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Cow Pies and Country Cousins

by Charles Well and Sam the Ham

Chapter 13

Things never go as planned

Bill and Damien were making their way into River Falls. They hadn't made a lot of progress, but they had left the farm roads and now sped along the main highway into town. Their ATV was built for off-road work on rural tracks, so the top speed on bitumen was nothing like a car. Still, they managed to travel at a steady clip. They both wore helmets, and those, combined with the engine noise, and the wind, meant they didn't immediately notice when the police patrol car suddenly appeared behind them. They looked around at once when three short bursts of the siren made them aware they were being followed. They slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road. The boys were rather pleased they didn't need to travel all the way into town to get help. The patrol car would have a radio and direct contact with the sheriff's office.

"Thank God," Bill said to Damien. "That's Deputy Peterson. We know him. He's the sheriff's cousin, I think."

The two abandoned the ATV and raced back to the police car as Deputy Peterson got out, put on his hat, and started walking towards the two boys. They met half-way.

The deputy wore the standard local uniform of dark green trousers, a kaki shirt with lawman star, shoulder flashes, a thick belt and holster with side-arm, and a pouch on his left side with a pair of handcuffs inside. Eric Peterson had only been a member of the River Falls sheriff's department for less than 9 months. Just 24-years-old, he was tall and handsome with short black hair, a moustache, and strong jaw. He had graduated from the nearby agricultural college a few years before, but wasn't all that interested in pursuing a career in farming. When his uncle, Sheriff Riley, had mentioned a possible opening for a deputy position, Eric jumped at the opportunity even if it meant extra courses and study.

"You've got to contact the sheriff and tell him to bring all the men he can. And guns, lots of guns." Bill yelled to the deputy. "Four men armed with AK47s have taken over our farm and are holding my Mom and Dad hostage."

Officer Peterson stared at the two boys and then immediately started looking around as if expecting to see a hidden camera suddenly appear.

"You know you need a proper driver's license to drive on the county roads. I know you. Fred Sullivan, right?"

"No, I'm Bill. But that's not important now. You need to call the sheriff and get men to our farm as soon as you can."

"Calm down boy. I need to get the facts straight before we do anything. How old are you and who is this other kid? I don't know him."

"I'm 11 – one of the twins, and this is my cousin Damien Bukland. His brother and him have been staying at our place for the summer. But you've got to do something about the mafia guys that have captured my Mom and Dad."

"Mafia!" said Deputy Peterson doubtfully. "You're telling me the reason why you were driving on the main road to town without a proper state driver's license is because four Mafia hitmen have come to your farm and are holding your mother and father hostage?"

"Yes," both Bill and Damien yelled together this time.

Did you see these Mafia hitmen?"

"No," Bill said, "I didn't see them, but my brothers and my sister did."

"Meg?" asked Peterson. He knew 18-year-old Meg from town of course. Although she was a few years younger than him, she was highly regarded as one of the most sort-after girls in the county.

"No, my other one, Sue."

"And Sue is how old?"

"She's only 9, but she saw them when she was riding her pony to Uncle Jonas's place. But my brothers Tom, who's 15, and Junior and Fred all saw them too. And Damien's older brother as well. They're still at the farm watching the bad guys. Sue and Harry also went for help from my uncles – Uncle Gerry Sullivan and Uncle Jonas Henley. You believe me, don't you?"

"Yes, I believe something has happened. I'll go back to the car to call this in. The sheriff needs to know. While I'm doing that, I want you boys to move your ATV well off the road, so it's not a danger to other vehicles. Then we all head off together and get to the bottom of this."

Bill and Damien moved the ATV to where the road-shoulder was particularly wide. Then they both climbed into the back seat of the patrol car when Officer Peterson pulled up next to them and opened the door.

The two boys looked around the car in awe. Neither had ever been in a police car before and it was a new experience for both of them. However, pleasure at success quickly faded as the vehicle made a sudden U-turn and started heading away from town.

"Where are you going?" asked Damien in a panic.

"We need to get the sheriff and other men," said Bill in equal distress.

The deputy pulled the mic off its cradle on the dashboard and spoke.

"Lonnie, you there? I got 11-year-old Bill Sullivan and his cousin, Damien Bukland, same age, in the back. A stupid question. You heard anything about terrorists or maybe Mafia hitmen at the Sullivan farm?"

"Terrorist? Mafia? Seriously Peterson?" said Lonnie's voice over the radio.

"Just checking. We're on our way to the farm now. Over."

This time both Bill and Damien started screaming together. "We can't go there. They'll kill us all."

"Listen you two. I'm not calling in some cock-and-bull story about hitmen taking your parents hostage without checking it out for myself. The more likely explanation is that you guys made up the whole thing so I don't charge your asses for driving without a license. We'll see what your father has to say."

Bill started screaming again. "We'll all be killed," he kept repeating.

Damien who was often more practical, thought of opening the car door and jumping out when they slowed down. It was only then he noticed there were no door handles on their side. There was a wire cage separating the driver's compartment and both boys realized they were prisoners. They tried shaking the wire mesh, but it proved very strong.

"You two, shut up and calm down, or you'll find out what real trouble is." With that, the deputy pressed another button on the car's dashboard and raised the glass petition that separated the driver from those in the back.

The boys then tried banging on the glass, but Peterson ignored them. By the time they arrived at the entrance to the Sullivan farm, both Damien and Bill had given up the prospect of getting free. Clearly, stronger men than them had never escaped from there.

The patrol car made its way slowly up the drive to the main Sullivan house. Although he clearly didn't believe the story the two boys had told, what experience Peterson had, taught him to be careful. However, the place appeared deserted. No people and not even any of the animals normally seen around a farm. The two boys in the back seat were still banging on the windows, but he ignored them for now. Being distracted by prisoners was always a danger.

Peterson got out of the car with his pistol drawn and started looking around. There was a black SUV parked in front of the house, but no sign of any occupants. He knew that car. It was one of the vehicles used by the FBI Agents who came to town that morning. What was the name of the agent in charge? Chivo or something. He was a senior special agent he recalled. Was old man Sullivan harboring crooks? Chivo said they were looking for a man named Adrian Michael Bukland wanted on money laundering charges. The kid in the back of the patrol car said his name was Bukland. That was no co-incidence.

"Oh shit!" Eric Peterson said to himself. "What have I walked into?" Well at least the FBI are here. Presumably, they had things well in hand by now. Maybe he could get in on the arrest. That had to be worth a cover photo in the local paper. It wasn't every day the FBI came to River Falls.

"Agent Chivo," he yelled heading toward the front porch. "Agent Chivo are you there?"

Without warning, a hail of bullets burst from behind the barn and Deputy Peterson went down before he could even bring his weapon to bear in that direction. He was hit three times in the chest, twice in the head, and a half dozen times in other places. He was dead before he hit the ground.

The two men inside the main house had seen the police car coming up the drive. The one named Mateo had plenty of time to get into position to ambush the cop. You couldn't see the police car from the main house. Peterson had parked some distance away because of the other vehicle already there. However, the barn provided the perfect sniper position. Not that an AK47 was a sniper's rifle. At this distance you didn't need one. The large Colombian pulled the half-used clip from his weapon and replaced it with a new one. The gang members all affectionately called the AK47 the, "cuerno de chivo" (the goat's horn) because that was what it looked like. It was useless for hunting and only had one purpose – to kill human beings. But it did a damn good job at that.

Mateo moved carefully from his cover. He had expected more than one cop, but apparently not. He walked over to Peterson and kicked the body hard until it rolled over onto its side. Half the back of the head was missing. Clearly this pig wasn't going anywhere soon. Then he noticed Bill and Damien in the back of the car and smirked. This was far too good to be true. He recognized Damien immediately of course. One of the Bukland brothers. They had been forced to study those stupid pictures for hours.

Mateo's smirk turned into a wide toothy grin when he realized what he had. It scared both boys, but they were trapped and could do nothing.

"Only one cop. He's dead. But you're not gonna believe this boss. I've got one of the kids we're looking for," Mateo yelled out to the other unseen man, still in the house. "Special police delivery."

He snickered loudly, snatched the keys from the dead deputy, and opened the car door on the side where Damien sat. He grabbed the boy by the hair, dragged him out of the car, and threw him onto the ground. The 11-year-old screamed in pain.

The big man still couldn't believe it. This was the second kid. The whole operation had been one fuck up after another, but it appeared the fates were looking out for them today. Santiago and Joaquin were chasing down the older boy. Now the local sheriff, or whatever he was, had delivered the second one. They could kill all the remaining witnesses and be out of here in 10 minutes. They had no idea when the real FBI would arrive. Although he hadn't said anything, Mateo was pissed that the leader on this mission, Diego, hadn't bothered to check whether mobile phones even worked here. All their contacts weren't worth a pile of shit if they couldn't contact them. Their ultimate boss, Angel Ramirez, the man behind "La Oscuridad," (the Dark) cartel, would certainly hear about that incompetence. He'd make sure of that. As far as Mateo was concerned, the cozy relationship between Diego and the boss had gone on way too long.

The kid had stopped screaming and was trying to crawl away. But Mateo wasn't having any of that. The sooner the boy learned fear, the better. The Colombian pulled the strap of the AK47 over his shoulder and pushed the weapon behind his back. He didn't need it for now. Angel had made it very clear that anyone who killed either of the Bukland brothers before they could be used to secure the required information from the father would die a very slow painful death. The kid would face a few horrific days before they put a bullet in his head, but all parents talked when they watched their own children being tortured. Mateo moved to intercept Damien. He wanted to give the kid a good kick up the ass. Angel had said nothing about that. They had been waiting around for this little shit far too long.

But the kick never came. Without warning, an aluminum crossbow bolt whistled through the air and drilled deep into the Colombian drug dealer's thick neck. Penetration was complete. At 6.25 inches (16 cm) long, the shaft was more than sufficient for the silver metal tip of the arrow to protrude at one end, and the black feathers to jut obscenely from the other. Blood immediately streamed from the wound and no one needed a medical degree to guess that the man's two carotid arteries had been severed. Mateo gurgled loudly, dropped the car-keys, and fell forward in a crumpled heap.

Harry came running from the woods with Junior's crossbow in hand. Bill got out of the back of the patrol car and looked at his brother, and then at the two dead bodies on the ground. Neither was a pretty picture. An AK47 is a high velocity weapon that causes severe internal and external damage, and Deputy Peterson's body had not fared well. Pieces of the head, chest cavity, and what looked like some internal organs had landed randomly about. The grisly corpse of the drug cartel member had been luckier, if that was even the right way to phrase it. It still looked oddly human, but with feathers sprouting from its neck and a large pool of very dark red blood like espagnole sauce Bill had once seen spread over beef tenderloin at a French restaurant the family had visited. None of the boys dared approach either body.

Damien slowly got to his feet looking somewhat dazed. The top of his head ached where the man had pulled his hair. The three boys looked at each other and without a word spoken, each knew what to do. Bill picked up the AK47 the dead Colombian dropped. Damien grabbed Deputy Peterson's revolver that had landed beside the patrol car, and all three boys ran straight for the woods. They knew there were four men here originally, but there was no sign of them now, other than the one still inside.

Diego Martinez was the remaining man in the house. He sensed something was wrong, before he had hard proof. Had the FBI shown up? Or had the cop killed Mateo somehow? He didn't know, but he still had the two Sullivan adults to use as hostages if needed. He started yelling to his friend in both English and Spanish.

"What's happening Mateo?" "Do you have the boy?"

He waited a minute and tried again, but still got no response. Diego considered going out and checking the situation for himself, but he could be walking into a trap. If it really was the FBI, they'd announce their presence soon enough. The more likely explanation though was that the cop had killed the fool. How many times had he told him to confirm the enemy were dead before doing anything else? Had seeing the kid distracted him? Most likely. Diego hadn't heard a shot, but like all the people in his profession, any decent law officer always carried a back-up knife. Mateo was his cousin and one big stupid mother fucker. But a sharp knife across the throat always worked in Diego's experience, whatever the size of your opponent.

"You there Mateo?" He tried again. The thing was, Mateo wouldn't be answering to anyone this side of hell.

The three boys met up in the woods well out of sight of the farm.

"Are you guys alright?" asked Harry cautiously. It would be clear to any independent observer that the kid asking the question was anything but fine.

"I'm okay," said Bill, "but what about you guys?" He stared at his twin and then at Damien.

"I guess I'm alright" Damien answered, "but my head hurts where that asshole pulled my hair. I'm real glad you killed him Harry. He's dead right?"

Harry didn't look all that happy to get the compliment or hear the question.

"Pretty sure they're both dead – I mean Peterson and the goon. I never liked Peterson and neither did Meg. Still, people shouldn't ought to die that way," said Harry. "I saw how the goon shot without warning. Blew off half his head."

Everyone was silent for a moment, not sure what to say. Eventually, Harry forced a smile. "You can always rely on your country cousin to pull your asses from the fire though."

The three boys laughed. The comment relieved the tension somewhat.

"How come you're here?" asked Bill. They all had a lot of stories to catch up on.

Harry explained what happened when he went to Uncle Gerry's place.

"Just as I rushed into the house, a call came through from Uncle Jonas. I confirmed what Sue and the two young-uns told Uncle Jonas, but they kept asking me whether I saw these men myself. I said no, I didn't, but I believed Tom and Sue. Uncle Jonas had already called the sheriff, they said. He wasn't in the office when they rang, but was due back shortly. They told the secretary and she was gonna contact him immediately. Then Uncle Gerry started making calls to other local farmers. You know, to his buddies in the old 5th Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers. I figured it would be a month before they did anything. I ran out of the house and got on the ATV and came back here. I was looking for Tom in the woods. I figured I knew where the best place to watch the house would be, and went there. That's when I found Juniors crossbow. They must have left it there for some reason. I don't know why."

"What do we do now and where are our brothers?" asked Bill. But Harry had no idea and just shrugged.

"Well how many mobsters are left?"

"God damn it Bill, I don't know. I only got here about 5 minutes before you guys came up in the cop car. How come you only brought one deputy? Are more coming?"

Bill explained what had happened to him and Damien. When he finished speaking, no one said anything. None of them knew what to do and there were too many things they didn't know. Bill wished he could use the walkie talkie to speak to Tom, but their older brother had warned them not to do so unless it was an emergency. Well this pretty much counted as an emergency in Bill's book. He was about to suggest that, when Damien spoke.

"Okay, there's a bunch of stuff we don't know, but let's think about what facts we have. We can hear one thug inside the house. And they have one car parked beside the barn. But Sue said there were 2 SUVs before. Maybe some of the men went somewhere."

But Bill wasn't paying attention to Damien. He was just staring at his twin, "Yeah, and Harry just k…"

"Shut up Bill. We don't go there. Not now," shouted Damien. He continued.

"We have to assume your parents are still inside. Maybe they are locked up, or tied up somewhere. We now have three weapons – an AK-whatever, a handgun, and a crossbow." Damien waited a minute to let that sink in. "And they want me and probably my brother for some reason."

"Right!" replied the twins almost in unison.

"And other people will be coming soon," added Harry. "Uncle Jonas and Gerry and lots of others, no doubt. Maybe the sheriff when Deputy Peterson doesn't report in."

"You think he's really dead?" Damien asked.

Bill nodded gravely, and all three boys looked back in the direction of the house.

Then Damien had a brain wave. "There's a radio in the cop car. He called someone named Lonnie before he brought us here to the farm."

"That's Lonnie Riley. Another relative of the sheriff," supplied Bill.

Damien ignored the comment. "Why don't we sneak back to the cop car and use the radio. In every cop show I've ever seen, the "officer down" call brings police from everywhere."

"What if the guy in the house comes out? What if there's more than one?"

"Well, only one of us goes to the car. The other two have the guns and shoot anybody who comes out of the house." Damien waited for the other two to say something, but when they didn't, he continued.

"Okay, I go for the radio. I assume you guys can cover me?"

The twins smiled at each other and did a quick Rock, Paper, and Scissors game to decide who got the AK 47. Bill won and took charge.

"I'll sneak over and take cover next to the old tractor shed. I can see anyone coming from the house from there. Harry, you crawl over and take cover behind the alpaca's water troth. Weapons on safety until we see the bad guys, okay?"

"I'm taking the cross-bow and Damien gets the pistol," Harry said.

They all agreed.

The three boys started checking their weapons. Damien had been hunting enough now to know the basics of gun safety, but he had never shot a pistol before. He was also pretty sure Bill had never fired an AK47. Outside of the Middle East, how many kids their age ever had? But he was pleased Harry had won medals in his age group in archery. He at least had already proven his skill. Damien hadn't said it, because it was obvious the twin was having issues, but that was one amazing shot Harry made to kill the thug.

Bill turned over the weapon and started examining it closely. "I've got a full clip here. That's about 30 rounds. I'll get the spare clips the thug was carrying after Damien uses the radio. I should have got them before, but I..."

"Don't worry about it," Damien said. "None of us were thinking clearly at that point. Okay, after I make the call on the police radio, what then?"

Harry smiled. "Then we trash their car. It's parked beside the barn. I'm pretty sure you can't see it from the house. The thug had a knife. We can slash the tires and do other stuff."

Meanwhile, Jimmy, Fred, Junior and Tom were also busy

Jimmy's plan worked for the first minute of battle as expected. He made his way up to the central driveway and was walking towards the main house when he was spotted. The man who saw him yelled something in Spanish, and Jimmy took off running into the alpaca number 2 field, towards the rise at the end. On the other side of the hill one of the ATVs was waiting there for a quick get-away. The boys had expected the men to give chase on foot, but the Colombian had apparently yelled for another man to bring one of the SUVs. Jimmy had a good lead as it took the men several minutes to get the car moving, but once they did, the outcome was inevitable. The car crashed through the wooden fence posts to the front-forty, and scattered terrified alpacas in every direction. There were no roads here and it must have been incredibly bumpy for the two men in the vehicle. But they seemed undeterred as they reached the crest of the hill, just as Jimmy straddled the ATV and roared off towards the caves.

Tom, Junior, and Fred had taken up positions at strategic locations along the route Jimmy had to drive. However, it was clear the kid was unlikely to make it that far. The oldest Sullivan boy was stationed in a well-hidden hunting blind in a tree, Old Man O'Reilly had built back in the 1980s. It was still used in deer season and had an unobstructed view of this part of the track and surrounding woods. Tom saw the two men in the car that hurtled down the hill towards his cousin riding the ATV. It was clear they intended to ram, or perhaps run him off the road. Not that there was a road. Jimmy must have seen or heard the SUV and now bumped his way down into the dry stream bed that provided water to these fields in the winter. As the SUV got closer, you could see the men being tossed about inside the car, but they hadn't slowed down. They were only about 50 feet behind Jimmy when he reached the heavily slopping part of the track that led up another small hill. Tom knew an ATV could easily handle this terrain, and he hoped his city cousin had enough experience now to drive through without incident. If he fell off here, the car had little chance of avoiding him. Still he doubted whether any car, even an SUV could match the off-road capability of the farm vehicles. He saw Jimmy slow down slightly and rev the gears to take the hill. But to his surprise the car didn't stop. It barreled up the slope at a frightening pace and at an alarming angle, getting closer to the ATV every second. Tom had to admit, there was one hell of a good driver in that car.

As first Jimmy, and then the rapidly gaining SUV shot over the sharp crest of the hill, Tom raced towards his own ATV parked at the bottom of the tree. He was scared. When he last saw them, there were only feet separating the boy from the pursuing men. The problem was that after the sharp rise and a rapid drop in elevation, the track widened considerably and followed the shore of a natural pond the Sullivan farm used as an emergency water supply. The car would easily catch the ATV on that ground.

Then he heard it. An earsplitting screech of tires, a deafening bang, and then a very loud splash. Several seconds later there was yelling. A Spanish voice, then Junior. Finally, a series of gun shots. By the time Tom arrived at the top of the hill, all he could do was take in the scene. Jimmy was face-down on the ground, but alive. His head was moving about, side-to-side, clearly unsure what to do. Junior was making his way down from the rocks where he had hidden himself, and Fred was driving up on the much slower UTV a few hundred yards away. In the pond, the SUV had landed up-side down in about 5 feet of water. The 4 wheels were still spinning and nearby one body could be made out, slowly sinking below the surface in a rapidly spreading sickly red stain. There was no sign of the second man.

"He yelled something at Jimmy," said a very grim-faced Junior when the boys met up at the edge of the pond. "He shot at him, but missed. I think he was gonna shoot again. I…"

Tom nodded, indicating that he didn't need his brother to continue.

The driver of the car had clearly lost control as the SUV shot over the crest of the hill and sailed straight into the pond. The track did make a hard right turn there to avoid a rocky outcrop. Of course the boys, even Jimmy, had local knowledge that the Colombian men had lacked. Obviously, that was what had saved his cousin's life.

Junior was in shock. His eyes widened in an unfocused gaze towards the pond and he mumbled, "Is he dead? The fourteen-year-old knew there was no going back. He had crossed the line and there were no do overs in this game. It was like virginity, once gone it was lost for good. He was a killer now and always would be. He had taken a human life. He had done it to protect his cousin of course. And he had no doubt at all that the guy whose body had now disappeared under the water, would have killed them both without a second thought. Still, the realization of what happened made his knees go weak and caused an uncomfortable thickness in his throat. He couldn't look at the others in fear of what he might see in their eyes.

Tom rushed thigh deep into the pond to where he had last seen the body. He kicked around with his feet until he found the limp form and lifted the head towards the surface. The guy was big and, even in the water, it was a difficult task. The neck and shoulders were heavily tattooed. He noticed that first, but then he saw the hole. The bullet had entered the guy's right cheek and exited through the left lower neck where there was now a hole, the size of a small apple. The man had originally sported an extensive set of sharp pointed gold teeth. Clearly deliberately filed in this shape to create a sinister appearance. Tom recalled reading that Viking warriors did something similar before attacking Christian monasteries in the dark ages. But these were clearly implants and the bullet had ripped through the jaw spreading the bridge and implant abutments into a grotesque mix of blood, bone, metal and gold. Tom was drawn to the wound and looked longer than was either wise or necessary. The man was clearly dead. As his wits returned, the 15-year-old unslung the AK47 assault rifle the guy still had across his chest and quickly searched the pockets. He found a wallet, an FBI credentials pack, and a mobile phone. The wallet had a Texas Driver's license, one credit card, and about $80 in cash. Nothing else. Tom dropped the body back into the water and ran out of the pond as fast as he could. He got to the shore, threw the FBI credentials and other things he'd collected on the ground and, panting hard, bent over with his hands on his knees.

"They look real, but I'll bet anything, the FBI stuff is fake," he said still puffing and using his head to point at the things he retrieved from the body.

No one said anything for several seconds. They all knew the answer to Junior's previous question. The guy was definitely dead.

Seconds passed, but Tom suddenly bolted upright and looked around frantically. "There were two of them," he screamed. "Where's the second man?"

"He never got out of the car," said Jimmy quietly as he came and stood next to his cousin. "He must be still in there."

Fred joined Tom, Junior, and Jimmy at the water's edge a minute later. They all stared out at the up-side-down SUV, the spinning wheels were only now starting to slow down.

"Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!' said Tom slumping slightly, his thoughts completely scrambled as he tried to make sense of all this. "We, I…"

"What's done is done," Fred yelled as he set his jaw firmly and balled his hands into fists. He had guessed what his older brother was about to say, but understood they didn't have time for second thoughts just now. That time could come later. Much later in his view. "We can't change what's happened. No one can. But remember what Dad taught us, 'fake it 'til you make it.' So get a grip. All of you! There's still two of these assholes back at the farmhouse." He walked up to Tom and gazed into his eyes. "And they've got Mom and Dad. We need to get back there and…"

"Kick some ass," added Jimmy.

The comment made everyone laugh. But it brought both the older Sullivan boys back to reality. As he ran towards the ATV, Tom yelled, "He's right. Let's go. We don't have a minute to lose. Park the vehicles where we did before. We'll meet up in the woods overlooking the back of the house. Jimmy, you go with Fred on the UTV. Junior you drive the second ATV."

Jimmy looked like he was about to complain, but thought better of it, and remained silent.

"Do we just leave them, err…" asked Junior pointing towards the pond.

"They're not going anywhere," Tom said as he picked up the AK47 of the dead Colombian and ran towards his ATV. He now had a second weapon to add to the fire-power of the Remington 870 Express pump-action shotgun.

It took several minutes to drive back to the hidden parking spot. Just as Fred and Jimmy pulled up on the UTV, there was a static squelch on Tom's walkie-talkie and Bill's tinny-sounding voice blasted from the speaker. By the volume, it was obvious he was close by somewhere.

"Tom, are you there? Where are you? Over."

Walkie-talkies are not mobile phones, and both parties to a conversation can't speak at once. Words like "over" are used to indicate you are now listening and not transmitting.

Tom pressed the PTT (Press To Talk) button on his radio and said,

"Did you bring the sheriff? Why are you back on this channel? Over."

"It's a long story, but we had trouble. The emergency you mentioned." answered Bill. "We're here in the woods behind the house. Over."

"Okay, remain where you are and stay off the radio. Over," Tom replied. He was well aware that the main farm two-way radio base station was inside the house and always on during the day. It was normally monitored by their mother in case of an emergency. However, anyone inside could listen to all conversations taking place, especially if they were anywhere near the kitchen.

It only took a few minutes before Tom and his group found where Bill, Harry, and Damien were hiding.

Bill and Damien quickly explained what occurred as they made their way to town and what had happened to the man who killed Deputy Peterson. Tom looked over to Harry who hadn't said anything so far. He was now concerned about a second boy. Two of his brothers had killed people and he guessed they'd be dealing with the emotional scars of that for years to come. Still, he couldn't think about that now. They needed to rescue their parents before the guy inside started questioning the whereabouts of his men.

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