I did not know how Cassidy knew which switch to flip to turn on the siren. I did not care. I checked the gun in my hand over and over, giving myself something to do other than think about the man in the backseat.
Max Fletcher. I knew him. Not very well, he was about five years younger than me, but small towns, you know?
His father, though, his father I knew well. His father was Roman Fletcher, formerly of the board of directors. He had resigned after the rest of the board had nearly killed myself and Natalie, claiming that he had known nothing of their plot. The lone hold out, somewhere else with an iron tight alibi. I had my doubts.
Now his son, Max, sat behind me. Sat right behind me and was along for the ride to save Natalie. His girlfriend.
So I checked the safety on the revolver in my hand, rolled out the cylinder and checked the bullets, pulled the hammer back for the fifth time to test the action. I would have gone for a sixth if Cassidy had not put a hand over mine. I looked at her, but she stared straight ahead. I put my hand on hers and drew strength from her. The corner of her lip raised in a smile.
“Can someone tell me what the hell is going on?” Max asked.
I jumped. I had forgotten he could speak, I guess.
“The guy we’re chasing? He and his brother chased us all morning. Caught us after we ran into Natalie,” I said.
“Yeah, I saw that part. Most of it. Sorry I wasn’t quicker.”
I turned around feeling my eyebrows raise. Cassidy’s hand squeezed mine, then let go.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
He leaned forward toward the metal grating that separated the front from the back seat of the police cruiser, “I heard the shots. I ran outside, and saw you three driving off with the truck following. I grabbed my cell and my keys and hightailed it after you. Called the cops on the way.”
I looked down at him. He was wearing pajama pants and a blue t-shirt with the Bannville police logo on it. I bet he was barefoot or had sneakers on, if I could see his feet.
“What happened at the house?” I asked.
“Cops told me not to follow, to stay back. I saw them load you in the garage and tried to tell that officer that when they got there-”
“Whatever, he wouldn’t listen. Then that old lady started shooting and the whole house blew up. I guess you know the rest.”
I nodded and turned around. He seemed to be telling the truth, but what did I know? Worst lies I hear are about fines and lost books.
“Who are these people?” he asked.
I looked at Cassidy. She looked at me.
“Damn curious about that myself,” she said.
“Huh, I forget you’ve only been at the library for a few months,” I said, “The McCraws. Their brother, Darling, tried to kill me at New Years. Ended up dying himself.”
“That guy from the party? The one who kidnapped you?” Cassidy asked.
“Yeah. Killed police captain Stein and almost killed Detective Parker back there. Darling worked at the library,” I turned around to face Max again, “He also killed the children’s librarian last year. He worked for some members of the Board.”
Max held up his hands, “Natalie said... Look, my dad... I didn’t have anything to do with this. I met Natalie... You know what? It doesn’t matter. Where’s he going? What’s he going to do with Natalie?”
Cassidy answered for me, “He’s loaded that truck with gas barrels and is headed right for the library. And there he is.”
Our police cruiser had caught up with the black pickup truck. Billy McCraw had been driving wild and the tarp over the barrels on the back had flown free at some point. Several of the barrels had broken free and gasoline splashed and shimmered in the hot spring morning air.
“Jesus,” Max said, “He don’t care anymore about anything.”
I stared at the pickup as we gained and realized I really didn’t care either. If Billy made it to the library first, he was going to murder Natalie, kill himself, and take the library with them both. I had nothing to lose, so why not make my last actions count?
As we drew up beside the pickup, I began prepping myself to jump onto the back of the pickup.