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Critical Error 48

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They noticed Paul’s truck approaching and watched as he slowed down then pulled in behind the van.  He stopped to examine the damage before joining them.

“A few dents in the bumper but it’s fixable and won’t cause any problems with driving.  As soon as we get to Uclulet, we’ll stop at the Station and fill out a report, insurance will cover any repairs.”

“Is everyone alright?”

“Yeah, just a bit shaken.”

“Are you able to drive, Brandon?”

“Yeah, sure, I’m fine, it shook me but I’m good.”

Paul glanced at each of the teens in turn, then back at Brandon,”Good, then let’s get started, alright?”

They returned to the truck and their journey resumed. After a few minutes, Paul exclaimed,  “That was close.  Brandon has a good head on his shoulders.  He handled the situation very well, didn’t over-correct or panic.”

“Do you think it was him?”

“I don’t know, Andrew.  It’s possible, although highly unlikely, the odds would be a million to one!  Unless it was just pure dumb luck, I don’t see how he could have found you.”

“You’d think he’d be looking for my car.  We left on a Friday and he couldn’t leave until after work . . . unless of course, he left as soon as he found out we were gone.”  Eilea cringed at the idea.  “Going after the kids doesn’t make sense.  His beef is with me.”

“Unless he reacted and he’s completely unhinged and vengeance is the name of the game.”

“Oh lord, perhaps we should turn around and go home.  At least that way, the kids aren’t walking targets.”

“That’s a choice, you’d be throwing your holiday away on the off-chance it was him and not some crazed driver.”

“And, if it isn’t, if it’s him, what kind of a risk am I taking then?” she asked.

As soon as they arrived at Uclulet, they headed for the Police Station.  The officer’s eyebrows lifted when he saw the crew entering the front door.

“Hi, anything I can do for you folks?”

Paul swiftly identified himself to the officer, explained where he was stationed and that he was currently on vacation before continuing.  “One of our vehicles was involved in a hit and run.”

“Anyone hurt?”

“Fortunately, no.  Do you have an office where the family can sit and wait?”

The Officer asked them to follow him and he settled the group in a nearby room containing several seats and said, “I’ll be back to take your statements in a few minutes.  He took Paul along to fill out forms.  They glanced at each other, trying to keep it light, but it was obvious to Eilea at least, they felt a little jittery.  She certainly did.

Paul brought the officer up to date on what Eilea was dealing with then added, “The front license plate was deliberately obscured and he didn’t have one on the back of the vehicle.  It’s a red 1984 GMC truck with a red box on the back. He’ll have to get rid of the truck, or abandon it, which will only draw speculation, especially a lone man walking along the highway out here without camping gear or food.”

“Finding the vehicle, whether he’s abandoned it or not is huge.  It will be registered in his name.  I doubt he’s savvy enough to have stolen one. I’m not shure he had time.”

Both men returned and the officer in charge said, “Officer Montgomery has filled me in and I’ve put out an APB which should assist in the capture of the delinquent driver.  Until we know what’s going on, it’s a good idea to set up some precautions.”

“I’m sure Montgomery has explained it’s essential you stay together as much as possible and don’t go wandering off by yourself until we can determine more about this character.  Have any of you taken self-defense courses?”

“I have,” Christina replied.

“That’s good.  How about the rest of you?”

“Me too,” Brandon and Cliff added.

“Better yet.  Don’t let that make you cocky though; there’s only so much you can do against a whacko alright?”

“Listen to what your instincts tell you.  I know that might sound funny coming from a cop but nine times out of ten, it will save your life.  If you feel uncomfortable about someone you’ve just met or any individual hanging around or any situation gives you an odd feeling, leave, get away.   I don’t care if it’s a crowded grocery store or the back stairs of a department store or an elevator in a hotel, or your own home.  Just get out!”

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