Collin Trien had it out for Tobias. He literally hated him. When the tall blonde had approached him about forming a gang, something told him that Toby was bad news. Even though He wanted to be a part of something bigger, Collin despised anyone who thought that people were merely tools to be used. And Toby was definitely one of those who thought exactly that.
He convinced the rest of Toby’s candidates to reject the repulsive pretty boy’s invitation. At the same time, he convinced them to come together against Toby as well. He smiled. He had his gang. French still had to put his together.
While he sought vainly for members, Collin and his friends would take every opportunity they could get to beat Toby up. And they would have fun doing so. As often as possible. They were going to have so much fun.
But first, they would have to send a message that any alliance with Tobias French was not acceptable. Anyone who was caught with the little worm would be fair game. As a result, Toby was now a pariah.
It was only a matter of time before Toby was no longer welcomed in the city, let alone, the state. If he played it right, he could make it to where Toby was unwelcome anywhere in the United States. It would be amazing if he could accomplish that. He just hoped that his contacts were still in place. Without them, he could do little more than destroy Toby in Iowa.
The only one not strong enough to withstand Toby was Holden. But then, Holden had never been one to do what was in his own best interest. He went with whatever sounded good at the time. What sounded the easiest.
Beatings meant nothing to him. His father, a drunk, beat him on a nightly basis. Another person targeting him meant nothing. He could deal with the pain. It was life he couldn’t handle.
But, then, he had a death wish. Every night, he’d lay awake, thinking how much better off he would be dead. It drew him like a moth to a flame. He wanted death so bad.
He rarely rose out of his deep depression but when he did, it was never for very long. He found depression to be better than happiness. It drove his desire to die. It drove his recklessness.
Luke Sandy, Brad Harmage, and Thomlin March had joined Holden in falling behind Toby. The three newcomers seemed unafraid of Collin’s warnings. They didn’t mind Toby’s tendencies to use them. They only wanted to go against the grain.
Lorne Hartley was another enigma altogether. No one really knew what his motives were.Still, he completed the sadistic, sick gang. Well, at least those who made its core. It would grow, splinter, then grow again before the end of their reign of terror. But that was still a ways off. At the moment, they were the gang.
Toby smiled. They hadn’t been his first choices, but they were just as good. These were guys he could train, the others were already set in their ways. From this point on, he would seek only those who had no experience in breaking the rules. They made the best students. they made the best scapegoats.
Most of all, they were extremely expendable. If the heat got too bad, he could cut one of them loose to take the fall. It was perfect. If one had to fall, he could replace them with someone new.
After all, they were only employees. And employees could be fired or laid off. His father had taught him that. The only difference was that he didn’t have to pay these oafs. They were hanging with him just for the chance to gain a name.
It made him want to laugh. They had no idea that he only wanted to use them. Even if they did, it wouldn’t matter. He was master, they were servants. They had no choice.
Sheriff McKinney had picked up where his predecessor had left off. There was a ton of evidence against one Tobias French that had been gone through the previous year. The IRS, Department of Justice, Iowa Tax Commission, Iowa Attorney General, and even the FBI seemed to want a chunk of the French family. But Des Moines county wanted Tobias. Bad.
They had the witnesses to put the boy away for a good long time in a juvenile detention center. There was even whispers of trying him as an adult, if the crimes proved serious enough. But the county still had to form a good enough case to be able to arrest him. That was something they hadn’t done. At least not yet.
This, to McKinney, made Toby a lucky boy. Still, he would keep his eye on him. He would keep track of everything he did. Someone had to. Toffer wasn’t about to do so.
Let the state and federal boys have Toffer. McKinney wanted Tobias. He knew it was just a matter of time. When Toby made a slip, he would be there waiting.
The new sheriff sat back in his chair and puffed on a cigarette. He put his hands behind his head and kicked his feet up on his desk. Damn, he wished he had one of his Havannas. How he loved his cigars. These cigarettes were nothing. You had to smoke five a day in order to get the feel of one cigar. A good cigar lasted all day.
No matter. He was a smoker. He smoked whatever he had at the moment. Cigars. Cigarettes. Pipe. It didn’t matter.
He closed his eyes and smiled. Too bad Wyland retired. Maybe he could have cracked this. At least he had laid the groundwork.
But Wyland had begun to suffer from heart problems. He’d been stricken by a heart attack in December. From there, his health seemed to go into a full decline. It had been sad.
Now, he was convalescing at home. The last word he got was that Wyland was not good. He only prayed that Wyland would live long enough to see this case closed and the French family behind bars. It would be an excellent last memory.