When Harlan returned to the cabin, Angie was sitting on the roof of the cabin, looking down at him.
“What the hell happened?” Harlan asked. “Where’s Dixie?”
“She and Paulina are in the bedroom. It is safer out here,” she replied, clutching Louie tightly to her chest.
“Who’s Paulina?” Harlan asked, pulling his gun out of his shoulder holster.
“I think she might be dead. Dixie shot her,” Angie said matter-of-factly.
Harlan ran onto the front porch and into the cabin, cursing as he went. After he ran up the stairs, he cautiously went to Dixie’s bedroom door with his gun drawn.
“Dixie?” he called out.
“Yeah, I’m in here,” she replied in a monotone voice. “I shot someone.”
Harlan entered the room, his eyes darting around cautiously until he saw Paulina on the floor with a pool of blood forming around her torso. He gasped.
“She came at me with a knife,” Dixie said, looking out the window. “She was going to kill me.”
Harlan walked over to Paulina, turned her on her side, and felt her neck for a pulse.
“Go get some towels and throw me those pillows,” he said, gesturing towards the bed.
Dixie tried to snap out of the stupor she was in and barely managed to give the pillows to Harlan. She rose from the bed in a dream-like state and headed towards the bathroom where the extra towels were. When she caught a look at herself in the mirror, she stopped and stared. So this is what a killer looks like, she thought. Tears welled up in her eyes, and she looked away.
When she returned to the bedroom, Harlan was trying to stop the blood with a sheet he had pulled from the bed. She handed the towels to Harlan, and he grabbed them quickly away from her.
Dixie sat down on the bed, afraid that her wobbly knees would betray her and send her sprawling on the floor. Her hands shook, and tears threatened to spill over onto her cheeks.
Two officers appeared in the doorway and surveyed the situation. Harlan had one of them apply pressure to Paulina’s wound, and then he called dispatch to order an ambulance for Paulina.
Angie peeked in through the window, and the other officer saw her. He put his hand on his gun, but Dixie saw Angie and raced to the window.
“It’s alright Angie; it’s over,” she said. “Officer Fazio, this is my aunt.”
“It’s not over until I get back into the cabin. How about you people help me get back in?” Angie asked.
Dixie reached for Louie and pulled him in through the window. Once he was safely in her arms, the tears of relief streamed down her cheeks. Louie didn’t seem to mind and nestled his head under her chin.
Harlan and Officer Fazio carefully pulled Angie back through the window, relieved that she was safe.
Angie joined Dixie on the bed farthest away from Paulina. They sat close together, and Angie patted Dixie’s back and occasionally rubbed Louie’s cheeks.
When Harlan finally spoke to Dixie, it was more stern than concerned; it made her feel worse than before.
“I’m going to need your gun, Dixie,” Harlan said. He took it from her and placed it in an evidence bag. He did the same with Paulina’s knife.
“What about the stand your ground law?” Angie asked, suddenly worried for Dixie.
“Until Paulina can speak, this is an ongoing investigation,” Harlan replied, avoiding eye contact with Dixie.
“Are you going to arrest Dixie?” Angie asked, unhappy with the turn of events.
“No, not right now, but she will have to answer some questions before I can let her leave,” Harlan replied.
The sound of sirens filled the air, faint at first, then louder as one of the vehicles pulled into the driveway. Dixie listened as doors slammed and loud men’s voices filled the air. A second siren went quickly by the house, heading in the direction of the Pick and Poke.
Loud footsteps on the stairs made everyone turn toward the doorway expectantly. Two paramedics rushed into the room with a body board. They hovered over Paulina, taking vitals and speaking on their radio to someone at the local hospital. A few minutes later, they strapped Paulina to the board and removed her from the room. All that remained was a metallic smell and a pool of blood where she had laid.
“Do you think she is going to live?” Dixie asked Harlan.
“Not sure. We’ll have to wait and see what the doctor says,” he said, and then left the room.
“It will be alright Dixie,” Angie said. “You didn’t have a choice, right?”
“No. It was Paulina or me, and she almost got me pretty good,” Dixie said.
“Oh my,” Angie said. “Why didn’t you say something when the paramedics were here? Your arm is bleeding! We need to get you wrapped up and get some stitches.”
“I’m okay, really,” Dixie said. Her black shirt had hidden the wound, and the shock of the situation had made her forget about being hurt. Everything seemed surreal to her. It was then that a wave of nausea rushed over her. She quickly handed Louie to Angie and made a beeline for the bathroom.
By the time she came back out, Harlan was standing in the doorway with Angie. They were surprised to see her come out of the bathroom a pale shade of green. A moment later, she dropped to her knees. Harlan rushed to her and steadied her so she wouldn’t hit her head on the floor. Angie went into the bathroom for another towel and wrapped it around Dixie’s arm.
Angie and Harlan helped Dixie down the stairs and into the police cruiser outside.
“I’m going to take her to the hospital right now,” Harlan said nervously. “I didn’t notice the wound before.”
Angie nodded her head and went back into the house to sit down. The two officers left behind watched as Harlan peeled out of the driveway, and then they went inside the cabin.
“Wow, what a day,” one officer commented and looked at Angie sitting on the couch.
“Boys, I’m going to need a ride home, along with Louie,” she said.
“Louie?” one asked.
“He’s a cat who has been through a lot lately,” she said. He’s in the upstairs bathroom.”
A few minutes later, Angie was packed with her few possessions and was anxiously awaiting a ride away from the cabin.
As the cruiser carrying Angie and Louie finally pulled out of the driveway, she gave the cabin one final glance. She decided right then and there that she never wanted to stay at a cabin on a lake ever again.
“Where to?” the officer asked Angie.
“I need to drop Louie off at Dixie’s house, and then you can drop me off at mine. I’m going to get my car and drive myself to the hospital,” she replied.
They drove on in relative silence, the lights flashing, but the siren was off for Louie’s sake. The officer agreed that the poor kitty had been through enough for one week.