Camino Winds (Camino Island, #2) by John Grisham Read Online (FREE)
When he wore a real uniform and stalked enemies around the world, he had always kept a cyanide pill in a pocket to end things quickly if the situation called for it. He closed his eyes and dreamed of a pill now. This was not the way he wanted to die.
Even if she found him, his spinal cord was crushed. Trying to move him would just make matters worse.
She heard the groans before she stumbled upon him. She fell to her knees and looked into his eyes. “What happened?” she hissed.
“I fell,” he grunted. “My neck.”
“Did you get them?”
“Yes, both. Then I fell.”
“What the hell.”
“I heard sirens down there. We have to move.”
“I can’t. I’m paralyzed. I can’t move anything.”
“Bullshit, Rick. I’m getting you out of here.”
He closed his eyes and groaned even louder. She stood and walked around the tree, straining for a glimpse of the house, but she could see nothing. With a small laser flashlight, she found the case with the rifle and debated what to do with it. If she took it, and if she got caught with it, she would be toast.
And what to do with him? The fool broke his own neck. Trying to carry him downhill through thick terrain for at least a mile would cause even more neurological damage. She knew that basic truth from her training.
Through his own stupidity he was about to get caught. But not her. And the two-million-dollar fee would not be divided. In the distance she heard a siren.
She walked to a spot beside him and looked down. He opened his eyes and saw her remove a small automatic from her pocket. “No, Karen, no.”
She aimed at his forehead.
And she fired twice.
To say Rick Patterson was half dead when they found him would be to seriously overstate his condition. With a crushed spinal cord, two gunshot wounds to the head, half his blood drained to the ground, a pulse of 28 and a diastolic blood pressure of 40, he was well beyond half dead. A crew of first responders and paramedics worked on him for an hour under the tree until he was stable enough to be airlifted to a Cincinnati hospital where he underwent eleven hours of surgery. Forty-eight hours later, he was still listed as critical.
And he was not yet Rick Patterson. There was nothing on his body that revealed identity, address, phone number, nothing. A detective with the Ohio State Police obtained a search warrant and took a partial set of fingerprints while the suspect fought for his life on a ventilator. The prints were finally matched to a U.S. Army veteran, one Rick Patterson of Tacoma, Washington. A brother said he worked in private security. Ballistics tests quickly matched his sniper rifle to the carnage on Higgs’s patio, but his two head wounds were caused by smaller bullets from a handgun. Back at the scene, the landscape was scoured with little to show for the effort—a few ineffectual boot markings and some tire tracks.