Warning: This chapter deals with neglect of children. Nothing graphic, but maybe disturbing to some.
This chapter is dedicated to all the small victims of abuse and neglect. And to those who try to give them a better life. They are my heroes...
It was a small room, with only one window that barely let through the bright sunlight. It was not just the blinds that shielded the room from the light, but also the layers of dust and mud on the outside of the panes. There was dust everywhere, a thick layer of soft, grey-colored powder that danced in the single beam of light that had managed to illuminate the room. It was disturbed by every movement, especially when the door was opened or closed. Little puffs of powdery material tumbled in the shift of air, until they finally settled, on the blinds, the table, the old TV in the corner or even on the bed.
A pile of clothes, that had once been colorful, had haphazardly been deposited on a chair, too much for the seat to bear, so pale blue sleeves hung over the side, almost touching the floor’s carpet that had seen better days–-a very long time ago.
In the corner, opposite the TV, a single bed was shoved against the wall. The linens were stained and there were numerous holes in the fabric, testimony to its age. The mattress was thin and lumpy, almost worn out completely in some areas and it barely fit the frame it was resting on.
Two small figures were sitting on the bed, their backs resting against the wall, while their eyes stared at the door. There was no room for fear in the blues that were so much alike. They had past that emotion a very long time ago. The raised voices and harsh language had become a part of their lives, as were the meager meals that were brought inside the room every now and then. A few empty KFC boxes on the floor were testimony to that. So was the color of their skin that was too pale and the brittle hair that was too long and desperately needed a cut.
The door, the gateway to another life because the window was barred, remained locked. At first, that had instilled almost uncontrollable fear into their bodies that were too small and too light for their age. Recently, though, it had become a safe barrier between them and what was going on in the outside world. As long as the door was closed, things would be better.
“When will she come back?” a husky voice, barely audible, broke the silence in the room. The words were followed by a hacking cough that left the small body gasping for air.
“She’ll be here soon,” another voice answered, hoarse from the lack of use.
“Really?” was the wheezed response.
“Really. We’ll just have to hang in there, okay? Jess said she’d be back.”
“Okay,” was the tired response.
Two small hands reached for each other and held each other tight. No matter what would happen, or when, at least they had each other.
Sarah Nichols, OSBI’s receptionist and secretary, let out a deep sigh and switched off her computer. It sucked to be called back in on a Saturday to process documents. But she was dedicated to her job and she knew the work she did was very important. There were times the Agents in the field were heavily relying on the work she did to close a case. She had spent part of her afternoon processing information. It had been satisfying to assemble the information Agent Darkwolf and Agent Lawrence needed. She had emailed the file she had been working on to Lauren Darkwolf’s PDA, knowing the dark-haired Agent would be waiting for it. One thing that would be unexpected for the Agen, though, would be the letter Sarah had scanned and sent to Lauren’s email. Somehow, she had known it to be important. The letter had been sent to the OSBI, but after Sarah had opened it, she had noticed it had been addressed to Lauren Darkwolf and Maureen Lawrence. She had read the contents to determine if it was urgent or if it could wait, but she had decided it was information Lauren and Maureen needed as soon as possible. That’s why she had it earmarked as ‘high priority’.
Sarah knew she had only scanned the contents of the letter because it was part of her job, but what she had read was something that would not leave her alone. She debated with herself whether she should call Lauren Darkwolf. It seemed a silly thing to do, especially since she knew it would only be a matter of time before Lauren would check her mail.
“Oh, whatever,” Sandy muttered, grabbing the phone and dialing Lauren’s cell phone number. It only rang three times, before it was answered.
“Lauren? Hi, this is Sarah. I’m sorry to call you, but...no, I’m not sorry at all,” Sarah corrected herself. “I just sent you a scan of a letter you need to see. It was addressed to you and Maureen. I’ve got the feeling it could be important.”
Lauren, who would never doubt anyone’s gut-feeling, immediately felt a tightening in her belly. If it was serious enough for Sarah to give her a call, she knew she needed to check her PDA as soon as possible.
“I’ll pull it up right away, Sarah. Thank you,” Lauren said.
“No problem,” Sarah answered in a soft voice. “Let me know if my instincts were right, OK?”
“I will,” Lauren smiled. “I promise.”
As soon as the connection was broken, Lauren reached for the PDA that was clipped to her belt. Within less than a minute, she stared at the small screen that showed the letter Sarah had scanned for her.
If you receive this letter, I won’t be able to talk to you anymore. If my friend has not heard from me before Thursday evening, she will mail this letter for me and I know you’ll eventually get it. I just hope it won’t be too late. It might be for me, but hopefully not for my son. I need to be sure he’ll be alright.
Jacob Mannen is my ex-boyfriend. He is the father of my son, Caleb. I left him because I don’t want to be involved in his business. I found out his dealings in drugs after I gave birth to Caleb. I left him, but fear that one day, he will find me.
I know he will try to hurt me after he finds out I tried to contact you. From the newspaper, I know you are with the OSBI and you’ve dismantled a lot of meth-labs. Jake has one, a Superlab. On Tenth street, in Oklahoma City, just before you reach the Fair Grounds, there’s a small house with yellow siding. There’s a lab in the shed behind the house. It’s in the storm cellar. The hatch is underneath the outer row of boxes. You’ll find everything you’ll need there.
Inside the house, there’s a small bedroom. The door is always locked. Get them out. Please, get them out. Their names are Kyle and Dustin. Tell them Jess sent you. Please.
Looking at the writing that had started out very neat and readable, but ended in something that was hard to decipher, Lauren guessed the writer had been in a hurry to get all the information on paper.
“Jess Garrett,” she said softly. “Are you the girl from Elk City? Something tells me you are.”
With a worried frown, Lauren opened the door to the living room, immediately noticing a pair of green eyes looking at her expectantly. No matter how comfortable Maureen felt, surrounded by Lauren’s family, the moment her friend had jumped up to answer her phone, she had felt totally lost. As soon as Lauren stepped back into the room, Maureen let out a sigh of relief. Until she noticed the expression on her friend’s face.
“Are you alright?” she asked, not aware of the sudden silence. “What’s going on?”
“I need to show you something,” Lauren said, sending her a tight smile. “It’s work related.”
“Alright,” Maureen replied, getting up from the couch and walking toward the door, where Lauren was waiting. As soon as they entered the hallway, Lauren closed the door behind them, leaving her family in worried silence. She would explain it to them later. First she wanted to know Maureen’s thoughts on the letter.
Without saying a word, Lauren handed Maureen the PDA and waited while the other woman’s eyes scanned the screen.
“Jess Garrett,” Maureen spoke softly. She lifted her head and cast a look at Lauren. “Do you think she’s the girl?”
“Yes, I do,” Lauren nodded.
“I wonder who Kyle and Dustin are?” Maureen wondered.
“I don’t know,” Lauren answered. “But I’m sure we’ll find out soon.”
“Alright, so far so good,” Lauren sighed when she exited the car, followed by Maureen and two other OSBI-agents they had picked up at the office A team of specially trained police-officers was right behind them in a van, equipped with all the instruments they needed to check the house. If Jess’ letter was right and there was an active meth-lab in the building, the situation could become dangerous, because of the chemicals used and the fact that labs sometimes were booby-trapped. Being cautious was extremely important, but if there were children in the house, they needed to act fast.
“Do we have the search-warrant?” Lauren asked Tom, who nodded and reached inside his pocket, pulling out the envelope a Sheriff’s Deputy had handed him. They had been lucky a judge had been willing to sign the document. Usually, it took a lot longer to get all the formalities and paperwork out of the way, but, after Lauren had informed him about the situation, Jack Wilson had convinced the right people to sign off on their request and less than a day later, Maureen and Lauren were standing in front of the house with the yellow siding.
“I’m going in first,” Lauren decided, knowing deep down inside that Kyle and Dustin were in dire need of help.
“Then I’m right there with you,” Maureen decided, knowing they would be breaking protocol.
“I’ll be right there with you,” Maureen repeated, this time a little more firm. When Lauren shot her a glance, she noticed the determination on her friend’s face and inwardly she sighed. She should have known Maureen would follow her right in, against all rules and regulations.
“Wilson will have my head,” Lauren warned, but when Maureen just shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes, she let out a soft chuckle. “Alright, let’s go then.”
“Do you really think it’s a good, idea. Lauren?” Tom Baker asked, looking at his friend with a worried frown.
“Come on, Tom,” Lauren smiled. “You’d do the same thing. I just beat you to it.”
Lauren gave Tom a friendly slap on the back and gestured Maureen to follow her. With confident strides, they crossed the street and walked up through the narrow front yard to the porch that looked badly maintained. Big chunks of concrete were missing and when Maureen carefully put her weight on the middle of three steps, she could feel the surface buckle underneath her feet.
“Are you alright?” Lauren asked, having reached out a hand to grab Maureen’s elbow.
“Yeah, thanks,” Maureen mumbled. “If this front porch is like a death-trap, I wonder what the rest of the house will be like.”
“Something to look forward to,” Lauren answered, opening the storm door that was hanging from one hinge only. “Here goes,” she added, knocking on the door.
Both women felt the familiar rush of adrenaline surge through their bodies, increasing their heart rate and enhancing all their senses. Lauren thought she heard a faint sound inside and she knocked again, a little louder this time, aware of Maureen’s presence at her back. Knowing her friend was right there made her feel less tense and involuntarily she smiled.
“Who is it?” a clear, crisp voice at the other side of the door sounded.
“Agents Darkwolf and Lawrence, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation,” Lauren spoke through the door. “Please, open the door. We need to ask you some questions.”
Maureen cast a look over her shoulder and nodded at Tom Baker, who immediately moved to one side of the house, while the other Agent moved to the other side. They had all experienced the meth-lab busts where the suspects tried to flee through the backyard, shooting their way through the front door or even escape via the roof. They were prepared for anything.
“Can you prove that?” the voice asked with a barely audible quiver.
“If you open the door, I can,” Lauren answered, nodding when Maureen whispered: “They’re trying to buy some time. “
“Okay,” was the answer from behind the door and both Lauren and Maureen took a deep breath ,their hands loosely on their guns they, for this occasion, were carrying on their hips.
Slowly the front door opened and a face appeared, blinking against the bright light from the early morning sun. Both Lauren and Maureen flashed their badge, taking in the figure who was standing in front of them. It was a young woman who was painfully skinny. Her shoulder-length hair was unkempt and brittle. Lauren immediately noticed the flaky skin and the sores around her mouth.
“Agent Darkwolf, what can I do for you?” the young woman asked, showing teeth that were almost rotten. The young woman was averting her gaze, but Lauren noticed the fast eye-movements and inwardly she sighed.
“Tweaker,” she spoke softly, knowing Maureen heard her when she saw her friend nod. The red-head had already come to that conclusion. They would have to be very cautious in their approach. Any wrong move or word could trigger a violent reaction. If they were right, the young woman was a hard-core methamphetamine user, craving her next fix, but unable to reach a high. It was very possible her addiction had kept her from sleeping for days, making her extremely irritable.
“Call me Lauren,” Lauren smiled, keeping her voice low. “This is my partner, Maureen. We’d like to ask you a few questions. Could you, please, step outside?”
“I don’t know if...,” the young woman started, but was interrupted by a sound that came from the back of the house. Immediately, she jumped, wiping her hands at her jeans with jerky movements.
“What’s your name?” Lauren continued, pretending she had not heard the hacking cough, that had sounded suspiciously like a child’s.
“What?” the young woman breathed, clearly agitated.
“Your name?” Lauren repeated, wondering how to get the young woman away from the door.
“Kate,” was the reply and Lauren nodded.
“Would you mind stepping outside, Kate?” Lauren asked.
“Actually, I would,” Kate replied, visibly shaking and raking her fingers through her hair. Her breathing had increased and it was obvious she had become very nervous.
“I need you to step outside, Kate,” Lauren said calmly, ready to step forward and grab Kate as soon as she would attempt to run back into the house. At that moment, a police cruiser pulled up in front of the house, followed by a second one and two uniformed officers appeared.
“Damn,” Maureen muttered under her breath. From the corner of her eyes, she could see Kate reach for her back pocket, letting the alarm bells go off in the back of her mind. But before she could shout out a warning, Lauren had already stepped forward, grabbing both Kate’s arms and twisting them behind her back. With a thud, a hunting knife tumbled to the ground, reflecting the bright morning light off its razor-sharp blade. Lauren cast a look at it and used her foot to quickly push it to the side.
“Not a smart move, Kate,” she sighed, expertly cuffing the young woman’s hands behind her back.
“Take her,” she motioned to one of the uniformed officers who had run toward the house as soon as Lauren had surged forward.
Kate screamed and tried to kick the officer in his shins, but he was at least six inches taller than she was and he weighed a lot more. Without much effort, he escorted her to his cruiser, putting her in the backseat and closing the door.
“Alright, let’s go in,” Lauren decided.
Both women entered the house, with their guns drawn. They had no desire to be caught unaware and Lauren, who was walking in front of Maureen, knew the red-head was covering her back.
“OSBI,” Lauren called out. “Is anybody home?”
There was no answer and Lauren cast a look over her shoulder, motioning the second uniformed officer to follow them inside. Lauren and Maureen had seen a lot of meth-houses on the inside and they knew from experience how filthy they could be, but nothing had prepared them for this. The floors were littered with empty beer and soda cans. The low coffee table was covered with half-eaten pizzas, fries and pieces of bread. Bags from different fast-food restaurants were strewn across the couch and the chairs. In the corner of the room was a pile of dirty clothes and what seemed like diapers.
“Good God,” the uniformed officer mumbled, trying hard not to breathe in too deeply. The stench of rotten food and urine was almost unbearable.
“The kitchen’s clear,” Maureen mumbled, having cast a look inside the small area that was covered in filth.
They slowly approached the narrow hallway and noticed two of the three doors were open. It did not take them long to secure what appeared to be a bedroom on one side of the hallway and a bathroom on the other side. Maureen almost gagged when her nose was filled with a smell that was a mixture of human waste and decay.
“Holy crap,” she muttered when her eyes fell on the decomposing body of what appeared to have been a small dog that was laying in the bathtub.
Lauren’s face held a grim expression when they had reached the closed door. If Jess Garrett’s letter had been true, they would find Kyle and Dustin behind the locked door. The question was; who were they?
“I need you to stay back a little,” she told the uniformed officer in a soft voice. He nodded and took a few steps back, his hand on his gun.
Lauren glanced at Maureen, noticing the tension in the other woman’s eyes. If only she could reach out and give her a supportive hug, but she knew that had to wait till later. Much later.
Lauren took a deep breath, immediately regretting that when it almost made her cough. She tried not to think about the bad air quality when she softly knocked on the door.
“Kyle? Dustin?” she called out. “Is there anybody in there?”
There was no answer, but both Lauren and Maureen had heard a sound. It had been barely audible, but as soon as they exchanged glances they knew they had not imagined it.
“I know you’re in there,” Lauren said. “Do you want to come out?”
The sob on the other side of the door was clear now and Lauren nodded.
“Kids,” she spoke, seeing Maureen nod.
For a brief moment, the red-head could see the anger in Lauren’s face and she knew her friend was struggling to keep her composure.
“Kyle, Dustin, Jess sent us,” Maureen called out, reaching out and giving Lauren’s arm a quick, encouraging squeeze.
“Jess?” a husky voice answered, so full of wonder and hope, it brought tears to Maureen’s eyes.
“Yes, Jess. She asked us to come and get you.”
“The door’s locked,” the child’s voice sounded again. “Me and Dustin can’t get out and she’s sick.”
“Is Dustin your sister?” Maureen asked, glancing aside to notice Lauren had regained her composure.
“Yes, she’s only three,” was the answer.
“Okay, honey, listen to me,” Lauren spoke, her voice low and warm. “Are you and Dustin close to the door?”
“No, we’re on the bed.”
“Is there a closet?”
There was a moment of silence and then the husky voice answered.
“Yeah,” it sounded hesitant.
“Can you and Dustin go inside the closet for just a minute? I need to open the door and I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Me and Dustin don’t like the closet,” Kyle answered in a quivering voice.
“Why is that, sweetie?” Maureen asked, exchanging a glance with Lauren.
“It’s so dark in there.”
Lauren clenched her teeth, knowing exactly why the little boy was afraid to go into the small space.
“Bastards,” she whispered angrily.
“It’s only for a minute, Kyle,” Maureen explained in a soothing voice. “As soon as the door is open, you can come out of the closet and you will never, ever, have to go back in there again.”
There was another moment of silence.
“I promise,” Maureen answered, swallowing away the lump in her throat.
“Okay,” Kyle answered and immediately they heard him talk softly to his little sister. There was the sound of a door being opened and closed and then a muffled, almost panicked :’Okay’.
Not wanting to waste one more second, Lauren stepped back and before Maureen and the uniformed officer could even blink their eyes, Lauren had kicked in the door, putting her long legs and anger to good use. The door, no match for a six foot one, pissed-off OSBI agent, sprung open, almost flying off its hinges and, immediately, Lauren stepped inside the darkened room, effortlessly finding the closet and opening the door. Knowing her height could easily intimidate small children, especially when they were already afraid, she stepped back and knelt down.
Two painfully white faces were turned her way and the first thing she noticed were the eyes that seemed to be too big for the children’s faces. A small boy who seemed to be about five or six years old, had his arms wrapped around the tiny form of his sister, who, Lauren noticed, was too small for a three year old. Her heart broke at the sight.
“Hi, my name is Lauren,” she introduced herself. “And this is my friend, Maureen,” she added when she could feel the red-head kneeling next to her.
“I am Kyle and this is Dustin,” the little boy introduced himself, staring at both women with huge blue eyes.
“It’s nice to meet you, Kyle,” Maureen responded with a warm smile.
“Are you taking us away?” Kyle asked in a serious voice.
“I would like to,” Maureen answered. “I am sure we’ll be able to find you a place that’s a lot nicer.”
“Dustin is awfully thirsty,” Kyle spoke, using his pale, skinny hand to brush away the dirty blonde hair from his sister’s forehead. The little girl, who was leaning heavily against her brother, just stared at Lauren and Maureen with tired, unfocused eyes.
“Maybe we should go see a doctor,” Lauren suggested.
Kyle nodded and cast a look at his sister.
“I think she’s sick,” he answered. “She coughs a lot and then her breathing sounds all funny.”
“No doubt,” Maureen mumbled, eying the small room with its layers of dust and dirt.
“We’d better go quickly,” Lauren suggested, reaching out a hand to Kyle, smiling when he grabbed it. She knew there were teams waiting to enter the shed and the suspected meth-lab underneath it. But, first, the children had to be brought out of the house. They could not risk their safety and they would, if the lab was booby-trapped.
“Is it okay for me to carry Dustin?” Maureen asked, not wanting to scare the boy, or his little sister by just grabbing the child.
“That’s okay,” Kyle decided, turning to the little girl, who looked at him with trusting eyes.
“The nice lady will carry you out, Dusty,” he patiently explained. “We’re gonna see a Doctor, so he can make you all better.”
The little girl did not respond at all, but when Maureen reached out and carefully lifted her up, Dustin did not protest, she just rested her head against Maureen’s shoulder as if she was too tired to hold it up.
“I can walk,” Kyle announced proudly and Lauren had to smile at that.
“I know you can,” she said. “And I bet you can even run like the wind,” she added. “But there’s a lot of stuff on the floor, Kyle and I don’t want you to trip and fall. So, why don’t I just give you a ride? It would make me feel better.”
After a brief moment of hesitation, Kyle nodded and Lauren effortlessly lifted the little boy into her arms. Inwardly, she cried. She had a nephew that was Kyle’s age, but Amos was at least twice as heavy as the boy in her arms and she could only hope the malnourishment would not have a lasting effect on the courageous little boy.
“Let’s go, partner,” she smiled into blue eyes and for the first time she noticed a shadow of a spark in the child’s gaze.
“Will the Doctor make Dustin better?” he asked in a hushed voice, not wanting his sister to know how worried he was.
“We’ll go ask him right away, alright?” Lauren answered, trying to hide her worry over the listless, little girl. “I don’t know much about stuff like that. I’m just a police person,” she added, pulling a face, which made the little boy smile. Content with her answer he relaxed in her arms, while she carried him toward the door.
Curious onlookers had already assembled in front of the house, among them a crew of one of the local news channels, which made Maureen send Lauren an exasperated look. Lauren shared that sentiment, but she was pleased to see the first police-officer had moved the car with a still screaming Kate in the back. More police-cruisers had arrived, creating a protective cordon, keeping the curious onlookers on a distance.
“Cover your eyes, buddy,” Lauren encouraged Kyle, happy to see Maureen had already wrapped her jacket around the little girl. “You’ve been in the dark a long time and the bright light outside might hurt your eyes.”
Kyle did not answer, but he buried his face in the crook of Lauren’s neck, closing his eyes tightly.
“Atta boy,” Lauren smiled. “Alright, Maureen, let’s go. You drive,” she spoke to the uniformed officer, who nodded and opened the door for them to step outside.
As soon as they stepped outside, the fire-department’s hazmat truck arrived, its occupants ready to go into the house and the shed in the back as soon as they would be given permission to do so.
The door to the police cruiser was opened and, quickly, Maureen and Lauren took a seat in the back, holding the children close to them.
“To St. Andrew’s, as fast as you can, please,” Lauren told the police-officer as soon as he had taken a seat behind the steering wheel.
“As you wish,” the officer said with a grim face, immediately switching on the lights. “Let’s go.”
Rachel Kendrick glanced at the clock, noticing it was rapidly approaching noon. Her stomach was growling and she was craving a hot, cup of coffee. The morning had been long and extremely busy. From the moment she had entered the Emergency Department she had been seeing patients, one after the other. She had been going full speed for hours and was hoping she could leave soon to have a well-deserved lunch, preferably with Hannah.
“Hey, Doc,” Betty called out when Rachel came out of one of the rooms. “Come here for a minute, will ya?”
“Sure,” Rachel sighed, casting another glance at the clock. Hannah would be coming to get her for lunch soon and if she was tied up with a patient she would have to give it a miss. “What’s up?”
“Hannah just called. She needs to go to lunch now, so she’ll be down in a minute to see if you’re available.” Betty smiled when she saw the smile on Rachel’s face. “Go wash up, Doc,” she winked.
Rachel shot the nurse a grin and turned around, heading for the restroom and hoping nobody would call her back, if only for about thirty, maybe forty minutes. She quickly washed her hands again and splashed some cold water in her face. While drying off the water with a paper towel, she cast a look in the mirror, seeing her reflection staring back at her. She pushed back her unruly, brown hair and rolled her eyes at herself when she realized she was looking at herself with scrutiny.
“Come on, Rachel, Hannah would say you’re pretty enough as it is,” she chuckled, smiling when she thought about the blonde who had captured her heart so many years ago.
“No, that would be ‘pwetty’,” an amused voice sounded behind her, making Rachel jump. When she quickly turned around, she looked straight into a pair of laughing blue eyes.
“Hannah,” Rachel breathed. “You little sneak.”
“That’s not what you called me last night,” Hannah winked, laughing when a faint blush crossed her partner’s face.
“You’d better be careful,” Rachel warned, vigorously rubbing her cheeks. “The stalls might have ears.”
Involuntarily, Hannah shot a quick glance at the two stalls to her left, grinning when she noticed both doors were ajar.
“Oh, you almost had me there,” she chuckled, stepping closer to the other woman. Before Rachel could protest, or join in, Hannah had given her a quick kiss, before stepping back again.
“I love you,” she said in a soft voice, the glow in her eyes testimony to her words.
Rachel swallowed hard and stepped a little closer, aware of the fact somebody could come in at any time, but not caring about that.
“You are all I ever wanted, or needed. I love you, too,” she smiled, reaching out and gingerly touching Hannah’s cheek. “More than I can ever put into words.”
“So far, you’re doing a pretty good job,” Hannah smiled. “In fact, it’s so good that, if we don’t get out of here, I might do something that would draw unwanted attention,” she added in hushed tones.
“In that case, we’d better get lunch,” Rachel decided. She was standing so close to Hannah, she could feel the other woman’s body heat. It made her want to reach out and pull her into her arms, so she could kiss her senseless and hold her close enough to feel the beat of her heart. “We’d better go right now,” she added in a whisper. “I mean it.”
Rachel put her hands on Hannah’s shoulders and turned her around so she was facing the door. With a smile she gave the blonde a gentle shove, which made Hannah chuckle.
“Keep walking, Jensen,” Rachel playfully growled. “All the way to the cafeteria. Don’t stop.”
“I wouldn’t dare,” Hannah laughed, opening the door and stepping back into the hallway, closely followed by her partner. “Are you going to walk behind me?” she asked, glancing over her shoulder. “People might think you’re checking me out.”
“And that would be a bad thing, why?” Rachel laughed. “But, to answer your question; I’d rather walk beside you, so I can..”
Rachel was interrupted by the beeping noise of her pager. Muttering an expletive, she pulled the device off her waistband and looked at the display.
“Figures,” she sighed. “I’m needed back in the ER.”
“Anything unusual?” Hannah asked.
“I’m not sure, but I guess it’s serious,” Rachel answered. “The police are bringing in two children.”
Continued in Part 9
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