Silver Star Hotel
Hermosa Beach, CA
"Boss, you can live without me
for two week," Benny Ray grumbles. "I need some time
off." "You know what I'm talking about, no bullets,
no bad guys, just me and my fishing pole."
Looking closely, Matt could definitely
see the tiredness in his eyes. Maybe two weeks off wasn't such
a bad thing after all. The last couple months had taken their
toll on the sniper. Being kidnapped and shot would be hard on
anyone. He had recovered quickly physically but he also new Benny
Ray needed some time alone to sort out some things.
"Where will you go," Matt
"Friend of mine offered me his
cabin up in the mountains. It's only a couple hours from here.
I'll even take a cell if it will make you happy."
Laughing, Matt replies, "It's not
me I'm worried about Benny Ray. You have a tendency to attract
trouble and I would fell much better if you took one with you
and left directions to the cabin."
Sending a scathing look at his boss,
Benny Ray then grins sheepishly. "It's not my fault boss,
what could happen I'm going fishing and hiking in the mountains."
"Beside half a mile from the cabin is a Girl Scout Camp."
Shuddering he says, "Sorry Major but I am not into dealing
with a bunch of adolescent girls, I'm going to stay as far away
from the giggling as I can!"
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Sitting if front of the cabin on his
bike, Benny Rays jaw dropped a little. He had expected a one-room
rundown little cabin. Mike had told him he would have to rough
it. Looking at the "little cabin" he was surprised
by the size and the luxuries it contained a full kitchen with
a fridge, even a TV and VCR, all run by a diesel generator out
back, off the side were two bedrooms and a screened in porch.
Laughing, he thought about Mike, the
old man had forgotten a lot since leaving the marines, if this
is what he meant by roughing it.
Stowing his gear, Benny Ray wanders
out to the porch. Sitting in the old rocker he stares out across
the valley. He could see a small herd of deer grazing and the
peace and quiet began to wash away the aches in his tired body.
Five days later
His favorite spot each evening was sitting
in the rocking chair on the porch, listening to the birds and
watching the squirrels dart from tree to tree. Looking at the
huge pile of wood out by the tree he had to smile, he'd split
enough wood to last a year, it didn't matter it had felt good.
With his left hand he reached down to massage the kinks out of
his thigh. The hike that morning had been longer than he intended
but well worth it. The little canyon he'd found had been very
peaceful. The spring fed pond had provided lunch. Fresh catfish
cooked over an open fire reminded him of days long gone.
On his way back he had spotted a couple
of the girl scouts perched on the hillside watching him and giggling
when he waved. Three days in a row now, they'd sat on the hillside,
the first day he'd ignored them, yesterday he looked up and they
had run. Today they had stood their ground but hadn't waved back.
Grinning to himself he thought he'd
sneak up on them tomorrow and see what kind of a reaction he
got out of them.
Next Day 1530 hrs
Standing on the hillside hidden behind
some trees Benny Ray watched and listened as the two girls, probably
no more than twelve or thirteen conversed gazing down the trail
through a pair of binoculars.
"Wish I was about ten years older,
that man is a hunk," the brunette sighs.
"Chris, the little blonde giggles,
"what would you do!"
staring off for a minute
she says "I don't know," turning to her friend and
sticking out her tongue, she says "but I'd figure it out."
"He's really late today, do you
think maybe he got lost," the little blonde asks?"
"Him get lost, I don't think so,
and my mom says his type never gets lost."
Both girls jump and scream as a voice
behind them asks, "Do you spy on everyone that walks down
Stumbling backwards both girls plop
down to the ground. Looking up into the smiling face of Benny
Ray. His arms crossed over his chest, he stands over them casually
leaning against a tree.
Scrambling to their feet both girls
take off at a dead run into the woods. As they disappear a disembodied
voice reaches him, "No only you," one of them laughingly
Laughing, Benny Ray watches as they
The next day Benny Ray is not surprised
when he passes the hill and the girls are not there. He enjoyed
being alone, but it had been close to a week since he talked
with a single soul. He just hoped he hadn't scare them too badly,
he'd really only wanted to say hello.
Walking slowly down the trail a sudden
scream rents the air.
Running down the trail Benny Ray can
hear panicky voices from a little way off the trail near the
gorge. A woman and a little girl, the blonde from the hillside
are standing beneath a large tree looking up into the branches.
"Don't move, Chris," the woman
yells, "I'm coming up, Ok"
A scared little voice from up inside
the tree whimpers, "Ok"
"Don't move," the woman repeats.
Stopping beside the tree, Benny Ray
looks up putting his hand on the woman's shoulder. The little
brunette, her backpack caught on a broken branch is swinging
dangerously over the gorge.
Beside him the little blonde girl and
the woman are surprised when he starts pulling his pack off,
getting into his climbing harness he takes out a rope.
Turning to the woman, Benny Ray says,
"keep her as calm and still as you can, I'm going up after
"Be careful," the woman whispers,
"that branch she's caught on is ready to come down."
"Thanks," he whispers back.
Throwing the rope over his shoulder he swing up to the first
branch. As quickly as he can he moves to a branch a little below
but within arms reach of the girl. Looking up at the broken branch
holding the little girl he hopes it holds long enough to get
her free. Throwing the rope over the branch above him, Benny
Ray ties it off and hooks it to his harness. Leaning back he
tests the knot, seeing it will hold he turns reaching out. Gathering
the girl into his right arm he uses his left to try and free
the backpack, but the strap is twisted and won't come free. Pulling
the knife from his belt Benny Ray reaches out once more and cuts
the strap, gathering the little girl into the safety of his arms.
Relieved of the child's weight the branch
springs up and away. Hearing an ominous cracking from behind
him Benny Ray turn away. Bouncing downward the weight of the
huge branch is enough to sever its last bond with the tree. From
below him Benny Ray can hear muffled screams as the branch breaks.
Twisting down and inward the branch
falls toward Benny Ray. With his left arm around the girl Benny
Ray reaches for the tree trunk with his right arm wrapping it
around the tree trunk, only to be hit from behind as the branch
gives way. Slammed forward Benny Ray bangs his head hard against
the tree trunk scraping his cheek. Agony slices through his left
shoulder as the tree makes it's final pass, crashing down several
hundred feet to the gorge below.
"Hold on," he murmurs to the
little girls as his left arm and shoulder go numb. Dizzy, his
head spinning Benny Ray leans against the tree fighting the darkness
hovering around him.
Thoughts of Matt laughing about this
little bit of trouble drove the darkness away.
Several minutes later he finally answers
the frantic questions from below.
"We're ok, he say, his voice wavering
slightly, "We're on our way down."
With his back against the tree trunk
he unties the rope letting one end drop to the ground saying,
"If you can, hold on to the rope, then let some out a little
at a time as we work our way down, Ok."
From below him he hears two voices chime
Two minutes late he's standing on the
ground leaning against the trunk of the tree. The little girl
now encircled in the woman's arms, mumbling "if you ever
do anything like that again I'll kill you myself."
Hugging the girl tight the woman looks
up, thank you on the tip of her tongue. Seeing the bloody scrape
on Benny Rays cheek and the lump forming on his forehead she
puts the girl down. Grabbing the front of his shirt she utters
one word, "Sit!"
"Yes Ma'am," he says a wavering
grin on his face. Slowly he sinks to the ground closing his eyes
and wincing as he bumps his shoulder.
Pulling a canteen and a towel out of
her pack she wets the small towel. Talking and thanking him all
the while, "I'm Cassie, this is Chris, and Tara."
Opening his eyes he mumbles, "Hi,
I'm Benny Ray." Tilting Benny Ray's head to the left she
begins to clean the nasty scrape on the right side of his face
running from temple to cheek. Holding the cool rag over the bump
once it's clean. Looking down she can see the bright red stain
forming on his left shoulder. Pulling him forward she gently
pulls the torn short away from the shoulder.
"This I think is going to need
a couple stitches," she says.
Grabbing a second towel she places it
over the ragged cut pressing it tight, trying to stop the bleeding.
Hissing breath escapes Benny Ray as
the pressure is applied.
"Do you think you can you can walk,"
she asks anxiously as he opens his eyes?
Helping him to his feet she starts leading
him back to the trail and up toward the Girl Scout camp. Stopping,
he says, "My place is just a little way down the trail."
"I know, Cassie says, but that
shoulder really does need some stitches and the camp is closer."
Hating to be fussed over Benny Ray says,
"I'll just clean it up, it'll be ok."
"How typical," Cassie says,
releasing him, only to quickly grab him again as he sways sideways.
"You are coming with me, you saved
my daughters life and came very close to buying it up there and
I'm not going to let you bleed to death down in that cabin, do
you hear me."
Relenting, he whispers "Yes, Ma'am"
after she tugs on his arm.
Sighing, he slowly moves up the trail,
his head ached, his shoulder was numb and useless and all he
wanted to do was sit down and let the darkness claim him.
Girl Scout Camp
The trip up to the camp took a little
more than ten minutes. The camp was quiet when they arrived,
the rest of the girls were down by the lake learning to swim
and canoe. Looking around Benny Ray sees a row of neatly kept
cabins lining the perimeter of the camp. A large, screened in
building dominated one corner, and several smaller building were
sprinkled to the north and west of the camp.
Still holding him by the arm Cassie
leads him toward a cabin on the north side of the camp, "First
Aid" written in large red letters adorn the door. Inside
Cassie settles him on one of the beds. The two girls stand around
watching as she gently helps him remove his shirt. Turning Cassie
catches site of them, laughing she says, "I really don't
think we need an audience for this ladies, do you. I'm sure you
can find something to do, like stacking firewood.
"Aw Mom," one of the girls
mumbles, as she turns heading for the door.
"Chris, before you go, could you
get me an ice-pack out of the freezer please!"
Putting his right leg up on the bed
he bends his knee, leaning forward, Benny Ray rests his head
on his knee allowing Cassie clear access to this shoulder.
Taking the cold pack, Cassie gently
lays it against the lump on Benny Ray head. Reaching up with
his right hand he holds it in place, closing his eyes as she
moves to survey the damage to his shoulder. Clicking her tongue
a couple times Cassie says, "Doesn't look like anything
is broken, but the shoulder may be slightly separated and the
muscles are pretty badly bruised."
Going to the fridge, Cassie pulls out
a small bottle and a syringe from the cabinet draw. Filling the
syringe she goes back to the bed. Beside her Benny Ray asks,
"Are you a doctor?"
"No, she answers, I'm a Registered
Nurse, the camp nurse actually. My daughter, Chris and I spend
our summers up here." "Gets us out of the rat race
that they call Los Angeles."
Looking up she sees him eyeing the needle.
More informational than question she says, "It's a local
anesthetic, you've got a couple of splinters stuck in there and
I usually use it when I suture cuts up, is that ok?"
Nodding he closes his eyes, flinching
slightly as she slides the needle beneath the skin in several
places around the cut, injecting the anesthetic.
"Why was Chris in the tree,"
he asks quietly?"
Snorting in disgust, Cassie replies.
"They found a baby bird and of all things were trying to
return it to its nest." "It was a silly, stupid thing
to do and
she could have died."
Benny Ray could hear the tears and distress
in her voice saying, "she didn't and that's what mattered."
Wiping tears from her eyes, Cassie looks
up, "She didn't die because of you and I will be eternally
"I didn't mean
"I know but if you hadn't shown
up I don't know what would have happened, we probably both would
have ended up at the bottom of the gorge, smeared all over the
rocks," Cassie says through a watery laugh.
Twenty minutes later splinters removed,
the cut sewed and bandaged, Benny Ray leans back releasing a
heavy sigh. Taking the cold pack out of his hand, Cassie is glad
to see that the swelling is almost gone and the scrape is not
as bad as she had first thought now that it was all cleaned up.
"Whoa, where do you think your
going," she says as Benny Ray starts to get up.
Ignoring the question, Benny Ray reaches
for his backpack. Snatching it before he can, Cassie waits for
him to answer her question.
When no answer is forthcoming, she says,
"Benny Ray you might make it back to your cabin, but I doubt
it and I sure as hell don't want to have to truck down there
every couple of hours to check on you."
"You don't have to," he replies,
"I'll be fine!"
Snorting in disgust, she stares at him
hard before saying, "you probably have a concussion, that
arm and shoulder are going to be useless for a couple of days
and it won't hurt to stay here tonight so I can keep an eye on
you." "There's a couple of rooms in the back just for
that purpose, their comfortable and quiet and I promise you can
go back to your place tomorrow."
"Please" she whispers, "Your
risked your life to save Chris and got hurt because of it, I
would like to make sure your really ok, before you leave."
Well, his head did ache, and he knew
he'd probably fall on his face if he tried to make the trip down
to the cabin, he reluctantly nods his head.
"You don't talk very much do you,"
"Enough," he replies.
Benny Ray scowls down at her when she
puts a sling around his arm. Laughing she says, "You'll
be much more comfortable if the arm is supported." "Come
on, let's get you settled, Ok," Cassie whispers taking his
arm making sure he's steady on his feet before leading him through
to the back of the building. Opening the first door Cassie makes
sure he is sitting on the bed before releasing him.
"I can send Chris down to your
cabin if you need anything?"
"Thanks," Benny Ray says,
"but I have everything I need in my pack."
"Try and get some rest, if you
need anything holler, Ok."
"Yes, Ma'am," he murmurs,
watching as she leaves the room, closing the door behind her.
Undoing the laces and removing his boots
Benny Ray sheds the rest of his clothes except for his shorts,
before sliding beneath the crisp white sheets. After a few twists
and turns he finally finds a comfortable position. Closing his
eyes he grins to himself, yes, Matt was going to laugh himself
silly about this little bit of trouble. Especially after the
cracks he'd made about staying as far away from the girl scouts
The next morning he woke up slowly,
moving cautiously his body ached badly, feeling like he'd been
trampled beneath a herd of wild horses. He'd remembered Cassie
coming in to check on him a couple of time but had fallen back
to sleep as soon as she'd left. Looking at the clock he was surprised
to see how late it was, usually an early riser the clock said
almost nine. Sliding out of bed he reaches for his pack, pulling
a clean, though wrinkles set of clothes out. The pants were hard
enough one handed but buttoning the shirt proved more difficult
than he'd imagined. Yanking the bottom button off in frustration.
Hearing a knock at the door he yells, "Come".
Cassie chuckles as she sees the frustration
on his face and the mess he'd made of his shirt. "I'd like
to get a look at that shoulder and change the bandage before
you go, Ok?"
She can hear him grumbling beneath his
breath as he mumbles, "Ok."
"Sit please," she says. "Undoing
the buttons she gently removes his left arm from the sleeve saying,
"Your awfully grouchy in the morning."
Turning his head slowly, Benny Ray gives
her a long look, before grinning sheepishly saying "Sorry."
With the new bandage in place, Cassie
helps him button his shirt, settling his arm in the sling again
before saying, "Are you hungry, breakfast is ready?"
Chris and Tara are sitting quietly at
the little table, their orders, although Benny Ray didn't know
it was to keep an eye on him, keep him quiet and occupied.
Several hours later, the three sat quietly
on the shore to the lake fishing. Tara had already caught two
catfish, was even now reeling in a third to Chris's one and zero
for Benny Ray.
Benny Ray was finding the girls were
good company, and kept him laughing with their antics.
Back at camp that afternoon, Benny Ray
was cajoled into eating dinner with them. Cassie grilled the
catfish - only after Benny Ray was talked into cleaning them.
Staying afterward to play a couple hands of cards, it was almost
ten o'clock, before he realized it. Without much resistance Benny
Ray was persuaded to stay the night.
The next two days passed in much the
same manner, fishing, playing cards hiking, even a little softball.
His shoulder ached but was healing nicely and after the first
day he no longer had any headaches.
Sitting on the porch of his cabin Benny
Ray waited, he knew one or both of the girls would be coming
down in a little while. He'd promised to show them the little
canyon he found.
It was almost 10 minutes before he heard
running feet coming down the trail. Tara coming in to view was
flushed and crying.
Stumbling over her words, Tara tries
to explain but each word is more confusing than the last.
Sitting her down Benny Ray wipes the
tears from her face saying, "Tara, I need you to stop crying
and calm down. I can't understand a word you're saying."
Kneeling in front of her, Benny Ray
waits as she finally takes a deep breath and shudders saying,
"Some men came into camp and they have guns. They threatened
to shoot everyone if we didn't do exactly as he said."
"How many men Tara," Benny
"I don't know a lot," she
"You have to try and remember Tara,
it's very important, close your eyes and picture what you saw
in you head."
Several seconds later Tara opens her
eyes surprised she says, "There were at least ten men, maybe
a few more."
"Good girl" he says, can you
tell me exactly what happened?
"We were just finishing breakfast,
all the girls were still in the dining hall waiting to go down
to the river - today is canoeing. The men came in all at once.
One of them had Martha - the cook by the hair and a gun. There
were lots of men at the doors, so no one could get out."
"What happened next, what did the
"The man in charge said no one
would be hurt if we did what we were told."
"He wanted to know who was in charge
of the First Aid building." "Chris's mom stood up and
one of the men grabbed her by the arm." "That's when
Chris got mad and punched the man, and I grabbed her."
Seeing the tears forming in her eyes,
Benny Ray says. "Everything will be ok, what happed to Chris's
Wiping the tears away Tara continues.
"They dragged her out and the man told them to take us too."
"We were taken to Chris's mom cabin. There were a lot of
men inside some had blood all over them." "The man
said as soon as she fixed them up they would be on their way
and no one would get hurt."
"How did you get out Tara."
"When the men took us I fell and
scraped my knee, Chris's mom took me into the back and cleaned
my knee then she helped me out through a window when the men
weren't looking. She told me to run down here and to have you
go for help."
Taking her head in his hands Benny Ray
says, "Your safe now Tara, and I want you to stay put while
I call for help ok?"
Pulling out his cell phone Benny Ray dials Matt's number. It
rings several times, muttering a few choice words, Benny Ray
listens as the sweet voice tells him he is out of service area
does he wish to leave a voice mail. Punching the buttons that
will allow him to leave a voice message he begins to speak. "Trouble
Major, could use your help. Girl Scout camp taken over by ten
possible more Tangos. Intent unknown! Camp is approximately half
mile North east of cabin. Heading there now to assess the situation.
Benny Ray out."
Handing the phone to Tara he says, "If
this rings answer it, tell him who you are and what's happened,
"Yes Sir," she says.
"Tara, I want you to stay put,
promise me you'll stay here until the police or I come."
When she doesn't answer him, Benny Ray
takes her by the shoulders and looking her in the eye saying,
"Promise me you'll stay here, Tara!"
Pouting Tara says, "I promise."
"Try not to worry, I'll do everything
I can to make sure their ok."
Reaching out she hugs him tight.
A few minutes later, shotgun in hand
and a Glock firmly tucked in place, he throws his pack over his
shoulder heading out the door.
0830 hrs Silver Star Hotel
Hermosa Beach, CA
Sitting in the ops room, Matt looked
around. The last week had been quiet, too quiet maybe, Trout
hadn't called so they had all been able to take a much needed
Finding a comfortable spot in front
of the television he turns the volume up on what looks to be
an interesting news story. Listening as the reporter tells her
"The FBI and local law enforcement
officials are searching this morning for a group of men who robbed
an army convoy. At least five men were killed and several more
critically injured. The military has not yet released a list
of what was on the trucks, but information gathered on site reportedly
states that several cases of Stinger missiles and plastic explosives
"Eyewitnesses have described the
men as heavily armed, military in bearing and wearing military
battle dress uniform. These men were last seen heading into the
Sierra Nevada mountains."
Matt is startled as the phone hanging
on his belt beeps. Reaching down he sees that a voice mail is
waiting. Activating the phone he punches several keys to access
the mail. Hearing Benny Ray's voice asking for help. Swearing
loudly, he dials the number hoping to catch Benny Ray. Matt is
slightly surprised when a small female voice answers.
"Are you Matt," she asks.
"Yes," he answers, "is
Benny Ray there?"
"No he left a few minutes ago."
"Do you know where he was going,
and what happened?"
After listening for several minutes,
Matt thanks the little girl again telling her to stay put, before
ending the call. Immediately dialing Deke, Margo, Nick and Rico,
telling them about the situation and they have thirty minutes
or less to get their gear and get to the chopper. He knew it
would take a couple hours flying time to get out there, he hoped
Benny Ray could stay out of trouble long enough for them to get
there, but he knew in his heart that wasn't going to happen.
Matt grins as he's loading his gear
into the bag, "the Girl Scouts" he says laughing. "Benny
Ray tangling with the girl scouts."
0915 hrs Girl Scout Camp
Sierra Nevada Mountains
From the hillside overlooking the camp
Benny Ray watched as the girls and counselors are divided up
and separated into two building on opposite sides of the camp
one on the East Side and one to the north. He counted twelve
men total, all heavily armed and non-too gentle with the hostages.
One counselor he recognized as the Canoeing instructor decides
to take matters into his own hands, attacking several of the
guards. Ruthlessly one man pulls out his sidearm and fires one
shot into the counselors' chest. Shocked several of the girls
scream and begin to cry as the terrorists continue to move them
into the building. Looking close Benny Ray gets the feeling the
shooter is familiar but can't recall where he's seen him before.
Across the camp several men are standing
beside the first aid station guarding a stack of boxes, they
begin shouting as the counselor falls slowly to the ground.
The door to the first aid building opens,
Benny Ray can see the barely checked rage driving the tall dark
haired man walking across the camp. Looking down at the dead
man, he releases a punishing blow to the guard's face sending
him crashing to the ground. The dark haired man angrily spits
out several words to the man lying on the ground, before walking
Not knowing what the tango's agenda
is, Benny Ray is certain of one thing, at least one of these
men didn't care who lived or died and these girls didn't deserve
Choosing the East Side first, Benny
Ray moves silently down toward the camp. Waiting as the roving
guard moved out of site around the corner of the building.
Moving swiftly Benny Ray catches the
second guard unaware, with the butt of his Glock he sends the
guard deep into unconsciousness. Waiting as the first guard comes
around the corner, Benny Ray grabs the man around the neck pressing
hard cutting off his air supply until this guard too dives deep
into the darkness.
Dragging both men into the woods, using
tape and rope he ties them to a tree. Moving back to the cabin
he quietly opens the back door, motioning the girls to be silent
he waves them out the door and into the woods, telling the counselors
to head for the ranger station as quickly as they can and report
Making sure they are out of sight and
weren't seen Benny Ray moves on to his next target.
Skirting the camp Benny Ray moves north
watching as the two guards follow the same routine as the others.
As the roving guard moves off around the building Benny Ray moves
in. The guard sensing something turns as Benny Ray steps up behind
him. On guard he raises his weapon striking out. Dropping down
Benny Ray spins with his left leg out sweeping the guards' feet
out from beneath him. Hitting the ground hard the guard is stunned,
with a quick punch to the jaw Benny Ray sends another down into
oblivion. The second guard hearing a commotion comes hurrying
around the corner. Launching himself upward Benny Ray grabs the
guard weapon, throwing his right elbow hard against the guards
head, snapping it backwards. Falling backward, Benny Ray is dragged
down on top of him. Recovering quickly the guard punches outward,
his weapon catching Benny Ray hard on his injured left shoulder.
Recoiling away from the blow, Benny Ray falls to the right lashing
out with his left leg catching the guard in the chest, sending
him reeling backwards into the side of the building, his rifle
falling from limp hands. Sweeping up the rifle in his right hand
Benny Ray swings it hard, catching the guard in the jaw. Benny
Ray waves of pain lancing through his shoulder, a dark spot blossoming
on his shirt watches as the guards eyes roll back into his head
as he falls slowly to the ground.
Opening the cabin door, Benny Ray again
motions for the girls and counselors to remain silent and move
Gritting his teeth against the agony
in his shoulder Benny Ray drags the second pair of guards into
the woods, tying them securely.
Flexing the fingers of his left hand
Benny Ray tries to rotate his left shoulder, catching his breath
as the fiery flashes of pain course through him.
Behind him the camp is alight with shouting
and running soldiers as they discover the empty cabins and missing
guards. Grabbing one of the guard's weapons he tucks his Glock
into his belt. If he had to he could shoot left-handed from waist
level. Moving back to his original vantagepoint above the camp
he waits. Seconds later several of the men enter the First Aid
cabin, only to re-emerge a few minutes later. Behind them the
tall dark haired man comes striding out of the building, Cassie
and Chris behind him their hair wrapped in his hands as he drags
them into the center of the clearing. Slowly he turns full circle,
looking around the camp and into the woods, Chris and Cassie
The camp becomes deathly quiet as the
tall man waits, looking for some sign. Several minutes later
he begins to speak, raising his voice.
"I don't know who you are or how
you did it but if you don't show yourself I will kill her,"
he says pulling Chris forward."
"Do not mistake me, I will kill
her." Releasing Cassie into another man's grip he pulls
a weapon from its holster at his hip, firing one shot into the
ground at Chris's feet beside him. Dancing out of the way Chris
rushes at him kicking out only to be dragged backward as the
men around her begin laughing. Yanking and twisting her hair,
the man drives Chris to her knees placing the gun to her head.
Cassie too begins to struggle but the man holding her is too
strong. Crying out she continues to struggle.
Ignoring her cries, the dark haired
man yells out once more, "You have one minute to show yourself
or she dies.
Silent and unseen, Benny Ray moves down
toward the camp.
"You have fifteen seconds,"
the terrorist yells.
Unwilling to take the chance Benny Rays
hears Cassie's muffled screams as he steps out of the brush into
the clearing, the weapon in his right hand held over his head.
Several of the guards rush to his side,
relieving him of the weapon and pulling the Glock from his waist.
With a gun in his back he is shoved forward.
Coming to a stop in front of the dark
haired man Benny Ray looks at Cassie, seeing a dark bruise across
her left cheek, anger wells up inside him.
Looking closely the dark haired man
sees a soldier standing in front of him, one well versed in the
art of war. "You're a very smart man, clever too, to have
bested four of my guards and released the hostages." "I
should kill you," he says watching for a reaction, when
none is forthcoming he flashes a smile saying, "but I won't,
at least not right now.
"I'd like to know who you are,
but I don't suppose your going to tell me are you?"
Again he waits for an answer, and again
Benny Ray remains silent.
Stepping out the man who shot the counselor
says, "I know who he is Major Kinkade, his name is Benny
Ray Riddle, ex-marine sniper."
Eyes narrowed Benny Ray looks at the
man, finally recognizing him he smiles, saying "Caufield!"
Hatred coursing through his veins the
man steps forward, only to be stopped by the dark haired leader
who laughingly turns saying, "I can see that you two have
a history, this should be interesting.
Turning away hatred dripping from every
word the man identified as Caufield says, "You'll pay Riddle,
I'll make sure of it."
Turning back the Kinkade says, "Are
my men dead?" When he again gets no answer frustration sets
in putting his gun to Benny Ray's head. Without even a flicker
Benny Ray stands tall staring into the Kinkade's eyes.
Laughing, Kinkade backs down, yelling
to his men, "Search the area, if their still alive find
them and bring them back here."
Turning back toward the First Aid cabin
he says, "Bring them!"
Inside the cabin Cassie goes back to
work on the injured men.
Roughly pushed into a chair Benny Ray
hisses in pain as his arms are pulled behind him his hands taped
Looking across the room Kinkade notes
the whiteness around his mouth and the way he his holding himself
that Benny Ray is hurting. Walking across the room he lifts Benny
Ray head. Seeing the dark patch spreading across his shoulder
he reaches out with his other hand squeezing Benny Rays left
shoulder, feeling him flinch beneath the touch but not dropping
his eyes. A cruel smiles crosses his lips as he squeezes harder,
watching as Benny Ray closes his eyes his face pale beneath his
tan, a low groan escaping him.
Crossing the room Chris punches Kinkade
in the side. "Leave him alone, she yells punching him again!"
Laughing, he scoops Chris up by the
front of her shirt, dropping her down beside Benny Ray before
walking away. Standing beside him Chris asks tearfully, "Are
"I'm ok Bluebird," he says
breathing heavily, using the nickname he and Tara had dreamed
up since the incident in the tree.
Stopping beside Cassie, Kinkade watches
her work before asking, "So Doc, how much longer?
Walking away from her patients Kinkade
following she says, "The first man is gut shot, unless he
gets proper medical attention soon he's not going to make it.
There's nothing more I can do for him, he's got internal injuries
and has lost too much blood. I've made him as comfortable as
he's going to die!"
Wiping tears from her eyes she says,
"The other two have lost a lot of blood I've removed the
bullets and patched them up the best I can."
Cassie watches as Kinkade moves to the
injured men, talking to each and offering words of encouragement.
As he reaches the third man he sighs, feeling for a pulse. Finding
none he unfold the sheet raising it to cover the dead man. Turning
away Kinkade says, "All right men, let's get a move on,
pack it up we're moving out."
Moving over to where Benny Ray sits,
Cassie starts to take a look at his shoulder, when she is pulled
roughly away by Kinkade and asked, "What are you doing?"
"He's hurt and bleeding can't you
see that," she says defiantly.
"Yes," Kinkade replies, "and
he's going to stay that way." "Now get a med. kit together
your coming with us."
"No," Cassie shouts!"
Grabbing her by the arm, his voice low
and threatening Kinkade says, "That wasn't a request Doc!"
Behind them Benny Ray jumps to his feet,
only to be roughly pushed back into the chair by the two guard
standing behind him.
"Why are you doing this,"
"Because I have to," Kinkade
answers, "Have you watched the news lately, our government
is falling apart, Back Stabbing, Cry Babies are running for the
greatest office in this country. I personally will not subject
myself to that. I'm doing what I have to, to protect myself,
my men and my way of life."
Behind him Benny Ray's quietly says.
"By killing innocent people."
Turning Kinkade sighs heavily saying,
"That was a mistake!"
"Enough," Kinkade yells turning
back to Cassie!" "Get your kit together we leaving."