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Critical Error 56


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“Andrew you can sleep in my room, I’ll take the couch.”

Officer Deans accompanied the young men outside.  The girls went to say good night and when they returned, they had a sneaky look in their eyes, one Eilea didn’t entirely trust.  They whispered their way to the bedroom.  “Good night ladies,” Paul said.

“Goodnight everyone.  See you in the morning.”  Andrew stopped in front of his mother an unasked question lurking in his eyes.  He gave her a quick hug, “I hope you get some sleep mom.”

“Don’t worry, Andrew, I’m so tired I’m toast as soon as my head hits the pillow, I know I’m a gonner.”

Retrieving a set of bedding from the hall closet, she pulled the sofa out and made herself comfortable.  Paul joined her, perching on the edge of the sofa.

Paul bent down to kiss her goodnight.  “Sweet dreams”

“I hope so.”

Paul stood guard through most of the night, but finally stretched out beside Eilea and fell asleep.  He was up and had coffee on the go when she woke.

“Paul, you look exhausted.”

“I’m good, I got some sleep.  I’m going to check on Deans and the boys; I’ll be back in a few minutes,” he assured her while heading out the door.

He knocked and Deans opened the door slowly, guardedly.  “Any problems here?”

“Other than the kids grousing about not spending enough time with their girlfriends, it was dead quiet.”

Paul laughed, “Glad to hear it.  You heard anything more about Mark’s condition?”

“Not yet.”

“I’m taking a run into headquarters, and I’d like you to round everyone up and take them out for breakfast to that cute little restaurant on the waterfront.”


“I’ll tell Eilea where I’m goin’ first, then I’m off.”

He knocked and re-entered the other cabin.  “Everything is fine over there.” He explained his intentions, “I’m going to the detachment, check on a few things, maybe enlist more help.  As soon as you are ready, Dennis is going to take you out for breakfast.”

“We can make our own here.”

“I think everyone deserves a pick-me-up.”

“I guess you’re right.”

“That a girl.  I’ll be back as soon as I can,” he assured her dropping a kiss on her forehead before leaving.

The kids woke not long after. ” Exchanging quick glances Theresa asked, ” Eilea, are we leaving today?”

“I haven’t decided.”  She explained the circumstances, then continued, “Why don’t you have your shower now?  Paul offered to take us all out for breakfast.  Well, actually, Officer Dean is, Paul will meet us at the restaurant later.”

“Can I go see the guys?”

“Actually, they’ll be joining us as soon as they’re finished with their morning rituals.”


Andrew poured himself a juice and turned the tv set on.  The Price Is Right.  Christina plunked down in a chair, her legs dangling over the arm.  From the bored look on her face, she obviously didn’t like the idea of waiting for the guys.

While outwardly calm, Eilea was agitated. She was worried about Officer Mark’s condition and whether-or-not what had happened was connected with her and the kids.

When everyone was finished showering, she grabbed her towel and a fresh set of clothes.  At last, it was her turn.  She was as usual, greatly refreshed by her shower.  She missed her early morning jog and the rising sun.  Hopefully, she’d be up and out early tomorrow morning and make up for lost time.

Entering the living room, she overheard the kids talking.  “What’s up?” she asked.

“Someone just shoved a note under the door,”  Andrew explained.

“What does it say?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t read it.  We thought you might want to take a look at it first.”

“We didn’t think about fingerprints in time and we’ve all handled it.  Sorry, mom.”

“Don’t worry about it, it’s probably a note from the manager about the other repairs he wants to make in the kitchen.”  Taking the note from Andrew’s outstretched hand, she noticed that it was written on ordinary half inch lined school paper.  It was folded in four and sealed with scotch tape.  She got a kitchen knife and cut the tape.  With some trepidation, she opened the outer folds of the note.  She gasped!  Inside, a drawing of a single teardrop painted with blood.  “Mom, what is it?”

Eilea held the note for the others to see.  “Ooh, gross!” they chimed.  “What do you suppose it means?”

“At a guess I’d say it’s a message about my disappearing and it I cut him to the quick.”

“As good an explanation as any,” Andrew said.

“I’ll give this to Paul as soon as he gets back.”  Stuffing the note into her pocket, she said, “I’m going to dry my hair, and we’ll go.  Anyone starving yet?”

“I am,” Andrew grumbled.

“Won’t be long, I promise.”  Eilea was glad of the excuse to leave the room.  It was true then, their adversary was in the area.  No other explanation for a hand delivered note.  It also meant there must be a connection between what happened to the injured officer. How the hell did he find them?


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