Year of the Butterfly

Life goes on.. even when you lose someone you love, even when you don't know what to think, how to feel, how to act and what to say. Everything will be okay, is what people like to say, but it won't and you know it. All you can do is bury your grief and hide, and hope on the surface at least life will appear to be normal. Is there any hope?
This is a story of a young girl battling with the loss of her father. Accompany her on a journey of self-discovery and misadventure as she negotiates her way through bereavement and processes the unanswered questions. Along the way, there are dreams, visions and schemes, at least one golden urn and a kidnapping. Her story is about a metamorphosis from pain into renewal and growth. Her destination is a place of hope with a promise of healing.


27. The Plot thickens

Mack is becoming nastier by the minute. It’s not clear if he's acting this way for the girls' benefit or for Barney's. Perhaps both. Perhaps he wants to make sure they all know he means business, that he's not playing around. All through dinner he played with his knife, whacking it into the tabletop, repeatedly taking it out and throwing it down again, and staring at the girls huddled on the mattress on the floor at the other end of the cabin. The girls kept looking at the loot covered by the sheet as if they were waiting for something to happen - and they were - and that made him suspicious. Barney, on the other hand, seems to be spending most of his time outside, smoking, and is obviously avoiding him. That annoys him a little but he's confident that Barney will do as he's told. 2 More days of this and then life will be very different. He’ll get his little sister and brother out of foster care and take them with him. He already has a good plan to delay splitting the ransom money and then he and Whitey will disappear with the kids. It’s a shame about Skinny but he's got a big mouth and he will just slow them down. Whitey is his best friend and he knows he can trust him absolutely. As for Barney, he's been useful but Barney's been getting on his nerves and he's not cut out for this lifestyle anyway. Mack knows he needs a fall guy - someone for the police to blame everything on and satisfy the girls' mother - that's why he needs to keep Barney involved and loyal.

"Hey Barnes, m'boy! Come on down here. I miss your pretty face." Barney comes thumping down the wooden steps and hangs his head goofily to one side. "You’re making me nervous hanging around outside the whole time. Is there anything going on up there that I should know about?" "No, Mack. Just enjoying the sights, you know." Mack is opening a bottle and pours some orange liquid into 2 coffee mugs. He offers one to Barney. "Then you'll be happy to know that we're going to take this little mermaid for a spin one day very soon. Then you'll see some sights, my friend!" Barney sits down and accepts the drink. "Where did you get this boat from?" "My grandfather was a fisherman. Worked his hands raw every day of his life for nothing. All he had that belonged to him and not the bank or some other fat cat is this boat. My father didn't have much use for it, but grandpa showed me how to work it and I’ve been taking care of it since he died. I gave it a nice new coat of paint just last winter. Maybe I knew I was going to need it, huh?" He sniggers and watches Barney's reaction. Barney can't handle alcohol very well and it amuses Mack to observe how quickly Barney gets drunk.

Barney’s smiling but he's not quite as drunk as Mack wants him to be. He still has questions. "So when are we taking out that money you banked yesterday, Mack?" Mack is smiling but his eyes are like ice cold steel. "Dude, do you really need me to explain what a 30-day notice account is? Lesson 1 in making your money work for you is put it into a high interest rate account for a short period of time and then, my friend, double the party time!" "Cool! I didn't know you could do that. What’s the next step?" Mack refills their mugs. "Well, now that we've got rid of the bigger stuff, the paintings and the you-know-what comes next. It’s been hard, but I’m working on a possible buyer for all of it. That should bring in a really nice bit of cash." Barney's smiling more broadly and is just starting to slur. "And what do we do with that money?" "That, my friend, will buy us some serious foreign currency." Barney's smile fades. "But you didn't say anything about going out of the country!" Mack is virtually hissing at him. "Nooo, dude! That’s not what I’m saying at all! If you buy a stack of dollars and pounds, you can sell them later when the exchange rate is good for us! We make more money that way, man! Stop stressing. I told you to trust me. Here, have some more whiskey." "Cheers!" "Cheers." "Man, what you know about money, you could've had a job like their father had!” He points disgustedly at the girls. “I bet you could've been even richer than them." "Actually I think I would look rather good in a suit, yeah! But trust me, pushing papers and sitting behind a desk isn't the life for me. I can't think of a bigger waste of time and--" There's a sound coming from above like someone's walking on the deck. The girls drop the book they're reading and look up expectantly. Mack and Barney look at each other and jump up from the table. Mack takes his knife out as Barney opens the cabin door slowly. They both run outside and the girls hear footsteps running in different directions overhead. Their hearts are beating loudly and fast...

It seems like an eternity has passed when Mack and Barney finally return. They look spooked and confused. Everyone clearly heard the footsteps, but there was nobody to be seen. Very strange. They check around the cabin and lock the door behind them.


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