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Adriel inhaled deeply, looked at the phone that lay next to him on the nightstand and moved his arm ever so slightly in its direction. The effort was intense, the result barely measurable. Focusing his concentration as narrowly as he could he tried to walk his hand over the bed by grabbing the sheet and pulling it along. He could feel the sheet, he knew his fingers were moving but any progress he made was so minute that he felt certain that no one else would be able to discern it. He paused in his efforts and again took several deep breaths, as much to cleanse his mind of doubt as to replenish his muscles with oxygen. ‘Dear Lord, please help me,’ he silently prayed.

Redoubling his efforts he tried again with no better luck than the first time but this attempt held one vastly significant difference. This time the doorbell rang. He stopped and listened thinking that surely he had imagined the sound only to be greeted with the chime again sounding. He looked at the clock: One twenty nine in the morning. He noticed the blue light that flickered in and out of his bedroom window and realized that the police must be at his door. The doorbell was replaced with hard knocking and an insistent voice declared, “This is the Rockville Police. Is anyone at home?” followed by another round of five hard, fast, staccato knocks.

The pounding stopped and one male voice said, “Looks like no one’s home. Why don’t you go position yourself up the street in the shadows? I’ll tell the Holy Cross boys to sit tight for a minute. The first 911 call said there was a fight and then somebody called back and said a woman was knocked cold.

“Supposedly the vic called, gave this address, said she couldn’t wait at the scene and would meet us here. I don’t know what’s going on but let’s give her a few.”

“Could be a trap,” a second voice said. “Sounds like what they do when they want to get first responders out so they can ambush them.”

“Brad,” the first voice said, “you watch too many training videos. Or too much television. You go wait in the shadows, I’ll tell the boys to hold tight and wait down here.”

“Listen, Davies just because I’m cautious doesn’t mean I watch too much TV. And just because you weren’t around for Malvo and Muhammad doesn’t mean I wasn’t.”

“Yeah, yeah. So we’ll be careful and wait in the shadows. Unless you want to go patrolling the area looking for men hiding in the trunk of a car ready to shoot folks.”

“Funny, Davies. Real funny. I’ll go wait, you talk to the EMT’s.”

The silence that swept over his house was deafening. Adriel’s anxiety was swept away and replaced by fear. “The vic called, gave this address, said she couldn’t wait at the scene and would meet us here.’ The victim has to be Gabrielle. Three 911 calls, a woman knocked cold and then she has to flee the scene. Gabrielle, what the hell is going on!?’

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