For general disclaimers see part 1


Part 12


Lois Kay

Lauren Darkwolf was the first one who jumped out of the car, even before it had come to a full stop, closely followed by Maureen. From a distance she had recognized the burly form of Morty, immediately fearing something had happened to the old man.

“Get after him,” she yelled at Deputy Henderson, aware of the truck that was speeding away from them. “And radio in an ambulance.”

Without waiting for an answer, Lauren and Maureen sprinted toward the side of the road, where Morton Pitts had collapsed. There was a rapidly growing stain on his denim coverall, just below his right hip. Kneeling next to him, Lauren was aware of the scrubs- clad woman in the car and, without looking up, she asked: “Ma’am, are you alright?”

“I am fine,” was the weak response from Karen Donalds, who was still a little dizzy after her head had collided with the side of the door. “I’m fine. I should have a look at this man, I...”

“Stay where you are,” Lauren advised, firm, but not unfriendly. “Help is on the way and I need you to hold on to that baby.”

“Oh...okay,” Karen Donalds answered softly, her voice still testimony to her dazed state. “It’s alright, sweetie,” she whispered to the baby who was fussing in her arms. “We’re safe now. It’s alright.”

“Can you find a pulse?” Lauren asked Maureen, who had her fingers pressed against the side of Morty’s neck. The old man was unconscious and it was hard to see if he was breathing.

Maureen tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and nodded.

“Very faint. We need to stop the bleeding.”

“I’m on it,” Lauren mumbled, pressing both her hands against Morty’s hip, which made him softly grunt. “I’m sorry if I hurt you, my friend,” she whispered. “But I want you to pull through.”

“I can only see one bloodstain,” Maureen spoke, while her eyes inspected the unconscious man. “I hope that was the only bullet. One bloodstain doesn’t mean a thing.”

“I know,” Lauren sighed, feeling the perspiration form on her forehead. It was another warm day and there was no breeze. The heated air hung over the road like a hovering blanket, suffocating the underlying grass and trees. The roar of the police cruiser’s engine became a distant rumble as Deputy Henderson and Sheriff Boswick chased Morton Pitts’ truck. Maureen coughed when the settling dust tickled her throat, sending Lauren a reassuring smile when the dark-haired woman shot her a worried look.

“I’ll call 911, just to make sure,” Maureen mumbled, feeling helpless. She quickly dialed the number, hoping she would have a signal. With a small sigh of relief, her call was immediately answered.

Lauren heard her lover talk on the phone, but the words did not register. Her thoughts were with the old man who was bleeding profusely and with the people who loved him. Raising her dark eyes to the sky, she sent up a silent prayer to anyone who would be willing to listen. A hawk was silhouetted against the blue of the sky, using the moving layers of air to paint lazy circles. He was big and powerful and, in spite of the situation, Lauren took a moment to admire the beauty of the majestic bird.

“They’re on the way,” she heard Maureen’s voice interrupt her thoughts and she quietly nodded.

“Are you alright? Do you want me to take over for a while?” the redhead asked, eager to do something, anything.

“I’m fine,” Lauren answered with a small smile. “Why don’t you check on the nurse and baby?”

Maureen nodded and opened the door of the car, inwardly sighing. She was so not in the mood to deal with an hysterical person and crying baby.

“Hi. My name is Maureen Lawrence and I am with the OSBI. The lady outside with Morty is my partner Lauren Darkwolf. Are you alright?”

“ I am fine,” Karen Donalds sighed. “Just some rattled nerves. Derrick here is a trooper, he’s back asleep already,” the nurse added with a smile.

“Did you or the baby get hurt?” Maureen asked, admiring the nurse’s spirit. She had been kidnaped by a madman who had taken her on a wild ride in a stolen car, that had violently ended in a ditch and she was still able to smile.

“I hit my head, but that’s all,” Karen answered. “Derrick is fine, just in need of a bottle and a diaper change.”

“Let me look at your head,” Maureen offered, scrutinizing the bump on the side of Karen’s head. “I guess you’ll need to have that checked out. Did you lose consciousness?”

“Nope, I just saw a lot of stars,” Karen answered with a wry smile.

“Did the baby...?”

“I was making sure he didn’t,” Karen interrupted. “If his skin does show bruises later on, it’s because I was holding him too tight.”

“Sounds to me you kept him from getting hurt,” Maureen smiled. “I’m sure his parents won’t mind a bruise or two.”

“I sure hope not,” Karen sighed. “Have you seen his daddy?” When Maureen shook her head, she chuckled. “He’s 6'6" and weighs three hundred pounds, on a light day. I don’t want to make him mad.”

“He won’t be,” Maureen laughed, looking up when she heard the tell-tale sounds of approaching emergency vehicles. “Here are the medics,” she said. “Stay here, alright?”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Karen promised. “My legs are too wobbly to stand up anyway,” she mumbled, looking in the direction of the sound and noticing the growing cloud of dust in the air.

Rapidly approaching were two police-cruisers and an ambulance. Even though the sound of their sirens could not be really heard yet, the flashing lights on the vehicle could be seen for miles.

“Hang in there, Morty,” Lauren muttered, increasing pressure on the wound in the old man’s hip. The veins in her forearm stood out vividly as her muscles tensed.

Unexpectedly, the old man grunted and, when a surprised Lauren looked at his face, she could see he was struggling to open his eyes.

“Hey, there,” she almost choked with relief. “Morty. Can you hear me?”

“I might be old, but I’m not deaf,” was the barely audible answer. “Whatcha doin’ there, young lady?”

“Stopping you from bleeding all over the road,” Lauren quipped with a half-smile. “You got shot.”

“Damn young fool,” Morty coughed, wincing when the pressure on his hip increased. “Are you tryin’ to kill me, too?”

“I probably should,” Lauren answered. “What were you thinking, putting those spikes on the road?”

“Home made stop sticks, ” Morty sighed, closing his eyes against the bright light of the sky. “Are they alright?” he added in a whisper.

“They’re fine,” Lauren nodded, while her dark eyes were glued to the ambulance that was almost a few more seconds away. “Hang in there, my friend,” she encouraged the old man again. “You’ll be fine. Let the EMT’s do their job.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, but don’t let any of those young girls pull down my britches!”


“What do you mean they lost him?” Maureen asked impatiently, looking at the police officer in front of her with stormy green eyes.

“I don’t know for sure, ma’am,” was the immediate answer. “They trailed him all the way to Cordell, but then they lost track of him. They did find the car, but it was empty. They’re doing a search right now, with dogs.”

“That’s probably going to be useless,” Maureen sighed, pushing a strand of hair away from her forehead. “If we are right, this guy is one of the head cheeses of a gang of drug-runners. I bet he had one of his buddies waiting for him to pick him up and right now they’re on their way back to the city.”

“We’re all over I-40, ma’am,” the police officer replied.

“He won’t be taking I-40,” Maureen muttered. “He’s too smart for that. He’s taking one of the many back roads and will disappear in Oklahoma City.”

“With all due respect, ma’am. We will still keep an eye out on I-40.”

“Of course,” Maureen sighed again. “Thanks, anyway. And who knows, we might get lucky,” she added, not believing her own words. With an impatient sigh she reached for her buzzing cell phone, briefly wondering how on earth she managed to receive a signal in the middle of nowhere.

“Hey, cousin,” a cheerful voice greeted her and immediately Maureen smiled.

“Hey, Lally! What a nice surprise. How are you doing? Have you caught any more bad guys lately?”

“As a matter of fact, that’s why I’m calling you,” Lee Ann Lawrence answered. “We arrested a guy last night who was stalking your friends, Rachel Kendrick and Hannah Jensen.”

“Are they alright?” Maureen quickly asked, unconsciously pressing the phone closer to her ear.

“They’re fine,” Lee Ann reassured her cousin. “In fact, they were the ones who brought the guy straight to the hospital’s security officer. It was funny. I’d never heard of such a thing before.”

“Rachel and Hannah are pretty level-headed,” Maureen agreed. “So, tell me about this guy. I have the feeling your guy has something to do with the guy we’re chasing.”

“Oh, cousin, there’s a reason you do what you do,” Lee Ann teased. “But, you’re right. According to our guy, Benjamin Nunn, Jacob Mannen, your guy, was willing to donate a substantial amount of drugs in exchange for Hannah Jensen’s address.”

“Really?” Maureen drawled, surprised by the information. “Did he tell you why?”

“Nope, Ben had no clue. He’s a real drug-addict and was in desperate need for a fix. Jacob Mannen only told him to write down the address and drop it off somewhere underneath an overpass. The drugs would be waiting for him there.”

“I take it somebody is keeping an eye on that overpass now?” Maureen asked.

“Oh, ouch, Maureen, that hurts,” Lee Ann laughed. “Of course we’re keeping an eye on it.”

“I’m sorry. I had to ask, just to...” Maureen mumbled, but her cousin interrupted her with a laugh.

“Don’t worry about it. If I’d been you, I’d have asked the same thing. So, any clue as to why Hannah Jensen is involved in all this?”

“I do have an idea,” Maureen sighed, raking her fingers through her hair. “She’s a nurse.”

There was a brief silence and Maureen could almost hear Lee Ann think. She gave her cousin the opportunity to process the information and draw her own conclusions. She did not get disappointed.

“Weren’t you called out because of a kidnapped baby?”

“Yup,” Maureen answered with a smile.

“He wanted a nurse to take care of his baby,” Lee Ann spoke slowly. “Am I right?”

“I’m not a hundred percent sure,” Maureen admitted with a smile. “But I am pretty sure that’s the case though.”

“Where’s the baby?”

“Right here,” Maureen answered. “Jacob Mannen was stopped by a local. He shot him and took off in the poor old guy’s truck. The nurse and baby are fine, they’re all back with their family.”

“Where are you now?”

“Hospital in Elk City,” Maureen explained. “Lauren is not happy with our local fellow law enforcers. They were supposed to keep an eye on I-40, just in case our guy would take it to head back to the city. Instead, there were three guys keeping an eye on one and the same back road.”

“Oops,” Lee Ann winced. “Not good.”

“Not good,” Maureen agreed. “The chance of him taking I-40 was slim, but this stunt gave him all the opportunity he needed to get away unseen. He can be anywhere right now.’

“So, is Lauren yelling at them?”

“No, that’s not her style,” Maureen sighed. “I would have, you know that. No, Lauren tells them quietly, but very clearly. When I passed them on my way outside, just a few minutes ago, I saw a few of the guys squirm and look really, really uncomfortable. I’m pretty sure that, when Lauren is finished with them, their boss will have a go at it. I hope to be out of here by then.”

“So, the two of you will be coming back to the city today?”

“Hopefully,” Maureen sighed. “I’m sure Lauren will like to be back as soon as we can. She’s determined to catch this guy, especially after he kidnapped the nurse and baby and shot Morty.”

“Will he be alright?”

“The doctors say he’ll be fine. He’s a tough old man. You’d like him.”

Maureen told her cousin how Morty had successfully stopped Jacob Mannen and heard her cousin chuckle.

“He sounds like a character,” Lee Ann laughed. “I certainly hope he’ll be fine. He deserves a medal for what he did.”

“That’s what the people of this town already have decided,” Maureen smiled, remembering the clusters of people outside the hospital’s entrance, talking about their local hero. “They asked Lauren if there was anything they could do for him and she told them they could give him a hand repairing his roof.”

“And I’m sure they will,” Lee Ann replied. “Listen, Maureen, I’ve got to run. We’re heading for the overpass, just in case. Although I do have a feeling he might not show up.”

“You never know. He’s desperate and most likely pretty pissed off. If he’s determined to get his son back, he might do some crazy things. Is anybody keeping an eye on Hannah and Rachel?”

“Yeah, don’t worry. They don’t like it, but the chief didn’t leave them a choice. Everybody here remembers what happened last year and nobody wants a repeat.”

“I’m glad to hear that, thanks, Lally.”

“No problem, cousin. I need to go now. I’ll see you later, I’m sure. Be careful.”

“You too, Lee Ann. Watch your back.”

“Always,” was the promise, before the line went dead.

With a sigh, Maureen put the phone away and tilted her head toward the sun, enjoying the warmth in her face. She was tired and wished she could go to sleep, but knew that would not be an option. Not for a while. Her thoughts were torn between the case she and Lauren were working on and the memories of the previous night - the wonder and awe she felt every time she remembered the hours  she and Lauren had spent in each other’s arms. It had been so amazing.

“Penny for your thoughts,” a familiar voice sounded in her ear and Maureen could not help smiling.

“Oh, dangerous,” she answered, lazily opening her eyes to be able to look at the woman next to her.

“Really?” Lauren inquired in a serious voice, but there was a twinkle in her eyes.

“Oh, yeah,” Maureen nodded, resisting the urge to stretch out a hand and stroke Lauren Darkwolf’s cheek. “I was trying to direct my thoughts to the case, but I was being distracted by some very nice memories.”

“I am glad,” Lauren answered with a smile. “That they’re nice, I mean.”

“They are,” Maureen nodded. “Although I wonder how come you’re so certain about my memories. Unless you think you’re part of them.”

“Oh, but I know I am part of them,” Lauren smiled. “Do you want to know why?”

“Please, enlighten me,” Maureen teased.

“Your skin was flushed and I know it wasn’t the sun, because the smile on your face was so much like the one I saw yesterday. The one I saw over and over and over again,” Lauren added in a deep voice, chuckling when Maureen’s skin erupted in goose bumps. “Am I right?”

“Completely,” the red-head admitted, fascinated by her body’s response to Lauren’s close presence. If they would not have been standing in front of the hospital, with police officers walking in-and-out, she would have thrown herself in Lauren’s arms and would have kissed her passionately.

“Hold that thought,” Lauren spoke, her dark eyes reflecting the love and desire she felt for the other woman. “This case will be over soon and I promise you I’ll take you on a vacation, somewhere quiet. Just you and me.”

“I’d like that,” Maureen whispered. “Where will you take me?”

“The Ozarks,” Lauren smiled. “I know just the right cabin. It has a great view, a big fridge and a huge bed.”

“Oh, just what the Doctor ordered,” Maureen sighed, reluctantly straightening her body, ready to go wherever their job would take them. “Please, let it be soon,” she added softly.

“It will be,” Lauren promised. “We’re closing in on this guy. We have his baby, his name, his face on the security tape, his meth lab, two of his buddies and witnesses.”

“You saw the tape?” Maureen asked with interest.

“Not the whole tape, just a couple of pictures they showed me. He’s the slickly dressed guy we saw at the hospital that day, after the tornado.”

“I know,” Maureen nodded. “I just got off the phone with Lee Ann.” She quickly told Lauren what her cousin had told her and the dark-haired woman listened intently.

“I’m sorry to hear Rachel and Hannah are somehow  involved, but I’m glad to know he was either desperate or just plain stupid to get this Benjamin Nunn involved,” Lauren sighed. “He must be quite desperate, though. There’s a tiny chance he’ll show up at the overpass.”

“Do you really think so?” Maureen asked.

“Yeah, I do,” Lauren nodded. “He doesn’t know Nunn has been arrested, but he does realize his entire safety net is falling away. He’ll be desperate. He might be tempted to get hold of Hannah in order to get his baby. Or maybe he wants to talk to Nunn to give him another job to do. Fact is, he needs support and he doesn’t have a lot left.”

“He has his drug-running buddies.”

“That’s true,” Lauren admitted. “But his face will be all over the news tonight. Nobody will want to be seen with him. He’s destined to make a mistake. All we have to do is keep our ears and eyes open. And try to be around when he does mess up.” There was a determined, almost grim expression on Lauren’s face. “I’m determined to get to this guy and get the punk off the streets. I can’t wait to read him his rights.”


The uneventful ride back to Oklahoma City had restored some of Jacob Mannen’s self-confidence. He had expected the roads to have been crowded with police, but expect for the one cruiser along the interstate, whose officer was ticketing somebody for speeding, the coast had been absolutely clear.

By the time he reached the city limits, his anxiety had almost completely left him and he felt calmer than he had been since he had set foot inside Elk City hospital. He felt safe enough to try and come up with a plan . He knew there was no chance of him going back to the lab on Tenth Street. The place had been raided by the police and going back there would certainly mean being arrested.

Jacob Mannen, also known as ‘Musk’, was well-respected by his friends and ‘business associates’. He had earned their respect for his ability to get himself out of trouble. Numerous times he had escaped the police and he was very proud of his talent to elude the law. Nobody had ever tried to tell on him, because they all knew he could be ruthless. He had proven that not long ago.

Jacob’s thoughts went back to the day he walked into his livingroom, happy to be home, so he could be with his newborn son, finding his girlfriend, the mother of his child, holding his notebook. At first, he had just been surprised, thinking he must have left it on the table that morning, but then he remembered he had tucked it away safely, like he always did.

His girlfriend had not been able to come up with a good excuse for going through his business administration and right then and there he had decided she needed to go. That’s when he had called Ape and Squid to tell them he had a job for them.

With a sigh, Jacob shook his head. Who knew they would have screwed up so badly? Their stupidity had cost him the biggest part of his business and in the end they had left him no choice and he had to get rid of them also. What a mess.

“Well, it’s just you now, Jake,” he spoke aloud. “You need to come up with a plan to get your son and get out of town. Start over somewhere else. New Mexico, maybe, or Arizona.” Jacob Mannen turned the car he had borrowed from a friend into the parking lot of a sad looking apartment complex. As soon as he had stopped the car, a small group of teenage boys, dressed in the colors of their gang, approached the car.

With a chuckle, Jacob Mannen squared his shoulders and sought eye contact with what appeared to be the leader.

“What’s up?” he asked in a calm voice.

“”S’ what I was going to ask you, dude,” the teenager responded. “You’re on our turf.”

“I know,” Jacob grinned. “I’m looking for Mesh.”

“We don’t know nobody with that name,” was the response.

“Yes, you do,” Jacob nodded, stepping closer to the teen as a sign he was neither impressed nor scared.

“Mesh is the leader of the ‘Razors’. He’s your boss and you’d better go find him and tell him Musk wants to see him.”

“Musk,” the teenager repeated, his dark-brown eyes scanning Jacob’s face. “Who that?”

“You know who,” Jacob sneered. “Musk is the one providing all of you with the candy each week. I need to talk to Mesh, so you’d better call him for me. He won’t be happy if you don’t get a move on.”

Almost imperceptibly, the tall, lanky teenager nodded to one of his friends, who seemed to have been waiting for his signal. He whipped out a cell phone and speed-dialed a number. Less than five seconds later, he handed the phone to Jake.

“Mesh,” is all he said and a pleased smile appeared on Jacob Mannen’s face.


“Do you really think he’ll come?” David Hargrove sighed, glancing aside at his partner.

“I’ve got no idea,” Lee Ann Lawrence answered. “But we’ve just got here, Dave. Are you getting impatient already?”

“Yes, and hungry,” he muttered.

“You just ate a turkey sandwich,” Lee Ann replied, looking at him with a frown.

“I can’t help it,” David shrugged. “I’m hungry.”

“I need to talk to Ellen. I want to know if she lets you eat that much at home,” Lee Ann mumbled.

“Are you kidding me?” was David’s response. “She’s on a diet! All I get is salad and fish. Look at me. I’m six foot six. I can’t live on salad and fish.”

Lee Ann chuckled and gave her partner and friend a pat on the back.

“Poor guy. I’d feel sorry for you, if I didn’t know you had a cheeseburger and fries for lunch and also wolfed down two cupcakes at Starbucks. It’s a mystery where you put all that stuff,” she muttered, eying his tall frame.

“I use it to maintain my frame,” was the answer and Lee Ann laughed.

“Your artery- clogged frame,” Lee Ann replied. “It might not show, yet, but all that greasy stuff has to go somewhere.”

“I burn it,” David grinned, patting his stomach.

“You won’t do that forever,” Lee Ann remarked, staring at the overpass through a pair of binoculars. “Wait until you hit your late thirties, early forties. All those burgers will start to stick to you.”

Unconsciously leaning forward, Lee Ann squinted her eyes and immediately David had forgotten about his hunger.

“What? Do you see anything?”

“Do you remember the name of that prostitute we arrested a while ago? The one with the gold tooth and the tattoo of...”

“The virgin Mary,” David added. “Yes, I remember. Why?”

“It looks like she’s working the overpass tonight,” Lee Ann answered, handing her partner the binoculars and leaning back into her chair, grabbing her mug and taking a sip of tea.

“Her name is Sheila,” David relayed. “But on the streets she’s known as Mottled Mary.”

“That’s the one,” Lee Ann chuckled. “Do you have any idea why she’d be so far away from her regular corner?”

“I’ve got no clue,” David mumbled. “Maybe she had a client who picked her up and dropped her off here?”

“Maybe,” Lee Ann answered slowly. “Although that seems very unlikely. She must be pretty sure to get a ride back to her own side of town to have done something like that.”

“Unless someone asked her to be here?” David spoke, voicing Lee Ann’s thoughts and his partner nodded.

“Could be,” she admitted. “Am I going too far in my desire to be a hot-shot investigator when I launch the hypothesis that Mary dear has been asked to show up here tonight?”

“Not really,” David shrugged. “The question would be ‘why’ though.”

“Diversion,” Lee Ann immediately answered, having expected a question like that. “Most of us know Mary and we’d all be tempted to take her to the station when we see her work a corner. You know how she always throws a major fit when she gets taken in. It would be a great distraction for someone else to get underneath the overpass and get the package, or whatever the heck it is.”

“You might be on to something,” David nodded, glancing sideways. “You’ll make a great Agent, Lee Ann.”

“So will you,” she replied with a sunny smile, surprised to see him shake his head. “What do you mean?” she asked curiously.

“Being OSBI is not for me,” he explained, avoiding her eyes. “I’m not that smart. The only reason I am here tonight, instead of cruising the street is because I am your partner. I guess the boss didn’t want to split us up.”

“That’s crazy talk, Dave,” Lee Ann snorted. “You’re a smart guy and you’re a good cop. The OSBI would be lucky to get you.”

“Do you really think so?”

“I know so,” Lee Ann nodded. “What has you down like that tonight?”

“Ellen and I have been talking about kids and I guess we’re both ready. I’d love to be a dad, you know that. But I want to be a good one, in all aspects. I sometimes wonder if being a cop will get us the income we need to raise a couple of kids. Lately I’ve been thinking if I should change careers, or something.”

“Have you talked to Ellen about that?” Lee Ann asked, understanding her friend’s doubts.

“Not yet,” he sighed. “I don’t want to worry her. Besides, I’m not sure yet, about changing careers, I mean. I love what I do.”

“Talk to Ellen,” Lee Ann repeated. “Your wife adores you and she’d want to know what you’re struggling with. Besides, she’s one of the most sensible people I know, even though she married you,” she added with a grin.

David chuckled and threw a wadded up paper napkin at his partner, who ducked and felt the soft tissue bounce off the window and roll onto the floor of the car. Before she could respond to his playful attack though, he was leaning forward, over the steering wheel, staring at the overpass.

“Lee Ann, look,” he said in an excited voice.

As soon as his partner looked at the overpass, she felt the adrenaline rush through her body.

“What the...?”

“The ‘Razors’,” David spoke, knowing full well Lee Ann had recognized the group as well. “They’re far away from their territory. Oh, man, I hope there won’t be a gang war. Not tonight.”

“Although that might be exactly what they’re here for,” Lee Ann responded, wordlessly counting the group of teenagers that had showed up. “There are twenty-three of them. No one in their right mind would even come close to the overpass now. Except Mary. Look at her, Dave. It’s like she knew they’d show up.”

David mumbled an expletive and reached for his cell phone.

“They must know we’re here, Lee Ann. We either need to get out of here, or call for back up. I don’t know what the plan is, but this could get ugly. Especially if the ‘Perros’ make an appearance. They so don’t like their turf being invaded.”

“I know,” his partner answered, flipping over her own cell phone. “Who are you calling?”

“Chief,” was David’s short answer.

“Good. I’ll call Pete and Gary. They should be at the other side of the overpass.”

“Tell them to use their cell phones and to stay off the radio,” David urged. “We know the ‘Razors’ always manage to intercept us.”

“I’ll tell ‘em,” Lee Ann nodded, the expression on her face worried and tense.

She dialed the number of Pete Christopoulos’ cell phone, but before it could ring, there was a knock on the window. Startled, she turned her head to look straight into her cousin’s face.

“Open the door,” Maureen gestured and immediately Lee Ann obeyed. With a dry click the car unlocked and simultaneously the doors in the back were opened when Maureen Lawrence and Lauren Darkwolf stepped inside.

“You guys are sticking out like a band-aid on a sore thumb,” Maureen started before anyone could utter a word. “You’ll need to get off those cell phones, right now, and back out of here. Lee Ann, we could spot you and David from a mile away. This car screams ‘stake out’.”

“Nice to see you, too, cousin,” Lee Ann muttered, casting her cousin a dark glance.

“Hi, Lee Ann,” Lauren smiled. “We’ll exchange pleasantries later. Maureen is right, we need to get out of here. There’s going to be major trouble.”

“Only if the ‘Perros’ find out the ‘Ra...’” David started, but he was interrupted by a hand on his shoulder.

“Look behind you,” Lauren’s voice was soft, but there was a level of tension in it he had not noticed before. “Do you see all those small groups of kids hanging out? Don’t you think there are more now than, say, thirty minutes ago?” Lauren added after David nodded. “Those are the ‘Perros’ and they have been steadily filling the street for the last forty-five minutes. All they need is a signal from their leaders and they’ll be under the overpass before you can make a phone call.”

Lauren looked around and shook her head.

“Haven’t you noticed that store across the street closing its doors? They know what’s going to happen.”

“Forty-five minutes?” Lee Ann echoed. “Have you guys been here all that time?”

“Oh, yes, we have,” Maureen answered. “We’ll explain later. Come on, Dave, let’s get out of here.”

“Where are we going?” David asked, after he had started the engine.

“Hannah and Rachel,” Lauren answered with a grim expression on her face. “If our guy is so desperate to get the two biggest rival gangs in the city involved, he’s crazy enough to try and get to Hannah.”

To be continued (and maybe even concluded) in Part 13.

Feedback is welcome at

Return to the Academy