Minnesota Undercover – Part Nine
Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.
Once we arrived at police headquarters, Natalie and I were given a ride to the train station by an agent officer from the headquarters. As I got into the back seat of the four door sedan, I took a seat behind the driver and Natalie got into the seat next to him. The dark haired driver was wearing a black suit coat, black trousers and sunglasses. The car itself appeared to be a brand new high-end luxury car. Inside I noticed the distinct new-car smell of leather upholstery. Then the curious thought of whether this particular car had been used as a bait car for catching car thieves crossed my mind.
My curiosity got the best of me so I asked our driver that very question. He shot me a half grin which I could see in the rear view mirror. Then he said, “That’s classified information I’m afraid. If I told you then I’d have to….”
The car suddenly veered off the road as if the driver had lost control of the car or something. The car hit an embankment a few feet away just missing some parked cars. The vehicle then rolled to an abrupt stop but not before nearly hitting a concrete wall which apparently surrounded private property.
What happened? I thought, feeling completely surprised and a little dazed by the apparent accident.
“Is everyone okay?” I slowly called out.
Natalie responded first. “I think so.” she said.
I was thankful we had buckled our seat belts but as I turned to unbuckle mine I realized my neck was sore.
I expected to hear the driver answer next but he didn’t. I rubbed the left side of my neck, and slowly disconnected my seat belt as I got out of the car. I noticed Natalie was getting out at the same time and she quickly came over to help me open the driver side door.
When we opened the door I saw that the officer’s head was slumped forward on the steering wheel. I checked for signs of blood but didn’t see any so I checked his pulse. I was relieved to find he had a faint pulse but noticed his face was growing pale so I asked Natalie to help me get him on the ground. He was a heavy man for his size but we were able to slowly lower him down to the ground a few feet from the car. It was unfortunate but since neither of us knew CPR I prayed and hoped for any kind of miracle to keep the man alive. Without cell phone service and the cities still working through the attacks I figured it might be all the more difficult to get help. Nevertheless it was imperative we to do something immediately if we wanted a chance at saving him.
I frantically glanced around the dash of the car to see if it had a built-in radio system of some kind. Nothing. I was about to give up looking when my eyes caught what looked to be a portable hand-held radio attached to the man’s belt. I wondered why I hadn’t seen it before but despite my not having much experience with police radios I quickly pulled the radio from his belt. I could feel my blood pressure rising as panic began to set in. Stay calm! I told myself.
I wasn’t feeling calmer so I asked God for help again. I didn’t know what condition the man was in now but I held the two-way radio up to my lips. I pushed the push-to-talk button on the portable transceiver and started calling for someone—anyone who might be listening. All I could hear was static and then I heard a female voice.
“Come in, Agent Nolen. Over.” she said.
I tried to hide my fear by responding as clearly as I could.
“Agent Nolen has been hurt, we need an ambulance right away!” I said.
“What is your name and what is your location?” The women said in a calm reassuring voice.
I told her my name even though I wasn’t exactly sure where we were. I told the women we had been heading to the train station when our driver suddenly appeared to lose consciousness and we veered off the road. I knew we were losing precious time so I hoped she had an immediate plan.
At that moment my mind started racing because I knew none us were promised tomorrow so I hoped she’d have an answer for us soon. Within seconds she responded.
“I have your location now … An ambulance is on it’s way.”
I wasn’t sure how she knew our location exactly but I was relieved to have gotten through to someone because Agent Nolan was in desperate need of attention. Yet despite the grave situation, simply knowing help was on the way did put my mind at ease a little.
I said a prayer for Agent Nolan and Natalie and I waited. Within minutes I could hear sirens in the distance. A fire truck was first to arrive on scene. An ambulance was right behind it. Natalie and I watched as two paramedics rushed over and quickly began to perform CPR on Agent Nolen’s apparent lifeless body resting on the ground. A couple of firefighters raced over to us. They asked Natalie and I if we were okay. I told them my neck was sore but that I felt fine otherwise. They told me I should get it checked out but I insisted I’d be fine until I got home. Natalie told the men she didn’t think she was physically hurt, only mentally shaken. The paramedics took the lifeless agent to the ambulance then we were told that he appeared to have had a heart attack.
As Natalie and I witnessed the agent being lifted into the back of the ambulance I was reminded of something I had told an audience from a conference recently. I told the listeners that since none of us are promised tomorrow it was imperative that we each know where we were going after we die—before we die. I quoted the Bible scripture found in Hebrews 9:27: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” And as I had explained to them earlier, we have all sinned against God but all people now have an opportunity to be restored and brought back to a proper relationship with our Creator. This was entirely possible only because of what God accomplished through Jesus Christ on the cross.
A police officer at the scene offered to take us the rest of the way to the train station for which Natalie and I were grateful. Once in the police cruiser, I asked the officer if he would keep me updated on the agent’s condition. We exchanged information and he agreed to keep me informed.
It was nearly two o’clock in the afternoon when Natalie and I finally arrived at the train station. The train station was smaller and older looking than I expected it would be. We hadn’t bought tickets yet so this was the first thing on my mind once we entered the station. When we stepped inside I noticed the station’s vaulted wooden ceilings which looked like something out of an old western film. However, this building wasn’t entirely western style. In fact, the floor was made with modern marble and had a glistening glass-like appearance to it. In one corner of the depot, I noticed a couple snack and beverage vending machines. There were park style benches laid out in parallel lines that stretched down the center of the station. People were bustling about the building crisscrossing as they made their way to and from the trains as some folks stopped at the ticket counters to buy tickets. I figured more people would be trying to catch a train now since the airports were closed. Natalie and I made our way sharply to the nearest counter. Would there even be any tickets left I wondered? Thankfully there was so I bought Natalie a ticket for a train heading to Seattle and one for myself going to Northern California. After we had received our tickets I noticed we would be riding on the same train for most of the trip west.
Out train was called the Empire Builder and it was scheduled to depart at two o’clock. I glanced up at a large clock centrally located on the wall of the station. The time was now 1:55 p.m. Then, as if on schedule, I heard an announcement over the PA system that the train would be leaving in 15 minutes. The announcement also included a reminder that the region was at a high security alert level. The security announcement reminded me of the vulnerability of the entire transportation system. I had heard that trains could be especially vulnerable for attack due to the hundreds of miles of open railroad and supposed less stringent security measures in place.
Natalie and I weren’t carry much as we climbed the stairs to the upper level of a waiting bi-level coach. We both had our cell phones, a sandwich, water and a clean pair of clothes we were given at the command center. She had a small purse and I was still carrying the waterproof bag around my neck. As we took our seats in the coach, I immediately felt like I had sat on a full length body cushion that had been placed on my chair. These luxurious seats also featured a higher back for sleeping although they were able to recline just enough causing me to wonder why they reclined at all. You see, for me sleeping upright was near impossible so I couldn’t understand the purpose of having a seat tilt back if it wasn’t going to be able to recline to at least a near horizontal position.
I was caught up in my thoughts about the extent (or non extent) to which my chair was able to recline when I heard the train whistle. I felt the train slowly begin to move forward and then it gradually picked up speed. There was barely a bump as the train seemed to glide effortlessly across the tracks.
As Natalie and I with the other passengers settled in, her and I talked for awhile and I listened while she told me a little about her family and why she had come to Minnesota. Natalie me she had been in town doing an internship for a local theater company while she was in school. She had been helping them prepare a little production that was scheduled to run during Christmas called The Nutcracker. I tried to be funny by telling her the name sounded vaguely familiar. I may have considered my pretend naiveté humorous but I don’t think she even cracked a smile. We continued discussing our families and she told me she had a couple of older brothers and a one-year-old baby sister. Her mom had told her a few days ago they had also recently gotten a puppy and a couple of kittens so she really did have a full house!
It was later now and outside the late autumn sunlight was beginning to fade. I must have been feeling tired because I started yawning almost uncontrollably. I figured it was time to recline the seat as far as it would go and so I did. Lying in a semi upright position, I began to gaze out the large window next to me noticing as a few stars were just beginning to appear in the evening sky. Off in the distance I could still make out the faint outline of a darkening mountainous horizon as it appeared to touch the starry sky. Then without warning the peaceful ride we had been experiencing seemed to change into another nightmare.
To Be Continued…..Find out what happens next in the conclusion of Minnesota Undercover – Part Ten
Missed Part One of the story? Start at the beginning.
Minnesota Undercover is a work of fiction. With the exception of well-known historical figures and events, all names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents contained in this story are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.