Time to Die
hand and held it out. “Let’s shake on it.”
    She smiled as she took his hand and shook it.
    “Great,” Jonathan said. “Now, one more thing. Don’t talk to anyone other than Big Guy and me. There might be people in the garage, and I don’t want you getting involved in conversations.”
    Her eyes grew larger. Jonathan took that as a yes.
    “Hey, Boss,” Big Guy said from the front seat. “We’re here.”
    They pulled around to the back of the body shop, where Marcus Glenning had left two bay doors open. The one on the right was empty, and the nose of the Batmobile peeked out of the one on the left. Jonathan wasn’t sure what Glenning had done with his employees—or with himself, for that matter—but the place was devoid of people. Boxers slipped the Ford through the opening and pulled to a stop.
    “Okay, Mindy, here we go,” Jonathan said. He opened the door on the driver’s side and Mindy slipped out right after him. Ten seconds later, they were inside the rolling fortress. Ten seconds after that, Boxers cranked the engine and they were on their way.
    “Score another one for the good guys,” Boxers said.
    They drove north and west for over an hour to a roadside rest stop near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mindy said nothing along the way, and Jonathan made no effort to get her to talk. She’d seen a lot and endured a lot, and the fact that she was safe now—a fact that she likely did not believe one hundred percent—wouldn’t do much to diminish the nightmares that lay in her future.
    Big Guy pulled into one of the regular slots and threw the transmission into Park. Only one other car sat in the lot.
    “We’re almost done, Mindy,” Jonathan said. “I’m going to introduce you to one more person, and that person is going to take you to your parents. Are you ready?”
    Mindy stared at the back of the seat in front of her. If she’d heard him, she made no indication.
    “Mindy?”
    “I heard you.” She turned her head to face him. “Why is this happening to me?”
    Jonathan recognized his cue to say something wise and soothing. If only he owned those words. “You know what, Mindy?” he said with a sigh. “There are a lot of bad people in the world. You just happened to cross paths with them. Sometimes, there is no why.”
    Her eyes filled with tears. “You killed those men.”
    Jonathan let the words hang. Then he opened his door. “Come on,” he said. “I’m going to introduce you to one of the nicest men in the world, and he’ll be much better at answering your questions.” As he spoke, one of Jonathan’s oldest and dearest friends unfolded himself from a slightly worse-for-wear Kia sedan and walked toward the Batmobile. The man wore a black suit, a clerical collar and a big, kind smile. His name was Father Dom D’Angelo.
    Jonathan stepped down out of the Hummer and turned to help Mindy do the same. She looked frightened again. “Mindy, this is Father O’Malley, a man I’ve known since I was in college.”
    With a trim build, thick black hair and dark brown eyes, Dom looked like an Italian movie star. He stooped to get eye-to-eye with the little girl. He didn’t reach out a hand, and he kept his distance. In addition to his role as a priest and pastor of Saint Katherine’s Church in Fisherman’s Cove, he was also a licensed psychologist. Jonathan figured that the distance he kept had something to do with the psychologist part.
    “Hello, Mindy,” Dom said. “I know you’ve had a really rough few days. Are you ready to go home?”
    Mindy looked up to Jonathan. “I thought you were going to take me home.”
    Jonathan stooped down, too. “That’s not something I can do,” he said. “That’s for Father O’Malley to do.”
    “Is it because you killed those men?”
    Jonathan glanced to Dom, who arched his eyebrows. You’re on your own.
    Jonathan said,. “Sort of. Besides, Father O is a much nicer man.” He sold it with a smile.
    Without warning, Mindy

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