flash lit up the chapel as Marven Rosenbush captured the Reverend Baxter’s
it,” he said, looking past his Nikon at the corpse. “That’s the money shot.”
Reverend’s eyes opened wide and his head flopped over the back of the pew. From
the side where he was standing, it appeared to Marvin that a stream of tears
ran down the side of his face, almost like the Reverend had been moved
emotionally by the architecture of the cathedral ceiling.
inspection, however, revealed the source of the liquid to be a puncture in his
right cheek bone. A steady trickle of blood flowed down the side of his face,
pausing at the edge of his chin before falling in drops onto the collar of his
tan suit jacket. Down on his chest, two red splotches slowly expanded across
the front of his light blue button down shirt.
believe the old son of bitch finally got what was coming to him.” Marvin said.
He turned to Jim, who was standing a few feet away, still contemplating the
situation. All he could do was shake his head.
doors opened and a pair of paramedics strolled down the aisle, followed by a
new contingency of police officers. “Looks like you called me in the nick of
time,” Marvin said.
Marvin,” said one of the officers. “You guys can’t be here.”
yeah, yeah,” Marvin said. “We got what we came for, right Jim?”
yeah of course,” Jim said, though he wasn’t sure why Marvin had wanted a
photograph of the body. No one would ever publish such a gruesome image,
certainly not the Sentinel.
to the back wall of the chapel where the small stained glass window hung. Once
again, he looked at the chapel from the vantage point he had used during the
service. Now that the room was nearly empty, he had an unobstructed view of the
Reverend’s body lounging with one arm draped across the back of the pew with
his head tilted back, like he’d fallen asleep during the services and no one
had bothered to wake him.
strolled over, still fidgeting with his camera. “Please tell me you saw the
whole thing,” he said.
killing me, Jimmy.”
out of the chapel doors and into the blazing heat of mid-day.
over,” Jim said. “The service was over. I wanted to beat the rush.”
Jimmy, Jimmy. What have you done? You may never get this close to the action
the story,” Jim said. “I’ve got the description of the scene. I picked up some
quotes while I was waiting for you to get here. I have all I need.”
we’ll run your story on the front page, but Jesus man, you could’ve seen the hit
first-hand. I would have given a month’s salary to have seen that.”
it,” Marvin said. “Damnit, I should’ve been here.”
there’s always the Reverend’s funeral.
Maybe someone will got shot at that one too.”
Marvin said hopefully. “There’s always a chance.”
As they moseyed
down the sidewalk toward Marvin’s car, they noticed a lone patrol car parked on
the street by the funeral home. Two police officers sat in the front seat. One,
the driver, was filling out information on a clipboard balanced on the steering
wheel. The other officer leaned over the back seat talking to someone. Marvin
and Jim shifted their gaze to the man in custody, Lester Woods.
that’s the shooter,” Marvin said. “He’s still here.” He slapped Jim on the
shoulder with the back of his hand. “Hey, knock on the window. Make him look
serious?” Jim asked.
“I want to
snap his picture,” Marvin said. “You have to seize these kinds of
opportunities, Jim.” He crouched down to line up a shot of Lester through the
window, but before Jim could knock, the officer in the passenger seat noticed
the two reporters and shifted back into his seat. He motioned to the driver,
who dropped the clipboard and turned the key in the ignition. A second later
the siren whined and the car sped down the road. Lester never even turned his
Marvin said. “We’re a split second behind on everything today.”
It was all
a blur. As Lester sat in the squad car, his mind replayed the shooting over and
over again, but the images refused to appear in any kind of logical order. More
than images he remembered the anger, the hatred, the whirling around and seeing
the face of that man who never bothered to look him in the face. But he looked
up this time. Lester saw his weasel face
and this time he was the one with fear in his eyes. Surprise too. Then a spark
from the barrel and him pinned down to the pew, with blood pouring out of the
holes in his face and chest.
different than the other times, the other lifeless bodies he’d seen in Vietnam.
It wasn’t as bad really. It was cleaner. Less damage. And this time he knew for
sure the person he was killing deserved what he got.
notice the people running away. The pews
just seemed to empty all at once. Laverne remained by his side, but only for a
moment, just long enough to lean forward and spit on the Reverend’s suit. Then,
she was gone too and the two policemen were running toward him.
slipped out of his hand and banged down on the floor and still he kept staring
into the Reverend’s lifeless eyes and he knew he’d finally done what he’d set
out to do. He felt compelled to deliver the message he’d intended to give the
Reverend before he’d fired the first shot, but that had somehow gotten lost in
the rush of adrenaline.
done hurting my family.”
thing he knew, the police had his arms behind his back. At first he didn’t
notice the handcuffs biting into his wrists. He fixed his stare on the dead man
in the pew.
What did he
expect to see? He wondered later as he sat in the back of the police car,
staring out the window. Did he think evil spirits would rise up out of the
bullet holes? Or would the Reverend himself rise up like the anti-Christ? In
Lester’s experience, ghosts only haunted a man in his dreams.
officers led him out of the chapel, leaving the corpse in the pew. Lester
willed himself not to look back, but his eyes would let go of the Reverend and
his head turned and he watched him all the way to the chapel door. Then Lester
remembered Lucy and his focus shifted to her coffin at the front of the chapel.
She was all alone up there now, and tears came into his eyes.
out into the heat of the day toward the vehicle that awaited them. It was more
of a stagger than a march. A few people were still running around on the lawn
like they didn’t know where to go, like they didn’t know what to do. So, they
just stood their gawking at him.
Let them gawk, he
thought. Get a good look at the man who
killed the Reverend.
the crime scene?” One of the officers spoke for the first time. “We can’t leave the body unattended can we.”
“Get him in
the car while I call it in,” the other man said. “Then I’ll go back and guard
the body until the support team gets here.”
who spoke first helped Lester into the back of the waiting vehicle. It wasn’t
like the other times he had been thrown into the back of a police car. The last
time, he’d been beaten bloody after he was in cuffs and the cop deliberately
smashed his head against the roof of the car before he was pushed into the back
seat. This time, the guy handled him as gently as a baby. He even put his hand
over his head to make sure he didn’t bump his head. Looks like I’m getting the star treatment, he thought.
shut and he was alone with his thoughts. He could hear a cop in the front seat speaking
into his radio set and then he went outside again and the other one climbed
into the passenger seat and looked at Lester. “You okay back there?”
shrugged. “Cuffs are a little tight.”
around. I’ll loosen them for you.”
looked up in surprise, but did as he was told. He looked for the first time at
the face of the man who had him custody, a man whose face he recognized from
how have you been?”
smiled and shook his head. “Better than you, I suppose. Listen, I’m going to leave these cuffs off you
for now, but I’ll have to put them back on when we get to the station.
Lester said. He rubbed his wrists. “Thanks.”
happened back there, Lester?”
guess I shot the Reverend.” He could already hear sirens in the distance.
Ellis said. “You shot him alright. You’re gonna need a lawyer.”
okay. I can tell you who to call. There’s only one man in town for a black man
to call when he’s accused of murder.”
you mean, “accused.” I shot him in the face.” Lester said, smiling. He leaned
forward and rested his arms on the back of the seat. “And, do you know what,
Ellis? I’m glad I killed him. I think if I had it to over, I’d shoot him
waited in the same room where he’d met so many other of his clients, the same
room where he’d first me with the Reverend and before that Ernie Smith.
door opened and Lester shuffled in wearing chains and an orange jump suit. He wore an expression of resignation on his
face and more creases than should exist on a man of thirty six. He took a seat
across the table from Melvin, saying nothing even after the guard removed his
handcuffs and left the room.
gonna say something?” Melvin asked.
nothing to say.”
chuckled. “Those are beautiful words to hear coming from one of my clients. Too
bad you already did too much talking.”
“Who said I
was your client? I already have a lawyer.”
that Yahoo from Davis and Campbell? He’s trying to cash in on your fame. You
need a criminal attorney.”
“Ain’t you trying
to cash in on my fame?” Lester asked.
shook his head. “That’s beside the point. The problem for you is you just
executed a man in a chapel in front of 300 witnesses. You’ll be lucky if you
don’t get the electric chair. You need the kind of lawyer who can get you out
just so happens that I have developed a strategy that will not only keep you
from frying up like a nice piece of bacon, but that will allow you to walk out
of here a free man.”
puffed out his lips and furrowed his brow. “Weren’t you the Reverend’s lawyer?”
until you shot him. His death cleared up any conflicts of interest that I might
have had. I checked with the bar association and they agreed.”
are you going to use me if I don’t have any money and my other lawyers are
going to get anything else that comes in?”
kidding? Publicity. If I get you out of this, they’re liable to make a movie about
they do that?”
matter. I’m going to do something that I almost never do for anyone. I’m going
to represent you pro bono. Now don’t tell anyone about this, now. I don’t want
all your relatives running down to my office trying to get me to work for
course,” Melvin said, “You can’t do any more talking to the police unless it’s
through me. It’s going to be all I can do to get that little statement you made
to Ellis Burkey thrown out of court. As far as I’m concerned, you were
illegally detained out of the presence of your lawyer. Did he read you the
rights, did he read you your rights?”
hell were you thinking talking to the police? Don’t you know the spot that puts
even remember what I said.”
That’s more like it. That’s the kind of thing I want you to tell the
psychologist. I’ve got an appointment all set up.”
want to talk to a psychiatrist.”
good, because this guy doesn’t have a medical degree, but if you want to get
out of jail you’re going to talk to him.”
“I guess it
doesn’t matter at this point. Whatever happens is going to happen.”
Melvin said, pushing his chair back and standing. “I like your spirit. It makes
things easier for me when my client doesn’t have any expectations.” He banged
on the cell door. “I’d rather you feel pleasantly surprised after we win than
to try and to kill me if we lose.”
opened and Melvin slipped past the guard and left the room.
of Interviews conducted by Louella Harper 4/30/80 - 5/11/1980
of cup and saucer is audible on tape)
Can you tell me what happened?
Well, we were sitting in our pew and then Lester shot Will Baxter. That’s about all I know.
Was there any indication beforehand that Lester might take matters into his own
Well, he was sad of course, but he certainly never said anything about it to
me. I was as surprised as anyone. Are you sure you won’t have a cup?
Louella: Did you know Lester Woods was going to shoot Reverend
Baxter at the funeral?
Tisdale: If I had known, I would have told the police.
Louella: It’s strange. Your eulogy was more about the Reverend
than it was about the girl.
Tisdale: I wanted to celebrate Lucy’s short life and mourn her
death, but in my mind, funerals are for the living. They are about offering comfort and, in this
case, soothing angry spirits. I knew
people would be angry. People get angry
when someone close to them dies, especially a young person. Some lash out. I’d heard rumors over the years (about the
Reverend). I knew he was being
blamed. It did not take a genius to
realize that someone might be tempted to seek retribution.
Louella: That’s why you picked the story of Cain and Abel?
Tisdale: It seemed appropriate. Unfortunately, it did no good.
the funeral, Cassandra was very upset. I
heard she tried to crawl into the casket.
I was wondering, though, why you escorted her out of the chapel instead
of back to her pew.
Jan: If you
knew Cassandra, you would know she wasn’t going to stop screaming and moaning
any time soon, not while there was an audience. I figured it was just better
Louella: By moving her, you may have saved her
life. She was taken out of the line of fire.
never would have hurt Cassandra.
So, in a way, you removed the last obstacle, allowing Lester to kill the Reverend.
her head): The woman was crying. Her daughter had just died and she was in
hysterics. I used my best
judgement. What would you have done?
don’t know. I might have felt like
murdering Reverend Baxter.
wasn’t acting. He can be a very emotional man, especially since the war. He just got carried away in the moment.
brought a gun to the funeral home.
doesn’t prove anything.
Laverne: Do I need my lawyer?
Louella: I’m a writer, not a prosecutor. I just want to know the truth about what
happened. My readers will want to know
the truth about what happened.
Laverne: I don’t know what happened.
Louella: I thought from your vantage point—right beside Lester—you
might have seen something.
Laverne: I don’t remember.
Louella: Did you know Lester brought the gun to the funeral home.
Laverne: I’m done answering questions.
Once again, Louella found herself in the passenger seat of “the
mystery machine,” as Jim had begun referring to his van. She spoke of the difficulty of getting people
to tell the truth due to the fear of prosecution.
“Sometimes I can’t tell if people are playing dumb, or if they’re
just plain dumb.”
“Maybe a little of both,” Jim said.
“Who am I to judge, though?
I am, admittedly, the person who wants to blab all the gory details to
the world. I don’t suppose I can blame
them for wanting to protect themselves.”
“You suspect a conspiracy?” Jim asked.
“I don’t know whether or not a group of people met and discussed a
specific plan, but I do think there was an understanding that someone had to stop
the Reverend before he wiped out the rest of the family. If that’s the truth, I think society or my
readers at least could be made to understand that they did what they thought
they had to do. But I can’t make anyone
understand anything if I don’t know the whole truth.”
“What about this next interview?” Jim asked. They were on the way
to the law offices of Davis and Campbell in Dadeville, about thirty minutes
outside of Jackson City. After weeks of
playing phone tag, Louella would finally be allowed to interview Lester via a
phone call that would be closely monitored by his lawyers.
“He’s already been to trial.
In the eyes of everyone, justice has been meted out. I hope that means he will engage me in meaningful
“You think he’s going to suddenly open up and tell you exactly how
he planned and executed a man in front of 300 witnesses?”
“It may take more than one meeting,” Louella said.
That sat for a moment in silence.
Jim watched the road while Louella looked out her window at the buildings
and parking lots flashing by her window.
“Do you think,” Jim began, “that they did it in the chapel to send
a warning to Ernie Smith? You know, “This is what happens when you keep messing
with us.” I mean, you can only push people
so far before they break, and from what I can tell, he’s cleaned up his act
since that day. He’s focusing on his one
legitimate business, the funeral home.”
“Whether it was intended or not, they certainly sent him a powerful
message,” Louella said.
A few minutes later, they entered the law offices of Davis and
Campbell. A receptionist ushered them
into a conference room, where three men in business suits were already sitting
on one side of the longest glass table Louella had ever seen.
The men stood and greeted them cordially. One of the partners, Lee Davis, a stocky man
in a white suit with a head full of straw blonde hair, introduced himself as
well as two younger men: an associate and a paralegal. Mr. Davis apologized that his partner, Steve
Campbell, was off on a fishing trip.
“And what about Melvin Little?” Jim asked. “My understanding was that he was one of Mr.
Woods’s lead attorneys.”
“I did speak to Melvin, and invited him to attend this meeting,
but unfortunately he had other business today.
You have to understand, however, that this was merely a courtesy. Although
Melvin represented Mr. Woods at trial, he is primarily a criminal attorney.
Here at Davis and Campbell, we have other specialties.”
“Such as?” Louella asked. The fact that Melvin was absent
indicated to her that she would not be receiving good news. The little weasel
tended to appear only when there was an opportunity to take credit or glory.
“We offer an array of specialties here at Davis and Campbell from
personal injury to estate planning,” Davis said, “but recently we have begun a
shift into contracts and entertainment.”
“Uh oh,” Jim said, “Here it comes.”
“And in what capacity are you representing Mr. Woods?” Louella
“Excellent,” Davis said. “We’ll get right to business. As you know, recent events have transformed
Mr. Woods into something of a local celebrity.
We intend to see that he is able to monetize his fame to the maximum
“How have you done that so far?” Louella asked.
“Well, we are still in the beginning stages, but we have had a lot
of interest coming from local businessmen wanting him to be a spokesman for
their companies. Just yesterday we heard
from a business that specializes in home defense and from several gun and pawn
“Let me get this straight,” Jim said. “You’re going to put him in TV
“Television is certainly one aspect of it, yes, but I’m talking
about various media campaigns, including print ads and, of course, personal
appearances, grand openings and so forth.”
Louella put her elbow on the table and rested her chin on her
fist. “And how do you think we fit into
“Well, that’s what we’re here to discuss. We understand you wish
to talk to our client, that in fact you need him to give you his side of the
story, or else you don’t have a book.
We’re here to discuss the terms of that deal.”
“There seems to have been some sort of miscommunication,” Louella
said. “My understanding was that I would
be allowed to speak to Mr. Woods today.”
“Oh, you will. You will,” Davis said. “Just as soon as we have come to a
satisfactory arrangement. My client
feels fifty thousand dollars is an appropriate amount of remuneration for his
Louella looked at Jim, who could only shake his head. “Mr. Davis,” Louella said. “I don’t pay people for information.”
“I can assure you that Mr. Woods is willing to offer his full
cooperation. And this, I might add,
comes at much personal risk and against the advice of his attorneys. My understanding is that double jeopardy may
not apply in this case.”
“Let me be perfectly clear,” Louella said in a much louder voice. “I do not pay for information.”
“Ms. Harper, you stand to make millions from this book. I don’t think it’s unfair…”
“I stand to make millions or I stand to make nothing, but what I
certainly don’t stand for is going around paying people for stories that may or
may not be true. If I start doing that,
then I don’t stand for anything. Now, I think our business has concluded. Thank
you for your time.” She stood up, flung her
purse over her shoulder, and was walking out the door before Jim realized what
was happening. He raced to catch up with
So did Lee Davis, who left his flunkies at the table staring at
each other. “Wait,” he called. “I’m sure
we can work something out.”
Louella wheeled around on him so fast he almost ran into her. “I don’t want some paid-for, lawyer-approved
version of the truth, Mr. Davis. The
truth is not something I am willing to pay for at any price. That’s not how this is going to work. If your client doesn’t wish to speak to me
freely and without payment, then his side of the story will not be told. Now, you tell your client that I am still
willing to hear him out, but my business with your office is done. I hope never to see you again. Good day.”
Jim ran ahead to push open the door for her, and she walked out,
leaving Davis in the lobby, speechless for the first time in his life.
of Interview conducted by Louella Harper 5/13/1980
Waverly (Friend of the Family)
I almost went to that funeral. I thought
they were going to kill him at the cemetery.
his forest green suit, Lester remained indistinguishable from the rest of the
crowd. He sat hunched in the first pew
with his elbows propped on his knees, holding his face in his hands, and gazing
down at the stained hard-wood floor.
next to him, closest to the narrow aisle between the pews and the plastered wall,
fanning herself with her memorial bulletin.
The preacher’s eulogy was late starting, and she stared up at the empty
pulpit as if she could will the service into action. The sooner it started, the sooner it would be
over, and they could all escape this furnace that they called a chapel.
on the other side of Lester, closer to the center aisle. With her arms crossed over her chest, she
reminded him of a coiled snake. She
looked around at foreign faces with an expression of utter contempt, while muttering
all these people. They don’t even know
“This is a
good turnout,” Jan answered across Lester’s hunched back. “They came to show respect to Lucy and to the
blew a puff of air threw her lips. “That’s
not why they came,” she said.
attention was drawn to the front of the center aisle as the last among the
viewing line made their way to the casket, including Cassandra, who let out a
great mournful howl.
baby. Oh my poor baby,” she wailed. “I’m not gonna let you go.”
turned his head to watch as Cassandra crawled into the coffin. She was bent at the waist, her top half
enveloped in satin, her arms wrapped around her dead daughter’s torso, while her
legs kicked the air. Wilson and another
man stood on either side of her, grasping her elbows and trying to pull her out
won’t go. I won’t go,” Cassandra
cried. “I have to stay with my baby
Jan ran over
and helped coax her out of the box. She
wrapped her arm around her shoulders and soothed her with quiet words. Rather than leading the hysterical woman to
her pew, she led her back down the aisle and out of the building.
the commotion without expression. He had
already paid his official respects to Lucy.
He had looked down at the little girl’s face, swollen with death and
whatever chemicals Ernie’s people had used to preserve her for viewing. He had reached into the casket to caress the
turquoise scarf Jan had given her last Christmas, now used to camouflage her
damaged neck. He had felt a flood of
anger at the thought of the car coming down on her and he had gripped the sides
of the casket so hard that the blood left his fingertips.
open coffin lid, he had seen the object of his rage. The Reverend was sitting at the end of the
second pew, dabbing his forehead with a cotton handkerchief. The man hadn’t bothered to show respect for
yet another disposable member of his family.
He hadn’t bothered to view his handiwork. But he’d had the nerve to show up at the
funeral in yet another flagrant disregard for basic human decency. He’d come to flaunt his freedom from the
tendrils of the American justice system and to thumb his nose at the community
that saw fit to judge him.
eyes locked onto him as he made his way back to his seat—a seat almost directly
in front of the Reverend. He watched him
dab the side of his face with the handkerchief and some part of Lester hoped it
was more than just the temperature that made him sweat. He hoped it was panic akin to that of a rat
trapped by a pack of hounds, but sadly there was nothing in the Reverend’s eyes
that indicated fear. He was just
hot. And bored. And he knew that there was nothing and no one
in the chapel who could, or would, touch him.
sat down, he could feel the evil presence against his back. It was the reason he leaned forward, rested
his elbows on his knees, and stared at the floor. He had to keep himself together, for Lucy’s
minister, Reverend Tisdale, rose in the pulpit to deliver the eulogy. “Good morning,” he began.
congregation murmured a response.
“Today is a
sad day,” Reverend Tisdale said.
“Nothing can be as sad as the death of a child, but we must remember to
allow some joy into our hearts because today the Lord calls another angel up to
sprinkling of “Amens” emerged from the congregation, but the words sank into
Lester’s belly like a dagger. Joy was
not an emotion he could feel, only the pain of loss.
the Lord that sent Lucy to Heaven,” Laverne hissed.
and her mother Hannah, sitting on the other side of Laverne, heard the
remark. “Quiet girl,” Hannah said.
“How can I
stay quiet when he’s sitting in this room?
Sitting in the pew right behind us?”
She looked at Lester. “At the end
of the pew, with a cushion of space between him and anyone else.”
interrupting the sermon,” Hannah whispered.
tilted his head to the right, tried to see the Reverend with his peripheral
vision. He could see the man had his arm
stretched across the back of the pew, just as relaxed as he could be. He tried to shift his focus back to the
preacher in the pulpit, but all he could think about was the man sitting behind
him, the man who called himself a preacher, but who adhered to principles other
than those espoused by Christianity, to selfishness and personal enrichment.
“I know we
aren’t in regular services,” Reverend Tisdale continued, “but today I’d like to
share a lesson from Genesis. We are all
familiar with the story of Cain and Abel…”
restlessness seemed to pass through the congregation as individuals looked
around at neighbors and shifted in the pews.
that both Cain and Abel had delivered offerings unto the Lord. We know that Cain had offered a share of his
crops and Abel offered meat from his flock, and we know that Cain became very
jealous when the Lord preferred Abel’s offering. The Lord saw this and said to Cain, ‘Why are
you angry? If you only do what is right, will you not be accepted? Sin is
crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over
it.” Reverend Tisdale paused to allow
the last sentence to sink in, before he repeated it. “Sin desires to have you, but you must rule
known Reverend Tisdale for many years.
He had started as a youth pastor at his church when Lester was a young
boy, back before he started running around with friends and broke free from the
routine of regular church attendance.
Lester recognized, was the type of pastor to use the Bible to try to influence
his congregation in a very real way. He
sought not to teach general lessons or trumpet abstract ideals, but instead to
apply a sermon to a specific person or problem within the community. Lester felt as if the man was speaking
directly to him.
was the angel on his shoulder, what did that make Laverne? Lester glanced over
and saw her mumbling her argument under her breath. He could see the muscle movement beneath her
lower lip as she leveled her eyes at the man in the pulpit. If Tisdale hoped to influence her, then she
was having none of it.
know how Cain responded. He was a petty
and jealous man, who wanted to Lord’s attentions all to himself, so he invited
Abel to the fields and murdered him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel?’ and Cain replied, ‘I do not
know, Lord. Am I my brother’s keeper?’”
Tisdale gazed down to the second pew, where another Reverend was sitting. Lester turned his face to the side and peeked
back at the next pew. He knew he
couldn’t look at the man directly, but he had to see the reaction on Baxter’s
face when he was called out in the sermon.
But Baxter only sat there, his arms draped across the back of the pew,
looking up at the preacher—a real preacher—and wearing the same smug look on
said, ‘What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the
ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its
mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. The ground will no longer yield your crops
and you will be a restless wanderer on the earth.’
“Now Cain could
not bear this punishment. He was
scared. He begged the Lord to let him
stay. He thought people would seek
revenge and come and kill him. But the
Lord said to him, ‘You are safe. Anyone
who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over,’ and he put a mark on
Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.”
reached out into the air, directing his hand at Reverend Baxter. He made an x in
the air with the pad of his thumb, delivering unto the Reverend the mark of
the way it has to be,” Tisdale continued.
“That’s the way it always has to be.
Any man who kills his brother will be made to suffer, but it is not man’s
judgement to give but God’s. God will
deliver his judgement.”
good enough,” Laverne said.
moved on to the benediction, Lester turned to Laverne. “What have you got to say?”
more of us will die while we wait for the Lord’s judgement? Maybe the Lord will act through one of us.”
“I suppose that’s
possible,” Lester said. People were
standing now, moving out of the pews.
Lester shook his head. “What is
seven times vengeance?”
Lester said, “Let’s go.”
then, and Laverne turned to Baxter, still lounging in his pew, waiting for the
crowd to thin, so he could stroll out of the chapel and into freedom. The look of contentment on his face was more
than Laverne could bare. Tension entered
her face and neck and she pointed down at him and cried out, “You killed my
sister and you’re gonna pay for it.”
didn’t even look at her. There was a
slight shaking of his head, and he smiled.
saw anything else, maybe a flash of movement, the blur of Lester’s green jacket,
the glint of gun metal, and then nothing.
He never heard another sound. The
first bullet passed through his brain before sound could reach his ears, and he
was already dead when the next two rounds entered his body.
Go to Chapter 26