Thor walked down the stairs and entered the basement. He stood in front of the first cell and just stared at Bandit for a long moment.
Bandit stared back with cold, unfeeling eyes. Finally, after a long moment Bandit looked away from the other man.
Thor felt all kinds of angry. “You really are a bastard, you know that? There’s a special place in hell for men like you. How many more secrets are they going to find before this is all said and done?” He walked over to the second cell and called out, “Bender.”
The other prisoners stepped back and cleared a path for the man.
Thor took out his gun and held it on the crowd as he unlocked the door.
“What did they find?” one of the men asked.
“They found out about Nita and Rosie, didn’t they?” Bender asked.
“What about Nita and Rosie?” Boulder asked. “They died in an accident eight years ago.”
“They may have died eight years ago but from what I could see it wasn’t an accident.” Thor glared at the men in the cell. “How much guts does it take to force a car with two helpless women it off a bridge and then ride away?”
Bender snorted. “Except, he didn’t just ride away now did he?”
“Bender, you’d better keep your fuckin mouth shut! You swore to a blood oath remember?” Bandit yelled out in a hoarse whisper.
Bender turned and glared at the other man. “Fuck you, you murdering coward. We’re all facing a tribunal thanks to you. Maybe it’s time all the truth came out so the right person takes the blame for what happened with this club. You took this MC and made us all murderers and thieves. We all had pride in ourselves and in this club because we stood for something back then. You and Snake have been plotting for ten years now, for how to take it away from Tate and Silas saying you would turn it into something better. Only problem was you didn’t turn it into something better, you turned it into shit!”
Bender turned to stare at the men in the cell behind him. “You want to know what really happened to Nita and Rosie that day eight years ago? I can tell you. I was there. Bandit, Snake and I were riding over to Waco that day, when Bandit saw Nita’s car in front of us. He sped up and bumped the back of it. Nita sped up but so did he. Then Snake sped up too. They played a dangerous game of cat and mouse with two older ladies. For five long miles, they played bumper cars with them until they came up to the bridge, then the game got real.”
The men in the cells all wore horrified looks or expressions of disgust as they listened.
“You all know how Bandit likes to do wheelies and shit,” Bender reminded them all. “Well, he rode up to the car with his engines roaring and popped a wheelie only this time he came down on the top of Nita’s car while Snake came up alongside it with his gun in his hand. He pointed it at Rosie’s face and fired. He jerked it away from the window at the last second so the bullet never touched her but Nita didn’t know that. She sped up again and that’s when Bandit shot out one of the back tires. Nita lost control of her car and it went through the guardrail and dropped down into the ravine. Then Bandit finds a way down to make sure they’re both dead.
“Rosie didn’t survive the fall but Nita was still alive. She was covered in blood and in shock when he pulled her out of the car. He tied her to Snake’s bike and we got the hell out of there. They went one way and I went the other.” Bender shook his head. “I don’t know where they took her but he told me later she was still alive and that she couldn’t remember her own name let alone who forced her off the road. He swore me to silence with a blood oath.”
“Why are you telling us about it now then?” Thor asked. Everyone in the room knew what the blood oath was and they respected its power.
“While I may respect the oath, Bandit never did,” Bender explained. “He proved that when he killed Smoky, Opie and Hanger, or when he put Creed in jail for a murder he didn’t commit, or when he beat the hell out of first Tate then Silas. Along with everything else he’s done to this club since the day he stole it from its true president.” He turned to Bandit and stared at the man. “You remember the words you made me swear to that day Bandit? Do you? You made me swear that if I told anyone about Nita and Rosie’s accident you had the right and responsibility to kill me. But in return, you swore to take care of the club and its members, you swore to me that you would always put the club first and protect it with your life. That’s what you swore to that day.” He scoffed. “I believed in the oath and all you did was say the words. You never believed in them.”
Bender turned and walked out the door leaving the men behind him stunned by what he just said.
One by one, they all turned to glare at the man they once called their leader. Wave after wave of hatred poured over the bars and everyone in the first cell could feel it.
Dan moved away from his cousin, as did the other cops.
Snake laid his head back against the wall and closed his eyes.
Bandit just sat there, not looking at anything or anyone. He just sat there as his sins began to pile up and overwhelm his soul.
Bender stopped in front of Tate and the others.
Tate slowly raised his head and glared at him.
Bender raised his hand to stop him. “Before you say anything, I got something to say first…” When Tate nodded, Bender repeated the story he told downstairs, word for word. He didn’t try to hide his involvement or lessen it. Although it hadn’t been discussed with him before they’d done it, he was still there that day he could have stopped it or gotten help for the women, but he didn’t. That alone made him just as guilty as Snake and Bandit. The fact he took a blood oath on it sealed the deal.
He did add something at the end that he hadn’t told the boys downstairs. He looked at Tate and said, “Over the years, I’ve been checking on Nita. He set her up in a nice house in Waco and she lives with an older lady. From what I see, they sort of take care of each other. She still doesn’t know who she is… I think cause of her head injuries she got but I think Bandit wanted to keep it that way. He also brings her pills to keep her mind scrambled I think.”
“Is that all you can say?” Creed growled his fingers tightening into fists.
Bender turned to face the other man. “I know there’s no excuse for what we did, for what I did. I had no idea Bandit was going after the club back then. His takeover surprised all of us, I think. What he and Snake did should never have happened but they pulled it off. They lied, cheated and killed to get the club away from your family and we let it happen. We covered their crimes and then made this even more possible by keeping it going. He let the greed and the power go to his head but then so did the rest of us. We slowly became just as bad as Bandit and Snake were. Now its time to stop the crazy and face the consequences of what we did.”
“Do you know what else he had going on?” Tate asked as he felt both joy at knowing his Nita was alive and rage that he never knew she was… battled inside of him.
Bender nodded. “As his Road Captain, I knew most of it. But even at that, I think the man had more secrets than any one man should keep. The man has no soul.”
Cobra scoffed. “Then the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree then. His old man was the very same way.”
Tate turned his head. “You know Bandit’s old man?”
Cobra nodded. Looking briefly over at Creed, he turned back to Tate. “Wyatt Westerly killed my brother then was responsible for setting up Lola’s mom to take the fall. We recently found out the truth but we were twenty years too late for the truth to make a difference.”
Creed looked stunned, as did his brothers. “You mean they’re all part of the same damn family?”
Thor nodded. “Fraid so.”
Tate turned glared Bender. “As much as I’d love to wipe you guys from the face of the earth I think each and every one of you should face the courts for whatever you did. Any one of you could have stopped him at any time. That’s what God gave you a brain for. Maybe for every day you spend behind bars you’ll think about what you did. But there is one thing I can and will do. I’m gonna strike through your tat. No other club will take you on and you’ll be locked out for the rest of your days. Most of you won’t breath free air again anyway but the brand will tell everyone you can’t be trusted.”
Bender closed his eyes and nodded. He opened them again and said, “That’s better than we would have gotten from any other man. There is a notebook hidden in Bandit’s bedroom that has a list of everything he had going on. I got my own list of stuff but if you compare the two, you’ll most likely know everything.”
The young brothers all looked stunned to think their mother was alive and had been for all this time.
Tate stared at them for a moment. He remembered when they’d lost her. It nearly destroyed his younger kids, like Kimber. It had hit her the hardest. All that grief and misery. All done by one man… well two. Snake had been right there with him all the way. He hoped this news might heal some of the wounds done to his family, his kids, but right now, all he felt was numb. He looked over at Harry.
He was squatting in front of the fireplace in the main hall. The fire he had going was bright and hot, hot enough to heat the steel of the blade he had shoved into the flames.
Creed stepped forward, grabbed the man by his shoulders and pulled him over to Harry. Then he grabbed his shirt and tore the sleeve off. Bender’s Sinner’s tat covered his upper arm. Creed held him tight and turned Bender’s arm toward Harry.
Harry stood holding the glowing blade in his hand. Pressing the blade against Bender’s arm, he burned a strike over the top of Bender’s tat. Bender shuddered but didn’t cry out. Harry removed the blade and they all could see the burn mark obliterating the tat.
Creed grabbed the other man and hauled him away, back to a chair near Tate.
Jack was just coming from down the hall holding a journal. “Found it,” he announced to his family.
Tate nodded at Bender and held out his hand to the man.
Bender stared at it for a long moment then took his hand and shook it. Tate’s final act of respect was one he would always remember. Bender then turned and walked toward the basement with his head held high.
When he was gone, Cobra turned his confused gaze to Tate. “Why? Why would you offer him your hand?”
“We all make mistakes, but it’s what we do afterward that makes or breaks us as a man. He owned up to what he did and offered us what we needed to make things right. He didn’t have to tell us what happened that day and he didn’t have to tell us where Bandit’s book was, but he did. He took the branding without a word or a fight. He knows what he lost today and he knows he’ll never have another day of peace for the rest of his days. He earned that handshake. The rest of them might not.”
Cobra nodded. “I see your point.”
The next couple of hours flew by as they questioned each and every one of the men from Bandit’s club then struck the Sinner’s tat from their arms. All while more and more secrets were revealed. Tate and the boys were getting more of a clear picture of just how bad Bandit was as a leader and a man.
When they brought Dan upstairs, he was almost a blabbering idiot. By the time his turn came, there were more people in the room. Several Texas Rangers heard his confession and they took him into custody after he made his statement.
The other cops with Dan were treated the same way. When the Texas Rangers heard what the men had to say, they grew more and more resolved. One of them came over to Tate and reached out his hand. “My name is Delvin Arthur. I am a rep for the Attorney General’s office in Dallas. We’ll take the men you have downstairs into custody. We will also follow up on what we heard here today and the men will go to trial for what they did.”
“Once we figure out everything, we will turn the evidence we find over to your office.” Tate nodded. “I want to warn you most of the men have been judged by us and marked for the rest of their lives.” He shrugged. “That’s the way we do things here. There are also five missing a hand. That isn’t on us but someone else. They made the mistake of stealing from a man who didn’t like it.”
“Are they still alive?” Delvin asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Do I want to know who did it?”
“You might but I’m not going to tell you,” Tate stated firmly. “If the men tell that’s up to them. They won’t live long if they do and they know it.” He shrugged. “I just wanted you to know we didn’t do that.”
Delvin stared at him for a moment then nodded. “Ok, I don’t know why but I believe you. We’ll take the prisoners and let you do whatever you have to do. I hope you can clean this MC up and get started again, with a whole new club. I remember you guys from years ago. You were one of the better clubs in the state. Doing charity work. Having your men literally cleaning the trash of the streets where it was needed and the crime rate was lower too, back then.”
Tate nodded. He was aware of what his club had been about and he fought that spark of anger inside for what it had been turned into while he’d been living in a fucking cave.
They both turned as the men filed up the steps.
The Rangers took them into custody, read them all their rights and led them outside.
Then for a while, the clubhouse went quiet.
Harry joined his family at the table and said, “I think Quint is on his way here. You know the FBI agent I told you about. I called him when the Rangers left.”
Tate groaned and bent his head forward. Holding his hands against his forehead, he growled. “Let’s get this done then. I got bigger and better things to do than fuck around with this shit.” He was thinking of finding his woman and getting her back home. The news he’d gotten about her had been simmering in his gut. It had almost eclipsed the take back and the MC Justice he had burned for years to have meted out.
He got up and strode to the store room down the hall.
Kid followed as moved around Tate and opened the safe then he stepped back.
Tate began searching for a list he knew should be here. He found it under the money stacked on the second shelf. Scanning it, he nodded at his sons. “Box this shit up, every single piece and the stack of bills. Bring it out to the main room so we can turn it over to the FBI. I want this shit done.” He went back out to the main room again and poured himself a drink from the bottle Cobra had sitting on the table.
For a moment, neither man said a word.
Then Cobra took a sip of his whiskey and quietly spoke, “Well, you got your club back with little or no bloodshed. What’s your next step?”
“Settling in getting back up and running again. I also have my woman to retrieve.” Tate turned to the other man. “Why?”
“Just wondering.” Cobra shrugged.
“You thinking about staying?” Tate had to ask.
“For a while. I need to get to know my kid, even if she doesn’t want it, I need to know her.”
“You okay with her being with Creed?” Tate asked.
“He anything like you?” Cobra asked with a grin.
Tate nodded. “I raised him with values.”
“Then I’m good. If she wants to stay with him that is.”
Tate snorted. “He’s already claimed her, she ain’t going anywhere.”
They were silent for a moment then Cobra asked, “So you going to find your woman?”
“Yep,” Tate stated quietly. “Right after we get done here, I’m going to Waco. I’ll bring her back with me.”
Cobra nodded. “Yeah, well I think I’m staying for a while then. I’ll watch the place, if that’s okay with you.” He downed his shot.
Tate stared at him then nodded. “Yeah, man. It’s ok.” He also downed his shot.
A half hour later, they were joined by a man in a dark suit.
Harry got up and greeted him. He brought him over to where Tate, Creed, Cobra and Thor were sitting.
The man reached out his hand. “Mr. Young, my name is Quint Slattern and I represent the FBI. Harry told me you have something I need to see.”
“My name is Tate, Mr. Young is my father.” Tate nodded at the three boxes of items behind him. Handing the list to Quint he said, “I believe you might be looking for this shit.”
Quint’s eyes widened as he stared at the boxes behind Tate. Then he looked down at the list in his hands. “What the hell is this?”
“I believe that this is what was stolen over the last three years. Not by us but by Bandit’s men. We called you in to take custody of it and return it to the proper people. We have nothing to do with it being taken and we want nothing to do with keeping any of it. That was the Sinner’s MC and we are not them… We are the Lost Son’s MC.”
“Ok.” Quint sat down hard on a nearby chair. “Where can I find these other men, the Sinner’s MC?”
Tate grinned. “They’re in Ranger custody at the moment.”
“Why didn’t you turn this stuff over to the Rangers then?” Quint asked.
Tate shrugged. “We figured most of it was from out of state, that makes it FBI territory. Crossing state lines and all. If it isn’t, you can turn it back to the Rangers.”
Quint nodded. “Thanks.”
“Now get it the hell out of my club.” Tate got to his feet and walked away.
To be continued in Jack’s story….