My heart soared at the sight of the exotic beauty standing at the passenger door. I began wriggling out from under the steering wheel as exultant tears spilled down my cheeks. Against all odds, our savior had found us.
“Allison. You can get up, sweetie,” I said in voice that trembled with relief.
Dominic turned to see who stood outside the car as I climbed out. I didn’t trust my legs to hold me if I ran, so I leaned on the hood as I walked around to greet Samantha Brecky and her partner.
I collapsed into her arms when I reached her. “Thank God you found us,” I wept on her shoulder.
I looked up to meet the sharp gaze of Officer Carwahl standing a few feet away. Despite his couldn’t-care-less attitude when Cassie had first disappeared, his mud-brown eyes showed a glimmer of relief. Had he been worried about us, or was it just the recovery of crucial pieces for his case that caused his easement?
Officer Brecky held me at arms’ length, and looked me over. “Allison called. I could barely hear her, but the caller ID read your name and I heard gun shots. She never hung up, so we were able to track the phone’s location. Are you guys okay?” Her scrutiny fell to my bandaged and bloody arm.
“Just a flesh wound, really,” I chirped before she got to examining it closer. “Dominic’s bad, though. Shot through the thigh.” I lifted my chin toward Dominic peeking through the back window.
“What about Allison?” Brecky asked.
“She’s fine. Shaken up, but okay. She shot Bill Jennings in the cabin. There’s a body in the basement and three more in the woods.”
“The girl shot Agent Jennings?” Carwahl cut in.
I gave him a nod and turned back to Brecky. I didn’t like her partner. He was gruff and unfeeling. He seemed to care only about the case and not the people involved. “Jennings said Ritter is on his way. We need to leave.” The anxiety was beginning to take hold. Here were people I trusted to help us, and I was stuck relating the story. There wasn’t time.
Brecky grasped the urgency. “Carwahl, you take their car, with Sterling in the back. I’ll take Mrs. Boothe and Allison in our car.”
Carwahl grunted at her, but proceeded around to the driver side. Brecky opened the passenger door for Allison who climbed out and hugged her.
At the back door, Carwahl stopped and looked in at Dominic lying on the floor. “We need to get him on the seat,” he said in his raspy voice. Brecky glanced down and gave a curt nod.
They opened the back doors. Dominic was of moderate assistance in the moving of his injured leg and bulky body. At least Officer Brecky didn’t have to lift his bulk alone as he was able to help pull his body onto the seat. Carwahl had only to lift his injured leg.
“Buckle your seat belt,” Brecky said before closing the door at his back. Dominic obliged.
I was helping Allison climb in the back seat of the officers’ car when Carwahl’s rough voice cut through my thoughts again. “Radio for an ambulance to meet us at exit one-sixty-three,” he said. “This guy needs a hospital, and so does she.”
I looked over in time to see him nod in my direction. He was right, of course, but I still bristled. We had been through Hell, and we were handling it fine on our own. Although, for how much longer I couldn’t say. If Ritter was coming, it was only a matter of time before we crossed his path. At least now we had two cops with us. That meant two more guns.
I shut the door as Allison buckled herself in. Brecky was approaching, and when she reached me I touched her arm. “I know I need a hospital, but I will not leave Allison. She goes with me. She could use a few sessions with a counselor, too.” I took a quick breath. “I’d feel safer if you were with us. So maybe instead of us riding in the ambulance with Dominic you could follow behind it and drive us to the hospital?”
Those exotic emerald eyes pierced me as she looked me over again. “Yes. Okay,” was all she said before pointing to the car for me to get in.
When at last we reached a paved road, Officer Brecky picked up her radio and called for the ambulance. She used police jargon to explain the details of the situation. From what I could glean, dispatch was sending one ambulance to the designated exit and a cruiser to meet us at the hospital. SWAT and a forensics team would be sent to the cabin. And, Carwahl was to drive our stolen car to the station.
She glanced at me after setting the radio back in its cradle, but it was Allison she spoke to. “Allison, you did a very smart, very brave thing by calling me. You might have even saved Mr. Sterling’s life.”
I looked at my little angel sitting behind Brecky, a shellshocked look on her face. Her skin was pale from the shock of the day’s events. The usually bright color of her blue eyes seemed washed out. Her blond hair was darkened with the grime of crawling through the woods and cave, and it slicked to her head before fraying out at the ends, knotted in places. Dirt smudged her clothes, and I noticed a tear in her shirt that I hadn’t seen earlier.
I wanted to reach back to her, but my arm wouldn’t let me so I tired to give her a reassuring smile as I said, “She saved my life.”
Brecky looked at me fully then, surprise in her eyes. Her gaze shifted to the rearview mirror where she could look at Allison behind her. “I imagine the three of you have quite the story to tell. But first, we need to attend to your wounds.” Her hand fell to my wrist, and she gave a light squeeze. “You can tell me later. For now, rest.”
Allison slumped against the corner of the seat and the door, staring out the window. I laid my head back and closed my eyes, finally able to relax a bit.