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Friday, November 27, 2015

ANNE'S OGRE -- Excerpt #19

"We help battered women and children find shelters, and get them out of the reach of their abusers. That's about the extent of it." Anne's shoulders suddenly prickled, the same feeling she got when she thought someone was pointing a gun at her.

After being shot at several times, she had learned to trust that feeling and duck before she looked for the gun. It took all her willpower not to turn and rake the people sitting in the reception area with her gaze. Vincent had her on extra-high alert, that was all. She just wished she could have brought Argus inside with her, and have him screen the people around her.

"I really need to talk with Jenni Doran, find out if anyone's been asking her about these pictures." She tapped the photo of Su-Ma and George catching snowflakes.

"Problem?" a young woman asked, stopping at the receptionist's desk. Fresh snowflakes clung to the shoulders of her battered brown leather jacket. She carried a computer case on one shoulder and what looked like a large camera case on the other.

"Are you Jenni?" Anne asked.

"Natalie Schaefer. Is this about those photos Bill took off the wrong flash drive?"

"I think you need to take--" The receptionist glanced at the card Anne gave her. "-- Miss Hachworth from the Arc Foundation in back to talk to Hal." She handed the card to Natalie. "I think Jenni is in trouble. I've had seven calls in the last three days about those photos, and some of the people I talked to weren't so nice."

"Gotcha." She beckoned for Anne to follow her.

"Thanks." Anne looked back at the receptionist, who nodded to her. She caught Mark watching her, but he looked away before their gazes met.

For a moment, she had the strongest urge to ask Natalie to wait, so she could go out and bring Argus in from the truck. How would she explain why she needed her companion? That thought stayed with her as Natalie led her down a long hallway that seemed to go all the way to the back of the building. She laughed and apologized for the long hike, and proudly informed her that America's Voice had just expanded four months ago, to take up all of the first and second floor in this four-story building.

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