Another fab taster from Fatal Error by Eileen Schuh
Katrina shivered, curled her feet under her on the chair and wrapped the afghan tighter around her. She'd not felt warm since the cold wash of the rescue chopper had whipped about her on the ridge.
It had been a long flight. When they'd finally set down, someone had hustled her through the deepening cold of the September dusk and had sat her in this small corner office.
She shivered again. The intense chill reminded her of that frigid October night a long time ago. Ages ago, it seemed.
Or perhaps that night had never existed.
Perhaps what had happened in that dark Quonset was just a shifting, circling, recurrent nightmare. A wordless collage of violent images. A dream thing she'd always be able to stifle by concentrating on other matters.
Beyond the wild beating of her heart and the chattering of her teeth, she heard ringing phones, radio static and clacking boots. The familiar police station sounds reminded her of her father—and of Chad, the undercover officer who had promised to meet her here tomorrow and find her a safe home with a real bed.
A shadow appeared, pooling darkness at her feet.
Katrina looked up.
An imposing, heavyset, grey-haired man, absorbed in a file of papers in his hands, stepped into the room. Stiff, starched and formal, with sergeant stripes on his shoulders, he looked so much like the father she'd lost. He was a lot heavier, but had the same soft blue eyes and the same uniform.
"I understand you're—" His eyes met hers. A look of shock cut across his face. "How old are you?"
He scowled. "Katrina Buckhold?"
She hesitated, then nodded. Her birth name sounded weird. Since the age of twelve, she'd used the alias "Sarina" when hanging out in places she knew she shouldn't, like the back rooms of the King's Ace Bar and The Traz biker gang compound.
"You're fourteen?" The man's eyes darted between the file and her face.
"Do I look like I'm lying?"
The man scrunched his brows and was silent for a long moment.
"This changes things," he said finally. "Stay here. I'll be right back."
He headed toward the door, but stopped and turned. His eyes flickered over the room as if it were a struggle to look at her, as if he'd much rather be somewhere else. "I apologize. My name is Sergeant Kindle."
Katrina flashed him a quick grin.
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