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Chapter Twenty-Four

Current day, 11:30 PM, Thompsonville Medical Center, Thompsonville, Virginia.

Cole drove Phil’s bullet hole riddled truck around to the emergency room entrance, noting the ‘Doctor on Duty’ sign glowing in the misty fog. “Thank God,” he exclaimed and leapt from the cab of the truck.

The electronic front doors slid open as Cole entered the bright white facility with Kevin’s arm draped over his shoulder. A trail of red drops followed the two men into the building.

“I need some help here!” Cole shouted.

“Another one?” mumbled a slim, middle-aged nurse with flame-red hair as she burst into the emergency room. “What’s the matter with your friend?” She inquired and smacked a round metal panel on the wall. The woman then steered the men toward an opening set of doors.

“Gun shot,” Cole said, looking into the woman’s green eyes. “Lower left abdomen. The bullet’s still in there. Is Doctor Andersen working, tonight?”

“We have another GSW!” the nurse yelled. “Where’s Doc?”

“Out back takin’ a smoke break,” replied a pretty, African-American nurse, flying into the room from nowhere. She wore grey scrubs with pink ribbons all over them. “He’s on his way.”

Cole stepped away from the two medical professionals as they systematically removed Kevin’s clothes. Cole imagined that if Kevin were lucid enough he would have already made a few sexually charged remarks toward the two women. ”Don’t you die, you moron," Cole thought to himself.

An older man, well into his late 60′s strolled into the room like a king. “Gunshot, huh?” he asked Cole. “Are you militia guys running war games or something?”

“Militia? Um, no sir,” Cole replied. “It was just a huntin’ accident.”

“Really now,” the doctor said and then shrugged his shoulders. “Alright, you got insurance?”

Cole glared at the old man. “Sumthin’ like that,” he said and produced a stack of hundreds. “You take Benjamin Cross and Franklin Shield?”

The doctor lifted the money from Cole’s hand and shoved the bills into a coat pocket. “Yep...all day long.”

“And we were never here?”

The old doctor shrugged. “Like I told the other guys, I haven’t seen anyone tonight. Look, I need to go fix your invisible friend before he turns into Casper. Now, go remove that big ass truck from my emergency room entrance. You can park it around back with your buddies’.”

“Doc, he’s losing a lot of blood!” the redhead shouted.

Cole raised an eyebrow. ”Buddies?”


Blitz watched the pair of men enter through the emergency room doors and the sight of one of them nearly caused him to drop his cup of coffee. He quickly sat the container of hot liquid down and fumbled around his vest looking for his cellphone. “Vick?”

“Yeah?” said the voice on the other end. ”How’s Curly?”

“He’s alright, it’s just the doctor wanted to run a few more tests; but Vick, that isn’t why I called. You are never going to believe who just walked into the clinic here in Thompsonville.”


“The man associated with that station wagon you had me pull info on.”


“Yep, that would be the one. He came in with the guy from that Roadhouse bar the next town over and they were dressed in black fatigues. Looks like he was shot.”

“Hitchens was shot?”

“No, the other guy...Kevin, I think. I’ve spoken with him a few times when me and the guys were out drinking.”

The cellphone grew silent. “Blitz...be extremely careful if you approach him, Cole is really dangerous. Try to see if you can find out what happened, but watch yourself. We’re on our way.”

“Roger, will do.”


Cole noticed the stocky mid-thirty-year-old man in black BDU’s staring at him when he came in with Kevin. He must have been with the other gunshot victim. Slipping down a rear hall to avoid the stranger’s attention, Cole made his way outside to Phil’s black FWD and moved it around to the rear of the clinic.


“Well, that explains things,” Cole said to himself as the headlights of the truck illuminated the black Radii Defense Systems’ SUV. The personalized license plate attached to the rear of the vehicle glowed in the truck’s beams. It said, ”RDS3."

Cole sat upright as someone stepped in front of the truck. It was the guy from the waiting room and he was pointing a silenced pistol at the windshield.

“Out of the truck, Hitchens!” the dark-haired man commanded.

Cole turned the engine off and hopped from the vehicle. “I think you have me confused with someone else, fella,” he said.

“No, I’m pretty sure I have the right man. Where’s the dog?”

“The dog?”

“Don’t act stupid. You know what I’m talking about,” Blitz shot back. “The dog that’s with your family.”

“Don’t you think it’s a bit overkill to use a loaded gun?” Cole asked, slowly creeping forward.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, when did people start using actual guns when they were lookin’ for lost dogs? What happened to just using a staple gun to put up posters like normal people?”

“Ha ha, you’re hilarious, asshole, now, where is it?” Blitz asked, shaking the pistol at Cole intently.

“I don’t have it, see?” Cole replied, inching a bit closer.

“That’s far enough!”

“Who is that? Is that Cathy?” Cole nodded, indicating someone was standing behind Blitz.

Blitz turned his head for only a second. “Cathy? What the hell is she...?”

Cole rushed forward, pushed Blitz to the ground, and then darted inside the hospital.

“Shit!” Blitz exclaimed, scrambling to his feet. He grabbed his pistol from the concrete and cursed himself for being that stupid.

Cole ducked down the bright hallway, took a left, and barreled into an unlocked room. A lit X-Ray sign glowed above the door.

“Hey! Get out of here!” a young woman shouted, standing up from where she sat in front of a row of monitors. She was apparently the X-Ray technician.

Cole lifted a finger to his lips. “Shhhh!”

“I am not...hey, let me go!” the woman shouted as Cole grabbed her, placed his hand over her mouth, and pulled her behind the opening door.

Blitz eased into the room with his pistol held out in front of him.

Cole released the girl, and quickly shoved his body against the door, pinning Blitz’s arm between the doorframe and the door, knocking the pistol loose from Blitz’s grip.

Blitz cried out in pain and then forced his weight back against the metallic door. “I am going to kill you, you bastard!” he shouted.

Cole pushed the technician away from the swinging door and into the corner. “Stay down if you want to live!” Cole barked at the woman and then ran into the adjacent room. He found he was not alone. A shirtless man with black BDU pants lie strapped down to some expensive white medical test equipment.

Retrieving his gun from the floor, Blitz swung the weapon around and aimed it at the frightened young woman. She stabbed at the air, indicating Cole went into the next room. Blitz noticed Curly through the observation glass. Cole Hitchens stood several feet away from him. The room the pair occupied was a closed one, and now, Blitz realized, there was no way out for Cole; the man smiled as he kicked open the door. “I’m going to shoot you in the kneecaps, you asshole, and then I am going to kill your kids right in front of you, Hitchens!”

The X-Ray tech gasped.

Cole narrowed his eyes as Blitz slowly entered the room.

“You alright, Curly?” Blitz asked, stepping over toward the white tube, gun trained on Cole.

“Yeah, just a bit groggy. They had to give me something, ’cause I don’t like tight spaces,” the man replied. “Don’t say anything to Vick, alright?”

“Sure thing,” Blitz laughed. “Either way, it looks like you and me are about to get a bonus. You think you can stand?”

“Yeah, help me up...” Curly replied.

Blitz pulled the hammer back on the pistol and slowly approached Curly, his eyes never leaving the threatening Cole Hitchens. “What the hell!?!!” he exclaimed as the pistol gripped in his fist suddenly swung away from Cole and back toward the large machine. Blitz struggled, attempting to pull the weapon away, but the powerful magnetic force ripped it from his hand. The gun flew into the white tube with a bang and discharged, sending a spray of blood erupting from the top of Curly’s head.

Cole quickly realized this was not an X-Ray machine and noted that his opponent had crossed over a red line painted on the floor.

“Here!” the technician shouted as she pushed a wheelchair toward Cole.

Cole snatched up the rolling object, lifted it, and ran at the confused Blitz. The wheelchair, gripped in the extremely strong magnetic pull of the MRI machine, pressed against his enemy’s body with a force 60,000 times more powerful than the Earth’s own magnetic field. The force sucked the object partially inside the tube, collapsing in against Blitz’s body.

The man attempted to scream from the pain, but could not; part of the metal frame had crushed his larynx. Blitz’s arms and legs flailed about for a few moments longer until his life finally left him.

“What did I do?” said a quiet voice from behind Cole.

Cole turned to find the X-Ray tech sobbing uncontrollably, her face in her hands.

“Those men are dead because of me!” she sobbed. “The MRI machine finally came up and when it did, I cranked it to full power...”

“No, you just saved a CIA agent and his family, honey,” Cole replied, taking the woman in his arms and hugging her tight. “...thank you!”

“I-I-I just heard that guy say that they were going to hurt your children and I knew that he was a bad person...I had to do something.”

“You did, and you just probably saved tens of thousands of other people as well.”


“What’s your name, ma’am?”


“Cindy, I can’t tell you anything because of the hush-hush nature of my mission, but you, young lady, are a hero. Thank you,” Cole said, kissing the girl on the forehead. “Now, wait until I am gone before you call the authorities, okay?”

The tech nodded.

Cole paused in the doorway. “Oh, and the guy that is in surgery right now, the GSW...he’s my partner. Can you keep an eye on him for me?”


Current day, 12:12 AM, Thompsonville Medical Center, Thompsonville, Virginia.

“Damn it!” Vick DeJue shouted. The medical clinic’s exterior walls were bathed in intermittent blue and red flashes erupting from several sheriffs’ department cruisers parked outside. Vick lifted the UHF radio’s mic and clicked the button on its side. “Keep driving, fellas. Just head back to the house and we’ll continue the search in the AM. We can’t afford to engage the locals.”

“I’m getting some strange chatter over the wire. Local LE (Law Enforcement) reported two men in black military clothing were killed by a federal agent in some sort of altercation...something involving an MRI machine,” Beamer said, lifting the left pad of his headset.

“It was Cole.”


Vick snarled. “Now, I know it’s Cole Hitchens. I swear to Christ, I am going to kill that guy. This is the last goddamned time he is going to get the better of me...at first light, Beamer, we’re gonna find that damn dog and Hitchens’ family and I am going to make that son of a bitch pay.”

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