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   What’s that son-of-a-bitch doing here?

   Elle Wyatt reached under the car seat and pulled out her Rohrbaugh r9 pistol. She shoved it in her waistband before getting out of the Caddy. She marched to the front door, and not wanting to announce her arrival, tried the knob. Locked. Wyatt laid on the door bell and didn’t let up till the door opened.

   With his body blocking the entrance, James Reyes said, “Ma’am, Randee is trying to rest. Please come back later.”

   “Out of my way.”

   Elle tried to shove her way through.

   “She’s asked not to be disturbed. Please leave.”

   Wyatt weaved her arm inside her jacket.

   Dead center.

   Reyes stepped aside.

   Wyatt entered and called Randee’s name. No answer. Alarmed, she hurried through the house as she continued calling for her friend. She finally found Randee sleeping in the master bedroom. More bells went off as Wyatt wondered how Randee could have slept through all the racket she’d made trying to find her.

Elle hurried to the bed as Reyes appeared in the doorway. Positioning her body where she could see him, she leaned over and shook her friend.

   “Randee, wake up!”

   Carr moaned.

   “What have you done to her?” she yelled at Reyes.

   “Nothing. She didn’t sleep well last night. She’s just very tired.”

   He took a step forward. In one slick movement, Elle Wyatt pulled the 9mm from her waistband.

   “Get the fuck out.”

   He didn’t budge. She released the safety.

   Reyes put his hands up and said, “Now ma’am, you don’t want to do that.”

   “The fuck I don’t.”

   Hands still in the air, Reyes backed up. “Okay, I’m leaving.”

   Elle Wyatt heard the front door shut. She looked out the window and saw him walking to his truck. After getting a cold damp cloth, she wiped her friend’s face while continuing to call her name. Randee’s eyes opened for a few seconds, then closed again. Elle tried to get Randee to sit on the edge of the bed, but her body was limp, and she fell backward. Wyatt pulled out her phone and dialed 911.

   “I’ve got an unresponsive thirty-four-year-old female at the Zane and Randee Carr home on Farm Road 187, about three quarters of a mile north of State Highway EE, just east of Highlandville. Please send an ambulance.”

   “Is she breathing?”

   “Yes. Her eyes open when I shake her, but then close again.”

   “Is her breathing shallow?”


   “Is she taking any medication that you know of?”

   “Yes, just a minute.” Elle picked up Randee’s prescription bottles on the night stand and read the labels to the dispatcher.

   “Okay, try to keep her sitting up, unless she vomits, then roll her over and check her airway. Do you know how to administer CPR?”

   “Had training in a high school health class, but that was seventeen years ago.”

   “Okay,” said the dispatcher. “Continue to try to wake her. The ambulance is on its way. Please stay on the phone till they get there. I’ll guide you through if her condition worsens. The ambulance should be there in ten minutes.”

   Elle stayed on the line with the 911 dispatcher until she heard the siren.

   “They’re here. I’m going to let them in. Thank you.”

   Elle made her way to the front room and opened the door for the EMTs.  Reyes leaned on the passenger door of his truck and watched the scene unfold.

   “In here,” Elle said, and led the man/woman team down the hall to the master bedroom.

   After making sure Randee Carr’s vitals were stable, they lifted her onto the transport cart. Elle grabbed Randee’s medications from the night stand and followed them outside. She inquired as to which Springfield hospital Randee was to be taken.

   The female EMT yelled over her shoulder. “Melcher Memorial South.”

   As they neared the rear of the ambulance, Reyes asked, “Is she going to be okay?”

   “Sir, we can’t discuss her condition,” said the male member of the team.

   Reyes looked in Elle’s direction. She had her phone to her ear.

  “I should have kept a closer eye on her,” Reyes said. “If anything happens to her, I’ll never forgive myself.”

   Other than keeping him in her sight, Elle ignored Reyes as she talked on the phone. She purposefully spoke loud enough for him to hear her part of the conversation.

   “John, Randee is on her way by ambulance to Melcher Memorial South. I think it’s an overdose.” She paused for her cousin’s reply before continuing. “Not sure, but Reyes was here when I arrived. He blocked the door to keep me from entering.” Another pause. “Yes, he knows I have the nine-millimeter, but he’s still here.”

   Reyes walked to the driver side of his truck.

   “Looks like he’s leaving now. You want to call Les so he can meet us at the hospital?” Elle Wyatt locked eyes with Reyes. “I’m telling you John; things aren’t adding up here.” The two continued to stare each other down. “Okay, see you soon.”

   Wyatt slipped her phone in her pocket. Looking at Reyes, she said, “He’s relentless you know?”


  “My cousin. He’ll find all your secrets, and you’ll wish to God you’d never set foot in southwest Missouri.”

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