Knowing she needs help, Marka heads to the nearest federal building. She hopes that the security there will be enough to protect her. She finds a sympathetic ear with a security officer named Rochelle. Though dubious, the woman listens to her.
She told Rochelle everything about the attack that had killed Clay. She recounted Frank’s actions and how he’d gone missing from the hospital. She continued with the incidents that had happened at his house and the fact that he’d been kidnapped and he was now in the hospital.
“So, why did you come here?” Rochelle asked quietly.
“I’m afraid. And I think that Liz—Sergeant Tynan, is after Frank’s journals. I think there’s something in there that’s she’s afraid will incriminate her. Or, at least, she thinks there is.”
“And that’s what these books are?” Rochelle indicated the stack of notebooks.
“I still don’t get why you’re here,” the man by the door said suddenly.
Marka jumped, having forgotten he was there. “Because I don’t feel safe anywhere else. If I’m in a federal building with federal officers around, it will be harder for Liz to get to me.”
“What if someone here is under her control?” he asked.
“She can’t be everywhere and she can’t have all the bases covered.”
“Why not just go to this guy, Shay?” Rochelle asked.
“The facility where I work is being watched. They were there. The chances of them capturing or killing me were too great. I had to get away, somewhere safe.”
“Well, you did the right thing coming here. Jose will make that call for you,” Rochelle promised. “Meanwhile, we’re going to the ladies room. I don’t know about you, but that coffee went right through me.”
Marka smiled, nodding. “Thanks.”
“You can leave the books here.”
“No, I’ll take them with me,” Marka said, picking up the bag with the journals. “No offense, but I don’t what to let them out of my sight.”
She went to the restroom with Rochelle, taking the bag in the stall furthest from the door. She settled down, relaxing a little so she could urinate. The outer door opened as she flushed. She heard Rochelle greet another woman politely. There were sounds of water running and then a soft thud.
Alerted by the sound, Marka said nothing. She arranged her clothing and waited, hardly breathing. Soon, she heard the doors opening one by one, bouncing back on the door stops. No one spoke, but Marka knew the woman was moving nearer. Tensing, she positioned herself to attack. She didn’t have much room, but knew she had to so something. Slinging the bag around her neck, she climbed carefully onto the toilet seat. Precariously balanced, she waited for the inevitable. The door next to hers opened and bounced.
“You need to come out, Dr. Ventimiglia,” a sugary sweet woman’s voice said. “I know you’re in there.”
Marka said nothing. She quietly slid the latch back and waited.
“Must you make everything so hard?” The door popped open.
A tall, blonde woman stood there, gun leveled at Marka. Her blue eyes widened when she saw Marka perched on the toilet. It lasted only seconds. Marka raised her foot and kicked the woman in the chest, knocking her backward. The gun clattered to the floor as she staggered into the opposite wall.
The blonde righted herself and went for the gun. Marka kicked her in the head. The blonde collapsed in an untidy heap. Marka grabbed her weapon and dropped it in the trash. She didn’t want to be caught running around a federal courthouse with a loaded weapon. She passed Rochelle, who was unconscious on the floor. Marka saw her chest move, so she knew the officer wasn’t dead.
Running out the door, she collided with one of Liz’s goons. He was big, strong and didn’t look very bright. A few feet away, Phil stood, patiently waiting with his hands in his pockets. A tingle of fear ran up her spine. She was sure that Liz had something nasty planned for her. She couldn’t let that happen.
A few people were around. One of the courtrooms was emptying out into the corridor. She might not be able to get away from the goon, but she had options. He held her tightly, but hadn’t covered her mouth. Marka stomped hard on his foot and screamed loudly.
Every head turned to her, including the bailiff’s. He reached for his weapon, but Phil beat him to it. He hit the man in the head with his own weapon. The bailiff crumpled to the floor. Marka kept screaming and struggling against the man who held her. Soon, the hallway was in an uproar. People ran in panic, looking for a safe place. Marka screamed and kicked. When that didn’t work, she bit the man who held her.
Hissing angrily, he let go of her with one hand. Once her hand was free, Marka shoved her elbow into his gut and a fist into his groin. He doubled over, letting go of her completely. Liz came out of the bathroom and made a grab for Marka. Propping herself on the downed goon, Marka gave a powerful kick to the side, hitting Liz in the midsection.
Although she lost her balance, Liz grabbed Marka’s leg, dropping with an elbow to the knee. Marka screamed from pain that shot up and down her leg. She didn’t think it was broken, but it sure hurt like hell. She kicked at Liz with her other foot, but lost her grip on the goon. Falling heavily, she landed on her hip.
It struck her that no one was coming to her aid. She risked a glance and saw that Phil and another goon had them at gunpoint. Liz came at her again, aiming her heel at Marka’s head. Just before the heel crashed into her skull, Marka rolled out of the way. Liz overbalanced too, falling on her knee. Marka swept her legs painfully around, clipping Liz’s other knee, taking her completely down. By some miracle, she got her legs around Liz’s throat and squeezed. She knew she probably couldn’t break the other woman’s neck, but she damn well wanted to try.
© Dellani Oakes