It took Carr a moment to get over the shock once the officers arrived on scene. Kashi had convinced the EMT to let her into the ambulance with her dad. Mr. Thomson was going to be okay. He'd be in the hospital for a while. His face had been pale and he'd been muttering words incoherently, slurring them until he sounded like he was half choking. Car wasn't sure when he'd called for help or when Kashi had shown up, limping like a half dead animal… or who had even fired the shot.
"Hey Carr, I know it's been a long night, but do you think you can answer my questions now?" The officer who had approached him before returned. Carr had needed a moment to just… sit and process. He still wasn't finished.
"Um, yeah I guess I can do that."
So he recounted the night to her.
"I didn't notice anything when I was in the shed, though, I wasn't being quiet or anything. I knocked over a stack of rakes. A whole ruckus. That may have been what got Mr. Thompson out of the house. I then jogged over to the shed. That's when I realized that something was off. The crickets, cicadas, and birds were quiet. And it wasn't because of me. They usually start chirping again once you pass their hiding spots, but it was all quiet around the barn. The hair on my neck and arms was standing on end. I shook it off as nerves or something. I was just putting an envelope back to where Kashi had found it in the barn. It took me twenty seconds to put it back, but then I saw Mr. Thomson run towards me, fast. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but then I saw someone by that tree over there." Carr gestured to the squat little tree surrounded by tall grasses and shrubbery. "It would have been easy for him to hide. It could hide a bear. Anyway, he stood up and I saw the moon glinting off of a gun. But Mr. Thomson jumped on me, and the gun went off…" Carr shook his head. "I could have gone after the guy, he sprinted in the direction of the house, but I had to stay with Mr. Thomson." He shook his head. The shooter got away.
"You did the right thing Carr." The officer patted Carr's shoulder. "You called us and kept pressure on Mr. Thomson's wound. Had you followed the shooter, you could have been shot as well." He gave Carr a small smile. "We'll catch him."
"Um, he ran off before I could see anything. I barely remember anything after that. I called 911 and stayed with Mr. Thomson then Kashi showed up…" He trailed off. His hands still had blood on them from Mr. Thomson. It made him shiver.
"Do you think this was because of the envelope?" The officer prodded.
Carr was almost completely positive. "I'm pretty sure. Kashi, her friend, and I were just looking around at some history of the ranch and we found out that some serious money was lost. We didn't think we'd need to involve the police because it was over with, you know?"
"I get it. Let's go grab the envelope, okay?"
Carr thought that would be the easiest part. He walked into the barn, the familiar scent of hay surrounding him, warm and summery. The lights flickered, casting golden shadows around the barn. His boots whispered across the cement floors, scattering grass as he rounded the corner. He opened the drawer. It was empty. He opened the two drawers above it. Also empty. The three below it and all the drawers beside it turned up nothing but garden tools.
"I put it right here!" He scanned the ground to see if it had somehow fallen out. But his stomach dropped when he realized what else was missing. The game camera was gone.
The officer gave him a puzzled look.
"The envelope had photos, news clippings, some articles, and a lot of letters. Were you in town when the deal between the Thomsons and the man from Chicago was in progress?"
"I was a kid, but I remember that." the officer said.
"Well this pertains to that." Carr shook his head. "I think there's something shady going on. Something bad enough to make someone try to shoot me." He looked around the barn, the wheels turning in his head. The shooter had run in from the opposite direction of the barn, and had darted off towards the house. There was not enough time for him to get into the barn which meant… "There must have been two people." He explained his thoughts to the officer who nodded.
His head was pounding. Two people. One of them was probably his dad. He'd never been afraid to get his hands dirty. But who was the other person? Kashi's uncle, from what he'd heard, was a decent guy. Not the type to be involved with shooting his own brother. His mind drew a blank. He had no idea who his partner could be.
Officers asked him to repeat his story until he felt as if he was beating a dead horse. How many times did they want him to say that he left the envelope in the dresser along with the camera? He just wanted to wash his hands. There was blood on them still. And he wanted to call Kashi and make sure she was okay and that her dad was doing okay.
He'd never have said this before, but he would have taken the fluorescent lights of the hospital over the cloud-shrouded moon right about now. He'd take the halls of the hospital just to get away from the red and blue lights flashing over the fields. Finally, the officers let him go.
He went back to Mr. Thomson's house where Sierra and Felix were talking with another officer. Carr made sure to wash the blood from his hands before he offered to drive the two of them to the hospital. He wasn't going to be able to sleep at all, so he may as well do something useful. Maybe he'd pick up flowers or something? On the way to the hospital. He didn't know. But something inside him was scared. A feeling he didn't experience often. Even through his worst moments, he'd never truly been afraid but now he felt like he had a lot to lose. If Mr. Thomson was the first one hurt, then others like Felix, Sierra, and Kashi could be too. And he wasn't sure if he could endure that.