BOOM! I woke from a sound sleep. My heart was in my throat as I opened my eyes trying to focus, panic rising in my chest.
"Mom. What was that?" My son Hunter appeared in my doorway wrapped in a towel, water still dripping fresh from the shower.
I sat up terrified but trying to act calm for him. "Get dressed, and I'll check it out."
Sirens and people running could be heard outside my front door. Hurrying to the door, I ducked down low while I checked the dead bolt and button lock on the front door. Peaking cautiously out the cross pained window, I saw the SWAT team wagon out front. Men carrying guns dressed in fatigues were everywhere. They were also looking past our house into my back yard.
By then Hunter was at my side and dressed. "Mom, what's going on?" he hugged my arm.
"Hunter," I whispered, "Move into the hall where there are no windows and be quiet"
My husband appeared at the front door, giving me a start. He had just returned from purchasing a newspaper from down the road.
I cautiously turned the lock and opened the door for him to enter. Terry grabbed me in his arms as I started to shake uncontrollably.
"Honey, you need to stay calm, we just got you home from the hospital and you don't want to end up back in the E.R. Take a deep breath, that's it." He held me close conveying the calm that he was trying to share with us both.
"Okay, I'm fine now." I reached up to straighten the curls falling in my face. "Tell us what's going on. Why are there so many cops outside our house? The boys are coming home from work soon. Should we call them and tell them to stay away?"
"No, they don't come home for another hour. The Narcotics officer told me that they will have the fugitive in custody soon."
"Fugitive! What's going on Terry?" I was certainly feeling far from calm now.
"The officer said to lock all the doors and windows and to stay away from the back of the house!" We met in the shelter of the hallway. All three of us knelt in prayer, praying for the Lord's hand of protection to be upon us from the fugitive that was loose in our neighborhood We felt peace flow over us almost immediately as we closed the prayer in His name.
Terry then told us what the officer had been able to briefly convey to him. "There is a narcotics task force in our neighborhood. The leader of a gang had been living in the house right behind us, and they had him cornered. They set off a flash grenade to flush him out. Well he is out alright, out in our neighborhood, and he has a gun!"
We could hear the whirring of the helicopter blades overhead.
"Oh please, Father, let them catch him soon." I prayed. It was very disconcerting not knowing where he was hiding.
Suddenly all the officers were running to their cars and were leaving us all alone.
"Why are they leaving?" Hunter hugged my arm.
"I don't know, they must have flushed him out and he has left the area." I hugged him back.
We all sat in the living room trying to stay calm after all the excitement. Our eldest son arrived after the night shift at work. He told us there were police officers all over the High School grounds, and that a helicopter was hovering over the nearby Ice Arena.
"Ryan's in that school!" My heart raced for my younger son's safety.
"Val, we prayed for our family's safety. That included Ryan as well." My husband reassured us all.
That night, on the evening news, we heard the rest of the story. The High School had been in lock down for 3 hours while the fugitive living behind was hunted down and surrounded by a multi-county drug task force. It was the culmination of the biggest drug bust and arrest of a drug ring in the history of the state.
Our home was our sanctuary. We had been safe behind the turn of a lock and the whisper of a prayer.
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