John Davis sits at his kitchen table. He had long brown hair with a lot gray mixed in. His beard also had gray. His face had several lines that showed the man’s advanced age. Like many old men, he suffered from insomnia. It is 4:00 a.m. and he is wide awake. He woke of a nightmare. Actually it was more of a premonition. Ever since he was a young child, he got hunches. His grandma Jones told him he had “the sight” His father said it was really a nose for trouble. Poor John never foresaw good events. Death, pain, and suffering, usually of someone close to him, invaded his mind. The last time he had a bad omen was 1990. Something deep and pointy in his brain told him that trouble has come back to visit.
John lifted his wrinkled, twisted hands and covered his weathered face. He rocked back and forth. He could feel his heart slamming against his rib cage. He lowered his hands clasped them in prayer “Dear Lord, I will not turn away if a friend needs my help.
The phone rang. It sounded like a bomb in the quiet kitchen. John slowly reached for the phone. He sighed and said, “Thy will be done.” He picked up the receiver with shaking hands. ’Hello, this is John.” His wrinkled face showed a mixture of relief and agony. “Alister, it has been a long time. I knew the plan was bound to crumble. I am surprised it stayed secret this long. How much does she know? They will not get near her. I will call every one of my kin to stop them. The Jones still need paid back for the last time they crossed my family. This has gone on long enough. You did everything you could to prevent all-out war. The Lafitte’s and Jones never wanted peace. Time to end this blood feud. You tried walking away, now you need to take every one of them out.” John had tears sliding down his face. He put the receiver back down on the phone. After a few moments, he picked it back up. He dialed a number. “Son, I am calling a family meeting. Trouble is coming. I would rather discuss this in person. Let me deal with your Uncle. I expect everyone to be at my house in an hour.” John hung the phone up. He got up from the table and out the kitchen door. He walked to the house next door. It was a double wide trailer with a large wooden front deck. John was not surprised to see his brother asleep on his lounge chair. A large brown cowboy hat was over Jack’s face. John walked up the steps. He was about to tell John to wake up when his brother sprang up and pointed a gun. The gun clicked. John threw himself down on the ground. The gun boomed and smoke filled the air.
Jack asked. ’What the hell do you want?” John sat up and held up his hands. “I see, shoot first and ask questions later.”
Jack snorted and chuckled. He still had the gun pointed at his brother. ’I know it means nothing but bad shit when you come over to my house at 5:00 a.m. Let me guess, you had an omen of suffering and death. Well count me out!” Jack fired his gun again.
John dove back down on the ground face first. “The Stirling’s need our help.” John screamed. “Our family owes them.”
Jack fired again. “Not interested. I am still recovering from the last time I got dragged into helping them.”
“Molly is alive. She is with the Stirling and Dillon family right now. Our cousin’s found out and they are coming for her.” John said.
Jack dropped the gun and fell down on his knees. He gaped at his brother.
John crawled to his brother. He embraced him. ’Come to my house, we have a lot discuss. We got to plan for war.”
Four generations of the Davis family sat in the kitchen. The oldest (John Davis Sr.) was 85. The youngest (Jeb Davis) was 18. John and Jack stood beside each other and addressed the family. The younger members listened intently to their elders.
“We have trouble coming our way. The Jones and Lafitte families are re-igniting the blood feud. They are on their way from Lafitte Island and they will go through us before they get to Pennsylvania. We need to stop them.”
The youngest member stood up and shouted, “What does that have to do with us? I say we let them go after those vamps. It won’t affect us any.”
John leaped across the floor and slapped his great grandson Jeb. “First of all, you never interrupt while your elders and betters are speaking. His hand whipped out a second time. It cracked against Jeb’s cheek. “Second, you need to stop acting like a spoiled selfish brat.” He then turned to his grandson James. He punched him in the face. “That is for not teaching your son manners.” He cracked his knuckles. “Anybody else got something to say. The room was full of dead silence.
John cleared his throat. “I see we need a history lesson. It seems the snot nosed brats were not properly taught that life existed before they flew out of their mother’s womb.” He glared and pointed at his own son Jake Davis. His son hung his head and cowered in the corner.
John stood in the middle of a battlefield. Smoke filled the air. People lay bloodied and dead on the ground. It started out as a peaceful, town wide picnic. That was until his brother and cousins showed up. He never expected things to get so out of hand. A month ago, his family was hired to “harass” a businessman by the name of Malcolm Stirling. He still wanted to vomit when he thought of the disgusting things his family did. He was shocked that his little brother participated in the filthy degradation of Malcolm.
John wished he never got involved with this job. Yes, his family was desperate for food, but he did not want to maim a person for money. Jean-Baptiste Lafitte ordered them to take care of some unfinished business. He was the landowner and held the deeds to their homes in Louisiana. All of the crops died during the dustbowl. Zeke told him they were lucky to have this opportunity. He said they had it better than the Oakies and Arkie’s. Looking back, John would rather he got thrown off his land and starved to death. At least he would still have a soul.
His stupid cousins decided to come back and finish the entire Stirling clan off. It was Zeke’s idea to ambush everyone today at the picnic. As if torturing a man was bad enough, Malcolm’s wife, Claudette attacked Emmet. Zeke held her down while Emmet jabbed a knife in each eye. Things could have been a lot worse. The Stirling clan had the support of the entire town of Juliette. Especially the families of Seamus Murphy, Allen Dillon and Wallace Norwich.
Two men from town pointed shotguns at him. John put up his hands in surrender. “Stand up and keep your hands up.” the town constable said.
John stood and immediately felt the barrel of two guns dig into his back.
“Keep our eyes forward and walk slow.” Wallace Sr. said. John saw his brother sprawled on the ground. Jack passed out when he saw Claudette’s eyes oozing blood. John vomited when he witnessed the attack on the poor, innocent woman.
He jumped when he heard a gunshot. His cousin Zeke screamed, “My knee, oh God that hurts.” Four men grabbed his cousin by the arms and legs and dragged him into a police car. John was put into another police car. Wallace and Seamus got into the front seat. “I thought you all worked in the glass plant? Did you decide to change jobs?” John asked. He had a smirk on his face. “Those vamps must not pay you enough.”
Seamus Murphy Sr. pulled out a pistol and aimed it at John’s head. “We became deputies on a special assignment. Alister Stirling decided to increase the police force.” Seamus chuckled and smirked. He winked at John. “He offered huge bonuses to anybody if they became deputies.”
“I get it.” John winked back. “You became his personal security team. Part of his bitch squad.”
Seamus took the pistol and cracked it across John’s face Blood gushed out of his nose and mouth. He spits blood in the deputy’s face. Seamus cocked the pistol. Wallace slapped the gun away. “Leave him alone. We can’t question a dead man.” He swatted Seamus on the head. “Now turn around and face the front.”
John laughed. He stopped when he heard his cousin scream. Five men kicked and stomped on Emmet. Allen Dillon, one of the new deputies, took the butt of a shotgun and beat him with it.
“Where’s Jack? What happened to my brother?” John shouted. He tried to open the door of the police car. Wallace grabbed his head and pointed it to the back of the car. “He is over with Constable McCabe and his Deputy Clancy.” Wallace huffed and said. “Looks like your brother knows how to behave himself.” John was relieved to see Jack still conscious and no blood on his face.”
The door to the police car opened and two deputies put Jack inside. Wallace got on the loudspeaker. “Everybody loaded up?” Several sirens wailed in answer. The four cars drove toward the police station.
PAST 1937: TWO HOURS AFTER THE ATTACK
John sat on the bunk and wiped blood off his face with his shirt. His brother fell asleep in bed above him. Emmet and Zeke were in the cell across from him. They were out cold until 20 minutes ago. They woke up yelled obscenities and threats since then.
John saw the constable and four deputies walk down the hall to the next cell. Zeke spit on Allen Dillon. “That’s it.” Two deputies opened the cell door and dragged Zeke out. They got out a Billy clubs and smacked him repeatedly. Emmet screamed, “Leave him alone.!” Seamus grabbed the pistol and pointed it at Emmet. “Say one more word and you will eat a bullet.’
. Wallace ran up to the cell. “Hey, can’t you do your job without drawing a gun?” He noticed Zeke on the floor. “Great, you bashed his head in. With all the beatings he got toady, he’ll never wake up.” Wallace raised his hands and rolled his eyes. “Get the other one out. Don’t knock this one out. He needs to be able to talk during questioning.” Allen opened cell. Seamus still pointed the gun at Emmet.
John saw Emmet dragged out of the cell. “Where are you taking me?” Emmet asked. Allen Dillon, the deputy said, “To the interrogation room.” John saw the men throw his cousin down a flight of stairs. The constable and the deputy disappeared down the steps and slammed the door. Even with the door shut, you could still hear yelling and swearing. You could hear each blow that landed on Emmet.
A half hour later the deputy’s dragged Emmet back up the steps. He was covered in blood and was unconscious. The deputy’s walked over to John. They opened his cell door. “Your turn.” Wallace Sr. said. “Hopefully you will be smart and cooperate with us. If you tell us what we want, your brother can stay asleep.” John said, “Yes sir.” He let the deputies walk him down the steps.
The deputies sat him down at a table. Fred sat across from him. “Now, I am going to ask you some questions. If you are smart, you will answer them honestly.” John nodded.
“Now, I know you are not a bad sort. My sons witnessed the attack on Malcolm. They told me you acted as a lookout. When you saw them, you kept your mouth shut and made sure nobody saw them. I thank you for that.” John pursed his lips and nodded again. “Your welcome, sir.”
Allen Dillon said, “My sons were there also. They told me you never laid a hand on Mr. Stirling. It makes me wonder why you are even there?”
“My landowner, Jean-Baptiste Lafitte hired me for the job. I had no choice. My family is starving.” John mumbled.
Allen slammed his hand down on the table. “That Lafitte and his stupid blood feud. I am so sick of that pig causing trouble in this town.”
Wallace grinned and patted John on the shoulder. “Now see how easy that was. You are a man who knows how to cooperate. You are reasonable. You are a smart man who can participate in a deal.”
“Pardon me? What deal?” John asked. He stared at Wallace. Wallace’s grin got bigger. “The one where we let you and your brother go in exchange for your cooperation with the Stirling’s. They want you to go back to Lafitte Island and keep an eye on the Lafitte family. Run interference when you can. Understood?”
“Yes sir.” John said. “What about Emmet and Zeke?”
Wallace threw back his head and laughed. “They failed to cooperate. They will be taken care of. You know, accidents happen so easily in jail cells.”
John did not care what happened to his cousins. All he cared about was his brother. John hated his cousins because of the brutal way they tortured Malcolm and Claudette. After John saw Zeke and Emmet harm a woman, they were dead to him.
John knew he had to go back to Lafitte Island. He had to go back and get his wife and kids. Jack had to go get his family also. He would spy for the Stirling’s after his family was safe. Even though he did not like the idea of spying, John realized the debt owed to the Stirling family. They did not have to let him and his brother go. Both men could easily experience an accident.
John sat in his cell eating the dinner brought by the constable. Jack sat beside him and ate quietly. He did not ask anything about the integration. John suspected the kid was too scared to speak. The boy was only 17; too young to experience the events of the past month. Definitely too young for torturing someone. John knew his brother would feel guilty for the rest of his life.
Wallace sauntered over to the cell. “Finished eating? Lights out in 20 minutes. Oh, I suggest you boys stay in your bunks. You need sleep after the day you all had.” He winked and waved at John. He walked away from the cell.
Jack climbed the ladder to the top bunk. Jack lied down on his bed and immediately fell asleep.
The next morning John was awakened by banging on his cell bars. “Rise and shine ladies. Got some breakfast for you.” Allen handed the food through the slot. John gave Jack some food.
John looked across the hall to his cousin’s cell. He screamed. Zeke and Emmet hung by their bedsheets. Allen turned around. “Oh that. Seems your cousins couldn’t handle being behind bars.” He smirked. “Or maybe they were overcome with guilt.”
John shrugged and said, “Good riddance.” Allen threw back his head and laughed. “Hey you are a decent man after all.” He held out his hand through the bars. “Sorry about yesterday” John shook his hand.
“Hey Allen.” Wallace yelled. “Let them out of the cell. They have visitors.” Allen unlocked the cell. He pointed down the steps. John and Jack walked down the steps to the interrogation room. John was shocked to see Alister and Malcolm Stirling sitting at the table. Wallace was also seated.
John stopped in the doorway. “Come on, they just want to talk.” Wallace said.
“How is Miss Claudette?” Jack asked. Malcolm looked surprised and said, “She lost her right eye. The doctors are worried about infection.”
Jack sighed and wiped tears from his eyes. “I tried to stop them. I couldn’t get there in time. I’m so sorry.”
Wallace spoke up. “See, I told you these are decent men full of remorse. The type of men willing to cooperate.”
Alister stood up and held out his hand. “I hear your family’s stuck at the Lafitte compound in Lafitte Island. I am sure we can work out a plan to mutually help each other.”
John and Jack shook hands with Alister and Malcolm.
John stopped speaking and glared at everyone in the room. His children and grandchildren stared back at him. Jack cleared his throat. “All of us owe our lives to the Stirling family and their friends. That is why all of us will go to Juliette and fight with them.”
Josh Davis tentatively raised his hand. “What is the reason for starting up the feud? I thought everyone got revenge in 1990?’
“Molly Dillon, Eric Jones and Kathleen Dillon’s daughter.” John said.
“Why would they care about a dead girl?” Josh asked.
“She is not dead. Alister Stirling had the bright idea of faking her death. He thought she would be safe forever from the feuding families. Very stupid of him. Secrets never stay buried.” John said.
“What are we going to do? Stay here or go to Juliette?” Jake Davis asked.
“I feel it would be a better idea if we go fight with the Stirling’s. We will have more numbers.” Jack Davis said. He shrugged. “Plus, when the Jones drive through here and finds no interference from us, they will think they are safe.”
John patted his brother on the back. “That is a good plan. Last I heard the Jones family had 9 people. We go at least 7 men.”
Jeb stood up and raised his arms. “What do mean only 4? What about me and James and Joe?”
John sighed. “You boys are the youngest. All under 21. You all don’t have enough experience to handle this kind of battle.”
Jeb said some very filthy words. “I can handle it! I am 18, that makes me a man! -
Jack cut off his grand-nephew. “The reason we don’t want you to go is because it was hoped your generation would never get mixed up in this nasty, bloody feud.” He walked over to Jeb and put a hand on his shoulder. “This family does not want to drag another generation into hell.”
“I’m sure the Jones family will bring their younger generation.” Jeb said.
Jack slapped him. “Boy, you need to learn to shut-up. You need to know when to quit.” He put his arm around Jeb. “This family is not the type to force innocent blood into battles.”
“I have an idea. Jeb, James and Troy need to stay here and defend this house. I know the Jones family will cause trouble.” John said.
Jeb nodded. “I was thinking about doing that anyway.” John and Jack laughed.
Josh Davis spoke up. “Will the Lafitte family come join the fight?”
John laughed even harder. “It seems they got caught up in some nasty business on Lafitte Island. Courtesy of Fred Norwich. Lord knows what plans that man has in store.”
Jack shook his head. “I don’t want to know. That man is the most devious person I’ve ever met.”
John clapped his hands. “All right enough talking. Everybody pack up and get ready. We leave in 15 minutes. We will be in Juliette in 2 hours.”