I was about to make the call, when I had second thoughts. The problem wasn’t the GBI, it was the local cops. The GBI would not get involved without the locals being first on the scene. The locals could spin it anyway they wanted, and we could come up looking like crap. Still, moving bodies and all the rest was bound to come back and bite us on the ass.
I went inside where I had enough light to dial the phone. It was like 1AM Monday morning. But I called the number Anna gave me anyway. It rang a bunch of times before a man finally answered.
“Agent Hall,” he said.
“Agent Hall, my name is Maxine Stone. A friend at the FBI gave me your number. She said I could trust you.”
“I like to think everyone can trust me.” he replied.
“I’m in Haymarket Georgia, and the Atwood brothers just sent four men to kill me and my companions. We managed to kill three of them in a firefight. We let one of them get away. Now I know the local cop here is in Atwood’s pocket, so who can I trust up here?” I asked.
“The Atwood’s huh, just stay put, I’m going to call the state police to investigate. Just don’t do anything else till they get there. If that local cop shows up tell him the state police are on the way and if he touches anything there is going to be hell to pay. You got that?” he asked.
“Yeah, I think I can handle that.” I said.
“Don’t anyone touch anything else out there.” I said as I turned the coffee on. It was almost finished when the state police came roaring in. “Martin are all the weapons secure?” I asked.
“Yeah everything is cool. I know this drill.” he said quietly. I could tell he didn’t like the way I was handling it, but he went along.
“This is going to be a cluster fuck,” I said.
“You know they won’t be able to tie this to the Atwoods,” Martin said.
“Probably not, but we aren’t finished by a long shot.” I replied.
The cop naturally walked to Martin first, “What happened here?” he asked.
“For sure, all I can tell you is these four armed men drove up in that pickup truck. They got out and started for the house. Maxine and Mike had been to the local tavern and happened to come home at the same time. They drove the SUV into the truck and spread these guys out. A firefight ensued. In the fight I think I shot two of them. Maxine shot one of them for sure.”
“Why did these men come here to attack you people?” the cop asked.
“The short answer is, I’m not sure.” Martin said.
“How about the long answer?” the cop asked.
“The long answer is I’m still not sure, but it could have something to do with the man who assaulted Maxine last night. She kind whipped his ass, and he didn’t like it. I think he sent these men to kill us all.
“Officer, if you don’t mind, I need to get to a doctor I think.” I showed him my coat which had been set on fire by the muzzle blast when I killed the man behind me. “I think I have a nasty burn, at least it is starting to hurt like hell.”
“You should have called the ambulance first. I’ll call for one now.”
“I don’t need an ambulance. I just need a ride to the hospital. We have two undamaged cars here.” I pointed to them.
“I can’t let you just drive away, you killed a man.”
Then have one of the officers here drive me to the hospital.” I thought it was a reasonable request.
“Tell you what, that is against the rules, but I can get you a ride in a nice new ambulance. I can also have one of our men ride along to be sure you are alright. I’ll try to get a detective to meet you there.” the sergeant suggested.
“Fair enough,” I said in disgust. I turned to Martin, “Don’t leave this house unless you are under arrest,” I said to him. Talk to them here.”
“I know the drill hon, and unless they are going to squeeze my ball with pliers, I got nothing to say.” Martin was all smiles. Hes’s enjoying this shit, I thought.
“I don’t think they do that any more,” I said with a laugh. I was in real pain by that time the ambulance arrived. I was indeed ready to go to the hospital. I needed heavy drugs and quickly. I was light headed and about to pass out from the pain and the let down after the combat rush.
I made it to the back of the ambulance on my on, but just before I would have gone down. I managed to stay with it, until I laid my ass down on the gurney. I was quite ready for a nap. It appeared that I was the only injured person, who survived. I was more than a little surprised by the outcome, but I should not have been.
Martin was a pro and he had the cover. The cowboy rednecks did a gunfight at ok corral thing. But instead of the Law Dogs, they got the Apaches. Okay, I was out of my head and my mind was wandering all over the place.
My burn phone rang while I was in the ambulance. “Just in case they take your phone away and try to give you shit,” Martin said. “Gwen got the whole thing on film.”
“Good for her, she might prove to be an asset after all.” I suggested. “Somebody call Jen in Aster. She might as well lose sleep along with us.
“I’ll let you know how Gwen’s assets are after the cops leave.” he said. “And yeah we might need your shyster friend.
“Remember, tell them nothing but the truth, but no more of it than you have to,” I said.
“I hear, they are going to change the name of the show to vigilante justice,” he said with a laugh.
“Don’t give those pricks any ideas,” I said.
“So the state police guys have been real efficient. They are out there picking up the dead leaves,” Martin said. They must have every cop tool in the state out here.”
“Good, we just want the truth to come out. This time we don’t let the Atwoods manage the story.” I said it just as I felt the need to throw up. “I got to go.” I hung up and tried to relax, so that the bile would go back down.
We pulled into the parking lot with me feeling like shit. “She is going into shock. We need to get her inside and let them deal with it.” The EMT said as she opened the rear doors from the inside. We were at the ER loading area of some hospital. I didn’t have any idea what the name was, nor did I care. I just knew my shit was about to go rank.
“Stay with me, don’t you go to sleep on me,” The EMT said. I nodded.
“Good girl, don’t you quit,” she said as I was rolling down the hall. I nodded again. Then there was the sound of those automatic doors opening and closing. Seconds later more hands pulled from the gurney to an examining table.
“Get some fluids into her,” a woman in a lab coat said. “Are you in a lot of pain?”
“So, so,” i said.
“I am going to have to get you stable before I can give you anything, so just stay with me. I promise I will take care of you.”
I knew I was mumbling when she leaned forward to make out what I said. “If you take care of me. I’ll take care of you later sweetie,” I said and forced a smile.
“Promises, promises, I get that all the time.” She laughed and listened to my heart. “Hang another bag of Ringers and get a second line started.”
The nurse gave her some numbers and the doctor smiled at me. “You are stabilizing. so I’m going to give you something local for the pain. Then I’m going to take a good look at that burn.”
I lay still, but in a great deal of pain, while they cut my clothes off me. I stayed awake, because I knew that it was the thing to do. Suddenly there were pin prick added to the pain from the burn.
“That’s going to take a few minutes to numb you up. How did that happen,” the doctor asked.
“My own stupidity.” I said not really wanting to go into detail.
“How about the split lip and black eye. You don’t have a violent husband or boyfriend do you?” She asked again.
“No, but I did get in a fight with a guy a couple of days ago.” I said.
“It ain’t much of man, who hits a woman,” the nurse said.
“Got that right,” I agreed.
I wasn’t going to elaborate until she asked, “Did you report it?” the nurse asked.
“I think you guys did. They brought him here,” I said. I was feeling much better by that time.
“Are you the one that beat Thomas Atwood half to death,” the doctor asked.
“I don’t know about half to death, but we went a couple of rounds.” I said.
“Then that would make you the preacher lady,” the nurse suggested.
“Yes that would be me,” I agreed
“So why is there something that looks like gunpowder stippling on your clothes and around the burn?” the doctor asked.
“Like I said, just a stupid mistake.” The pain had gone by that time. “I am feeling a lot better now.”
“Good, it’s the fluids. You just had a overdose of sensations and your body went into overload. You should be fine. We will get this cleaned up and get it covered to keep the air out and you will be as good as new in a week.”
“You aren’t going to admit me are you?” I asked.
“No, you seem to be doing fine. I want you to hang around for a couple of hours, then you should be able to leave, if you have someone who can drive you home. They need to bring you something to wear. I think that your clothes are trash now. At least the coat and sweater are,” she said. Don’t get that area wet for a few days. No showers, ok?”
“Okay, You probably need to save my clothes. The cops are going to want them I expect. Oh yeah, what should I take for the pain?” I asked.
Anything OTC that works for you should be fine.” the doctor said. “I’ll give you a script for Tylenol with codeine. Don’t fill it unless nothing else works.”
Two hours later the nurse came in leading Gwen. Gwen had a plastic bag from the grocery store with a sweater and jeans in it. She was also carrying the insulated Parka that I had seen Martin wearing earlier. I noted that Gwen looked a little out of it. It was late and a lot had happened to her in one evening. Quite possibly one of those things was Martin.
“The cop out there is taking your clothes, so I brought some of your things,” she said.
I nodded. I got dressed then we went to the check out desk. I tried to give them my credit card for the bill, but Gwen had already given them a card. I didn’t even ask whose card it was. I knew for sure that it wasn’t hers.
“So the cops aren’t going to stop us leaving?” I asked.
“They are waiting for the Detectives to come up from Atlanta. They keep asking questions but no big deal yet.” she replied.
“That’s going to change, when the heavy hitters get here,” I said.
“So how do you feel?” she asked on the drive back to the house.
“I feel okay, they gave me something for the pain and that was the big issue. Burns are the most painful injuries, I’m told.” I replied.
“How do you feel about killing a man?’ she asked. I knew then that her car had a hidden camera. “Killing people always upsets me. It should upset any rational human being. In this case it was kill him, or have him take me back to the Atwoods. Their plan was to torture and then kill me. I didn’t feel that I had any choice.”I replied. Then I turned the table on her. “How did you feel watching it all happen, knowing that if Martin and I failed, you were likely to die a very unpleasant death? You did know that didn’t you?”
“Yes, I had a pretty good idea that when they said they would kill us all, it meant me and Mike as well.”
“Oh it most definitely did. They need to make sure there is no one left to testify. Now it might be a little harder for them to do, but that is still their desired outcome to all this.”