“Earth to Scotty,” Jimbo said. “I could use some help here. Grab this asshole’s other arm would you?”
“Huh? Oh, sure.” Aidan took hold of Power and together the two men hoisted him onto one of the sturdy oak dining chairs. Power’s scalp was bleeding and the rag had fallen off his bloody hand. Aidan looked over at Kian. “Get us something to tie this guy up, will you?”
Hurrying to the pantry, she found a roll of duct tape, tossed it to Aidan. Without a word to either of the men, she quickly returned to nursing Owen. “Are you ok? Anything hurt?” Kian asked, her voice soft and caring.
“Just my head,” Owen replied.
“Move your arms and legs for me, will ya?”
“Sure.” Owen flailed his extremities about, catching Kian around the neck and pulling her closer. “I’m fine. See?”
Aidan growled. Kian looked up to see him yank the tape tighter around Power’s wrists. He cut the tape with his teeth and then roughly wrapped each of the man’s legs, securing them to the chair.
Kian hurried to the kitchen and returned to Owen with a flashlight and an ice pack which she placed on his head. “Close your eyes,” she said. A minute later Kian carefully peeled the right eyelid back to shine the flashlight into it. She repeated the procedure with the left eye. Satisfied, she patted him on the shoulder. “Pupils equal and reacting to light. You seem to be okay. Can I get you anything? Hungry?”
With a boyish grin, Owen replied, “Got coffee? Haven’t had any this morning.”
Kian heard Aidan mumble, “I haven’t had my coffee either,” and watched as Jimbo feigned a punch at his head. “Maybe you need to get yourself knocked out, meathead.”
Before Kian could say anything, Power groaned, bringing everyone’s attention squarely back to the task at hand. Aidan stepped in front of Power, grabbed him by his collar and growled, “You want to explain what’s going on?”
Power’s look shot daggers first at Aidan and then at Jimbo. The room went eerily quiet as everyone waited for the answer.
Power scowled, fixed his gaze on Kian, then studied Owen who was now sitting up and holding his head. After a minute, Power turned to Aidan and spit at him.
“Seems we won’t be getting much out of you.” Aidan wiped the back of his hand on Power’s shirt.
Power let out a defiant snarl and scrutinized Kian. “Baby, you have no idea what’s going to happen next. But, you can stop it. Just give me that Ark.”
Aidan grabbed Power’s chin, forcing his gaze away from Kian. Jimbo stood with arms crossed leaning against the counter that separated the dining table from the kitchen.
“That box is mine, not hers. Her family stole it from me and I sent you idiots to find it, not hog-tie me.”
Kian took several steps toward Power, capturing the man’s attention once again. Her voice was calm and steady. “So, why do you say it belongs to you? Just tell me. Just explain it to me. If it’s yours, I’ll give it to you.”
Power jerked his chin out of Aidan’s grip as his expression softened. “I’ll tell you everything. But first bring it to me.”
“Can’t do that, old man.” Jimbo leaned forward. “It’s not here. And you aren’t getting it ’till we know how it’s yours.” He leaned back again. “So maybe you should start the story.”
“Okay,” Power smirked, “what do you want to hear first? About the Ark? Or would you rather hear how Raven opened a Demon Hole back there and what came out terrifies even me?” Power let the silence linger for a few moments. “Which is it?”
From across the room, Owen gasped, “The Demon Hole.”
“Okay, the Demon Hole it is. I want you all to listen up. Someone’s got to put that thing back and it’ll take a sacrifice, but that’s what you all enjoy so much, right? Sacrifices? Okay, so here we go.”
There was a muffled pop, like an explosion of air. Jimbo took a dive for the floor as Power’s chair fell to the side, sending the big man crashing down. Aidan and Owen both rushed for Kian, pushing her down to the floor and shielding her with their bodies. Minutes passed. Nobody stirred.
Finally, Aidan whispered, “Anybody hurt?”
“Okay here,” replied Jimbo.
“Kian, you ok?”
“If you two lugs would get off me, I might know better. I’m suffocating.” Aidan and Owen both scrambled away.
“Stay down, all of you.” Jimbo pointed toward the side window, the one that faced the shed. Shattered glass covered the hard wood floor. “That bullet came through there.”
Jimbo eased himself up onto his knees. Kian noticed something sticky on his hands. It was blood. He wiped it on Power’s shirt. “Not mine,” he said. Kian could see one neat clean hole right in the center of Power’s skull.
Aidan broke the silence. “Stay down,” he whispered. “Someone’s coming up the driveway. We’re not alone.”
“I don’t hear anything,” Owen said as he started to stand, but Kian pulled him back down.
“You won’t,” she said. “He senses things like that. Now shhh….”
Seconds later, Kian heard men coming up the driveway.
“It come from ’round ‘ere,” one man insisted. “I’m telling ya, I heared Bigfoot callin’, like the matin’ call or somethin’, and twenty minutes later I heared a shot.”
“I didn’t hear no shot,” a second man said.
“Ya gotta know what your hearin’ out here. You aren’t still in the suburbs ya know. It was high powered. A rifle. Muffled. Real big game stuff.”
“Think someone bagged one? Think someone finally got us a Bigfoot carcass? Now that would be the smokin’ gun, wouldn’t it? Get it? Smokin’ gun? Gun? Killed it? Got the proof?” He laughed.
“Don’t be stupid,” a third man interjected. “Them things is inter-dy-mensional. They blinks out before you can hits ’em.”
“Says who?” There was a challenge in the jokester’s tone.
“Those guys on the internet, the ones with all them books. They come in space ships.”
A woman spoke this time. “Okay, smarty-pants, you ever see one blink out?”
“No. You ever see a Bigfoot?”
“No,” the woman replied.
“See, I told you.”
Still arguing, the voices trailed off into the forest, and the house grew quiet again.
“Think those guys scared off our shooter?” Aidan crept over to Power’s body and placed two fingers on the fallen man’s neck. “No pulse.”
Kian crawled over to Power. The man was dead, she could see that. No amount of resuscitation would bring him back.
“From the look of the wound, I’d say he had no idea what hit him,” Jimbo offered with a shrug.
Aidan, a crooked grin on his face, looked quizzically at Jimbo. “You want to be the one to call this in, buddy?”
Jimbo rolled his eyes, “Not me, it’s all yours.”
Owen stood and confronted the two men. “Call it in? To whom? The FBI? The local authorities?” Despite Jimbo’s warning look, he marched over to Aidan. “This is no joke! This guy was tied up when he was shot. How’re you gunna explain it? You two baboons got any ideas?”
Owen’s tall lanky frame towered over Aidan, but Aidan raised his pointed his index finger pushed it at the taller man’s face, causing him to back up. “Listen, sonny,” Aidan said. “We got a bigger problem. This was no random shot that just happened to find this guy’s skull. Whoever did this is professional. That was no yahoo. That was a trained sniper, and a good one I might add.”
“I don’t understand,” Kian said. “Who would kill him?”
“Good question.” Jimbo walked to the kitchen door, opened it, and looked out. “I’m going scouting. You coming, Scotty? I could use some back-up this time.”
“Be right with you.” He turned to Kian, “Get dressed and ready to move out. Wear something that blends in with the land back there. We may have to hike out of here.”
Then he pointed to Owen. “You. Stay put until you hear from us. You say you’re her Guardian? So now prove it. Guard her. And ditch that orange shirt while you’re at it. There should be something more suitable in my duffle. I already got one dead body on my hands. I don’t need two.”
By Rizuan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons