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WARNING! Grossly coarse language and violence

PART SEVENTY

Caleb’s elation at finding his dead daughter alive and in his arms didn’t last long.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa there, cowboy!” Marti declared agitatedly. “Put the girl down and just step back!”

“Why own’t you shut the fuck-up?” Caleb replied, vehemence and venom erupting from him in response to Marti’s harsh command.

“Pardon me?!” Marti said with nearly equal vitriol. “I don’t know who the hell you are or who the hell you think you are, but Karla left Skylar in my care so when you two start talking about finding each other alive I need you to back off some. Got it! Now put her down, and step back!”

“You don’t know who I am?!” Caleb said, placing Skylar on the ground and striding forward to Marti who stood straddling her bike. “Well, let me tell you who I am. I am Skylar’s father and Karla’s husband and I’m about to become your worst fucking nightmare unless you start giving me my due respect!”

“Okay! That’s it! Girls, we’re going,” Marti yelled, pulling her phone from her bag. “And unless you get the hell out of here right now, I’m calling the cops.”

Caleb’s head jerked back, and he laughed uproariously. “Are you now?” he asked mockingly. “Well that’ll be kind of hard,” he continued, batting Marti’s phone out of her hand, “now won’t it, kike!?”

Marti’s anger told her to attack but the bicycle between her legs prevented her from taking action. She sputtered three times before beginning to step off the bike. When she began to do so Caleb merely spun on the ball of his foot and shoulder checked her, sending Marti sprawling to the ground. “Try calling the cops from down there, bitch. Now tell me, where’s my wife?!”

Taken by surprise, tangled in the bike, and with the wind knocked out of her Marti was unable to respond. Skylar, in response to her father’s unprovoked violence rushed in and flung herself against her father, screaming, “No, Daddy! No! Don’t hurt her!”

Caleb pushed his daughter back and swept her legs, sending her to the ground in a sprawling heap, his face turning from havoc filled anger to remorse the moment he touched Skylar. “Shit! I’m sorry, baby! Stay back! This is between me and Goldie. What chew got to say, Jew-Jew-bee? What chew got to say?!”

Sara ran to Caleb and kicked him hard in the shins. “Leave my mother alone!” she screamed.

Caleb laughed, grabbed Sara by the hair and flung her against the fence before picking Marti up from the ground, punching her hard on the jaw and throwing her into the open van. “Come on, Skylar,” he commanded, striding toward the fallen Sara, “We gotta go.”

“No! No!” Skylar screamed. “You leave my friend alone! Run, Sara! Run!”

Sara stood, unsure of what to do. Skylar repeated her command of, “Run! Run!” and Sara slipped between the bus depot’s gate and fence through a crack too small for Caleb to follow.

“Fuck shit!” he screamed after the disappearing girl. “Fuck shit!” he repeated as he grabbed his daughter by the arm and shoved her into the front seat of the van.

“I wish you stayed dead!” Skylar screamed at him. “I wish you’d stayed dead!”