Cautiously peeking out through the window blinds at the four, no, make it five cop cars parked on the street; he now realized just how costly his mistake of losing his temper at the office had been. By voicing the threats, he'd communicated his intentions and willingness to use force to prevent his daughter from being taken. Being so warned, Parkens had converged on the house with the whole Sheriff's Department.
As he watched the scurrying scène outside on the street, Jeff frowned. He still didn't understand. What had happened to the rule of law, court proceedings and fair hearings? How could this guy, Parkens, just show up with the deputies and take Ashley? Muttering to himself, he shook his head. Something wasn't right. Though that fact was of little help now.
His watchful eyes narrowing in firm resolve, he turned back to the window. Outside, the megaphone blasted through the cool morning air as the amplified voice reverberated through the walls of the house.
Crouching beside the window, Jeff could see the head of Deputy Stolze outlined above the car. Leveling the rifle, he took a long deep breath as he aimed the firearm. Was he ready for this? No, he wasn't, he allowed, but he was determined to not back down. He had done nothing to warrant this kind of treatment, he told himself. The man responsible for all of it remained unseen, cowardly withdrawing from the very hint of danger.
His hesitation was costly. Outside, one of the deputies caught sight of the barrel of the 30-30 and shouted, "He's got a gun!"
"Fire!" came the order from Deputy Stolze.
Jeff watched as in slow motion the entire group of officers raised their heads to peer down the sights of their rifles and fired. The living room erupted in a frenzied crescendo, as the six foot picture window exploded, sending tiny shards of glass, hundreds of them, flying through the air. The shiny slivers tore at the skin on his face and arms, cutting a faint bloody design on his exposed flesh. Leaning against the window frame, he took careful aim at one of the deputies, held his breath and firmly pulled the trigger.
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