Marka gets cornered in the bathroom by Liz. She gets away, but Liz, an armed goon and Phil, surround her in the corridor. After a short fight, Marka manages to get Liz in a leg lock around her throat.
“Drop the guns, or the bitch gets it,” Marka yelled.
Liz fought like a hellcat, scrabbling at her pocket. Marka suspected she had another syringe in there. It would be the end of her if she let herself be knocked out. Rising onto her shoulders, she increased the pressure on the other woman’s neck.
“Drop it, Phil. I’ll kill her, I swear!”
She could see the officer shiver, shaking his head as if to clear it.
“Come on, Phil. You know me. It’s Marka. Liz has drugged you! Help me, Phil! Help!”
Liz’s hand was nearly in her pocket. Her face was purple, but she continued to struggle. Marka squeezed her thighs as hard as she could. The other woman faltered, going limp. Phil shook his head again. Turning, he raised his fist and cracked the second goon on the head with his pistol. He picked up the other man’s gun and held both weapons, butt first, to the nearest bailiff. As soon as he was disarmed, he put his hands on his head. Officers moved in to cuff him.
“I’m a federal agent,” Phil explained slowly, as if it were a great effort. “I should be considered hostile and extremely dangerous. You’ll explain?” He appealed to Marka.
She nodded, identifying herself as well as Liz. “Call Colonel Arnold Shay. His number is on my phone.”
Other officers hurried to Marka, taking an unconscious Liz away in shackles. The second goon was also removed. Marka sat on the ground, gasping.
Rochelle limped over, a livid bruise on her forehead where Liz had hit her. She squatted by Marka, pressing a damp paper towel to her face, blotting gently.
“So, that’s Liz?”
Marka’s laugh made her chest hurt. “Yes,” she mumbled through swollen lips.
“Well, she’s a hell of a bitch.”
“Tell them to be really careful with her. She’s probably got syringes in her pockets.”
“You got it.” She called in what Marka had said.
“And ask them to be careful with Phil. She had him drugged, or he never would have done this.”
“That’s the fella that helped?”
“Yes.” Marka sobbed. She hurt all over. All she wanted was a chance to curl up with Frank, in the safety of his arms.
“Marka!” Shay’s voice cut through the confusion. “Thank God! When they called me, I was already on the way.”
“How did you know where I was?”
“We had you tagged. That must be how Liz found you. She hacked out network.”
“Or she had me tagged too. It would have been easy for Phil to do.”
“You’re all right?” He helped her up, thanking Rochelle for her care.
Gasping in pain, Marka shot him a look. “Yeah, I’m freaking peachy. Thank God for kick boxing and pilates.”
“Should have seen that girl go,” Rochelle bragged. “Had that skinny blonde in the prettiest thigh lock you ever saw.”
“Where’s Clark?” Marka asked.
“Downstairs with Phil. You were right. She’s drugged him too. I don’t know how the boy fought it, but he did. He and Frank have a long haul ahead, but with your help, I think they’ll be okay.”
“Is it over, Arnold? Can we go back to our lives?”
“I hope so. I’m sure Liz wasn’t working alone, but it will be hard to cover tracks now. The trees are shaking and bodies are falling. This is the single biggest shake up since the Petraeus scandal. We’re going to feel this one to our roots.”
“How many people died because of her?” Marka asked, quietly.
“I don’t know, but I hope I find out. She has a lot to answer for. Cherry and Brad did some digging. They found evidence to tie her to the incident that killed Clay. I think with some more poking around, they will find enough to bury her in a deep, dark hole for a very long time.”
“Will these help?” She opened the bag with Frank’s journals.
“What are those?”
“Frank took to keeping a diary when he was in Iraq. He wanted some record he could share with his family, if he died. He thinks this might be what Liz is after. He may have written down his suspicions.”
“No kidding! Has he been through them yet?”
“No. We took them from the house the other day. We haven’t had time to go through them yet. I knew I needed to keep them safe. This was the safest place I could think of where there were people prepared to take care of it.”
Shay hugged her gently. “Good choice.”
“Can I go home soon?”
“Debriefing meeting. I won’t let you be alone.”
“Debriefing?” She winced. “It figures.”
“I’m sorry, Marka. Standard procedure.”
“Let’s get it over with.”
“After you see a doctor. Have you been seen to?” he asked solicitously of Rochelle.
“No. Thought my girl here needed me more.”
© Dellani Oakes