Cal’s legs were hurting from squatting behind his hiding place. It was close to midnight, and most of the activity had died down at Hernandez’s house. There were only 6 goons Cal had counted. The three had decided to make sure they got Hernandez. Cal told them the drug trade had to end, regardless if he got back the file on himself or not.
“Do you know what the signal is supposed to be?” Terrance asked Cal. Cal shook his head. “Cal, it’s dark out here, I can’t see you if you’re nodding or shaking your head!”
“I don’t have a clue,” Cal admitted. “I did see Carol sneak over there a few minutes ago, and went back to her hiding spot.”
“Where?” Terrance asked. Cal got his hand as close to Terrance’s face as he could and pointed where he had seen her. “Oh, that’s good.”
“What’s good?” Cal asked. It was at that time he saw a trail of fire head toward the direction Cal had pointed at seconds ago. He peered into the night and noticed there were a couple of drums there. They appeared to have some symbols on them. “Is that gasoline?”
That was the last thing Cal heard for a while, except for the loud explosion that took out the drums, vehicles, and part of the house.
A few seconds later a few goons stormed out of the house with weapons. Cal watched one of them dropped and realized from the angle of the bullet entry he had seen, it hadn’t come from him or Terrance. His sister was picking off the men! The second fell, and Cal had an internal count going. There were 6 goons and Hernandez by his count, so now they were down to 5 men total. Gunshots filled the night air, and Terrance and Cal got separated during the fire fight. After a few minutes, Cal was pretty sure they had taken down 4 of the 6 goons. Cal made his way into the house, as stealthily as he could. He could see movement in the kitchen. There were two men firing out the kitchen window at Terrance’s general direction. Cal came around the corner quietly, and realized that Hernandez was one of the men. He aimed very carefully and prepared to squeeze the trigger when something slammed into his chest knocking him down and the gun from his hand. He looked up, breath knocked out of his body, at the other goon he hadn’t accounted for.
The bullet had hit Cal in his Kevlar vest, but Cal was pretty sure he had broken a rib. Hernandez walked over and made a gesture for the goon to head into the kitchen. Cal heard a sharp crack and the sound of someone hitting the floor, Hernandez didn’t seem to notice, he was staring at Cal.
“You think you can come in here and take me out, after everything I did for you?” Hernandez asked threatingly. John heard another sharp crack. He heard a moan from inside the kitchen. Hernandez aimed his gun at Cal’s forehead.
“I should have done this the same night I took down the sheriff,” Hernandez said. Cal closed his eyes and began to pray. He heard a gun go off, but didn’t feel anything. He waited just a second, and heard something fall.
“But you didn’t and I just took you out!” Terrance exclaimed. Cal opened his eyes and saw Hernandez lying on the ground, looking towards him with a bullet hole in his head. Cal gulped. Terrance came over and helped Cal up. Cal held onto a table, to keep himself upright. Terrance disappeared into the house. Carol appeared in the doorway.
“You okay?” Carol asked. Cal nodded. He didn’t trust himself to speak. He was afraid his voice would crack from the terror. He felt something shoved in his hands. Terrance handed him the folder that Chris had complied on him. Cal took a deep breath and handed it back to Terrance.
“You two decide what to do with it,” Cal said.
“You realize this could ruin you?” Terrance asked.
“T, I have messed up bad, and it’s time I pay,” Cal responded. Terrance looked at Carol. She nodded. Terrance reached into his pocket, pulled out a lighter and tossed the file into an empty sink. He lit the folder and stood there and watched it burn.
“You owe both of us,” Carol said as she watched it burn. Cal nodded. “You can start by being a good sheriff, the kind of sheriff this county needs.” Cal nodded again. Carol sighed and waved him towards her. “Come on, let’s get those ribs looked at.”
Over the next few days life went back to normal for Cal. He deputized Terrance and told him that he had to quit smoking marijuana. He was pretty sure Terrance was stoned when he told him. A new girl, Samantha, moved to Queen’s Landing and seemed to flirt with Cal any chance she got. Carol continued to keep an eye on Cal to make sure he was on the straight and narrow.
It was a few weeks later that Cal woke up in the middle of the night and felt someone in the room. He started to reach for his weapon on the night stand when he heard a gun being cocked.
“It’s not there,” a voice said. “I know who you are and what you did, and I’m not happy about it. Hernandez was an idiot, but he’s my idiot. You had no right to kill him. I’m going to kill you Mr. Shelby . . . just not tonight.” With that, Cal felt, more than saw, the intruder leave the room. Cal didn’t sleep the rest of the night.
The next morning, at the sheriff’s office, Cal told Terrance what happened.
“What are you going to do?” Terrance asked.
“I’m going to do what I promised you two I’d do,” Cal answered. “We’re going to start by cleaning up what’s left of the Hernandez mess.” Terrance nodded, and went over to the weapons locker. “What are you doing?”
“I’m not going out there to fight them barehanded,” Terrance said, tossing Cal a shotgun.
“T, this is my mess, and I wouldn’t dare ask you to help,” Cal replied.
“That’s good,” Terrance said, checking his weapon. He looked up and Cal stood there still in shock. “If you try and hug me or something, I will shoot you.”
Cal nodded, and the two headed out the door.
“Thanks, T,” Cal said as they got in the vehicle.
“Don’t mention it,” Terrance replied. “I mean it, don’t mention it again.”
The two took off in the car to begin the long road of cleaning up the mess Cal had made.