Hostage | Chapter 22 of 33 - Part: 1 of 6

Author: Kay Hooper | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 4037 Views | Add a Review

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FIFTEEN

Callie had drifted in and out for some time she couldn’t measure. Sometimes painful things were being done to her. Sometimes voices talked over her, one of them rather harsh and impatient. And sometimes there was just peace broken only by mechanical-sounding clicks and whirs and beeps.

And an occasional soft whine that was familiar.

She had no idea how long she’d been out of it, and she was a bit fuzzy on the events that had occurred before she had lost consciousness.

I was shot. By an arrow. Because I was dumb, mostly. Luther . . . patched me up as best he could. And then . . . I was on the litter? Long way to . . . Jacoby’s cabin. I think. What then? Don’t remember.

When she finally forced open her eyes, the first thing she realized was that Cesar was lying beside her on the bed. The hospital bed. He was mostly alongside her legs, which put his big head at just about her hip level.

The whine she had recognized was him. Worried about her.

She moved her hand, finding just enough energy to lift it and place it on the broad head of her anxious dog.

“Hey, boy.”

Scare me. Don’t.

“Sorry.” She saw the IV taped to her hand and frowned a little, her gaze following the tubing up to a bag of clear liquid.

“So you’re finally back with us. Don’t ever scare me like that again.”

Callie turned her head and saw Luther sitting in a chair on the other side of the bed. His face was calm, but . . . haggard. Weary.

Beyond him, to her surprise, she saw squeezed into a corner a long couch with a rather loud print fabric, and on it in a pile were Jacoby’s three dogs, sound asleep.

She returned her gaze to Luther, brows lifting in a mute question.

“They bend the rules in small-town clinics,” he told her. “Cesar wasn’t about to leave you, which nobody here decided to argue about, though he stopped himself outside the operating room and waited there patiently until they wheeled you out. And the other three decided the same, or followed his lead. Whichever. Point is, they’re allowed. Besides, there’s only one other patient here at the moment, recovering from an appendectomy, and she’s at the other end of the building. We moved that god-awful couch in from the waiting room so the dogs would have a place to nap. Rugs are frowned upon, apparently, as tripping hazards.”

He paused, then said, “The docs here approved your work on me, just so you know. Other than a fresh bandage, I was good to go. Your wound was a bit trickier, because as it turned out, that arrow nicked an artery. That’s why you lost so much blood. But they were able to repair the tear and replace at least some of the blood you lost. You can probably walk out of here in a couple of days.”

Callie absorbed that. Now that she was awake, she felt surprisingly well, so apparently the long sleep had done her good.

“Here.” He was holding a glass with a straw in front of her. “Some water. Your throat is probably too dry to try talking.”

She sipped the water, feeling her indeed dry and slightly sore throat relax. After that, she was able to ask the question uppermost in her mind, even if a bit huskily.

“Jacoby?”

“Dead.” Without going into details about that, Luther continued in a slightly wry voice. “While the docs were working on you, I talked to the sheriff. Despite what you said, it appears he’s enjoying the unusual excitement in his town, even with retirement looming. Said it was the most interesting his job had ever been, and he only wished he’d known what was happening sooner. Mind you, he doesn’t have to be up on the mountain with the feds and search teams who’ve been at it since dawn, and he did show the requisite sober regret for the girl even if she wasn’t a local, but—”

“They found her?”

“Yeah, a couple of hours ago. Just as you said, in a shallow grave, and . . . dismembered. Well, actually cut into smaller pieces. No local or even regional missing girl or woman matching the general description of her face, hair and eye color. They’re comparing that info to missing-person reports, female, all up and down the Blue Ridge and into adjoining states, but it’s a long list. In the meantime, they’ll run her fingerprints, try to match dental records or, failing that, DNA. I’m told it could take weeks, though the feds sent everything to their lab and say it should be quicker than that, at least if her prints or DNA are on file. In the meantime, there’s an army up on the mountain, some looking for more bodies nobody wants to find, and some looking for the stolen money everybody wants to find. And a few still processing the section of mine shaft Jacoby used for his torture chamber; it’s a couple hundred yards higher up from his cabin. I got a description from one of the feds, and that’s all I want. Don’t need to see the place.

“It’s late morning on Saturday, if you’re wondering. We got here last night, almost entirely thanks to Cesar. He ran in front of the truck, showing me the way through that insane tangle of old mining and logging roads. Without his help, we’d still be up there on the mountain. And you’d likely be dead. The docs here told me if we’d gotten to the clinic even an hour later, you likely wouldn’t have made it.”

Callie absorbed all that, her hand resting on Cesar’s head, fingers absently pulling gently on his silky ears.

Thanks, pal.

Comments

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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