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Lost and Found Baby

Written by Hope White

Chapter Two

“Shots fired at 547 Lancaster,” Dispatch said through the radio.

Sheriff’s deputy Katy Shepard couldn’t have heard that right. “Can you repeat the address, over?”

“That’s 547 Lancaster.”

“Copy that.”

Katy spun the cruiser around and headed south toward the McKinnon farm. This made no sense since Harry and Renee had relocated to Arizona a few years ago and Katy assumed their son, Luke, was still in Iraq.

Luke. She figured she’d have to deal with that eventually, but not tonight. Tonight she had to focus on the call: shots fired.

Folks in rural areas used firearms to scare off bears or coyotes, yet for some reason a neighbor felt the need to report gunfire.

She pressed down on the accelerator. Katy was one of two deputies on duty tonight, sworn to protect the residents of Cascade County.

She wondered if bored kids had broken into the McKinnon house. But why alert neighbors by shooting off guns? Or maybe this was something else, someone else.

Nah, it couldn’t be Luke. He wouldn’t have randomly returned after all these years without letting folks in town know he was back.

Without letting her know.

“Don’t be a fool,” she said under her breath.

They weren’t those kids anymore, the best friends who’d hung out in the wooden fort Luke’s dad had built.

That was before, when they were young and naive.

Before the war had claimed her brother’s life.

Pulling onto Lancaster, she spotted flickering lights inside the house. Although the McKinnons had rented it out last year, word in town was that Harry and Renee were planning to sell the farmhouse, which sat on two acres of land. She figured the lights were on timers, and they paid someone to plow the driveway to make it look like the house was occupied.

Two vehicles were parked on the side of the house, one behind the other. She called in the plates. Getting out of her cruiser, she snapped the flashlight off her belt and arced it across the property. The beam illuminated dented cans lining the ground near a split-rail fence. She was starting to think her first guess was right, that kids had come out here for target practice.

Kids. Memories assaulted her, memories of watching Andy Griffith reruns with Luke, her little brother, Steven, and their friend Grace.

A distinct sound cut through the crisp night air. She turned, aiming the flashlight at the barn in the distance. That couldn’t have been—

A high-pitched cry echoed across the property. She grabbed her shoulder radio. “Dispatch, I hear a child in distress. I’m investigating, over.”

Was someone squatting in the barn with a child? Not a good choice considering the cold temperature. She approached the barn and toed open the door with her boot. Aiming the flashlight inside, she spotted a pink blanket in the corner.

Maternal instincts kicked in. She rushed toward the blanket.

And was tackled to the ground.

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About the author

I was born and raised in the midwest and migrated to the Pacific north...

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Hope White

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