Twin Beeches -- an Illinois Love Story
Author: paul schoaff

Chapter 52
Everything Changes

This changes Everything..


Eddie sat very quietly, thinking.  Buddy was twitchy, giggling and talking to himself.  I was all cried out, and Baby Goo-Goo needed changing and fed.  By concentrating on her, I was able not to panic, or to start up sobbing again.  No one objected when I carried Precious down the basement stairs and sat in a dark corner, an iron bar about 2 feet long behind me.  Buddy killed David right in front of me.  He would never leave a witness behind when he left.  I was doomed unless I could get Eddie to save me.


Eddie didn't avert his eyes this time as he came down the stairs and hunkered down next to my chair.  “That shouldn't have happened.  It was wrong.  I never should have let him come along.” 


“Oh, sure”, I said, bitterly, “But now David is dead, he has the gun, doesn't he, and you are afraid to try to stop him, aren't you?”


“Maybe, maybe a little.  Mostly I just didn't think he was stupid enough to kill anyone.  Why would he?  He could have gone back anytime and been out, free as a ...”


“Eddie, you don't know him like I do.  I went to school with him.  I… well, he always was a thrill-seeker, always wanted everyone to be a little afraid of him, too.  How can you stop him?  I bet when it comes time for you guys to get going, you’ll just wait by the car while he goes back inside to finish me off, won’t you!”  I began to think there were only two ways to get out of this mess alive.  The first, to get Eddie on my side and get him to fight Buddy.  The second, to hide that short piece of pipe I found behind the basement stairs under Becca in her basket and to surprise Buddy when he wasn’t paying attention.


A third possibility, one I hated to use, but I would, if it would save Becca – I could point out to Buddy my Becca was his, too.


Eddie brought me back to the moment.  “MJ, I know it seems like I'm not respecting your friend, but I've got to find a way out of the state.  Did the letter get mailed?”  Yes.


“Did you rent a new box?”  Yes, again. 


“Did you put the box number on the envelope as the return address?”  Yes, yes, a thousand times. 


Whatever he was doing wasn't as much a mystery to me as he thought; the matter was plain he expected to get something from whoever he sent the paper to.  Documents?  Tickets?  Money?  Instructions?


“Eddie, the quickest you can get something back from whoever you sent it to is day after tomorrow.  Why didn't you just go right to them and get it?”


“It doesn't work that way.  At least, my Dad says it doesn't work that way.  But, he never said it would work this way, either”, he reluctantly admitted.  


“How soon will anyone miss the carpenter?” he asked next.


“I don't know for sure”, I said, “I didn't know him that well.”


He looked at me with a calculated stare, so I explained to him, “I know, I know, maybe you don't think I would cry so much for someone I don't know well, but, I'm thinking, if they would shoot David, who hadn't done a thing and didn't know anything, why would they stop at killing me and my baby?”


I could already tell Eddie wasn’t like Buddy, but Eddie hadn’t stopped Buddy from killing David… and who knew if the ace in the hole I had for Buddy would stop him from killing Becca and me, too.


Eddie sighed.  “If there is any way to get you out of this in one piece, I promise to do it.  I might have to take you with me, though, when I go to get my package.”  I knew that wouldn't help if Buddy stayed back with the baby.  We'd be forced to come back.


“Eddie, I just remembered…David told me my Mama was coming out here tonight!  Eddie, you and Buddy have got to leave.  Now!”



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