Call police.

I know he is going to be freaking out, but he also knows that I will protect Ellie at all cost.

A second goes by, and I get a response. On my way brother

“Faith, what about your mommy? Where is she?”

Her face lights up. “My mommy is home.”

I look over at her dad in the corner of the park and he’s still talking to the same man. “Do you know your mommy’s number?”

“Yes, I learned it last year.” She recites it for me.

I punch it into my phone and get up from the table and walk three feet away. I’m not willing to go any further than that. “Okay, girls, finish eating. I’m going to be right here.”

I hit send on my phone and wait for her mom to answer.

“Hello?”

“Hello. Is this Faith’s mom?”

“Yes. Oh God, is she okay? Who is this?” she asks frantically.

“My name is Johnny. I am Ellie’s uncle.”

I can hear her release the breath she’s been holding. “Ellie from class? Okay. Is everything okay?”

“I am here at the park on 2nd and Main. Faith has asked me to not let her go with her dad. She has bruises on her…”

I can hear a door slam and then the starting of a car. “Please, please, Mister Johnny, please don’t let him take her. I’m on my way.”

The desperation in her voice makes me almost violent. I didn’t know if she knew her daughter was being abused or not, so to hear that in her voice calms me a little. At least the little girl has someone on her side.

I hang up the phone and walk over to the girls. They both are quiet and subdued. “Okay, girls. I need you to promise me something.” They both nod their heads at me. “I need you to promise that no matter what happens, you stay right here. Ellie, your daddy is on his way and when he gets here, you take Faith and go straight to him. Okay?”

Both of them are looking up at me with their eyes wide and I hate to think about what they are about to see.

“Okay, Uncle Johnny. I promise.” Ellie smiles at me.

Faith looks more shook up but she nods. It makes me hate to think what all she’s been through.

Chapter 2

Johnny

When I look up, Faith’s dad is walking toward us. I start walking to meet him halfway and get some distance between us and the girls.

I stop in front of him and try to block him from seeing them. “So, I’ve seen the bruises on her arm. I can’t let you take her. I’ve called the police.” And thankfully, the police sirens can be heard in the distance.

The rage in the other man’s eyes is evil. I’ve seen it before. When you are over enemy lines on the battlefield, you see that hatred and pure evil then too.

“Who the fuck do you think you are? I am the cops.” He shoves me to try and get by, but I don’t budge.

“You are not leaving here with her. It will be over my dead body.” I keep my voice calm. I learned that skill long ago. No matter what I feel, I can always control my voice.

“If that’s the way you want it.” He pulls a gun from his holster and points it at me. “Now, I suggest you mind your own business and let me get my daughter.”

When the other park patrons see the gun, all hell breaks loose. People are screaming and running, giving me the perfect opportunity to knock the gun out of his hands, lock onto him and wrestle him to the ground.

He’s grunting in pain, but I don’t let up. My knee is in his back and I press harder when I look over to check on the girls, who are both crying their eyes out. But they are both sitting there, holding on to each other in the same place I left them.

I breathe a sigh of relief when I see Ryder and Sierra running toward us and then shortly after, the police are swarming the park. Even though the police are screaming freeze, Ryder doesn’t stop until he gets to Ellie and Faith.

I put my hands up with my knee still in Faith’s dad’s back. A policeman comes and jerks me up by the arms, then puts handcuffs on me. I don’t struggle. Now that the girls are safe, I can handle whatever.

“I’m a policeman. I’m officer Caleb Johnson. This man attacked me.” Faith’s father is holding up his badge, hollering as he gets up from the ground.

The man holding me jerks the cuffs even tighter on my wrists. Ryder walks up to us and thankfully he recognizes most of the cops standing around. “Hey, hold on, let him go,” he says. “This is my brother and he works for me. There has to be a reason for this.”

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