Since I wrote this some time ago, I have gone back and re-edited it. Reviews would be great.

Disclaimer: Hinton owns.

Prologue

I guess everybody knows what happened between Mark Jennings and Bryon Douglas. It was all over town when things came to a head and after that the press got wind of it and the story escalated some more. Nobody knows about me though. I don't know if that makes things easier or harder to bear.

I was driving home from Missouri on the day I heard Mark was dead.

It had started off as one of those days when you seem to forget all your troubles. One of those days when it was far too sunny for sadness and the music on the radio was a catchy collection of upbeat tunes that couldn't help but lift your spirits. I was three years off of thirty and last year I had landed a job at the most prestigious law firm in Missouri State. After a year of working my ass off, which meant weekends and usually taking my home work at night, I was finally granted some time off. It was the first day of my summer vacation and I was driving home to Tulsa. I had two weeks to spend anyway I pleased and I had packed up the car with a ridiculous amount of my stuff. I could hardly see out of the back window and it reminded me of driving home from college, the car loaded with boxes and blankets. College seemed like a very long time ago.

I had my window wound all the way down and every now and then I pressed my face into the cool breeze. I was looking forward to getting home. I was looking forward to hugging my Mom, eating her chicken casserole, and kicking off my shoes in my childhood bedroom which was always the same. Mom never touched a thing.

It was more than a four hour drive to Tulsa and I guess I was about an hour away when the news bulletin began to play.

"Today two teenagers entered a life threatening situation after they picked up an escaped felon at the side of the road. Mark Jennings, age twenty seven, had been serving a five year sentence for drug offences in an upstate juvenile detention centre. Police branded him as extremely dangerous. The two boys who picked him up, brothers Mason and Texas McCormick, were held at gunpoint until a traffic cop tried to pull them over. The car ploughed off the road and Jennings was shot dead while trying to escape. "

As his name reverberated around my brain, I slammed on my brakes bringing the car to a screeching halt. I yanked open the car door, not even able to get out before I was violently sick on the tarmac road. I knew it was him, I just knew it. This wasn't a mix up with some other Mark Jennings who just happened to be incarcerated for a similar offence. This was all too fitting. He was always too wild to be caged. I began to sob big choking sobs that caused my shoulders to shake violently. I hadn't seen him in ten years but the pain was as real as if it had been yesterday.

My beautiful lion was gone.