THE UNLIKELY RESCUE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Visiting the past can and does affect your future....

I was visiting friends and thinking of even staying in this small mountain town with it's charming people and simple cottages. It was a peaceful place and there were people I loved here. An ex fiancé who was probably looking to reconnect. My best friend and her brother and her younger sister.  I had always been close to them like an adopted family and was now staying with her while all her family popped in to say hello and welcome me. Her brother was the oldest, my friend was the middle child, and her youngest sister was almost like a sibling to me too. But the oldest brother had always been my hero and the crush on him was a flame that refused to be extinguished. What I didn't know was that he had been in love with me since childhood as well. Tormenting my unworthy boyfriends since I became old enough to date and secretly wishing we were more than adopted family. He was furious that my ex fiancé was hanging around now. And irritated that there were a couple of other hopeful stragglers that might be good looking enough to stand a chance with me if I stayed long enough.

The weather for my stay was absolutely horrible, dark and stormy. When it wasn't storming it was threatening to storm and the sky stayed black with terrific winds that seemed to push everything and everyone around. My friend dropped me off in town and I met my ex for lunch. He was younger than I was by a couple of years and still just as vain and immature as when we were together. He owned a classic black ford that he would always love and care for more than any women in his life. When I saw him drive up to the cafe I thought for a moment he looked morbid as the lighting of the day robbed him of any color to his skin he might have had and the gleaming black car almost looked like a hearse. I was still kind of fond of him but if he thought he had a chance in hell of catching up on anything else with me other than coffee he was sadly mistaken. We drank and chatted for about an hour but when he started hinting we should go out, I made excuses for getting back to the family and slipped out the door as fast as I could. I tossed a nervous smile back in his direction and thought he really doesn't look well at all in this artificial light. He smiled back but I could see his irritation about me leaving as he waved the glasses he was cleaning in my direction. The smile he had didn't reach his nearsighted eyes or light up his sallow look. I kept going and the inconvenience of needing a ride from someone I knew set me on the street looking for anyone that remembered me.

I stopped into several shops before seeing a small gang of people that I recognized. The popular and good looking miniature clique that consisted of a few aging football stars and a former cheerleader still hoping for the quarterback to fall for her. "Hey losers!!" I greeted them with my cheeriest greeting hoping they remembered me at all. "Will you smack my ass and call me a tow truck.!" The quarterback yelled, and apparently did remember who I was. He poked his group in the arm to turn their attention toward my direction. "Aimee? Geez it's been like six years since you showed your pissy face in this town," the former cheerleader gave me a fake smile set her body language down to protect her territory. In my candid way I called her on it outright. " don't get your panties in a wad Sherri I'm just visiting for a couple of days and don't have room in my suitcase for any stray quarterbacks." The smile Sherri was wearing brightened a smidge but her territorial attitude didn't adjust. "Whatever Amiee," she brushed me off dismissively and then turned the flashlight of her good looks back on her favorite guy, talking like I was no longer in the room. He ignored her and mosied over to me. "What you been up to Aimee?" He grinned and it looked like a dazzling photoshop smile but he was just smirky enough to pull it off. "Currently looking for a ride back to the house and away from my ex, any way you can help me out with that?" I tried to match the wattage of his grin and look like I wasn't a homeless waif for five seconds. "Likely story, you're just trying to get with me again." He smile smugly and poked me in the arm. As handsome as the guy was the thought of getting with him tasted like a bad idea in my head. " right, and I like broccoli too," I laughed it off and made driving mimes. "Just need a ride asshat." "There's a party in it for you and you're friends if you take me back up the mountain to Susan's place." "Okay, not really a party but I'm sure she has some cheap beer if you want one." He laughed and poked me again a little to hard. "Sold, to the lady with the cheap alcohol." He motioned to his friends to load up and follow him. Great ,I had just invited Susan's least favorite people to hang out with us until dawn or death whichever came first.  She was gonna murder me. But it was the alternative that paid for the ride without making me sweaty and naked. I caught the look of daggers from the former cheerleader. I could see her forming a cheer for my murder in her head. I smiled at her and nodded. Give me a K, give me an I, give me a double L and a knife and we can throw it down you fakey bitch. Yay tonight was gonna be the least fun night of my stay but it beat walking home in the threatening storm. 

Flashes of lightning put some nice techno effect on the ride home. The caravan of friend cars were following. The music was way to loud to have any conversation and it was a relief as I planned my strategy of pacifying Susan with tons of ass kissing. The ride back to the house was normally pretty but in the gloomy atmosphere it made the roads seem less than friendly and the time of day hard to rate. They curved and sloped around as we made our way up the hills to my destination. Occasionally dodging a stray branch that had been blown into the road and me holding onto my regrets as mister football tried to impress me with his crappy car and terrible driving habits, why do guys think speed is sexy and terror is an aphrodisiac? What a moron. "Slow down dude." I yelled over the CD of beastie boys . His response was the opposite effect. I should have kept my big mouth shut. Testosterone hearing, everything anyone says sounds like go faster and be a bigger jerk. I hated this particular road. More than one stoned jock had met his maker on it under the wrong conditions of winter and narcotics. They were barely missed but the road remembered eating them, I was sure of it, 

I practically kissed the ground when we got back to the house and my legs were shaking so bad from surviving the trip that I looked like I had already been drinking. The headlights pulling up the driveway to the small isolated house alerted everyone I was home with the camels. My crew met me, running out the door smiling genuine smiles. I was forgiven on merit it seemed and it was good to be alive and be loved. Susan gave me a bear hug and the line from her family to repeat it was comforting. Her brother hugged me long enough to feel protective and short enough not to be creepy. He barked at me for bringing home strays and winked. He wasn't prettier than football stars, he was prettier than rock stars to me. My stomach flipped for him and I wondered if he could hear the flocking butterflies calling his name. Susan apparently did and gave me another comforting hug while herding me and the pop crew into the house. Her younger sister lagging behind and seemingly mesmerized by the flickering lightning. Beers were passed around and athletic war stories filled the cosy kitchen while the girls pretended to be interested and drank wine coolers. Susan put out cheese and crackers like it was hillbilly caviar and it was no where near as bad as I dreaded. At least not yet.

Susan's little sister affectionately known as Effy, kept going outside to watch the lightning and I had more nostalgia for the light show so I joined her, she was always a little off center and I adored that about her. She starting singing our favorite song and it matched the night just right so I joined her in the harmony part." "Storms never last, do they baby?" " bad times all pass with the wind." "Your hand in mine stills the thunder, and you make the sun want to shine...."" I forgot the words outside the chorus so I hummed along to Patsy Clines' search for truth. It drew the gang outside to listen and we got a standing ovation when we finished our version of it. 

It was nice to see they could clap for someone other than themselves and in spite of myself I liked them better for rescuing me from walking home and not being to stuck up to hang with us. Well ok I liked the guys better, the former cheerleader apparently still viewed me as her competition and was lurking in the background a little sulky. She sat down and if I didn't know better the following conversation would have been better run by one of her guys. I honestly felt like she was hitting on me and it made me uncomfortable. Especially since I'm not a fan of seafood or former stuck up cheerleaders. I tuned her out and focused on my favorite guy in the current pack. A slight resemblance to Tom cruise made a lot of my fantasies of him movie epics. 

Sherrie ignored me ignoring her and kept laughing loudly which I assumed was more for the guys than me. She was decidedly not funny and even though I could be funny she was not a part of my current fantasy dialogue. The sky kinda barked and blew some papers around the yard that seemed to have a life of their own. They seemed as trapped by the wind as I was by the conversation, a little dance and a nod in spite of what I preferred. 

Susan rescued me, "okay you retards gotta go." I'm outta beer and good looks so get the hell out." She smiled to indicate that maybe if she got more beer they would get an invitation back but only if they behaved and followed orders. Her big brother went into bouncer mode and escorted everyone out of the house. Susan pulled me aside, "when he comes back if he doesn't make a move on you I am going to beat him silly." She frowned but she didn't really look dangerous enough to take him. "C'mon Susan, he's never without a girlfriend even when I'm available and he doesn't want to ruin our family vibe." "What's more family than sleeping with your adopted brother," she laughed and I winced, "or getting married, then you would really finally make it official that we are related. Duhhhh." I smiled even though it hurt the place in my heart where wishes live. "Don't push it please, it's hard enough to breath around him when he has clothes on." She winced this time, ewww okay that's an image I don't want to live with but you can drool over it if you want." She winked at me and started cleaning up the beer cans. "Derek, get in Here and help out, ya MOOSE." She hollered at him and my redneck butterflies flipped just at the sound of his name. I made a mental note to capture them all and put them in a jar at the first opportunity. And then he walked in and the mental posty note was shredded and filed under "no can do." I loved and adored him and no other guy in the world would ever measure up in my short address book. 

I helped clean up and delayed it as long as I could just to be in the same room with him. Not surprising he kept stopping to take texts from his current girl who was checking on his fidelity. "No one trusts me but you Aimee," he joked. " who said I trusted you or anyone in your crazy family," I tossed back at him. And then imagined him throwing me on the table and ravishing me surrounded by empty beer cans. "Suckit private Payne." He tossed back and poked me for all my bad luck with men, using his favorite nickname for my failures. "You suck it mister cruise, I'm going to bed and you can wish you were joining me." I sashayed off to let him finish his texting apologies and clean up alone. Mostly cuz wishing we were an item kinda hurt more than any other heartbreak up to the current date and I was beat. " gnite captain cuss." I thought I was getting away clean when he reached out and grabbed my arm. "Not so fast kitten." He put his phone down and looked serious for a second. " I'm not going to hear about you getting back with your douchebag ex again am I?" He looked worried in a paternal way. "Why, were you hoping to date him yourself? I always knew you were half gay..." I tried to dodge the serious and still make a get away verbally. " be serious for one second kitten." He frowned at me. " okay you want serious? Make me an offer I can't refuse." It did come out serious and I was doing what he asked but dreading any indication that he would consider it. Knowing if he did, no one could hurt me more than him if he had any inclination to ever walk away afterwards. 

The dare hung in the air for what seemed like forever and he looked slightly stunned. He stammered when he was uncomfortable and his effort to formulate words was more than beer. "Forget it, you asked for serious and I gave you a shot." I smiled to let him know there were no hard feelings. "Gnite cap'n crunch." I hugged him and made my escape wondering if he would ever gave it any serious thought. I would never know, the night was over and so was any opportunity to see.

I woke up the next day wishing wine coolers came with a warning label for lightweights like me. Something like, "hey Aimee drink a coke or you will regret knowing me." My head felt like it was being drilled. But the cozy quiet house was the best cure, that and a couple of aspirin. I dreaded leaving. I really wanted to stay and never felt like there was another home for me that fit better. No other family loved me more. I was working on a plan but the result seemed far away and every move I made seemed to take it farther than I could reach. 

The house was empty, but i found my way around to a snack of aspirin and a note from Susan. Everyone was at work and I had the place to myself for the next few hours. I used it to sleep off the headache and wish I had things that I had truly wanted my whole life. They all seemed to belong to Derek.

Susan woke me up shaking me. She was panicked and appeared to be crying. Nothing she was saying made any sense, either because I was still groggy or she was upset. Probably both. Someone had been hurt, no they were more than hurt. There had been an accident and Effy was gone. It didn't make sense to me. The sweet song we were singing together last night and this was the last moment we shared together? I almost felt like I was somehow responsible. That visiting had changed things and left some vulnerability in her life that stole it from her.

My stay extended, the next few days were full of surreal sadness and unbelief. She was the youngest and her being gone was just not feasible. It was more feasible to think she would be back soon than that we were planning her funeral. I tried to act like I knew what to do and comfort my friends. It seemed futile but I did my best anyway. That winding road had taken someone that I cared about and knew it would hurt to live without. I was angry, and there was no hurting the road that took her from us. But I wanted to tear it from the planet anyway. 

The preparations and then the funeral were darker than the weather. The casket was closed and when they played the song Susan chose at the end, I lost it. This storm was not going to leave anytime soon. Our Patsy Cline song. The storm of losing this tiny odd girl that we all loved so much with all her beauty and talent. And this song seemed to be anything but a quest for the truth. Screw you patsy cline you liar. I would never sing it again, they could bury it with her. The lonely box she was in seemed to agree with me and looked anything but truthful alone in the front of the room. I've never cried so hard in my life.  To add insult to injury Derek was crying in the arms of his latest girl. That hurt too. I caught her name, Angie. She was pretty and I hated her for being the one he was with now when I wanted him to need me. Not the first time I wished to trade places with Effy but it was certainly the worst. It still somehow felt like my fault. Like I made the road or set the clock against these people just by showing up. Enough to accept that maybe Angie deserved the man I loved more than I did. I focused on Susan and trying to make it up to her somehow. 

I stayed in the room long after everyone else had said their goodbyes. Looking at the box that held my adopted younger sister and sobbing. The small chapel surround me with less emptiness than I felt deep inside myself. It was hard to hear anything over my own sniffling but a noise caught my attention in spite of it.  At first I ignored it, the wind and the weather were still treacherous. And it had contributed to Effy's accident. Her losing control of her car on the way home from work on the slick roads. It made me angry that it hadn't stopped looking ugly and that it had caused my friends demise. I knew sunshine would feel less honest and so it seemed appropriate that the gloom stayed close by to match how we all felt. Dark bitchy skies that we all took much more seriously since our recent loss. 

I hated that she was alone that last day and didn't want to leave her alone now. The noise intensified. It wasn't the wind or the weather. It seemed to be coming from the direction of the coffin at the front of the room. I walked up to investigate. The flowers and the cloth covering were decidedly trembling. My tear stained brain tried to make sense of the sound. I even looked around for anyone that might have come back for me or to say goodbye to her again. The funeral had added her family and friends and even the last group of people we had hung out with when we were all together. But none of them were here now. I was alone in the room with a noise that was becoming more insistent. 

An odd thought for my odd deceased friend occurred to me. Maybe she wasn't gone. Not really gone in the sense that there was some mistake. The worst prank ever, or someone else in this dark wooden case. But opening the box to find out was not on my list of cool things to do no matter how insistent the noise could get. I made myself turn around and walk out the door to get someone braver than me to help investigate. I found the chaplain. He looked more like a former criminal than a man of God. The hulking brute of a man would be intimidating to the biggest badass, even with the suit and collar he was wearing. His persona reminded me of Sampson. Like maybe he had been called by God to harass and kill philistines more than giving peaceful services in any chapel. Perhaps I was more philistine than most but right now I wanted his help and asked for it. He followed me back to the room to investigate. 

Sure enough the sound was still vibrating the box and the decorations on top of it. "What do you think is making the noise?" I asked the pastor. He shrugged at me and ran his hand over the edge of the casket feeling the sound. An image of Derek calling his mom on his cell phone and telling her Effy was okay flashed in my head. I kicked it out since it was preposterous. But it lurked because I didn't want her to be gone and she didn't really feel gone. And the noise seemed to be contradicting all things not preposterous. The paster mumbled something unintelligible. I thought I heard it but wasn't sure and repeated it to him with a question mark. "Did you just say Lazarus?" He nodded and shrugged again. Still stroking the box that was vibrating with the sound.

 "Miracle," he muttered. Zombie, I thought to myself. The only resurrection the world promotes is not exactly pretty or nice or miraculous. I said her name out loud and the noise got even louder. "I'm going to open this, so if you want to look away or even get away, now is the time." The pastor nodded at me with a somber look. I did want that and also could in no way leave at this moment. If there was anyway to piss off the pavement and see my beloved little friend again I was not leaving. I prayed for the miracle he mentioned and stepped back as he lifted the weighted lid. Not even bothering to clear it of the decorations. They toppled as the sound ceased and the falling to the floor was followed by silence. A pregnant pause of wonder. I braced myself for the ugly of death in spite of the glimmer of small hope I had that yes, this was a miracle. The box opened fully and to our astonishment was not full of any death or ugly injury dressed for sleep. It was completely empty. 

Whatever miracle or strange was happening here in mystery was holding it's cards close to the vest. There was no sign of anyone in the linen lining of the casket.  No Lazarus, no friend past or present. And now no noise to prompt further action. My bizarre sense of humor cut through my grief. My first thought was my friend Susan deserved her money back for the funeral and then more practically I though, where was her sister? 

I hated the boxes we stored people in and most funerals, especially of people I knew closely. I avoided attending whenever possible. The emptiness of this box seemed less hopeful and more foreboding, a mixup where we would have more hassles finding the leftovers of my friend to actually store properly. But the paster was smiling. "Lazarus," he said again. "Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Lazarus present at his own resurrection?" "Yupp," the giant of a paster nodded again. He scared the bunch of boobs that didn't believe out of their wits." He smiled a bit wider. " ok then where is my friend?" I squinted at the man. "Not here and not there," he said cryptically. "That's Lazarus like isn't it?." But I was perturbed. " I'm with holding judgement." I squinted harder at him. "Be my guest Thomas." He stated and touched my arm. Sometimes you have to believe before you see." I leaned toward the touch, " not my style sir and if the named reference you made to me being doubting is any indication, also not the style of some of the closest guys to the best miracle worker that ever lived," "debatable, but not impossible." 

The man frankly looked me square in the eye and like any true believer was already convinced of his own conclusion. I however wanted proof in a hopeful way. As I imagine the man named Thomas who was grieving for his friend and leader also was. At least he was honest enough to say it out loud when everyone else was only thinking it. 

The mystery itself was solvable and I had hope. What more could God or anyone that worked for him ask of a person or a world filled with the opposite of miracles. I knew the stories and even believed with the right folks backing up God they could happen. I didn't feel like I was the right folks and this hulk of a man seemed unlikely as well. But more unlikely was the empty box in front of us. And it suddenly filled with possibility and desperate longing that yes my friend was the exception to the egregious wrongs of antimiracles and death. Death being the devils worst miracle. A hated creation for mankind and frankly a shitty way to show off any kind of power. I believed that God was a God of life and hated the invention of what opposed it as much, if not more, than all of what it did to mankind. I also believed he could retract a death sentence but for important exceptions. Was my friend or me and my friends family any qualification for this? The empty box seemed to agree and my heart started to empty of some portion of guilt and grief that spilled out. It started to be replaced with this new feeling. "Let's go find your risen friend," the pastor said in a conspiratorial tone. 

We searched the chapel from top to bottom and found nothing. We searched outside and asked veiled questions of the people outside. Still milling around and comforting each other. My quest was so adamant that even Derek and his Angie didn't shake me. There has to be proof somewhere of what's going on, I thought to myself. I was determined with my partner in miracles to not only find it but present it to the people I loved and feel somehow a part of the solution for a change instead of the problem. And yes I prayed. Never a bigger prayer than I made before I was just a reader about how to pray. I wanted her here and I wanted her back so passionately that I intended to let God know that disappointment would not be cool. It was the quest for hope fulfilled and proof of life and love. That an invisible God would merit my total devotion for the rest of my life in finding. Not a vow, just an Innate knowledge that nothing would shake my belief in his love if he gave me back what I loved. 

The search took us behind the chapel to where my friend should have been tucked into the ground later that day. Those old negatives from fiction were hard to shake. The thriller video, and countless zombie movies were coursing through my veins like a computer virus. That constant threat of death that we all reside with even if we ignore it. 

In passing the stone markers I caught a glimpse of white and the figure of a girl resting against one of the stones. Seated in the impossibly green grass her face in her hands. The dark clouds around and above us seemed to paint her in sadness but hope became electricity. My new friend the pastor also seemed to feel the sensation. He lumbered toward the figure and reached out before I could stop him. He lifted her to her feet and pulled her into his arms. A knowing that I did not yet have even though he held my desired proof close to him like a father. It was her!! It was impossibly her. 

My friend Effy was being smothered in a huge hug by the man that had just given her funeral service. I was stunned into paralysis. And new tears ran from my heart to my eyes in some strange relief. I yelled for my other loved ones. Shrieked for them. I kept yelling even after I heard them running in my direction shrieking back in concern for another death. Derek was the first to reach me and stopped next to me so sharply there should have been a shriek of brakes. "Oh my God," he whispered. "That is the only explanation I have," I whispered back. And then I turned and looked up at him right in the eye. "I'm in love with you and your family is my family." I didn't expect it to come out of my mouth but it did and I didn't seem to have any control over it. He looked at me, and at my lips and was kissing me before I even felt it. And maybe I was too stunned to feel his lips. But I felt our tears baptize the surreal moment. He took my hand and we walked to the place a miracle was being held by a giant of a pastor who was laughing and crying like a kid, it was our sister Effy and she was alive again.

It's been a year since the impossible happened. And more impossible followed. First Derek proposed to me that day. And today my family is truly mine. I don't feel supernatural, neither does Effy. But she is and we are. I believe in the impossible because now I have undeniable proof that the invisible God does visible things to show he not only cares but is greater than anything that does not care. It's not changed me on the surface but it has changed me forever in the place where hope lives and most of all hopes for proof.


Submitted: June 02, 2014

© Copyright 2021 cgirl001. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Chris Green

This story really does have everything, an intruiging plot(s), suspense, brilliant turns of phrase and interesting characters and dynamics.
Regards
Chris
For those of you here on booksie who read the comments first, before diving in, this is essential reading, much better that the vacucous stuff you are usually faced with.

Tue, June 3rd, 2014 4:58am

Author
Reply

I didn't know people read the comments first. Thanks for the recommendation Chris. I'm honored.....

Mon, June 2nd, 2014 11:11pm

Spyguy

Once again, as in many prior incidences, my good friend Chris has not only gotten here first to enjoy the read, but has stated more clearly & concisely the feelings of my heart after reading this amazingly well written piece than I could have possibly stated myself... You, my dear, have outdone yourself with this very creative work of art, confirming both the believability as well as the reality of modern-day miracles... Thanks for the foray into the capacity of belief... I'm impressed...

Wed, June 18th, 2014 9:15am

Author
Reply

I believe in miracles even the ones that have explanations. But I have been privelidged to witness one or two that cannot be explained in any other way than supernatural. Thank you for reading and leaving me such a wonderful comment.

Wed, June 18th, 2014 3:47pm

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