Three days later after another surgery to rebuild her lower left leg, Ana sat in her hospital room half high on pain medication wondering if she could make her way through all that was to come. In the chair next to her bed was Owen who had not left her side since she was found in the desert. Between moments of clarity, Ana described her assailants and using footage from the store the police were able to set out an arrest warrant for the men. The sheriff told his men in person away from the feds and any reporters that, “I don’t want to see these guys walk into a courtroom as much as carried into the morgue.” Sheriff Harrold James wasn’t just the county sheriff he was Sam’s brother and Owen’s uncle. All the deputy sheriffs knew Owen and wanted to bring more than justice for Ana. While the sheriff’s department ran their search, Wendy and the others did their own.
Jacob “Jeb” Wilkens sat in the bed of his truck watching out into the desert waiting for a new thing to play with. His brother Andrew was behind the wheel sleep and his cousin Ricky Davie was near a tree pissing. Together they had killed and buried nearly twenty people out in the open land between the border and civilization. Jeb pulled a beer out of a cooler sitting next to him. He checked the cooler and saw they were nearly out of ice and worst of all beer. He tapped on the glass in the back of the cab and waited for Andrew to answer. When he didn’t, Jeb opened the sliding window, and with a red plastic cup he scooped up some of the cold ice water from the cooler and dumped it on Andrew who jumped hitting the horn. Ricky leaned into the truck and said, “keep it down asshole, or you’ll tell every wetback in Mexico we are here.” Andrew glowered at Jeb who just smiled saying, “we need to make an ice and beer run.” Andrew while trying to see into the cooler from the cab asked, “any left?” Ricky opened the cooler and pulled a beer. He closed the cooler saying, “nope.” He opened the beer and downed it in one go. Andrew flipped off Ricky. Jed watched the desert while drinking his beer. He slowly put the empty can down and said, “I think we need to do another run.” Ricky asked, “knocking on doors?”
Cathy left the hospital determined not to cry. She wanted to drive to Mexico and kill, but she wasn’t going to break down. Before she could start the car, she was in tears. She had spent the morning trying to help Ana connect with her father back in Mexico only to have him tell her he didn’t care and as far as he was concerned, she was dead to him. This call came just after she was told they would have to amputate her left leg below the knee. The damage done to Ana’s face along with the surgeries kept her from crying, but it couldn’t keep her from feeling the loss of her family. Cathy checked her phone and found ten messages from Wendy detailing the search for what she was calling, “grave fillers.” She thought about joining Wendy, but another part of her just wanted to crawl into bed and let the world spin around without her for a while.
Nancy Cassio sat in her kitchen reading her daughter Jessica’s paper on Brexit wondering if they should reduce the amount of computer time, they give her or just maybe increase it. Five years ago, Jessica’s fourth-grade teacher suggested she needed to be medicated for attention deficit disorder or ADHD and despite the lack of evidence she was told by the school she could either take the drug or take her out of school. Nancy and her husband Juan decided to homeschool not just Jessica but their younger son Logan who was in the first grade and their youngest Dana who wasn’t in preschool yet. Five years later and Jessica was running her own blog and writing at a college level making it difficult for Nancy to understand her daughter’s work. Juan bought Jessica a special camera, so she could turn her blog into a video blog and post it on YouTube, but Nancy didn’t like the idea that anyone could follow her. Juan had said, “you know she will just find a way to do this with us or without us, and when it's with us we can control the content.” She knew that this was just his way to give in to whatever she wanted and that someday it would bite them in the ass.
Juan had the day off and wanted to take the kids to the zoo, but Jessica wanted to work on her first YouTube video, so Nancy stayed home. Nancy used this time to grade papers and just maybe send a few of Jessica’s articles to a friend she had in the admissions department for the University of New Mexico. If she were accepted, then they would move the family but that was the future, and she liked to say she lived in the now. Nancy could hear Jessica talking to her camera. She could also hear something just outside. The near silence was broken with a thundering knock. As she went for the door, she thought she saw something move around the house. She opened the door and saw a large dark shape just before a sharp pain and black. She woke to see two white men in her house with the sound of Jessica screaming. She felt something strange as a shape bounced on her. She saw a strange man on her saying something, but she couldn’t make it out. The whole world seemed just out of tune. Soon it became clear that a third man was raping her in front of her daughter. The man holding Jessica had his arms around her with his right hand on her chest and his left down her jeans.
Andrew pulled onto a different part of the desert away from most of the people. They had just raided a house and took two women to have fun with along with all the booze the could find. Jeb and Ricky were happy to find what they called their Dos Equis door knock, but Andrew didn’t like what he found. The newspaper had their description from the last girl they thought they had killed. He knew that she was covered in DNA. They scouted this place out finding an abandoned mobile home that would work nicely as a place to party with the women. Jeb had forced a couple of Valiums into the younger woman’s mouth and held her until she stopped fighting while Ricky worked on what had to be the mother. After finishing another beer, Ricky was using the bottle to sodomize Nancy. For her part, Nancy had stopped screaming. Her face felt like it was on fire and deathly cold after repeated beatings. Jeb sat with Jessica in his lap fondling her whispering into her ear, “when I’m done you will thank me for making you a woman.”
Nancy woke to find she was outside. It was night, and she could see a million stars out. off in the distance she could hear a strange thump sound. She turned her head and saw two of the white men digging a hole. The men worked quietly as they dug deep. When they were finished the one called Jeb got out and picked her up. He tossed her in the hole with her arms taped behind her. The force of the fall broke her left forearm. The pain radiated up her arm. Then the smell of something both strange and sort of familiar. She realized it was gasoline. The man named Andrew said, “no DNA.” He tossed a lit match into the hole, and it did nothing. He tossed another with the same result. The man named Jeb came into view with a bottle that had a rag shoved into the opening. He said, “a party like this should start off with a cocktail.” He lit the rag and tossed the bottle into the hole. Nancy felt the flames immediately as she caught fire. She would eventually suffocate from the flames consuming all the oxygen before she burned to death. In those last seconds, she saw the beginning of time and everything that came after.