He growled "If you try to leave me I will kill you." He pointed a rifle at her head to show he meant it.
A couple hours before, he had some more visitors who knew their way out to the garage.
There was a large cardboard box on a shelf, nondescript, ordinary, but evidently worth a great deal of money. No one bothered to seal it closed. She was surprised and saddened to look in the box and see pounds and pounds of marijuana.
Most of the men who drove their cars to the front of the house and walked to the oversize detached garage were scruffy looking. Actually that would be a description of a person cleaner and less scary than these men. It was just not acceptable to have these strangers in the vicinity of the children.
The drinking and drugs were evidently more important to him than the family. The confrontation ended with the rifle pointed at her head and his telling her "If you try to leave me I will kill you."
The plans for the escape began discreetly. A visit to the childrens school determined the date they would be able to leave school and meet the requirements for days attended. The teachers and coaches were disappointed they would be losing some of their favorite students. The wrestling coach had plans for her son to participate in Junior Olympics and pleaded for the mother to continue the boy's involvement in wrestling. This was one of the dreams they had to leave behind.
The two older children were informed of the plan. They didn't want to live with fear each day, but the thought of moving so far away and starting over brought its own fear: The Fear of the Unknown. It was necessary to keep up the appearance of a normal life while they plotted and planned and took steps necessary to leave in a hurry on the last day. A yard sale provided money away from his pockets.
He left for work early as usual. As soon as he was down the street, the mother and the children started packing the car. So many things had to be left behind. Four people in a mid size station wagon leave little room for their belongings.
Within two hours they were headed out of town. They drove in silence, leaving each to their own thoughts. Feeling compelled to put as many miles between them the first day, they only stopped for gas and take out food when necessary. When they finally felt they could rest for the night, they were in Tennessee and it was late at night. Paying for a small motel room for one night, they slept on uncomfortable beds and in sleeping bags on the floor.
When the mother visited the bathroom during the night, she found her son sitting at the door in the motel room, holding his baseball bat, standing guard. They had to leave a lot of things behind that day, but they brought so much more with them.