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Lost and Found Baby

Written by Hope White

Chapter Five

Run. Don’t look back. Keep running until you’re safe.

Safe? There was no such place.

Luke sprinted deep into the forest and finally stopped, gasping for breath.

“Katy?” When he turned around, he was alone. No, that wasn’t the plan. She was supposed to follow him, wasn’t she?

Worried she’d been hurt, he headed back toward the property, careful to remain camouflaged by trees.

In the distance, he spotted Katy crawling out of the barn through the hole he’d used to escape. Movement caught his eye on the other side of the barn: the gunman.

He was headed right for her and she couldn’t possibly know she was about to be ambushed.

Luke struggled to think, to process a way to help her. His mind went blank.

Helplessness consumed him.

A high-pitched squeak jarred him back to reality as the baby squirmed in his arms.

An innocent child. Innocent Katy.

Luke had to warn her. “Skipper, speak!”

The dog barked enthusiastically. Katy looked in his direction. Luke motioned to where the gunman was stalking the other side of the barn and hoped she’d get the message. She nodded and did an about-face.

Luke glanced at the gunman…

Who was looking directly at Luke.

Luke bolted back into the forest, reconsidering the wisdom of his strategy. This was no time to second-guess himself.

Gunshots rang out, and he fully expected to feel the burn of a bullet pierce his back. Even a second gunshot wound wouldn’t stop him from saving this child. Skipper trotted alongside Luke. As they went deeper into the forest, he knew that running was only a temporary solution. Yet he couldn’t defend them with a baby in his arms.

Hang on, Dad had built a wooden fort in the forest years ago for Luke and his friends. Maybe he could take refuge there until help arrived.

Another gunshot cracked in the wind. He ran faster, fighting back the trauma threatening to consume him.

He finally found the fort, three feet off the ground because Mom hadn’t wanted her son to get hurt falling out of a ten-foot-high tree house. The wooden structure was in good shape, the roof intact. Local kids must have discovered it, evidenced by the candy wrappers and soda cans littering the floor.

He climbed inside and gave Skipper a hand signal to lie down. Luke had to calm his adrenaline, be ready.

Eerie silence rang in his ears.

The baby stirred and he rocked her, offering his pinky to suck on.

Sirens echoed in the distance.

Skipper’s ears pricked. Luke took a deep breath against the torrential anxiety clawing its way up his chest.

The barrel of a semiautomatic rifle poked through the door.

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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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