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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Community · #2240419
If you think Senior citizens are docile, just threaten their home.
The Elite Equation

{{font:times}indent}Jenna Fredericks, the head nurse, hurried down to Room 22 on the west hall in the Elite Seniors Assisted Living Facility; in the Arkansas Mountains. Emily Harden's yellow light seldom came on, but this light was red, and a low whine filled the air as Jenna, and her partner hurried down the hall; that could mean anything from a fall to a heart attack. "What do you think happened," Sara Grange asked as she caught up to Jenna.
         "I don't know, but I don't like it; this has happened two times this month alone, and both were fatal attacks. Whatever's this is," she said; someone failed to do their homework.
         "You'd think that whoever is responsible for these attacks would know they've been marked," Sara commented. "There are, after all, two FBI agents over on east hall and a blind cop in the north wing."
         "Yes, but they're residents. These attacks have to be an inside job," Jenna replied. "And he or she knows which residents have jewelry and other expensive belongings, and which residents are best left alone. Mr. Harkins had a heart attack after the attack last week. This ring of murders must not have consciences," she finished.
         "Why is that, Jenna?" Sara asked. "I mean, I know our residents are all senior citizens, but what difference does that make?"
"Jenna stopped at the door of Emily's room, stared incredulously at Sara, tapped on the door with a knuckle, and pushed open the door. "Emily," she called. Nothing. Sara hurried to the bathroom, and Jenna followed and saw Emily lying on her stomach, nude, a towel covering her torso. "Oh," Sara commented; Emily must've been in the shower when they robbed the room. Jenna took Emily's pulse, "call Dr. Peterson, Emily's alive. At least one of them cares," Jenna said. "He or she didn't kill Emily, but her head is bleeding. Jenna carefully rolled Emily onto her back, moved the towel from Emily's torso, folded it, and placed it beneath Emily's head, ensuring          her neck was also supported.
         "Dr. Perterson in on his way," Sara said. "Emily must have fallen as she stepped out of the shower, hitting her head on the shower step."
         Sara left the bathroom and surveyed the room; if admin ever discovered she was behind these attacks, Sara would spend the rest of her life behind bars; an intelligent person would know when to quit following the last failed robbery. But then, Sara Grange wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Although The Elite Seniors network seemed like an easy target with ten facilities in five states, she hadn't expected to be greeted by one-hundred and seventy-five, not merely wealthy, but as Sara soon discovered, indeed elite. In her research, Sara discovered that no less than five residents were retired Federal Agents; four retired cops, three former CIA agents, and two high-level government employees, also retired. She may have taken a bigger bite than she and her small group of want-to-be criminals could safely navigate. They had already killed three people, and one man had died of a heart attack after her small team finished the job. Ironically, the two want-to-be robbers ran from Jergen's room with only one expensive rinAEven a Fence wouldn't touch the other items in their repertoire; These items were by no means cheap, but they'd been marked for identification. On the other hand, the ring was a Navy ring; Sara had to see it through. Surrendering was not an option. So, far Jenna hadn't guessed that Sara was the insider, or at least Sara didn't think Jenna suspected anything, but Jenna was nobody's dummy either; the statement Sara made about conscience could have been the end. Maybe Sara and her team of misfits should rest and allow things to cool down; besides, Sara needed to find out more about this facility's residents.
         Two weeks later, on a Saturday, Sara worked the day shift when Tony Morgan brought his wife to visit her mother. John Hammer sat in the large chair near the large Bay window in the community room. "Hey, John, how goes it? I was sorry to hear about your "accident," Troy said as he framed the word in parentheses.
         "Yeah, my son feels as you do about the incident, and I have my suspicions," John said.
         "Isn't a nursing facility a little drastic," Tony asked.
         "It's not a nursing facility; it's assisted care, there is a difference. After someone tried to kill me in the hospital, my son, Scott, felt this would be safer. People don't realize that a blind man can see. I know who my assailant was, and my son felt the hospital was no longer secure for me," John said.
         "What makes you so sure this place is so secure?" Tony asked.
         "John looked toward the East wing and nodded. "There are two FBI agents down that hall." He said, just above a whisper; they're masquerading as retired, but they are active duty."
         Before Tony could respond, Millicent entered the room. "You're blind; how can you tell who is in the room?" She asked.
         "Milly, you're asking for trouble," Tonny said, "John Hammer may be blind, but he is also highly gifted. Don't challenge him;          you won't like the results,
         "How can he talk to me? He can't even see me," Milly said.
         "I don't need to see you to know that you are the quintessential rich bitch," John replied.
         Milly turned to her husband. "Are you going to allow him to talk to me like that?" She asked.
         Tony grinned. "You asked for it," he said; if you can't stir the pot, get out of the kitchen."
         "Humph," Milly said as she turned to John. "So, what do you see in this room?" She asked.
         "First, I can tell you that Sara Grange is behind the front desk; secondly, besides you and your husband, there are exactly five more individuals in the community room. Three residents in the TV room and a host of staff working the dining room in preparation for lunch. Would you like for me to tell you what you look like," Mrs. Morgan?"
         Milly scoffed. "Yeah, go ahead," she said, thinking she had John.
         "Well, you're five-foot-seven; you have dark, probably black hair and eyes. You wear your hair upswept, and since you have a delightful demeanor, you're wearing a dark suit, ruffled white blouse, white gloves, so as not to dirty your oh, so clean, white hands with red nail polish," John said. "How did I do, Mr. Hammer?" He chuckled. "Did I pass the test?"
         Millicent huffed, turned toward her husband, and spoke. "Come on, Tony," she said. "I don't have to take this from a blind man." She said.
         "I warned you, Milly, but you just couldn't leave well enough alone," Tony said; "See you, John," he said.
         As Sara listened to the exchange between John Hammer and Milly Morgan, she realized it was time to regroup. First, because Elite meant more than wealthy, John hammer was like a grandfather to her, and it took a while, but Sara had learned that the gay couple over on East Hall was not retired. Therefore, the FBI was here to investigate these robberies, or was robbery the only crime? Therefore, the local police sought help with this case, meaning something more than Burglary. The Bureau got involved following the death of one of the well-connected residents of the California link of the Elite Seniors facilities. It was highly unlikely that          The Bureau had tracked Sara and her small group want-to-be burglars, here to Arkansas; likely, or was there someone else? Then again, maybe there was something more sinister than robbery, and just maybe those two other deaths were the real focus, and Sara's rag-tag group of want-to-be burglars was not the primary focus of these deaths. Sara would have to talk to Jenna Fredricks. If something sinister was going on, maybe Sara could make that work to her advantage by agreeing to play decoy to bring out the real culprits.

         Winter came with a vengeance in the higher elevations of the Arkansas Mountains; all criminal activity at the facility came to a standstill; according to Jenna, both residents who died, and Emily Harden were retired government employees, but they weren't the first; six months ago, before Sara transferred, three gentlemen, all retired—a high-ranking Navy officer and two CIA operatives—died; it did not go without notice that the Agency still deleted retired spies; mostly if they worked high-profile cases. Sara also discovered that although Jenna Harkens was indeed a nurse, she was also an undercover cop, and although blind, John Hammer was an undercover cop.
         One night in late December, Sara had gone out to the courtyard to smoke. It was cold, and she was bundled tightly in an expensive parka; she had just finished her cigarette when she heard someone beyond the Brick Pony wall; Sara was about to head inside when pop came from the bushes. The force of the impact spun Sara around, and she went down. Sara had been standing near Emily Harden's window, and when Sara went down, Emily Harden screamed until a nurse entered Emily's room; Emily told the nurse what she saw. The nurse pushed the emergency buzzer and told the intercom that somebody shot Sara Grange in the East Courtyard. Although not dead, it would be at least a week before Sara Grange could answer any questions regarding the courtyard incident. Two weeks later, a male resident fell over the rail on the second floor; security put the dead body of Harland March on a gurney and wheeled it away to the back to the Elite Medical Examiner's office. It would be two-three days before they received Dr. Ford's report. Scott Hammer, Frank Hammer's son, met with the facility security team and made sure they assigned a two-officer team to his father's both day and night.
         Two days later, Dr. Ford’s briefed the undercover forces' members on Harland March's death. For God's sake, a retired WWII veteran, what with residents dropping like flies, we can’t brush this under the rug. However, my examination turned up some interesting details, beginning with the compounds found in March’s system. These compounds are found in liquid bleach. I don’t believe Harland March would drink bleach any more than I think that Sara Grange shot herself in the arm; the nurse practically bled out bullet severed the Brachial Artery. She’ll be out of commission for at least three months. Gentlemen,” the doctor continued, Harland March either overheard or saw something that he shouldn’t have seen nor heard.”
         “What are you saying, doctor?” John Hammer replied.
         “I don’t think this ring gave us a reprieve,” the doctor continued, “the leader is smart; when Sara saved Emily Harden’s life that night, she became a target. This team of operatives is not taking out random residents,” he said. “They are targeting specific individuals, and I suspect that the CIA is on active duty, and Sara Grange got in the way.”
         “Your theory is sound,” John said, but why?”
         “I’m not sure who or why, but I can say with confidence that at least one, and probably more of them are employees of Elite Care,” the doctor said.
         “Don’t you think Gregg and Chris are on board here?” John said.
         “I’ve been on to our perpetrators since they attacked Sara Grange,” Gregg said, “I’m confident their insider works in an admin position. I can’t provide names, but there are two of them; the Bureau is doing a low-level investigation on them.”

It was late March, and there had been no incidents since someone in Human Relations killed him. Still, since December, Jenna Harkens, the nurse, became less and communicative, and Karl Cabot, second in command of their team, decided it was time to cut his losses before it was too late. When this began two years ago, Karl and Gary thought Jenna had her ducks in a row, but the longer this dragged out, the less convinced Karl was of anything. Suddenly, all hell broke loose. A gunshot echoed from somewhere upstairs; Karl turned just as Charles Moran fired from the Television room and an anonymous man fell over the second-floor rail. Chris and Gregg ran into the common area; Chris pulled his gun and fired at someone coming down the west hall. “Jenna,” an orderly called; the orderly would have gone down, but Chris fired first, and Jenna went down. Scott ran into the front. “What the hell?” He said,” surveying the area, Scott ran around the nurse’s station where he found Gregg unconscious between the desk and a chair. “He’s not          dead,” Scott said and looked at Chris. “I’m sorry, Chris,” Scott said.
“If you want to know what makes these people elite,” John Hammer said, “just threaten their homes, and they’ll show you. I have a feeling this is only the beginning,” John finished.

© Copyright 2020 LJ Barr (author2 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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