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Critical Error 87

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Paul crab-walked toward the window.  It held but shattered like windshield glass.  He said, “You stay put, all of you!” he barked before hustling toward the back door.

Daring to turn her head she looked at her kids who’s expressions surely mirrored her own shock, “You ok?”

At the duplicate yeahs, her audible sigh of relief could be heard clear across the room.

“Is it safe enough to move now?”

“Not sure, Christina, but I think we can get to the media room, might have a better line of sight from there and the windows are long and narrow.”

They followed one behind the other until they reached the safety of the door, stood and scooted inside and shut it behind them.

“Is it that maniac?” Christine’s eyes tracked to her mother.

“Not sure, but I can’t imagine who else it could be.” Eilea side-tracked to the first of four tall windows and peered outside, shielding her body with as much of the wall as she could.  The kids did the same.  The only indication anyone was moving among the tall grass was a sudden shift as the grass swayed.

“I can’t see much, can you?”  Andrew asked.

“He’s probably taken off by now, don’t you think?”

“I can’t imagine any reason he’d stick around unless he intends getting caught Christina and that’s certainly doubtful.”

“The bullet didn’t make it through the glass.  Is it some kind of special glass or did we just get lucky?”

“I think we got lucky.  Could have been the angle or the distance, but whatever, I’m grateful,”  Eilea remarked.

“You see Paul anywhere?”  Christina’s voice was heavy with concern.

“I can’t see anyone.”

It was an interminably long time before they heard movement at the back of the house.  Even as they moved toward shelter, Paul walked in. “I thought I told you three to stay put!”

“Figured it was safer in here.”

“Did you get him?”

“Unfortunately, we didn’t, Andrew.  He fired and ran.”

“Must have been some high-powered weapon to reach us from the far side of that grass.”

“It was.  Luckily for us, the glass held.”

“There are patrol cars checking the area now from the highway to the beach and every inch of land between.  Everyone stays inside!  Outside your sitting ducks.”

Paul’s phone rang and he quickly answered. “Yeah, yeah, ok, got it.”

“What?”  Eilea asked her voice sounding a little shaky to Paul’s highly tuned ears.

“Damn it!  He got away clean, but it only means we’ll post men on the other side of the grassland.  They’re checking for tire and footprints.  Now we know he has a high powered sniper rifle and obviously knows how to use it, we’ll have to double up on manpower.”

“We’re going to get this bastard, I promise you!” Paul said on a growl looking straight into Christina’s glazed eyes.

When Paul received the all clear, he suggested they eat.  No one was particularly interested but they did enjoy the raspberry floats he made.  After that they settled into the games room, which was easier to secure and which Paul hoped would take their minds of the immediate and eminent danger.

Word came down that Eilea’s family was to be moved into a safehouse.  He was feeling pretty angry.  It would postpone the inevitable.  This jerk had made a move and he’d make another.  He’d tipped over into deranged and he wasn’t about to stop.  If he could convince Eilea to hang tough a couple more days, he was sure they’d nab the bastard in the act.  Otherwise it could be months if ever before they caught him.  If he disappeared into the wind neither she nor the kids would ever feel truly safe. They’d always have that concern hanging over their heads – would he return, if so, when?  Would he give up his pursuit or simply wait them out? What if they ran smack dab into him somewhere sometime.

He put off talking with them as long as he could.  Turning the tv off he said, “There’s something we’ve got to talk about.”  When all three sets of questioning eyes turned his way he continued, “The powers that be want to place you in a safehouse until they catch this perp.  I want to to figure this into your equation before making a decision.”  He went on to explain what his personal thoughts on the matter were.

“I take it your alone in your perception?”

“Pretty much. Most just want the problem to go away, others figure this is the best course of action, but you know what I think.  So, take your time before you decide.  I need to give them an answer soon.”  With that he walked away to allow them time to discuss the situation and make a unified decision.

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