Stream of Consciousness

Hank took the floor after Montavier left. “I agreed to this compromise, but I find that I can’t continue to live in this town with these lies. I won’t break my word. I’ll keep my mouth shut, but I, like Montavier, am going to claim innocence in regards to the boys having gone missing because the truth is I never knew about the details of that until they returned. I wish I didn’t know it now, but I do, but other than knowing that Floyd had three sons who had run away in the past, that’s as far as it goes. So at least my conscience is clear in regards for not having reported their having gone missing. It sickens me to have to make this compromise, but I will because you are kin. However, I was locked up at gunpoint, at the threat of being shot, and perhaps locked up permanently, when I chose to do the right thing, and that’s not something I can forget or forgive. Caroline, you are free to come with me to the City or stay. The choice is yours, but I’ve made my decision. Lance you have my official resignation as of today. I’m sorry that it’s not two weeks’ notice, but it’s not like there’s a lot of work where you need me around until you find a replacement.”

Everyone gasped in surprise at Hank’s announcement and the Sheriff spoke, “I get that you’re angry, Hank. Hell, I would be angry too if it had been me, and I’m sorry. Peter and I both are. We never meant any real harm to you. You have to know that.” Hank held the Sheriff’s eyes. “You were going to shoot me in the foot if I didn’t comply. I saw it in your eyes, Lance.” Lance blew out a long breath. “Yes, but the fact that it was the foot and not the head has to tell you that you mean something to me, Hank. You’re kin. Don’t go doing something hasty that you’re later going to regret. I’m grateful that you’ve agreed to this compromise, but we don’t want to see you leave over this.”

Hank shook his head in disagreement. “I’m a man of integrity, Lance and I can’t live comfortable with these sorts of lies, or knowing that any time I might disagree with you or Peter, I might end up with a gun pointed at me or locked away. I’m sorry. I’m not going to live like that. I’m not acting in haste or doing anything I’m going to regret. This is the only way I can live with myself. I need some space to attempt to reconcile my complicity in this. I haven’t found a way yet to where I can, but I have given you my word. So, you have nothing to worry about in regards to me. When I give my word, I keep it. Granted it was given under duress, but that doesn’t matter. It was given, and for the time being that is my only consolation, is that it was under duress. Anyway, like I said, I need some space. So please don’t try to contact me. If and when I feel comfortable I may visit from time to time. I don’t know. I’m not making any promises, but for the time being, just let me be. I won’t be leaving a forwarding address or phone number.”

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