The next day, John reluctantly returned to work, promising to keep in touch with Mary Bailey’s brother concerning her death. He was conducting his own investigation by talking with her physician and friends.
Marta started receiving telephone calls right after the newspaper was delivered. By noon, she already had six people in the city and the surrounding area reporting similar experiences to her own. The seventh call was the most telling. It involved a second dead woman.
Unfortunately, the woman’s family was too grief stricken to give Marta much in the way of detail. The common thought was that the woman committed suicide because of the drums. However, Marta encouraged them to consider a second autopsy to search for signs of murder. She relayed information about Mary’s death to explain why.
Marta managed to get five of the six individuals to agree to a face to face meeting that evening at her house. Katie, of course, agreed to come as well. John and a few of the other husbands were also present.
The people, who included two more women and four men, shared their stories. They were almost identical in nature right down to the strange treatment by their doctors. Sharing the names of their care givers, it soon became evident that only two doctors were involved.
“There has to be a connection between those two physicians.” The statement came from Sam Traynor, one of the male participants. “I work for the police. Let me check into that.”
Leaving for a few moments he soon returned with a strange look on his face. “Ted Johnson and Carol Sheen are brother and sister,” he disclosed. “While neither of them have a record, Ted was expelled from Harvard Medical School for an undisclosed reason. His father is some high government official. It’s a sure bet he got whatever it was covered up.
“The government is probably behind the whole thing,” said Tony Pixler, one the groups more outspoken people. “They aren’t above experimenting on us. They’ve done it before. I don’t know what they are doing here but it can’t be anything good. At the very least, they are driving us slowly insane. At the worst, heaven knows what they have in store.”
“I agree,” interjected Carl Miller. “This is looking like some kind of experiment. It reminds me of those the government used to conduct on the military back in the late ’40s and early ’50s.”
“Used to conduct,” shouted Tim Beam. “There’s no ‘used to’ about it. They are still playing around with people’s lives. We are living proof I’m afraid.”
“It’s funny you should mention the government,” Sam said just above a whisper. “It seems Ted Johnson is also involved on some government committee. My partner couldn’t tell me more but this whole thing just got a lot more interesting.”
Everyone nodded agreement. Sam promised to do more research on the government connection while a couple of other people decided to do a more in-depth background search on the doctors. The group decided to meet again at Katie’s house in two days.
“Let’s just hope we’re all still alive by then,” Tim whistled. “It appears the good doctors don’t like it when a patient gets too pushy.”
Katie stayed behind after everyone left. “I’m getting frightened,” she told Marta. “I think I’m going to make sure all my affairs are in order just in case something happens to me.”
Marta hugged her new friend. “I wish I could tell you that isn’t necessary; however, there are children involved with you and I don’t like where this whole thing is going.”
Marta served as the clearinghouse for information. She collected everything everyone found out and put it into a data base. The picture it painted was not a good one.
It turned out that Ted Johnson served on a committee that dealt with military weapons. While it could not be confirmed completely, rumors indicated the committee was focused on two things. One was creating a super soldier. The other was discovering a way to destroy the enemy from the inside.
Sam and Marta suspected their group was part of the second strategy. It made sense. If the government could drive their opponent insane, it would make them much easier to kill. That was assuming those infected didn’t do the job for them.
Further autopsy on their missing group member suggested she did indeed die of suicide. That meant someone had purposely caused her to take her own life. The weapon was working.
“It’s still murder, the way I look at it,” Marta declared. “Someone has to pay for her and Mary’s deaths.”
“I agree,” Sam returned. “The trouble is, if the government is involved, they are likely to do anything to keep this whole thing covered up.”
“I know,” the pretty brunette agreed. “We’ve already seen their work in action.”
Worried about his wife’s safety, John arranged for a new security system to be installed in their home. It was scheduled for the next morning. He called to confirm everything and to tell Marta he was running late from work.
“I’ll be fine,” his wife soothed. “No one knows what we are doing. I haven’t pushed Dr. Johnson any further. As far as he knows, I have backed off the situation. Don’t worry.”
When John hadn’t come home by 9:00 p.m., Marta decided to take a shower before bed. She had some reading she wanted to do. That would keep her busy until her husband got home.
The shower was uneventful. However, when Marta returned to her room she was surprise to see her window ajar. She was certain it was closed just a few moments before.
Grabbing the baseball bat by her bed, she worked her way into a corner of the room, grabbing her cell phone along the way. She dialed her husband’s number.
“John, I think someone is in the house,” she whispered as she crawled toward the closet.
“I’m almost there,” he noted. “I’ll call the police.” With that he hung up.
A voice came from the hallway. “You really should have minded your own business, Mrs. King.” The deep male voice was not that of Ted Johnson. “We are only doing what is right for the American people.”
Striving to keep him talking instead of attacking, Marta pushed. “By killing other Americans? I’m not sure how the people in general would feel about that.”
“What are a few lives over those of an entire country?” The voice grew closer. Marta watched as a man dressed all in black turned the corner, entering her room. She held the bat tightly with both hands.
“The police are on the way,” she said through clenched teeth.
“They’ll be too late,” the man’s grin could be seen through his ski mask. He pulled a gun and shot but Marta was quick and dodged the bullet. Sadly, she wasn’t certain she could do it again.
That’s when she spotted her husband coming up from behind. With one careful swoop, he brought a hammer down hard on the man’s head. Marta heard the skull crack.
Sirens blared in the distance but John took no chances. He dove for the gun and held on the unconscious man until the police arrive. One of them, luckily, was Sam Traynor.
“I was afraid something like this might happen,” he admitted. “I just wasn’t certain which of us they would attack. They couldn’t risk killing us all. That would ruin their experiment.”
“Do you think we can get enough from him to implicate the doctors?” John looked hopeful.
“It’s hard to tell,” Sam said truthfully. “He’s probably a hired thug. He might not even know why he was sent to kill Marta.”
“We have to stop these people,” John said, pulling his wife tightly to him.
“I agree,” Sam nodded as he finally cleared his people from the premises. After he was gone, John looked at his wife with sad eyes. There was something else present as well.
“I did some digging, honey,” he mumbled. “I don’t think you are going to like it though.”
“Why is that?” Marta probed her husband’s face.
“It’s about our friend there – Sam Traynor.”
“What about him?”
“He was in special ops in the military,” John whispered. “He could be in on this whole thing.”
The Drums Part 1
The Drums Part 2