54 Chapter Fifty Four / The Duel

The Bronco was resting at the dead end of a neighborhood street. At the other end of the street, rumbled a 1975 Jeep CJ5 with a serial killer behind the wheel that had a loaded shotgun. Oh the difference a week makes thought Jay Branch as he felt every nerve in his feet as he held one on the brake and one on the gas at the ready to launch the old Ford down the street and according plan past the Jeep and back to where this had all began at Aunt Betty’s house. The Jeep ejected from stability first, hurling itself down the two lane street at a ridiculous pace. It was obvious that there was no thought of safety only vengeance in the heart of John William Grant. Jay held steady and began to press down on the gas with his other foot firmly on the brake, his mind racing with different scenarios of what was going to happen in a second depending on the release of the brake and the turn of the steering wheel. It came down to seconds and inches now. He released the brake and the Bronco barked like an angry pit bull and launched forward within seconds. He was once again trading paint on the passenger side with the maniac in the CJ, but this time Grant almost lost control of the Jeep and plowed into the last yard on the street almost running straight into the front door of the house. Jay’s plan was working perfectly, by the time they made it back to the house the criminal would be insanely furious and the cops will have to gun him down in the street. Jay turned left at the main street waiting to make sure the Jeep was still running and then headed back to the house. When he made a necessary turn in his route, the Jeep did not; Grant was not following the plan. Jay slammed on the brakes and searched his rear view for the CJ. He couldn’t even see where it had gone. Jay now stopped in the middle of the street, turned his head in every direction scanning for the Jeep, he could see nothing.

“What the fuck?” He asked to no one in particular. He thought about which way to go for a second and then headed for the house once again. At least in a minute the cops would be there if they weren’t already and he could make sure that Grace was safe. He couldn’t imagine what she was dealing with inside Betty’s house at this moment. He took his foot off the gas and then the world became a spinning crashing mess as the Jeep had come from between two houses and t-boned the Bronco at full speed. The two SUVs crashing through a front yard sideways until finally coming to a stop when they slammed into two parked cars in the driveway. Jay scrambled out the open window of the Bronco falling on his side on the ground before reaching for the Glock that was still secured in the back of his pants. Once again Grant had completely disappeared, he wasn’t in the Jeep, he wasn’t outside it somewhere and the world around Jay had gone completely silent. In the distance Jay could hear sirens; the police had finally started getting to Betty’s. Jay made a full circle holding the Glock out in front of him finger on the trigger ready to destroy this monster as soon as he could find him.

The ungodly loud sound and the searing pain of buckshot ripping through Jay’s flesh brought the reality of the situation crashing down on to his shoulders. He had been shot in the leg and thigh by Grant who was lying under the wreckage of the two SUV’s and the cars in the driveway. Jay laid out on the front dirt lawn of the house. His entire body was on fire with pain but for some reason he had been able to keep a death grip on the Glock. He raised the gun and made a direct shot under all of the debris and hit the underside of the Jeeps radiator sending hot steam right in the face of Grant instantly blistering his face and causing him to scream out in agony.

“Does that feel good bitch?” Jay pulled himself almost over to the vehicle by this time trying to get a good shot in to end the kidnapper’s life. There was no reason for him to take another breath and if Jay Branch had anything to do with it, he was going to make sure that John William Grant would no longer get to enjoy the wonderful luxury of breathing.

Grant’s screams sounded as if they were from a recording made in the ninth circle of Hell. He twisted and squirmed in agony as Jay watched the horrible bubbling blisters and redness cover his entire face, neck and shoulders. He wanted to enjoy the animal’s agony as long as he could but he knew he couldn’t risk leaving him alive for much longer. The bastard was an escape artist of mythical proportions and if he gave him one more second he would be gone again.

“Please help me.” The little boy’s voice came through loud and clear from the killers mouth and gave Jay a shock. He had not heard this side of Grant yet and the voice seemed to come from a small child inside a burning building a million miles away. Without hesitation Jay Branch looked into Grant’s eyes past the evil monster whose flesh looked as if it may explode at any second and said.

“You’re free.” And then he fired the Glock into John William Grants face until he cleared the clip. Exhausted beyond words he rolled onto his back on the hot dirty asphalt and felt the weight of the world as it lifted from his shoulders. He could feel the hot buckshot cooking the flesh inside of his leg but it didn’t so much hurt as make him feel even more alive. He had bested the Devil and he would never be just a simple man waiting for the day that he would die ever again. Life started the second he pulled that trigger and now Jay Branch couldn’t wait to start living it.

The sirens in the distance sounded like the final scene in an action movie, complete with helicopters chopping through the sky in the distance, for one second Jay Branch felt peace and then he remembered instantly that he had dropped Grace off at her friend’s aunt’s house and he pulled his self through the pain and up onto his feet. He began to lurch down the street in the direction he believed he would find Betty’s house.

He was suddenly stopped by a blinding brightness that felt as if God himself was shining a spotlight down directly on top of his head, followed by a loud booming voice echoing through the neighborhood.

“Put the gun down and put your hands in the air!” Jay laughed as he realized he was standing in the middle of a neighborhood street covered in dirt and blood, clothes ripped in every direction and holding an empty gun, he definitely looked guilty of something. He tossed the gun in front of himself, kneeled on the street and put his hands on his head like he had seen on a million cop shows.

“The bad guy is dead over there under the Jeep.” He said in a loud and clear voice up into the sky.

“Someone will be right there sir. Just stay where you are.

A white police cruiser pulled in front of Jay on the street and a rotund officer with a starter cop mustache and crew-cut stepped out and immediately recognized Jay from the station earlier in the day and rushed up to him.

“I’m sorry Mr. Branch. Are you okay?” The officer looked panicked and the worry on his face scared Jay a little too much, his injuries must have been worse than he thought.

“My daughter is around the corner I need to find out how she is.” Jay felt light headed and dizzy. He leaned forward and put his hand down on the concrete for stability.

“She’s fine sir and her friend is too but the owner of the house has been rushed to Havasu Regional in critical condition.”

Jay heard that Grace was okay and all other words did not matter. His baby was safe and he finally got to end Grant’s life. He calmly lay down onto his side in the middle of the street and blacked out.

 

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