Chapter Thirty

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"Tell me again."

Tom let out a long breath. "Rachel, I've already told you the story twice."

"Please, Tom. I need to hear it again." Something in her expression made his eyes soften with pity. The dining room was silent, the breakfast rush having died down to only a few stragglers here and there.

"Okay, Rachel." He inhaled deeply. "Two of us went into the hospital as electrical workers for a repair that had been called in. One of our girls on the inside helped us access the medication with her nurse's mark. Once we retrieved it, we left to meet the others guys who were waiting at the capital's entrance with a work order for maintenance on the dam a few miles out. That's where Hector was."

Rachel nodded her head, prompting him to continue. She could see everything he was saying unfolding before her eyes like a sad book she knew had a terrible ending but couldn't put down.

"We cleared the city's entrance with no problem. They checked the work order and our 'supervisor's' mark and let us through. It was when we got to a checkpoint that things went south."

Rachel sucked in a deep breath, readying herself for what was coming next.

"There were seven officers at the checkpoint and only five of us. When they checked Hector's mark, their scanner began blaring with a notification. It wasn't even a real mark. It didn't belong to anyone."

This is the part where the blood always drained from her face.

They had given Hector a mark that didn't work

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They had given Hector a mark that didn't work. Had it been an accident or were the bunker people more sinister than she had thought them to be? It didn't make sense. What reason would Abby have for giving Hector a fake mark? Something was not adding up.

"That's when all hell broke loose." Sweat dewed on Tom's forehead and she wondered if she was a terrible person for making him relieve the horror. He seemed pretty shaken by the entire ordeal, but she needed to hear it again, almost as much as she needed air to breathe.

Maybe there was something she had missed the first two times, a clue, something that would ascertain her that Hector had somehow survived.

"We fought, of course, but we were outnumbered. The poachers were getting ready to call for back up when Aaron and Hector told us to run, to get the hell out of there. Once we were in the woods, I heard a few gun shots..." He tapped his fingers against the table, his legs bouncing up and down in tune to the tapping.

"I don't know what happened next." Tom admitted. He touched her arm gently, making her realize she was shaking, just a little.

"He fought for us to get away, Rachel. He really wanted the antidote to come back to you."

"Thank you, Tom. Thank you so much."

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