Maggie's Hunt, page 20
Maggie pretended to have passed out. The man walked over to her. He knelt down beside her and took the pistol from her purposefully limp right hand.
He grabbed her by the right arm and swung her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. The pain was fierce. Maggie found herself clinging onto her consciousness with all her might. All she knew was that she could not let him get her back into that room. She would not go behind the locked door. She felt that if she ever went back behind that steel door that she would die.
She could no longer fight the nausea she felt. The chocolate and churros were considerably less appetizing the second time around.
The man unceremoniously dumped her on the ground while reviling her with curses. The jarring movement of landing on the ground was enough to make her head swim. The dark haired man began peeling off his soiled shirt with his back to her. Maggie went for the Ruger. She could hold it only with her right hand, her left being out of commission. Maggie cocked the pistol. She was trembling.
“Put it down,” she commanded in a weak tone, when the man turned around, his Uzi raised to fire. “Put it down, right now.”
“I should have killed you, while I had the chance,” the dark man said in English, with a small smile.
“Put down the Uzi, and step away from it. Move over there. Six foot from the gun. Sit down with your hands on the top of your head.” Maggie’s strong words were at odds with her weak voice.
The dark man started to lower the weapon to the ground, then his finger moved too near the trigger for Maggie’s peace of mind.
She fired the Ruger. Her aim was less solid than she had anticipated. Instead of hitting his arm, the bullet went into the dark man’s chest. With a shocked look on his face, he fell. There was no doubt in Maggie’s mind that the man was dead. Maggie collapsed onto her right side, suddenly too weak to do anything except just lay there on the chilly Spanish soil.
There was also no doubt in her mind that the man’s death was justifiable. He would have killed her. Yet, even that knowledge did not make her feel any less sick at the thought that she had killed a person. Maggie knew that it would take her a very long time to come to terms with that. She knew that it would be a very long time before she could forget any of this.
Maggie’s eyes blurred. She was having a hard time staying focused. There was still, at least, one other man out there. She told herself that she had to stay sharp, that she had to maintain awareness, that to give in now would be to sign her death warrant. But, she was feeling progressively more disoriented as time went along.
As the adrenaline began to wear off, Maggie was feeling more pain. She also knew that shock was beginning to set in. She was so cold. She needed to keep warm.
Maggie looked over at the man whom she had shot. He had been wearing a sheepskin-lined leather coat before she had thrown up on his shirt. Inch by painful inch, she pulled herself the several feet which distanced them. She checked him for a pulse, just to be on the safe side. Finding none, Maggie slowly pulled herself over to the where he had dropped the coat. She draped it over her left shoulder, then put her right arm into the sleeve. The sleeve was way too long.
Maggie had the mental image of herself when she, at age five or six, had put on her father’s overcoat. She had walked around the house, growling out orders in an imitation of her father. The General had been amused. He had picked her up and given her a ride on his broad shoulders.
Tears welled up in her eyes. “Oh Daddy, I miss you,” she said softly.
“I’ve missed you too, baby girl,” Maggie heard her father’s voice.
Startled, she looked up to see her father smiling down at her. He looked just as he had when she had been small.
“Daddy?” Maggie croaked.
“Have you come for me?” Maggie asked.
“Neither injury is a fatal wound. Trust me, baby girl. You will pull through this.”
“Hold me, Daddy.”
“I can’t, baby. It isn’t your time to join your mother and I. You fight now, baby girl. You have to fight for the things that you want. I know I taught you that.”
But, her father wasn’t there any longer. The only sound in the early morning was the noise of a plane overhead.
Maggie looked up. She looked again. There were several parachutes open, several men floating down.
Maggie pulled her arm out of the sleeve. She grasped the gun again. She didn’t know who the men were. But, she didn’t like this one bit.
She aimed the Ruger at the dark man who had landed less than ten feet from her. He had shrugged out of his chute. He wore civilian clothes as though they were an uniform. He was also armed.
“Don’t take another step,” Maggie ordered in Spanish.
Ramon de Santiago looked down at her. “Senorita O’Shay. We have come to rescue you,” he said in English.
Maggie began to laugh. She laughed until tears rolled down her face. “So, the cavalry has finally arrived. I hate to disillusion you, but, you are a bit late. There are two men inside the house. But, they are rather tied up at the moment, so there is no real hurry. They aren’t going anywhere. Neither is he.” She motioned over to the dead man.
“I am Ramon de Santiago, Senorita O’Shay,” he said in English as he sat on the ground beside her. “Why don’t you give me the gun?”
Maggie kept the gun leveled on the man.
Hunt knelt in front of her. “Maggie. Honey, give me the gun.”
Maggie shook her head. “I’m hallucinating.”
“No,” Hunt told her. “You aren’t hallucinating. I’m here, Maggie mine.”
The tears that had been under control began to flow again. “Isn’t this just like a man?” she said. “Wait until all the work is done, then show up.”
“I’ll try to do better, next time,” Hunt pledged.
“See that you do,” she replied, pain lancing through her as she tried to move.
“How badly are you hurt?” Hunt asked as he pulled the jacket away from her wounded arm.
She looked up at him. “Please don’t look at me. I’m a mess. I don’t want you remembering me this way.”
Hunt blanched as he saw the extent of her injuries.
She looked at him. “I love you, Hunter,” she said. “I love you with all my soul.”
“We’ll get you to a hospital, Maggie mine. They’ll know how to help you there,” he said reassuringly.
“Don’t look so worried, love. I’m not ready to die, yet,” Maggie said gently. “The O’Shays are fighters, Hunter. We’re especially fighters when we have something worth fighting for. I’ve got something worth fighting for.”
Tears ran down Hunt’s face. “Get that medic over here.”
Michael and John came over. Both of them sank down to the ground so that Maggie could see them.
“How badly are you hit?” Michael demanded. “Daisy, how badly are you hit?”
The image of the three men swam before her eyes just before everything went black. She slumped to the ground.
“Maggie!” Hunt cried out in concern. He quickly checked her pulse. It was weak, shocky, but there. “Get that medic over here, now!”
Part of the team remained behind to secure the area while Hunt, Michael, and John, along with the team’s medic, flew Maggie to the hospital in a helicopter.
Hunt, John, and Michael paced the waiting area at the hospital. It seemed as though Maggie had been in the operating theater for a very long time. In fact, she had been. There was a team of physicians in there with her. Whatever could be done for her would be done. They had been assured of that.
Hunt had to hold onto that thought, he told himself in a vain effort to reassure himself. He was holding onto his composure only by the very thinnest of margins. She’d been shot twice. He didn’t like the bruises on her face. The men had struck her. He didn’t want to think about what else they might have done to her. Hunt was having a dif
The press had been alerted to the fact that Maggie had escaped. Yet, so far, thankfully, the press had not proven a problem. Michael’s staff with Aggie’s capable help was handling all the press queries.
“I can’t stand it,” Hunt said quietly. “When are we going to hear something?”
John looked at Hunt. “I’d like to get my hands on those men,” Maggie’s brother stated coldly. “Just ten minutes alone with them.”
“You’re in line after me,” Michael replied quietly.
“What is taking the doctors so long?” Hunt asked, knowing it was a rhetorical question.
Ramon de Santiago walked into the room a few moments later. “Is there any news of Senorita O’Shay?”
“She’s still in surgery,” Hunt said, his voice flat.
“What about the kidnappers?” Michael demanded.
“The one who was their leader is dead. The medicos are examining him, now to determine the cause of death. It appears to have been natural causes. The one survivor says that the leader was the only one in contact with the people who hired them,” Santiago told them. “He says that he was hired for two weeks. The pay for each of them was supposed to be $30,000 American dollars plus expenses.”
“Then, he has totally renounced the pretense of having been Basque?” John asked softly, too softly, in a voice Hunt recognized. It was the same voice that Maggie used when she was very angry. It was the voice that she had used when they had fought just before she had been taken.
“He could hardly pretend to be Basque when all their passports, living or dead, say that they are Americans,” Ramon said quietly.
Hunt nodded “True. And he’s not saying who hired them?”
“He claims that he doesn’t know.”
“What will happen to him?” John demanded.
“He’ll be tried. He’s already confessed,” Ramon stated. “He’ll never be a problem to Senorita O’Shay, again.”
Michael nodded. “That’s good. If I ever see him near Daisy again, I’ll kill him.”
“Maggie would probably beat you to it,” Hunt replied quietly.
Ramon de Santiago smiled slightly. “Senorita O’Shay, of course, will not face charges in the death of the two men. This was clearly self-defense. The prosecutors see this the same way. I’ve already talked with them.”
Hunt smiled. “That is good news. Thank you.”
“I hope that you get more good news soon, Senor,” Ramon said earnestly. “That is a woman of courage.”
Hunt nodded slightly and went over to stand beside the window, looking out of it, unseeingly.
Michael smiled at the official. “Thank you, Senor de Santiago.”
But, it was several hours yet before they heard anything.
A middle-aged doctor came to the waiting room. His English was heavily accented. “Senor O’Shay?”
“I am John O’Shay.”
“Senor, your sister is out of surgery. She had lost much blood. Fortunately, we had enough units of her type. We have reconstructed her hip. The recovery will be slow. She will have many physical therapy sessions after this has healed before she is able to walk again. She will always have a serious limp. The hip was not good, Senor. I do not want to be untruthful to you. We have had to pin it together. There will be another operation later to remove the pins once the bone has knitted together somewhat. She will be in traction for some time.”
“What about her shoulder?” Hunt asked.
“I’m her fiancee, Senor Thomas,” Hunt said in rapid Spanish. “What is the situation with her arm?”
“We will have to keep a close watch on her arm. It does appear, however,” the doctor spoke in his own language, “That the bullet missed most of the critical areas. There doesn’t appear to have been any nerve damage, judging from involuntary reflexes. She will have a sizable scar. There’s nothing to be done about that.”
“Scars are minor,” Hunt dismissed in rapid Spanish. “As long as Maggie is going to recover, anything else is meaningless.”
The doctor smiled. “She will need all of the love and support that you can give her. This is not going to be an easy process for her. Her physical injuries are substantial. I suspect that her psychological scars will be just as painful. I understand that she was kidnapped.”
“Maggie will never lack support from me,” Hunt pledged in Spanish.
“Senor,” the doctor said quietly, in Spanish, “It may be some measure of consolation to you, we examined your novia thoroughly. She was not violated by the men who held her.”
Hunt breathed a sigh of relief.
“Will you please speak English?” Michael demanded irritably.
“Sorry, Michael,” Hunt apologized. “The doctor says that it looks like Maggie’s arm is going to be all right. But, they will be keeping an eye on it, just to make sure. And she wasn’t . . . .” Hunt couldn’t bring himself to use the word. “Used by those animals.”
“You are certain?” Michael asked the doctor firmly.
The physician nodded positively. “I am certain. Senorita O’Shay remains a virgin,” the doctor said in stilted English. “I didn’t think that an American women of her age would still be chaste.”
“Maggie is a strong Catholic,” Hunt replied in Spanish, as if that comment would explain the situation.
“Ah,” the doctor commented. “Senor Thomas, I will arrange for your fiancee to have round the clock, private, nursing care. There is an order of nuns who dedicate themselves to private duty nursing.”
“How long until I can take her home?” Michael asked.
“Senor?” The doctor looked puzzled.
“I’m her stepfather,” Michael explained.
“Maggie won’t go back to your estate, Michael,” Hunt said.
“I can take better care of her than anyone else can,” Michael replied.
“My mother would contradict that,” Hunt responded strongly.
“Need I remind you that she almost died at your parent’s Inn?”
“No, you don’t need to remind me of anything,” Hunt said, angrily. “Not of anything, Michael.”
John smiled. “This doesn’t have to be settled just now. The important thing is that Maggie is going to pull through this.”
Then John turned to the doctor, “When will we be able to see her?”
“She’s still under anesthesia at the moment. She will be fairly disoriented for some time. Tomorrow, she should be more aware of her surroundings.”
“I’m staying with her, once she is taken to a room,” Hunt said.
No one even tried to talk him out of it.
It was well into the evening when Maggie woke up.
Hunt went to her bedside. “Hello, Sleeping Beauty,” he said gently.
“I thought that you were a dream,” she said muzzily.
“You are going to make it, Maggie.”
“Of course I am. Daddy told me that it wasn’t my time, yet,” she replied sleepily before she yawned and her eyes fluttered shut.
Hunt looked at Maggie questioningly, but she was already back to sleep.
Hunt was instantly awake when the door opened at three a.m. A male figure in a white coat came in. There was a stethoscope slung about his neck. Hunt sat watching him, from the chair in the dark corner of the room, without revealing his presence. When the man took a syringe from his pocket, Hunt sprang from the chair.
Even in the low light of the room, Hunt could see that this “Doctor” was none other than the fake Carlos. The man, seeing Hunt, came after him wielding the syringe as a weapon.
The fight, if you could call it that, was short. It consisted of the proverbial two blows: Hunt struck ‘Carlos’ and ‘Carlos’ hit the floor.
Maggie did not stir. In fact, she didn’t even awake when the police hauled ‘Carlos’ away, or when Michael’s security guards began to keep a four-men-at-all-times, twenty-four hour wa
Sunlight streamed into the room by midmorning. Maggie came awake slowly as the pain medication waned. The first sight that she saw as she came awake was a nurse getting ready to inject pain medication into the IV line running into her right hand.
“What are you giving me?” Maggie asked in rapid Spanish.
“Morphine, for the pain,” the young woman answered.
“No. I refuse morphine. If I need it, I’ll ask,” Maggie assured the nurse.
“The doctor has ordered this medication to allow you relief from the pain so that you may rest, Senorita,” the nurse countered. “You need to rest in order to recover. Medicated patients recover more rapidly.”
“I am refusing morphine. I do not want to be that groggy,” she replied in rapid Spanish. “It is essential that I remain conscious.”
Hunt had come to stand beside her bed. Maggie looked at Hunt. There was a pleading look in her eye. “No morphine, Hunt. I’d rather be in pain than to be whacked out on narcotics for the duration. This pain is not so bad that I have to have that much help in handling it. Please, Hunt?” Maggie practically begged in English.
Hunt smiled at Maggie. “Are you sure, sweetheart?”
“Just do as I ask, please?” Maggie whispered, obviously in pain from the pinched look on her face.
Hunt looked at the nurse. “She has refused the morphine. It is her right to refuse any medication.”
“The doctor will not like this,” the young nurse warned.
“Tough,” Maggie muttered in English.
The nurse smiled a puzzled smile, then she placed a plastic cover back on the needle. Putting the syringe back on the medications tray, she shook her head and said quietly, “Senorita, you either have more courage than most, or you are extremely foolish.”
Maggie smiled at the nurse. “I am, probably, both.”
“The doctor will be in to see you shortly, Senorita.”
“Now, why did that sound more like a threat than a promise?” Maggie asked dryly.
Hunt laughed in relief. “Glad to see you back, Maggie mine. We were worried about you.”
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