This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any actual resemblance to persons or historical persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The Dukes of Hazzard characters, settings, locales, ect. are owned by other entities who have not endorsed this fic nor have they given express permission for the character's use. Author makes not claims to these characters and is not making any profit from their use.
All original characters are the property of the author.
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© Copyright: 1996-2004. Lisa Philbrick
The Winds of November (Part Three)
When Rosco came to, he opened his eyes and found himself lying flat
on his back in a Finchburg County Jail cell.
He sat up suddenly, then stopped when the back of his head disagreed with the sudden movement. He touched his hand to the back of his neck and looked up.
"Hello," Eli said.
Rosco focused his eyes on his uncle sitting in the jail cell next his. "Eli..."
"Dare I ask how the heck you ended up here?"
Rosco carefully moved his feet from the cot to the floor and sat up. "I ain't sure...." He paused to remember and then it all came back to him, the last thing being little MaryAnne running away down the road with an ATF agent behind her. Rosco's heart nearly stopped and he grabbed the edge of the cot.
Eli saw the concerned look that clouded over Rosco's face. "What's wrong, Rosco?"
Rosco looked up at his uncle. "Eli," he said softly, "I don't know where MaryAnne is."
"What do you mean you don't know where she is?" Eli asked, now becoming just as concerned.
"Well, she was with me and we were on our way to see you. Just after we got over the county line, I spotted what I thought was an injured motorist. Turned out to be a trap, set up by Ellis and probably Emerson and the whole dang lot. I had MaryAnne stay in the car while I went to check on the person and then Roger's boys jumped me. When they started pulling their guns out, she screamed and one of them started to walk over to the car. I yelled for her to get out and run away and she did but the agent went after her." He paused. "That's all I remember. They hit me from behind after that."
Eli closed his eyes.
"Eli, I'm sorry," Rosco said quickly. "I panicked. I didn't know what they were gonna do..."
"It's not your fault," Eli replied. He sighed, trying to think clearly of where his little girl could be. "Uh...maybe Frank knows. Heck, she may even be right out there in the office."
"Yeah, you're right," Rosco said. He stood up, as did Eli and they both called for Frank.
After a moment the Finchburg Sheriff came down the hall.
"What's the matter?" he asked.
"Frank, do you know where MaryAnne is?" Eli asked.
Frank shook his head. "No. Why?"
"Because she was with me," Rosco said, "before Ellis jumped me. One of his boys chased after her and I don't know if she got away or was caught."
"You gotta find out where she is," Eli begged. "I have to know if she's okay."
"Alright, alright," Frank said. "I'll ask Agent Ellis about it."
"Agent Ellis??" Rosco blurted out, not recalling a time when Sheriff Fuller ever used Roger Ellis's title. "Since when did Roger gain being called 'Agent' by you?"
Frank looked at Rosco. "Well, he is an ATF agent, isn't he?"
"Maybe so, but he puts the organization to shame. Frank, you know both me and Eli are in here on trumped up charges."
"What is Rosco in here for supposedly anyway?" Eli asked.
Frank paused. Both Rosco and Eli could see he was caught in something he didn't like.
"Assault of a motorist."
"What?!" both Coltranes exclaimed.
"But it was a trap!" Rosco added. "The person was already flat out on the ground when I got there."
"That's not what Agent Ellis says," Frank replied. His heart didn't quite seem to be fully into the answer he gave.
"Frank..." Eli said. "Just exactly who's side are you on now?"
Sheriff Fuller paused, looking back and forth between the two Coltranes. "Eli, I'm stuck between a rock and hard place," he said, glancing down the hall towards the booking office, as if someone there might hear him. "I could lose my job. I'm too damn close to my 20 years to lose my job now and lose my pension."
Eli suddenly looked disgusted and glanced at Rosco. "Either Ellis or Emerson got to him. Looks like we don't have an ally anymore, kid."
Frank looked at Rosco, who said nothing to him.
"Look, Eli, I'll find out where MaryAnne is for ya, but that's all I can do. I do know you two are in here on false charges, but...there's nothing I can do."
Eli just shook his head and turned away.
"Eli, I'm sorry," Frank said.
The older Coltrane just waved his hand in the air. "Just go do what you have to do, Frank."
Frank remained a moment by the cell door. He glanced at Rosco, who looked away as well. Frank then turned and walked back down the hall.
The jail was quiet for a moment. Rosco watched Eli, who was still standing with his back facing the front cell bars. Frank had been one of Eli's first real good friends when Eli had moved to Finchburg County. He had been a big help through the adjustment that Eli had to go through. Now Frank was being forced to turn his back on Eli, leaving Eli to wonder who he had left for friends.
"You know Emerson has to have Frank in a tough situation to make him turn like that," Rosco said.
"Yeah, I know," Eli said with a sigh. The two were quiet again and then Eli turned to Rosco. "So what do we do now?"
Rosco shrugged. "Don't know," he said. "The only reason I'm here is because I was getting to close to proving Emerson and Bryar were framing you."
"Emerson and Bryar? Not Ellis?"
"He was helping. Gerald Emerson's getting ready to try to gobble up all the power in the county in the form of the commissionership. You were the first domino that had to fall, so to speak."
"So he does want to control all the moonshine and other profitable, if not legal, enterprises in the county."
"You got it."
"Well, it would certainly help fund an election that's for sure."
"And you heard what Frank said, he's too close to his twenty years to risk losing his job and pension. If he makes it to the end of his term, he can retire and leave the Sheriff's badge for someone new."
"Like Jason Bryar."
"Exactly." Rosco paused. "You know, even if you do get out from under this false charge, it don't mean things are gonna be a breeze, especially if them two get elected."
Eli nodded. "And the election's next year."
"Wonderful," Rosco said. "If they get their way, along with Ellis, you and I can watch the whole thing from right here in the county jail." Even as he said that though, Rosco knew there was no way he was going to let them keep himself and Eli in that jail.
* * *
Raleigh had gone out to get the mail when he spotted Boss Hogg's white Cadillac coming down the road. Raleigh stood and watched the car come to a stop and was surprised to see MaryAnne sitting in the passenger seat of the convertible. Last he knew, she and Rosco were on their way to see Eli.
"J.D?" Raleigh said.
"Raleigh, something's wrong," Boss said as he got out of the car. "I found MaryAnne here not far from the Finchburg County line. She said some ATF agents took Rosco and one of them chased after her, but she got away." Boss walked around his car to the passenger side as he talked and opened the big door to let MaryAnne out. She climbed out and ran to Raleigh.
Raleigh caught a glimpse of the scrapped knees just before he had MaryAnne clinging to his leg.
"They took him, Uncle Raleigh," she sobbed. "They took him to jail didn't they? I'll never see him or Papa again!"
Raleigh kneeled down and put his hands on her small shoulders. "Yes, you will," he said. "They're not gone forever, okay?" He looked at her knees and then her scrapped elbow. "Now I want you to go in the house and have your Aunt Abby help you clean up these scrapes you have."
"Are you gonna go get Rosco and Papa?"
"Can I go with you? Please, please?"
"No, I think you better stay here with Aunt Abby."
Raleigh shook his head. "No argument. I want you to stay here."
MaryAnne was quiet for a moment. She looked at her uncle with sad blue eyes and Raleigh couldn't help but see his younger brother in the little girl's face.
"Rosco promised me," she said. "He promised that nothing would happen to him and he'd bring Papa back."
"I know, sweetheart. But he didn't break his promise to you, MaryAnne. Someday when your older, you'll understand."
MaryAnne still looked at her uncle sadly, but she believed him. She nodded.
"Alright, go on ahead into the house." Raleigh watched MaryAnne as she stepped up on the porch and then he turned back to Boss.
"Any idea where Rosco is?"
Boss shook his head. He looked at Rosco's hat that he had in his hand. "I drove into Finchburg a ways and couldn't find Rosco or his patrol car. All there was was a lot of tire tracks and his hat, so I know the little girl ain't lyin'."
"She never does," Raleigh said.
"Raleigh, I'd go with you to Finchburg but I gotta get to town and call Gene. Hazzard can't be without a law man."
Raleigh nodded. "I understand. Thanks, J.D. for bringing her home."
"Sure." He handed Raleigh Rosco's hat. "Let me know if you find out anything about Rosco?"
Boss returned to his car and got in. He nodded to Raleigh and started to drive away.
"See ya," Raleigh said. He paused a moment and looked at his son's hat, not particularly feeling good about the whole situation. He then turned and went into the house.
Abby had MaryAnne sitting on the counter top near the kitchen sink. She carefully rubbed at one of MaryAnne's scrapped knees with a cotton ball soaked with Bactine. She looked up when Raleigh came in.
"Raleigh, do you have any idea what this child has been through?"
"Did she tell you?"
"She told me about these grey uniformed men jumping Rosco and how one of them chased after her! I want to know what the devil is going on."
"I'm gonna try to find out," he said, "by going to Finchburg County."
* * *
Rosco looked over at his uncle who was laying on his cot, dozing. The jail was quiet and Rosco knew that it was now or never. He slid off his cot and got down on his knees in the middle of the cell.
Eli didn't wake up until in his dream he heard his name a second time. He opened his eyes and heard Rosco's echoed voice again. It sounded strained and Eli turned his head towards his nephew's cell.
Rosco was hunched over on his knees, with one arm wrapped around his stomach. Eli quickly got off his cot and went over to the bars that separated the two cells.
"Rosco, what's wrong?"
Rosco took a troubled breath. "I...I don't know. I just....I don't feel good."
"You gonna be sick?"
"If I am...I think it would have happened by now...."
Eli saw the grimace of discomfort on Rosco's face. He kneeled down to get a better look at him when Rosco hunched forward even more.
"Yeah," Eli replied and stood up. He went to the other side of his cell to the bars that faced the hall way and yelled out for Frank to come.
Eli waited a few moments and was about to yell out again when the door at the end of the hall opened. Sheriff Fuller came rushing down the hall way.
"What? What's wrong?"
"It's Rosco," Eli said, turning towards the other cell. "He's ill or something."
Frank pulled the door keys off his belt and quickly stepped towards Rosco's cell. He unlocked the door and went inside.
"What's the matter, Rosco?" Frank asked as he stooped to the floor. He put a hand on Rosco's shoulder and the younger sheriff looked up at him.
"What--?" Just as Frank spoke, Rosco suddenly slugged him in the stomach.
Eli gasped and watched Rosco get up off the floor and dart out the cell door after Frank fell to his knees. "Rosco!" he exclaimed, not believing the shuck and jive he'd just seen. "What in the world are you doing??"
Rosco looked at Frank still hunched on the floor and then at Eli. "I'm sorry, Eli, but otherwise you and I will be stuck in here for a dang long time."
"What makes you think I'm goin' with you now?" Eli was clearly not happy with Rosco's decision to break out of jail.
"I ain't got time to take you with me anyway." Frank was starting to get up off the floor and Rosco turned to scurry down the hall.
"Rosco, this is crazy!" Eli exclaimed as Rosco fled down the hall. "You're gonna lose your badge! Rosco!"
Frank stumbled out of the cell and went after him.
Rosco knew he was really in big trouble now. Breaking jail, despite having been put in there on a trumped up charge, was serious business. He was hoping the gamble he was taking was going to pay off. If not, then Eli would be right and Rosco would be losing his badge.
Rosco pushed open the front door of the courthouse and ran out down the stairs and then around the back to where his patrol car was being held in the impound. He got into the car and found the keys were still in the ignition. As he started the Chevy, Frank was coming into the impound. Rosco stepped down hard on the accelerator and the big car moved forward, straight for Sheriff Fuller.
Rosco had just enough room to swerve around Frank, who jumped out of the way as well. The patrol car threw dirt as it fishtailed out of the impound and on to the pavement of the street.
Frank caught a glimpse of the tail end of the Chevy just before it disappeared around the corner of the courthouse building. He paused for only a moment, knowing that Rosco was trying to beat the bad rap that he and Eli were under, but also knowing he had to go after the young Coltrane, not just for breaking jail, but for his own good. Frank ran back around to the front of the courthouse, got into his patrol car and swung the Impala around and after Rosco.
* * *
Abby convinced Raleigh to call over to Finchburg first, thinking that maybe the Sheriff there knew what was going on. So Raleigh stood next to the phone in the kitchen with the receiver to his ear for nearly a minute, listening to it ring.
At the jail, Eli could here the phone ringing down the hall. It had been several minutes since Rosco broke jail and Eli wondered.....was it somebody calling about MaryAnne?
Found a little girl crying on the side of the road, shall I bring her in?
"Yes," Eli answered his own thought. After two more rings, the phone stopped.
In Hazzard, Raleigh hung up the receiver and looked at Abby.
"I'm going to Finchburg."
* * *
It almost didn't look real; a sheriff's car chasing another sheriff's car. Rosco felt odd as well, finding himself now on both sides of the law. A fugitive with a badge. He swung the big Chevy through the twisty roads of Finchburg County as best he could. Sheriff Fuller stayed right behind him, knowing the roads a little better than Rosco. The Hazzard Sheriff was determined to make it to the Hazzard County line, where he would have a better chance of losing Frank on his own roads.
Rosco's patrol car left tire tracks behind as it slid on to the pavement of Route 43. It fishtailed and straightened and Rosco hit the accelerator for the straight run to the county line. Just a few miles, he thought. Just let me make it through the next few miles.
Just when he thought he was pretty much in the clear, he saw a familiar dark blue Ford sedan turn off of a dirt road and on to Route 43, heading straight for Rosco. He gulped, recognizing the ATF car and if it was Roger Ellis, Rosco knew he was really in deep manure.
Roger saw the two cars racing toward him. The one behind had it's lights flashing and as the cars came closer, he recognized the Hazzard County patrol car in the front. He picked up his radio mike.
"Frank, what the devil's goin' on?"
Rosco glanced at his radio, knowing now that it was Roger Ellis.
"Rosco just broke jail," Frank replied.
That was all Ellis needed to hear. He swung the Ford around and blocked the road.
Rosco kept his patrol car on a straight run for the blue Ford. There was just enough room at the back of the ATF vehicle for Rosco to get around. He did, and Roger pulled the Ford up a bit as Frank went around him as well. Roger joined in the pursuit.
Rosco glanced in his rearview mirror at the two law officers behind him. He then looked up the road and saw the small sign indicating the county line. He had the accelerator to the floor and he gripped the steering wheel tightly as the chase crossed
over into Hazzard County.
Ellis came up beside Frank and ended up passing him. The ATF agent then pulled out his gun and aimed out the window at Rosco.
Rosco flinched at the sound of shot. He looked in the side mirror and saw the Ford was now directly behind him and Ellis took another shot.
"Roger!" Frank exclaimed over the radio. "What in tarnation you doin'?!"
Roger didn't respond and continued on the pursuit after Rosco. I'm gonna end this once and for all, right now. He aimed at the back window of the Chevy and opened fire.
"Ah!" Rosco exclaimed as the back window exploded. He crouched down to reduce Roger's target and kept the Chevy going. Another couple hundred feet Rosco spotted Chilsom Creek, that ran along side of the road and down about ten feet, and decided to let Roger think he finally had his revenge. Trusting the Chevy and praying for Boss to understand another damaged-beyond-repair patrol car, Rosco waited until Ellis fired another shot.
When it came, Rosco turned the steering wheel and the Chevy shot off the road and over the edge of the bank of the creek. When it disappeared over the edge, Rosco pushed open the door and jumped out of the car, landing in the brush along the edge of the creek as the Chevy plunged into the water.
Frank was dazed at the sight. He and Ellis quickly brought their cars to a stop and ran over to the edge of the cliff. They saw the Chevy on it's side, the driver side completely submerged in the water, air bubbles rushing out like birds scattering out of an open field.
"My Lord..." Frank breathed. He looked at Roger but the ATF agent's face was neutral. The small light of victory, however, was noticeable in his eyes as he watched the Chevy slowly disappear into the water.
Frank looked again and the was about to climb down over the cliff when Roger grabbed his arm. He looked at the Finchburg Sheriff with a cold stare.
"He ain't goin' nowhere."
Frank pulled his arm away. "Is this what you wanted?" he asked heatedly. "Is this what this whole damn thing was about?? Revenge?" He looked at the creek again. "You happy now? You killed him! Now I have to go back to the jail and tell Eli what happened."
"You do that. But for the purpose of your explanation, I had nothing to do with this."
Frank wanted to say more, but he swallowed it and spun around to return to his patrol car.
Ellis took one last look at the Chevy, which was barely visible near the surface of the water now.
I told you you wouldn't last long as Sheriff, Rosco.
With that thought, Roger returned to his car.
Rosco didn't move for several minutes, even after Frank and Ellis had driven away and more or less because he knew it was going to hurt. He heard another car go by above him, having no idea it was his father and what Raleigh was going to find out once he got to Finchburg.
Finally, Rosco rolled out of the brush and got to his knees on the small patch of sand right close to the water's edge. He looked at his left jacket sleeve that was torn from the elbow down to the cuff and the dirt and leaves that were all over him. His right shoulder and legs hurt and he shivered from the last rush of adrenalin of the chase and then Roger shooting at him.
Shootin' at me! My God...
Rosco looked up to the creek and saw his patrol car was now entombed in a watery grave. He then looked up at the cliff and wondered if it had worked. Of course, if it did, Frank would think he was dead too, which would probably get back to Raleigh and Abby and Eli and ...
Rosco gritted his teeth to the pain in his shoulder, the same one that Cheyenne had nearly yanked out of it's socket, and he got to his feet and walked up the creek to where the edge sloped. He stumbled a little and made it to the slope and then climbed back up to the road.
* * *
Frank hung up his phone just as the door to the courthouse opened. He had just called Boss Hogg to tell him that Rosco's patrol car was in Chilsom Creek. He told Boss some of what really happened, being too afraid to mention that Roger Ellis was part of the chase too. However, for the next couple of hours Boss would be the only person to know what had supposedly happened to Rosco.
Frank looked up and saw an older grey haired gentleman come in, someone Frank couldn't recognize but who looked familiar. Frank stood up and approached the visitor.
"Howdy," he said. "Can I help you?"
"Are you Sheriff Fuller?"
Frank nodded. "Yes."
"My name's Raleigh Coltrane. My son, Rosco, is the Sheriff over in Hazzard and he was on his way here to see my brother, Eli, with Eli's daughter. At some point he was stopped and separated from MaryAnne. A friend of the family found her, but Rosco's missing. I was wondering if you knew anything about this?"
Frank paused. "Yes," he said. "Roger Ellis of the ATF arrested him earlier...." He stopped when the courthouse door opened again and Roger Ellis himself stepped in. Frank glanced at Ellis and then continued. "Um..."
"Rosco was arrested? On what charge?" Raleigh asked.
Ellis recognized Raleigh and approached the conversation. "Assault of a motorist," he answered. "But your son broke out of jail a little while ago and got away."
Raleigh looked at Frank, who nodded. "I chased after him," he said, "but..." He glanced at Ellis who was looking at him with a forceful stare. "He got away from me, when the chase ended up in Hazzard."
Raleigh thought for a moment. "How long ago was this?"
"Um....probably a half hour ago," Frank said, watching Ellis to make sure that was the right answer to give. Ellis seemed content with it.
Raleigh watched the two, not liking what was going on or the answers he was receiving. If it really had been a half hour ago, why hadn't Rosco gone to the house? Or if he had gone to town to the courthouse, why didn't he call? He must've known MaryAnne had been left behind, and Raleigh knew Rosco would have wanted him and Abby to know what was going on and probably help try to find her, especially if J.D. Hogg hadn't already. Something, Raleigh knew, was very wrong.
"Is it all right if I talk to Eli? To let him know that MaryAnne is safe and with me?"
"Sure," Frank said. He walked towards the door that led to the hall to the jail cells and Raleigh followed, being watched by Ellis. Frank opened the door and let Raleigh go ahead down the hall. Normally, he would escort a visitor, but Frank didn't want to do anything to upset Ellis. Raleigh disappeared down the hall.
Frank turned back to Agent Ellis.
"You make sure that's all you tell him about that," Ellis said. "As far as I'm concerned, I wasn't even chasing after him."
Frank wanted to say something, he wanted to argue with the ATF agent about his actions but the urge failed to vocalize itself. He simply made a face and nodded in unwilling agreement.
Eli, meanwhile, had heard the door open and he quickly got up from his cot, thinking it to be Frank to tell him where either MaryAnne was or Rosco.
"Raleigh!" Eli exclaimed, seeing his older brother.
Raleigh stepped toward the bars and grabbed a hold of one. "Little brother, I don't know what the heck you're tied up in, but there's some dang weird stuff goin' on."
"You're tellin' me? Raleigh, please tell me you know where MaryAnne is?"
"She's fine, she's at the house in Hazzard. J.D. Hogg found her at some point after she was separated from Rosco."
"Any idea where Rosco is?"
Raleigh shook his head. "No, and I don't like it either. Frank says he was arrested and then broke out of jail?"
Eli nodded. "He shucked and jived Frank into thinking he was ill and then slugged him enough to get away. Frank went after him....he didn't catch him?"
"No. Says Rosco 'got away.' But that ATF agent Ellis, he's giving me the creeps and Frank gave some pretty unsure answers. I think something's wrong. If Rosco had got away, he should have made it to the house or atleast to town. And I'm sure the first thing he would have wanted to know was where MaryAnne was."
"Yup. When he woke up here in the jail he nearly had a fit."
"They knocked him out. Ellis set some trap or something just over the county line, an injured motorist thing or something. Anyways, Rosco had MaryAnne stay in the car while he went to the check on the person and then he was jumped. When one of Ellis's boys started to approach the car, Rosco yelled for MaryAnne to get out of the car and run away. The agent went after her and Rosco ended up being knocked out. Where ever he is, Raleigh, he doesn't know that MaryAnne's okay and with you."
Raleigh glanced up and sighed.
"I'm sure he's alright, Raleigh. He's gotta be somewhere in Hazzard. Maybe his patrol car quit on him and he had to walk to town or something."
"I hope you're right, Eli."
* * *
Raleigh was thinking of Rosco as he drove back to Hazzard. Ellis's presence and the calculated answers Frank gave with the averse expression on his face only served to make Raleigh worry that something more had happened to Rosco, and that his only son had not just 'gotten away.' As he approached Chilsom Creek, Raleigh saw Isaiah Davenport's tow truck getting ready to pull something out of the creek. The tow truck then moved and pulled forward, bringing with it the white Chevy. Raleigh saw the Sheriff decal on the door and his heart went cold.
He drove his car around the truck and came to a quick stop by the side of the road. Cooter turned to look and recognized the older Coltrane's car. He then turned to his dad who was just stepping out of the tow truck.
"Pop, it's Raleigh."
Isaiah came around the truck as Raleigh approached them, visibly distressed. He looked towards the Chevy and then at Isaiah, drawing a ragged breath.
"Where...where is he, Isaiah?"
"Now Raleigh, we ain't even sure what happened here," Isaiah said. "So don't you go thinking the worse just yet."
"That's right," Cooter said.
"You know how Rosco's always wreckin' patrol cars," Isaiah continued. "And he's been in lakes and creeks a coupla times before. I'm sure he got out and is on his way back to town right now, if he ain't there already."
Raleigh was shaking his head. "Isaiah, you don't know what kind of conversation I just had with the Sheriff over in Finchburg and that ATF agent, Ellis. I knew something wasn't right." He looked at the patrol car again. "They knew...they both knew..." He looked at Isaiah for a moment. "How did you find out?"
"J.D. told me. Ain't sure how he found out tho'."
Raleigh nodded and started to walk back to his car.
"Raleigh," Isaiah called, jogging after the man. The older Coltrane stopped and turned back and Isaiah placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"Listen to me, Raleigh. I'm sure he's all right. You gotta believe that."
Raleigh looked at the two Davenports. They believed that Rosco was okay, and Raleigh wanted to as well. But the conversation at the jail and the almost guilty look on Sheriff Fuller's face, Raleigh was apt to believe otherwise. However, he nodded slightly and then turned and continued to his car.
* * *
Rosco stopped walking for a moment, another spell of nausea hitting him. The feel of the late afternoon fall sun on his face didn't make him feel much better. As he thought about it, he realized he dang near could have killed himself while he was trying to prevent Ellis from doing it for him. What made Rosco more nauseous was the fact that THAT was what Roger Ellis was trying to do.
He brought his left hand to his sore right shoulder and took a deep breath. What the heck did I ever do to him? he wondered. He tried to shake the thought away and continued walking across the field.
* * *
Raleigh drove straight to town from the creek. He hurriedly went into the courthouse, hoping to see Rosco there, but there was no one in the booking room and Rosco's office was empty as well.
Boss Hogg's office, however, wasn't empty and Raleigh went straight to it. The door was open and Raleigh paused by the doorway.
Boss looked up from the paper in his hand. "Raleigh," he said quickly, getting up.
"I saw Isaiah and Cooter," Raleigh said. "They said you told them where Rosco's patrol car was. How'd you find out?"
"Sheriff Fuller over in Finchburg called." Boss paused. "You've must've been there or just got there when he called. He didn't tell you?"
Raleigh glanced down at the desk top. "No," he said. "He only told me that Rosco had been arrested, that he broke jail and had gotten away." He looked at Boss, his expression saddening. "He didn't get away did he?"
"Now, Raleigh, Sheriff Fuller said he ain't even sure what happened. It's possible Rosco got out."
Raleigh took a breath. "Maybe." He paused. "But Sheriff Fuller lied to me, J.D. and I'd like to know why. Can I use your phone?"
Raleigh picked up the phone on the desk and waited for Gussy to come on the line.
"Gussy, could you please connect me to the Finchburg County Sheriff's office?"
Frank watched Ellis as the ATF agent paced slowly in front of his desk. When the phone split the silence, Ellis stopped and both he and Frank looked at the phone. Frank glanced at Ellis and then proceeded to pick up the phone.
"Finchburg County Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Fuller speaking."
"You lied to me Sheriff," Raleigh said. "You knew Rosco's patrol car went into Chilsom Creek and you didn't tell me when I was there."
Frank paused with Ellis watching him.
"I'm aware of that," Frank said. "I'm afraid it's more complicated then it appears."
Suddenly, the phone clicked. Raleigh took the receiver away from his ear and looked at it and then placed it down back in it's base.
"What did he say?"
"He said it's more complicated then it appears. He did lie for a reason, although I ain't sure what that reason is."
* * *
When Raleigh got back to the house, he paused a moment before going in, wondering just how he was going to tell Abby. He didn't really know one way or the other if Rosco was really gone but he knew that both he and Abby had to face that possibility. He didn't really want to and he knew she wouldn't either.
He came in to find Abby in the kitchen having just made a cup of tea. Abby heard the front door open and close and she turned to see her husband standing in the doorway to the kitchen.
"Raleigh? Did you find out where Rosco is?" she asked, approaching him.
Raleigh stood for a moment, and pressed his lips together in hesitation. He glanced at the floor and then finally at Abby.
"I think you better sit down," he said softly.
Abby saw the bad news already in his blue eyes. Her heart fluttered a bit and she turned to the kitchen table and sat down. Raleigh pulled another chair next to his wife and sat down near her, taking her hand in his.
"Raleigh...." she was shaking her head. "He's not....?"
"I ain't sure," he said. "He apparently was arrested in Finchburg and then broke out of jail. He tired to get back here to Hazzard..." Raleigh stopped a moment and took a breath. "When I was coming home just now, I saw Isaiah and his boy pulling Rosco's patrol car....out of Chilsom Creek."
Raleigh felt her grip his hand tightly. She closed her eyes and brought her other hand to her face. She held back her reaction long enough to ask, "Raleigh, where is he?" She opened her eyes and looked at him. "Where's my son?"
"I don't know," he whispered. "He wasn't in the car when they found it. If he's in the creek...."
"No!" she said quickly. "Raleigh, he's not dead! I don't believe it. I won't believe it until...." she stopped at the thought. "Until they find him..."
"You know how he's always wrecking a car. He's been doing it since he was fourteen, Raleigh, don't you remember? Your father's Oldsmobile, right into the ditch out there in the west end of the yard. He's done this before and he's walked away. He's out there somewhere, Raleigh, maybe he's hurt, maybe he's got some bumps and bruises but I don't believe he's dead!"
"Okay, okay," Raleigh said soothingly, patting her hand gently. "You're probably right, he's okay and he's just out there somewhere trying to get back home."
"Are you going to go look for him?"
Raleigh nodded. "I will. But, Abby, what are we going to say to MaryAnne?"
"Oh Raleigh," she whispered, shaking her head. "I think we should wait until we...we know for sure..."
He nodded. "Alright. I'm going to call a couple of folks and see if they'll help me find Rosco, okay?"
* * *
For the second time in as many days, Jesse Duke found Rosco walking along a road again. But Jesse knew something was wrong this time by the way Rosco was shuffling along and from behind looked to be holding on to his right arm.
Rosco didn't turn to look as the truck pulled up. He stopped though when the truck did and then looked at it.
"Rosco?" Jesse got out of his truck and walked around to Rosco, who reached his left hand to the truck bed and leaned against it.
"What the heck happened to ya? You look like you been in the fight of your life."
"Fight for my life..." Rosco replied.
Rosco closed his eyes for a moment, his nausea returning again briefly. "Jesse...somebody just tried to kill me..."
Jesse stared for a moment at the young Sheriff. "Rosco, who the heck...?"
"Ellis," Rosco replied, opening his eyes to look at Jesse. "Roger Ellis."
Jesse paused again. He knew of the animosity that existed between Rosco and Agent Ellis, but never thought it would come to this. Carefully, Jesse touched Rosco on his bruised right shoulder. "Come on," he said and opened the truck's passenger door, "I'll take ya home."
Rosco nodded and slowly climbed into the truck. He flinched when his shoulder moved more than he wanted it to, but it felt good to be able to sit down and not have to move. Jesse closed the door and returned to the driver seat.
Raleigh had no more than hung up the phone after calling a second friend when Jesse pulled into the drive of the Coltrane house. Both Raleigh and Abby heard the door slam and they went to the living room window to look. They watched as Jesse opened the passenger door of his truck and Rosco stepped out.
"Raleigh!" Abby exclaimed as they both darted away from the window and went to the front door. They came out of the house just as Jesse started to help Rosco towards it.
"Good Lord," Raleigh said, noticing that Rosco looked like death warmed over, not realizing at that moment that that thought was ironically close to the truth. He went to Rosco's right side to help Jesse when Rosco stopped.
"Dad, no," Rosco said. "I really hurt my arm. Hurts to move it."
"What did you do?"
"When I jumped out of my car, before it went into Chilsom Creek." Rosco looked up at his father. "Ellis...Dad, he was trying to kill me..."
Abby gasped as Raleigh growled softly, it all making sense now. "Come on," he said. "Let's get you into the house." Raleigh guided Rosco while Jesse acted as a crutch.
"Seems to me," Jesse said as they stepped up on the porch, "that that Ellis feller needs a good kick in the..."
Rosco made growling noise, agreeing with Jesse.
"He ain't done nothing but been a thorn in your side since you got elected," Jesse continued. "Why can't he just accept the fact that you won and he lost?"
Abby held open the door while the men went into the house.
"Dad," Rosco said, "you gotta find MaryAnne."
"Already have. J.D. found her. She's okay."
"Rosco, we were so afraid that something had happened to you," Abby said. "Something really awful."
"Luckily I'm just hurtin' real bad now," Rosco said.
Abby cleared the two pillows off the ends of the couch and instructed Jesse and Raleigh to help Rosco to it. Grimacing the whole way, Rosco was helped to the couch and gingerly they helped him to sit down.
"What did you do to your arm?" Abby asked.
"I ain't sure," Rosco replied. "All I remember is a lot of tumbling when I jumped out of the car."
Upstairs, MaryAnne heard all the anxious voices and the sound of Rosco's name. She came out of her room and went to the stairs, where the voices of the adults in the living room down below became clear. She stepped down the stairs slowly and watched the scene come into view. She saw her cousin sitting on the couch and was immediately glad to see him. She stopped from running down the rest of the stairs when she saw how he looked. Something was wrong, she knew, as she watched Abby carefully help Rosco out of his black uniform jacket. Rosco's face wrinkled in pain and then Abby finally got the jacket of his wounded arm and laid it down on the couch next to him.
"Can you move it all?" Abby asked.
"What little of it I can move it, it hurts," Rosco said.
"Maybe we should give Doc Petticord a call," Jesse suggested.
"Yeah," Raleigh said. He turned to go to the phone in the kitchen and saw MaryAnne out of the corner of his eye. He stopped and looked up at her standing in the middle of the stairs.
MaryAnne took a step back, wondering if maybe she wasn't supposed to see.
Abby, Jesse and Rosco looked as well.
Raleigh placed his hand out to her, waving it. "It's okay," he said. "You can come down. I think Rosco would like to see you."
MaryAnne slowly came down the rest of the stairs looking at Raleigh, then to Rosco then back at Raleigh again.
"Is he okay?" she asked.
"I'm okay, MaryAnne," Rosco said. "Just got some boo-boos that's all." He noticed the patch of band-aids on her elbow. "Looks like you got some boo-boos too."
She nodded and approached her older cousin as her eyes started to sting with tears. She wiped away the droplet, dropping her head a little and hoping he didn't see it.
"Why are you crying?"
She shrugged. "I don't know." She was crying because her knees and elbow still hurt, because she was glad to see Rosco again and because she felt bad for him because he was hurt.
"Come here," he said putting his good hand out to her. MaryAnne climbed up on the couch and curled up in his left arm, burying her face in his shoulder.
Jesse smiled. "Looks to me like the little girl's glad to see you again."
Rosco hugged her and nodded. He was relieved to see her again too.