This is the fifth part in a serialized story. If you’ve missed any of the rest of it, you can find it here.
The private knocked on the door.
Opening the door, he stepped smartly through. Stopping in front of the desk, he snapped to attention. The man at the window turned to face him.
The private stared straight ahead as he spoke. “Sir, we had a break-in. A woman scaled the fence with some kind of camouflage device, and took a child.”
“Not yet, Sir.”
The director nodded. “Get everyone out of bed. I want her caught.”
The private did an about-face and marched to the door.
“Private, who’s the child?”
The private halted and pivoted on his heel to face the director once more. “Quenden Documas, Sir.”
“Thank you. That will be all.” The director reached for the phone.
* * * *
Avdonina didn’t fight the tears this time. How much harder was this going to be? She just wanted Quen to be with her. It wasn’t too much to ask, was it?
She couldn’t drop to the ground with her brother in her arms; that would finish her ankle right there. Leaving him in the shield on top of the fence, she lowered herself down the side of the fence. She tried to land on her good foot, but lost her balance and caught herself on her bad side, crying out. Security was sure to have seen her this time. She had to get Quenden and get away.
Scrambling to her feet, she lunged for the grass screen, diving inside. Again, she set it against the wall and climbed up for Quenden. The lights inside the compound lit into a blaze. Reaching over her head, Avdonina grabbed Quen’s pajamas and jerked him out of the dirt shield and into her arms. They fell backwards onto the ground and the grass shield rolled open.
Her heart thudded in her ears and her rasping breath drowned out the shouts from the compound. She scooped up Quenden and bolted for the car, forcing her ankle to bear the weight evenly, forcing it to run.
Behind her, alarms filled the air. Dogs barked and lights sparked on in all directions. Would they shoot her? Could they legally do that? She couldn’t outrun the dogs, that was for sure. Her only hope was the head start she had.
The grass tore at her skin and vines snaked across her path, snaring her feet, making her stumble.
Ahead, she caught the gleaming reflection of the lights on her car’s bumper. Just a hundred more feet! Her lungs ached and Quenden kept slipping lower and lower.
The grass behind her crunched with heavy footsteps. Dogs howled close now. She fancied she could hear their breath, their snarls. The urge to look back almost overthrew her. If she did, she’d lose ground. She hoisted Quenden one last time and pushed herself to maximum speed. Her ankle no longer complained with every step, but had settled into a throbbing ache that felt more like a bad sprain than a break. She hoped that was the truth of it.
Reaching the car, she flung open the door and dropped into the seat, Quenden in her lap. Slamming the door shut behind her, she locked it. A black snarling dog with crystal white teeth sprang up against her window. His claws scratched against the glass as he lunged again and again. Beams from flashlights played across her.
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If you don’t want to wait to read the whole story, it’s available in “Sunlit Night, Coffee and Sweet Dreams“.
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