I quickly took out bandages and applied pressure; trying to stop the bleeding, which seemed to be coming from multiple locations.
The radio was still going, and I picked it up, saying "Police dispatch emergency traffic." hoping that, like our E-Trigger, it would make any traffic on it, once activated, priority.
It seemed that it did, because the dispatch came back immediately with "Go ahead emergent."
"Advise your medics that the patient has suffered head injuries, I am attempting to control bleeding, at this time. He is breathing, but unconscious." I told the dispatcher, as I held pressure to what appeared to be the most serious of the wounds at the moment.
"10-4, will advise, we have units en-route to your location, and med-star is en route as well, can you identify yourself?" she asked.
"Mike Reynolds, LA County Sheriff retired." I told her, while waiting for help to arrive.
"10-4 Deputy Reynolds, closest back up is 2 away." she advised, before asking, "can you advise rea the suspect?"
"He'll need an ambulance sometime too." I told her.
"Deputy Reynolds, are you advising the suspect is in custody?"
"Sort of, he's lying here unconscious. I don't want to move your officer to get to his cuffs though, in case of a neck injury." I told her.
"10-4." was all the response I got, as I noticed the man's face beginning to show signs of consciousness.
It wasn't much, but in short order he was trying to move his head, and moaning, as I quickly told him,
"Hey, it's ok, everything's ok now, don't move."
I got more moans, and couldn't determine if it was a deliberate response to my words, or simply an unconscious one.
I said again, "Just take it easy, help is on the way, you're gonna be ok." to him hoping he would hear.
He was mumbling something, and still moaning, but it sounded like he said "terror."
"Hey, it's ok. I've been there. You're gonna be ok now." I told him again, as he moaned "terror" again.
Wow this seemed to really be hitting him hard, I thought, as I just kept saying things trying to reassure him.
His eyes came open, but they were unfocused, and I knew he wasn't seeing me, as he mumbled "terrors" again.
"It's ok, you're gonna be fine, don't be afraid, it's all over now." I told him once again, just praying that it was going to be.
"Deputy Reynolds can you give us an update?" the radio asked, as I picked it up, and keyed the mic.
"He's regained consciousness, but is disorientated at this time. Orientated X 0" I told her.
"10-4." she replied, as I finally heard sirens approaching, after what seemed like an eternity, but really wasn't.
I quickly put the radio down, and reached into my back pocket with my right hand, withdrawing my case and flipping it open, holding it out facing the approaching vehicles, so they could clearly see the badge, as they came onto the scene.
I didn't need to be mistaken for a bad guy at this point, and get shot by some overexcited locals.
They quickly came running up, and the lead one asked,
"What happened, how is he?"
"Head trauma, and the guy over there was pounding his head into the ground, when I drove up." I told them bluntly.
"Geez mister, what'd you do to him?" the other asked, as I looked around, to find the second deputy checking on the suspect.
Just a kid I thought as I replied succinctly; "took him out of the equation."
"I'll say." He mumbled at me.
Just what I needed, the ACLU in Montana with a badge.
"Well, I didn't really have time to play with him." I told him sharply, which caused him to look up at me quickly, but not say anything further.
"What's the ETA for the helicopter or medics?" I asked the other one, who was still standing there.
"Ah, I don't know." he replied.
"Dispatch, I need an ETA for medics and Life Flight now." I said into the radio, and was told the medics were on standby
"Dispatch, I have an officer down, and need them in here now!" I said, trying to contain my fury at this BS.
I had told her that the scene was secure
"32, dispatch get them in here" the officer standing next to me said quickly into his radio microphone, after taking one look at my face.
"10-4 32" was the response.
The man was still moaning, and mumbling, and it was a chore to keep him from moving too much, as I heard more sirens approaching to resolve themselves into more police units and an ambulance.
I was quickly relieved of my responsibilities, as the medics took over, and I barely had time to tell him, "it's going to be ok." one last time, before I was shoved out of their way, while they worked to stabilize him for transport, as he kept mumbling "terror."
I didn't understand it, but was glad they were here.
I saw the helicopter come in, as they worked on him, and then was pulled aside by an officer, who introduced himself as the Sheriff of the county.
"I'm Jeremy Stanford, I understand you saved Eric?" he asked me.
"I was here, and did what was needed at the time." I told him, which caused him to look at me funny, before saying "so I've heard."
We looked at each other warily, before he asked, "You're retired, at your age?"
"Yes, I am, I was a reserve deputy, and decided to leave Los Angeles, and retired from the department." I told him.
""So you've been on the streets, why the attitude?" he asked me point blank, which caused me to look at him in a new light, before responding.
"The reception I got for taking out the suspect was....let's say...less than enthusiastic." I told him.
He looked at me before saying, "you won't have any problems with it." and that wrapped that up.
"Thanks." I said as he nodded his head,
"Did he wake up enough to say anything?" he asked.
"Not really." I said, as he looked at me again.
"Not really?" he said, with a clear note of question in his voice.
I motioned with my head pulling him away from the others slightly, so this part of the conversation couldn't be overheard, before I said.
"He seemed....afraid, I tried to reassure him, but I don't know if it got through."
"Afraid? Eric?" he said, with disbelief in his voice.
"Look something like this hits everyone differently, and it scares you, bad." I told him, while he just looked at me, plainly not believing me.
"Look Mike, I'm sorry, I know all that, but I just can't imagine Eric being that afraid." he told me.
"Well, I know what I heard, and he seemed to be, at least he kept mumbling he was terrified" I responded.
I was surprised at the strange look he was giving me now before turning and looking at Eric then back at me.
"Did he say he was terrified or did he say terrors?" he asked intently.
"He was mumbling, all I could make out was terror, I thought he was trying to say terrified" I told him.
The sheriff started shaking his head, with a small smile, playing on his face, as he told me, "No Mike, he was saying terrors. You see those are his children, he calls them the Unholy Trinity, or the Unholy Terrors. He often shortens that to 'the terrors'". He told me.
Now it made sense, he might have been afraid, but not for himself, instead for his children. Like many facing life threatening situations, Eric had been thinking of his loved ones.
Nothing more needed to be said, as I simply nodded my head.
"So what happened?" he asked again, as I told him, "I came on the t-stop, saw what was happening, and jumped out to assist. The suspect started to get up, and come towards me, and I didn't feel like playing, so I took him out. Fast and hard, but I needed to get to your deputy." I told him.
He nodded, as I continued, "I got on the radio requesting help, as I got my trauma box out, and started trying to help him." and finished.
"Well we all thank you, Eric is...well he's family, and if you need anything, you just ask." he told me.
"Thank you, I'm just glad I was out here, and could do something." I replied, as he nodded.
About then, the helicopter took to the air, and I watched it fly rapidly off, back towards the city, as I said, "I hope he's going to be alright."
"Me too son, me too." the sheriff replied, and it was then I realized that I had spoken out loud.
Two men who were obviously detectives came walking up. "So this the hero?" one said, and I was surprised when the sheriff swung around and said,
"Yes this is, and he's a cop, who just saved another's life." while glaring at the two detectives, who managed to say "yes sir."
"Where's Eddie?" the sheriff asked.
"Umm...he's coming, he was out on the other side of the county." one replied.
"Fine, he can deal with this when he gets here." the sheriff told them, which caused them to look at one another, before once again saying "yes sir", then turning and walking quickly away.
I watched, as the sheriff pulled his radio out, and keyed the mic saying, "100 Charles, 10-31 400 on David 3." and heard the dispatcher repeat the traffic.
The sheriff changed channels and I heard 400 come up on the TAC channel, as the sheriff told him to expedite and meet with me here, and that he was to personally handle the investigation.
After getting an acknowledgment, he turned back to me, and said, "Eddie is a good guy, he'll do you right. I'm sorry about some of these guys, they're new and young, they have a lot to learn." he told me.
"I understand, and I appreciate it." I told him sincerely, as he stuck out his hand and I shook it, before watching him walk away.
The next few hours were spent giving statements and writing them out, until finally about 9, I was released to go home.
I hate paperwork I thought, as I finally got up from the table, where I had been writing my last statement and said goodnight to Eddie.
It was as I was leaving, that I ran into the sheriff.
"Sheriff, excuse me." I said catching his attention, as he stopped and turned towards me.
"Mike, how are you doing?" he asked.
"Ok, just becoming reacquainted with the part of the job I hated the most." I told him, which caused him to chuckle before I asked, "How's the officer?"
"No one told you?" he asked as I shook my head, "he's going to be fine, just fine. His head is way too hard to suffer any permanent damage." he said, still chuckling.
"I'm glad to hear that." I told him, meaning it.
"Yeah, now if we can get the terrors settled down," he said almost as an afterthought.
I looked at him inquiringly, and he sighed before saying, "I can't explain it, but about the time Eric got hurt, they freaked out, and nothing has been able to calm them since. The babysitter brought them over here, but I haven't had much luck with them. I got my wife on the way in, she just got off of work, but I don't know." he said trailing off, clearly worried.
"How did they know?" I asked perplexed.
He just shook his head and said, "I don't know, they're something special, and very close to Eric, very close." he said, looking at me intently.
"Special?" I asked him.
"I can't explain it Mike, and it'll sound quite weird, but those boys...." and trailed off just shaking his head, clearly distressed over their condition at the moment.
I didn't even realize I was speaking until I found myself saying "Can I see them, I'm pretty good with kids."
He looked at me, and started to shake his head, but somehow I got the feeling that this was very important, suddenly, and simply said, "Please".
He looked at me intently for a moment, and then said, "alright, it can't hurt none, but don't be offended if they don't want to have anything to do with you. They don't take to many people real well." he told me.
"Alright, that'll be fine." I said to him, as he began leading me back further into the building, stopping in front of an office and facing me once again.
"Mike they're really scared and...well....just don't expect too much. They are some of the sweetest kids I know, but they are also very...very reticent when it comes to new people." he told me, obviously at a loss for words.
"It'll be ok, whatever happens, I promise." I told him, as he looked deeply into my eyes for a moment, before I heard him whisper as he opened the door,
"it just might." and then I was presented with three little angels sitting forlornly on the couch in the room with tear streaked faces, now looking up at me, all saying "daddy" hopefully, when the door opened, and then watching as their expressions quickly turned to disappointment and pain, once again when they realized it wasn't.
I walked in, and stopped, just inside the door, as we just looked at one another.
They appeared to be triplets, about 3 or 4 years old, all with dirty blonde hair, and bright tear filled eyes, looking as if their world had been torn apart, which I suppose it had, as my heart instantly went out to them.
I wasn't sure what to do, but suddenly found myself walking towards them, never breaking eye contact with the three of them, as I got to the couch, and sank down to my knees in front of it.
"Hello there, my name's Mike." I told them, but got no response. I wanted to pull them into my arms, and just hug them, to erase some of the hurt I saw in their faces, but somehow knew this wasn't the right thing to do with them. Even if they were just babies.
Somehow I knew, with them, it had to be given not taken.
"I know you're real worried about your daddy, and I wanted to come and tell you what happened, and that he's going to be ok." I said to them, and was met with three sets of staring eyes, and nothing else.
"A bad guy hurt your daddy. He hit him in the head really hard, and that hurt your daddy, but they took him to the hospital, and he is going to be alright. He just can't be here right now, until the doctors say he can leave." I told them.
"I am sure your daddy wants to be here right now, but please believe me that he is going to be ok." I said to them.
They just looked at me, and I them.
I was about ready to get up, as this clearly wasn't working when one of them said, "is he weally gonna be ok?"
"Yeah, sweetheart he is, they're just keeping him so they can watch him, and make sure." I told them softly.
They continued to look at me before another one said, "We was weally scared."
"I know honey, I would be too, if it was my daddy." I said to him, which elicited a small smile.
"Can we see daddy?" the third one asked me.
"They said you can't honey, I'm sorry/" I told that one.
Then suddenly they launched themselves into my arms, and I was holding three sobbing boys, who were finally letting the pain and fear out, they had been enduring these last hours.
I just sat back on the ground, and held them, noticing the look of shock on the sheriff's face, briefly but really not paying it any attention, as I just concentrated on what was in my arms.
I listened, as they cried and sobbed, telling me in broken words, how scared they were, and how much they loved their daddy, and wanted him to be ok, and come home.
I sat there just reassuring them, telling them how much their daddy loved them, missed them and wished he could be there with them right now too, and how everything was going to be alright real soon.
I just wanted to make all their fear and pain go away, so much.
I knew I had to remain detached, but those eyes, something about those eyes looking at me, had really gotten to me.
I don't know how long I was there; before I noticed the boys had become quiet, and looked down to find them asleep in my arms.
It was a feeling that I hadn't realized until now, just how much I missed, as I just cuddled these little babies in my arms, as they grasped onto me, as if a lifeline in a stormy sea, even in their sleep.
I just held them tighter, and felt them snuggle in their sleep, even closer seeking comfort from life right now.
"I have never seen them do that." the sheriff softly whispered to me, with almost awe present in his voice.
"What be hugged?" I said, thinking you have got to be kidding, but he quickly reassured me, "no, no they get lots of loving. It's just they don't take to new people much, and never right off like that." he told me, as I looked down at my sleeping charges, still stroking various parts of their bodies, that I could reach. "It took us a while before they would even hug us." he said to me.
There wasn't much I could say to that.
"When are they going to release him?" I asked.
"Tomorrow, if there are no setbacks." he told me.
"That'll be good they need to be with him." I said.
"Yeah, they need each other." he told me.
"Where's their mother" I asked, thinking it odd she wasn't here.
The sheriff got a pained look on his face, as he said "she passed about a year or so ago, now."
"I'm sorry." I told him; even though I hadn't met her I meant it.
"Yeah, so were we, she was a real special lady, and it hit Eric and the trinity, real hard." he told me.
"The trinity? You've mentioned that before?" I asked him.
He chuckled as he said, "Yes, Eric calls them the trinity cause they are like one person, instead of three. You'd almost think they're triplets the way they act."
"They aren't?" I asked in surprise.
"Nah, they aren't. I know it's hard to tell, cause they look so much alike, but Randy and Kevin are twins, and Danny is about a year younger than them."
"Wow, I thought they were." I said.
"Well the way they are they might as well be. Lots of people think the same, and they're close as triplets, and always stay together. Since Melissa died, they have become even closer, if that's possible, and they have become very wary of people. I think they're afraid of them going away too." he said to me, sadly.
I just looked down and felt such great sadness, and surprisingly love for what was in my arms, that they had suffered so much in their young lives.
I sat there for a while longer, before the sheriff said, "well I best be getting the youngins home, and to bed."
"Alright," I said, as he took one of them from me, and I began the careful process of standing up with the other two.
Once upright he led me out to his unit, and placed his charge in the backseat, buckling him in, before taking one of mine, and repeating the process. I walked around to the other side, and placed my remaining child, in the remaining seat, buckling him in, before leaning down and kissing the top of his head, whispering, "Sweet dreams, little one." and gently shutting the door.
I walked back around and repeated the process on the other two, but it was as I gave the last one a kiss, I noticed eyes fluttering open, and looking at me.
I smiled down at him, and told him "sweet dreams little one." and was rewarded with a small smile, as his eyes slowly drifted shut once again, never breaking contact with mine.
I gave him another soft kiss, and stood up to bring his door ever so gently closed, as I turned to the sheriff.
"Good night, sheriff." I said.
"Jeremy, and good night Mike, thank you, for everything." he told me, as I nodded my head, and walked away to my vehicle, which was nearby, getting into it and watching as he drove away.
I knew I was foolish for letting myself feel again, like this, but damn it felt so good to once again hold little ones in my arms. There was something about them, that just got to me, I couldn't tell you what it was, but it was there, and I found myself falling in love with three children, who were not mine, and who I would probably never see again.
I shook my head, and decided to get moving toward home, as I thought that I really hoped their daddy was ok, and back with them tomorrow, they needed him so much.
I went back to the coach, and walked over to a bar nearby, where I had a strawberry daiquiri and played some video poker, trying to unwind and relax, but my mind kept returning to three sets of eyes, looking at me, and all the pain within.
I finally gave up, and headed back to the coach, where I crawled into bed, and slept, but with three pairs of beautiful eyes keeping watch in my dreams, throughout the night.
I slept in, until about 10 the next morning, before getting up and showering, then getting dressed, before walking back over to the bar slash restaurant from last night, and ordering some breakfast, while sitting down once again at the video poker machine, to play, while waiting for my order.
I sat there eating, and playing, then just playing for several hours, before getting up, several hundred dollars poorer to return to the coach, where I put some news on, and logged onto the computer, to check out what, if anything was new.
I had some emails from friends, which I answered, including one from Jeri, so I recounted what had happened last night, before wishing her well, and sending it off.
Bill had sent me an update on the lawsuit, which of course was dragging along, as they usually do.
We had sued for one amount and they had came up immediately with an offer that was so low as to be as ridiculous as the amount we were asking for. This had been going back and forth, for over a year now.
Trial was set to begin in about 3 weeks, and they had come up with a slightly better offer, but not by much.
They had managed to get continuance after continuance, until finally the judge in the case had told them, enough already, and set the trial date, telling them to be there and be ready, or else.
They weren't too happy, but Bill felt this might just spur them to get off their asses and actually make a reasonable offer, for a change.
We knew we wouldn't get the sum we were suing for, but we also knew we stood an excellent chance of getting quite a large amount, a settlement would certainly be to their advantage as we would get a lot more if we went to trial, so it was only a matter of time until they came up with something more to our liking.
What we hadn't told them was for each and every bullshit tactic they had used, the amount we considered reasonable went up some more.
Bill felt they were trying to distance the suit from the trial to lessen the media response to it, which we were going to make sure didn't happen.
I finished up the emails, and surfed the web for a while, before going back in, and surfing the satellite for something to watch.
It never ceased to amaze me, that one could have hundreds of channels and still have nothing but crap on just like when you only had 10.
Finally, I gave up, and went over to my movie collection sorting through it before pulling out "The Day the Earth Stood Still." which was an all time classic sci-fi movie, staring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal.
I loved this movie, and of course the famous line "Klatuu Barada Niktou." as I watched the military try to destroy what they didn't understand.
After it was over I got something to drink, and then went over to my books looking through them before deciding to keep on with what I had been doing lately, which was rereading old favorites.
I had just finished reading Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series which was a wonderful series of novels mixing a world reminiscent of medieval England , with a magical race, who face persecution from those who fear what they do not understand.
Now I looked between the planet of the Bloody Sun and Dragons trying to decide which one I wanted to attack first, before finally settling on dragons.
McCaffrey and her wondrous world of Pern was one of my all time favorites, as I relished the thought of Lessa and F'Lar and their adventures, thinking of Mennoly and Piemur, Jaxom and Ruth, and all that was to come in that world.
My only complaint was that I wish there were more of them, as it was rare to find books that captivated you so thoroughly each and every time you read them, as these did.
After all these years, I could still laugh when Lessa innocently says she could always hear the dragons, or cry when a school of children is massacred and the message left through the ages is "Beware humans, for they kill what they do not understand." and feel the pain at having to seal Dorilys in stasis for all time.
There were so few of those types of books I thought, as I sat down with "DragonFlight" and began reading, losing myself on Rukbat with Ramoth and Mnementh and all the others who made up such a great universe.
I don't know how long it was, before I was brought abruptly back from Lessa and the plight of the weyrs' to a loud pounding on the door.
I am one of those individuals who completely lose myself in the book, if its any good, and to say it was a rude awakening, was an understatement, as I put the book down and went to the door, which was receiving another pounding as I loudly said,
"I'm coming already." reaching the door and opening it to find the officer from yesterday standing there.
It was a strange moment, as we just looked at each other for a moment, neither one of us saying anything, as we stared at one another, until finally I broke the spell and said "please come in."
He started to say something, when from around the side of his unit three streaks came running shouting "Mike!" as they bounded past their father, up the stairs and into my arms, knocking me back, as I suddenly once again had an armful of kids.
I forgot all about Eric, as I just hugged them to me, while they squealed and giggled, and were confusedly telling me they had their daddy back.
"I see that." I said; as the munchkins eased their holds, and sat back looking at me, who was now on the floor laughing with their exuberance.
It was then, I noticed their father, still standing there with a look of shock on his face, as he shook his head and said, "do you ever listen" which elicited a giggle from the boys, as one said, with an impish grin on his face, "nope" which left me laughing, as Eric said, "I'm glad you think its funny," but he had a smile on his face as he said it.
"How bout you guys let me up so we can make some room for your dad to get in here, ok?" I asked the giggling bunch in my arms, who quickly scrambled elsewhere, as I stood up and reissued my invitation to their father, who was watching all this with a bemused expression on his face.
Eric came in, and I pointed him to a chair, as I sat on the sofa and was once again submerged in kids, as they crawled up and onto me demanding to be held which I gladly did.
"I guess introductions are in order then. I'm Eric Carlson, and the monsters are Kevin, on your left, Danny in the middle, and Randy on your right." he said, as I looked at each in turn, who were busily shooting dirty looks at their father, for calling them monsters.
"It's nice to meet all of you, my name's Mike Reynolds." I told them, speaking to all four, as the boys looked back at me, before snuggling into me once again, with one of them mumbling "we're not monsters."
"Of course not, you're little angels." I told them, in all seriousness, which they liked, but Eric found funny, for some reason, as he started laughing and said, "you just don't know them well enough." which got a "Daaaaad" from someone.
He was back to looking at me strangely again, but I didn't comment on it, as he said, "I just wanted to come by and thank you for yesterday."
"Your welcome. I'm just glad that I was there, when I was." I told him, as he chuckled and said, "so am I, believe me, so am I."
"So will you?" Danny asked looking up at me, as the other two chimed in, "yeah will you?"
"You know it might help if you'd let me ask first" Eric chided them gently.
I guess this grown up conversation was boring them a bit, but I cracked up when Randy said, "So ask him daddy," in a tone that clearly said, 'and hurry up about it'.
Eric glared at him, but it obviously had no effect, as Randy just smiled back at him, with wide eyed innocence plastered on his face.
"I wanted to invite you back to the house, to visit and have dinner." Eric said finally.
I was flattered, but he had just gotten out of the hospital, and he had been hurt pretty bad on top of it, so I didn't want to impose, and began to answer, when three voices chimed in with variations of "yeah will ya?"
"Well thank you for the invitation, but you just got out of the hospital, and...." I was trying to decline when those same three voices started a cacophony of pleas
"You gotta come."
"Guys your daddy was hurt and...." I tried again as they all started up again
"He'll need help."
"Yeah, you can help him."
Came rapidly from three voices, to the point that I couldn't separate where each plea was coming from.
"Give it up; they won't leave you alone, until you agree." Eric told me, chuckling.
I looked at all three faces, which were upturned with such sad pleading puppy dog expressions on their faces, that I almost laughed, but decided to tease them a little bit.
"Weeeeelllll....I don't know....you should really get your rest." I said, as three sets of eyes got wider and wider, by the word, until suddenly Randy looked at me suspiciously, and said, "You're teasing us." which caused the other two to quickly look at him for a moment, before returning to look at me suspiciously, which was too much, as I started laughing.
The looks changed from ones of suspicion to glares, as they all said in unison, "That's not funny."
"Oh, yes it is, munchkins," Eric added, which got the glares divided now between us, before Danny said, "So you're comin?"
"Yes, little one, I'm coming." I said, as I kissed the tip of his nose, which got a cute little boy giggle from him, and then I lost a good portion of my hearing as the boys all started screaming,
"YEA!!!" in my ear.
Then, I had three boys scramble off of me, and start pulling on whatever part of my body they could get their hands on, calling,
"Come on, come on," as I just looked at Eric helplessly, while being pulled towards the door.
"hey don't look at me, they got you now." he said, laughing, but giving me another one of his strange looks, as he followed me out the door, locking it behind me as the munchkins wouldn't let go of me long enough for me to do it.