Chapter Sixteen ~Travis~

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It's quiet in the car, and after what's transpired in the last 24 hours, a little quiet is exactly what I need. So much happened once we left the hospital. Sanders and I were immediately taken by helicopter to a remote Militia training facility located about three hours North of Leroy's home. We were greeted by a civilian employee who introduced himself as Pete. He immediately handed us keys to a vehicle, coordinates to Leroy's home, and a cell phone with one phone number in it...Jim's. Within twenty minutes, Sanders and I grabbed some food, took a leak, were geared up and on our way.

We couldn't get there fast enough. Even though Leroy's account of what transpired had Maddie taking off in his truck, I couldn't trust a word that came out of that piece of shit's mouth. My fears wouldn't be silenced until I got to the house and saw for myself that she wasn't one of the two remaining girls he'd been keeping there against their will.

I killed the lights once we arrived down the street from Leroy's home. GPS told us that his house would be about a half a mile down the road and on our left. Although the girl Jessica who escaped said there was no one back at Leroy's except the two females, we couldn't take any chances. We creeped down the street slowly, eyes scanning the area. As expected, the houses we passed were boarded up and overrun with debris and weeds.

When Leroy's house came into view, I pulled the car over to the left side of the street and killed the engine. Sanders and I exited the vehicle, pulling our weapons as we crossed the driveway of the house two doors down from Leroy's. We skirted along the front perimeter of the two homes and came to a stop once we reached the end of the property directly next door. With his house plainly in view I looked at Sanders, motioning for him to check the back and far side of the property, and that I would be checking the side directly facing us as well as the front of Leroy's home. Sanders creeped towards the backyard, while I crossed the driveway and stood directly beside one of the two windows facing it.

As expected, the window was partially boarded but also had heavy drapery hanging inside. Drapery is standard in most homes, but dark, heavy drapery is utilized in homes resided in by those illegally living off grid. It gives the occupants the ability to use lights at night without detection. The house was eerily quiet, and when I made my way over to the second window, I found more of the same.

As I reached the front of the house and looked around the corner, I was surprised to see Sanders already coming up around the other side, but he gave me the signal for "all clear." I motioned for him to move towards me. There was a front bedroom window he'd need to clear on his way towards the front door. I'd clear the large bay window once he was standing directly beside the front porch.

Sanders skirted the wall until he reached the bedroom window. He stopped, looked, listened, and just as he started to proceed forward, he quickly pulled back, the sound of metal clanking in the street stopping him in his tracks. Using the light from our shot guns, we both scanned the street until we saw the culprit, a skinny black cat pawing at an old metal can. Fucking cat.

Sanders took a second then moved forward, taking his place beside the concrete steps. Ready to proceed, I stepped up onto the concrete porch. Standing right beside the large bay window, I could see that it was completely boarded up with 2 x 4's; if there were any lights on inside, it was concealed with the large drapery I could see running along the rim of thick wood. I listened intently for any sounds coming from within the old dilapidated home and again heard nothing.

In a normal situation the eerie silence might be alarming, but in a situation like this, where the inhabitants are illegally living off grid and under the thumb of a shit bag like Leroy who gets his perverted rocks off by keeping his victims in a constant state of fear, anything but complete silence would be unusual. Not only that, but the two girls inside are probably in fear of Leroy's wrath when he returns and finds one of the three girls missing. Psychopaths like Leroy don't play fair. I'd put money on the fact that when one girl pisses him off, they all pay the price.

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