Todd’s fingers against his arm made Nick startle and flinch. He nodded to the corridor that would lead to the cell blocks. “Let’s get this over with.”
They made their way in silence to the group of jail cells where Todd had been kept a prisoner for a few days. There was no mistaking the fact a fire had ripped through this section of the prison. The odor of charred flesh mixed with burnt-out wood and seared metal hung in the air all around them. Black streaks stretched across the stone walls, marking a trail to where the fire must have originated.
Finally they came to a cell at the far end. As they approached, a dozen or so bodies were visible inside. They’d been neatly laid side by side. It was impossible to tell much about their identities, but some of their weapons and other odds and ends of metal were scattered among the remains. Nick stuck close as he and Todd moved around the grisly room. Nick saw evidence of injuries, telling him these people likely didn’t die in the flames, but this was their burial. Burning the bodies assured they wouldn’t become angry spirits.
Stopping beside one long skeleton, Todd stooped and picked up a handgun. He flipped it around and examined the butt. “This was my father’s.” Todd’s words were spoken in a hoarse whisper.
“There is nothing we can do here.” Nick slid an arm around Todd’s shoulders and was grateful when Todd allowed himself to be led away. The body the gun was beside could have been John Ruger. It was the right length, but there was nothing else to identify it. “Do you think whoever did this knew it would prevent them from becoming ghosts?”
Todd shook his head. “Doesn’t matter if they did or not.” He wiped a hand over his eyes and looked back. “That was the right thing to do, and something I never wanted to have to do to my dad.” He shrugged. “Whoever did it, for whatever reason, has my gratitude.”
Sentries on JMS Books
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