Current day, 09:15 AM,
Main Street, Mount Silver, Virginia
White smoke erupted from beneath the tires of the black Radii SUV as it made a noisy 180° in the church parking lot and dashed for Main Street. The machine’s wheels barked as it bounced over the sidewalk and fishtailed down the dark asphalt away from the deadly flying machine and its armed occupants.
“Stop that vehicle!” Fitz commanded to the four agents spilling from the belly of the helicopter. The quartet in black lifted their weapons to fire.
“No! Let them go!” Cole shouted through the open church doors. The limping man emerged into the daylight with his left arm draped over Frannie’s shoulder and his other around Hunter. The latter was more symbolic than effective as evidenced by Cole’s facial expressions as he made his way down the steps.
“Wait, Cole,” Frannie said as she checked the piece of Cole’s torn shirt tied around the bleeding wound in his leg. He grimaced.
“Are you okay, daddy?” Hunter asked, looking up at his father.
Cole, his teary eyes glistening in the morning sun, looked down at his son and smiled broadly. “Yeah...I’ve never been better.”
Fitz pointed at the church. “Go, sweep the building for any stragglers!” he said to the agents standing around him.
“Nobody but Delinda’s in there and she needs medical attention,” Cole said. “Frannie here managed to keep her from bleeding out.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” Fitz glanced over Cole’s shoulder at a small child skipping down the stairs. He threw a thumb in the little girl’s direction. “Another one of yours?”
Frannie nodded. “That’s Raven.”
“Come on, puppy!” Cole heard Raven exclaim loudly from behind him and then whistle. “Come on, Mrs. Buttons!”
Cole grinned. “Yep, definitely Raven.”
Pete’s Pekingese trotted behind the little girl as if it owned the place. It’s tiny toenails clicking as it exited the church and onto the front steps.
“You might wanna grab that dog, Raven,” Cole said over his shoulder. “It don’t like loud noises none.”
“Yessir,” the small girl said and scooped the animal up, just as the armed CIA agents jogged by.
“Daddy, wait!” Kaitlyn said stepping in front of her father and mother with her arms crossed. “Where’s Mr. Buttons?”
“He’s safe, now. Fitz is going to take care of him.” Cole looked over Agent Fitz. “Did you send people to that address I gave you?”
“Yes, and my second team is dealing with the mess you left there. So, what’s the play now, hillbilly?”
Frannie glared at Fitz.
“Sorry...erm, Agent Hitchens,” he corrected. “You’re driving this little show.”
Cole shook his head. “No, Field Commander Hinds is.”
“Aaron? That fu...” Fitz paused, his words interrupted by something small tugging on the bottom of his untucked shirt that hung loose from beneath his Kevlar vest.
Fitz knelt down. “Yes, miss?”
“Here, Kaitlyn,” Raven handed her sister the Pekingese. The little girl then returned her attention to the agent kneeling before her. She reached out her arms and grabbed the surprised Fitz around the neck. “Thank you, mister for helping my daddy and me!”
Fitz looked up at Cole. “You have a wonderful family, you know that!”
The little girl released the agent.
“One that has deserved better than all the hell...,” Cole paused as he saw Raven staring at him. “Um, heck I’ve put them through.”
“You don’t have to tell me, Cole. I know. It’s not over...” Frannie said.
Cole looked into Frannie’s eyes with sadness.
“Mrs. Hitchens, your suspicions are correct. Until this matter is resolved, I will still need your husband’s assistance.”