For the next two days, each of the men began working on their carefully laid plans. Vacation time was put in, tools and materials were gathered, and a room where they could conduct their grim business was being prepared. Very little was said between any of them during this time, for what had needed to be said had come out over the poker table.
There was a different kind of storm coming to Bryer Street, one in which the clouds would rain crimson.
John and his brother were the most active. While Rob helped in gathering what they would need, it was the brothers, father and uncle of the victim, who were the most invested in the plan.
John slaved for the comforts of his family. Over the last few years, his job had come before his personal life, so that the bills were always paid and food was always on the table. It was something that he loathed, but it was also something that had to be done. As a result, he found himself often at the breaking point.
Donnie had recently returned from a tour overseas. As a soldier, he had seen things that most people could only imagine, and even then, only in their worst nightmares. Like his brother, he suffered from the years of duty, but, in a more personal way. He fought evil on a day to day basis, fueled by his emotions of grief and repulsion, so that the world could be a little bit better place to live.
And while the things he had done haunted him, he actively sought ways to come back from the nightmares that had chased him home. Had a former resident of their community still been around, he would have been able to appreciate the ways Donnie used his time. When not with friends and family, he was an active instructor and mentor at the local halfway house for displaced children.
As they finished putting in the last nail to their project, John grabbed his cell and called the number to third member of their group, a man who had something just as personal at stake in all of this.
“Hello,” came the answer of his raspy voice.
“It’s ready,” John said flatly. “How are things on your end?”
“The missus is packing up to go to her mother’s,” he said quietly. “Though she’s none too happy about it.”
“We’ll work that out after…” John’s voice lingered for a moment before the other cut in.
“No, I understand. I’m not worried ’bout her now. She’s been mad at me before. How’s Rob doing with his part?”
John glanced over to his brother, who had similarly called the final member of their group. Donnie caught his inquisitive glance, smiled, and gave the thumbs up.
“Everything’s going as planned.”
The silence broke on the other end, as the other suddenly broke into a fit of coughing, all through which John patiently waited.
“Are you sure you’re good to go Davie,” he asked with concern.
“I’m good, John. I mean, I’m hurtin’, but I’m good enough for what’s to come.”