Hot and Published

A Novella

Bystander

© 2016 Jacqui Jacoby, Body Count Productions, Inc.
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Illegal Exit - A NovellaThe crime wasn’t in what Trevor Grant had done. It lay in what was done to him. Now, years after he lost his family, he faces life in prison for his part in the removing the guilty. In Hannah Parker’s mind, she has two strikes against her: she has too much money and too many brains. It is her experience where one of those might black list you, the two together was a life sentence.

When the chance comes to see the boys on trial, their cause becomes her cause. With the silent resources behind her, she will work the system, securing the release of the men she believes innocent of conscience, if not the crime.

Strangers coming from different backgrounds, Trevor with Gavin, will join Hannah. She will become part of their everyday living–holding Trevor close– even as they keep an escape plan in place in case anyone ever looks twice and asks “do you live around here?”

CHAPTER ONE

     Sitting in the jump seat of a van with mesh covered windows, Trevor Martin let them buckle him in, thinking how much he truly hated the orange color.

If he had a chance, it would be the last color he ever put on his body again.

“Why the transfer?” He asked the guard across from him. The driver stared at the road; the guard in front didn’t turn around.

“Because of shut the fuck up.”

“Clever,” Trevor smiled. “Can I know where I have to go at two o’clock in the morning? No one told me about this.”

“Is there a part of what I said you didn’t understand?”

Trevor closed his eyes and let his head fall back.

Over five years ago everything that was normal died. Trevor became a man he didn’t know he was. He did things he didn’t know he could and he never regretted them. Not even when he was caught, arrested, and tossed in a little cell by himself.

Tried with his cousin–Gavin–they were kept apart since the verdict was read. Not only they lost everyone else, they lost each other when each other was all they had. Raised as brothers who had shared everything from toys, to jeans, to date stories, now they were sharing one more thing.

They were serving a life sentence with no possibility for parole.

They were never going to see each other again.

The van pulled into a darkened lot near a wired and barbed fence. Trevor, with his back to the door, didn’t know it was Gavin loaded in, until Gavin had been secured across from him. He looked as shocked as Trevor felt.

It had been over a year since they had sat at that table with their lawyers. Gavin looked good. Thinner, but good. Even in orange.

They stared at each other.

“Any clue?”

Trevor thinned his lips tight and shook his head.

“Great,” Gavin sighed hard, looking to the side. “So not good.”

They drove for two hours in a silence as total as any Trevor could remember.

The terrain changed from city to rural until the van started up into the hills. Probably easier to throw the body in a ditch in the middle of nowhere.

New Jersey didn’t have the death penalty... at least not before now.

Mom. Aunt Lucy. Emily. Jayce. Caleb. Sarah. Baby Lucas.

The names that he never dared remember slipped into his mind.

All of them sharing a gravesite at Baywater Cemetery. Mom had been forty-two. Lucas was fifteen months, everyone else in between.

Trevor looked at Gavin.

“Remember the last Christmas?”

Gavin smiled and nodded his head. “Mom tried that turkey she got on discount.”

“Piece of leather with wings,” Trevor laughed. “God, it was awful.”

“Hey, shut the fuck up back there.”

“Why?” Trevor snapped, turning to look at the guard. “Harder to shoot us in here than out there?”

The guard had his hand on his gun, but backed down.

“You never told her,” Gavin said.

“She tried so hard and was so proud. I couldn’t take that from her and you should talk. You had seconds.”

They both, shackled to the floor, laughed hard.

“Regrets?” Trevor asked.

Gavin looked to the back of the van and then at Trevor, his chin tilted and he grinned.

“I still think we should have gone to IHOP.”

They were arrested in a Denny’s. Trevor smiled as the van pulled off and took a dirt road.

It stopped in a clearing and the lights went off.