He had the weapons laid out across his bed. Gun. Knife. Rope. Wire.
He studied each one, trying to decide how this was going to go down. He’d made a promise last night that not another day would pass that Jethro Tanner would draw breath.
The bastard had laid one hand too many on his mother. It was up to him not to let it happen again.
He’d stood between them trying to protect her from his mean fists but his mother had sent him to his room. He should’ve defied her. He told himself that over and over as he heard the sounds of her whimpers as those fists struck her again and again.
He knew he’d probably made her beating worse, putting himself in the way like that but he couldn’t let it go on. He’d cried into his pillow he’d wrapped himself around as he lay under his bed at the helplessness he’d felt. Jethro was the bigger man. Hell, he was only fifteen. And the good Lord knew, he couldn’t wait until he was grown to go up against a man three times his size and live to tell about it.
So he had a decision to make. He knew what he was going to do. He just didn’t know how he was going to do it.
Today would be the day, that much he knew. Today he was going to face down Jethro Tanner. Today, one of them would not walk away.
So, his plan had to be concrete. One that could be carried out without suspicion.
His hands trembled as he traced the butt of the revolver. It had belonged to his father. He’d stashed it away as a keepsake, wanting something of his father’s to take out and hold once in a while. It would be justice to do it this way.
It had to be done at the river. That was the one place that would understand. The one place he knew he could go for help.
The river had been a part of him for as long as he could remember. He always went there when he was troubled. He’d take long walks along the ever-moving water, sit by her banks and all those troubles would spill right out of him. He’d sit there by the water’s edge and talk out what was bothering him as the water swirled by him. That’s when he started working out his plan.
God, he was scared. Was sick with the fear of what he was about to do. He was scared right down to his soul but he damn sure wasn’t going to admit it. He’d face him down like a man for what he did to his mama. She deserved better. Whatever happened, whatever he did, the river would take care of him.
He’d grab a bottle of Jethro’s favorite whiskey, he decided. That would certainly sweeten the pot.
He took that long walk, his plan circulating in his head. He wasn’t sure, even now, of the method he’d use when the time came.