Chapter Four—Smiles through the Tears.
“In here!” Roni cried as she ran to the bed to check her friend, she found a faint pulse. The guys stepped into the room and immediately Roni began to bark orders.
“Kevin, go find towels and see if the water is on, the bathroom in that way, I need clean water, lots of it and many towels. Brock, come over here and help me. Tracy honey, is there anyone else here now?”
“No, mommy made me hide but when she got hurt she called me and said it was safe because no bad guys were left.” Tracey managed to get out through her tears.
“Ok honey, now I need you to be really brave, just like you have been. You can help me get your mommy cleaned up and fixed up ok?”
Roni and Tracey cleaned and checked Lana over and found where the bullet went in. The small hole was just above the round belly that was now taunt and tight. Lana was in labor. When Roni gently rolled her over, she found the exit wound and it didn’t look good. The mattress was soaked in blood. Kevin came back in from the bathroom with towels and a pan of water. Lana started to groan and weakly opened her eyes.
Roni took her face into her hands and told her that she was going to do everything she could to help her. Lana gripped Roni’s hand and said “Save my baby!” And then she passed out once again.
“Kevin, will you take Tracey into her room and help her pack her a bag please? Tracey, this is a good friend of mine and his name is Kevin. I want you to go with him to your room and pick out a few favorite toys and your favorite clothes. And see if you can’t find a picture of your mommy and daddy too, ok?”
Tracey solemnly nodded her head as Kevin said “Sure we’ll take care of that, Roni” as he led Tracey out of the room.
“Is it that bad, Roni?” asked Brock.
Roni took a deep breath and said “She’s not going to make it. The wound is too severe; and she has lost too much blood. We have to get this baby out of her. I can’t let them both die.” Then they heard a deep sigh, a slight gurgle, and then silence. Lana was gone.
Roni sprang into action and slid her knife out of it holder at her side, she ripped open Lana’s shirt and began to cut into her belly right under the lower part of the bulge. One minute later, she was handing Brock a wiggly baby girl that was screaming her lungs out at the shock of the light in her wide open eyes. Brock tenderly wrapped her in a towel and looked at Roni. Both of them had tears streaking their faces. The new baby was perfect in every way.
Kevin and Tracey came in after Roni had cut the cord and wrapped the new baby up in a big towel. Brock had covered Lana with a blanket. Roni showed them the tiny baby girl.
“Tracey honey, you and your new little sister are going to come with me. Your mom and dad would want you two to be safe.” said Roni.
“Mommy’s dead isn’t she?” asked Tracey.
Never one to lie, especially to children; Roni tried to soften the double blow that Tracey had by saying softly “Yes sweetie. Your parents are resting in death now. We will make sure that they are taken care of and their wishes followed. I know exactly what to do.”
Tracey looked deep into Roni’s eyes and said “The next thing that they hear will be Jesus calling them and telling them to wake up won’t it?”
“That is exactly right, sweetheart.”
“Can I hold my new sister? Mommy and Daddy were going to call the baby Erin, because it means peace”
Tears came to Roni’s eyes at the irony of that name. She said “Let’s go downstairs and sit you in your dad’s big comfy chair and you can hold Erin.”
The three girls headed downstairs. Brock and Kevin looked at each other. “We need a bigger vehicle now; no way am I leaving those three alone. And there is no way we can have a new baby in the open air of the jeep.” Brock said.
“I agree” said Kevin. “Let’s go down and talk with Roni and see what she has in mind. Everything has happened so fast, but somehow I think she knows already what she is going to do.”
The two guys followed the girls downstairs and found them in the front room. Tracey and her new sister were snuggled up in a big blue recliner and totally fascinated with each other’s faces. Roni was standing over them.
“They will probably sit like that for awhile” said Roni “Now we need to get things in order. Marcus has a king cab diesel truck out back in the big garage and I’d like to see if it will run. If one of you will keep watch, I’ll go do that. I’m hoping that this place is far enough away from any of the hit areas that any EMP wouldn’t have affected it.”
“I’ll stand watch and keep an eye on the girls.” said Kevin.
“Thank you. If you pull a chair up here,” Roni motioned to a spot that was by the front door “you should be able to keep an eye on the driveway and the girls. We also need to go get the jeep and bike. Maybe we should do that first, what do you think Brock?” Roni asked.
“Do you want Kevin and I to go get them, since Tracey knows you best? Plus, I’m not quite sure what to do if Erin cries.”
“That sounds great; just give me a minute or two to see if there is any milk at all around here. Lana was going to breast feed, but she may have gotten some powdered formula just in case her milk didn’t come in right away.”
Kevin stayed with the girls and kept watch while Roni and Brock went into the kitchen to search for formula. In the well stocked pantry they found two cases of formula.
“Wow, they were really stocked up, weren’t they?” asked Brock.
“Yes, Marcus and Lana both believed in being prepared. This just may cause us a problem since I don’t think I’ll be able to take everything and I don’t want to stay here. You do realize don’t you, that I’m taking the girls, but I would still like to travel with you until we reach Durango.”
“Yes, Kevin and I would never abandon you and we had already decided to stay with you and the girls. We would never dream of leaving them or you.”
Roni smiled softly at his words and Brock felt something crack in his heart.
“You know I think that Eddie took them by surprise since he would be someone they would ask questions of first- then shoot. That’s what it looks like out there, he surprised them and got off that first shot and hit Marcus. I wouldn’t doubt it one bit if it was Lana that got Eddie and since it looks like Marcus died instantly, Lana was the one that got the rest of them too.”
“You could tell all that in just the few moments we were out there?” asked Brock incredulously.
“Sure, I was raised to be very observant and I made it a game to be able to ‘see’ more than my sisters. I was a lot better at it than them. I’ve been told I have a photographic memory.”
After digging through all the cupboards, they found an assortment of bottles. They were the Playtex kind with the disposable bags to hold the milk. Roni went ahead and washed her hands and arms well under the running facet and then fixed up a smaller bottle with some bottled water she found. She was glad that Marcus and Lana had propane so she was able to light the stove and warm the bottle up a bit. Turning the facet back on, she started to fill up one side of the sink.
“How come they have running water here?” asked Brock.
“They have a gravity flow system. Their water comes from a spring up on the hill behind the house. When the generator is on, the water pressure is stronger, but it flows pretty well when it’s off. I’m going to go get the girls and clean Erin up and try to decide what to take.” She poured the hot water she had used to warm the bottle up into the side of the sink that was half full after setting the bottle on the counter. Turning off the water; she said she would be right back and ran out of the kitchen and up the stairs. Brock followed her out and stayed in the living room waiting for her to come back down.
Everyone seemed content to look at Erin who was napping in her big sisters lap. Tracey had a grin as big as Texas on her face even though tears were sliding down her cheeks at the loss of her parents.