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Critical Error 82


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Paul’s sense of unease couldn’t be denied, even though he knew others were patrolling the area including his home and the beach.

His watchful eye drifted from one member of Eilea’s family to another making sure each was present and accounted for.  He’d assigned a couple to monitor each of the teens and he was watching out for Eilea.  This maniac had managed to get close enough to cause real distress and whether his intent was harming one of the family members or whisking Eilea away, his mental stability was undoubtedly questionable.

It was time to check in with each team.  After making his excuses, Paul wandered through the house, mentally checking as he moved, then on out through the front door.  Picking up a hose to water the garden, he yanked and pulled until it uncoiled to its full extent.  Eyes ever watchful, he backed up toward the road, his gaze moving from one location to another.

So intently was he focused he hadn’t noticed the lone man walking briskly toward him, nor had he heard sounds of his movements.  Before he could turn to face his attacker, he was down.  The hose slipped from his grasp as he fell to the ground.

The assailant grasped him under the arms and hauled his drooping body over the grass to an unmarked vehicle and hefted Paul inside.  Satisfied, he slammed the door and steadily walked away.

Twenty minutes passed before someone noticed Paul’s disappearance.  Eilea had scanned the group and figured Paul was making rounds but became anxious enough to ask first one then another when they’d last seen Paul.  It soon became apparent that no one knew where he was.  Immediately word passed through the group and everyone was on their feet.  Ushering Eilea and the kids inside along with a group assigned to watch over them, the rest fanned out.

Eilea heard the distant yell.  “Found him!  Call 911!”  Instantly she was out the door before anyone could stop her.  She raced to the group of men and women and found Paul laying on his side a horrible shade of unbecoming pink.

“Oh my god, what’s happened to him?” she asked kneeling beside him.

“Someone’s used some kind of gas on him.”

Before she could ask how to help, an ambulance was racing up, lights flashing and they all moved aside to create a path.  Upon examination, they immediately hooked Paul up to Oxygen and asked, “Anyone know what he used?”

“HE used nothing.  He’s got a sizeable lump on the back of his head.  We don’t know what gas was used to knock him out!”

“Ok, we’re off to the hospital.”  As they hurried away, they listened to the ambulance attendant reporting over a walkie-talkie to the hospital explaining the situation.

“I have to go!”  Eilea responded racing toward the house to grab her keys.

“Eilea, wait, I’ll drive you!  You can’t go alone.”  Eilea nodded before racing inside to gather her purse and tell her kids what had happened.

“We’re coming with you!”  they shouted in unison.



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