Chapter 12-Near Death
On Wednesday I went back to work to try to get some things done while I was there or at least for the time the kids were in school. I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible over the next few days before I had to leave again. I knew this next target would be a little more difficult to get next to so I would have to go about things a little more delicately.
I went through a few of the companies and the rest of the employees by the time lunch had rolled around. By then I was so hungry I couldn’t believe it. I never got this hungry and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was so much so now. Either way, I didn’t give it much thought when I started to leave to go get some lunch. I was wearing a pants suit today so I didn’t have my gun on my leg like normal. Today it was in my purse. I went down the elevator to the parking garage and started for my vehicle when it dawned on me I had left my purse up in my office, so I turned to go back up and get it, mainly for my gun since I had money in my pocket, but something had caught my attention before I had a chance to get that far.
I stopped and turned to see what the small shadow I had seen was. It wasn’t there. I know I seen something or someone. I walked to the front of the car where I had seen the shadow, but again, nothing. Weird. I could have sworn I seen something there. Normally nothing slips past me. I don’t know how I could have seen something and it could be gone that fast, much less if it was someone how they could be that quick and silent.
I stood there listening to the sounds in the parking garage but heard nothing. My senses were still on edge though, as if someone were there with me, but no matter how hard I tried to find the person I couldn’t find it. Maybe I was still a little on edge from the past week and the upcoming few weeks. Either way, something was making my nerves electrify and I wasn’t sure exactly what it was. Right then, when I turned to go back towards the elevator I saw it again. This time I knew what I saw. A man in a ski mask. A small man but he definitely had a gun.
I ducked behind the car that I was standing beside and wondered that the hell was going on now. Who the fuck is this? Damn, it’s amazing how everyone comes out of the woodwork to kill you when one does. Perfect. I forget my gun on the one day when I actually need it. This is why I hate pants suits. At least when it comes to weapons. Pants are great, I prefer them actually, but it’s bad when you have no way of hiding your weapon. Not to mention, I only carry a purse because I have to. It completes the female look which keeps my cover for the military.
“You can’t let anyone know about your military career since these units technically don’t exist.” Yeah, right. Awesome, I love what my military experience has gotten me; six bullet holes, twelve stab wounds, and tons of enemies that are out to kill me. On the other hand, all of the lives saved by the missions my units have done made it worth it. I don’t know how much longer these games are going to go on but I knew I had to put a stop to this shit quick before it got me or my kids killed. I couldn’t let that happen.
At that last thought I heard the sound of a very soft footstep getting very close to the side of the car. The second before I was about to attack I heard the *PING* from the elevator. That caught the attention of whoever was coming close to me and they took off running in the other direction.
“Rain! Rain! Where are you?” It was Justin. What the hell was he doing here? He was supposed to be at the school with the kids.
I stepped out and around the car to ask him when as soon as I did that feeling was back and stronger than ever. Before I had a chance to see who it was, the shots started ringing out. I was hit in the side of my heart. Justin ducked as I was dropping to the ground and he pulled his gun looking in the direction the shot came from but he wasn’t seeing what I saw as I was looking on without realizing fully what was going on.
Whoever this shooter was, he was very good. To hit someone from about one hundred and fifty feet, ducked down, with a 9 mm. was extremely good shooting. I only knew of about 6 people that could do it. One was me, one was dead now. Three were my team members and the other, from what I seen in his file, was Gary. This person didn’t fit the physical appearance of any of those people though.
Justin slowly crept over to where I was to see if I was still breathing while keeping his eyes on the garage and looking for the shooter. This bullet was so close to my heart I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t stop him from getting too close to me and in the line of fire of the shooter. I was shaking my head as much as I could while keeping my eyes on the shooter, but he didn’t notice.
Too late. He had already taken two in the chest and one in the shoulder before I could stop him from getting in the shooter’s line of fire.
He went down faster than I did and he was closer to the ground. I started feeling lightheaded, which I knew was because of the blood loss. Justin was already unconscious then and the shooter stepped out from where he was hiding. He was a small man but something about his eyes was familiar. He walked over and kneeled down beside me. I was way beyond dizzy at that point and wasn’t sure if I could even move, much less fight back. He smiled an evil looking smile which I’m sure I’d seen before and said to me in an almost fake voice, “Stay away from Winters. He doesn’t belong to you.” Then more gun shots rang out and he walked away.
When you look back on your life you wonder how you got to the point you’re at and what you could have done differently to change things so they didn’t get you to this point.
Well that’s exactly the thoughts that crossed my mind when I was lying on the wet asphalt with my blood slowly oozing out of the gunshot wound that I just received. This now gaping hole in me is for what, for loving someone, for finally giving in and letting my guard down to someone that I trust?
“Way to go Rain”, I think to myself. “Now what?” I try to move only to realize the wound is up to high and the more I move around the faster I lose blood.
“Dammit!” I scream as loudly as possible because it’s the only thing I can do. After everything I survived up until now, my once mundane life turned upside down by one man, finishing my degree while working and now this.
What now? What can I do to save myself? If I don’t do something soon I’m going to leave my children orphans. That’s the one thing I refuse to do. “Get up Rain! Find your cell phone, Rain! Call for help, Rain! No matter what this Bastard can’t win! He will NOT beat me! I don’t care how much he wants me dead and away from Logan, I will not let him dictate my life and my loved ones!”
Slowly, I climb to my knees and spot my purse and my cell phone. That must have been what Justin was doing when he was coming to the parking garage. He noticed I wasn’t there and seen my purse. Berdina must’ve told him where I was going so he figured he’d bring me my purse. I slowly crawl over to it and dial 9-1-1. “9-1-1 Operator how can I help you?”
Silence. “Hello I can’t hear you. You’re going to have to speak up for me to help you.” Again silence. I made it to the phone and was able to dial it but the amount of blood I was losing pumping from my heart was too much and I black out.
To my forgotten advantage 9-1-1 has a trace locator on all calls that are placed. Now the question lingers as to whether they’ll reach me fast enough.
I must’ve been unconscious because I started seeing glimpses of my children and Logan. However brief our time together has been he was obviously a bigger part of my life than I realized. Then, the now loveable extended family I have started going through my life as well. Hazel, Gary, Katie, Ben, Andrew, Dante, Berdina, and Justin. Right then I started feeling my fingers.
I knew he was shot but I didn’t know if he was still alive. If I didn’t do something soon we were both going to leave our children without a parent. Only mine would have neither parent around. I had to do something. At that I started fighting away the blackness that wanted to settle over me and tried moving. At first I felt my fingers then my arms. This hole in my chest was making it extremely hard to move though. I still couldn’t catch my breath but I’d be damned if I was going to just lay here and let us die without trying.
At that I sat up on my knees and seen my purse in front of me. Shit, what the hell do I have in that small purse that I could use to possibly stop bleeding? Then I remembered my period was due in a few days. I had tampons in my purse, well on the ground now.
I took one and took it out of the tube and stuffed it in Justin’s gunshot wound. Then, I repeated that with his other two holes and with my own. Afterwards I picked up my phone and called 9-1-1 again. The dispatcher came on and immediately asked where I was because they had already sent the paramedics to my location but they were having problems finding where in the building I was located, so they were making their way from floor to floor searching.
I said, “Par-king gar-age,” but I was still having problems catching my breath so I wasn’t sure if the dispatcher caught what I said. She must have because not even a minute later the *PING* from the elevator sounded and a couple of paramedics and police officers as well as Berdina came rushing out looking in both directions for someone injured.
When Berdina saw me she screamed for the paramedics and they came running. She asked me if I knew who shot us and I shook my head no which seemed to confuse her. I guess it’s hard for someone to imagine someone that’s as good as me to get hit by a random shooter. The paramedics said Justin’s wounds weren’t very severe but his blood loss was. They said if I hadn’t have plugged his wound he would have bled out by now. I felt better knowing Justin would make it but I wanted to know who did this.
Berdina must have called upstairs because a few minutes later Logan was sprinting head long through the elevator doors and around the corner to where we were. He stopped short when he saw me lying in my own blood panting. He started screaming and asked Berdina what the hell happened. She told him all she knew and the paramedic asked about me. He and Berdina gave them all of my information and Logan claimed he was my fiancé so he could ride in the ambulance with me.
I must have been going in and out of consciousness because I was only getting bits and pieces of the conversation between the paramedic and Logan. Apparently, the reason I was having so much trouble breathing was because the bullet not only nicked my heart but hit my lung. The paramedic claimed it was just a graze but until it could be sewn shut my lung had collapsed. Great, this is just great. I’m definitely going to be down for a while now. When I got to Atlanta Medical Center they were saying they were going to take me into surgery immediately.
I stopped them however and told Logan to tell Madison, Christiaan, and Jojo so they can protect my children. He shook his head yes with tears in his eyes. I gave him the address of the safe house where they were and the doctor told Logan I shouldn’t still be conscious much less talking and if they didn’t get me into surgery soon I was going to die. At that, Logan told me to just rest and he would take care of it.
When I came too finally I started looking around slowly and there sat Logan sleeping in the chair by my bed. I smiled a little, and then reached over to slowly pat his hand. He stirred a little but as soon as he realized I was awake he jumped up and looked at me.
“Oh my God, you’re awake! Are you ok? Who did this to you? I have to get a doctor hold on.” He was asking me so quickly I didn’t have time to answer anything.
He took off running for the door and made his way out to the hallway screaming. “Doctor! She’s awake. Doc, Rain’s awake. Hurry!”
With that, he came running back into the room and almost flew over the bed before he caught himself enough to sit back on the opposite side of the bed with me. The doctors and nurses came rushing into the room then and so began the checkups and procedures to see if I was ok.
After about a half an hour everyone expect a doctor, a police officer, and Logan cleared out leaving the doctor and cop to question me. The doctor insisted on staying in for the questioning to see if he can catch any pertinent information that may help him understand what happened so he can piece together what hurt me and saved me.
I almost shit myself when they started asking me questions because apparently I had been in a coma for over a week after the shooting and surgery. I couldn’t believe that much time passed. I sat straight up asking about the kids in a panic. Seeing me wince at the pain I just caused myself Logan said, “Madison and Christiaan told them you were working and would be back soon. Easy, easy, you need to lie back down before you rip open your wound.”
I started to lie back but then remembered Justin was also shot and right before I asked the door opened and Justin walked in. I was extremely happy to see him alive and he smiled when he seen me awake and came rushing over asking me how I was. I didn’t have time to answer though because the officer cut in telling him he needed to leave because he was questioning me. Justin didn’t seem to sit well with that because he let the officer have it and finished with telling him he wasn’t going to leave. He walked over to the opposite side of the bed where Logan was and sat in the chair opening a magazine but paying attention the questioning the entire time.
The officer muttered under his breath, “God damn rich bastards think they can get away with whatever they want and not follow the law unless they need us.”
Then the officer asked me if I knew who it was that shot me and I told him no. He asked if I knew why anyone would want to hurt me and again I told him no but he saw the look that Logan and Justin shared and asked them if they had anything to add to the statement before he left.
Justin says, “Yeah. You better hope you find whoever did this before I do.”
That seemed to get the officer’s blood flowing, “Now see here, if you interfere with an ongoing police investigation you will be arrested. This is a police matter now and I don’t need some young punk getting himself killed trying to play hero.”
“Playing hero? What the hell do you mean playing hero? I’ve been to every hell this world has to offer and did it all to ensure the freedom of you and any other idiot along with your freedom of speech, no matter how stupid you sound. I don’t think I’m the one playing hero here.” Justin didn’t like anyone implying he was some vigilante playing hero.
“Ok boy, I get it. You’re no average street punk, but you didn’t survive every hell on earth to come home and die because you got in over your head and got into a bad situation.” Again, Officer Davis thought he was talking to some ordinary street kid.
This time Justin just looked at him and smiled a deadly smile and said, “Like I said, I’m hunting now Officer, so if you don’t want me in this then you better hope you’re a better hunter than I am because once I find who did this I will kill him.
Officer Davis gave him a dirty look but shook his head and walked out.
The doctor then began telling me what had happened. “Apparently, from what we’ve gotten from others you went down to get lunch. You must have realized you forgot your purse because you were headed back towards the elevator when Justin here met you down there to give it to you. At that point someone opened fire hitting you. A few minutes later they also hit Justin while he was covering you and trying to find the shooter. He took three in the chest and shoulder and would have died if you wouldn’t have done what you did. That was pretty quick thinking to use tampons. I don’t think any of us would have ever thought of that. You’re definitely very brilliant. What we don’t understand is how you were able to stay conscious for as long as you did to not only save yourself but to also tell the paramedics where you were. Plus you stayed conscious for a majority of the ride here and didn’t rest until we knocked you out. No one should have been able to stay conscious after sustaining that amount of blood loss. So what’s your secret, wonder woman?”
Justin, Logan, and I all chuckled when he said that. I said, “I’m no wonder woman. I just wasn’t about to let myself or Justin die without a fight. We both have kids and can’t leave them like that.”
He must have understood that because he said the love a parent has for a child is nothing that anyone can match and left the room. That was when the real questioning began.
Logan and Justin asked pretty much as soon as the door closed if I really knew who it was that tried killing me so I gave them my accounts of everything that happened and when I finished Logan seemed horrified.
“I don’t understand who would do this to you because of me. I’m so sorry, Rain. You’ll never know how sorry I am. I never would’ve wanted you to be hurt because of me. I think its best I stay away from you as well. I only wanted to protect you and instead I damn near got you killed.” He started walking away and I sat up and started yelling at him.
That pissed me off so I picked up the water pitcher and flung it at him intending to hit him in the back but it nailed him square in the back of the head. I guess with holes in me I don’t throw as well yet.
“Hey, Bonehead. Get your ass over here and sit back down now!” He looked a little confused but did so. I think just because he didn’t want me upset or to pull out my stitches. “First of all, I won’t let anyone dictate my life and control who I’m with or who I love. Second of all, you did save me. Thirdly, don’t get your panties in a wad because I really don’t think it was about you anyway. I think it was just a cover the shooter used to throw us off in the case I did live or to hurt me while I lay there dying.”
They both winced when I said the word dying.
“Wait a second. Did you just say that you loved me?” Logan looked a little stunned when he asked. I realized when he asked that I did say it out loud.
“Yes, Logan. I do love you. I should have told you before I left the first time but I wasn’t ready to say it then.” I figured since I said it on accident I may as well say it on purpose.
His smile got so big that I wasn’t sure what he was going to do next. He looked like he was going to cry. He just leaned down and put his head on my shoulder and whispered in my ear that he wasn’t going to go anywhere.
I found out during the rest of the conversation that my team had shown up at the kid’s school which is why Justin came back to protect me. He said he knew I wouldn’t leave without my purse so he thought he would meet me in the middle and bring it to me which was why he was there in the parking garage.
Madison, Christiaan, and Jojo were protecting the kids as well as six through fifteen, Berdina included. They were determined no one was going to get though the perimeter and hurt my children. They were also switching and taking shifts staying with me so I was never left unprotected. Ironically it just happened to be Logan here when I woke up, however, according to Justin Logan very seldom left anyway, and if he did it was only to shower change and eat then he was back again.
Once all the questioning was over Logan immediately got on the phone with Madison and Gary letting them know I was awake and okay. They were all happy and told me the kids were asking about me since I haven’t called because ‘Mommy promised to always call.’ I told them to tell the kids I got hurt when I was at work and that I was in the hospital so the doctors could give me medicine to get better then bring them up to see me.
I couldn’t wait to see the kids. The doctor told me it would be a few days before I would be released so being able to see them now would be amazing. The fact that nine days had went by without me seeing them or them at least talking to me made me sad but madder than ever. Whoever did this better have found a very deep, dark hole to hide in because when I found them they were going to wish they were never stupid enough to try to take me from my children.
While Logan was out calling Madison and Gary Justin told me that at one point Logan had almost been kicked out of the hospital because he apparently was having a nightmare about me never waking from the coma and woke up screaming about it. The doctors said when he started screaming my heart rate and vitals went up some which at first caused them to think he was causing me distress but later they thought it was my body’s involuntary way of trying to wake myself to protect him possibly. That sounds about right to me. The thought of Logan going through that sent a pang of guilt through me though. I didn’t know his feelings for me were that deep.