A short time later, Maggie sat on the edge of the old trunk they used as a coffee table, in dry yoga pants and a sweater, holding a wet cloth to the back of her head.
She had drunk two bottles of water, thrown one up, and was trying to drink another when she heard something outside, and Sky and Coco jumped up together to go look.
Sky opened the front door and just stood there for a moment. “Dude,” she said finally.
Maggie got to her feet with some effort and followed Kyle over to the door.
“Whoa,” Kyle said softly.
Maggie looked over his shoulder, and watched as the biggest, bluest truck she’d ever seen pulled into the front yard, on tires that were taller than she was.
It stopped in front of the house, and they walked out onto the front deck. Maggie was still trying to figure out who was driving when Wyatt stuck his head out the passenger window.
“Where the hell are your stairs?”
Sky pointed toward the side deck. “There’s a ladder,” she called down.
Wyatt pulled his head back in and the truck backed up, turned around, and then slowly backed up to the gaping opening where Maggie’s stairs used to be. The bed of the truck couldn’t have been more than a foot below the deck.
When it stopped, Axel Blackwell opened the driver’s side door and stepped out onto the running board.
“I don’t need your damn stairs,” Axel said. “You look pretty crappy there, Maggie.”
“Thanks, Axel,” she said.
The passenger door swung open, and after a moment, Wyatt slowly stepped onto his own running board, grabbed onto the side of the truck bed, and gingerly turned to face her. His thick brows scrunched together as he looked up at Maggie.
“What the hell happened?” he demanded.
“Pretty much everything,” she said weakly. She pulled the washcloth down from her head and swallowed as she saw that it was pretty well bloodied.
“What the hell, Maggie?” Wyatt yelled. “We need to get you to the hospital.”
Maggie nodded, and Axel waved his arm at the bed of the truck.
“Climb in. Let’s go!” he called.
“Go, Sky,” Maggie said, then turned around to Kyle, as Sky jumped down into the back. “Kyle, make sure Stoopid has food and water and shut the door.”
“He’s crapped like all over the planet,” Kyle said.
Maggie ignored the language for a change and shook her head. “Put him inside, please.”
He hurried back inside, and Maggie watched as Axel held a hand out to Sky. “Come on, Sky, climb down here and get inside.”
Maggie looked over at Wyatt. She wasn’t sure if he looked scared or just angry. He looked a lot of things.
“Can you get down?” Axel called to her after he’d helped Sky into the cab.
Maggie nodded as she heard Kyle’s footsteps behind her. “Yes, but take Kyle first,” she said. “Go on, Kyle.”
Kyle jumped down into the truck, and Maggie watched until he was in the cab, then she tossed the washcloth and grabbed the deck rail before jumping down into the back. Then she turned around and looked at Coco, who was waiting on the deck.
“Come on, baby,” Maggie said. Coco’s eyebrows wrinkled with concern, but after a little toe tapping, she jumped in beside Maggie. Maggie turned and looked at Axel. “We have to get Boudreaux.”
“Boudreaux where?” Axel asked.
“Boudreaux!?” Wyatt yelled simultaneously.
“He’s in the back of David’s truck,” Maggie said to Axel. Axel looked over that way, then climbed back into his seat.
She looked at Wyatt and saw his shoulders slump as he dropped his head. Then he looked back up at her, and he looked unhappy.
“Freakin’ Boudreaux,” he said.
Maggie could hear Axel saying something in the cab, and Wyatt ducked down a bit to look inside.
“Just go,” he yelled, then straightened up and looked at Maggie. “Sit down.”
Maggie got onto her knees, and Wyatt held onto the side of the truck bed as Axel pulled alongside the Toyota, then pulled behind it, tailgate to tailgate, with a significant height difference. Boudreaux was just as Maggie and Sky had left him.
Wyatt leaned over and looked down at Boudreaux, then back over at Maggie. “What did you do to him?”
“Nothing. It was the storm.”
“Is he dead?”
“I don’t know.”
Axel’s door opened and he and Sky jumped out into the water. Maggie put a hand on the tailgate, intending to climb into the back of the Toyota, but Wyatt pointed at her.
“Not you!” he barked.
Maggie stopped, and watched Axel and Sky open the back of the Toyota, climb in and reach for Boudreaux. They worked together to scoot him toward the larger truck, then Axel opened his tailgate and they lifted him up and slid him in.
“Yeah, we gotta go,” Axel said as he slammed the tailgate shut.
“There’s room in here, climb in,” Wyatt said behind Maggie.
She turned and looked at him, then shook her head. “I’ll ride in back with Coco.”
He frowned at her, but she sat down and pulled Coco to her. He sighed and slowly pulled himself back into the cab.
William was sitting at the white wrought iron table on the balcony, smoking a cigarette and trying to find the number for the insurance company, when he heard the rumbling from down the street.
He leaned over to try to see up the block, but ended up having to stand and go to the railing. He looked out and blew a cloud of smoke out in an excited puff.
“Robert!” he called out. “The looters are back!”
Robert appeared behind him, two glasses of tea in hand, just as the behemoth crawled through the intersection and passed below.
The two men stared down into the truck bed.
“It’s the little sheriff,” William gasped. “And a hyena.”
“And a dead guy,” Robert said.
William sighed. “Of course she’s got a dead guy. What else would she be riding around with?”
“Did you get the insurance company’s number?”
“No, let’s just move back to Fort Lauderdale, already,” William said. “I am up to here with living in Mystic Falls.”
Deputy Dwight Shultz turned onto Avenue D and coasted through the water. He’d been coming out of the parking lot at Weems Memorial when he met Axel and them pulling in. After a few terse explanations from Wyatt, Maggie had asked Dwight to drive over to Boudreaux’s.
He turned into the oyster shell driveway and shut off the cruiser, then opened the door and stepped out, his black rain boots splashing softly into the water.
He shut the door, then started up the walkway toward the front porch. Halfway there, he looked up and stopped short.
There was a miniature little old lady standing on the porch with a walker, her head poking out of an enormous black trash bag. When he looked her in the face to say something to her, he saw that there were tears rolling down her wrinkled brown cheeks.