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SUBMIT

Lost and Found Baby

Written by Hope White

Chapter Six

“Hand over the kid,” a deep male voice said.

Katy edged her way closer to the fort. As she suspected, the perp had gone in pursuit of Luke and the baby.

“You wanna die?”

She stepped out from behind a tree. “Police, hands up!”

The guy raised his hands and slowly turned. He was in his forties with dark hair and wore full body armor. He clutched a semiautomatic weapon.

“Drop the gun,” she said.

Instead, he started firing. She dived behind a tree for cover.

A few seconds later the gunfire abruptly stopped. She heard a grunt and the dog started barking.

Peeking around the tree, she saw Luke and the assailant rolling on the ground, jockeying for position, the gun a few feet away.

“Freeze!” she ordered.

The perp scrambled to his feet and took off into the forest.

“Skipper, stay!” Luke sprinted after the assailant.

“Luke, no!”

But he was already gone.

Katy went to get the little girl, wrapped in Luke’s jacket on the floor of the fort.

“There you are, sweet baby girl.” Katy pulled her into her arms.

Fearing the perp might return, she headed back toward her patrol car, hoping Luke would be okay. What was he thinking going after a violent assailant?

Fire crews had already pulled up and were working on the blaze devouring the barn. The reality of what could have happened shook her to the core.

She could have burned to death.

Deputy Cooper pulled up and hopped out of his cruiser.

“The perp fled that way.” She nodded.

The deputy withdrew his gun and took off.

“Coop, wait for backup!” she called as he disappeared into the darkness.

She asked an EMT to examine the baby. A few minutes later the EMT handed her back. “Seems okay.”

Katy scanned the property and saw Coop escorting Luke out of the forest in handcuffs, the dog trotting beside him.

“Coop, he’s not the perp,” she said.

“Take him in,” Coop ordered. “I’m staying to help search for the other guy.”

*

Back at the station, Katy, still rocking the baby in her arms, waited in a conference room for her sergeant. She had uncuffed Luke in her patrol car, apologized for Coop’s assumption of guilt and had the EMT treat Luke’s flesh wound.

“Is Skipper okay?” Luke asked.

“As long as he doesn’t destroy the back seat of my squad car.”

“Are you okay?” he said, studying her.

“Sure, I’m super. You?” She shot him a raised eyebrow.

“Guess that was a dumb question.”

“Where’d you get the dog?

“A stray. He adopted me when I moved back to the States.”

“When was that?”

“Last year. I bought a place in Missoula.”

He’d been back in the area a whole year, but never reached out, never

contacted her? Wow.

Sergeant Whalen entered the conference room. “Did you notify Child Protective Services?” he asked Katy.

“Haven’t had the chance, sir. I can do that now.”

“After we’re done.”

As Sergeant Whalen began questioning Luke, Katy realized how incredibly natural it felt to sway with the child in her arms. An ache of melancholy filled her chest.

“Why shoot up your place?” Sarge asked Luke.

“I honestly have no idea, sir.”

A shrill alarm blared through the station. Katy glanced at the closed-circuit TV screen.

Two men with semiautomatic weapons were heading toward them.

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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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