- A Serialized Novel -

Sorting out Carson's legacy only leads to more questions.

Author’s Note: Now that the past has been clarified, time to go back to the present.

Always About the Money

“You’re not going to shoot me here. There’s too many people. You won’t get away with it,” Carson said, swallowing. He wished he felt more confident about that. Having the last if his memories come back had distracted him, allowing the other man to get close, and now the gun was jammed up under his ribs. He didn’t know if there was a silencer or not—what little he knew about guns was because of hunting—but he didn’t know that it made any difference.

“Don’t push your luck, kid. I’ve had plenty of time to think over what I did back then and plenty of time to reconsider leaving you alive. Sure, if I’d killed you, too, they might have hunted me down, but then again, I wasted a lot of time chasing down your father’s lies. He had to have taken the money. There’s no one else left, and believe me, when I got done with them, they were talking.”

Carson didn’t doubt that. He had a feeling that he was in for the same kind of torture. “Look, I don’t know anything about the money. Dad never said he had any. He… The only thing I can think of is the car, and he swore he bought that outright.”

“He was lying. Should have known better than to think the driver would ever tell the truth. He was pretty smart, getting himself caught and serving his time. He made sure the cops never thought he was the one with the money. He even turned on the rest of us, the rat.”

Carson shook his head. He was glad his father had cooperated with the police. He didn’t want to think of the man as some hardened criminal. He just wanted to believe there had been some good in the man. “I don’t think my dad was that smart. None of us are. We’re plain, simple people. You certainly fooled my grandpa, and he was the one that should have known better.”

“He was an idiot.”

His grandfather had been a good man. Misguided, maybe, but still a good man. He’d fallen for the ruse that the killer set up, he’d been willing to believe that Carson had killed his father and that his father had done terrible things to him, but that didn’t mean that the man was an idiot. He’d jumped to a conclusion, the wrong one, and Carson had kind of paid for it, but Grandpa had done what he thought was best, had tried to help and protect Carson the only way he could—by helping him forget.

“So was my father. Face it, there is no money. Or if there was, but it got spent a long time ago. The car is all I’ve got, and it’s a wreck.”

“Liar,” the man snarled, and the gun jammed deeper into Carson’s side. He didn’t look down, though he doubted that he could see anything if he did. “I should kill you right now.”

“There are too many people around, and it still won’t get you that money.” Carson wished he was braver, that his words were true. He didn’t think there was any money, not now and not then. That didn’t mean that he would live, though.

“Take me to the car. Maybe that bastard hid something in there.”

If he thought he’d survive the trip to the Woodsman, he would have tried taking the killer there, but he knew better than to walk away from the crowd—and, more importantly, he didn’t know where the truck and the trailer were. “Mackenna went through and documented it for the restoration. She didn’t find anything. There’s nothing to find.”

“Ah, yes. The girlfriend. She doesn’t leave you alone much. Me, I can’t stand them clingy types. Then again, that rack of hers almost makes it worth it. Who’d have thought those mechanic overalls hid a body like that?”

“Shut up.” Carson would kill the bastard just for talking about her. He was not getting anywhere near her. That would not happen. She could handle herself, probably better than he could, and she’d be fine without him trying to protect her, but he still wouldn’t encourage that idea. If they left the crowd, he’d try and lead the killer in the other direction, but he was still hoping to use the fact that they weren’t alone to save himself.

“Sensitive, are you?” The other man laughed. “If you don’t tell me what I want to know, then she might be worth using, but you can spare her that if you cooperate.”

“Honestly, if I knew, I’d tell you, but I don’t think there is any money.”


Carson winced as the gun poked him, convinced he was going to get shot again.

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