Another Chance (A Penelope Chance Mystery Book 2)

By: Daniel Patterson

To Meeghn and Michael





PART ONE





CHAPTER 1





Friday, March 22, 2013, 1:15 p.m.

Gainesville, Florida



He ran a gloved finger over the pistol grip handle of the Remington tactical shotgun tucked under his jacket. The thick leather coat hid the weapon well.

With his partner by his side, they walked through the automatic doors and into the lobby of Grace Memorial Hospital. They had less than three minutes to get in and get out.

Kevin Scott started his count.

One.

Two.

Three.

No sign of security.

Four.

Five.

Six.

He kept his head down. The brim of his baseball cap would hide his face from the security cameras. He wouldn’t pull up the bandana he wore around his neck until right before they entered the clinic. They had to look natural—as natural as one could look wearing all black on a hot, March, Florida afternoon.

Seven.

Eight.

Kevin and his partner walked through the main lobby and made a quick right toward the glass double doors that led to the free clinic and pharmacy.

Nine.

Ten.

He pulled his bandana up over his face.

No turning back now!

He looked to his partner. Piercing, light blue eyes were the only things visible underneath the bandana and hooded sweatshirt.

Twelve.

They pushed through the doors and entered the clinic. Kevin’s partner stayed behind, just inside the entry, while he walked on to the pharmacy. He glanced at the young medical receptionist as he passed. An older nurse stood by her side. She looked calm and able. The receptionist seemed less so. She would be the first to squeal.

Fourteen.

His partner pulled out a Kimber semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at the queue of people waiting at the counter.

Everyone froze. It was a moment of silence before the storm.

It took only a fraction of a second for a person’s eyes to grasp the danger. It took even less time for that person to snap out of the freeze that their body went into while the brain processed which was more important: fight or flight. After that, there was almost no time before the body took over and the mind was only along for the ride.

Kevin saw the events as if they happened in slow motion. Time stood still. Faces contorted with shock. Brains whirred. Terror replaced the shock, and then came the screaming. It was always the screaming that snapped him back to reality.

He needed to control the room.

Nineteen.

Kevin took a deep breath, pulled the shotgun from his jacket and shouted, “Everybody down on the ground!”

Twenty.

His partner jumped into action. “I want wallets, jewelry, and phones.”

Twenty-two.

Kevin stepped inside the pharmacy and pointed the shotgun at the pharmacist behind the counter.

“You! Oxycodone and diamorphine in the bag, now!” He slid a duffle bag across the counter. “Now!”

He lost count. Twenty-something? He picked up at twenty-five.

Twenty-six.

“We’re all out,” the woman said.

A hospital out of medication?

Kevin rushed up to the pharmacist and waved the barrel of the shotgun in her face. She turned an ashen color, and he could almost see her knees collapse under her. “Oxy and morphine in the bag . . . now!”

She disappeared behind a shelf with the bag. Somewhere around thirty seconds now. They had to get out of there.

“No funny business back there,” Kevin yelled at the pharmacist, as he glanced back into the waiting area. His partner collected everyone’s valuables in a leather satchel. Time was money. Literally.

Thirty-three.

Thirty-four.

Everyone seemed to be cooperating, and the bag was bursting.

Thirty-five.

Thirty-six.

As he turned his attention back to the pharmacist, a scream reverberated in the waiting room. The receptionist . . . it had to be her. The older, more experienced nurses could deal with a stressful situation. It was in their blood. But receptionists were there to answer phones and greet people.

“Dr. Gordon!” the receptionist screamed as a doctor appeared from one of the exam rooms.

His partner pointed a pistol at the doctor.

A shot fired.





CHAPTER 2





The doctor went down, and a red flower of blood blossomed from his right shoulder.

It looked like the bullet went clean through and lodged in the wall.

Counting, where was he? He kept losing track. Couldn’t have been more than a couple of seconds.

Forty-five?

The pharmacist dropped the duffle bag on the counter and screamed when she saw the doctor bleeding on the floor.

Kevin stopped counting. They had to get out of there!

He snatched the bag and turned to see a patient come out of the exam room the doctor had left. Kevin looked over at his partner who was panicking—rigid body, finger on the trigger.

From the ground, the doctor saw it too.

It happened almost at the same instant; the trigger pulled back, and the doctor reached up, face twisted in a snarl as he pulled the patient to the ground.