Measure of a Mann

Chapter 12

Measure of a Mann

Chapter Twelve

Back to the present…

Martel, his crew, and Richard Mann slowly turned to the sound of Mary's order and the clicks of their guns, but they didn't lower their weapons. The man holding Marshall let go of him, causing him to fall hard to the floor. He couldn't help but let out a quiet scream, as pain shot through his chest. He was beginning to lose consciousness.

Mary wanted to go to Marshall, but with all guns drawn and ready for a shoot out, she was afraid to risk it. As she looked into his eyes, Mary saw mostly pain and sadness. However, she also saw a glimpse of relief.

Mary spoke up once again saying, "I won't tell you again. Drop your guns, now!"

"You heard the lady," Faber said. "I suggest you listen before this turns ugly. Marshal Shepherd is a bit hot tempered."

Marshall's strength finally ran out as he lay flat on the floor and his eyes closed. Mary forgot about the threat in the room, rushed to his side, and turned him onto his back. His breathing was ragged and she could feel heat radiating from his skin. She pulled back the bandage over the wound to his chest; blood was beginning to pool out again. Mary was scared and she knew that he needed a doctor fast. Stan and Faber continued to concentrate on the others in the room.

Martel, his colleague, and Richard continued in the standoff. Stan could see that Jason Walsh was right about how dangerous Martel was. He knew that the man was not going to be willing to back down without a fight, but he saw that Marshall's father was beginning to unravel.

Stan turned slightly to be able to look at Richard Mann to his face and said, "Take a look at your son, Mr. Mann. Does it bother you at all that you helped these men do this to him? Help us save him and we will do what we can to help you. We know that the story you gave us was a lie and we will be able to prove it."

Mary slowly stood back up and raised her gun, pointing it directly at Richard's head. Tears were formed in her eyes and yet they were angry. If Richard didn't know she was a marshal, he would have believed that she wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

Mary spoke sternly saying, "Any man, who can do this to his own son, is a monster and doesn't deserve any help from us, but if it is the only way he will agree to help Marshall, I'm willing. I suggest that you do as Stan told you to do."

"I had no idea that it was my son at the gallery, Miss. Shepherd," Richard responded. "If I had, I never would have gotten him involved. I had to do whatever it took to stay dead; I couldn't risk blowing everything that we have worked toward. Besides, you don't know what Martel is capable of. He has friends everywhere. Even if he goes to prison tonight, I am a dead man."

Faber replied, "If you don't do as we say right now, you will be a dead man for sure. The penalty for killing a marshal, and along with the rest of the crimes you have committed, is death."

Stan said, "Witness protection is an option if you cooperate with us. We need an answer now."

Martel spoke up for the first time, saying, "If you help them, Richard, my friends will kill you and you will lose everything; your life, your money, your reputation, the respect that you earned, and you will no longer be the beloved marshal that your colleagues mourned over when you died years ago. You are in way too deep. Are you really willing to give all that up for one man?"

"If my son lives, it will be worth it," Richard answered as he pointed his gun at Martel, Peterson, and his last man.

Suddenly, the thug pulled the same knife that he stabbed Marshall with from his belt and threw it toward Mary. However, his aim was off and Mary was able to dodge it thanks to Stan shooting the man in the head. Martel pulled his gun and began to shoot wildly, allowing him and Peterson to run from the room. As soon as the gun clip was empty, they continued to run and Mary, Richard, and Faber chased after them, while Stan stayed behind with Marshall and called 911.

A few minutes later, Mary ran back into the room and sat down beside Marshall. Faber came in right after, both of them empty handed. Stan asked where Martel, Richard, and Peterson were, having a feeling that he knew the answer.

Mary answered, "Mike had to kill Peterson when they fought for the gun. Both Martel and Richard are handcuffed to the set of stairs in the other room; Martel is madder than a hornet. Richard may have helped us in the end, but don't expect me to do any favors for him. He only did it because he was threatened. I swear that I will never complain about my dad to Marshall ever again."

"The ambulance will be here any second," Stan said. "We got to him in time Mary. He's going to be just fine. You'll see."

Mary replied, "His breathing is ragged and he is losing more blood. It's just his luck. You know that if he was conscious, he'd be telling us that the wound is not as bad as it looks so that I would be more at ease. When he got shot, he told me that his blood entering the tube and water bottle we used to keep him alive was nothing at all. He was the one who was hurt and yet he was trying to make me feel better. I can't believe that he was shot and stabbed in the same place."

Stan said, "He cares more for you, Mary. He cares for the rest of us and his witnesses more than he does for himself. It's his job, but it's also him."

The paramedics came running through the door just then and pushed Mary aside in order to work on Marshall. He was hooked up to a ventilator and they loaded him into the ambulance that was parked outside the apartment complex. Mary got in behind them and took a hold of Marshall's hand, praying that he would feel her presence with him.

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