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Authors: Neal Wooten

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BOOK: Pit Bulls vs Aliens
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“You there,” the officer yelled. “Let’s start with you, honey. Come on, get off your butt.”

Glenda looked up and saw the female officer pointing at her. She got up and followed her out and down a long hallway. They passed the fingerprinting table, mug shot area, several smaller offices, and a water cooler. The officer led her to an interrogation room and motioned for her to sit at the table. He then took off her cuffs and left the room.

Several moments passed as Glenda wondered if anyone was behind the one-way mirror. Finally the door opened and Sergeant Marcus Olazaba walked in carrying Glenda’s satchel with her Bluetooth and purse. He was a very clean-cut Latino man in his early thirties.

“Do you have any idea how much trouble you’re in?” he asked as he placed his fists on the table and stared across at Glenda. “Well, do you?”

Glenda shrugged. “I’m sorry.”

The sergeant shook his head. “You are loco. That’s what you are. You do know that, right? And for God’s sake, take off that stupid wig.”

Glenda smiled and pulled off the red wig, revealing her long, straight gray hair. She ran her fingers through the strands where it had been compressed by the wig.

“How do you think I felt,” Sergeant Olazaba continued, “to come to work this evening only to have the chief inform me that Miss Glenda Eagle had sent an e-mail saying she was going undercover tonight to a dogfighting event and would be sending us the information and pictures shortly?”

Glenda gritted her teeth. “You told me to let you know about any such events. That’s all I was doing.”

“No, no,” corrected the sergeant. “I said to let us know if you had information, not to take this information and infiltrate the organization yourself. You could have been killed.” He opened the satchel and pulled out the Bluetooth. “What if they had discovered this was a camera uploading a live feed to the Internet?” He opened her purse and took one of the stacks of twenty-dollar bills out. “Or what if they had looked more closely and saw these were only ones with a twenty on each side?”

Glenda sat still. She knew rhetorical questions when she heard them and wasn’t about to make things worse by answering.

“Are you not even going to answer me?” he snapped.

“I’m sorry,” Glenda offered weakly. “If you need to charge me with a crime, I understand. I just couldn’t not try to help those dogs.”

Sergeant Olazaba started to say something else, but the door to the interrogation room opened. He quickly stood at attention as the chief walked in.

Chief Jackson walked in and sat at the chair across from Glenda. He stared at her with dark eyes and a seriously upset expression. He was physically intimidating even without the expression, a tall, lean, African American police officer with twenty-three years on the force. He sported three gunshot scars: two from the military and one from the line of duty. “Well, well,” he said mockingly. “If it ain’t Sherlock Holmes. No, wait—James Bond. What in the hell were you thinking?”

Glenda could only shrug her shoulders.

“You’re lucky we don’t throw you under the jail.” It wasn’t an original line, but effective. He looked at the sergeant. “Should we throw the book at her, Sarge?”

“Yes, sir. I think we should. But she’d probably just throw it back.”

The chief didn’t even crack a smile, just continued to stare at her.

“Can I say something?” Glenda asked.

“No!” they both shouted.

The chief finally got up and walked to the door. As he opened it, he turned to leave a few parting words. “If I ever read an e-mail like that from you again, I’ll . . . I’ll . . . Well, I better not ever receive an e-mail like that from you again. Am I clear?”

Glenda nodded. “Yes, sir.”

One last glance up at the sergeant and the chief walked out.

Sergeant Olazaba shook his head and sat in the chair across from her, the same chair the chief had just vacated. “Look, I know you love these dogs. So do I. I admire all the good you do for them up at your rescue. I just don’t want to see anything happen to you. What would all your dogs do without you?”

Glenda hadn’t even looked at it from that point of view. Her shelter, the Pit Stop, stayed maxed out at almost one thousand pit bulls. She knew each one personally and loved each one uniquely. “You’re right,” she said. “It was foolish. Next time I’ll give you the information.”

The sergeant looked at her with disbelief, then laughed. “We better leave it on that note. I don’t think you’ve ever agreed with me before. Now go on, get the heck out of here and go home.”

Chapter Three

“Shark!”

Erique Sarpong and his fourteen-year-old son, Emmanuel, stared across the small wooden table for a full second before dropping their playing cards and running to the back of the boat, both of their folding chairs tumbling to the deck. This was the general direction of the scream, but no one was visible, so they weren’t sure who had called out.

Five years ago, when the tourist industry began to boom in North Africa, Erique had converted his fishing operation along the crowded beaches of Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, into a charter business, taking rich foreign tourists out scuba diving. He cleaned up his old twenty-five-foot boat, added a fresh coat of paint, refinished the decking, and gave her a name:
The Blue Horizon
. It proved to be a smart move, as the money he made doing this far outweighed what he squeezed out of the local fish market. It was much easier work, and he could actually take days off to enjoy time with his family. But in all those years, this was the first time he had ever heard this word.

“Where are they, Papa?”

Erique scanned the surface of the water, the small swells rocking the boat gently. He stepped over the transom and onto the diving platform that he had built and added to his boat. Bracing himself with one hand on the large outboard motor, he squatted down as if trying to peer into the sea, his strong, thin frame flexing the muscles beneath his dark skin, which reflected in the bright sunshine. Beads of sweats began falling from his shaved head. “I don’t know. Keep your eyes open.”

A hand breached the surface twenty feet behind the boat. Without thinking, Erique dove in and began to swim toward the diver. As he neared the person, he could taste the blood in the water. He grabbed on to the diver’s hands and pulled them to him. The diver panicked and tried to use Erique, who was not wearing a life jacket, as a flotation device. Luckily Erique was a strong swimmer and managed to keep them both above water and began swimming back toward the boat. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he felt something brush against his leg.

Emmanuel, still in a state of shock himself, wiped the tears from his eyes and grabbed the foam lifesaver, climbed over the transom, and threw it out in their direction while holding on to the attached rope. As his father latched on, he pulled them quickly to the boat and helped his father get the diver onto the platform. It was the woman diver.

“Where is your husband?” Erique asked as the woman climbed over into the boat and collapsed onto the deck.

She took off her mask, the fear still clearly visible in her eyes. “I don’t know. We were not together. A shark came out of nowhere and hit me from behind. I never saw it.” She didn’t look at Erique when she spoke. She didn’t appear to be speaking to anyone in particular.

As Erique helped her remove the gear, he noticed the air line coming from her tank had been severed. Then he noticed the blood cascading down her wet suit into his boat. “You’re bleeding. Did the shark bite you?”

The woman didn’t respond. Her eyes were now void of understanding, as if Erique were not speaking English.

“Keep an eye out for the husband,” Erique instructed his son as he started running his hands over the woman’s shoulders, arms, and back, searching for a wound. As he caressed the back of her left arm, she grimaced in pain. He lifted her arm, looked around, and saw the bite mark. It had penetrated the wet suit, and several punctures seemed to be pretty deep. He got up and went to the controls of the boat and retrieved the first-aid kit. “Help her take the stuff off,” he said to Emmanuel.

Emmanuel did as his father instructed. As he began to help her off with the suit, he looked out over the water. “Papa, there he is.”

Erique followed the direction of his son’s finger and saw the other diver, the woman’s husband, swimming on the surface about fifty feet off the starboard side. He appeared to be fine, so Erique squatted down again to see to the woman’s wound.

“Look!” Emmanuel yelled. “Dolphins.”

Erique breathed a sigh of relief. If the shark was still around, the dolphins would protect the diver still in the water. As he began to clean the bite wound, however, he was shocked. It was not a shark bite. The puncture wounds indicated a much narrower jawline than a shark.
Maybe a barracuda
? he thought. No, it wasn’t a barracuda either, but there was something familiar about the shape of the bite.

“How is she?” Emmanuel asked as he knelt down beside them.

Erique continued to cleanse the wound and then began to apply a bandage.

“That’s not a shark bite, is it?” his son asked.

Suddenly it became clear as a rush of fear and disbelief overcame Erique. He stood up and stared out at the diver swimming toward them but still thirty feet away. He could see three dorsal fins from the dolphins to the diver’s left and two more approaching from the right. They were closing in fast.

“Start the boat,” he said.

Emmanuel heard but was frozen as it also dawned on him what was happening. He looked back at the woman’s wound and then at the dolphins who were heading straight for the diver. They were not going to be of assistance. As they neared, one by one, they sped up and rammed the diver.

“Help!” the diver cried out.

“Start the boat,” Erique ordered again.

Emmanuel rushed to the front and turned the key. The engine sputtered once and expelled a plume of smoke as it came to life. He put it in gear and turned toward the diver to close the distance. He could see the dolphins still attacking, but he heard no more cries from the diver.

Erique stepped onto the platform again as the boat neared the motionless black form in the water. As the boat passed, he grabbed the diver and pulled him up onto the platform. “Help me!” he yelled.

Emmanuel ran to the rear and helped pull the limp body over the transom. It hit the deck with a thud as water and blood flooded the floor. As his father lifted one leg over, he screamed out in pain. Emmanuel looked over and couldn’t believe his eyes. A dolphin had come out of the water and was biting his father, its jaws clamped tight to Erique’s ankle. Emmanuel looked around for a weapon but saw nothing, so he leaned over and began punching the dolphin with his fist. He could see more approaching. He punched harder as his father held on to the back of the boat and began kicking at the dolphin with his free foot. Finally it released its grip and slid back into the murky water.

They both collapsed beside the diver’s body. Erique ignored his own wounds to check the diver’s condition. It seemed pretty obvious that he was dead. He looked over to the wife but she was still in shock, her eyes staring into a void where reality wasn’t invited.

How was he going to explain this to the authorities? Would they even believe him? He looked to his son for strength, but what he saw was pure fear. Emmanuel’s eyes were staring out over the water. It caused a sensation like needle pricks igniting and cascading down his spine in a chain reaction. He jumped to his feet and looked out over the water to where his son was staring. He saw them—two large whales coming directly toward them. They were huge, humpbacks maybe.

He ran to the controls and started the boat and gave it full throttle. He headed due east back toward home as fast as the boat would go. Dolphins followed and swam alongside for a while. Finally they disappeared, and there was nothing but water as far as the eye could see. He scanned the boat and saw the woman still staring straight ahead as if in a trance, her breathing fast but consistent. He saw the diver in the back still lying in a pool of blood. He saw his son sitting in one of the folding chairs, his bare feet resting in the bloody water, his face buried in his hands and crying uncontrollably.

What just happened? He grabbed the transmitter from its holder beside the steering wheel. “Mayday! Mayday! We have an emergency.”

The radio buzzed and crackled. “This is the coast guard. What is the nature of your emergency?”

“This is Erique Sarpong of
The Blue Horizon
. I have two divers that have been attacked. Need emergency assistance.”

“What is the nature of the attacks?”

Erique looked back at the divers. He couldn’t bring himself to say. “Unknown. One diver is unconscious and the other is losing blood. Can you send a helicopter?”

“Negative,” came the reply. “It’s on another rescue mission. What is your destination and ETA? We will have medics waiting for you there.”

Erique squeezed the transmitter handle. “We are headed back to Nouakchott. Should be there in just over an hour.”

“Affirmative.”

The radio went silent. Erique stood there holding the transmitter, afraid to let go of the one link to the rest of the world. Finally he placed it back in its holder and called out to his son. “Emmanuel! Emmanuel!”

His son slowly looked up.

“Come and take the wheel, son.”

He did as he was instructed, and Erique went back to check the bandages of the female diver. The male diver lay facedown in six inches of water, so there was no doubt of his condition. Still, Erique sat him up in a less obvious position and went back to the controls.

It was the longest hour of his life. At last he saw the beach and the flashing lights of the emergency vehicle at the beach end of the public pier. It would have been much easier to use the fishing docks, and less crowded, but he was just glad to see the paramedics. He made a beeline for them and pulled his boat up as quickly as he dared to the end of the pier.

The paramedics hurried and climbed down the ladder into his boat and checked both divers. A man with dark-brown slacks and a light-brown shirt came aboard also. He wore a badge on his chest. He was tall and slim with very dark skin, much like Erique’s. He watched the paramedics very carefully. After they had carried the divers out of the boat and secured them in the ambulance, he walked around the small boat as if looking for clues. He took the clipboard down from the dash and read over it, then replaced it. After making a second trip around the boat, he turned his attention to Erique.

BOOK: Pit Bulls vs Aliens
11.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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