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   Chapter 54 No.54

My Sister's Keeper By Bill Benners Characters: 10717

Updated: 2018-05-28 11:27


IN MY MIND, I SAW MYSELF LEAP from the shadows and lock my hands around his neck. I saw the shock in his blood-streaked eyes as I choked the life out of him with my bare hands. I felt panic ripple through his body as he realized that he was going to die and there was nothing he could do to stop it. In one glorious flicker of thought, I watched him die in my hands. But death would be too good for Scott—or Dane Bonner—or whoever the hell he was. I wanted him to suffer as my sister had, to know her pain, to curse my name every time his cell door closed for the rest of his tortured life.

As his shadow followed him into the barn, I grasped a chunk of firewood, flattened myself against the rear of the building, and treaded on quaking legs to the edge of the doorway. Drunk on hate, I didn't care about the law. I didn't care about the other lives he'd torn apart. He had destroyed my sister and I wanted to punish him for it. I wanted to be the one that did it, to be the one to tell her, to see the sparkle return to her eyes when I gave her the news.

I could smell his sweat and the burnt gunpowder that lingered in his wake. I listened to his footsteps as he moved about on the dirt floor inside, dragging something, bumping something, and another heavy thump. My heart pulsed in my neck as his steps came near the door. I waited with the wood cocked, ready to swing. It would be quick and there'd be no compassion as he'd given none to Martha. Wind blowing in off the river chilled the perspiration on my skin as I waited, until his footsteps faded off in another direction and a door elsewhere squeaked and bumped.

I dared to peer into the room, into the stabbing silver light from the lantern consuming its fuel in a perpetual inhale. Scott was gone and so were Ashleigh and her gun. I leaned farther into the room and heard a frightened scream.

Sydney?

Running past the door as fast as I could on my swollen ankle, I rounded the other end of the barn and tripped over a body in the grass landing face down in the dirt, my camera under me.

Clutching my hip, I rolled to the side and bent low over a warm body. It was Sam. There was a dark stain in the dirt beside his head. I laid an ear to his chest, detected a slight heartbeat, and shook him. "Sam." He didn't respond. I searched him for a gun, but found only an empty holster and a flashlight. I left the camera, took his flashlight, and ran beyond the house to where I'd left Sydney.

I whispered in the dark, "Sydney?" There was no answer. "Sydney!" I switched the light on and I could see that there'd been a struggle. One of Sidney's shoes lay in the grass and there was a distinctive odor in the air that I recognized from having my tonsils removed as a child. Ether!

I felt a clamp squeeze down on my chest. I clutched the shoe. The heat of her foot was still in it. I tracked footprints around the back of the house, through waist-deep weeds and soggy earth, ending in standing water that seeped into my shoes. I hobbled back toward the barn spotting a young woman frozen on the pier, her eyes wide with fear as she gazed toward the light coming from the barn. Turning the corner, I glimpsed Scott lugging an unconscious

d not see it. Grunting as he lifted her, he carried her to an open, upright tank, and lowered her into it. The eye dangled against his bloody cheek jerking grotesquely whenever his other eye moved. Releasing her, he whipped his gun from his belt and aimed at me as she settled with a thud against the bottom of the barrel.

"Yes, " he said, his eye swinging. "I reloaded while you slept." To prove his point, he fired the gun into a barrel behind me, the percussion ringing in my ears long after the bullet stopped spinning around the empty drum. "How do I look, Baimbridge?" he said leaning over me holding his eye in place. "Huh?" He fired another round that pinged off a piece of iron, ricocheted off a wall, and rolled across the dirt to his feet collecting dust. "Do you think that little girl on my boat is going to want to screw me tonight? Huh?"

"She can thank me later."

"Fuck you!" He kicked me in the kidney. "Get up!"

As I struggled to my feet, he moved around me, stuffed his gun in a holster, then lowered his head and charged me, striking me hard in the chest, knocking me backward against the barrels, flipping my legs high in the air. Tumbling headfirst into a tank, I slide down against Sydney with my legs folded painfully under me. I couldn't budge. These tanks surely held at least a hundred gallons, but there was hardly enough room for one person, much less two. Blood settled in my head. I couldn't get my weight off Sydney. I felt I was crushing her. There was nothing to grab hold of, no way to pull up. I was as helpless as a turtle on its back. It was suffocating.

"For God's sake, Scott, don't do this to Sydney. Let her out!"

I squirmed and rocked the tank pushing with my one good hand trying to back out, to take the pressure off Sydney, but my movement only wedged me in tighter. He hammered my knees with the lid, compacting me deeper into the cylinder, and laid his weight on top of it to set the latches, casting us into near total silence. The sound of the metal clasps snapping into place around the container reverberated through the drum like a nail-gun sealing the lid of a coffin.

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