James followed Martin with no problem whatsoever. That is, until Martin pulled to the side of the road and went into the woods. When Martin reappeared, he looked up at the circling plane, waited a moment then jumped into his truck.
Martin waited a few minutes before starting the engine. He kept glancing out his windshield and side window to note the plane’s passing. After observing it passing overhead three times, he started the engine, shifted into gear and made a u-turn.
“What the heck?” James said aloud.
“What’s wrong?” Dan immediately asked.
“He’s doubling back again,” James said a touch of puzzlement in his tone.
“You want me to head back?” Dan asked, easing his foot off the gas pedal to let the truck slow down.
“No,” James replied. “You get to Stafford Road. I’ll stay with him. I know he’s going to head your way again.”
“Gotcha,” was all Dan said and stepped on the gas pedal again.
Martin could hear the steady whine of the plane’s engine and knew it had to be James following him. He had sensed being followed earlier but dismissed it until he went into the woods and watched the plane circling. He was sure of it now and had to decide what to do. Moments later, he knew exactly what he had to do and stepped on the gas pedal and felt the old truck pick up speed.
James was making another pass when he spotted Martin’s truck take a turn that went against everything James had thought Martin would do. He watched in eagerness, trying to figure out what the old man was up to.
After watching the truck take different turns, James began thinking that maybe Martin had thought he had been going in the wrong direction and was now trying to find his way again. Not once, did James anticipate Martin’s next move.
When Martin reached the main road, instead of going right leading to Tiverton and home, Martin swung the truck left heading back to Little Compton.
Confused by the move, James scratched his head and said, “What are you up to old man?”
Dan’s voice came through the headset. “What’s he doing?”
“He’s heading back to Little Compton.”
“Why would he do that?” Dan asked, his voice reflecting the same confused puzzlement as James.
“Beats the hell out of me,” James said, attempting to recalculate Martin’s intentions. “Damn,” he cursed seconds later.
“He’s heading for my mother’s house,” James practically shouted back.
“I’m on my way,” Dan replied and swung the truck around as soon as he could.
James pushed the throttle, knowing that even with the increased speed he wouldn’t make it to the house before Martin. He cursed himself for having underestimated the old man. He surmised it must have been when Martin had gone into the woods and emerged that he had been made. James knew he should have formed a wider circle to keep from being so obvious. He shook his head, letting go of the regrets and turned his attention back to the moment. He had to be completely focused so as not to make another mistake.
James watched with a sickening feeling in his stomach as Martin’s truck sped into his mother’s driveway. As he passed overhead, James spotted Martin running toward the house carrying the gun and cursed himself for having been so arrogantly confident thinking he had the old man figured out.
The plane hadn’t completely stopped rolling when James climbed from the cockpit onto the wing and jumped to the ground. He rolled a couple times and was up and making a mad dash for the house, hoping he would be in time to save his mother.
Nearing the house, James found shelter behind the hedges and made his way to the front of the house, guessing that it would be the last place Martin would expect him to enter. He edged his way to the front door, took a deep breath and slowly opened it. He listened a moment then pushed the door open enough to slip inside the house.
Martin was nowhere to be seen. James listened for voices but didn’t hear any and wondered if while he was landing the plan if Martin had killed his mother and then committed suicide. The gruesome thought made him shiver. In spite of wanting to dash from room to room, James cautiously and stealthily made his way toward the kitchen in the back of the house. Not seeing anyone, he moved inside the room to look out the back window, thinking Martin may have escaped that way.
James looked out window, scanning the perimeter for signs of a fleeing Martin, but didn’t spot him at all. He turned and flinched at the sight of Martin holding the gun at him chest high. At the same time he felt frightened, James marveled at the way Martin was able to move about so quietly.
“Where’s my mother?” James asked, finding his voice again.
Martin sneered at him. “So you weren’t looking for me, huh?”
“I wasn’t until I saw you here.”
“You’re a liar,” Martin said, the venom in his voice spewing danger.
“Look I know how……..”
“You don’t know anything,” Martin spat. “You’re just like your old man. You can’t be trusted.”
“And you can by coming back here with a gun?” James challenged. “Now where’s my mother?”
Martin knew that as long as he kept his mouth shut, he would stay alive. “You’ll know when I’m ready to let you know,” was all he offered.
James took a step forward.
Martin held the gun up firmly, his finger moving to the trigger. “Don’t be too hasty. I’ll kill you if I have to. Now step back.”
James did as he was told not wanting to risk calling Martin’s bluff. He took a step back and leaned against the counter. “You got no way out of here, you know.”
Martin stared at him for a long moment, realizing that what James had said was true. Sure there were roads he could take to get out of the area but he would be easily caught. The only thing he could do would be to tie James up in the hopes of having enough time to flee the area.
Dan parked his truck at the beginning of the driveway and made his way towards the house, not knowing what was going on inside. Noticing the front door still ajar, he made his way slowly into the house. Hearing the muffled voices coming from the kitchen, he slowly inched his way, trying to assess what was going on. When he was close enough, he peeked into the room and saw Martin holding the gun on James.
Just then, Martin noticed James’ eyes widen and before he could move to see the cause, he was grabbed from behind.
Dan lunged at Martin and wrestled the gun from his hands. He knocked Martin to the floor.
James was by his side in a flash. “Where’s my mother?” he demanded.
“I’m right here,” a soft voice came from behind them.
James turned to see his mother standing in the doorway holding a bag. “What’s going on?” she asked without knowing Martin was on the floor.
James and Dan turned sideways to allow Delia Bell a chance to see Martin’s sprawled body.
She dropped the bag on the floor, tomatoes and other vegetables spilling out. “What have you done to him?” she said, pushing both James and Dan aside so she could get to Martin.
“What have we done to him?” James replied. “He came here to kill you, that’s what he’s done.”
She stood up and looked up into James’ bewildered eyes. “He did no such thing you damn fool.”
“He had a gun,” Dan offered, holding the gun out so she could see.
“Well he doesn’t have it now, does he?”
She turned back to James. “Are you going to be like your father?”
Still stunned by her reaction, James stood with his mouth open. Finally he said, “He stole the money from Dad and I……”
“You what?” she questioned. “You went after him taking up where your father left off?”
“No, it wasn’t like that,” James defended himself. “I’m not my father.”
“Then help him off the floor,” she commanded and watched as the two men lifted Martin to his feet.
“I’m so sorry Martin,” she apologized.
James and Dan looked at each other as though they had both been shot.
“All of you, sit down at the table and behave,” she said and proceeded to pick up the vegetables from the floor.
The three men sheepishly made their way to the dining room table and sat down, none of them saying a word, but all looking like misbehaved school kids who were now being admonished.
When Delia had the coffee and pastry set on the table, she sat down. “Now tell me what’s going on.”
James told her everything from his emergency landing right up to the moment she came into the room.
Delia listened attentively and when he finished she said, “Martin never stole any money. Money was stolen. Yes. But it wasn’t Martin who stole it. I did.”
“You?” James started to protest, but she waved him off.
“Yes, I stole it because I was sick and tired of the way your father bullied and abused me. Everything was about money with him and it was the only way I knew I could hurt him. The night Martin and I were to run away, your father came home and almost caught us. That money was to help us start a new life. Instead, because I couldn’t get away after that, I sent the money to Martin to live on. But because your father was so brutal, Martin couldn’t get any good respectable jobs and the money ran out fast. Your father started to become suspicious of me and I had to stop sending money. After that, I lost touch with Martin and thought I’d never see him again.”
James looked at Martin and shook his head realizing how wrong he had been. He now understood why Martin had acted as he had. He stuck his hand out. “I’m sorry.”
Martin shook his hand, a tear trickling down his cheeks. “Is it really over?” he asked looking from one face to another.
Delia got up and went over and embraced him, tears streaming from her own eyes. “It’s over Martin. It’s really over.”
October 30, 2014