Paul said, “Drop me here. There won’t be enough room in one vehicle, I’ll take my truck and bring some of the family back with me. Stay close once we’re on the highway. We don’t need any more injuries.”
As soon as the truck showed up, they raced out to greet him. “Ok, let’s get back to the cabin. Officer Deans can take three or four of you with him, and the rest can come with me.”
Andrew voted to go with Paul, while the others were fascinated at the prospect of riding in an unmarked patrol car. Paul led the way. “Paul, what’s going on?”
“A change of plans. That man on the ground back there, was Officer Harold Murdock, the officer assigned to assist us. Obviously, he never made it.”
“We haven’t found his car yet but we’re hoping once he regains consciousness, he’ll be able to explain what happened. Until then, Officer Deans will take his place.”
Once they reached their assigned cabins, Paul hopped out and opened the door to the cottage he would be sharing with the Martin family, while Deans unlocked the other. He motioned the family to stay put while they made a quick sweep of both cabins. Once he’d verified both cabins were clear he motioned the others to follow.
As soon as they were inside, Paul filled them in on what he suspected. Eyes like baseballs, they stared in mute silence. He then outlined what he expected of each of them. Again his words were met with silence.
“Brandon and Cliff, you’ll share a cabin with Officer Deans and I expect you to follow his instructions to the letter.”
“Yes, sir. No grandstanding, no going off alone, for the time being at least.”
“While we don’t know for sure that what happened to Officer Marks is connected, we can’t risk that it isn’t. The timing of this attack makes it suspect and a distinct possibility. It also mans this bonehead has escalated from crazy to fanatical and maybe worse. Until we know different, we’re going to take it slow and easy.”
“What do you want us to do?” Eilea asked.
“I know it won’t be easy, but I need you all to act as naturally as possible. We’re all on first name basis Paul or Montgomery, and it’s Deans or Steve. We play it close to the vest. We don’t know who, we don’t know why Murdock was attacked. If it’s connected, how the hell did the perp become aware he was a cop? Or for that matter, he was here on your behalf? All puzzling questions.”
“Everyone clear on what’s happening?”
“I guess so.”
Officer Deans stationed himself inside the front door as instructed looking every inch a cop. Montgomery shook his head. That wouldn’t help.
Eilea had brought a couple of board games but they settled on a game of poker instead. Christina wasn’t interested so flopping on the chesterfield, turned the tv on instead.
The card game was short lived and the other teens joined Christina, stretching out on the floor and anywhere else they could find enough room to lay down.
Eilea and Paul sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee. “What card games do you know?”
“Poker, poker and poker.”