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    Out of the Flames (Revised) – Part Three

    Chapter Seven

    Moments earlier, the Oakland hills peeked through a thin line of orange in the predawn sky. Slivers of light glowed in the distance, guiding Bette onto Bryant. The street cleaners had just wrapped up overnight rounds of washing away yesterday’s remnants as she drove up. By the time she’d parked and exited the elevator, a faint yellow glow filled the windows lining the sixth-floor hallway.

    With the lights off, she assumed Eric had yet to make it in. For the unsanctioned operation they cooked up overnight, she estimated she’d have two hours in the squad room before prying eyes rolled in.

    She turned the corner to a surprise. “Do you ever go home?”

    “Unlike you,” Eric peeked up from his computer terminal, “I don’t have a pretty wife to keep me in bed.”

    Bette hadn’t given it much thought, but Eric led a lonely life. He lived alone in a small apartment and only spoke of attending the occasional ballgame with a brother. As far as she knew, his only friends were on the job. What a waste, she thought. Why hadn’t he married? A tall, youngish, fit, handsome man, loyal to a fault, he defined husband material.

    “Are you in?” Before sitting, she removed her outer coat and slung it over the back of her chair.

    “Yeah. I gotta hand it to the gang task force, they keep good notes.”

    “How do you want to divide this up?” Bette logged onto her computer terminal.

    “I’m almost halfway through GTF, why don’t you start with vice?”

    “You got it.”

    Bette accessed the case files flagged by vice for the last 12 months. Her goal: to gather the name of every snitch used by every detective in the city for the past year with no one finding out. Poaching a snitch equated to sleeping with another detective’s wife. No one did it. If word got out how she accumulated these names, no detective on the force would have her back again.

    They searched for names, addresses, hangouts, and affiliations, of anyone who provided actionable intelligence on anything drug or gang related. Each worked on their own in silence, compiling their lists and making notes until the elevator dinged down the hallway.

    Eric tapped on his desk. “Time to pack it up.”

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    1. Hi! Thank you for the new update!

      Sad chapter for Bette, but life goes on. Yeah, she terrified that story with flames repeated, but it wasn’t her fault. She needs to stop blamed herself and not forget that she still has Reagan.

    2. This chapter made so sad for Bette and Reagan, heartbreaking!! Like the first time i cry for both of them 😥

      Bette needs to accept all the help she gets, she needs also help to let her see that she isn’t to blame for her parents and Avery’s death.

      Those parents of Avery, they are insane and cruel and should go away to never return!!! Now i know that will be not the case but i deeply resent them.

      It is a pleasure to read this again, despite the horror and heartbreak!!!

      • Bibi, Every time a reader like you leaves a comment, my heart does a little cartwheel, especially one that reassures me I haven’t been spinning my wheels. My goal is to become a good storyteller, and I feel like I’m inching my way there. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

        • ☺️ thank you CN for those kind words!

          You are a fantastic storyteller, the first time you posted this story and it is great to see you back with this story. You value the comments from your readers and took some of them to improve in your story.

    3. Hi CN,

      Great to be reading this again despite the fact that I’m crying for Bette and Reagan just as much this time as I did last!

      Thank you for continuing with this story and for this post.

      I look forward to the next Chapter.


      • Awww, SG. I’d say I’m sorry for making you cry, but that was the point this time. I’ve spent a lot of time improving my craft and your response along with other readers have told me the hard work has paid off. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. Means more than you know. Hugs!

    4. Very dramatic, CN.

      Has the scene with Bette killing a person been in your previous version too? It’s a great piece to better understand her work personae. You picture her intense reaction very comprehensible and emotional.

      Though I remembered it from the first time, the explosion and hence Avery’s death really came out of the blue. Poor Bette. How will she ever overcome such a trauma? I had to cry. For Bette, for Reagan, for the love and support Janet voiced. Gut-wrenching but still wonderful chapters. Thanks for posting!

      • Hey Kiwipit, Yes, in the previous version, Bette killed Diego’s “cook.” Though, in this version, I think I do a better job of describing her adverse reaction. In fact, I dedicated more time to bringing emotion to the page. I’m tickled hearing my hard work has paid off.

      • Izzie, so glad you like it. During the last six months, I’ve learned a lot about writing craft, including plotting, building great characters, and drawing in the reader with emotion. Learning is one thing, applying it is another. It means so much that you’re seeing the difference. Thanks for much for reading. I’ll post large sections every weekend until I’ve exhausted both books.

    5. Dear Cella, I’m more than ever moved and truly impressed by your writing,,, This awful guilt is burning our poor Bette like an inner fire and I’m afraid it will consumed her for a very – Avery… – long time,,,
      More than ever powerful and painful. And I wonder how Reagan will react to Tina’s presence… Thank you so much!

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