When Jean-Paul Philippe Dubois in early adolescence had first come of his own accord and knelt down by his father Jean-Luc so they might share their morning prayers, a deep spiritual bond was added to the heavily nurtured natural bonds between father and son.
“Ce qui est compris n'a pas besoin d'être expliqué-- what is understood need not be explained,” Jean-Luc Dubois often said to others, and his eldest son quietly smiled at that and other paternal wisdom he had already made a part of him.
So: despite the fact that Jean-Paul had plenty to do as one of the most sought-after legal specialists in his new home in Lofton County, VA, it was only supernatural that he would change his schedule to relieve his then 74-year-old father in the heavy work of running the wildly successful food business his family had opened up in 2020.
Jean-Paul was intimately familiar with the ins and outs of Dubois sur la Route and the keys to its success: strategic partnerships with well-funded non-profits that were providing food to people in need in the county during the pandemic, and also relationships with fellow restaurant owners who had been forced to change to the delivery model to survive.
So: Jean-Paul took his father's place on the road every other week, connecting with partners and scoping out new possibilities. So perfect was this substitution that on the weekend Jean-Paul would see something that put him out of commission, it was during the last delivery on Saturday, so his father would step right back into place on Monday like nothing had ever happened.
Jean-Paul was the “warrior monk” of his family – he had lived on the passage of Scripture that he felt was for him from his youth: “The single man cares for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord, but the married man for the things of the world, how he may please his wife … such shall have trouble in the flesh, but I spare you.” Jean-Paul had chosen to be single-minded in his pursuit of his life as a man with God, and so had kept all his relationships with women platonic.
So: it would take a rather remarkable woman to cause Jean-Paul a weekend of anguish – and there she was in the intake area of the Church in the Midst of Life, ten years after he had become aware of her – still gorgeous at 39, blonde, blue eyed, fit as a fiddle, tall as ever, glowing in the sunlight with sweat and the oil she used to care for her pearly skin, right down to the ankle showing with that unique anklet.
Jean-Paul's spirit was equipped to understand the change in this knockout of a woman – in fact, the Holy Spirit gave him the discernment to understand exactly what had happened so that she could be there in the late spring sunlight, cheerfully working, making a difference for good in the world at the Church In the Midst of Life just as he was.
But as Jean-Luc Dubois had always told him, “Remember, my son: your spirit has a soul and body attached, and those earth-bound two will not always cooperate.”
Sure enough: both rebelled, and Jean-Paul Philippe Dubois passed clean out into the arms of the only other man in the vicinity who understood.
Captain H.F. Lee, 24-year Army veteran serving in Big Loft, VA as a police captain, had his former mentor in the Judge Advocate General service carried up to his apartment to recover. Captain Lee volunteered at the Church in the Midst of Life on Saturdays, and wished that he had known his friend was coming so he could have prepared him for the shock.
The reason for that shock – in fact, the case that had brought Jean-Paul to Lofton County and been the catalyst for his whole family moving there – was not even six months back. It had not even been six months since the two men, plus Big Loft's Lieutenant Hummel from Homicide, had been rushing to that very church to meet the murderer they had skillfully lured into the open.
“Lord, if only I had remembered to tell Jean-Paul months ago – but I did not know the situation was going to develop as it has! Please give me wisdom to explain what cannot be understood, and please give him the understanding, because if it were me You know I would go mad!”
Sure enough, Jean-Paul Philippe Dubois came to himself enraged to the verge of madness, unable to remember anything but one phrase in his native French that quickly went from a moan to a blood-curdling roar:
“Comment est-ce possible? Comment est-ce possible?”
Captain Lee's heart broke for his colleague, who had worked so hard … indeed, how was it possible? At Interpol, Jean-Paul had had put in 10 years working the Beauty Killers case before it had come to Lofton County tracking down Ms. Darcy Anne Bowler and her serial-killing accomplices. Those ten years had culminated in working with his old friend and colleague Captain Lee and new friend and colleague Lieutenant Hummel in bringing Ms. Bowler to justice … only to see her six months later glowing and happy in the sunshine, nothing more restrictive attached to her than a locator cuff on a well-oiled ankle.
It was the glimpse of the well-oiled ankle that had put Jean-Paul over the edge.
“She's a narcissistic sociopath serial killer of hundreds of people, mocking law enforcement in plain sight – doesn't anybody know that a woman who is an athlete with a man-sized bracelet can oil up and get right out of that thing?”
“I don't think that anyone without your specialized knowledge would have thought of the possibility, and unfortunately we have no such men in our sheriff's department.”
“And not in your courts either! Was she was too blonde and blue-eyed for Virginia to put her away?”
“No, she pled guilty and was convicted and sentenced appropriately, but then the situation took an unthinkable series of turns, and so did she.”
“What in the world could possibly explain that woman, practically free? What in the name of all that is holy is going on in Lofton County!”
“I will attempt to explain it, mon frere, and there is much unholiness and surprising amounts of holiness, but I'm not sure I even understand it completely.”
That pierced through Jean-Paul's rage enough to cause him to stop short in his mad pacing of the floor – Henry Fitzhugh Lee was one of the most brilliant men he had ever met, and if he didn't understand it, it had to be a situation unlike any other.
“Let me sit myself down – in fact, let me lie down again.”
Jean-Paul was glad he had made that decision as Captain Lee explained to him how Ms. Bowler had been remanded to the local institution for the criminally insane, but that the deputy assigned to take her there had driven her to his home and attempted to rape her.
“That was not the strange part, though. The strange part was that after she killed him, she hacked into his computer, got the records of the other 47 inmates he had raped, stole his clothes and his car, and brought all that to me so I could take the appropriate steps and escort her back to the county jail.”
Then came the part about the second attempt to remand Ms. Bowler to custody … the deputy there got caught up on a car chase that ended up embedded in the side of a 18-wheeler, but Ms. Bowler in the deputy's eternal absence got out of the back of the car, subdued the criminals, and asked the truckers to take them and her back into custody.
“That's not the shocking part. The truck driver heard her say, as she was choking the criminal who had caused the wreck out, 'I'd kill you, but Jesus told me to go and sin no more.' ”
That put Jean-Paul Philippe Dubois in the hospital overnight, which gave him time to pray and consider the matter before hearing about how a judge had noted the change in Ms. Bowler, decided she was not safe in county custody, and then released Ms. Bowler to Rev. Gordon of the Church In the Midst Of Life because he had brought the change in her.
“Rev. Gordon patiently worked with her on understanding the Gospel, and that connected with the testimony and teaching of her father, Captain Darius Bowler,” Captain Lee said. “Meanwhile, the Veteran's Lodge, based on her father's record, said that they would take her into their facility for veterans and veteran family members of this type, but then Covid-19 hit, and both their facility and the regular institution have had to close to new convicts. Somewhere in there, Ms. Bowler was given the ability to see herself as a sinner in desperate need of Christ's salvation – and, He saved her!”
Jean-Paul shook his head, and then sighed.
“I saw that – I did, although I just couldn't understand it at the time – that is the same person, but it is not. Her eyes, Henry … she was dead before, no feeling, no regrets … but she is alive now. That big of a change .. but, Moses was a premeditated murderer, so … .”
“What does the verse say – 'It is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes' – and the man the Lord had write that was both an adulterer and a murderer?”
“Moses and David and Darcy … and Henry and Jean-Paul too, because I was thinking of breaking out of the hospital and doing what you were thinking of doing to those officers who had set you and your men up to die at Five Bright Nine.”
“Mon frere, how great is God, that both we and Darcy Bowler have been freed from murders done and planned to serve Him! Her sentence yet lies ahead of her when Covid-19 passes, but in the meantime, God's grace is to let her work for the good, with us!”
Three days later, a get-well card arrived at the Dubois family home in Tinyville, VA. It is always troubling when a serial killer has your home address, but still …
“Que le bon Dieu vous accorde la plus haute santé, Inspecteur Dubois. Avec égards chrétiens, Mlle D.A.B.” read Jean-Luc Dubois when his bewildered son handed him the card to read. “Well, Jean-Paul, what a change in someone who ten years ago would have gotten your address to come shooting – but now, with Christian regard, she wishes that God grant you the best of health.”
“I suppose it is ... what a change!”
“Now about the rest, Henry Lee is correct in more ways than he knows, for what have you been doing here with your skills but defending our community against the corrupt system? Mademoiselle Bowler has shown you and the world how weak the system is here – so you and Henry know what to do with your combined spheres of influence from here, do you not?”
Jean-Luc Dubois said nothing more about the matter, for there was no need … as ever with his eldest son, whose eyes suddenly lit up, what was understood did not need to be explained.