“He needs to die.” Amber cupped her hands around the mug of coffee in front of her at the kitchen table.
“I agree. And he will,” Allan said, reaching out to place a comforting hand on her arm. “I just don’t think we should rush into this without some planning. I don’t want to live the rest of my life in jail.” His sister heaved a huge sigh and Allan took a long sip of his hot coffee.
Looking around the kitchen he saw Amber had not changed very much even though their parents had been dead now for two years. Amber, his twin, had inherited the house from them, and he had gotten the farm. It had taken him almost a year to build his cabin out there, but it suited him just fine. It was quiet and nothing like Iraq, which is what he needed, although sometimes the nightmares came regardless of how tired he made himself in working on the cabin and the planting the field.
Amber had dark circles under eyes and she was a lot thinner than she used to be. He was worried about her. Since their parents had died in the car crash when Jonas James had run into them and then pushed their car over the cliff, insuring their deaths; Amber had not yet recovered. Her grief was still as raw and painful as it was when they had received the news. For the longest time they hadn’t know what had happened, but Jonas’ girlfriend at the time, had come to Amber and told her. It had taken Allan two hours to talk his sister out of hunting down Jonas and killing him then and there. It had taken him another hour to convince her to go to Sheriff Ford and telling him what Elizabeth Meyers had told her.
“How is he going to die?”
“I don’t know,” Allan answered honestly.
“When is he going to die?”
“I don’t know that either.”
“He’s out on bail.” Amber was staring into her coffee mug.
“But he can’t leave the state, Sissy.”
“Why aren’t you upset? Why aren’t you helping me plan?” Amber lifted accusing blue eyes to him. “Have you lost your edge?”
“No, I haven’t lost my edge.”
“Have you had your fill of killing then?”
Allan nodded, “I hope I never have to kill anyone else in my life.”
“But he killed Mommy and Daddy!”
“Amber, Jonas admitted he was drunk and killed them. He didn’t argue with the Sheriff or even try to get out of being arrested.”
“He isn’t suffering!”
“We don’t know that.” Amber cocked her head to one side like she used to do when she was a child and looked at him intently.
“What do you mean?” she finally said, her voice a little softer.
“Neither one of us know if he has nightmares about that day. What he did was wrong. He knows it. He took the lives of two innocent people he knew all his life out of drunken fear. Jonas may re-live that experience in his dreams or every time he takes a drink. Remember, everyone was talking about how Jonas stopped drinking not too long after the car was found. He doesn’t even smoke weed any more. Jonas is suffering in ways you can’t imagine.”
“I never thought of that.” Amber fell silent for several long seconds. “Is that what you’re going through because of the war?”
Allan leaned forward and put his forearms on the table, pulling his coffee mug closer. “Yes.”
“But you were killing the enemy.”
“Yes, but you never knew what was going to be in a house when you went in to clear it out. Sometimes innocent people were in there – women and children. Sometimes the woman had guns hidden in their skirts and you had to kill them. Sometimes men were under all that covering and used this is shoot you in the back.
“Killing someone takes a piece of your Soul away, Amber, even if it is to protect your life and the lives of the people around you. I would kill to protect you in a heartbeat, and to protect myself. I don’t want you to lose any part of your Soul, or your humanity.”
“I miss them so much, Allan,” Amber said, new tears streaming down her face.
“You have to let them rest, Amber. Why don’t you come to the field with me. We’ll lock up here and just get away from the house for a little while.”
“What about my dogs?”
“We’ll take them with us, of course. The field is less than 20 minutes away and we can come and check on the house every day if you want.”
“Do you think it would help?”
“Maybe. It is worth a shot to try.” Amber nodded. Allan felt relieved. Maybe this was the beginning of Amber’s healing.