Unformatted text preview: ed athousand miles away, and that was too close. Going back late that night, I found myself driving slower and slower. Though we didn't discuss it, and the conversation grew quieter the closer we got to home, there was a killer loose in Ford County. Miss Callie's name was on his list. If not for the two dead bodies, that would have been impossible to believe. According to Baggy, and verified by research in theTimes archives, there had been no unsolved murders that century. Almost every killing had been some impulsive act where the smoking gun had been seen by witnesses. Arrests, trials, and convictions had been prompt. Now, there was a very smart and very deliberate killer out there, and every one knew his intended victims. For such a law-abiding, God-fearing community, it was inconceivable. Bobby, Al, Max, and Leon had, at various times, argued strenuously for Miss Callie to go stay with any of them for a month or so. Sam and I, and even Esau, had joined in these rather vigorous requests, but she would not budge. She was in close contact with God, and he would protect her. In nine years, the only time I lost my temper with Miss Callie, and the only time she rebuked me, was during an argument about spending a month in Milwaukee with Bobby. "Those big cities are dangerous," she had said. "No place is as dangerous as Clanton right now," I had replied. Later, when I raised my voice, she told me she did not appreciate my lack of respect, and I quickly shut up. As we crossed into Ford County late that night, I began watching my rearview mirror. It was silly, but then it wasn't. In Lowtown, the Ruffin home was guarded by a deputy parked in the street, and a friend of Esau's on the porch. "It's been a quiet night," the friend said. In other words, no one had been shot or shot at. Sam and I played checkers for an hour on the porch while she went to sleep. The waiting continued. Chapter Forty-Two Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html Nineteen seventy-nine was a year for local elections in Mississippi, my third as a registered voter. It wa...
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