I was sure that this was the last roundup. I was going to leave my small family behind and never see Dougie grow up or see any more children. I could picture Daphne’s face so clearly that it hurt. It was the saddest part of my situation. Daphne and I had so much in common and really needed each other. We both had no families. We were both raised by foster parents. Both of our sets of parents died shortly after we were born, so we never knew them at all. We were not given the chance, as kids are today, to find our parents or know our families. Those were pretty stringent rules when we were growing up. Our lives were intertwined on so many different levels.
I was jolted out of my thoughts by the appearance of another person in the warehouse. This person seemed to be in charge. He was a bulky, over six foot man with large hands and an acromegalic face. He was, in short, scary. He knelt down and looked me in the face. “Mr. Hodges,” he croaked, “Your life is finished. However, you might want to consider what we might do to your son and your wife after we are finished with you. Maybe your wife knows something that you are not telling us.” That got my attention. I could not bear to think that Daphne and Dougie would be harmed in any way because I did not tell them what they wanted.
“I am not sure exactly what the questions are. Your men did not tell me what they wanted. I told them why I was asking questions and that was absolutely true. I was wondering why Miss Reinhold was driven off the road. I even suspected that it had something to do with her request to meet with me the next day. That is the truth and that is what I told them.” The man looked me in the eyes and said, “That is part of the truth, but you have omitted several parts.” I replied, “Ask me specific questions and I will try and answer them. I am still not sure what you want.” “All right he said, “Did you discover Mr. Driggs’ body?” “Yes I did,” I answered. “Did you think that Mr. Driggs died of natural causes?”
“I did at first, and then there were too many questions to which I had no answers.” “Did you discuss these questions with any one?” I told him that I had discussed Mr. Driggs’ death with Mrs. Pagliarulo and that she was now deceased.” Anyone else,” he asked. I told him that I had approached Mr. Ryerson, but he seemed not to care about Mr. Driggs’ death. The man went into a frenzy and started screaming at me that I was lying and there was no more use for me. He pulled out a gun and aimed it at my forehead. “This is your last chance,” he yelled. I had nothing more to say.
As he began to aim at my head, I heard a soft pffft sound and a large red rose appeared on the man’s forehead. He dropped the gun and then fell to the floor. With two or three more sounds, the other two men fell to the floor. I was stunned. The warehouse was now silent, except for footsteps that were coming closer to me. I finally looked up and saw Aramis Baumgartner walking towards me with a gun and a sound suppressor on it. I let out a great gust of air. “Did you have to wait that long? “ I asked.


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