24 Wounded

Wounded Chapter 24

 

Author notes to readers: I know we have had some readers complaining about the format of our stories and the jumping around between sub-plots. Realize, our stories are written like watching television where things do jump around. There are only two or three, at the most, plots in play at the same time. So sit back, don't drink too much and enjoy yourself.

 

Ben, Anastasia and Alexander

 

Present – Jens – Surgery Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

This is s-o-o-o-o-o fricken cool! It's like I'm floating in the air above my body. I can't hear anything, but I can sure see things! And my vision is sharper than ever! The doctors are working like crazy on me. I see them take some paddles, put them on my chest and then hit a button, my body jumps and son-of-a-gun that looks like it hurts!

 

I know this is one of those out of body experiences I read about it once in a book. I wonder, does this mean I'm dead? Shoot! If I'm dead I died a fricken v-i-r-g-i-n! What a huge w-a-s-t-e! I really wish now I would have worked harder on Ben to make me a whole woman. But I guess dying a good - well mostly good girl will mean I get to go to heaven. It would be terrible if I went to 77341, because then I might be one of the seventy-two v-i-r-g-i-n-s of a fricken terrorist. And there's no way in H-E-double-toothpick2 – dead or alive, I would let one of those illegitimate boys without fathers touch me.

 

1 HELL – upside down on a calculator.

2 HELL

 

Well if I'm dead and not in my body I wonder just exactly what sort of super powers I have? Wow, I can go up higher in the room and I can get really low - right over my body. I flinch like crazy when a doctor sticks a big needle into my chest and try to hit him, but my hand passes right through his head. He does shake his head just a little, sort of like he's being bothered by a fly.

 

I zoom around at the ceiling and take a couple laps. Then I get bored and decide to see if I can leave the room. Wow, I can go right through the walls! Oh goodie, it's the waiting room and there's Liz, Matt and… Oh My God!

 

It's Daddy and he's in a wheelchair. Boy does he look like a mess - I can see he's even bleeding some. I cry some and yell, "Liz get off your rear and take care of Daddy!" She doesn't move and I realize that if I can't hear them, they probably can't hear me. Shoot someone needs to help Daddy.

 

I move up close to Liz to try to tell her to take care of Daddy. Shoot, I'm too close and somehow I get sucked inside her. Wow, this is even more cooool! I can sort of feel what she's thinking. She is really upset. But wait - the sneaky little female-dog! Ben was right when he told me she had a crush on him. She's worried about me but at the same time she's wondering what it would be like if I died. Hey Liz you fricken-fracken moron, I am dead and now you can have Ben and… Oh My God! I wonder if I can blush because if I can I just did. Liz is thinking about what she'd do to comfort Ben. Wow is she one nasty horndog and Ben is going to be s-o-o-o-o-o lucky and I'm s-o-o-o-o-o stinkin' jealous!

 

Well, if I can sort of feel her feelings, I wonder if she can feel mine. I start to think with all my heart!

 

Present – Liz – Waiting room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I've felt bizarre for about the last five minutes. I'm really itchy, like I have a bad case of hives or a bunch of ants crawling on my skin. I keep brushing at them but they won't go away. It also feels like, well, like someone else is inside me and sharing my thoughts. I must be going crazy, or perhaps I'm just tired and hungry… or maybe PMS.

 

I've been looking at the floor worrying about Jens and daydreaming. How I would comfort Ben if she was to die, then it feels like something or someone tells me to look at Glen. I glance towards Glen - damn is he ever a fucking mess and looks as white as a ghost. Then I look closer and see he's bleeding so I ask, "Glen, how are you feeling?"

 

He looks at me and says, "Thanks Liz, I'm fine but just a little tired. I wonder how much longer Jennifer's surgery is going to take."

 

Then it feels like something or someone forces me to get up and walk over to Glen. I squat in front of him and then my arm reaches out and touches his dressing. I pull my hand back and it's soaked with blood. I look at Matt and order, "Glen's in trouble we need to get a doctor."

 

Glen says, "Ignore that order."

 

Matt laughs his answer, "Glen I guess you forgot. I don't work for you anymore. Liz, I'll go get someone right away."

 

My hand reaches out again and I put pressure on Glen's dressing. It's a good thing I do because he slumps forward unconscious in his wheelchair and it's hard to keep him from falling to the floor. But somehow I seem to have the strength of two women and I keep him in the chair.

 

Matt comes back with a doctor and I inform him, "General Donaldson is bleeding badly and just passed out."

 

The doctor rushes right over and says, "I told him he'd pull his stitches if he didn't rest. Quick! Help me get him back into surgery."

 

Matt helps the doctor push Glen and the wheelchair out of the room. As Glen leaves, the creepy crawlies leave my skin.

 

Present – Jens – Surgery Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

Wow was that ever stinkin' hard and I'm s-o-o-o-o-o tired. I wonder if I can go back into my body and take just a little rest. I go right through the walls and settle back into my body. Right before I drift off to sleep I hear, "Good work, she's back!"

 

Present – Mira – Hospital Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I hate leaving Ms. Morgan in the care of Matt because he will not take as good care of her as I would. I will give him a long, slow and painful death if she gets injured. But I must get to Ira, she is hurt very badly.

 

I know Ira was headed to the basement when I last talked to her so I hope she is still there. As I approach the hospital I see there are guards. They are Marines not Airmen, and they look serious. I can fight my way through them, but they would be hurt and it will take too much time. I approach and one commands, "Halt and state your purpose!"

 

I raise my hands, run close to him, stop, smile and say, "Excuse me private. But I had a phone call from my twin sister and she is still trapped in the hospital. I am just trying to get to her." He looks at me, I smile and show concern with my face. He yells, "Hey Sarge, I need you over here ricky tick."

 

I continue to smile and even sway a little, but inside I'm anxious as can be. A grizzled old man comes over, a real warhorse. I give him my best smile and the PFC says, "Sarge this lady says her twin sister is still in the hospital and she wants to go in and get her." I watch as he sizes me up as I flirt just a little with him. He asks, "How do you know she's still in the hospital?"

 

I answer, "She called me on her mobile phone and told me she was trapped."

 

He squints his eyes at me and says, "Do you know where she's trapped?"

 

I reply, "She said something about the lower levels. Please Sergeant we really need to go in and find her. I think she's hurt." That is the right thing to say because it lights a fire under the Marines.

 

The Sergeant commands, "I need three men to go and search the hospital for this ladies twin sister..."

 

I know it is bad of me, but I interrupt with a big flirt, "Excuse me Sergeant, would it be possible for me to go with them?"

 

He stops, looks at me, shakes his head and says, "Sorry Miss, but I can't let civilians back into the hospital."

I silently curse myself because this is taking too long and I should have just kicked their rears. I motion to the Sergeant to move closer and he stands beside me. I reach inside the pocket on my coat, pull out my still valid Mossad identification and whisper to him, "Sergeant, as you can plainly see I am not a civilian. And it would mean a great deal to me and my country if I could accompany your men. And just so you know, we are the ones who alerted General Donaldson about the situation in the basement. My twin sister went in to report on the situation."

 

He steps back and I see him look at me with greater respect. Then he says to his men, "I still need three men to escort this lady into the hospital to look for her twin sister."

 

All my flirting works and his whole squad volunteers, so it makes me blush just a little. The sergeant selects three of his men and orders, "Okay you three, Miss Swartz (The fake name on my Mossad ID) is Mossad and needs some help finding her sister. Now that we know who she is, I don't have to tell you how important this is, so don't fuck up."

 

I hear a hearty reply of yes Sergeant from the three and we take off towards the hospital. I start running at top speed and hear yelling behind me, "Hey, slow up we can't keep up with you."

 

I laugh at them and taunt, "Are you going to let a girl outrun you!"

 

They start to swear and I laugh even more because this is part of my plan.

 

Present – Sgt. Anderson - 1st Battalion 9th Marines – The Walking Dead - Alpha Company, Zulu Squad - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

I'm still fucking shocked at the treatment by Mrs. Donaldson and I can't believe we are taking her through this fucking hospital death trap. I can only hope we have angels watching over us today and the bastard terrorists don't blow us all to hell.

 

LCpl. Bascom is covering our six, PFC Slater is pushing the gurney and I'm leading the way. I'm not sure we don't have more terrorist bastards in the hospital so we are taking all the precautions our dignitary demands. The last thing I want is for the Old Man's wife to get captured.

 

Mrs. Donaldson nicely asks, "Sergeant is there any way we can go faster?"

 

I motion for my team to stop and say, "Mrs. Donaldson, I know you're in a hurry. But we still need to follow proper procedure to keep you safe."

 

She smiles at me, gets ready to say something, Then she yells, "No, get the hell away from me!" She lets out a big sigh, seems to pass out and shakes like she's in some sort of seizure."

 

I look at my men and command, "Shit, we need to get her the fuck out of here and to the medics. Let's haul ass." And we throw all caution to the wind take off like our asses are on fire.

 

Present – Jens – Surgery Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I wake and hear, "Shit we're losing her again!" Then I'm floating in the air above my body again and can't hear anything.

 

I zoom right out of the operating room, into the waiting room but I only see Liz and Matt. Where the heck is Daddy? I zoom through a couple more rooms and I finally find him. Shoot! They're doing surgery on him again! I take a close look at his monitors and he looks like he's doing well. I slip inside the surgeon, he starts squirming like he has ants in his pants and I giggle because I can sense he feels Daddy's going to be fine.

 

Well if Daddy's going to be fine, what should I do now? Oh yeah the fat female-dog, I mean mom is here, I wonder if I can find her? I pause for a moment and – yeah I can sort of sense which direction she is from here so I zoom out of Daddy's operating room, out of the triage area and towards the fricken hospital. Didn't I hear the terrorists had some sort of big bomb in the basement? What the heck is she still doing in there?

 

I flinch when I fly through the hospital walls because I still expect it to hurt and I giggle when it doesn't. I'm well on my way to finding mom when I get distracted and watch in amazement.

 

Present – Mira – Hospital Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I am five hundred meters ahead of the Marines when we reach the hospital and I crash through the doors. I run to the first side door and step inside and wait for them to catch up while I catch my breath. It doesn't take long until I hear them enter the hospital.

 

One says, "Where the fuck did she go?"

 

Another replies, "What is she, some sort of track star? Sarge is going to kill us for losing her."

 

The third says, "Shit, not just the Sarge, did you hear the rest of the guys giving us shit about not being able to keep up with her? We'll never hear the fucking end of this."

 

I wait for them to pass the door and step out into the hallway behind them. I feel the hair rise on my neck and I look around to see who is watching me, but no one is there. But I cannot shake the feeling that someone is watching me.

 

I slowly slip up on the last Marine which is easy because they are very noisy and are not following proper military protocol. He never hears or sees me as I grab his head and give him a neck crank, not enough to break his neck, just enough to render him unconscious. I help him slowly slide to the floor and the other two Marines don't even notice. The Sergeant will not be very happy with them when he discovers their incompetence. But this is my plan because I cannot let them see me rescue Ira.

 

I move to the second Marine and take care of him, but he yells right as I render him unconscious and the first Marine turns back towards me with his rifle pointing right at me and yells, "What the fuck did you just do?"

 

I smile at him but I know this will not be an easy fight, however my body armor should stop the rounds from his M4. I get ready to attack when something I do not understand happens. The Marine starts squirming like he is being bitten by many bugs then he shakes and falls to the floor. I look around in amazement because I do not understand what has just happened. I go to the Marine and he is alive but unconscious.

 

I look to the ceiling and say, "Слава Богу!" Because I think I have an angel helping me today. The hair goes back down on my neck, and I head towards the basement to find my sister!

 

 Present – Jens – Surgery Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

It is so much fun watching Mira take care of the Marines. She is a frickin fighting machine! Wow, I'm sure glad I never fought her because she'd kick my rear. I remember her saying her sister was hurt and in the basement of the hospital so she must be trying to rescue her.

 

She runs into problems with the last Marine and I can see he is getting ready to fire. So I go inside his body and attack him. I have no idea I can do this but I need to do something and it's s-o-o-o-o cool and fun. I can sense he feels he is being attacked by the ants from 7734 and passes out.

 

Then Mira looks up to the ceiling, right at me and praises God. God? Heck it's me that kicks the last Marines rear - you should thank me!

 

Uhhhh, I'm so stinkin' tired! Hey! What the heck is going on? I'm being yanked back out of the hospital and… Shoot! I'm back in my body and…

 

Present – Samantha – Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

"Hello, this is Samantha Stevens of the Truth Network, reporting on the continuing cleanup of the Ramstein hospital. Brave General Donaldson and the Marines have eliminated the terrorist threat and the hospital is once again fully operational."

 

Yeah, I'm lying through my teeth but we needed to keep the terrorists in the basement in the dark about our knowledge of their evil plans. My phone rings, and I say, "Excuse me one minute; I have an important call from our network."

 

Bernie kills the audio, I step off camera and answer, "This is Samantha, what do you need?"

 

"Samantha, this is Darrell. I thought you guys might want a heads up. We picked up some intel that terrorists might be sending some more bastards after Ramstein. I tried calling Liz but I couldn't get through to her, do you know where she is?"

 

I bite my lip and wonder what's going on with Liz. Then I reply, "Thanks Darrell, I'm not sure what's going on with Liz because she always answers her phone. I think she's at the triage area because Jennifer Donaldson is there undergoing surgery."

 

Darrell says, "Samantha, you are doing a great job! But we need you to leave Bernie in the hospital to continue the ruse and get over to the triage area. See what's going on with Liz and make sure you give the message about more terrorists to the Marines."

 

I reply, "Sure will, Darrell. Is there anything else I need to tell Liz?"

 

I wait and he says, "Yeah have her give me a call. I have some things I need to talk with her about."

 

I walk over by Bernie as he continues to shoot video and say, "Bernie, Darrell can't get in touch with Liz and wants me to head over to the triage area and find her. He also said there might be more terrorists headed this way."

 

Bernie answers, "Damn, that's all we need. Get your rear moving, and I will keep shooting video. Take care of yourself."

 

I take off towards the triage area. I get almost to the door and find three unconscious Marines, it scares the hell out of me and I wonder if the terrorists have already arrived.

 

Then I hear a crap load of noise behind me around the corner of the hallway. I reach down, take an M4 off one of the unconscious Marines and prepare to fight the terrorists.

 

Present – Sgt. Anderson - 1st Battalion 9th Marines – The Walking Dead - Alpha Company, Zulu Squad - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

We are running through the halls like maniacs to get Mrs. Donaldson to the medics. I round the corner of the hallway, see three Marines on the floor and that young news reporter pointing an M4 at me. I dive to the floor and yell, "Don't fire we're Marines!"

 

I'm too late and some rounds hit the wall over my head. Then I hear, "Oh crap! I'm so sorry! I almost shot you!"

 

Damn fucking civilians! I'm sure happy she can't shoot worth shit; otherwise I'd really be the dead part of the walking dead. I stand up, get ready to chew her a new asshole and see she's shaking like a leaf in a hurricane. I walk up to her, take the M4 out of her hands and say, "What the hell went on here?"

 

She starts crying and blubbering and I can't make any sense out of what she's trying to say. I hug her and say, "It's okay. You didn't hurt me. Now relax and tell me what the hell has you so upset."

 

I feel her slowly start to calm down. She finally says, "Gee I'm so sorry. I found these three Marines on the floor and thought you were the new group of terrorists that hurt them."

 

What she says doesn't make total sense to me, plus I've been looking at the Marines and I can't see any physical injuries to them. It looks like something has knocked them out. I need to find out what she is talking about. I ask, "What's this you're saying about a new group of terrorists?"

 

She takes a deep breath and answers, "My network called and told me there might be more terrorists headed towards Ramstein. I was headed towards the triage area to tell them when I found these Marines just lying here."

 

We need to get this new intel to the brass as soon as possible. I order, "Bascom, you and Slater figure out some way to get these three Marines out of here. Young lady, I hope you can run like hell and push a gurney at the same time because we need to get this intel to the brass and Mrs. Donaldson to the medics. And since you've already shown me I can't trust you with a weapon, you have to push the gurney."

 

She answers, "I'll try my best."

 

I look at her and say, "Don't try, just do! Now let's roll." And we take off running towards the triage area.

 

Present – Jens – Surgery Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

Uhhhhhhh! Wow that was a huge struggle getting out of my body again! But I need to find mom and see what's going on with her. I stop just for a second and watch the doctors working on me; they sure get excited every time I leave my body. I don't know why I can come and go as I want and for the most part it doesn't matter what they do.

 

Now on to mom, I head back into the hospital, past the three Marines, past Mira and I look out and… ah there she is. She's on a gurney with three Marines escorting her. I watch and the Marines are good, no they're fricken great. Shoot I miss being a Marine and now that I'm dead I never will be again.

 

I get really close to Mom and think, so you're the fricken-fracken female-dog that almost got Ben killed. I should strangle you right now for all the 7734 you've put the two of us through. My anger gets the best of me and I dive inside her and attack.

 

Present – Mira – Hospital Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I pull out my flashlight when I enter the stairwell to the basement because the lights are out in the hospital and even the backup power is off. I giggle because this sounds like the work of my sister. Even though I want to run down the stairs, I know I cannot because I am sure there are traps on the stairs.

 

I get one level above the basement and I notice the tripwire on the stairs. I stop, bend down, see how rudimentary it is and quickly disable it. But I become even more cautious, if the bomb was still active on the stairs that means Ira went to the basement some other way. I reach the door to the basement, I touch it then I pull my hand back because something doesn't feel right. I pull out my mobile phone and the snake camera connector, hook them together and slide the snake under the door. It is so dark I cannot see a thing, so I switch the camera mode to night vision, it flickers a couple of times and I can see why things didn't feel right. There are two grenades wired to the door handle. I quickly scan the rest of the room and I can see bodies everywhere.

 

I decide I cannot waste anymore time so I tie a rope to the door handle, move back away from the door and pull the rope. The door opens the grenades detonate and then I wonder if I made a mistake.

 

Present – Jens – Surgery Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

Wow, attacking Mom ended up being a b-i-g mistake! I almost didn't make it back out of her; she-she-she is one scary and messed up woman! Even with all the pooh she did to Ben and me, I still can't help but feel sorry for her. I've questioned before if she was insane and now I have no doubts.

 

I need to get back to the safety of my body!

 

Present – Liz – Waiting room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

A nurse comes out of surgery and runs right up to me. She says, "Can you tell me where General Donaldson is?"

 

I jump up and reply, "He's in surgery, what's wrong?"

 

The nurse answers, "Are you a relative of Ms. Donaldson?"

 

I reply, "I'm as close to a sister as she has."

 

She says, "I hate to tell you this, but they're having some complications. Her injuries are much worse than expected and - well I don't know how to put this, we've lost her a couple times. The surgeons are opening her chest to find out what's wrong as we speak."

 

I start feeling faint and then Matt grabs me and lowers me to the chair. The nurse grabs a bunch of supplies and heads back into the operating room. I start crying and look up towards the ceiling. I don't know whether to curse God or pray to Him.

 

Matt says, "Come on Liz, we both know Jens and she's a hell of a fighter. She's going to make it through this just fine."

 

I finally decide to pray and I silently say, "God, I really don't know how to do this. But if you can just find some way to get Jens through this, I promise I will change."

 

Matt continues to hug me and comfort me and I feel better until Samantha walks into the room.

 

Present – Samantha – Waiting room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

The Sergeant and I make record time getting to the triage area. He takes off towards the C&C tent and I get Mrs. Donaldson to the medics. As they start working on her, I watch for about a minute and it appears they have no idea what's going on with her. So I take off to find Liz.

 

The minute I walk into the waiting room I realize things must be really bad! Liz looks like a million miles of road in the deepest part of hell. I will need to be careful when I talk to her. Matt's on one side of her, I sit in the other chair, reach around her, give her a big hug and say, "Hey Liz, how are you doing and can I do anything for you?"

 

She looks at me and says, "Samantha, it's terrible. Jens is in surgery and has died at least twice. Now the doctors are going to open up her chest to see if they can find what her injuries are."

 

I bite my lip and say, "Liz, Jens is one of the strongest women I know. I'm sure she's going to make it." I remember the message Darrell gave me, but I know I can't tell her right now.

 

Present – Jens – Surgery Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I slowly wake and realize something is going on with Ben! I pop right out of my body, look back and see they have my chest wide open. My mouth drops open as I move closer to get a better look. Wow, that's my heart and those are my lungs and there is fricken blood everywhere! The doctor's hands are flying all over the place and then I feel Ben again. I need to get to my Ben!

 

I think really hard, and the next thing I know I'm in Ben's room in Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I start to cry when I see my poor man. I look and see he's had surgery on his arm, it's all bandaged up. And Oh Shoot! They have his arms, legs and even his body tied down to the bed. And there are two Marines standing beside his bed watching him. And he's hooked up to some sort of machine, it looks like a pump. I take a close look at it. Those sons-of-a-gun are pumping him full of morphine. I get right over the top of him and look into his eyes but something doesn't seem right.

 

I look and I see he has moved his arm in such a way he's not getting any of the darn poison in his arm. My sneaky devil-dog, he's trying to do something. Well, there's only one way I know to figure out what's going on, so I go right inside his body and start to sense his feelings.

 

Mmmm he loves me s-o-o-o-o-o much, and wow he's in a heck-of-a lot of pain and – that sneaky fricken devil-dog he's planning on escaping and – I start to cry – he's going to come. Even in all the pain he's in, he’s going to come and rescue me.

 

I'm just getting really comfortable when Oh My God! What the heck did he just do! No he didn't! He just pooped his pants on purpose. It stinks like heck and the smell forces me out of his body.

 

This is an emergency, because Ben's going to be hurt if he tries what he's planning. I think hard, trying to get back to my body, but this time it doesn't work. What the heck is going on? I guess if I can't make it back one way, I will have to fly back to Ramstein and my body. I zoom out of the hospital room and head over the ocean. I have to stop Ben before he makes a huge mistake.

 

Present – Mira – Hospital Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

Yes I make a mistake. The grenades detonate part of the basement bomb and I am not far enough away. The blast slams me into the wall, I stumble to my feet slightly dazed and confused. My hearing is shot but I my eyes are closed so at least I can still see. I take my flashlight and stumble towards the place where the door used to be; now it’s a huge gaping hole in the basement.

 

I shine the light through the hole and all I see is mass carnage everywhere. I yell, "Ira where are you?" and listen but cannot hear anything." I push aside some debris and stumble into the basement. I shine my light and finally I see her. She is on her back at the foot of the stairs. I rush to her, shine the light on her and see her faintly smile at me. She says something but I can't hear her so is say, "Ira my ears are ringing, please speak louder." She says it again and I hear her, "Mira I knew you would come for me."

 

I lean over, kiss her on the cheek and say, "Ira we need to get you out of here. Tell me what happened to you."

 

"Mira, I eliminated all the terrorists but was tired. I slipped on the stairs and fell very hard on my back. I think I made a mess out of my ribs."

 

I am very concerned as I ask, "Can you move your legs?

 

She answers, "Yes Mira, it just hurts me very much when I move my legs or arms."

 

I am thankful because I was worried her rib might have damaged her spinal cord. I say, "Ira, it is going to hurt you very much when I move you."

 

"Mira, I know you will be gentle."

 

I slowly slip my arms under her, start to pick her up, she lets out a moan and passes out. I stand up, walk towards the hole where the door used to be and carry my wounded sister to the stairs. I then begin the long climb to get her to safety.

 

Present – Liz – Waiting room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

It takes awhile and just start feeling better with the support of Matt and Samantha when the operating room door opens and a surgeon walks out. I feel my heart sink in my chest as he walks up to me and says, "Ms. Morgan, I'm really very, very sorry. We did all we could but, it just didn't seem like she had the will to live anymore."

 

I start crying and say, "I want to see her."

 

He takes me into the operating room and I see the whole surgery team standing by the back wall. Then I see Jens on the table, she's all cleaned up and disconnected from all the machines. She looks so peaceful. I fall on top of her and continue crying. The surgeon has his arm on my back and is comforting me. I silently curse God for letting her die!

 

Then Jens’ body moves, she takes a huge breath and I hear her whisper, "Liz, you really shouldn't be cursing God that way. And you're such a nasty horndog. Shame on you for thinking those sexy things about Ben. But thanks for giving me some great ideas to use on our honeymoon."

 

The surgeon pulls me off of her and says, "Get them the hell out of here. We need to finish working on Ms. Donaldson."

 

We're yanked out of the operating room and back into the waiting room and I wonder what the fuck just went on.

 

Present – Ben – WRAMC

 

My plan for escaping and rescuing Jens almost works. But then the phone starts ringing and the doctor walks in the room, he looks at the situation and says, "SM. Blaine you really need to sit down and take this phone call."

 

I look at him and fear the worse. I sit in the chair but I can't sense Jens' feelings anymore. I pick up the phone and hear, "Hey my sneaky devil-dog, I thought you were housebroken! But after your big accident, I'm going to have to get you diapers."

 

Holy Shit it's Jens! Tears dribble out of the corner of my eyes and I say, "Jens, how are you feeling?"

 

She giggles a little bit and says, "I feel even worse than you do. Tell me honey do you really dig chicks with scars?"

 

I still can't believe I'm talking to Jens again. I reply, "Jens there's only one chick in the whole word I dig and that's you. And I love you with or without scars."

 

She says, "That's good because I have one heck-of-a scar for you to see. It's better than all of yours put together."

 

I respond with, "I can't wait to kiss it and make it better."

 

She giggles and it's the best sound I've ever heard, "Sorry honey but you're not going to get to kiss this scar until were married."

 

I tell her, "Jens, I'm coming to be with you as soon as I can."

 

I hear sternness in her voice as she says, "Listen here my hard-headed devil-dog! I know all about your sneaky plan to escape. And I came back just in time to keep you from getting hurt. I'm fine now and Daddy and mom will be fine. We will all be back to you in about two weeks, so you just sit tight and wait for us."

 

I start to argue with her, "Jens, don't be silly. You need me and I'm coming to be with you."

 

"Ben shush and listen to me. I'm asking you nicely to wait for us. And I know you will do this for me. Now I'm tired and I'm going to sleep. I love you honey!"

 

I answer, "I love you too Jens." And the phone goes dead.

 

I look up at the doctor and he says, "I told you. You needed to take this call. Now are you going to stay in that bed or do I need to have you restrained again?"

 

I look at him and answer, "Thanks Doc, I owe you one for the phone call from my fiancée. And she asked me to wait for her so I will honor her wishes."

 

I hop back into bed. The nurse regains consciousness, comes over, slaps the hell out of me and says, "I should kick your butt because I have a hell of a headache from what you did to me."

 

I answer, "I am so sorry Miss, please forgive me. I'll do anything to make it up to you."

 

She storms out of the room as the doctor, the Marines and Jim all laugh. The doctor says, "I'll get a new nurse assigned to you because we need to get your patch changed."

 

I look at the patch on my arm and query, "Hey Doc, what does this patch do anyway."

 

He comes close to me asks me a bunch of questions about my captivity. He nods his head and says, "Yeah that's what we thought." Then he tells me all about the patch as he does all the joy from my conversation with Jens leaves my body.

 

They all leave and I think about what I've just been told. A new nurse comes in and changes the patch. As she does I ask her, "Hey can I get any more information about this patch?"

 

She smiles and says, "Sure I can print of some information from the internet for you."

 

I lay back on the bed happy I heard from Jens, but worried about the new information I received.

 

Present – Liz – Recovery room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I smile as I hold the phone so Jens can have a conversation with Ben. The doctor says she made some sort of miraculous recovery. She even came out of the anesthesia in record time and the first words out of her mouth demanded to talk to Ben. Oh the nurses wouldn't listen to her at first, but she became a huge bitch until she got her way.

 

As I hang up the phone, Jens smiles at me and says, "Thanks Liz you're such a good friend."

 

I reply, "Jens, I am now and always will be your best friend."

 

She giggles and then coughs out, "Liz I'm not Captain Kirk and you're not Spock."

 

I answer, "That's right, you're the one that died. So Jens tell me what it's like."

 

She gets a faraway look in her eyes and says, "Liz, I'm tired right now and I need to go to sleep."

 

I watch as she slips off to sleep. The Jens who just fell to sleep is not the Jens I used to know, she's changed. Her death and rebirth have made her a different person.

 

The nurse comes into the room, checks Jens and I ask, "Nurse I have a question, do you have a minute?"

 

She looks at me and replies, "Sure, what can I answer for you?"

 

"Well, Ms. Donaldson seems….. very different since the surgery. I'm worried the problems she had during surgery might have damaged her mind."

 

The nurse smiles and says, "Normally the doctors would order a CAT scan or an MRI. But because of the problems at the hospital we can't do either of them now. We've done some basic cognitive tests on her and she seems fine. You have to realize though with all she's gone through she's bound to seem different." The nurse walks out of the room.

 

I can't put my finger on it, but something has changed with Jens. She's not the same girl she used to be. I continue to mull this over in my mind until I'm interrupted.

 

Present – Mira and Ira – Recovery room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

Mira saves me and then takes very good care of me and while I am still in some pain I feel much better and can even walk. I say, "Thank you my wonderful sister for your care, I feel much better. But we need to go find Ms. Morgan." She did not hear my words at first so I have to repeat myself louder.

 

Mira smiles at me and replies, "Ira this time it was my turn next time it will be yours. I was very impressed with the job you did in the basement. I wonder when they will send people to the basement. And yes, I left Ms. Morgan with Matt but he is not a good body guard. I think she is in the waiting room."

 

We hold hands and head towards the waiting room. We arrive and Mira says, "Ms. Morgan is not here."

 

We see a nurse and she mentions, "Ms. Donaldson is out of surgery and has been moved to the recovery room."

 

I ask, "Do you know if Ms. Elizabeth Morgan is there with her?"

 

The nurse replies, "Is she a blonde lady, about six inches shorter than you?"

 

Mira nods her head and the nurse says, "Yes I think she is there with her."

 

Mira loudly asks, "Would you please direct us to the recovery room."

 

The nurse says, "Is something wrong with your hearing?"

 

Mira doesn't hear her so I say, "My sister was close to an explosion and her ears are ringing very badly. She should be fine in a couple of days."

 

The nurse replies, "You should really have a doctor look at her ears. She might have ruptured ear drums." Then she points and we both take off to find Ms. Morgan.

 

Mira leans over to whisper to me, "Ira, I guess my ears are bothering me more than I thought."

 

I smile at her, squeeze her hand and say, "Mira, I will look at your ears later, but I think you will be fine."

 

We find the recovery room area and look for Ms. Morgan and Matt. We see Ms. Morgan sitting by a bed, but do not see Matt.

 

Mira gets angry and says, "Ira, I do not know where Matt is. He should be here protecting Ms. Morgan."

 

I squeeze her hand and answer, "Mira, we are here now so let us go see how Ms. Morgan is and then you can go find Matt and deal with him."

 

A nurse tries to stop us at the door, I tell her, "Excuse me, we are Ms. Morgan's body guards and we need to be with her."

 

The nurse answers, "What is it with all these body guards? I already sent one of them away and now you two show up."

 

Mira gives her a stern look and answers, again with too much volume, "Excuse me, just as taking care of patients is your job, taking care of Ms. Morgan is our job. Will you let one of us go in and sit beside her?"

 

I watch and see fear flicker across her face for a second before she capitulates, "Okay, I see your point. One of you may be with her as long as you don't cause problems."

 

Mira leans over and says, "Ira, you go in and be with Ms. Morgan. I'm going to find Matt."

 

I let go of Mira's hand and walk into the recovery room. Ms. Morgan sees me, smiles, stands up and walks towards me and says, "Ira, it's so good to see you!"

 

She starts to hug me so I hold out my arms and stop her, "Ms. Morgan, it is wonderful to see you. But please do not hug me right now."

 

I see concern cross her face as she orders, "Ira, you need to tell me right now what's wrong!"

 

I answer, "Ms. Morgan, it is really nothing. My ribs are just bothering me right now."

 

She crosses her arms, taps her foot and says, "You should be resting in bed not taking care of me. Where is that sister of yours?"

 

I smile because of her concern for me and reply, "I will be fine Ms. Morgan I just need to sit down beside you. And Mira is looking for Matt. How is Ms. Donaldson?"

 

Ms. Morgan helps me sit, takes a chair herself and replies, "Ira, she almost died three or four times. They had finally given up on her and I was crying on her chest. Then she woke up and said some crazy things to me."

 

I remark, "Ms. Morgan, this sounds very unusual. Doctors normally don't give up on patients, especially patients like her unless they are sure they are dead."

 

She adds, "That's what I was thinking Ira, and Jens – well she just seems different to me."

 

I reply, "I am sure they will do some tests on her when she wakes up. But Ms. Donaldson is a real fighter."

 

Present – Matt – Mess tent Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I'm hungry as hell even though I'd already finished my first plate of food. As I go to get another plate, I see one of the twins walk into the mess tent. I wave and she heads towards me like her ass is on fire.

 

She gets in my face and yells, "Matt did I not tell you to stay with Ms. Morgan?"

 

Some of the Marines start to laugh, so I get pissed and bark, "Hey back off bitch! The nurse wouldn't let me in the recovery room with her."

 

It's then I learn the real meaning of hell hath no fury like that of a woman. She does a leg sweep on me and the next thing I know I'm on my back on the floor. I didn't move quickly enough and she's on top of me punching the shit out of me and they sure as hell aren't love taps. I am doing my best to block her punches, but she's fast as lightning and some of them are getting through.

 

The Marines have gathered around and I hear a bunch of cat-calls.

 

"God Damn, that woman is kicking the shit out of him!"

 

"I've got a twenty on the lady!"

 

"That's not a lady, that's a fucking punching machine."

 

"I wonder what the hell he did to get her pissed off!"

 

"I'll bet a fifty he cheated on her."

 

"Nah, I bet he left the toilet seat up."

 

I twist with all my might and flip over on top of her, I try to grab her hands but she's too fast and I forget about her legs and feet. The next thing I know she's got her feet wrapped around my head and neck and is squeezing the hell out of my head. And with her feet blocking my vision I can't see her punches. She hits me with something in my gut, I start getting a sick feeling and then I feel a punch to my chest and things start to go dark.

 

Present – Mira – Mess tent Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I am very upset at Matt for leaving Ms. Morgan alone and he needs to learn a lesson. I am sure I will find him eating so I go right to the mess tent and I give him the lesson he deserves. He passes out and I move out of the way right before he throws up. I stand up, the whole tent starts clapping and I blush.

 

I look at the closest Marine and order, "Throw some water on him and wake him up. Then tell him to clean up and send him to the recovery room."

 

He looks at me with respect and says, "Yes Miss, I will make sure he get there ricky tick. But can you tell me what he did to get you so upset?"

 

I feel a little sorry for Matt and I do not want to embarrass him more so I lie, "I found out this bastard has two more wives, both younger and more beautiful than I am. One of them just had a baby and is in the recovery room."

 

I hear the Marines murmur. He has turned from being whipped by a woman to being a man's man. I storm out of the mess tent and watch them wake him up and congratulate him. I suppress a giggle because he looks very confused.

 

Present – Jens – Jen's room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

Mmmm, it's a glorious summer day and we're at our cabin in Leadville. I guess I should explain we: Me, Liz, two young girls, Mira and Ira of course because wherever Liz is they are there too! There's only one thing missing, where the heck is Ben?

 

The four of us have on nice white summer dresses and are twirling and cavorting in the yard, dancing to some music. While Mira and Ira watch from the sides in their mossy oak camouflage. There's movement at the edge of the woods, I stop and watch as Anastasia comes to the edge of the clearing and watches us.

 

I point and tell everyone, "Hey look, it's Anastasia - Nastya the fox. Ben and she used to run together all the time." I whistle to her and she comes closer. As I walk towards her, there's a flash up high in the hills. Nastya sees it, turns around and takes off running.

 

Mira yells, "Everyone back in the house! There is someone on the hill up there." We run back into the house while Ira takes off up the hill…

 

I open my eyes, blink a couple times and see Liz and the twins beside my bed. I yawn and say, "I was having such a nice dream. We were all back at our cabin in Leadville. Not in this nasty old hospital."

 

Liz smiles and replies, "Jens, I'm sure we will all be there soon enough, especially as fast as you’re healing. The doctors are amazed at your recovery."

 

I smile at them. Someday I might tell them about – well the new things I can do. But everyone has a hard enough time believing me about how I used to be able to sense Ben's feelings.

 

"So tell me Liz, what day is it?"

 

She replies, "Jens you slept a whole day. It's now two days since your surgery. And we're back in the hospital."

 

I query, "Do you have any information about Daddy and mom?"

 

Mira says, "Ms. Donaldson I checked on both of them about an hour ago. General Donaldson is doing almost as well as you are and your Mother came out of her surgery just fine yesterday. They expect that she will be able to walk again after many hours of therapy."

 

I look at Ira and ask, "And how are you doing?"

 

She smiles and answers, "Thank you for asking Ms. Donaldson, I am healing extremely well."

 

I smile because I already knew the answer.

 

Liz grins, and teasingly says, "Don't tell me you've forgot about Ben."

 

I order, "Okay Liz, spill it!"

 

Liz giggles, "Jens, he must have called about a hundred times yesterday. It was so much fun telling him you were asleep. He started calling you 'A Bela adormecida.'"

 

I give her a funny look and ask, "Liz who the heck is A Belladonna?"

 

Mira, Ira and Liz all giggle as Ira replies, "Ms. Donaldson, it is A Bela adormecida which is Portuguese for Sleeping Beauty."

 

I sleepily answer, "Oh yeah, Ben's Mom was from Brazil. How did you say that again?"

 

Liz responds, "A Bela adormecida."

 

I comment, "Mmmm, that sounds much nicer and sexier than Sleeping Beauty. So what time is it in DC?"

 

The phone rings and Liz says, "I think it's time for you to talk to Ben."

 

Present – Ben – WRAMC

 

I've spent the last two days working the hell out of my arm (and keeping the doctors and hospital staff from catching me doing it). I sent Jim out to get me a damn laptop so I also spent the last two days on the internet researching this fucking patch. And the piece of shit laptop has Vista on it. I've never seen it before but it's like they took all the bad parts of all their operating systems and put them all into Vista. Why did they fuck with XP!

 

And Jens has been sleeping for like two fucking days. Yeah I'm a pissed off Marine! I grab the phone and decide to call Ram-fucking-stein again. The phone rings twice and I hear, "A Bela adormecida speaking."

 

I grin widely. It's Jens, "Well it's about time you woke up! I've been calling you for two days."

 

I hear her giggle and say, "Hello honey, I really missed you too. But I was busy getting my beauty sleep."

 

I quip, "Well with all that sleep you must be the most beautiful woman in the world."

 

She gushes and says, "Aw, you say the nicest things to me. So tell me my soon to be husband, what have you been doing with all your time?"

 

I reply, "I had Jim get me a laptop and it has some operating system called Vista on it."

 

She interrupts me with a huge laugh, "Now I know why you're so upset. I thought you were angry because I was sleeping so much. You know friends don't let friends do Vista." And she laughs some more.

 

Her good mood has finally cheered me up and I say, "Jens it's really good to hear you. Yeah the laptop has been very frustrating, but the major reason I'm upset is that I can't sense your feelings anymore."

 

I wait for what seems like forever, and she finally sniffles and says, "Yeah Ben, I have the same problem. I-I-I think that part of our life is gone for a while. I'm sure Liz told you about the problems I had during surgery?"

 

I take a deep breath, remembering how Liz told me I almost lost her and say, "Yeah I heard you tried to become a real angel three times."

 

She replies, "Ben when we're together I need to tell you all about what happened. It's – well almost unbelievable for me."

 

I remember the patch and reply, "Yeah Jens, I have something important to talk with you about too!"

 

She answer, "Oh really! Now you have my curiosity going. What is it, where you're going to take me on our honeymoon? By the way, I have some great tips from Liz on things that are going to make you such a happy man on our honeymoon."

 

I hear a little fight in the background, then Jens come back on the phone and says, "Sorry honey, Liz was fighting with me but I'm back. I know I'd like to talk to you all day, but I'm getting a little tired and plus I'm a hungry-hungry hippo and want some real food. All they've given me so far is just fricken broth and nasty jello. I want a fricken steak!"

 

I answer, "Jens, do you think it's wise to eat solid food so soon after…"

 

She interrupts, "You bet it is I need some real food for energy! Ben, I know there are still some problems with your arm, but don't worry I will make it all better. Anyway, I need to go and get some food. I crave sustenance! Amo-o and I promise we will talk soon!"

 

I recognize the Portuguese for I love you and reply with all my heart, "Amo-o Jens."

 

The phone goes dead and I hold the receiver in my hand and stare at it. That was one bizarre phone conversation. I had a few questions before she called but now I have even more. What the hell did she mean about still having some problems with my arm? I've been working the hell out of it even though the doctors don't know. And to be truthful it doesn't feel – well quite right. And what was the fight with Liz? I can't believe Liz would give Jens tips on what to do on our honeymoon? This is all FUBAR.

 

And what's this hungry-hungry hippo shit! And when did she learn Portuguese?

 

My thoughts are interrupted when the doctor walks into my room. I look at him and say, "You've got the results of my test?"

 

I can tell by the look on his face that it's bad news. He says, "Yeah, the test came back totally negative again."

 

My throat goes dry and I swallow, "Totally negative! Are you sure?"

 

He shakes his head, "Banzai, we did two separate tests and they both came back the same. Those terrorists really messed you up."

 

I answer, "I've been looking on the internet and I see there are some surgeries that…"

 

He interrupts, "Banzai, in your case those surgeries have about a two percent chance of working. Sorry to give you such bad news but I know you want the truth."

 

I shake my head and say, "You're right doctor, thank you for giving me the truth and not filling me with false hopes."

 

I actually see a tear fall down his cheek as he says, "Shit! You two have been through enough and I know you were really counting on this. I'm sorry I can't give you more hope. What are your plans now?"

 

I promise myself not to cry, but one lone tear slips down my cheek as I answer, "I-I-I don't really know."

 

He says, "Well, we have some great psychologists if you want to talk to one of them."

 

I shake my head, "Thank you, but no thanks."

 

He tries one more time, "Well, let me know if you change your mind." Then he turns and leaves and I feel like an empty shell of a man. I look up and curse Hussein. Someday I'm going to make that bastard pay for what he did to me.

 

I turn on TV to distract me from my private hell and instead I jump into another hell. It's a local news report about the DC serial killer.

 

Present – Amelia Watts – WTSH

 

"Good evening. Amelia Watts here with the news. Tonight's top local story concerns the continued murders in the DC beltway area which appear to be the work of a serial killer. He seems to be taking advantage of the current confusion brought about by martial law the President invoked to try to quell the riots.

 

Unfortunately another young woman was brutally raped multiple times and then she was eviscerated while still alive. The scene was so gruesome many seasoned policemen became sick when they saw it. This is his fourth victim and as yet the police are not any closer to solving these heinous crimes. I personally think this animal is a coward who chooses his prey because they are weak."

 

Present – Ben – WRAMC

 

Fucking serial killer, preying on women, someone should kill that bastard. And damn, Amelia's report sucked. I flip over to the Truth Network and Samantha is reporting. I get the real news and what I hear agitates me even more.

 

Present – Liz – Jen's room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I'm upset that Jens mentioned to Ben – well my private thoughts about what I would do to him if she died. How in the hell does she know about them anyway. We have a little fight over the phone receiver but even being just two days out of surgery, she still has the strength to keep me from taking it away from her.

 

She hangs up the phone, gives me a big shit eating grin and says, "Hey sister, don't be upset at me, you're the one who's the nasty horndog!"

 

I answer, "Jens, I know you don't have any idea what I was thinking of doing to Ben."

 

I see her look at Mira and Ira and she motions me close and whispers to me, "Liz, first you were going to wear a sexy white teddy with underwear which has no front, then you were going to take his…"

 

I jump back and say, "Jens! How in the fuck do you know about this?"

 

She starts laughing and says, "Liz, I can't tell you now because you wouldn't believe me. Be a good sister and get me a huge fricken steak with onion rings and sautéed mushrooms and a twice baked potato, no make it two twice baked potatoes and some honey glazed baby carrots."

 

I start to argue with her but she gives me the look and says, "Come on Liz, I'm a hungry-hungry hippo and I need this food to help me heal faster."

 

I start to get up to go find someplace to get the food when Ira says, "Ms. Morgan, you stay here and I will get food for all of us."

 

Jens obnoxiously orders, "Ira, don't forget my huge fricken steak, I want it cooked medium and please remember everything else, oh and don't forget the bread."

 

I look at Ira and shrug my shoulders as she smiles at me and takes off to get the food.  Jens leans back on the bed looking totally satisfied at her actions, while I'm totally mortified.

 

I say, "Jens it's a good thing you're sick or I'd spank your butt."

 

She giggles and says, "Liz, I know you sometimes swing both ways and I think you'd get really turned on giving me a spanking."

 

My mouth drops open as I try to find something to say, but I can't find the words. Jens giggles and says, "What's wrong sister, cat got your tongue?"

 

I see Mira smiling at me and I decide the best thing for me to do right now, is the one thing no reporter ever does. And that is keep my mouth shut.

 

Jens flips on the TV and we watch the news, at least it's my news.

 

Present – Samantha – Washington DC

 

The tip Darrell gave us about more terrorists helped the Marines stop a second invasion of Ramstein, so Liz had me fly back to America to report on the fiasco in Washington DC. I was shocked when she even sent a mercenary bodyguard with me. I gave Frank the Tank a long goodbye kiss which held the promise of much more later, jumped on a jet and left. But I sure missed the hell out of him and our adopted children.

 

"Greetings America, this is Samantha Stevens reporting for the Truth Network on the continued Coup in America. What the President is doing is reprehensible. He is ignoring the Constitution and all the protection it provides for Americans and is trying to create his own dictatorship.

 

But his evil plans are backfiring and blowing up in his face. He thought he could command the military to take control of the Congress. But he underestimated the will of the military to follow their own morality and not his unconstitutional orders. They are no longer following his commands. The conflict has caused chaos: The police cannot handle the large number of protestors and the military is currently staying on their bases. The streets have become a battlefield that sane people avoid.

 

The only way I can keep reporting is to have a squad of mercenaries protecting me. Even with my armed protection we have been attacked several times and have had to relocate to avoid being taken hostage. There seem to be two main forces vying for the control of America. The same forces which used to fight with words across the floors of the congress, have both taken up arms and are now fighting in the streets. On one side we have the conservatives and on the other side we have the liberals.

 

It's still too early to tell which side will come out on top in this battle. What surprises this reporter is the large number of arms which both sides are using. And to add further to the confusion, the criminal element of the city is using the confusion to advance their agenda. To top everything, one particularly cowardly serial killer has gone on a rampage and is freely raping and killing young women in the Washington DC beltway area.

 

From the reports we are hearing, the violence is not confined to just Washington DC, as it has exploded in most major cities across America."

 

My phone rings, I motion for Bernie to cut the camera and answer the phone. "This is Samantha what the hell are you interrupting me for. I was on a roll."

 

 Darrell responds curtly, "Cut the attitude Samantha! You're doing a great job but I have some important news for you, and a new assignment." When he gives me the information and the assignment, I apologize with, "Sorry Darrell, I guess I just got a little too big for my britches."

 

He laughs and says, "Just remember, there's only one bitch at this station and she's still in Germany."

 

I chuckle, hang up my phone and motion to Bernie to start the camera again.

 

"Sorry for the interruption but my network just gave me important information which I need to relay to America. We have just learned that Mexico has crossed the southwestern border of the United States in multiple places and is currently attacking America. Thank God our military decided to act on this and is currently working hard to repel the invaders."

 

Our location starts taking some fire and one of the mercenaries comes up and says, "Miss we need to bug out now."

 

I close my report, "Well America, it looks like we're taking fire and need to move again. Please stay tuned in as our other reporters continue the coverage. I will be back in a while with an exciting special report."

 

Bernie shuts down the camera and we bug out. A mercenary is running right beside me and I comment, "Thanks – gee, I don't even know your name."

 

He pulls up his rifle, pops a bad guy and says, "Please to meet you Samantha, you can call me Linus."

 

I reply, "Aren't you the one that Liz sent with me?"

 

Linus answers, "Yes Miss I'm the one."

 

I ask, "So, have you known Liz for a long time?"

 

He looks at me and says, "It seems like I've known her for my whole life."

 

With all the chaos in the streets, it takes about three hours to get to Walter Reed Army Medical center. My new assignment is an interview with SM Blaine. People have been clamoring for his opinion on the current state of things in America and the world. And I'm excited to finally get to meet the man behind the legend - possibly the only one to ever escape from the terrorists without help.

 

We catch some flak at the door from security until I flash my press pass then they let Bernie and me in, but they make my body guards stay in the lobby.

 

We make our way to his room, walk in the door and I am very surprised. I expect a giant of a man and he – well he just looks normal.

 

Present – Ben – WRAMC

 

I've been incredibly busy all afternoon studying on the computer. I take a break, sign some paperwork and Jim leaves to deliver it when Samantha Stevens walks into my room. I smile and say, "Greetings Samantha, it's good to see you."

 

She gives me the typical puzzled look of someone first meeting me, and replies, "Hello SM Blaine. Darrell sent us over to interview you."

 

I answer, "Yes I know, I called him and asked for the interview. Tell me how things really are out on the streets?"

 

She answers, "SM Blaine…" I interrupt, "Samantha, I am no longer in the Marines, please call me Ben." She falters a little and continues, "Ben, I think I felt safer in Ramstein than I do here."

 

I nod my head and remember the many times I felt safer on a mission than laying in a hospital bed. Now to ask the question I've really wanted to ask, "Samantha please tell me, how is Jens doing and how does she look?"

 

I watch her think for a second and add, "No lies, I want the whole truth from you." She blushes a little and says, "Darn, you caught me before I could make up a story. Liz says she doing really well but she's sort of different than she was before."

 

I start getting concerned and ask, "Do you know what Liz means?" She shakes her head no and says, "Not really. Since I never knew her before, I can't say and Liz wasn't specific. Is it okay if we do your interview now?"

 

I answer, "Sure, knock your self out."

 

 Bernie starts setting up and her phone rings. She answers it and says, "This is Samantha."

 

I watch as she listens and I see concern and even fear grow on her face. She takes the remote, flips on the TV and hangs up the phone. We watch an interview with the Chief of the DC police. The serial killer has struck again. This time he took care of the Amelia Watts, the reporter for WTSH. I watch as the color drains from Samantha's face and ask, "Samantha, you look like you're upset."

 

She turns and looks at me, "The phone call was from Darrell at the network. They received a note from the serial killer. He said I am going to be his next target."

 

I reply, "But don't you have body guards?"

 

She answers, "Yes, but so did Amelia and he killed all of them. She was even at a safe house and he found her. I guess he's upset because we both called him a coward."

 

I consider the situation for a moment. This guy is one bad MF if he was able to find Amelia's safe house, take out body guards and still rape and torture her. I ponder the situation some more, and then I come up with a temporary solution. I ask, "Samantha, you know I'm one of the owners of the network don’t you?"

 

She looks at me with confusion and says, "Yes Sir I do."

 

I let the "Sir" go for once because this is more important. I look her in the eyes and continue, "So I am your boss and technically you have to do what I say."

 

She answers, "Yes that's correct."

 

I say, "Then for tonight I order you to stay in my room with me. This place is safer than any safe house."

 

I watch as she slowly realizes what I'm doing, relief crosses her face, she smiles and says, "Yes Sir, I understand and I will spend the night in your room." Samantha follows with, "Ben I have the list of questions I'm supposed to ask you so now we need to get you ready for your interview."

 

I give her a confused look as she laughs and says, "Don't worry, I just need to fix your hair some and put a little bit of makeup on you so you don't look like a ghost on the camera."

 

She comes towards me with the makeup brush and it reminds me of a time, so very long ago when Jens was going to do the same thing. I hold up my good hand and say, "Sorry Samantha, you can fix my hair, but I'm not going to wear any makeup. And that's an order."

 

She laughs and replies, "Okay, have it your way. But don't complain about how you look." She does fix my hair. I take a mirror, look at myself and realize how long and how gray my hair has become. I ask, "Is it too late to shave my head?"

 

She answers, "Yes, we're on the air in thirty seconds."

 

I brace myself and then it starts.

 

Present – Samantha Stevens – WRAMC

 

"Good evening America. Thank you for patiently waiting for me and now we have the special report I promised you. I am in the hospital room with former SM Bennie Blaine. I say former because I understand he has just taken a medical discharge from the Marines. Is that true Mr. Blaine?"

 

She holds the mic in my face, I take a deep breath and reply, "Thank you Samantha for agreeing to interview me. And you are correct. I just submitted my paperwork to the Marines requesting a medical discharge."

 

"Mr. Blaine, would you care to tell America why you have chosen to leave the Corps?"

 

I answer, "Samantha I have many reasons for leaving the Corps, but the main reason is the injury to my right arm which I sustained during my escape from the Taliban. The injury has decreased the sensation in my right hand which will prevent me from performing my main duty."

 

I give her a look and she understands she needs to move on to a different subject. She says, "I'm sure the Marines will really miss your expertise and also the great publicity you and your fiancée Jennifer Donaldson provided them. But I think America would really like to hear your thoughts on the current state of things in the world and in America."

 

Present – Jens – Jen's room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I'm watching Samantha interview my Ben! And does he ever look good - just a little bit white because I'm sure he wouldn't let her put any makeup on his face. I'm shocked when I hear he resigned from the Marines, but it wasn't a surprise because I knew it was coming. Samantha asks him a really hard question and I wait anxiously for the answer.

 

He says, "First I want to tell everyone in America and the world that I'm a firm believer in the Constitution. So my thoughts on the current political situations are all predicated on that belief. I want to first talk about what's happening in the cities of the United States of America. I am not surprised at the current violence in the streets. It's the heritage of America and Americans to be free and when that freedom is threatened, we have always taken action."

 

Samantha continues the interview. I am surprised and very proud of my Ben because he is doing such a great job. It goes on for about ten minutes, then I watch as a big smile lights up Samantha's face and she asks, "Mr. Blaine, even with all the problems, America is excited that you and your fiancée Ms. Donaldson will soon be back together again. The love you two share has given America hope in the past and I think we really need that hope again. Can you tell me when she will be here and what are your plans when she arrives? Will we finally see the two of you get married?"

 

Oh Boy! She's asked the questions I want to ask Ben, I squirm on the bed because I can't wait to hear him answer. Ira walks in the room and says, "Dinner is here."

 

She's greeted with a chorus of shushes and I hear Ben saying, "…that's all I know about when she will be here. I plan on meeting her at the airport and… "

 

The TV goes dead and I start yelling, "What the heck is wrong with the TV?" I punch the buttons on the remote and all channels work except for the Truth Network. I get angry and throw my water pitcher at the TV. As it hits the TV, it breaks open, water covers the TV and sparks and smoke fly out of the top.

 

Liz comes over, grabs me and says, "Jens simmer down or you're going to hurt yourself!"

 

I yell, "Son-of-a-fricken-fraken-gun! I finally get to hear something good that I've been waiting forever to hear and the fricken-fracken-mother-crackin TV dies."

 

I'm upset beyond all measure and keep swearing up a storm and throwing things at the TV as Liz's phone rings.

 

Present – Liz – Jen's room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

If there wasn't a chance Jens could hurt herself, this would be comical as hell and I'd be laughing my ass off. She's so upset she can't even swear right and is making up words I've never heard. What the hell is 'mother-crackin?' This is definitely not the Jens I know because she used to be able to swear like a sailor when she wanted to. I'm watching Mira and Ira and I can tell they are barely keeping themselves under control. I'm so glad Jon is here taking video, because while I might not be able to show this on TV, Ben's going to love to see it.

 

My phone rings and I order, "Mira, please get over here and keep Jens from hurting herself."

 

Jens says, "Keep that fricken-fracken-baby-smackin female-dog away from me."

 

I look at Mira and let her know with my glance to give Jens a break. She comes over, takes my place and I answer the phone, "This is Liz, what's going on Darrell?"

 

Darrell replies, "Hey Liz, have you been watching the news?"

 

I answer, "Yeah we were just watching Samantha's interview with Ben when it went off the air. What's going on?"

 

He replies, "The power was cut to the station and it took a bit for the generators to kick in. You should be able to see us now."

 

I look at the smoking TV, smile and say, "I could if Jens hadn’t gone ballistic and destroyed the TV set." I hear Jens yell, "I'll show you fricken-fracken-TV-smashin ballistic."

 

Darrell laughs and says, "Shit is that her I just heard?"

 

I reply, "Hold on a second Darrell." I look at Ira and ask, "Ira, you think you could please see about getting us a new TV set? Just be careful you don't hurt yourself."

 

She smiles at me and says, "Yes Ms. Morgan, I will be right back."

 

I answer Darrell, "Yes that's her."

 

He replies, "Damn Liz, tell her to simmer down and we can show her the rest of the interview later."

 

I can tell there's more so I ask, "Okay Darrell, what's going on that you are not telling me?"

 

He clears his voice and says, "It's not much, we've got a big group outside trying to attack the station. So far we're holding our own."

 

I bite my lip and say, "If it looks like they're going to overrun the station, don't be a hero. Just get everyone the hell out of there. You guys are more important than the equipment or the building."

 

"Will do Liz, you take care of yourself around that wild woman."

 

I hang up the phone, look over at Jens fighting with Mira and chuckle. It's like we have an unruly teenager on our hands. Ira wheels in a TV on a cart and starts plugging it in. I look at Jens and say, "Jens a new TV is here but we won't turn it on until you simmer down." And like magic she stops trying to swear and fight. She then smiles at me and says, "Sorry Liz, I'll be good if you just turn on the TV."

 

Ira flips on the TV, tunes in the Truth Network and we see Samantha say, "Thank you Mr. Blaine for the interview, especially the part about your upcoming plans for when you're reunited with Ms. Donaldson. I'm sure America can't wait to see you two together again. And I would like to say, from what you've told me, she's going to be one lucky lady. For those viewers who would like to see the interview again, we will be rebroadcasting it two hours from now. Thank you for continuing to watch the Truth Network."

 

Jens yells again, "What the heck! Son-of-a-fricken-fracken-gun the interview is over and I have to wait two fricken hours to see it again!"

 

Present – Ben – WRAMC

 

I take a couple of deep breaths and look at Samantha. She smiles and says, "Ben, you did really well on that interview. I couldn’t tell during the interview how much you disliked giving it."

 

I avoid her statement and say, "Thanks Bernie and Samantha you both did a great job. Bernie, tear things down and find someplace safe to sack out for the night. Samantha, I'm going to call the nurse and get a cot for you."

 

The nurse comes in the room, I hop out of bed and ask, "Could you provide a cot for Ms. Stevens as she's going to be spending the night in my room."

 

The nurse answers, "I'll send in an orderly with the cot, but I'm very busy and it will take awhile before I can come in here and make it for you."

 

Samantha says, "I can make the cot if you bring the sheets to me."

 

That makes the nurse smile and she replies, "I'll be right back with the sheets and I will send in an orderly with the cot."

 

Samantha heads to the bathroom. As Jim comes back into the room, I pull him to the side and give him some orders. He says, "Got it and I will be back in about thirty minutes. In the mean time, I'll leave you this." He gives me his backup revolver. I open the cylinder, make sure it's loaded and I slip it into my sling as he leaves. Samantha comes out of the bathroom and says, "I've taken care of my needs for the night. I sure hope they come with that cot soon, I'm exhausted."

 

I look over at her and say, "What you see next you're not supposed to see. So I don't want you telling anyone, particularly the doctors about this." I slip my arm out of my sling and slowly start doing my Tai Chi. At first it hurts like hell and I'm moving slowly, but my arm gradually loosens up and I'm able to move relatively fast. I finish my moves, slip my arm back in my sling and Samantha says, "I'm amazed you can move your arm like that so soon after your surgery."

 

I look at her and comment, "I don't know what you're talking about. Me moving my arm like what?"

 

She laughs and agrees, "Okay, I understand. I didn't see anything."

 

The orderly comes in and sets up the cot. A short while later the nurse walks in with the sheets and says, "I've also brought some scrubs you can wear to sleep in. They will be more comfortable than sleeping in your clothes."

 

Samantha takes the scrubs and says, "Oh wow! Thank you very much." Then she heads off towards the bathroom to change. I say, "Thank you that was really nice."

 

The nurse smiles and replies, "Hey it's not every day I have two celebrities in the same room. She's a good kid and we all saw what she did for the staff and patients at Ramstein. She’s a real hero to all of us."

 

Samantha comes back out of the bathroom in the scrubs, puts her clothes on the chair and goes to make the cot. I say, "Samantha, I want you to move the cot on the far side of my bed away from the door before you make it."

 

She gives me a puzzled look but says, "Whatever." She moves the cot, makes it and then crawls between the sheets. I hop back into the bed and wait for Jim to show up.

 

Samantha questions me, "Ben, do you ever find it hard to deal with all you've seen and gone through?"

 

I look over at her and answer, "Yeah there are times it bothers me."

 

She continues, "So when that happens how do you sleep at night?"

 

I don't want to tell her the truth, that when it happens I don't sleep at night. Instead I reach in the nightstand and hand her a flask, "Here take a big sip of this. It will help to relax you and then you can sleep."

 

She unscrews the lid, sniffs at it, takes a big sip, makes a face and says, "Wow that stuff burned all the way down to my stomach and now it feels like my stomach is on fire. What was that?"

 

I laugh and say, "I think you just had your first introduction to bourbon."

 

Samantha replies, "Well if all bourbon tastes like that. I don't think I want to meet it again."

 

I explain, "It's an acquired taste and someday you might learn to like it."

 

I watch as she starts to get sleepy. She says, "I guess I'm more tired than I thought. I hope you don't mind if I try to get to sleep."

 

I reply, "Go ahead, I'm going to stay up just a little bit longer until Jim gets back. Sleep well." She turns over and soon I hear her breathing slow and I know she's asleep. I smile and think the Bookers True Barrel bourbon did its job. But then she's a kid and I'm sure she's never had anything one-hundred-twenty-six proof before. I wonder if she will have a hangover in the morning.

 

I see Jim at the doorway and I motion for him to be quiet. He comes into the room, hands me what I asked for, I give him his revolver and he whispers, "You want me to stay in here with you tonight?"

 

I whisper my reply, "Thanks Jim, but you need to get some rest. I'm sure I will be fine."

 

"Okay, you're the boss. We'll see you in the morning." After he leaves the room, I slip out of bed and prepare it. Then I turn out the light, move over, sit in a chair in the darkest corner of the room and wait…

 

Present – Ben – WRAMC sometime in the early morning of the next day.

 

I see the faces again as they swirl through the fog in my mind. The faces of each man I've ever killed appear like wraiths flying out of the darkest recesses of my dreams coming to haunt me again. Some of the faces never bother me - the bastards that deserved to die. But some of them, the ones from my missions which were questionable are the real problem. Those are worse since I can almost hear them asking me, "Why did you kill me?" And even though I can tell them, "I was just doing my job." It doesn't remove their pain - or my own.

 

One face comes to the forefront. His is always the worst because after the mission I figured out the intel was all wrong and the fucking spooks sent me after the wrong person. His eyes like red hot coals burn guilt into the deepest depths of my soul and scorch my heart. And for the first time his mouth opens and his ghostly voice speaks to me, "Avenge my death!"

 

I answer, "How can I avenge your death? Do you want me to kill the ones who sent me after you?"

 

He doesn't answer with words since it's more like I'm watching a video. And, for the first time since I was wounded, I know what to do. I have a mission, no it's more than a mission I have a new calling.

 

My eyes snap open to the noise of a crunch in the darkness! Shit! I've been asleep! I listen and I don't hear anything but then I smell it, the familiar smell of death is in my room. I get concerned for Samantha and start to move when I see a shadow slowly moving towards my bed. Damn he's good, he's really good. He only made one misstep. He stepped on the pistachio shells I left on the floor and that's what woke me.

 

I've been studying the hell out of him all afternoon on my laptop, analyzing his murders and his techniques. I knew he would come because we are both killers and we think alike. I even made sure Jim let slip in multiple places that Samantha would be staying in my room tonight. He had to come, like a moth drawn to the flame and to its death. He was drawn to seek revenge on Samantha with the added incentive of being able to claim another killer, me. The prize and his unending bloodlust are too big for him to resist.

 

Oh yeah, he is good and even gifted. But he's an amateur killer and I'm a professional. Yeah he has his ten kills, but I have my hundreds. And he's already made a several mistakes.  The biggest mistake is that he's become predictable. I knew he would come and kill me first and then rape and torture Samantha and kill her - such an amateur mistake.

 

But my mission has changed since the dream, and as I slowly slip my weapons out of my sling I realize for once, I have the wrong fucking weapons. Because now, I'm no longer a killer - I've become a hunter. But I am a professional, so I will draw on my experience. I will adapt and improvise and overcome if need be. I will sacrifice myself so Samantha will live.

 

I slowly rise out of the chair and watch him creep towards my bed, there's another crunch from a pistachio shell and he freezes. I slide my bare feet across the floor, scooting the shells out of my way as I slip closer to my quarry. He's satisfied he didn't wake me, but like an amateur he doesn't bother to look behind. He takes another step, there's another crunch and I slide two steps closer. He's close enough now and soon he will attack and drive his knife into the pillows I have set up in the bed. Once he does that, the bastard is mine. I slide one step closer and now I'm close enough.

 

He raises his arm and drives the knife home into the pillow! I'm holding my Ka-Bar, the same one I used to escape from the fucking Taliban, by the blade and it's still in the sheath. I swing it as hard as I can and catch him right on top of the head with the grip. It's an improvised black jack and once again does its job very well. But this time not as a death weapon, but as a subduing weapon. There's a satisfying crack from his skull as he falls unconscious to the floor. I reach over to the wall, flip on the light and speed dial a number on my phone.

 

Samantha sits up on the cot and says, "What's going on?"

 

I say, "Go get dressed and get Bernie, you two have a hell of an exclusive report to do.”

 

She stands up, sees me standing over the top of the man and asks, "Who's that?"

 

I smile at her and say, "Samantha, I'd like to you meet the DC serial killer. Now, get your ass moving before the MPs get here and haul him away." She jumps up and heads out of the room.

 

Jim runs into the room, sees me and says, "Shit, you didn't kill him?"

 

I reach down, feel the pulse at his neck and say, "Nope he's still alive. A quick death would be too easy for this bastard." Then I order, "Jim search the bastard, throw him onto my bed and restrain him. Then make sure we're not disturbed for about thirty minutes, after that bring in the MPs."

 

Jim searches him, finds a couple more weapons, restrains him to the bed and leaves. I yank off his facemask and finally look at his face trying to see what makes him the killer he is. He has a normal looking face, like what you would expect from a next door neighbor. I gag him, grab my ice water and dump it over his head.

 

It shocks him awake. He shakes his head and then realizes where he is. He yanks at the handcuffs and leg irons and finally realizes he's been caught. Then he looks me in the eyes and I can feel the coldness of his soul. I smile at him and taunt, "You fucking bastard! I could have killed you, but death is too easy for a worthless prick like you. I hope you get raped in prison a hundred times for each time you raped a woman."

 

He squirms and fights his restraints on the bed. As Samantha and Bernie run into the room, he sees her and tries to lunge at her but he can't do a thing. She teases, "So, you’re the bastard who was going to kill me. You're not such a big man when you're handcuffed to a bed." She walks over really close to him, reaches towards his crotch and says, "I should rip your balls off for what you've done to other women." He starts wiggling on the bed, trying to escape and Samantha laughs.

 

I interrupt her fun, "Samantha, you and Bernie have about ten minutes before this room is filled with MPs. I would suggest you use that time wisely."

 

I move back to my chair, sit down, hear Samantha start the report and slowly drift off to sleep… The dream is back, only this time much different. There's only one face, the face of my worst accident. I watch as he gets closer and closer. Again he opens his mouth and says, "You have avenged my death." Then a big red X appears over his face and he's finally gone, forever.

 

Present – Jens – Jen's room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

We're watching a rebroadcast of Samantha's report. It seems like it's taken forever to get to the good part. Samantha finally says, "Mr. Blaine, even with all the problems, America is excited that you and your fiancée Ms. Donaldson will soon be back together again. The love you two share has given America hope in the past and I think we really need that hope again. Can you tell me when she will be here and what are your plans when she arrives? Will we finally see the two of you get married?"

 

I'm at the edge of my seat, finally I will get to hear Ben's answer - when the screen switches, it's Samantha and she says, "Sorry for interrupting the replay of my interview with Mr. Blaine. But we have a special report!"

 

I start yelling, "Son-of-a-fricken-fracken-gun! Not again!"

 

Liz yells, "Jens shut the fuck up! Look where they are, they're in Ben's hospital room."

 

I look and she's right but it's not Ben in the bed, it's someone else and I sure as heck don't like the looks of him.

 

We can finally hear Samantha again as she says, "That's right the Truth network has exclusive video of the capture of the DC serial killer. He's right here on the bed." The camera shows him and he's squirming around on the bed trying to get loose. "We looked at his ID and his name is Joseph Kuzman." She holds up his driver's license and the camera zooms in so we can get a good look.

 

Samantha continues, "Just a few minutes ago Kuzman came into the room of Mr. Blaine, where I was spending the night. He was captured by Mr. Blaine as he tried to commit yet another hideous crime."

 

The camera pans over to Ben and he's sitting in a chair and sleeping. I start cheering, "That's my MAN!" Liz shushes me again, "Jens shut up so we can hear."

 

Samantha moves beside Ben and continues, "Once again the women of Washington DC can sleep without fear, thanks to the bravery of Ben Blaine." Then all heck breaks loose as a bunch of MPs fly into the room. They startle Ben and he jumps out of the chair which surprises the MPs. One goes to jump Ben and he takes him down. I watch as Jim runs in and pulls Ben away from them. I giggle because it reminds me of the time I watched a cheesy talk show and everyone got into a fight.

 

Then the video feed goes back to the station. Someone has already started looking into his background and they are giving us all his boring details.

 

I look at Liz and say, "Hey where the heck is Ben's answer to Samantha's question. I've been waiting all fricken-fracken night to hear it."

 

Present – Liz – Jen's room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

Okay, it's now official Jens is a totally psycho bitch! She's at least a couple beers short of a six pack! I stand up and announce, "I'm going out to get some fresh air, Ira will you please take care of Jens?"

 

Jens is still trying to swear and Ira gives me a look which says she'd rather be any place than with Jens. I stand, start to leave and Mira follows me. I say to her, "Mira, I have work to do and I'm not sure you're going to like it."

 

She smiles at me and says, "Ms. Morgan, I understand what sort of work you have planned and I know there are other ways to get the information."

 

We head out to the nurses' station and I ask, "Would it be possible to talk to the doctor in charge of Ms. Donaldson?"

 

The nurse starts giving me some shit until Mira walks up, whispers in her ear, and then the nurse says, "Certainly Ms. Morgan. Let me call him for you. Would you like a cup of coffee while waiting for him to arrive?"

 

Mira answers for me and I get a bit upset, "Thank you nurse but Ms. Morgan doesn't need any coffee."

 

As the nurse places the call, I turn to Mira and say, "Mira, don't you think I can decide whether I need coffee or not?"

 

She looks at me and answers, "Ms. Morgan, I was doing it to keep you from getting sick. Must I remind you how terrible the coffee is?"

 

I smile and admit, "Okay MOM I guess you're right."

 

She gives me a dirty look, gets ready to reply when the doctor walks up and says, "Good evening Ms. Morgan, I understand you have a question about Ms. Donaldson."

 

I start flirting him up some, but then Mira interrupts my plans and blurts out, "Ms. Morgan is concerned about the mental condition of Ms. Donaldson."

 

The doctor starts beating around the bush and says, "I'm not sure what you're talking about."

 

Mira walks over to him, whispers in his ear, he steps back, she smiles at him and he says, "Uh, perhaps we should continue this conversation someplace other than the hallway."

 

We walk into a side room, the doctor looks at Mira with some concern and asks me, "Ms. Morgan, would you please be more specific?"

 

I take a deep breath and say, "Sure, it – well – seems like she's turned back into a spoiled teenager."

 

He gives me a quizzical look and replies, "Can you be more specific?"

 

Mira interrupts again and says, "Ms. Donaldson has lost the ability to swear and uses euphemisms for swear words."

 

I add, "That's right, she won't even say hell, she uses 7734 or H-E-Double toothpicks."

 

The doctor looks at us like he doesn't believe us then he says, "Well, this sounds unusual. I think I'd better go in and examine her."

 

We all walk out of the side room, into the hallway and walk into Jens' room.

 

Present – Ben – WRAMC sometime in the early morning of the next day.

 

I'm sleeping soundly and just finish my dream when all hell breaks loose in my room. The MPs arrived making more noise that a herd of elephants, I jump to my feet, surprise one of them and he lunges towards me. I don't even have time to think so I just react and take him to the floor. The rest of the MPs start towards me, when Jim runs in, pulls me to the side and yells, "Hey you bunch of fucking morons, this is Banzai Ben! The serial killer is on the bed."

 

They stop going after me, and go after the serial killer instead. I'm still fired up and say, "Thanks Jim, I might have hurt one of them." He looks at the MP just getting up off the floor and replies, "It looks like you already did."

 

I walk over and help him up using my good arm and say, "Sorry about that, you scared the hell out of me."

 

He shakes his head to clear the cobwebs and replies, "Shit, no wonder you were able to take out the serial killer. But I'm surprised you didn't save the tax payers some money and just kill him for us."

 

I look at him and explain, "That would have been too easy on him. He deserves to suffer for what he's done to the women he raped. And we all know what's going to happen to this bastard in prison."

 

I hear the serial killer try to scream into his gag so I look at him and say, "That's right you son of a bitch - if there's two things prisoners hate, it's child abusers and rapists. They have their own form of justice in prison and I'm sure they're all watching this news report right now and can't wait to get their hands – and other body parts on you and in you!"

 

We watch as they take the screaming bastard out of the room.            

 

Present – Samantha – WRAMC Ben's room

 

I've been a fly on the wall and Bernie's been videoing like hell since the MPs came into the room. I am totally shocked when Ben takes down an MP. From Ben's moves, I can finally see the man behind the myth. I was really confused why Ben didn't kill the serial killer, after all from what I've heard he's a stone cold killer when he has to be. I listen as he tells the MP why he didn't just kill the serial killer, and it makes sense to me. I can't wait to stick a mic in his face and grill the hell out of him.

 

They take the fucking serial killer out of the room and Ben slowly settles back into the chair. I jump up, grab the mic and start with, "Oh no you don't! You're not going to sleep until I get an interview with you."

 

Ben looks at me. I can tell he wants to argue but then he shrugs his shoulders and says, "Okay, go for it but make it short and sweet. I'm tired and want some sleep."

 

"Good morning America! Samantha Stevens reporting for the Truth Network, I have an exclusive interview with the capturer of the DC serial killer, Ben Blaine. Tell me Mr. Blaine, how did you know the serial killer would be here tonight?"

 

Present – Jens – Jen's room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

TV is b-o-r-i-n-g so I take the time to finish off the meal Ira brought me. I don't even mind it's cold; I am one hungry-hungry hippo. I lean back on the bed look at Ira, smile and let out a huge burp then start laughing. Ira just looks at me and shakes her head.

 

Oh Goodie! Samantha is interviewing Ben again. My MAN has just captured the DC serial rapist and killer! OMG I am s-o-o-o-o-o in love with him, my big hero!

 

Ben answers Samantha's question, "Ms. Stevens, you probably won't like to hear this. But I knew he would come here for you."

 

I can see Samantha gets a little upset at him when she says, "Are you telling me YOU used ME as bait!"

 

I'm on the edge of the bed to see how my man's going to dig himself out of this hole. There is no need to worry, because he says, "Ms. Stevens, listen to what I'm saying very closely. I did not and would never use a person for bait. After the serial killer was able to torture and kill Mrs. Amelia Watts, I knew that no matter where you went, you wouldn't be safe. So I figured I would have you stay here and I would be your protection."

 

I can't hear the next question because Liz, Mira and the fricken doctor come into the room. They are making more noise than a gaggle of geese. I yell at them, "Shut the fricken-fracken heck up! You're interrupting the interview with Ben."

 

Liz walks over, shuts off the TV and says, "Jens, the doctor is here and wants to examine you."

 

I look at Liz and the doctor and say, "Liz, you need to turn my TV back on right now or I'm going to kick your rear. And I'm not letting that stinkin' perv doctor touch me. I'm fricken fine! I'm even better than fine, I'm awesome."

 

The fricken doctor says, "Ms. Donaldson, your friends are worried about you."

 

I interrupt, "You can call me Jens and I just told you I'm fine. I don't need you trying to see my privates or feel me up." I switch on the TV and ignore them. Liz gives Mira a look, Mira walks over and unplugs the TV. I yell, "Hey I can't see Ben." I want to kick Mira's rear, but I know better than to try so I try my other weapon. I start to sniffle and say, "Please turn the TV back on I really want to watch Ben."

 

The doctor has been watching everything and he says, "Ms. Morgan, just from observation I would say you're right. Please follow me back into the hallway where we can talk."

 

They go to leave and I say, "Hey, what about the TV?" Mira plugs it back in and I find the channel and the interview with Ben is over. I yell, "Son of a fricken-fracken gun. You guys made me miss Ben again."

 

Present – Liz – Jen's room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

Mira, the doctor and I walk out into the hallway and I say, "See I told you! She's acting like a spoiled teenager."

 

The doctor answers, "You're right something is certainly wrong with her. I do remember reading something about this before and I will look it up again. But if I remember right, it's a short term symptom and it should pass then she will be back to her normal self."

 

I ask the doctor, "Do you have any ideas on how we should treat her and act towards her while she's this way?"

 

He looks at us, laughs and says, "If I were you two I would pray – a lot! Now that we have the equipment available again, I will schedule an MRI of her brain tomorrow."

 

Mira shocks me when she adds, "I hope your equipment finds a brain." Then she giggles. The doctor smiles and takes off. I look at her and say, "Mira, you just told a joke."

 

Present – Ben – WRAMC

 

Samantha wraps up the interview and either I'm getting better at this or I'm number than I used to be because it isn't that bad. Bernie starts packing up the gear, Samantha sits down beside me and says, "I guess I owe you a really big thank you for saving my life. I realize now why you had me spend the night."

 

I smile and say, "You don't owe me anything. Thanks for making my interview so painless."

 

She smiles, clears her throat and says, "Well, now that the camera is off, I'd like to ask you the hard questions."

 

I reply, "I'm tired and going to hit the sack, so you only get one question."

 

I watch her scrunch up her forehead as she thinks and then she asks, "How did you know what the serial killer would do?"

 

I smile and say, "First I did my homework and studied him all afternoon. And second, I'm a killer so I just thought about what I would do."

 

She questions, "You're a killer too?"

 

I head towards the bed and say, "You had your one question so now I'm hitting the sack." I get to the bed and add, "Shit! He pissed in my bed and I don't want to wait until it's changed. I think I will just go back to sleep in the chair."

 

I just get curled up in the chair and Samantha covers me with a blanket when a suit walks into the room.

 

Present – Samantha – WRAMC

 

I just get Ben settled in. I do owe him big time and I plan on taking good care of him until Jennifer Donaldson gets here. Then a guy in a suit walks into the room and I watch Ben tense up.

 

He walks up to Ben, flashes his badge and says, "Mr. Blaine, I'm SSA Hotchner of the FBI and I have a few questions for you." He turns, looks at me and says, "Miss, would you please give us some privacy?"

 

Ben answers, "Agent Hotchner, not only is she staying, she's going to witness everything you say to me. And you're lucky as hell I don't bring the video camera back to record this."

 

I watch and the agent looks a little flustered and says, "Look we can do this here or we can do this at the office."

 

I see Ben grin at him, he gives me a hand signal and answers, "Samantha, call Bernie and get the video gear back in here. Then call my lawyer."

 

I start making the calls, the agent walks towards Ben and reaches towards him. Ben responds to the threat with, "I've broken no laws so you have no right to arrest me or take me into custody. If you touch me I will consider it an assault and I will retaliate with force."

 

I chime in, "I wouldn't mess with him Agent Hotchner since he's already taken down the serial killer and an MP tonight."

 

Agent Hotchner threatens, "Mr. Blaine, you're resisting arrest."

 

Ben coldly responds, "If you're arresting me I demand to know the charges. Otherwise shut the hell up."

 

I can see it escalating and I know someone, probably the FBI agent is going to get hurt. I walk over, get between them and say, "Both of you need to take your testosterone level down about ten notches and stop acting like assholes."

 

Just as the agent reaches towards me, and Ben gets out of the chair, Bernie roars into the room with the camera running. I say, "Smile Agent Hotchner, you're on international television."

 

He stops, Ben stops, I smile and say, "Good early morning America and the world Samantha Stevens reporting again from Ben Blaine's hospital room where the FBI is just getting ready to arrest him. So Supervisory Special Agent Hotchner would you please tell us about the charges against Mr. Blaine?"

 

I stick the mic in his face and he says, "Ms. Stevens, there's been a big misunderstanding. I am not arresting Mr. Blaine. We just have some questions for him."

 

I wink at Ben so he sits back down and I continue, "Then why were you going to forcibly take a man who's just a few days out of surgery from the hospital without his doctor's permission?"

 

I watch him think for a moment, he backs down and says, "Mr. Blaine and Ms. Stevens, there's been a mistake. I really wish you'd shut off the camera so we can all just talk."

 

I look at Ben and he says, "Bernie, I just want to make sure you're only recording this and not broadcasting."

 

Bernie answers, "Yes Ben, Samantha told me that's what you wanted."

 

SSA Hotchner looks relieved and says, "So this isn't being broadcast?"

 

I grin and say, "No sir, Ben gave me a signal to have it recorded but not broadcast."

 

Ben adds, "But we can broadcast this anytime we feel like so why don't you try coming in here nicely and asking me what you want instead of trying to intimidate me, because I'm not intimidated by you or all the fucking FBI."

 

SSA Hotchner grumps, "Can we at least kill the camera?"

 

Ben says, "No, but since you won't fix your fucking attitude, what you can do is get the hell out of my room. I've answered enough questions tonight, I'm tired and I'm going to sleep."

 

SSA Hotchner turns and leaves but shouts over his shoulder, "You haven't heard the last of me."

 

Ben yells back, "Don't let the door hit you in the ass."

 

Ben looks at me and says, "God damn Feeb, they're almost as bad as spooks. Samantha, do me a favor and make sure no one bothers me again for about three or four hours, I need some sleep." He curls up in the chair and drifts right off to sleep, I look at Jim and say, "I think you need to stand guard in the hallway to make sure he's not disturbed."

 

I head back to the cot, the phone rings and I answer it, "Hello, this is Samantha."

 

Present – Jens – Jen's room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I decide to call Ben because I can't wait anymore to hear his answer to the question! I expect my Ben to answer the phone and get shocked when it's Samantha! I know how cute she is and I worry she's trying to snake my man!

 

I snap, "What the heck are you doing in my fiancés room and where in the heck is Ben!"

 

She takes a moment then replies, "Ms. Donaldson, Ben is sleeping in the chair and I answered the phone so it wouldn't disturb him. Don't worry Ms. Donaldson, I would never try to take Ben away from you, even if I could. He's so in love with you he doesn't even look at other women."

 

I reply, "Are you sure you two aren't sharing the bed together? I should fire your rear!"

 

Samantha answers, "Ms. Donaldson, I'm not going to dignify that question with an answer." And she hangs up the phone. I yell, "Son of a fricken-fracken gun. Samantha's sleeping with Ben. I'm going to kill her!"

 

Liz comes over, get in my face and says, "Jens what the hell are you talking about!"

 

I explain, "I called Ben's room and the fricken-fracken female dog Samantha answered the phone and tried to lie to me and tell me Ben was sleeping in the chair. Then she hung up the phone on me!"

 

Liz crosses her arms, taps her foot and scolds, "Jennifer Donaldson behave! Stop acting like a spoiled brat or I'm going to have Mira spank you!"

 

I stick out my tongue at her and say, "You wouldn't dare. I’m still recovering from my surgery.”

 

Ira comes over to my bed, leans over and whispers in my ear, "Ms. Donaldson, your fiancé Mr. Blaine would be very embarrassed by your actions right now. He will not want to marry a teenage girl. I would suggest you change your attitude." I blush because I know she's right, Ira stands up and smiles at me.

 

I motion her close and whisper, "Ira, I know you're right, but – well I'm just having problems not acting bad right now, I don't know what's wrong with me. Would you be able to help me?"

 

Ira replies, "Ms. Donaldson, Mira and I will pull on our right ear when we see you acting inappropriate. It will be our secret signal to tell you to stop what you're doing."

 

I look at Liz and say, "Liz, I want to apologize for the way I've been acting."

 

Present – Liz – Jen's room Ramstein Air Field Germany

 

I'm shocked as hell since I don't know what the fuck Mira and Ira say to the people they meet, but whatever they say it certainly affects them. Jens is acting, well mostly normal. She apologizes and I suggest, "Jens, now that you're acting normal, you need to call Samantha and apologize."

 

I watch as she starts getting upset but she looks at Ira, smiles and says, "Liz, I think you're right. I was a bad girl and forgot that Ben would never cheat on me."

 

I use my mobile phone and call Ben's room, Samantha answers and I can tell she's been crying. I get really pissed at Jens. I say to Samantha, "Samantha, I have someone here who needs to talk to you. Please listen to her and give her a chance."

 

I hand the phone to Jens and she says, "Hello Samantha, this is Jens. I just wanted to apologize to you for what I said earlier. I was totally out of place to accuse you of trying to take Ben. Please forgive me."

 

Jens listens for a bit, smiles and then hands the phone to me. Samantha says, "Thanks Liz, I was very upset because Ms. Donaldson didn't believe me."

 

I look at Jens and say, "Samantha, she's been acting sort of strange lately and I'm glad you two could come to an agreement."

 

Samantha sniffles and says, "I-I-I was worried she really thought I was sleeping with Ben and that she was going to fire me."

 

I step away from Jens so she can't hear and I explain to Samantha, "Just so you know, you've done an excellent job, almost as good as I could do. And you have a job with the Truth Network for as long as you want it. That was a hell of a scoop on the DC serial killer."

 

She sniffles and answers, "You can thank Ben for that. Liz, I really owe him because he-he-he saved my life."

 

I chuckle and say, "Samantha, when you get to know Ben better, you will understand Ben always does things like this. Did you thank him for it?"

 

She immediately replies, "Oh yes, Liz, I told him several times."

 

I grin and respond, "Samantha once is enough with Ben. I bet he blushed when you told him?"

 

I finally hear a little laugh as she says, "Yes, he did blush and it was so cute."

 

I knew my job was done with Samantha so I say, "Samantha, get some sleep and keep up the great job."

 

She replies, "Thanks for everything Liz."

 

I end the call and look over at Jens. While she doesn't seem totally right, at least she's behaving. I yawn and announce, "Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired as hell and I'm going to sleep."

 

Present – Ben – WRAMC after some sleep.

 

I wake up stiff as hell from sleeping in the chair, but it was better than the pissy bed. And for the first time in a very long time, I really slept - no dreams came and no faces haunted me. I slowly stand up and perform my normal stretches. Damn that feels good! But this damn arm is troubling because something doesn't feel right.

 

I start my Capoeira, very slowly because it's the first time since the surgery. And yes it hurts like hell, but then pain is fear leaving the body. I start to loosen and then speed things up until I'm about half my normal speed. The arm is throbbing and aching and I'm sweating up a storm when I stop.

 

I hear Samantha clear her throat and she says, "Wow that was really cool looking. I know from studying you that must have been Brazilian Capoeira."

 

I look at her and answer, "You're right and just to let you know, the doctors haven't released me to do this yet. So you need to keep quiet about it."

 

She smiles and says, "Your secret is safe with me. By the way your fiancée called last night while you were sleeping."

 

I can tell something's not quite right so I ask, "Samantha, you're not telling me everything about the call."

 

She looks down and says, "She was really upset at me because I was in the same room as you and she accused me of sleeping with you and she threatened to fire me."

 

I laugh and say, "Samantha, Jens is a little insecure and jealous as hell. I wouldn't worry about it. I'll have a talk with her."

 

She adds, "Liz says she acting sort of strange."

 

It makes me concerned, I look at the clock and realize it's not a good time to call and answer, "I'll have to give her a call when she wakes up and see what's going on." Then I add, "I bet you have some stories to cover, why don't you take the shower first and I'll see if I can find us some decent coffee."

 

Samantha replies, "Thanks Ben, I could really use a hot shower and cup of coffee." She jumps off the cot and heads to the bathroom. I pull out my mobile phone, call Jim and say, "Hey, we're awake and need some decent coffee. Talk to Bernie and see if he knows how Samantha likes hers." I end the call, look at the patch on my arm and silently swear: Why-why-why now!

 

Then I make the decision I've needed to make, the hardest decision of my life. I know I can never give Jens the life she deserves, not now, not anymore. So with Samantha in the shower, I sit down and write a note to Jens – no – I can no longer call her Jens, she's now Ms. Jennifer Donaldson to me. I leave the note on my bedside table, walk to the closet, change into my clothes, walk out into the hallway, down to the first floor and out into the day and the streets - the streets which will be my new home and my new life. As I walk the tears slowly creep down my cheeks, tears of sorrow knowing I am turning my back on Ms. Jennifer Donaldson. I look up to heaven and ask, "Please God, take care of Jennifer Donaldson and give her a whole man and a whole life."

 

Authors notes to the reader: Thanks for taking the time to finish our latest story. And yes, you should know by now we will leave you with a few cliff-hangers. Yeah we could have stretched this chapter into two or more chapters and we might do that later, but Anastasia, Alexander and I are all excited to start our next book which will continue the story.

 

Ben, Anastasia and Alexander.

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