He must have passed out. Every muscle in his body was on fire, and every breath was labored. Reaching around he felt clotted blood in his hair, and all over his face. Rolling over, he fell off of the bench onto a concrete floor.
“Well that wasn’t too bright.” Said someone who Natog was unable to focus on.
Sitting up, he tried to will his eyes to focus. His head didn’t feel attached, like his brain was sloshing around in his skull.
“Here is some water and a towel. It looks worse than it is, the blood isn’t yours. The paramedics got most of the brains and bits of skull off of you.”
“What happened? I blacked out when someone started to tapdance on my head.” Natog felt around until he could feel the offered water bottle and the towel.
“Here, I’ll get that for you. Stand up and put your face close to the bars.”
Natog felt like hell. His back was hurting and his knees were killing him. Standing while grasping the bars for support, the cop washed his face. Finally blinking his eyes open, he could see it was Roswell. “Thanks.”
“Well you had yourself an interesting night last night.”
“Yeah, I don’t know how I survived.”
“Well, you are up shit’s creek without a paddle. You killed five cops last night.”
“Five thugs, you mean.”
“Well they are, well were, cops. We have crime scene services down there now trying to put together what happened.”
Natog knew what Roswell was going to say next. “I’ll give you a statement in a bit, after I get some food in me and I can collect my thoughts a bit.”
“Alright.” Roswell collected the towel, but left the water bottle. Turning he asked, “Did you serve?”
“In the military? No. They wouldn’t take me because I was too fat.”
Roswell smirked, “Well I don’t know how you did it, but you took out five of them.”
Roswell headed upstairs, and Natog looked around. The only illumination was a camping lantern on a small table with a half-finished game of solitaire. A folding metal chair was next to it. He was the only prisoner. A bucket had been furnished with a lid that was labeled “toilet” in large letters.
Shortly, Roswell returned with another man in an unwashed suit. “This here is Murray, he’s an ADA. He will be sitting in while you make your statement.”
“Um, am I under arrest?”
“Yes, suspicion of murder.”
“Do I get a lawyer?”
Murray chimed in, “Sure, if you can find one. Look, you were booked in, but we are still investigating what happened. Your statement will go a long way towards clearing some things up.”
“I am not ready to give a statement yet, if I could have a pencil and some paper, and a couple hours I’ll be able to give a better one.”
Murray wasn’t pleased. “Look, I just want to get this over with so we can either cut you loose or send you to Hanscomm. Either way I get to go home to a freezing house and starve.”
“I’m going to have to get my thoughts straight on what happened – it was all such a blur.”
“Alright, alright.” Murry dug a pen out from inside his sport coat and took a piece of paper from a drawer in the desk.
They played Gin while Natog worked at trying to remember every step, every shot, and every kill from the night before. He didn’t mark anything on the paper except for odd mnemonic devices. After about 45 minutes, Natog had crafted a story to fit what he remembered of the night before.
Murray looked up, “You done? Lemme see it.” Glancing at the paper, he asked “What the hell is this?”
“I’m ready to give my statement. I will need a copy.
“Oh for Chris’akes, I thought you were writing it out.”
“I was just getting my thoughts together, I’m now ready to give my statement.”
It took a couple more hours. Natog wrote out by hand 10 pages of text, complete with diagrams, and a preface including what had happened a few days before. A copy was made by Natog by writing really hard with the ballpoint pen over two sheets of paper, and a coin rubbed on the copy to highlight the indentations. Photocopiers needed power, and no one knew if they even made carbon paper anymore.
Once complete, both copies were signed by everyone. Natog kept his copy, and Roswell and the ADA went upstairs to go over the statement with the crime scene services officer. After an hour, Natog was cuffed and brought upstairs into an interview room. The Lieutenant of the barracks interrogated him for an hour with the CSS officer and Murray.
Everyone wanted the keys to his gun safe. He was going to have to forfeit his weapons. Needless to say, Natog cried “bullshit” to that. They argued for an hour more, with the ADA demanding that the weapons were to be turned over. Natog held his position that since he was innocent, until proven guilty. The ADA produced a writ from the governor declaring a state of emergency. Natog finally relented and told them which key it was on his keychain.
It all added up though. He was escorted back down to his cell by Roswell.
“Well Natog, you are one lucky son of a bitch. Do you know who those guys were?”
“The only reason, and I do mean the ONLY reason they are even bothering to investigate this is because one of your neighbors watched the whole thing.”
“You shitting me?”
“Well why didn’t they help me?”
“C’mon, if you were watching a firefight with automatic weapons, even you are not dumb enough to try and help. You take cover and pray to God a stray bullet doesn’t catch you.
“Whoever it is, I’m going to owe them big time.”
The Lieutenant’s voice shouted down from above, “Ok cut him loose and bring him up here.”
With that Natog was released “pending further investigation”. He was free, but at what cost? Two troopers drove him to his house and escorted him to his locked gun safe.
Collecting the key from one of the officers, he swung open the door to an empty gun vault. Everyone asked the same question at the same time “Where are they?”
With an acting performance worthy of an Oscar, Natog demanded to know where his weapons were, and furthermore, to go back to the Lieutenant so he could explain why his house was robbed while the cops were in charge of it. In the end, Natog had to give another statement, and asked for a written statement on how his house got robbed while being watched by the cops.
The next time he got dropped off by the Troopers, he asked them to wait. Getting a note pad from the kitchen junk drawer, Natog wrote a permission slip for his home oil to be donated for use in hospital generators. Signing and dating it, he wrote, “P.S. don’t drip oil all over the carpets!”
After the troopers left, he checked the garage. To his utter amazement, it was still locked, and no new footprints were in there. With shaking hands he checked and his ammunition and rifles were still in the jeep. Taking off a pick and shovel from the roof rack, Natog moved on to the next chore.
He then got busy using a pick to dig a grave big enough for his two dogs. It was hard work, but he planted then in the back corner of the back yard, where they liked to stand and bark at everything going on. The ground was rocky and frozen, and Natog was still quite sore. In the end he buried them halfway, then piled rocks and bricks from the firepit on top. After a moment of silence, hoping that Thor and Loki were happily chewing bones under Odin’s table in Valhalla, Natog packed his tools up and locked the garage back up.
Checking his cache, he was relived to find his weapons. Checking the time, he had an hour before the next scheduled radio broadcast. Lighting a fire, he boiled some of his last water to rehydrate a spaghetti and meat sauce meal. Letting the fire burn itself out, he connected the VHF radio up to his jeep battery and waited.
Thankfully, Bill and Mum stuck to the schedule and he made contact. Mum was worried sick when Natog didn’t come early this morning as his last transmission promised. Natog was smart enough not to mention anything about last night to his Mum. She would have freaked out. “I’ll be leaving here as soon as it’s dusk… there is nothing here for me now.”
“You had better! I know you’re not telling me everything, but we will be here.”
“I love you guys, over and out.”
Collecting his weapons from his cache he suited up and waited for dusk to come.
With a start Natog woke up. It was dark out, and he had fallen asleep on the couch. Waiting, Natog was unable to hear what woke him up. It took a moment to place his bearings and remember what was going on.
Checking his watch, it was 7:23pm. Thankfully, he didn’t sleep the whole night away. Walking through his home, he checked to make sure everything was packed for the fifth time. Realizing the dogs would not be coming, he loaded a few additional items into the passenger seat, where the dogs would have ridden shotgun.
Opening the main door to the garage, he pulled the jeep out, and carefully backed it up to the trailer. Once the trailer was connected, he pulled the trailer from his garage, and locked the garage back up. Stopping at the end of the driveway, Natog got out once again, and gave a long forlorn look at his house before getting back in the jeep and making his way to Dartmouth.
Natog was careful, and followed the back roads down through Lakeville then Westport. No one else was on the road, and he encountered no roadblocks on his journey. It took him two hours for the normally 35 minute ride. As he wove his way through the backroads, it began to snow, lightly at first, then gradually the wind picked up. Soon, Natog was driving through a good, old-fashioned nor’easter.
When he finally backed onto the lawn so he could unload easily, Mum and Bill rushed out of the house, smothering Natog in the warm embrace of family.