Being in Charge – Part 1

Posted: December 18, 2016 in Book I Terror in Texas

Matt pulled the cover from his watch and saw he missed midnight by seven minutes.  He emptied the rest of his bottle of water then got to his feet.  He stepped around the rest of the people that had chosen the store room to sleep in and walked to the front of the store.  He glanced over at the little girls and saw everyone was still asleep though one little girl whimpered from time to time.

Matt was frowning by the time he stepped around the display shelf and met Tate’s gaze.

“What’s that look for?”  She asked.

“Nothing.  The kid’s crying in her sleep.”

“They all went through a lot, but she’s all alone.  All the other kids have at least a sibling in the group.  She has no one, since she watched her folks killed.”

“I wish we hadn’t killed them so quick.”  Matt growled.

Tate sighed.  “Can’t change what happened.  I’m gonna get some sleep.  You’d better decide where we go from here.  They all act like you have all the answers.”

“That’s what scares me.”

Tate disappeared around a display case and after a few minutes of shuffling around she settled and Matt could hear a gentle sigh and then nothing but the soft whimper of the little girl.

Matt looked out into the moon lit night.  Distant fires glowed on the horizon.  He wondered what town.  Uvalde?  Had to be.  Could the whole town of fifteen thousand people be burning? They needed to head north and get back to Camp Verde.  Then what?  Stay or pack everyone up and head up to Pine Springs Canyon. Would the old man take in this many kids?

Matt ran his hands through his hair.  He made a mental calculation and realized he had two dozen adults and over thirty kids to look out for.  Fifty people would be a lot of mouths to feed.  A lot to bring to an old man’s door and expect sanctuary for all.

He took a deep breath and decided he didn’t need to decide anything right now. But when he got back, he needed to talk to Jake and Larry.  He couldn’t just sit at Camp Verde with the girls when he knew where they had family. He had told Amy he would get her to her grandfather.  What if the mother was there now thinking she had lost her children? He couldn’t imagine the pain she must be suffering.  He knew Brian Jameson and he was a good man. He had kept Matt out of jail more than a couple times in the past six months. Matt also was sure he was dead since he was on the base the morning of the attack.

Matt watched the shadows as the night slipped away.  He pondered the future for the group, his group.  He rested his hand on the bottle of pills in his pocket and vowed he would never take another drink.  He had a job.

He squared his shoulders and pulled a map from a side pocket and a LED light from another.  He laid the map on the counter and ran his fingers down the red lines back to Camp Verde.  He owed Jameson, but he couldn’t make it at the expense of forty-five other people that depended on him. He’d figure out a way to get the girls to their grandfather, but not right now. It was a matter of the greater good.

Just as the night faded and the sun peeked over the distant tree line Tate walked up behind Matt with two cups of coffee in hand.  She handed one to him.

“Well, boss.  What’s the plan?” She asked.

“They go to the camp with us. I have to get the girls we found in San Antonio to Pine Springs Canyon eventually, but for now….”

“Which girls?  What do you know about Pine Springs Canyon?”  Tate asked with a frown.

“Amy and Claire. Their dad died on the base.  I promised Amy, I’d get her and her sister to their grandfather’s place. That’s where they were going when they got separated from their mother.”

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