Cassidy screamed as blood arced off the lead pipe. Billy swung the metal over and over, screaming and crying with tears running down his cheeks. When he was done, his big brother Babe lay dead on the floor. Cassidy continued screaming.
Billy shook his head like a dog waking from a long sleep. He looked around the room and focused on Cassidy.
Billy crossed the room and slapped her across the face. Her mouth closed shut with a click of her teeth, and she tried to pull back against the chains that held her hanging from the ceiling. Natalie stayed unconscious by her side.
Billy grabbed Cassidy by her red hair and pulled her to him, whispering to her the entire time. She remained quiet but tears started streaming down her cheeks and she cast glances at Natalie hanging beside her as he talked. I strained but could not hear what he was telling her.
He pulled her hair again and she cried out, but not much. Her face had gone to stone, and she was quiet now. I had seen that look of determination before. Darling had it just before he cut his own throat. He had smiled and winked at me and then gone cold. Cassidy was cold now.
Billy stepped away from her and came to me. He leaned down and tried to put the lead pipe in my right hand. I would not let him. The pipe hit the concrete and rattled.
“Hoss, you can’t do much more now. I’m gonna kill you. That’s a fact. You killed my brother.”
I did not say anything. No point. He was telling the truth as he saw it and there was nothing left to communicate.
“Mama’s gonna blame me for letting you loose. That’s for sure. She’ll blame me for that but she’ll blame you for Babe just like she blames you for Darling. And she’s right to. You’re a murderer, Mr. Banned, you and your whole family. We been watchin. The McCraw’s always stayed clear, kept out of town business, but we knowed the whole time. That’s what Daddy would say. We knowed the whole time that town’s dark business and stayed clear.”
“Get on with it,” I said. I caught Cassidy’s eye and drew strength from her. This madman could give me nothing. Her defiant cold I could understand.
“Right,” Billy said, “No use getting your fingerprints on it. They ain’t never gonna find you.”
Billy picked the pipe off the floor, reached like he was scratching an itch on his back and swung it down on my head.
The world turned black.