The Reluctant Assassin
Chapter 1: The Beginning

Mike Little Wolf hated his job. The only saving grace was that the results of his job usually made life easier for more people than he hurt.

He brought his focus back to the present. His target was leaving the hair salon. As he moved to his car, Mike fired. The compressed air propelled the tiny dart into the victim's neck. The dart would dissolve within minutes. At its core was a tiny amount of neurotoxin. This would simulate a heart attack. Mike followed at a distance. Three minutes later the car ahead of him swerved and hit a lamppost.

The man had been a monster. He arranged for young girls of different nationalities to be brought to town for the entertainment of wealthy individuals. When he saw one that suited him, he kept her, instead. Once done with her, she was no longer in shape to do anything. Sadistic was too pleasant a word for him. The Company had received a contract on the man. Mike accepted it, after doing research. This was one contract Mike was actually pleased to carry out.

Mike had not always been an assassin. Mike came from a family of mixed European decent. When Mike was four, his folks were killed while traveling through Arizona. Not being able to find any next of kin, Mike was fostered in the home of an elderly Apache couple. Mike adored the couple. His new mom made a comment the Mike reminded her of a little wolf cub. Mike became Little Wolf to most of the folk on the reservation. Mike would listen for hours to the storytellers.

When Mike was eight, he learned to hunt with Angry Bear, his best friend. Angry Bear was nine when his father took the two boys out onto the plains. Each boy had a knife. They were expected to come home with three skins to prove their hunting ability. Both boys listened to all they were told. Angry Bear decided to concentrate in snares and bring home rabbit skins.

Little Wolf was not content with just rabbits. He watched as the trip progressed for things he would need to fashion a bow and arrows. He also snared rabbits but as something to use to make his bow. Early one morning he knocked down a bird with a thrown stone. He now had what he needed. He braided the gut into a bowstring. Using sinew, he reinforced the ends of the string, where it was strung to the bow. He bound the feathers onto the arrows, using the tiny sinews of the bird. Using hip and shoulder bones from the rabbits, he formed makeshift arrowheads. Rabbit sinew also held these in place.

Early one morning, Little Wolf went to a water hole where he had spotted wolf paw prints. He waited, in silence. Little Wolf was good at waiting. Two hours later, a large gray wolf came to drink. Little Wolf's shot was good. He punctured both lungs. The wolf jumped the stream and took off running. Little Wolf took off after him following the blood. Ten or twelve steps past the stream he came upon the wolf. It lay on its side struggling to breathe. He grabbed its nuzzle and slit its throat. He struggled skinning the wolf. This was the largest thing he had ever had to skin. When he came back to camp before supper, he was tired but proud.

Angry Bear's father could hardly believe it. The bloody arrow and the skin were all the proof that was needed.

Mike Little Wolf did everything he could to learn all the skills of the Apache. He learned hunting, tracking, and stealth, from the men. He learned herb lore and dealing with skins from the women. He was rapt, as he learned everything else he could, from the medicine man.

The next traumatic event in Mike's life started when he was sixteen. He witnessed three seniors trying to rape a freshman girl. The fact that the boys were white and the girl was an Indian really made no difference to Mike. He charged up the alley and kicked the one trying to drag the girl's pants off, in the side of the knee. There was a loud popping sound and the boy went down.

The two holding her arms got up. One let go and took a swing at him calling him an Indian lover. Mike hit him in the gut so hard he fell and started vomiting. The last one didn't even realize his friend was down, before he joined him. The one whose leg was damaged started yelling all kinds of threats. Mike ignored him and helped the girl up. They left the alley, he found out her name was Melisa when he took her home.

Mike had recognized the boy whose knee he damaged as the sheriff's boy and a member of the football team. Three weeks later, he had stayed at school late working on a science project. When he got home, he found his dad beaten to death in the living room. He found his mom beaten and raped lying on his bed. She was not quite dead. She whispered, "Six white boys. Sheriff's. New pussy." She died in his arms. Mike declared war in his soul.

He knew what he needed to do. He grabbed all the weapons and ammo they had in the house, along with all the hunting knives. He threw them in one of the toolboxes in the back of his dad's pickup. He rushed over to Melisa's house and found both Melisa and her twelve-year-old sister Janie were missing. He rushed over to the sheriff's house. Just before he got there, he turned off the lights. He put on gloves a couple of sheath knives and his two pistols. As he approached the house as he neared he saw the sheriff's car and two deputy's cars in the drive. Suddenly he heard a car. It belonged to the last deputy. He got out and walked up to the door. He didn't notice Mike hiding in the bushes. Just before he rang the doorbell, they both heard a shrill scream. The deputy chuckled out loud and said, "It looks like they started with out me." Then rang the doorbell.

Mike was furious; he jumped up behind the man, grabbed his head and gave it a severe sharp twist. Satisfied he broke the neck, he stashed the body behind a different bush. He successfully hid by the time the door opened. Another deputy was at the door. He stepped out and looked around. He called the first one's name a couple of times. When he had his back to Mike, Mike stepped out of the shadows and broke this man's neck also. After putting this body with the first, he grabbed one of the deputy's guns.

He walked in and moved very quietly. He heard the sounds of flesh being whipped. Sharp screams followed each blow. He followed the sounds. He found them coming from a doorway and steps leading down. It paused a moment and he heard the sounds of a girl weeping. He heard one voice say, "Ed, Go see what has happened to Joe. I know I said he could whip the young one first this time but if he doesn't get his ass down here, I'm going to have the pleasure of that myself." There was the sound of someone approaching the stairs.

"Frank for God's sake don't touch her, she doesn't even look like she's twelve yet."

"You need to be quiet dear, unless you want to be the center of attention again. You have been that before. Did you like it so much you want to be again?"

"Oh, God, no! But she's so young."

The voice was cut off with the sound of flesh striking flesh.

The man climbing the stairs was distracted by the sounds behind him. When he got to the top, he had no warning before the butt of a pistol struck his head. Moments later his neck was broken as well. One thing Mike had learned was not to leave a live enemy behind him.

As Mike crept down stairs, the voice called Frank said, "Well, Junior you and your friends may have to help your mom remember her place while the guys and I play with these two young squaws."

"But dad you promised we would get a piece of them, too."

"Junior I don't care what I promised. They don't look like they will survive our fun and your mom needs a lesson."

"All right dad but mom's no fun anymore." There was the sound of flesh hitting flesh again.

"Just for that you're last, and you can't hurt her while you are at it."

Mike made it down in time to see the last strike. Frank had knocked his son half way across the room. In the room, no one had any clothes on. There were the six boys from the football team, Frank, Janie was tied up and thrown in one corner, an older woman was tied up in a different corner and Melissa was tied to some kind of X frame suspended from the ceiling. It looked like she had welts all over her back and thighs as well as all her sensitive parts.

Mike decided to get everyone's attention. He shot Frank in the knee. The explosion did the trick. He was the center of attention. The boys suddenly looked more afraid of Mike than they were of Frank. He pointed at one of them. "Start tying them up, Frank is first, followed by Junior then your other friends. You do a good enough job and you may not die screaming in pain. Any one that wants to resist, go ahead. I have lots of ammo."

Mike waited. Frank resisted immediately and received a bullet in his other knee. Once they were all tied, Mike tied the last kid.

His next move was to release Melissa from the frame. He laid her on a plastic covered couch, as there was no place else except the floor. He released Janie next. He asked about their clothes and found they had been cut to shreds as they had been removed. He had her sit with Melissa. Moving to the woman, he asked,

"Do you have a good reason that I can believe as to why I shouldn't kill you too? You allowed this to happen to my friends and I don't know how many others."

"You are right. This has happened to many other girls. It has happened to me, many times, as well. The reason I lived is that he needs me to slave, cook and clean for him. I have wanted to do something but I know he has had visitors here playing from other police groups. I didn't know where to turn. If I told the wrong people, I was dead, and in a very unpleasant manner. If you choose to kill me, promise me you will kill him and the monster he has made of my son, first. I would gladly die if needed, as long as they die first."

Mike knew at that moment that she was an innocent. He could not kill her even if he wanted to. He got a close look at her and it was obvious from the scars on her body that she had been beaten many times in the way Melissa had been. He cut her free. He turned to Melissa and handed her a sheath knife. In a voice loud enough so all could hear, "If they move, hurt them. I need them alive for now so don't kill them. I may need them to talk so don't cut out their tongues. If it comes down to it they won't need their little fingers or little toes."

Melissa's eyes glowed! He could tell that she hoped that they would move.

Mike took Frank's wife upstairs. She started a bit seeing the deputy dead on her kitchen floor. "Are you really going to do it? Praise God! It will be over!"

"Yes, your pain from them will be over. Other problems will start. The authorities will blame you and you will suffer from them for this. I don't want that to happen. I don't have an answer yet but I'm working on it. Does Frank have a safe or gun vault or what ever and do you know the combination?"

"Yes he does and yes I know the combination. He was so bad with numbers, that even the ones in his office probably have the same combination."

"Were any of the deputies married?"

"No, nobody would have them."

"Well, I have to finish this. You may not know it but those six boys beat my father to death and beat and raped my mother to death. They will die."

"My God! What monsters."

"Yes. They are. I find I can't be as big a monster as they were. I will merely kill them. I will send the girls up. Find them something to wear, even if it's just large tee shirts. Then I want all the weapons in this house put in my truck. They can help you."

Mike went back to the basement and reclaimed his knife. He noticed there was some blood on it and it looked like Junior's chest had a tic tac toe board carved in it. He looked at Melissa. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "He was bragging about killing your dad and raping your mom. I didn't like the noise. If you would like a game, I would be happy to play you, they have lots of skin left. We have all night."

Mike made the girls leave. Starting with Frank, he kicked them all as hard as he could in the crotch. Then starting with the one who had cooperated he broke their necks. He piled their bodies in a heap in the corner. He brought the deputies bodies in and added them to the pile after removing weapons and money.

While he was in the basement, he searched it. It didn't take him long. He found a hidden room. Inside there were a couple of file cabinets, and a desk with a computer.

Mike was a wiz at computers. It didn't take him long before he had all of Frank's bank information saved to a memory stick. Then he erased and shredded it from the computer. Between the memory stick and a little notebook from the desk, he was ready to go.

He met the girls upstairs. They had finished with the guns and ammo. Mike had Susan (the sheriff's wife) take him to the safe. It was huge. Mike opened it using the combination Susan knew. The safe was practically stuffed with money. Mike knew he would need it if he were to have a chance of getting away. Grabbing a box of tall kitchen trash bags he started stuffing them without regard for what he was throwing in. He put the three bags in the back of his truck, and put the tarp over them.

Grabbing the keys from the men, he emptied all the vehicles of anything that might come in handy, including the high power radio rig from the sheriff's car. Once all of it was in his truck, he had Susan take the girls to the sheriff's office. They all parked by the side door. After opening the weapons locker, he had Susan and the girls take all the weapons there and pile them in his truck as well. He ransacked the office including the safe he found there. Adding his bags to the truck, it was starting to get full.

He gave a large bundle of hundreds to Susan and a large bundle of twenties to Melissa. He told Melissa and Janie to tell their parents everything that happened. They shouldn't be embarrassed because it wasn't their fault.

"Make sure to tell them that the law did this. You should hold off reporting for a week, until the FBI can get here."

He told Susan to get some clothes and disappear. Go to a relative. Get out of state. Anything she wanted, but hide for at least two weeks, because it was likely she would be blamed for part of it.

Once he was alone again, he bought several prepay cell phones, for cash. Using one of those, he called directory assistance to find the number for the tip line in Washington D.C. Once he had that, he turned around and started to call Washington. Suddenly he lost service. He couldn't understand it, he hadn't moved. None of his cell phones had service, really weird. Suddenly the passenger door on his truck open and a man got inside. The man was greeted by a sheath knife about two inches from his waist. Mike suggested, "You might want to tell me what you're doing in here, before you start bleeding."

"How unusual, I wasn't expecting that. May I say you did a very professional job tonight?"

"Enough compliments, you have yet to tell me why my knife shouldn't be turning red here in a few seconds."

"No, I haven't, yet. How about doing something unusual, I am going to tell you the truth. I am wired and there are two people pointing rifles at your head. If I say a code word or make sounds indicating I have been knifed, you will lose your head. Now, I would really feel better if you put that away so we can talk."

"I assume you are why my cell phones won't work. You must not want to involve the Feds."

"Not yet, anyway. I am here to offer you a job. If you accept, we need to fix things a bit, so you aren't involved anywhere. If not you are on your own, you will probably end up in prison if you live that long. Cops don't like cop killers, even if the cops killed were dirty. In any case, we need to check those bags for anything that may incriminate someone not pointed at by the stuff at the house."

"Something tells me if I don't accept, my body will never be found. The only pleasure I would get, would be sending you ahead to greet me in hell if I turned it down. Tell me what I get if I join you. Also, tell me what will happen to the girls and Susan."

"Originally, the girls were just going to be victims. Susan would have been a complication that would have been removed some time during the mission. You, on the other hand, receive many things besides being able to breathe. You will receive a healthy six-figure income, until training is considered over. Then it will be doubled. Each successful assignment will bring you a seven or eight digit bonus."

"What exactly would these assignments entail?"

"The worst would include eliminating a group of people and anyone that stands in your way. Commonly it is removing a single individual. Occasionally it will mean ruining a person and allowing them to keep breathing. In most cases time is not a factor, when it is a rush job, the pay is better."

"What about salvage rights? I would like the bonuses I get to be paid in gold. As a cover, I will need a college education, in some field that allows me to travel as a consultant. I will not hit an innocent or at least mostly so. Lastly, anyone that touches someone I consider my family, or under my protection, is dead. Even someone in your precious Company."

The man shook his head. This kid was something else. In a situation where most would have broken down this guy was setting terms.

"Granted although there may come a situation where salvage is not permitted. We will have a cover story in place, by Monday. You and the girls will be able to return to school. Susan will become guardian for you and the girls, too, if their parents reject them.

"We will secure a topper for your pickup.

"The girls were intercepted on their way to their home. Right now, they are on their way to a motel about an hour away. At last report, they were more concerned that we might hurt you, than they were about themselves. You will be joining them in a short time, assuming you cooperate."

Mike decided to go along with it. The bags were removed from his truck before he could blink. He did tell them which ones came from the house versus the ones that came from the office.

As an act of trust, Mike was told how to get to the motel and sent off. By the time he got to the motel, he was even more surprised. Somewhere they had found a matching topper to his beat up truck and a couple of them were putting it on within minutes of him driving up. In addition, the men that had taken the sacks put several back in his truck when the topper people were finished. When he looked in the bags, the money was still all there. The only papers left were stocks and bonds.

When Mike knocked on the girls' door, it opened. He was grabbed and jerked in. He was suddenly hugged tightly by three females. He liked the feel, but he wasn't sure what was going on.

"Ok. I realize you miss me, but for real, what's going on?"

Susan recovered the use of her voice first.

"They said that if you didn't join them, we would become loose ends that they had to deal with. I got the impression we wouldn't see another day."

The girls just nodded their heads.

Mike thought for a minute.

"I know it's horribly mundane, but I am hungry. How about you guys?"

Just then, there was a knock on the door. Mike answered the door when he realized that the only thing Susan had on was a large tee shirt. There was a box on the step outside the door. Bringing it in, he found there were two outfits for each of them in the box. Also in the box was a piece of paper. It said pizza with one phone number and Chinese with another phone number. They decided Chinese food sounded good. Susan and the girls slipped into the bathroom one at a time and put on some clothes. While the girls were changing, Susan went over to her purse. She got out the two bundles of money and returned them to Mike.

"What are these for? I told you and the girls they were for you."

"I know, Mike, but right now just take them. The girls and I decided you should handle all the money."

Mike shook his head. When it was time for bed he started to go to his room, they whined at him not to leave them alone. He slept in one king size bed while they slept in the other.

The next morning he found Susan smuggled up on one side with Melissa on the other. Janie was behind her sister. Nothing had happened but he was annoyed.

"Ok! Everyone up! You all have some explaining to do. Susan you first."

She looked down at the carpet and nervously wrung her hand together, "But they will hear what I say."

"You blew that option when I found you in my bed now talk."

"Yes, Master. I am submissive. I need someone to take care of me and tell me what to do. I wish you to be my master. You will be so much nicer than the last one. It felt good lying near you."

"Let me get this straight. You want me to take care of you and tell you what to do." Susan nodded. "Does that mean I am supposed to beat you and force you to have sex and everything I saw in the basement?"

Susan violently shook her head. "No master. I don't enjoy pain. If I never have forced sex again, I will rejoice. Right now, even the idea of normal sex is repulsive. Please, Master, don't get me wrong. I will do what you tell me to but the thought of sex with anyone, right now, makes me sick."

"So if I can care for you lovingly like a parent does for a child, will that be enough?"

"Oh, yes, Master! That would be wonderful!"

Mike shook his head. Life was weird.

"Ok, Melissa, your turn. Why were you in my bed?"

"I had nightmares. Every time I fell asleep, I dreamed about the beating again. I also dreamed that anyone who saw me naked, would run away, because of the scars they would see on my body. I am so ugly. Once, when I woke up, I saw Susan sleeping peacefully by you. She had a contented smile on her face. I had to try and see if being near you would help me sleep. It worked. I don't remember a single nightmare after snuggling up to you."

Weirder and weirder.

"Ok, Janie?"

"I woke up several times in the night, seeing the beating, also. Each time the only way I could go to sleep, was to reach out and touch my sister, just to make sure she was alive and breathing. I was so sure she was dead, a couple of times. It must have been my dreams. After she moved, the next time I woke up I moved just to make sure she was ok."

All he could think of was these poor broken women. 'How can I care for them all? I am only a boy. I must shape up! A boy becomes a warrior after his first successful raid or hunt. Those I chose to protect are still alive. I am uninjured. I am strong, and my enemy is dead. I am a man.'

"Ok, Mr. Whoever-is-listening, we are going out to a breakfast buffet. Then I am taking these girls shopping. If there is some kind of show this afternoon, I would like us to go see it. If we can help build whatever alibi you're building, we would be happy to help."

They stopped at IHOP for breakfast. Then they went to a close mall. After the second store, Mike noticed Melissa had tears in her eyes. "You're in pain aren't you?" She just nodded her head. "We are going back to the motel."

She shook her head and said, "I don't want to ruin everyone's day."

"Nope I insist we need to get some kind of medicine on those scars." She blushed but allowed Mike to take them back.

"Ok Mr. Listener we need some medicine for pain and something to put on her skin. Please arrange it."

After the medicine and lotion were delivered, He asked Melissa take off everything that covered a beaten area.

When she took off everything he blushed until he saw the marks then his blush turned to rage.

He had killed them too quickly.

Janie was sitting there watching. "Mike can we help her? I know she needs to be in a hospital. Is there anything we can do?"

Mike replied, "This lotion is supposed to help her heal. I am just afraid of putting it on some parts of her. I don't want her thinking I am trying to molest her."

"Mike I know you won't hurt my sister, especially when she is like this. If there are places where you can't put it on, Susan and I can help. Melissa would prefer you to do it, to show you are not afraid of how ugly she thinks she is."

"But even like this she is beautiful and her personality makes her more so." He gently but firmly put lotion everywhere it was needed. When he was finished he was satisfied, he had not fondled anything.

Janie said, "That was beautiful to watch. It is easy to see you care for her deeply. You know, in our peoples past, we are both old enough to marry and you are definitely the age of a young warrior. Now that you are blooded, there would have been a good chance of having both of us in your lodge."

Mike blushed so hard he almost looked scarlet.

"You know the bride price on the pair of you would be huge. It would have been easier to steal away with the two of you, and make you mine, than to pay the huge price to your father for your beauty."

It was Janie's turn to blush. Both Susan and Mike laughed at that.

Everyone was pleased to see that Melissa had fallen asleep. Mike told Susan to stay and watch Melissa. He suddenly realized how nice it was to have at least one person that wouldn't argue.

They went to the office and brought back several DVD movies to watch. The next days went very quickly. Between the pain medicine and lotion frequently, Melissa was doing much better.

By Sunday night, none of them were ready for Monday. Early in the evening just after they had eaten, a young lady knocked on the door and was admitted.

"I represent the Company Mike will be joining. I need to brief you on what has been happening, since Tuesday."

Mike interrupted, "What's wrong. Something has happened, and you don't want to tell us about. Yes, you are here to tell us what the Company has been doing, to deal with Tuesday's problem. I would guess you were told something in the last hour that you don't want to reveal to us. I will tell you now that your continued health and prosperity will be promoted by telling us everything, quickly."

His voice tone was completely flat.

Sandy had never been more frightened in her life. The boy in front of her could kill her, and she knew it. Susan interposed herself between Mike and this woman.

"Master I beg you to calm down. You are scaring her to the point that she will faint. I am sure she will tell us the truth. Let me speak to her a moment."

Susan pulled Sandy to the side. Before she could say anything Sandy whispered in her ear, "What am I going to do? I was just told something that I know, will hurt the girls. It's not my fault. The only reason I am here is because they thought your group would relate better to a woman than to a man. I just saw your file this morning. I have not been working on your case at all."

"Just tell him the truth. All of it. No sugar coating. You will find that that is what he responds best to."

Sandy took a deep breath. "Susan told me the best thing I could do is tell the full truth. My name is Sandra Dawson. That's my real name, not my cover. Someone in the Company thought you would respond better to a young cute female.

"They gave me your file, stuck me on a plane, and told me to learn it well enough to answer your questions without notes. After I finished supper, I was given a second file, the contents of which will upset you all. Do you want me to tell you the worst thing first or tell everything in order?"

"Susan has asked me to trust you. If she is wrong, I will punish her. I give you my word of honor ... as a warrior ... that I will do nothing to you unless you attack me or mine first. For clarification, these three are all, right now, that count as mine. You may share the information in whatever order you feel would make it easiest to understand."

Sandy suddenly felt a whole lot better. "The information you helped us recover exposed thirteen other officers as dirty. Frank was also blackmailing several prominent citizens. The officers were looked at on a case-by-case basis to see if they were to be terminated, or just kicked out. Several politicians have resigned and will be moving away.

"Wednesday, your parents were found and taken to the morgue. Our staff has taken care of things. If you go home, you won't have to deal with blood and such. Also, on Wednesday, we informed the girls' parents that they were in protective custody for about a week pending the outcome of an investigation. We also started paper work for Mike to be an emancipated minor, seeing as he has a job, now.

"Things were going along fine. We have contacted the school. Since there are only two weeks left they are willing to have you take your final exams for the year at a place of our choosing. We will provide a tutor and the tutor can proctor the exams. All three of you were doing great in school and would pass even if you didn't take the exams. We just thought you would want the best grades possible.

"Now the bad news. Melissa, Janie, your parents were killed Friday night. They were headed up to the casino to spend the weekend and were killed in an accident. Some kids were drag racing on the highway. Apparently, they popped over a hill just as your parents were almost at the top. All three vehicles ended up off the road in a ravine. They burst into flame at some point and all were killed, seven kids and your parents." Sandy watched the girls' reaction. They had been snuggled onto Mike, and they just hugged him tighter.

With tears in her eyes Janie asked, "Does that mean Mike can be our brother and we can stay with Susan?"

"That's one of the choices. The four of you will have to decide what you want. We have recommendations, but it's your life. You all must choose what you want to do. Just for the record, Mike will have several training camps to go to. At least two will be this summer. That means he will not be with you all the time."

Mike looked at Sandy.

"I want to apologize to you for what happened earlier. I could tell you wanted to hold something back, and it made me angry. Now I see you merely wanted to protect the girls' feelings. I honor you for that. Do you formally accept my apology?"

"Yes, I accept your apology."

"Good, if it doesn't disrupt your life too much, I would like you to become the contact that we use most of the time when we are dealing with the Company. You have figured out the best way to deal with us, and that is the hard truth. If you can't tell us the truth for some security reason or other, just say that. Don't mess with some story or other. If you folks are using a story for a cover, tell me the story but let me know it's a story. If you agree to these things, I will expand me and mine to include you because I like you.

"I am sure you have something that you are supposed to recommend to us as far as what our next step should be. Please give me that recommendation, and tell me if you agree with it, personally."

Sandy could not get over how perceptive this boy was.

'No, after what has happened, he isn't a boy anymore. I must think of him as a young man, ' she thought.

She smiled, and said, "Yes, I have a couple of options for you, if you want to stay together. The first is that you stay in the same town. You could continue in the same school, you would live in one of the houses you own between the four of you, and sell the other two. Normally, Susan's house would be the one we recommend, since it is the biggest. But seeing what happened there, it is very low on my list.

"The other suggestion is that you leave this part of the country, completely. With what Mike will be making, you could live anywhere in the country you want. That is my suggestion for you. It has the added advantage that no one will know that Susan was ever associated with those bastards."

Mike looked at the girls that had become his responsibility and said, "We will move. Where do you live, Sandy?"

"Near St. Louis, why?"

"I was serious about you continuing to be our contact person. If we move near St. Louis, it will make your life easier to fulfill that role. If we have to move it really doesn't matter to us, where.

"Another thing ... I want you to look up home school requirements where we are going to live. I am not sure how soon the girls will want to go back to public school. I am positive Melissa will not want to go to gym class, and have to shower where the other girls can make fun of the marks on her."

At this point Melissa squeezed him so hard he felt like he might break in half.

Sandy laid out the schedule for the next week. There were several funerals they had to attend. They had houses to pack, and tests to get ready for. They would be busy.

They had packed Mike's house and the girls' house. While they were working on Susan's, Mike moved most of the weapons from his pickup into the storage container they were using. The rest he stashed in the big new quad cab pickup Frank owned that was now theirs. It had a nice matching topper and was a long bed truck. He moved the stocks and money into a pair of suitcases. The container was mostly full when Mike and Janie were poking around in the basement one last time. Janie suggested they check to secret room. Mike noticed that the filing cabinets had been up on a platform. He tried to move the platform and couldn't. He was about to give up when he heard something click. Janie had found the catch. The whole assembly swung out from the wall revealing another safe. Janie went to get Susan and Melissa while Mike tried to open the safe. The safe contained money, jewelry, papers and what looked like small bars of gold. Susan suggested that they call Sandy. By the time they were finished Mike had another suitcase. This one was filled with the gold and more money.

Edited By TeNderLoin

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