The hospital staff wasn’t expecting such an influx of new patients on a quiet Wednesday evening in Kingsport. The survivors from the lighthouse debacle and the boat explosion filled the emergency room. Rita and Marc were the most seriously injured and were rushed directly to surgery. Annie’s quick response prevented the two of them from drowning when they were thrown from the boat, but their injuries were severe. Even with the expertise that the doctors of Kingsport had at their disposal, it would take several days for them to recover.
Biff, Bethany and Flint fared better. They had minor wounds, burns, and lacerations. They were treated and released that same evening. ‘Don’t worry.’ Marge told the bruised and battered group when they emerged from Kingsport General, early Thursday morning. ‘I’ve stationed Otto and Cookie to look after Rita and Marc. Nothing should happen to them. The rest of you are coming with me. Annie, I’ve called your parents to tell them what’s going on. They know that they aren’t prepared for this task, and have left things up to me and Irma.’
‘I’ve also collected your belongings and checked you out of your respective hotels.’ Marge went on. ‘We are all going to stay at my place just outside of town until this blows over. I’ve made some inquiries and have left every impression that the attack on the boat has thwarted your investigation. Tomorrow, I’ll have Marc and Rita moved to my compound and we’ll regroup. They should be fine, however, I wanted it to appear that all of you were much more injured than you were.’
It was a large fenced ranch, with out-buildings and a large farmhouse. By the time that Marge and the group arrived, it was 5 am on Thursday morning. Everyone’s car, including Flint’s RV, was parked in the main lot. Everyone was tired and disoriented from the drive. Nobody had a good feel for where this place was, but a hot shower and warm bed beckoned to them all.
The compound was buzzing with activity. The five members of the group that were brought there early this morning were still asleep when the truck carrying a sedated Marc and Rita delivered them to the medical building within the compound. Given the proper therapy, their wounds should heal in no time.
‘Crow’s nest to Marge.’ A voice said through Marge’s walkie-talkie. ‘Go for Marge’ was the reply. ‘I have some disturbing news.’ The voice continued. ‘It seems that Irma has been kidnaped, and there was a note on her bedside from the Horticultural Society saying the following; ‘Give us all you have on the cross, or she will die’ signed JJ. We think that they got to her early this morning while we all were distracted. ’