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"And our three kids had blood taken from them shortly after birth. "

Bettmann nodded his head and steepled his fingertips to the heavens above him. "Shortly before the nurse in question was arrested, jumped bail, and was never seen again."

Peters pounded his desk and rose triumphantly from his chair, his chest noticeably expanding. "Hot damn! I gotta hand it to ya, Bettmann, you're a piece a work. Now all we gotta do is check out all thirty-nine kids who had their blood stolen. Track down the adults they turned into, and set up a net for when these kidnappers try to strike again." He reached out to shake Bettmann's hand.

Bettmann's hand stopped short of shaking his superior's. "I didn't tell you there were thirty-nine."

The door to Peters's office burst inward to the accompanying sound of rifles being cocked. "I always figured you for an eccentric, Bettmann, but not an idiot. Both Goodall and McConnick ID'ed you as the guy with the Porsche."

Bettmann's hand shifted ninety degrees towards the pale blue sky, along with the rest of his body, and he dashed for the window that he had left unlocked.

Peters shouted "Get 'im!" from behind his desk, and the muffled stomps of combat boots on rug and carpet formed the acoustical backdrop to Bettmann's leap from Peters' window.

Bettmann the former paratrooper hit the ground twenty-five feet below the sill with both feet, and rolled in the grass before rising into a crouch and making a dash for his personal car parked in the lot directly before him. There were shouts from the window, shouts that were relayed through the parking lot by those who happened to be walking to and from their own vehicles.

Bettmann watched the front gate of the complex slide closed as alarms rang and flashed, and he didn't slow his sprint as he ran past his Mazda on the way to the perimeter fence. Ignoring the shouted threats of an armed guard, he climbed up and jumped off the barricade that had been designed primarily to keep intruders out, dropping from the metal bars that protruded outward. Once he was in the soft spring mud and the woods beyond the perimeter, he was making yet another dash for freedom from an agency that had not been prepared to arrest one of its own.

First Star by W.R. Hammons:

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