Twin Beeches -- an Illinois Love Story
Author: paul schoaff

Chapter 54
Resurrection, Redemption and Running

 

The Hounds are Loose, the Fox goes to Ground

 

Several frantic minutes later, the operator began to  understand where David was calling from and, perhaps, another minute for the first state trooper she contacted to grasp the nature and location of the emergency.  When he got on the line with David the signal was fading. 

 

They had to repeat themselves frequently while David told them what he knew, that a madman had shot him and was holding a woman hostage in one of the two houses at 'Twin Beeches'.  The Trooper's GPS database didn't actually include such places by name and several more minutes and phone calls were needed to pin down where that place sat, up above Sheldon's Grove, above the river bottom and route 100, on the bluff.

 

Finally, it took all the rest of the power in the phone to get the trooper to understand if they showed up at the house, then MJ and the Baby might be at great risk.  The phone finally faded away for the last time. 

 

Frustrated, David threw the phone to the floor and turned to find himself staring into the dark eyes of Eddie Hawkins.   He looked for something, anything, to grab to defend himself, but before he could do much more than panic, Eddie put his hand on David's forearm and spoke softly and plainly to him.

 

“It's alright, David.  MJ told me your name and I don't want to hurt you. I’m really glad you aren’t dead!   I came over to this house to look for more food and a gas can, and I heard you talking on the phone.  How in Hell did you get away from Buddy?”

 

“Am I hallucinating”, David wondered aloud.  Both the escapees were here, at Twin Beeches, one out to kill him and the other offering to help him.  He struggled for a moment with the idea, then, from loss of blood sunk weakly to the floor.  Had he wanted to resist, there was no strength left in him to do so.

 

Eddie tightened the temporary tourniquet again, loosened while David was talking to the Trooper. Blood had been spurting from the leg wound, and the tourniquet was slowing it, not stopping it.  Outside the old house darkness won again as another wave of the storm marched across the prairie toward the bluff.  As quickly as he could, Eddie slid David down the hallway, got hold of his shirt to hold his head up to keep it from bumping on the stairs and let him slide down slowly to the first floor.  Looking around the kitchen, he saw and grabbed a bunch of six hinge pins, cleaned and shiny and drying on the counter.  He reached into David's coat and found the keys to his pickup truck, then pulled the carpenter through the mud and lifted him into the back of the truck.  Then, the gasoline can. 

 

Finally, he sprinted back to the house splashing water and hoping the exposed bluff wouldn't attract any lighting just that moment.  He found Buddy, cowering in the kitchen against the storm, fidgeting with his gun, muttering and nervously watching me and the Baby.

 

Eddie grabbed the briefcase and the other paperwork from the post office.  He eased his left foot toward his cellmate and bent his knees slightly,  “I have to go, now, and I'm taking the girl and the baby.”

 

Buddy started, like being shocked.  “We have to go?  Now?”

 

“No," said Eddie, "you get to stay.”  With a fist full of hinge pins, and a short uppercut, he hit Buddy once, precisely on the point of his jaw, knocking him senseless for just long enough.

 

In almost less time than it takes to tell, Eddie and I and little Becky were in David's truck, speeding and sliding on the muddy road down the hill toward the county road and the state highway and the river beyond.  The troopers weren't there yet, so the gasoline for the skiff wouldn't be needed.  When we reached the highway, Eddie slid David out of the back of the truck and put him along the side of the road.  He checked the tourniquet one last time.

 

Far off in the distance, he had seen the flashing blue lights of a police cruiser, so he grabbed a magnesium flare from the emergency kit and struck it, and stuck it into the ground ten feet away from the prone figure of the young carpenter.  Hurrying away, we took the first side road he came to, and he worked his way, expertly, through little roads and paths in the Spoon River/Illinois River Bottom the whole ten miles, and after most of an hour at last, to the Havana Bridge and across into the old Illinois River city.

 

 

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