Both Luke and Wade clammed up when the Sheriff showed up, not feeling comfortable talking to him as they had Jarrel. Jarrel could be trusted. After all, he had given them lollipops and had offered him a ride on his scooter, and though he was supposedly an adult, he acted more like a kid. The Sheriff, he just looked mean and scary. So, they just nervously stared at the Sheriff as they licked their own lollipops, neither one biting theirs off the stick as there was no need to. The Sheriff smiled down at them, however. “Oh, lollipops. I bet Dr. Jarrel gave you those. He’s always got a few tucked away in a pocket.” Luke nodded but didn’t speak. Wade just stared at the Sheriff without any acknowledgment of the remark at all.
The Sheriff pulled Buford aside when he came out of the bathroom and spoke in a whispered tone, though the boys could still hear them. “The Doc had a good idea of trying to backtrack the boy’s scent to see where they came from. I’m going to get Aberly to come with me if I can find him; take a couple ATV’s. You keep an eye on things here while we’re gone. Don’t know how long it’ll take, but Doc’s right that we need to get right on it before it rains or the scent runs dry. The boys may or may not ever tell us what happened, and for their own safety and that of the town, we need to find out. If there’s a dangerous person still out there, we need to get them under control.”
Buford knew that by “under control'” his father meant that justice was going to be exacted for what had been done to the boys. Even if this was a relative, the deed wouldn’t exactly go unpunished. It was true that the town folk typically turned a blind eye to how a parent raised their kids, but something of this severity would be “handled” by the powers that be. Just because the town didn’t like to involve outsiders in their business didn’t mean that justice was never served.
Luke glanced at his little brother with somewhat of an “uh-oh” expression on his face when they overheard what the adults were discussing, concerned that they might be in some serious trouble, especially Mike if the Sheriff found their uncle’s dead body. But as they had no means or power to stop him from going, there wasn’t much they could do but pray they wouldn’t be in too much trouble.