as the blade moved closer to him, “I only wanted to help you – to help you all, if you want that.”
Tommy stared at him, cocking his head in confusion.
“You know what I taught you, son,” Uncle Hoyt called out to him.
Both men still alive screamed as Tommy lifted the chainsaw. He shoved it down, grunting when it hit and began to grind up meat and bone. Sprayed with blood, he let out a howling guttural cry. The body convulsed before it was simply carved into pieces by the whirring smoking blade.
The chainsaw was lifted again fast as Tommy turned toward the door, but Uncle Hoyt barked out orders for him to stop. Standing in the open doorway was Dr. Wincott, and she was smiling at Tommy – a proud smile, not too different from the one their uncle was wearing.
“Turn the damn thing off, Tommy. We gotta get your wife and baby home.”
“Dr. Wincott?” a quiet shaken voice asked in the abrupt silence. “Why?”
“I imagine Amarie could tell you why, Dr. Sorrel – they deserved what they got.” Turning away to face Uncle Hoyt, she added, “Take Amarie out and go – I called in the disturbance as a problem on the fourth floor, at the other end of the building. I’ll see you later when things quiet down.”
“Don’t hurt him, please?” Amarie asked, looking from her to Uncle Hoyt.
Her uncle holstered his gun and took the handles of her wheelchair. “Never you mind, honey – he’ll be fine. C’mon, Tommy, we gotta go. Now.”
Dr. Wincott approached him and kissed his cheek. “I’ll send them in the other direction – after I get a lot of blood on me. I played dead and got overlooked.”
Uncle Hoyt grunted and winked at her. “Impress me – convince the last man standin’ to keep his pie hole shut.”
“Yes sir, Sheriff.”
Grinning, he looked back at the red mass that had been Dr. Ambrel. “Would you look at that. Guess Tommy didn’t want your help? Nice try, Doc.”
As they wheeled her out, Amarie didn’t have a chance to look back. The elevator dinged and footsteps started running toward them.
“I’ll carry this, you carry her.” Their uncle took the chainsaw and headed for a closed door.
Amarie’s head spun when Tommy picked her up out of the wheelchair. The blanket came with her, so she grabbed at it and pulled it up against her belly. She was jarred as they went through the door and started rushing down a flight of stairs. Before they reached the bottom of all the flights down, she was afraid she might be sick. A door crashed open and then they were running through an empty lobby area. Bursting through more doors, she saw her uncle’s patrol car sitting at the curb and began to sob.
~ ~ ~
Tommy was propped up against the side of the backseat, holding her securely in his thick arms and between his legs, bent at the knees to cradle her. She wanted to kiss him but she was so tired that all she could do was hold the hands that were holding her.
In the front seat, their uncle hummed to himself as he drove them home – of course, he knew the way. Beside him, the bloody chainsaw was dripping red all over the seat and floor of the car.
“I love you all,” she murmured. “I’m so ready to be home.” Looking up, she smiled to see Tommy’s dark eyes gazing back down at her through the leather mask he wore. “I missed you so much…”
Rocked in his arms by the motion of the car, she fell asleep feeling safe – for the first time in far too long.
~ ~ ~
Amarie woke with a start, afraid she was back in the hospital. A bare ceiling with a spider web in one corner and a solitary lightbulb hanging down in the center was only a little reassuring.
“Good mornin’, child.”
She turned her head and started to cry the instant she saw Momma Hewitt. With her help, she sat up and her mother’s embrace took all the fear away.
“Where are the others?” she asked, and sniffed, wiping at tears.
“Downstairs. We wanted you to get some rest. You are so big! My baby is gonna be a momma.”
Amarie put her hand on her belly and smiled through her tears when her mother did the same. “I wanna learn, like you said.”
“Can Tommy come see me? I wanna see everybody.”
“We’ll need to get you downstairs to see your Uncle Monty, but the others can come up. Tommy needs to let you alone for a while, though.”
“He can visit, but you need to rest. Soon ‘nuff, it won’t be safe to carry on like you were before. You cain’t have him squashin’ you.”
“Oh… Yes, ma’am.”
~ ~ ~
After days of bedrest upstairs in her room, she was allowed to go downstairs with Uncle Hoyt helping her. She hugged Uncle Monty, giggling when her kiss on his cheek made the old man flush and mutter.
If he didn’t have work to do, Thomas would fetch up wherever she landed. He often sat on the floor at her feet in the kitchen or on the porch by the swing. She could sit for hours and talk with her mother while feeling his thick fingers around her ankle. She wasn’t allowed to go down to the basement yet.
One sunny morning on the porch swing, her mother went into the house to make tea for Wilma and Henrietta’s visit. Amarie looked forward to teaching Jedidiah more letters.
When Tommy came out, she smiled at him and watched him settle with an ungraceful thump at her feet. He still wore the mask of Frankie’s face. As he wrapped his fingers around her ankle and looked up at her, she swallowed hard at the naked hunger in his dark eyes.
“I know, I miss you, too – I miss bein’ … together.”
She glanced over at the house, listening carefully. His hand palmed her knee, pushing the thin cotton of her nightdress up her thigh. Amarie bit her lower lip before she scooted her butt forward on the swing and spread her legs. She couldn’t see her lower body around her belly.
“Put your fingers in, Tommy.”
Amarie had to bite the base of her thumb to stop herself from crying out, and when she told him to stop, he put the fingers in his mouth to clean them and her face went warm watching him watch her. He was hard, and let out a moan as she leaned down to touch his mask. He didn’t wince away from the touch.
“I gotta visit with ‘em when comp’ny gets here, but I can pretend to be tired and go lie down. If you carry me up to my room, we could try?”
Realizing he didn’t understand, she gave his worried look a comforting smile and closed her legs. She smoothed the dress back down over her knees as his fingers returned to wrap loosely around her ankle. He would leave when they arrived, but if he stayed in the shadows to watch her, she could ask for his help. If Uncle Hoyt was out patrolling, it might work.
~ ~ ~
She couldn’t help a soft giggle at the glazed look in his eyes when she opened his belt and pants and pulled out his hard cock. Her nightdress was bunched at what was left of her middle under the belly and her legs were still spread wide to avoid touching his face when he had licked and pleasured her.
The harsh yellow light overhead in her upstairs bedroom made him shy, but he hadn’t let her up to turn it off.
“Wait,” she told him, before he started to move over her. “Remember, Momma said we cain’t have you pressin’ down on my belly. Lemme get up on my knees.”
Amarie smiled when his hand came up under her arm to cover her breasts instead of her swollen stomach. The push of his cock inside her only hurt a little and then it started to feel as good as ever. She wanted it as much as he did now, almost more. The ache of wanting him in her was nearly constant. Yet Momma had asked them to be careful and she didn’t want to hurt the baby.
She looked down at his large hand and the thick forearm wrapped in leather as he grunted and groaned over her back.
“Tommy, Tommy, yes… Keep doin’ it…”
When he came, he let go of her but she stayed where she was. He lowered himself to his stomach, most of him off the foot of her little bed, and began to lick her as she had taught him. Once he finished, she knew he would lie on his back and then she would lick him to clean him up. Sometimes they would sleep, other times she would drift off and wake later to hear him working far below her.
She felt much better to be home, and wasn’t getting sick all the time like she had been in the hospital. Meals stayed down and all she wanted to do was play with Thomas.
For the rest of that week, she remained upstairs doing the darning and ironing. She’d begged for the chores, wanting to be helpful. She’d told Tommy to see her whenever he wanted, and any time he arrived, she would set aside her work and be with him. Sometimes she had nightmares and woke shaking or crying. If Tommy was there, she would curl into him and take comfort in his strength and the memory that he had gone to that awful place to get her back. She had learned that if he had a nightmare, she needed to be careful to wake him before she touched him.
They all kept reminding him that he’d put his baby inside her and she taught him how to touch her belly. There was no way to know how much he understood, but she kept at it.
On Sunday morning, she heard a car pull up to the house. Getting up carefully from his side, she went to the window and looked out. It wasn’t their uncle’s car. Fear gripped her and she nearly woke Tommy, but then she saw Dr. Wincott get out and call a greeting to Momma Hewitt.
Amarie couldn’t see her mother until she stepped down from the porch to go into the yard. She had her arms crossed and didn’t seem too pleased. Wincott looked odd because she wasn’t in a fancy skirt and jacket with her hair up. She wore a cotton sundress and sandals with her long blonde hair hanging past her shoulders like a country girl.
Why’s that woman here? I ain’t goin’ back.
A dust cloud formed in the distance and Amarie took a deep breath and began to relax as her uncle’s patrol car came into view. He parked by the woman’s car and when he got out, she was already talking. Wincott appeared to have her usual confidence, but the arrogant superior air had slipped the moment he drove up. She might not be afraid of Momma, but anybody outside the family with sense was afraid of Sheriff Hoyt.
Amarie glanced at her sleeping brother a moment and then carefully slid the window open as quietly as she could. Their voices could be clearly heard below as the woman handed him something – a piece of paper, or maybe a photo.
“I brought you this, Sheriff. Call it a good faith gift.”
Uncle Hoyt whistled and nodded. Though his dour and suspicious expression didn’t change much, Amarie could tell he was pleased and impressed. It had to be a photo, the way he turned it in the sun a few times and didn’t squint to read anything.
“No loose ends, I like that. We’ll just keep this between us.” He pulled out his lighter and set the photo on fire. As it got too close to his fingers, he dropped it and stomped on it. “You drove all this way – gonna stay for dinner, maybe supper?” His smile was predatory. “I can show you ‘round the place first. The house … the basement… We might could give you a proper introduction to Tommy, even.”
“Can you show a lady a good time?”
“Show me a lady and we’ll see.” He stalked closer as he put his lighter away, and she didn’t retreat.
“I want to be a part of your family. I want to be safe here.”
“Only a few ways to manage that.”
Amarie could see her flinch when he grasped her wrists at her sides. The woman remained still. Knowing what her uncle wanted, Amarie gasped softly and bit her lower lip.
Tommy stirred and woke and she immediately turned and beckoned to him to come to her. As he approached, she faced the glass again and set her palms on the windowsill, bending forward a little.
He touched her waist, saw his uncle and the woman, and froze, stiff with worry and anger.
“It’s okay, he don’t need no help. He’s gonna get her, you’ll see.” Reaching behind, she started to tug her nightdress up. With a grunt, Tommy shoved it up and began to open his belt. Amarie smiled. “That’s it, that’s what we need. That’s what we all need…”
Below them in the yard, Wincott finally found her tongue. Her voice shook a little.
“You need things – I can bring them.”
“I need things you already brought, Wincott.” He let go of her wrists, reached under her dress, and stuffed fingers in places that made her grunt and wince. Uncle Hoyt chuckled at her gasp and how she clung to his shoulders.
“Cass,” she corrected him, all pretend calm gone. “Call me Cass Mason.”
The sheriff removed his hand and shoved her dress up around her waist before he picked her up and put her on the low hood of his patrol car.
Amarie smirked when she saw her mother turn around sharply and disappear. The screen door slapped shut with a whine of rusty hinges.
Tommy’s hand on her lower back moved, his arm wrapping around her under her heavy belly to protect her as he’d been taught. When he pushed inside her, she bit back her cry of pleasure. The feel of him, his strength, his hot breath on her neck where her hair had parted to hang over her chest – all of it made her feel wanted, treasured … and loved.
She watched her uncle move between the woman’s legs below, his hands busy at his hips. She wanted to see it, wanted Tommy to see it. She could hardly believe it when Wincott opened her legs for their uncle.
“Look, Tommy – Uncle Hoyt needs someone to play with, too. Maybe he likes her. She helped get me home, remember?”
Tommy lifted his head but she couldn’t be sure if he was watching or not as their uncle spoke again.
“You’re the kinda woman that always wants more. What more are you wantin’ from us?”
“There are other people I want dead.”
Chuckling again when she shifted to allow it, the sheriff stripped her panties off, smelled them, and pocketed them. His other hand was out of sight. One delicate hand with painted fingernails on his chest made him pause.
“This makes me family.”
“It sure as fuck does.”
“The other people?”
“Bring ‘em by for dinner, supper – whenever the fuck you like. Family can invite who they want.”
She moved her hand, took his hat to put it on her own head, and cried out when he thrust inside her.
Amarie stared down at them, feeling her body tighten around her brother’s cock as she began to come for him. Tommy pumped in deep and groaned, always careful of her belly. She finally couldn’t hold it back and cried out for him.
Their uncle’s head turned below and glanced up, his hips never pausing. He probably couldn’t see them, but the cat-like smile proved he knew they were there.
Tommy backed off and away when it was over. Amarie turned and they cleaned each other up on the bed. He needed that more than ever and she was sad that he had been so hurt and frightened when she was stolen away. Anything she could do to reassure him she was his was just as important to her.
Lying on her side, she smiled when he turned his head to watch her. She leaned in and gave him a gentle kiss, licking his lips until he opened to her for a real kiss. They stayed there until Amarie heard something move from the hood of the patrol car outside.
She glanced at the curtains wafting in the warm breeze. “Tommy, would you help me downstairs, please? They’ll go in and maybe talk with Momma and I wanna hear.” He had sat up but balked at her words. “We can stay outta the room if you want. Ain’t gotta deal with her yet. Please?”
Tommy didn’t bother to assist her in walking down the stairs like the others did; he just picked her up, cradled her in his arms, and carried her down. Heavy as she was with the baby, she felt like a feather he’d picked up to add to one of his pieces of art downstairs.
He set her on her feet at the open door to the kitchen. She half expected him to retreat to his basement, but he remained behind her as he glowered at the strange woman sitting at the kitchen table. Momma sat with her while Uncle Monty frowned in the corner in his wheelchair. Uncle Hoyt winked at her as he paced across the kitchen floor like a rooster. When Momma spoke, he finally settled, leaning one hip against the counter by the sink.
“How on earth is this gonna work?” Momma asked, a frown to match Old Monty’s on her usually kind face.
Her tone made Tommy shift and grunt. The movement caught Wincott’s eye and when she glanced over and saw them, Amarie grabbed her brother’s hand before it could knot into a shaking fist.
Uncle Hoyt’s sneering sing-song voice dripped with glee. “Eyes on us, now – don’t wanna make him skittish. My nephew don’t need any damn thing you got.”
Amarie pressed into Tommy more, giving the illusion of having control over him. She tried not to shiver with excitement at the thrill of holding him there. He obeyed her and relaxed his hand in her hold slowly, but continued to watch the woman.
Looking up at his face mostly hidden behind the mask, she saw the wary hate in his dark eyes for the stranger. Smiling, she tugged on the hand in hers and got him to wrap her in his thick arms. She couldn’t be sure if she saw a flash of jealousy in the fear on Wincott’s face, but when the doctor looked away, Amarie relaxed against her brother. For the first time in her life she felt … powerful.
“You can trust me, Luda Mae,” the woman answered her question at last. She gripped the base of the Mason jar full of water she’d been offered. One finger traced the word in the glass that she had turned her back on as a girl. “Our grandfathers were good friends.”
“That was then,” Charlie groused. “We do things our way here now, and if you’ve grown too fancy for that, it will be a problem.”
“I’ve heard the rumors. Deputy Hadley was convinced you killed Jim and Dodie Connor. I don’t care. Jim Connor was a fool and Dodie was an idiot. No one can come after you, for any of it, and I stole every file and record they had.”
“Everythin’?” Luda Mae watched her closely as she nodded.
“The box I had that I brought to them, the files Dr. Ambrel put together, everything the others had. Even Amarie’s hospital records they started.”
“She wants to bring people here?” Old Monty spoke up, typically talking around the woman. “What people?”
“The first one I want to fetch is a doctor, a proper one, who can help Amarie with delivering the baby. After he does that, we won’t need him anymore.”
“Oh I like this one, Momma,” her brother muttered, leering at his new toy. “How’d this doctor piss you off?”
“Most of them, and there aren’t that many, are people my patients have told me about. Dr. Gerhardt has never been caught, but I know he hurts children. He’s a brilliant obstetrician, but once a child turns about three or four, they aren’t safe around him anymore. He is rich and has powerful friends – no one else will ever stop him.”
Charlie moved behind the woman’s chair and rubbed her shoulders. Meant as a comfort perhaps, he turned it into both a threat and a lewd invitation. “What ‘bout Amarie’s foster parents? Can ya lay hold o’ ‘em?”
She looked up at him. “If you want that, I’ll find a way.”
“Want that and more. You gotta long drive tomorrow mornin’, though, so you best relax and eat with us.”
His hands on her shoulders squeezed harder and held her. “You can stay…?”
“Good.” He leaned forward, cupped a breast and squeezed. “That’ll be real nice. We need to get to know you better, after all.”
“Don’t start that in my kitchen. We gotta get dinner started if anybody’s gonna eat it. Amarie,” she called, “come in and help me. Tommy, please bring up somethin’ fresh – for a stew.”
Her son nearly bolted for the metal basement door as her daughter came forward. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Amarie, I’m happy to see you at home and doing well,” the Mason woman announced.
“Thank you, Dr. Wincott.”
Luda Mae smiled at the tight expression on her girl’s face. Turning away, she went to get their grandmother’s old stew pot.
“Please call me Cass, Amarie.”
“Why don’t you show her ‘round?” Luda Mae asked her brother. “Gonna be an hour before we get dinner on the table.”
“Not a bad idea, Momma. The stairs are this way…”
~ ~ ~
Stirring the pot after she sent Amarie to call for her uncles and their guest, Luda Mae watched her daughter return. The girl began to clean off and set the table in the dining room, using the good dishes from the hutch along that wall.
On one of her trips into the kitchen, she paused. “I keep expectin’ to hear her scream.”
“Maybe she can’t by now.” Sipping the broth from the wooden spoon, she dipped it in for another bit and offered it to Amarie. “Might be best that way.”
“That tastes so good – is it that awful young sheriff?”
“I certainly hope so.”
“Momma, can Tommy stay downstairs? She makes him so nervous. I can get his stew to him after.”
“We’ll see what your Uncle Charlie wants, but it’s fine with me, child. Don’t go down those stairs alone, carryin’ a bowl besides. Call him up to you, there’s a good girl.”
“Yes, ma’am, I will.”
~ ~ ~
Monty rolled up to the spot where the chair had been moved, and as the others sat at the dining table, Luda Mae watched their guest. She was a little mussed and the house tour likely hadn’t gotten farther than Charlie’s bed. If she knew her brother, the woman would be marched right back there until supper.
Cain’t imagine she likes it much, fancy thing like that, but she’s smart ‘nuff to keep her mouth shut – at least ‘bout his attentions. She sat and looked at Charlie as he rose again to say grace.
“Let’s give thanks for the bounty that’s been given us. Bow your heads.”
Luda Mae watched them all do it before she followed along. As Charlie’s strong voice spoke out his favorite prayer, she tried to feel hope that this could all work out. Lord, don’t let her lead us astray, she prayed. Keep our growin’ family safe.
“I was hungry and He gave me meat. I was thirsty and He gave me drink. I was a stranger and He took me in. I needed clothes and He clothed me. I was sick and He looked after me. I was in prison and He came to visit me. Whatever we do, we do for these, our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters – our kin. Amen.”
Their guest was the last to say it, but she swallowed hard and chimed in with an amen of her own. Luda Mae nodded her approval. Don’t need no godless woman clingin’ to this family.
Charlie took up the ladle and began to serve them.
“Was that a scripture from Matthew?” the woman asked.
“It was,” Charlie answered, smiling as he filled her bowl.
He had dressed again in his fancy sheriff outfit, presiding over the meal with a gun on his hip, but Luda Mae didn’t fuss. At least he had taken the hat off.
The woman looked down into her bowl and froze. Peeking over at it, Luda Mae saw the top of an ear floating in the broth over the other hunks of meat.
“Did you like Deputy Hadley much, ‘Cass Mason’?” Charlie asked her as he finished serving.
“No,” she whispered, staring into the bowl. “I didn’t.”
“Take a bite and tell me if you like him any better now.”
They all waited, watching her. She hesitated, growing paler by the moment. With fingers that shook slightly, she picked up her soup spoon. She glanced up at Charlie once and saw his hand resting neatly, casually, on the gun he wore. Then she dropped her gaze, lifted the full spoon, and ate. She nearly choked, but then got it down.
Her eyes were wet when she met his stare with her own. Luda Mae watched something change in her expression, and for some reason, it made her feel more at ease.
“It’s very good. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He removed his hand from the gun and sat, picking up his spoon. “Finish up now, every bit.”
~ ~ ~
“Where is Tommy?”
Luda Mae frowned at the Mason woman on the couch with Charlie as she took the armchair near Monty. “My boy is nervous ‘round strangers. He’s far shyer than my brother.”
“And Amarie disappeared…”
“She went to take him some stew.”
Charlie laid his arm along the back of the couch and pulled her against him. His other hand settled on her knee over the floral print cotton dress. “We may not see her again ‘til supper – might not see Tommy at all.”
“So she is … safe with him?”
“‘Course she is. Now ‘bout bringin’ her foster parents for a visit… Let’s talk.”
“After, can I see the basement?”
“Not unless you screw up and convince me we cain’t trust you.”
“I can bring people, I can bring supplies. I’ve told a few friends I intend to fix up my house here, and the Mason farm, too. After what they believe happened to me, it was easy to convince everyone I needed time away from Austin. There won’t be any questions and no one will come around.”
Luda Mae glanced at the doorway before she asked the question that had been on her mind all through dinner. “Charlie said you killed that last doctor. How’d you do it?”
“I … I talked him into crossing through the bodies to leave the room to get help. I promised I’d turn myself in. Then I tripped him. He fell … into … Dr. Ambrel. I used a lamp and crushed in his skull. The lamp is buried at my family’s farm. No trace.”
“Stop worryin’, Momma,” Charlie chided her. “We can get this done – startin’ with the foster parents. Odds are they don’t miss that little gal more’n they miss the check they got for takin’ care o’ her. Easy money can make a body keep lookin’.”
Luda Mae tried to relax. This Mason woman is gonna end up guilty as anybody before long – Charlie’ll see to that. With the foster parents gone, maybe my daughter really could be safe … if the birth goes easy. Mason can bring a doctor for that? My, my, we need that to go easy.
“Now ‘bout Tommy,” Charlie announced, looking grim. “He can be a challenge, but you let us handle that. He’s gotta hair trigger. Do you understand?”
Mason nodded. “Maybe I could help with him – after he learns to trust me?”
“He don’t need no help o’ your stripe, Amarie’s got him goin’ along just fine. If he sees I want you here, that’s the best start. So stick close … Cass.” Charlie’s hand moved to slip between her thighs, bunching the dress a little.
Monty was watching them with a gleam in his eye, probably hoping Charlie would forget he was there.
Luda Mae sighed. “I got things to do yet before I start on supper.” She rose slowly and stared down at the fancy woman caught in her brother’s trap. “If you two are plannin’ to get more acquainted, go on upstairs, please. This is a decent godly home – or it should be.”
Charlie chuckled and got up, reaching a hand down to assist his catch. “Yes, Momma, we’re goin’. Sorry, Uncle Monty,” he added and gave the man a wink.
Thomas carved up the trunk of the fallen tree into thin sections, quick repetition making the job a short one. The skin prickled at the back of his neck in the sun as sweat poured from his body. The day had turned a little cooler after the wind storm, but he had been working for hours all over the farm carving up fallen trees and broken limbs. His uncle had told him he used to come here as a boy, but he didn’t remember the place.
He flinched when his uncle’s voice called out to the woman, warning her to be careful. Footsteps behind him made him turn fast as he brought the machine up. The woman stopped, staring at him.
“I won’t hurt you, Tommy – and you won’t hurt me…”
“See, what’d I tell you, son – that toy o’ yours works just fine for makin’ firewood,” his uncle said as he walked up beside him. Turning to her, he added, “He ain’t had much cause to use it on wood.”
“I see. Thank you for your help, Tommy.”
“You’re lucky that last monster didn’t come down in the middle o’ the kitchen.”
“I can’t keep the farm house up and the house in town; honestly, I’m not sure why I bought it – this place has more room.”
“Not much o’ a town and this farm is closer to ours. You could just move in at our place, though.”
“I need a neutral space to bring people to and your sister isn’t fond of me.”
“Truth be told, I’m not that fond o’ you myself – but you got your uses.”
“May I show Tommy the barn?”
“He’s seen it.”
“I want to show him something.”
“Go on, then. Come on, son – this is soundin’ like show and tell. Cut that thing off, now.”
Making the machine silent, he carried it with him and reluctantly followed them into the huge barn.
“I was here when I was a girl, up there in the hayloft, when I met you, Tommy. There were boys chasing you, two mean boys with stones. You tried to hide and I helped you. Do you remember?”
Thomas stared at her. The shade of the barn felt better, but he didn’t like being in it with her. He glanced up at the platform over their heads, but he didn’t understand what they wanted.
“He ain’t gonna talk.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“Don’t rightly know – never heard a peep outta the boy that could be called a word.”
“He looked up there when I talked about the hayloft. He understands what we say.”
“Tommy understands a lot we say – don’t mean he’s gonna start answerin’ your questions. Told you not to try shrinkin’ his head. He don’t need any o’ that shit.”
Thomas froze and glared down at the woman before looking up at the platform again. It was full of loose hay and a few moldy old bales.
The woman’s voice spoke softly from a few feet away. “I was up there reading a book and you tripped over my feet and fell near me. Those boys heard something and they started to come up the ladder. I hid you in the hay and showed myself so they would think it was just me. The first one, that was Hadley’s older brother – pushed me down and … hurt me. He left me there for his friend to take a turn and waited below. He discovered you and you attacked him – you got him away from me. Do you remember, Tommy? You grabbed the pitchfork…”
He winced – the screams had been so loud. The rusted tines had pierced the boy’s back. He had pushed to get it away from him and the boy had fallen, the pitchfork spinning down with the shrieking boy. Thomas turned slightly to look down at the woman and tilted his head in confusion.
“I was smaller then, we both were. Hadley ran away. I took that pitchfork and shoved it deeper. After you left, my grandfather helped me clean up and he buried that boy. When the sheriff came to check Hadley’s story, they thought he made it up. I told them how he hurt me, but the sheriff didn’t believe me, or didn’t care.”
“That woulda been Sheriff Royce,” his uncle said.
The woman nodded. “I waited. Then I went to the school one night when I knew Hadley was going there with his girlfriend and no one else would be there. I was leaving for Austin the next day to live with my cousin. I meant to burn the nurse’s office, where they would go and use the couch.”
“Fuck. So it was you who torched the damn school. They always blamed Tommy but couldn’t prove it.”
Thomas moved to the spot where the boy had fallen, writhing in the loose hay and dirt with his pants down and the pitchfork holes in his back gushing blood.
“He’s remembering it now…”
The woman moved to stand in front of him. He retreated a step and watched her.
“You try to touch that boy and you may draw back a stump.”
“Tommy?” she whispered. “You remember. I know you do. Thank you … for helping me. That boy deserved what you did – so did the others. Many people deserve what you can do to them. You like it, don’t you?”
Thomas stepped back again but then slowly nodded once.
“Don’t get so excited ‘bout that – he sees it different. What he likes is providin’ for his family, doin’ his part – like I taught him.”
His uncle left the barn, but the woman didn’t follow. He would have to pass her to leave, so he stayed rooted in place, staring at her.
“Tommy – Amarie, you love her. She gives you sex and you kill for her. Would you kill for me, if…?” She reached into her dress and showed him her flesh, the point of it sharpening in the cooler air of the barn. “You could meet me here, alone. I would let you.”
The words confused him. His sister wasn’t here. When she stepped closer, he retreated again and lifted the machine between them. One hand on the bar, his fingers groped to grasp the cord. As he raised the blade, she stopped.
Thomas flinched when his uncle’s voice spoke from the open barn doors.
“Keep pushin’ and make him pull that, he just might carve those off. I like you better with ‘em, so take this advice – don’t try shit that involves the boy’s dick. To be honest, it probly wouldn’t even be him that kills you for it. I bet you think my niece is a sweet little thing, huh? Best make your bed by spreadin’ your legs in mine and live long ‘nuff to get old.”
He watched, wary and afraid, as she covered up again and backed away. Turning his head, he looked at his uncle, hoping to be told what to do.
“Put it down and come on, son. She didn’t mean nothin’ – lost her head in the heat, most like. We’ll leave you to clean house but make sure you come on by for supper.” He grasped his pants and squeezed himself. “I cain’t wait.”
Thomas slipped past the woman and out behind his uncle. He winced at the hard slap to his back and went to the car.
“Get in, ain’t leavin’ you here to walk home, that sun’s brutal today.”
~ ~ ~
When they reached home, his sister and mother were sitting on the porch swing. Thomas went right to his sister and collapsed in a slump at her feet, setting the machine down beside him. With a chuckle, his uncle went into the house without a word, nodding to the women and tipping his hat.
Thomas held his breath and watched him disappear, half afraid he’d done something wrong in that barn. He remembered to breathe again when her hand touched his back, stroking gently.
“If you were nervous today, Tommy, don’t you fret – Uncle Hoyt won’t let her hurt us. I won’t let her hurt you, for all o’ that.”
The clink of a metal lighter sounded and he looked up when the hand left his back. His sister was cuddling up as their mother lit a cigarette and then held her close.
“You okay now?” his sister asked. She lifted one of her little bare feet and set it on his shoulder just to keep touching him.
Slumping lower in relief as he nodded once, he lifted his hand and curled his fingers around her ankle as their mother began to sing to soothe them both.
Author’s Note: I’m sure you all figured this out already, but the photo Dr. Wincott, a.k.a. Cass Mason, brought to Hoyt was a picture of Dr. Sorrel’s corpse in the same waiting room the others were killed in. Amarie wanted him to be left alive, but Cass and Hoyt knew he had to die. Hoyt burned the photo so that his niece could think the doctor had been spared.
Sheriff Hoyt’s prayer is a similar paraphrase of the scripture from Matthew 25:35, 36 and 40 from the Bible that he uses in the film this story is based on: 35 ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’ and then he skips to 40 ‘The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ The Hewitts are portrayed in the remake films as being deeply religious – their skewed view of it, anyway. There’s a lot of that going around these days. Thanks for Reading! – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic) (anongrimm-blog.tumblr.com)