Friday, September 5, 2014

Part 72




"Why you little ..."  Suddenly I was engulfed in a bear hug and then next threatened within an inch of my life. "I ought to turn you over my knee and paddle your behind so hard it will be a month of Sunday's before you'll even think about using your sitter!"

I snickered a laugh.  "Sure, sure.  But first, can you call your dogs off?  I don't want them blowing up my cabin and my friends are already needing medical attention where they've been shot at."

From a short distance away I heard an exasperated, "DeeDee!"

That was Jamie.  He was obviously unhappy with me revealing they were less than 100%.  Sarge however took things in hand and blasted the men under his command.  The ones that had I had rolled over with the landslide were sent back to their base with their tails between their legs ... minus the rocket launcher which was being looked over by the two men that had come with Sarge. He barked out orders left and right for a couple of minutes.

Next he turned to me.  "That was a good faith move.  Your turn.  Tell your guards to stand down.  Lord knows we got a major problem on our hands and don't need to make it worse."

Turning I ran up into the trees.  However, I didn't start going the correct direction until I was in the trees and out of their sight.  Jamie and Shane met me and I could see they weren't happy.  Not a thing I could do about that so I just told them to remember my stories of "Sarge" and to come out and meet him if they wanted.

I took off back at a rabbit lope and then skidded to a halt in front of Sgt. Watson.  "They might come they might not but they've put their guns down ... temporarily.  I'm not going to go any place I don't want to go," I told him so that he understood I wasn't going to be marched any place for my own good or anything like that.

He nodded then said, "So this is where you ran off to.  Everything you hoped it would be?"

I shrugged.  "Little girls grow up and dreams and memories are nothing but stardust."

"Another one of your folks' sayings?"

I shook my head.  "No.  That one is original to me.  It means that things are what they are and were never going to be anything else."  After a second of mutual silence where I could tell he was trying to unknot what I'd just said I asked, "Didn't the Sheriff tell you where I went?  I left him a note."  Strictly speaking it wasn't a note but Sargeant Watson didn't need to know that.  Then he got a flat look on his face.  I'd seen that look too many times not to know what it meant.  What little good I was feeling fell away like it had never existed.  Quietly I asked, "When and how?"

He put a hand on my shoulder and said, "About a month after you left the town was overrun when some damned experiment failed."

Cautiously I asked, "Did someone put him down?  Take his suffering away?"

Trying to be kind he said, "It never got to that point.  He was inside the power plant with some others trying to disconnect the experiment's electrical source when there was an explosion.  He died a hero just like he lived.  Took out enough of the infecteds that we could evacuate those few people that had been smart enough to take some of your words to heart.  It was a lot fewer than we should have been able to save but it was more than what would have made it a month earlier."

I was afraid to ask.  "And Lee?"

"He's alive."

I could hear that there was more to the story and asked, "What?"

"We can talk about it in a bit.  First though ..."

"No," I told him.  "We'll talk about it now."

"DeeDee ..."

Then from behind Sarge another voice from the past spoke up.  "He don't want to hurt your feelings."

It took me a moment to recognize him.  Cochran of all people.  Yet it wasn't him ... or the same him.  His face held a hardness that hadn't been there before.  That didn't bother me.  What bothered me was the idea that I was somehow being protected against my will.  "I don't have too many feelings left to hurt so you might as well go ahead and spit it out."

Sarge shook his head.  "Later."

"Now," I said, refusing to give ground.

Cochran sighed and repeated, "It's just a matter of hurting you DeeDee.  And it's a long involved soap opera.  Lee ... look, he ... he's with ..."

Both men looked at me and realized that I wasn't budging.  Finally Sarge just shook his head and said, "He's alive but he's dug himself a deep hole of misery.  The damn fool boy was messing around with the wrong girl and after the tragedy that struck the town it came out and a lot of people ... not that there were alot left mind you ... a lot of people turned on him.  He got comfort from the quarter he shouldn't have and now ... er ..."

He faultered and I looked at Cochran who finally said, "Dumb ass got Michelle Hanson knocked up.  Apparently their ... er ... relationship started as a way to control the Sheriff through Lee and wasn't supposed to go as far as it did but it did and she is and there's a mess."

I gave their words some thought and decided then and there that something must be wrong at me because I wasn't feeling much and what I did feel seemed to be coming from a long distance away.  I asked what was of more immediate concern to me.  "So you coming here was just a coincidence?"  The two men looked at me and then at each other.  I snapped, "What?  Did you expect me to pull a drama queen or fall to my knees in dispair?"

Sarge said, "Well, to tell the truth ... yeah.  I thought you and that boy ..."

I shook my head.  "There never was a 'me and that boy.'  We were friends.  Maybe if the world hadn't changed it would have been more than that but we were just kids when it did and we got spun off into different directions.  So maybe I did have a little girl's crush on him at one point.  But I'm not a little girl anymore and haven't been for a while.  I'm sixteen ..."

A voice from the bushes asked, "When did you turn 16?"

Jamie.  Typical.  "A couple of weeks ago."

"Why didn't you say anything?"

"'Cause I didn't.  Now leave me alone about it."  I turned back to find Sarge and Cochran sharing a look.  "And you two knock it off too.  Geez, guys seem to be worse about thinking everything is about romance or sex than females are."

Cochran asked, "Just now figuring that out?"

I gave his question all the consideration it deserved which is to say none.  Instead I blew them away by saying, "I knew about Lee and Michelle.  I caught them doing some serious making out when I was on my out of town.  I figured it had to be something like you described it ... manipulation or whatever ... I just figured Lee had more sense.  I even warned him.  And if not him then her to have more sense than to wind up ..."  I stopped and then asked, "What about her mom?  Dr. Hanson?"

Sarge shook his head.  "I'm not talking about this standing around in negative degree weather.  It's too damn cold for it."

"This isn't cold.  Cold is what it was last night when the puss brains broke down my door.  Speaking of which you know you're going to tell me why I've had to clean up a horde today and had you show up right behind it?"

The look on his face said that was another story and one that I wasn't going to like any better than the first one I had to drag out of him.

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