This blog is dedicated to the stories I've written over the years. Sometimes I get some time and add a story. Grab a hot cup of something and enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Place to Call Home -Seven


Carrie had walked to the truck and was just about to dig the keys out when two guys came up and began to hassle her. They were ugly and stunk as if they hadn’t bathed in two weeks. And when they grinned, Carrie could see that they didn’t have very good oral hygiene.

“Hey baby, wanna have some fun?” the first guy taunted as he grabbed his crotch and made some smacking noises. The second guy reached forward and grabbed Carrie’s upper arms.

Flashes from the past of her mother’s boyfriends trying to grab feels, popped into her mind and she just kinda flipped out. In other words, she got MAD!

WHOOSSSH! The air was forced out of the man’s lungs as Carries knee made hard contact with a very tender area. The man just sorta fell limply to the ground in the fetal position.

“NO SURRENDER! AIIIEEEEEEE!!” Carrie pulled her knife from its hiding place and lunged at the second guy as he stood frozen by either the thought that a little slip of a girl so easily took out his friend or the bloodcurdling yell coming from her mouth and the look of absolute anger on her face.

SWIPE! The blade sung through the air and smoothly sliced a shallow trench across the man’s chest leaving a welt of blood. The man backed up and began pleading for his life as he wet his pants.

Just then Sam ran around the corner and skidded to a stop to the sight of Carrie fixing to swipe at a guy who was cowering in front of her and another guy on the ground groaning.

“CARRIE!” Sam had to shout. Carrie froze and then looked over at Sam. Her face transformed from an angry looking Valkerie bent on vengeance to a small scared young girl.

Sam walked over to her and put his arms around her as he took the knife from her hand.

“You fella’s better get or I’ll let her have at ya again.” Sam sternly said. The one guy helped his buddy up and they both took off into the parking lot.

“You ok, Carrie?” Sam asked.

Carrie just dug the keys out and handed them to Sam.

Back on the freeway again, Sam tried coaxing Carrie to talk but she stubbornly remained silent so he turned on the radio and the news.

In international news today, talks with Iran over their nuclear weapons that were found last spring have again deteriorated to the point of all the UN officials being escorted out of the country by gunpoint. Russia has issued an ultimatum declaring that if everyone didn’t leave Iran alone, Russia would be taking it personally.

In national news, the President’s financial stimulus “Three” plan has not boosted the economy as expected. Most people we talked to were only able to pay one month’s bills with it. Unemployment rates have gone up to 34%. With the major car manufactures going under despite the three bailouts, all the secondary companies have also gone under. Rumors are flying that China is going to call in all loans.

Locally, there was a shake up here this morning when we experienced a small earthquake along the New Madrid fault line. It ranked a 3.4 on the Richter Scale so it was only a bit larger than the four we had last month.

Stay tuned for more news after these messages….

Sam clicked off the radio. It was too depressing, especially after the morning he had.

“I didn’t feel the earthquake this morning.” Carrie softly said.

“Me neither, but then I think we were a tad busy to feel it even if it had been a 7.0” Sam replied.

The both looked at each other and grinned.

“So are ya feeling better? Do you wanna tell me what happened back there?” he asked.

“I’m ok. I just kinda freaked out and got so mad. Do you think I really hurt them?”

“Don’t worry about it. They deserved what they got. Maybe they will think twice before they hassle anyone else. You did good! I’m proud of you. And now I know I’ll never have to worry about you again.”

For the rest of the trip to Morgantown, Sam and Carrie chatted and she finally opened up about what had happened to her and where she was going. Sam didn’t judge her but he did caution her about traveling across the country in such hard times. Carrie agreed but felt she must do what she felt was right for her.

It was late afternoon when a tired Sam and a dozing Carrie pulled into his driveway. He had given his wife a call about 20 miles out and let her know that they would be having some company for a day or so since he wasn’t about to let Carrie leave as soon as the truck stopped.

Carrie woke up as the truck came to a stop and the engine turned off. One of the most beautiful women she had ever seen was wrapping herself around Sam. Ah, that must be Sam’s wife, Rhonda. They sure do make a pretty pair.

“Rhonda, come and meet Carrie” Sam was saying as he tugged his wife over to the truck. Carrie felt only warmth and friendliness coming from the lady so she shook her hand and shyly said hello.

“Come in darling, you must stay the night. I won’t take no for an answer.“ Rhonda ushered Carrie in just as soon as Carrie had grabbed her pack. “You must be just dying for a bath. Here, you can stay in this room; there is a bath all to yourself through that door.” Rhonda had brought Carrie into the guest bedroom with an attached bath. The room was done up in warm shades of yellow and tones of browns. It was a welcoming room with a large bed dominating and Carrie almost began to drool when she saw the tub. “I’ll just let you get settled. There’s soaps and shampoos and anything else you might need in the bathroom, just look around. Give me a holler if you find you need anything. “ And with that, like a whirlwind Rhonda left and Carrie was by herself.

Carrie grinned and took her bag into the bathroom and spent the next hour soaking in a hot tub of water.

Meanwhile, out in the kitchen, Sam was filling his wife in on Carrie’s story and all that had happened since she first stole away in his truck. Rhonda went from shock to outrage to shock to outrage to sympathy for the young girl.

“You mean she is determined to go all the way to the Ozarks? And she doesn’t even know if her grandmother is alive or not?”

“That’s right. I know we most likely should call the authorities but I’m not going to break her trust like that. All they will do is send her back to her mother.”
“I agree, we cannot let that happen. What about trying to call her Grandma? Does she have a number?”

“We can ask her. What do you think about letting her use one of the bikes?”

“Well, riding a bike might get her there faster. It would be an advantage that’s for sure. Why don’t I get supper started and we all can talk over a good meal.”
Rhonda began the fixings of a good supper of pork chops, scalloped potatoes, green beans, and a tossed salad. While cooking she sent up a prayer of thanks for having her husband home safe, a quick plea for understanding of her guest, and a request for knowledge so she and her husband would know the right thing to do.

Carrie felt wonderful after her bath! She almost went ahead and crawled into bed but figured that she should go and talk to her hosts. She felt strange being in a stranger’s house. She quietly prayed for strength and wisdom and a request for her to not do anything stupid. She also begged for forgiveness for any harm she had done that day.

The kitchen was homey and smelled wonderful. Carrie thought to herself I could get use to this, so don’t get to comfy!

Supper was delicious and while Carrie ate; Rhonda chatted about what had been going on around the small farm.

Carrie’s ears perked up and she volunteered “I’ll help with any chores you need done this evening. I don’t mind.”

“Ok, I could use the help.” Replied Sam. “Not too much needs to be done, just making sure everyone’s settled in for the night and the cow gets milked. Hmmm, we might want to check for some eggs. Shouldn’t take too long.”

“Well, before you guys disappear on me, I would like to talk with Carrie for a few minutes and get to know her.”

All three got up and cleaned up the kitchen with Rhonda washing dishes, Carrie drying, and Sam putting the extra food away, cleaning the table and counters, and then putting the dry dishes away. They were done in no time flat. As they worked Rhonda began to ask Carrie questions but they were not the type that Carrie had thought she would ask.

“What kinds of things do you like to do Carrie?” was the first question “do you have any hobbies?”

“I like to write and draw but I don’t have a lot of time to do those. Once we got to make vases in school with clay. I really liked working with the clay. I especially liked painting it. I also like to read. I’ve been reading a lot about different ways to garden. Someday, when I have a place to call home, I want to have a huge garden with lots of flowers and herbs -just all kinds of things that will smell good. When I was little, I helped my Gramma plant her garden. I liked the feel of the dirt.”

Rhonda almost broke down in tears but she managed to cover and got a quick grip on herself. The poor thing, doesn’t even have a home but still has hope of one. She looked at Sam over Carrie’s head and he could read the longing in her eyes. She wanted to keep Carrie. For so long they had tried to have children but for some unknown reason, they were still childless. And here was this amazingly strong yet sweet girl needing a home. One who was determined to get to her grandmother’s home.

Sam decided to ask his own question “So Carrie, I know you said you were headed to your Grandma’s; do you mind if I ask where she lives?”

Carrie thought for a few moments, torn between wanting no one to know –just in case and wanting to share with these nice people who had taken care of her. “She lives in the Ozark Mountains” she replied vaguely.

Sam could tell that he would not get a more definite answer from her right now. She still wasn’t ready to completely trust them.

“So Carrie, do you think you’ll be setting off tomorrow or will you stay one more day with us?” Rhonda asked.

“Oh I will leave in the morning. I don’t want to be any more trouble. You have both been so very nice and I know that a good guest does not over stay their welcome.”

“We are happy to help. This place has plenty of room and you’re no trouble at all. If you need anything at all, just ask.”

“Well, I was wondering if I could make a phone call real quick. I need to check in with someone. It’s long distance, but she said I could call collect.”

This put puzzled looks on both Sam’s and Rhonda’s faces. “Sure, the phones right in there by the couch. Help yourself. And don’t worry about calling collect, we get free evenings so there’s really no charge.”

Carrie set down the last plate and towel and went into the living room. She dug Lady Jane’s number out of her jeans pocket as she went.

Sam’s eye caught the movement and he had to wonder who she was checking in with that she did not know the number.

Carrie carefully dialed the number on the scrap of paper.

Lady Jane answered on the second ring. “hello”

“Hi Lady Jane, it’s Carrie. I’m the girl who you met the other day and you fixed me a great breakfast.”

“Oh Carrie! It’s so good to hear from you.” Carrie heard Jane move the phone away and talk to someone. Probably Beautiful and Duke.

“I must say, Beautiful and Duke miss you. They really took a liking to you, you know?”

“I like them also, Lady Jane. I’ve never seen dogs like them. Will you give them a good chin scratch for me?”

“I sure will! So are you ok? How is your trip going?”

“It’s been interesting so far. I met a very nice man who I stole a ride with in the back of his truck, but that was before I knew he was so nice and safe. I’m at his house now. He has a wife who makes really tasty pork chops and she’s nice also. I’ll be headed back out and on my way tomorrow so I don’t know when I’ll be able to call again. But don’t worry, ok?”

“I can’t promise to not to worry, honey. But I’ll be looking forward to your next call.” Jane started to laugh and it sounded like she was struggling with the phone. Carrie could hear a “ok, ok” then Jane came back on the phone “Carrie, Beautiful and Duke want me to give you their love and slobbers.”

Carrie laughed “Give them slobbers back for me. I best go, I don’t want to over
step the niceness these people are showing. Good bye Lady Jane.”

“Good bye for now Carrie and you be careful.”

The rest of the evening passed enjoyable as Carrie learned how to milk a cow all over again and Sam had to wonder at her singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to the cow, but the cow didn’t seem to mind.

Sam explained how they made their own cheese with the extra milk and even how they were learning to make cottage cheese. But they hadn’t gotten that one down yet.
“And there’s one more thing we have learned to make from the milk.” Sam confessed.

“What?” Carrie couldn’t think of anything. They both were walking back into the house coming into the kitchen.

Rhonda answered “ice cream!” and she handed them both a big bowl of homemade strawberry ice cream. “You two deserve it!” she declared. Neither argued with her, they just dug in!

Carrie went to sleep that night, with a smile on her face.

Rhonda and Sam checked in on her after she was asleep and went into their own bedroom.

Tears slid down Sam’s face as he held his softly crying wife.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Place to Call Home -Six


Time slowed down in that weird way it has when a catastrophe is about to occur as Carrie felt the first fingers of panic.

NO! She thought, I’m not going to panic! That is the one thing that will for sure make things go wrong!

Sam had taken his foot off the gas and Carrie grabbed the wheel and steered them to the side of the road. Once there, she jerked the shifter into park and unhooked Sam’s seat belt.

“Turn your body towards me!” she pretty much yelled at him since she could see that he was beginning to turn blue and panic was wild in his eyes.

“I said TURN! NOW TURN TOWARDS ME!” Carrie was definitely yelling now and by tugging Sam, she was able to get him facing her. She quickly sat back against her door and swiftly and with all her strength, KICKED him in the gut. IN and UP!
Like a cork sprung from shook up bottle of bubbly, the peanut that had been lodged in Sam’s throat shot across the cab and hit Carrie on the cheek.

“oh gross!” she said as Sam took in great big breathes of air.

Carrie patiently waited as Sam got himself under control and gained back his color. Finally, he said “remind me not to talk and eat peanuts again, ok” then he attempted to chuckle at his humor but he was reminded that besides almost choking to death, he had also been kicked very hard in his gut.

Rubbing his stomach, he said “sure am glad you have strong legs.”

“Well, I knew I wouldn’t be able to actually do the maneuver the right way, so I had to improvise.”

“Where did you learn to do that?” Sam asked.

“I read about it on a website. And like I said, I had to improvise.” Carrie felt like she was about to cry, but she refused to do so in front of this stranger. She could feel her body drain from the adrenaline rush. She closed her eyes and sent up a word of thanks for not panicking.

Sam didn’t know who was shaking more, him or Carrie. They both sat there for a few moments as they calmed down and regrouped.

The sun peeked over the horizon and began a new day. Sam thought it very appropriate and sent a word of thanks up to the Big Guy for maneuvering things so that his life had been spared. He fully realized that if Carrie wasn’t there, he still would have been eating peanuts and sipping coffee but that he would have been singing (off key) instead of talking and he had no doubt he would have most likely died that morning. He glanced again at the little slip of the girl who had come
into his life.

“Thank you Carrie for saving my life.” He began. But before he could say anymore, Carrie burst into tears. Now one thing that Sam couldn’t handle was a girl in tears. He reached over and took her in his arms and hugged her as she proceeded to soak his shirt.

Carrie cried for five full minutes but it seemed like hours. She pulled away from Sam as she sniffled and dried her face on the sleeve of her jacket she said “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to go all babified on you. I don’t know why I cried, I never cry.”

Sam replied “I imagine that you’ve been through quite a bit. And this scare was just the last straw. And I firmly believe that God made men with shoulders so that women can cry on them. And if you don’t tell anyone, I was pretty scared myself. All I could do was think about how my wife was going to kill me for choking to death so far from home.”

Carrie gave a weak smile.

Sam decided he better get moving again since traffic was picking up and they were kinda cockeyed on the side of the road. He just then noticed that the truck was off.

“I had to put it in park; I hope I didn’t damage your truck.” Carrie said as her eyes went wide at the thought of messing up Sam’s truck.

“A small price to pay for my life Carrie, so don’t worry about it. If it’s broke, it’s broke and I’ll call a tow truck. But let’s just see first. I think I’ve been harder on the transmission than this.”

Both sent a silent prayer up as Sam turned the key. The truck purred to life.
“Now for the true test.” Said Sam as he pulled gear shift towards him and then down. The truck jerked slightly but slid into gear. “Gotta love Ram tough” he said as he carefully pulled back onto the road.

“There’s a Love’s Truck stop up the road about 20 miles or so, what do you say we stop for a quick breakfast and break? It’ll be my treat. It’s the least I can do for someone who just saved my life.”

Carrie blushed and quietly said “ok”.

Hooked to the Love’s Truck stop was a small Mom and Pop restaurant that was known for miles around as having good food at a fair price. The place was hopping! Sam had to park around the side and had to convince Carrie that her things would be safe in his truck. She didn’t want to leave them.

“Here, YOU hold the keys so you know I won’t strand you and take off with your things, ok?” Carrie laughed since she hadn’t been thinking that but rather just didn’t feel comfortable without her things. But she decided to call him on it.
“Ok.” And she hopped out and watched as he clicked the door locks and set the alarm then she held out her hand and he placed the keys in it. She tucked them deep into her front pocket and they both went in.

Breakfast was delicious and Carrie almost picked her plate up to lick it clean, but restrained herself and used the last corner of her toast to wipe up the last of the egg. The last of the tall cold glass of orange juice helped wash it all down. Sam had been finished with his stake of hotcakes and side of bacon and eggs and had been watching the methodical way that Carrie attacked her food. It was like she was afraid it would be taken before she finished or it would get up and walk away. Once she began to eat, she didn’t stop until she was done.

The waitress came by to refill Sam’s coffee cup and asked “Is everything ok? Can I get you guys anything else?” She was a pretty older woman, one who knew her business of waitressing. Her name tag read “Sandy” and her friendly smile brought smiles from others.

“Carrie? Would you like anything else?” asked Sam.

“No thank you, I’m good” she replied.

Sam turned back to Sandy and said “Do you think we could get a couple of boxed lunches we can take for later? “

“Sure thing, what kind of sandwiches would you like?”

“I want one of your famous roasted chicken salad sandwiches. Carrie, what kind of sandwich do you like? And I’m buying so don’t even think about the cost.” Sam could see her trying to figure out how to be nice but decline since she couldn’t afford it.

Carrie’s eyes were big and she was about to protest but Sandy smiled at her, waiting patiently. “I’ll have the same.” She really didn’t want to cause a scene so she just figured she would settle things up later. She just added the cost to her mental list along with the gas.

Sandy brought a bag that looked stuffed full and the bill five minutes later, “you guys be careful out there and have a great day.” Sam left a ten dollars tip and gathered up the bag and began to head to the counter to pay the bill.

“I’m going to go wash my hands real quick, I’ll meet you by the truck, ok?” said Carrie.


Sam decided that he best make a pit stop himself. Coming out of the restaurant, he was walking down the sidewalk to the side where the truck was. He heard gasp of pain and then someone give the loudest bloodcurdling WAR cry he ever heard. He ran the rest of the way and skidded to a stop.

A Place to Call Home -Five


Sam had seen the slip of a girl in the corner when he came in the McDonalds. He did wonder what someone so young was doing there at that hour, he really didn’t put too much thought into it. And when his wife called complaining about him being gone too long, he completely forgot about her. That was until he caught a glimpse of her slipping out the door from the corner of his eye. He took in the backpack that looked like it was going to topple her and then she just kinda disappeared.
Naw, she wouldn’t…..would she? Could she be that stupid? Or that desperate? He thought. He had finished up his late supper and cleaned up his trash. As he stepped out of McDonalds he took a few steps and then he began to whistle “Momma don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys” and watched the movement under his tarp freeze.

Carrie was ready to pull her knife if the tarp were to be pulled up suddenly; but she just heard that slightly off tune whistling and then a chirp from the truck and the driver’s door opened. She felt the truck move slightly as someone got into the truck and then the door slammed shut. The truck hummed to life and began to back up. Carrie took a deep breath. Moving very slowly she was able to make herself comfortable and the movement of the truck soon had her lulled sound asleep.

Inside the cab of the truck, Sam wondered what he was going to do. The girl must be desperate if the looks of her weren’t deceiving but he just couldn’t dump her anywhere including leaving her back there at that McDonald’s. His wife would shoot him, cut him up into little pieces, feed him to the hogs, and then she would get mad.

He also didn’t want to frighten her, HE knew she was safe with him, but SHE didn’t. All he could do was play it by ear and hopefully keep her safe and find a way to assure her that he was one of the good guys. He sent a prayer up to the Big Guy thanking Him that it was HIS truck the young one had slipped into.

In the back of the truck, Carrie woke briefly after the truck hit a pot hole. She decided that she ought to send a prayer and thank God for watching out for her and ask that He keep on keeping a close eye and a protective hand on her. Soon she was back asleep.

It was 4am when Sam decided to pull over, gas up, grab some more coffee and empty his bladder. He had picked this spot because he knew the owners were good people and if the girl decided to slip out here, she would be fairly safe. If she was smart enough to go into the store. He would let the owners know about her in case she decided to not ride in his truck anymore.

Thankfully the rain had let up but the early morning was quite cold.

Getting out of the truck, Sam went to the side of his truck and as he filled it with gas he began to talk to himself.

“Sam boy, good thing you stopped here, they’ve got a nice bathroom, hot coffee, and cheap gas. And if a person needed anything -why this here is the place.”
Now Carrie wasn’t stupid by any means and she knew now beyond a doubt that the guy really knew she was there. Crap! She thought. Oh well, may as well get this over with, I knew it wouldn’t last long.

Sam was startled by the shaking of the tarp and then surprised by the small face that popped out from under. He hadn’t thought she would show herself. Well, she is full of surprises!

Carrie looked into Sam’s face and said “Hi mister, I’m sorry I stole a ride in your truck. I’ll get out now and I promise you I didn’t mess with anything back here.” She gathered up her things and retied her bedroll under her pack and once it was all settled back on her back, she began to climb over the tailgate to the ground.
“Well, it’s ok. I mean if this is the way you were going. But you could have asked first. Although I do understand why you might not of wanted to ask.” Sam said.

“I’ll be on my way. Thanks and again I am sorry.” Carrie began to walk towards the highway.

Crap! Thought Sam, she isn’t even going to go into the store. I can’t let her just take off. Rhonda will more than have my hide!

“Wait!” he called.

Carrie hesitated and looked back at him with distrust and suspicion on her face.
“If you are headed west, you can still have a ride. And you can even ride in the front where there is heat…or in the back if you feel safer.” He added as her face took on even more distrust, if that was possible.

“I’ll tell you what, I’ll show you that I trust you first and then you can decide if you trust me, deal?” he asked.

“And how are you going to do that?” she asked.

Just then the pump automatically clicked off which indicated that the truck’s tank was full.

Sam’s brain clicked into an idea and he figured it just might work.

“I’ll let you go pay for my gas. It came to $48.32 and I’ll give you a hundred dollar bill. You can go in and pay for the gas and ask the owners about me. That way they can look out, see who I am and tell you all about me without me having been in the store first.”

Carrie thought about it for a moment and it seemed like it was a fair deal. After all, she could just take the money and run, not that she figured she would get far. But it did seem like he was being sincere. And it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.

“Ok, but if those people in there do not vouch for you, I’m keeping your change and getting the heck outta there.”

“Fair enough.” He slid his wallet out and pulled out a hundred and walked up to the front of his truck and slipped it under the wiper. Then he backed all the way to the back of the truck.

Carrie slowly made her way to the truck and with her eyes on Sam, slid the bill out from under the wiper and then backed up. She then abruptly turned and marched into the store. Sam sighed in relief. The hard part was over.

Once inside, Carrie approached the counter. There was a smiling older woman behind and brightly she said “Hi honey, how can I help you today?”

Carrie said “I need to pay for some gas for that guy out there.” As she pointed out the glass door.

“Oh so you’re with Sam. Are you a relative of his?”

“No. I stole a ride in the back of his truck and now he is offering me a ride further west.” Carrie figured that since the woman knew him, she may as well be honest with her.

Carrie was surprised when the woman began to laugh warmly. “Well, Sam is very good at having strays find him. Sometimes it drives his dear wife crazy. I can honestly say that if Sam is offering you a ride, then he is being sincere. And that you are safe with him.”

Carrie was thoughtful for a moment wondering if she could also trust this woman’s words or not.

“My name’s Annie by the way, and here is your change.”

Annie? Was that some kind of sign? Carrie wondered and then slightly shook her head in wonderment.

“Do you have a bathroom I could use?” she asked.

“Sure thing honey, it’s around the back.”

“Thank you.” Carrie said as she walked back out the door. She walked back to the truck and handed Sam his change. “The lady inside said I could trust you. I’ll think about your offer but if I’m not back in five minutes, feel free to not wait and don’t worry about me.”

Carrie walked around to the back of the store in search of the bathroom. Sam watched her go and then walked into the store. “Hi Annie. What do you think of my little stole away?”

Annie had come around the counter and had been watching the scene outside; she wrapped Sam up in a big ole hug and said “she sure is little. Why she can’t be more than 12 or so. How in the world did she find you?”

“She slipped into the back of the truck at a McDonald’s about five hours ago. I couldn’t kick her out, it was raining pretty hard and we were not in the best part of town. I felt bad about leaving her back there while I was snug and warm up front, but I didn’t want to scare her and I figured she would think she was safer out there.”

“Well, she is honest. Came in here and flat out told me that she stole away and then just listened with those big eyes of hers on me the whole time I expounded on your virtues. I was compelled to be honest with her. I think that poor child has seen too much in her short life.”

Sam agreed with her and then begged some of her good coffee to go. Five minutes and another hug later, he was back at his truck with a steaming cup of hot coffee, some packs of peanuts and sunflower seeds but with no sign of the girl anywhere.
He went to the bathroom to give her more time but she still wasn't there when he got back.

He checked the back of the truck to make sure but she wasn’t there. He was just finishing securing the tarp once more when she walked back around the corner of the building towards the truck.

Inwardly, Sam let out the knot that had formed in his gut without him even realizing it.

Carrie came up to the truck and with her head only showing above the side of the truck bed said “Ok, I’ve thought about it and have decided that I will take you up on your offer on two conditions.”

“Ok, what are those?”

“First of all, I want to help pay for the gas.” Sam began to protest but Carrie cut him off “I really feel that I must pay some for gas. The second condition is not up for negotiation. I get to search the truck for any weapons you might use against me.”

“Ok, be my guest and search the truck cab but I can’t take any money for gas because I’m not really going out of my way.” Inwardly Sam was thankful that he had taken out the one handgun he usually kept in there. When traveling across state lines, like this trip, he usually took the gun out just in case he was pulled over. It was easier than having to go through all the paperwork of carrying concealed in other states. Someday he may regret it but today he was doubly glad.

Sam stayed at the back of the truck as Carrie carefully searched the inside coming up almost empty handed, just 27 cents in change which she put in the little change holder that already had some loose quarters and dimes in it.

“Ok.” She said and she climbed into the cab with her pack at her feet on the floor.
Sam climbed in and they were off. The cab was quiet so Sam decided to attempt to talk to her. “Do yo mind if I ask your name?”

Carrie looked over at him thoughtfully, “I guess I at least owe you that. It’s Carrie.”

Being a natural born talker, Sam thought It’s gonna be like pulling teeth with this one. She must have been really through hell if she is this distrustful. “Well, I hope you don’t mind me, I like to talk so do you mind if I tell you a bit about myself?”

Carrie cocked an eyebrow and said “Go ahead.” The more you talk, the less I have to.

Sam proceeded to tell her all about his wife, Rhonda and how she was home keeping the home-fires burning, chickens happy, and most likely cursing him soundly since he was so far from home. Carrie could tell that he really loved his wife since his eyes got all dreamy when he spoke of her and she really didn’t believe that he could love someone so much if she was as mean as he was pretending.

In between bits of the story, he would pop a few peanuts into his mouth or sip on his coffee.

Carrie looked over at him when he suddenly got very quiet. His eyes were huge and he was pointing at his throat.

Oh my God! He’s choking!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Place to Call Home -Four


Carrie walked along the various neighborhoods for four days. Will these houses ever end? She playfully complained to herself. The houses did seem to go forever.

At least the weather has been great.

The lunch bag that Lady Jane had insisted she take had contained a bottle of Gatorade, a thick turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato (made from a real roasted turkey, not that chopped and pressed deli crap!), two apples and an orange, another six cookies, and some kind of homemade crackers that were more like chips. Those were yummy!

She had ate the sandwich later that day since it seemed to be the most perishable and then used the rest over the next few days along with her granola bars and canned Vienna sausages. She was still being conservative but found she liked having something to eat each day.

At home, she would go sometimes two days without a meal. Usually the only food she was able to eat was the free lunches at school. They had free breakfasts also but usually her mom would not let her out of the apartment until it was too late to grab breakfast at school before class. That was another thing she loved about babysitting, they always left extra money so she could order pizza or something for the kids and herself for dinner. And there were always plenty of snacks!

Another thing about all the houses was that there was usually a park or two where she could rest up and refill her water bottles and empty her bladder and other “things”. She had washed her hair once in the sink at one of the nicer parks.

That was fun….not. She kept hitting her head on the faucet and had to keep pushing a knob down to turn the water on. But she figured it was worth it since she felt a lot better with clean hair. She was thankful that her hair wasn’t that long, only to her shoulders. She couldn’t imagine how it would have gone if she would have had really long hair!

Carrie found that she liked to find a park in the early mornings, like at about seven and rest up then. She had been walking from about 2pm through the night because she didn’t know what would be in the parks at night. There was one by her school that the kids always talked about and the stories usually revolved around all the drug deals that went down there after dark.

If a park had a really good hiding place, she may stay longer but she didn’t sleep much anyways and figured that the more she walked, the closer she was to a place to call home….she hoped.

She finally found a nice park with a wonderful hiding place in behind some swings in some bushes. Settling in, she decided to reread one of her Gramma’s letters.

They always made her smile.

11 july 2000
Dear Carrie,

Well well, your writing is getting very good for a five year old! I’m not surprised that you can read and write at your age, after all; you are your daddy’s daughter! And MY granddaughter!

I want to tell you that the peppers and tomatoes that you planted when you last visited are growing strong and have many flowers on them. You will have to ask your dad to bring you at harvest time to help me put them up for winter. Maybe he will be able to get off of work.

Bossie misses your hands at her udders. She has been giving me fits when I go to milk her. I’ve tried singing that song you sang to her; but I don’t think I have fooled her one bit. Why she would not fuss when you sang twinkle twinkle little star, I’ll never understand. But cows can be strange.

Romeo and Juliet have produced another huge batch of babies. Ten baby bunnies. One for each of your fingers or toes. I should get enough off of those fur balls to make you a new sweater for next winter.

Ok, time to go wrestle with the pigs. I picked up some nice rejected produce from the grocer today and you know how they try to knock the fence down once they get a whiff of that stuff.

Don’t forget to say your prayers and be nice to people, even those who don’t deserve it.

Hugs and love, Gramma

Oh how Carrie hoped her Gramma would want her. She figured her mother would think of her going to her Gramma’s. That was another reason she didn’t want to get there too fast. If her mom took a bus there to see if that’s where she went, she would give up land leave ong before Carrie got there. Heck her mom was so lazy, she doubted she would even pick up a phone and call to see if she was there. Carrie was almost positive that her mom would not bother look for her, but she didn’t want to take any chances.

She slept the morning away dreaming of milking cows and feeding pigs.

It was close to three in the afternoon when a boisterous game of football woke
Carrie. She didn’t waste any time packing up her small camp. She noticed it was beginning to cloud up so she was thinking of finding a place that had a hot meal and WiFi and spend some time on the world wide web. She decided she would keep a poncho in her back pocket so that she would not have to dig for it if it started to rain. She had tried one on once and since she was so small, it fit over her and her backpack and came down to her thighs. So all of her pack and bedroll should stay dry.

After a quick but thorough trip to the parks restroom, Carrie set off. She had a pretty good idea of where she needed to go according to her maps since she poured over them each day after she stopped. But if she found somewhere to stop if it rained, she would go over them once more. Maybe she could find an all night diner and get some caffeine to boost any traveling she might have to do in the rain. She would deal with where to sleep when that time came.

Traffic was light as Carrie continued on her way. She knew she drew attention not so much because of the backpack but because of the bedroll under it. She had tried to figure out how to make it smaller, but it was already rolled as tight as it could go. Yesterday, she began to tie her jacket to the pack and this did help cover some of the roll.

Carrie wasn’t too worried about a policeman stopping her and asking her what she was doing. She had a story all ready; she had stayed the night at her dad’s and was simply returning home to her mom’s. It was only about a two mile walk and she had done it many times. Yada yada yada….

Now she just hoped she wouldn’t freak out and blow her story. She figured that as a last resort she would call Lady Jane. Which reminded her that if she did stop somewhere because of rain, she would call her.

The afternoon slowly edged into evening and the first fat drops of water began to fall. Carrie quickly pulled out the poncho and pulled it over her head and backpack. It took another hour of walking in the increasing rain and wind for her to find a place she could take shelter. She found a McDonald’s that boasted of WiFi and twenty four hour service. However, there was no payphone. It seems Carrie forgotten that since everyone had a cell phone now, many places had taken out their payphones.

Oh well, Carrie thought, Lady Jane will just have to understand. Carrie went into the bathroom and locked herself in one of the stalls. After ‘business’, she slid a five dollar bill from her money belt since she didn’t want to open it up out in public, that would just be plain stupid. Tucking the five in her front pocket and her shirt back into her jeans, she hefted up her pack and slid it back onto her back.

At the sink outside the stall, she washed her hands, and ran her fingers through her hair. The wet poncho got shook hard over the sink, spraying water everywhere which made Carrie laugh. She thought about putting it under the electric dryer but changed her mind thinking it might melt it. It WAS cheap plastic after all.

She went out and ordered herself a hamburger happy meal with a coffee. The person taking her order didn’t even bat an eye. In no time at all, she was happily tucked into a corner with her wet poncho drying draped over a chair, munching on French fries and surfing the web. She had picked this seat for two reasons: one for the out-of-the-wayness, and two for the plug that was up under the table on the wall.

She of course went to her favorite site, frugal forums and found that she had missed a couple of new chapters of the latest story. She had read one story on the site where some kids had made their own weapons and she wanted to reread how they made them. She might be able to make herself one. But first she got caught up on the new stories.

After two more cups of coffee (they were small) she figured she had enough of the stuff. She also noticed a guy come in that looked like a cowboy. He sat just a couple of tables away and as he ate his Big Mac Value meal, he was talking on his cell phone about how he should be though Pennsylvania and in Morgantown sometime between noon and 3 the next day. Carrie’s ears perked up. She quickly
pulled her maps up on the netbook, sure enough; the route she had worked out went through Morgantown, right on the edge of Pennsylvania. A very hasty and risky plan began to form in her mind.

She and the cowboy were the only two customers in the restaurant so she tried to see what he was driving. All she saw was a big pickup truck. She decided to go for it. She quickly shut down her netbook and packed it away. She glanced at the cowboy and saw that he wasn’t done yet since he had stopped eating while he argued with someone on the phone about not being home enough.

She took her things and made another pit stop real quick although she now regretted drinking so much coffee, she wanted to make sure she had as much of an empty bladder as possible. When she was done, she again pulled on her pack and went ahead and slipped the poncho over her head and pack and then walked out of the restaurant.

Once outside she noticed that is wasn’t raining as hard. She looked in to see if the cowboy was looking her way. He wasn’t but it looked like he had finished up his call and his meal. Quickly she placed one foot on the bumper and hoisted herself up and over the tailgate of the truck. There was tarp covering about 3/4ths of the bed and under that she found some boxes. Before squirming her way between two of them, she took off her poncho and pack and undid her bed roll so she would have something soft to lay on. She was glad it was dry under the tarp. She managed to maneuver the boxes until she was behind them but they all were still under the tarp. But before she could get comfy she heard whistling and froze.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Place to Call Home -Three


The lady was about 35 or so, sitting on the floor of the kitchen with Beautiful beside her and another gorgeous Golden Retriever with its head in her lap.

And she had no legs.

“Hi dear. Could you help me get this prickle out of Dukes paw? I just cannot seem to see it and it’s hurting him something awful.”

Carrie stood there in a stupor for a moment taking it all in. She was here because a beautiful dog named Beautiful had found her in the park, deep in some bushes, and then led her here to this woman who seemed to take in all in stride as if it happened every day.

“Dear? Are you ok?” the lady asked.

Carrie blinked once, then again and said “I think so, but this does feel like I’ve dropped into the twilight zone.”

The lady laughed, a warm rich and inviting laugh, and remarked “you don’t look old enough to know about the Twilight Zone, my dear. But I can assure you that you are safe here. Beautiful knows her people and would never let a bad person in our home.” She then turned to Beautiful and said “Go close the front door Beautiful; I believe your new friend is going to help us.”

The dog got up and walked towards the kitchen door, licking Carrie’s hand as she passed.

“Ok then. I guess I’m here to help. Let’s take a look at Dukes paw.” Carrie exclaimed as she slid her pack off her shoulders and laid it up next to the wall by the door. She then knelt down next to the lady and took Duke’s paw into her hands.

“Aw yes, I can see the small prickle -is what you called it?” she said.

“Yes, I believe Duke got himself into a cactus somewhere.”

Carrie was nodding her head and before she could ask, the lady placed some tweezers in her hand.

Two seconds later, Duke was prickle free! And of course, licking Carrie’s face.
The lady laughed along with Carrie as Carrie hugged the dog to her quickly then stood up.

“Do your dogs regularly go out into the world and bring home strangers?” Carrie asked.

“oh I trust Beautiful and Duke implicitly. Like I said, they have never brought home a bad person.”

“Alrighty then, unless you need more help, I guess I’ll be on my way. I’ve a long way to go today and I really need to get moving .“ Looking around, Carrie noticed the wheel chair about five feet away by the refrigerator. “Do you need any help getting back into your chair?” she asked.

The lady smiled and said “no thank you, but I would love a cup of hot tea. Would you join me before you go?”

“Sure, I guess” said Carrie as she watched the lady expertly walk on her hands and climb up into her wheelchair and then roll herself to the stove, check the tea kettle, where she lifted it up and swirled it slightly. Deciding that there was enough water in it, she sat it back down and turned on the burner.

“My name is Jane, by the way and I want to thank you for helping me.”

Hmmm, Lady Jane, Carrie thought it fits her perfectly. And Carrie noticed that she did have some of her legs, they just went down to her knees. I wonder how that happened. And she hasn’t even asked my name, where Beautiful found me or where I’m going or doing. Weird.

“I bet you have a lot of questions. Let me assure you that there is nothing hinkie going on. While my dogs are not psychic, they are very smart and well trained.
And of course, they are well behaved.” Jane said as she then began to rub both dogs with one hand each, under the chin and behind the ears. “Yes you are my babies, you sure are good babies.” She gushed over them.

Carrie looked around again and finally figured out what was bugging her.

Everything in the kitchen, the counters, sink, stove, and even the refrigerator was all small sized. They were all short, just as if they were made for a little person….or someone in a wheel chair. There were also no upper cupboards; they were all below the counter. Instead there were walls of windows, which let in the morning light. Carrie could see bird feeders hanging outside the windows from the eaves. There must have been twenty or so.

Jane looked over at Carrie and saw the realization on her face, “Pretty cool, huh? I had my whole house redone when I lost my legs five years ago. I also have a very nice lady who comes twice a week and helps me clean the house. She is the one who fills the feeders for me. Her husband comes once a week and takes care of the yard. Sadly, there are still some things I cannot do myself”

Carrie turned red, gestured with a sweep of her arm and replied “yeah, but all this must make things a lot easier and it’s a smart thing to do. “

“Have a seat at the table honey, and I’ll get this tea fixed right up. I think I even have a couple of cookies left. Do you like Chocolate chip with pecans? They're homemade.”

“You really don’t have to go to any trouble. Really I should be going.” Carrie looked at her watch and realized that it was only 8 am. It felt like she had been here for an hour at least. But she walked over and sat down in the only chair at the table. “I’ll stay twenty minutes but then I really need to get going. And yes, the cookies sound fine. Can I help with anything?” Carrie was torn from the need to leave and get moving and the thought of insulting the Lady Jane.

Jane smiled “oh no, I’m a real pro with this” as she washed her hands at the sink and then gathered two cups and a plate from the cupboard. In no time at all, there was a hot cup of tea that smelled wonderful in front of both of them and a plate of four cookies between them.

“Help yourself dear.” Jan said “or I’ll eat them all.” She smiled at Carrie.
Taking a cookie and sipping her tea, Carrie found herself finally relaxing a bit.
She still was cautious. One didn’t survive the past five years with her mother and not always be cautious, but she really didn’t think she was in any danger right now. Her stomach growling interrupts her thoughts and she was embarrassed again but Jane started laughing and said “I guess you didn’t get any breakfast this morning. Let me see if I can find you something more substantial for your breakfast.”

“Oh no, please don’t go to any trouble. I’ll catch something once I’m back on the road.”

“Nonsense, I can’t let you leave here hungry after you got that prickle out of Dukes paw. “ Jane looked over at her dogs “Can I now my precious babies?”

Carrie watched both dogs shake their heads. “How did you teach them that?” she asked.

“Teach them? Oh heavens no. I didn’t teach them that all, they are just that smart.” Replied Jane with a wide grin on her face.

Carrie looked at the dogs again and she would swear that they both had even wider grins on their faces. She couldn’t help but giggle.

Before Carrie was done with her two cookies and cup of tea, Jane had a cheese omelet with delicious chunks of ham steaming in front of her and a large glass of milk. Carries stomach reacted loudly at the tantalizing smell.

“Eat up! It won’t take you but a few minutes and while you’re eating I’m going to
fix you a good lunch to eat as you go.”

Between bites of the wonderful food, Carrie asked Lady Jane “why are you being so nice and why haven’t you even asked my name or where I’m going?”

Jane looked at Carrie with shock on her face “Why dear, it’s none of my business where you are going and I figured if you want me to know your name, you’ll tell me. And I’m being nice, because YOU were very nice to take time and come here with Beautiful. Most people would have just called the number on her tag. But you came with her and helped poor Duke out also. If it makes you feel better, just think of me repaying your kindness.”

I don’t believe this lady, I’ve never heard of anyone like this……oh but can she cook! This is the best food I’ve ever eaten!

Carrie’s thoughts were jumbled as she inhaled her omelet. Out loud she said “This is really great. Thank you very much.” And she finished up as Jane set a heavy looking paper bag next to her on the table.

“Do you think this will fit in your bag? Or should I find something with handles so you can carry it easier?”

Carrie stared at the bag then at Jane “This is really too much. I appreciate the breakfast but I can’t take this.”

“Nonsense! You’ll be doing me a favor. I needed to clean out the refrigerator anyways. So see, you’ll be helping me out. It’s a win win!” Jane said as she smiled warmly at Carrie.

Carrie could see she wasn’t going to win and it would help her out for a day or so. She finished the last bite of her food and drank the last swallow of her milk and then carried her dishes to the sink.

“You just leave them in the sink dear, I’ll take care of them later. I know you are anxious to get moving.”

Carrie was feeling so strange. No one had been this nice to her since her dad had died and she wasn’t sure if she was dreaming or if this was real. She patted her tummy, yep that tummy hadn’t been really full in years. It felt good.
Jane didn’t miss the pat and she couldn’t help but worry about this slip of a girl who didn’t look like she had eaten in a month of Sundays.

“You go ahead and pack this into your bag and the dogs and I will walk with you out to the front porch.”

Carrie cocked an eyebrow and Jane laughed “Ok, I’ll roll and the dogs will walk with you.” I’m glad to see that this girls spirit is not broken, Jane thought, there is hope yet.

“Will you do me one more favor before you go?” Jane asked Carrie.

“Sure, what can I do for you?”

“Well, I want you take my phone number with you. And if you ever need anything, even if you just want to talk. Please call me collect. Can you do that for me?”

She saw that Carrie was going to protest so she quickly added “it would be really for me of course, I’m being selfish but I don’t get to talk to many people these days and I hate to admit it…” she dropped her voice to a whisper “but sometimes I like to hear a human voice….even though I love my dogs, it’s just really not the same.” Then she put on such a hopeful face that Carrie laughed and agreed to take her number and she even promised she would call her once a week.

The bag of food just fit into Carrie’s back pack with some rearranging and they all walked, and rolled, out to the living room and out the front door to the porch.

Carrie turned to Jane to express her thanks once again “Lady Jane, thank you for being so nice to me and I will call once a week, but if I’m not by a phone, please don’t worry, I’ll call as soon as I can.” She bent down and gave both dogs good face rubs and lots of nonsense words. Then she stepped down the stairs and began to walk to the driveway.

She stopped halfway down the drive and turned towards Jane and the dogs “Lady Jane,” she called out “My name is Carrie.”

Jane smiled and said “Well Miss Carrie, it was a real pleasure to meet you. I’ll be keeping you in my prayers and looking forward to your calls.”

Carrie smiled and continued on her journey.

Jane smiled and then looked at her dogs “That is some girl there my dears, anyone can tell she has had a hard life. Why the poor thing probably doesn’t weigh enough to keep from blowing away. Beautiful you were so right to bring her home. I think she needed some loving kindness to keep hope alive for her.”

Carrie was long out of sight and heard nothing of the exchange between Lady Jane and her dear dogs.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Place to Call Home -Two

“What in the world!” exclaimed Carrie and she jerked awake and sat up. She got a lick across her face in answer.

She was eye to eye with the happiest eyes in the world! And those eyes were connected to the most beautiful dog she had ever seen! There before her was a Golden Retriever, with a shining golden coat and a collar that jingled when she gave Carrie another lick and then SMILED!

Carrie erupted in giggles and tried to push the dog away as she got to her feet.
“Somehow I think I’m safer on my feet with you. Let me look at your collar and see if you’ve got an owner.”

Sure enough on the tag engraved in fancy letters was the name “Beautiful Dreamer” and a phone number. Carrie figured Beautiful’s owner was somewhere in the park and this lovely dog wasn’t lost at all. Just at that moment, the dog’s ears perked up and she began to turn away.

“Go on! If that’s your momma or daddy, they might be worried about you. I’m fine. Thanks for the wake up but you need to get.”

The dog looked at Carrie then away then back at Carrie. She took a couple steps away but then sat down and once more looked at Carrie and then tilted her head like she was asking a question.

“What?” Carrie laughed and began to gather her things, making sure her bedroll was secure. She was done in less than two minutes –including the quick drink from a water bottle. Meanwhile the dog never moved although she would perk her ears every few minutes and glance out of the bushes.

“Ok, let’s go find your mommy or daddy, Beautiful.” Carrie declared as she and the dog moved out of the bushes and into bright morning sunlight.

“Wow, I slept all afternoon and night. No wonder I feel so good.” Said Carrie as she began to walk along the path she took yesterday. Beautiful followed right at her side. “I know I need to find the bathroom in the worst way.” Thankfully the park had a small building marked “Restrooms”.

So far, Carrie hadn’t seen anyone that looked to be Beautiful’s owner but she really needed to ‘go’ so she headed towards the restrooms. She quickly done her business, brushed her teeth, washed her face, and refilled her water bottles.

Beautiful was still sitting right by the door as she came out.

“Ok girl, what are we gonna do with you? Are you here with your mommy or daddy?” she asked.

As Carrie began to walk back along the path, Beautiful carefully took her hand in her mouth and slightly tugged the other way. Carrie shrugged and followed the dog. She really didn’t want to just leave the beautiful dog.

Beautiful led the way out of the park and down a well taken care of road. About four houses down, she turned into one of the yards. It was a quaint one story home with a brick driveway and what looked like ivy growing all over it. Beautiful walked to the front porch and sat down.

Carrie sighed and climbing the two steps, walked onto the porch to the front door and rang the bell.

No one answered. So Carrie knocked loudly and called out “Hello, anyone home?”
Beautiful joined her by the door and with one paw, scratched on the door. Carrie thought she heard something but couldn’t be sure.

Taking a deep breath, she tried the door handle. It was unlocked. Beautiful nosed her way into the house before Carrie could stop her so she opened the door more and called again. She watched Beautiful go into a room that went off the back of the hallway that the door opened into.

“Hello? I found this dog and I think she belongs here. Hello? Is anyone here?”
Very faintly, Carrie heard “come in please. I think I need some help.” Carrie followed where the dog had gone.

As she walked across the floor she could hear murmuring and the jingle of Beautiful’s collar. She had left the front door open partially in case she needed to make a quick getaway and then she crossed the threshold into what looked like it use to be a dining room but there was no table and chairs in it.

Again she called out “Hello? Where are you?”

Louder now, she heard the reply of “In here dear.”

Carrie saw two doors going off of the dining room but the one in the back had a swinging door and she could see light coming from around the edges. Carefully keeping an eye out all around so no one could sneak up behind her, Carrie crossed the room to the swinging door and slowly opened it while standing slightly back as she extended her arm.

Then she stepped into a brightly sun lit kitchen and contemplated the scene before her.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Place to Call Home -One


Carrie had been walking for awhile after she took the subway as far west as she could. She really wanted to get out of New York but didn’t want to use her money for a bus ticket to her Gramma’s home just yet. That was half a country away and she didn’t even know if her Gramma would take her in or not since her mother had not let her call or even write for a long time. Besides if she was going to take a bus, she wanted to do so well away from anyone that might be looking for her. Not that she really thought her mother would care. Just to be safe, she figured she could catch a bus after a two day walk. She would have to find a station and just see how much the ticket would cost. She had no idea how much it would be.

Carrie was determined try to get to her Gramma’s and if her Gramma didn’t want her, well, she would figure out something else then. She had enough food in her pack for two weeks if she was careful and she had three water bottles and a canteen that she filled at a gas station she passed when she got off the subway. In her BOB, she had the maps she had printed off the internet while at school that led from New York to the small town that her Gramma lived deep in the Ozark Mountains. She wasn’t fooled by the maps and knew the distance of just over 1300 miles would take too long a time to walk the whole way and she had her age to consider which presented another problem.

She had the letters her Gramma had written her; although there were only eight left that she had managed to hide from her mother. They were wonderful letters and she had read them many times. These gave her hope and the reassurance that surely her Gramma would not turn her away. When her dad was alive, he made sure that Carrie got to met and see his mother and they would make a yearly trip. But that all ended with his death five years ago.

They had been a happy family with a nice home and plenty to eat. But after her daddy’s death, her mom changed and began to go to bars which led to drugs and a different man each night it seemed.

Carrie never found out why her mother had moved them to New York and the shabby apartment just a year ago but once there things got even worse.

Carrie shook her head and cleared her thoughts, the sun was up now and she was getting really tired. She had hoped to be able to find a small secluded spot and hunker down and get some sleep but she was in a really nice neighborhood just outside of the city and didn’t think anyone here would want to find her curled up under one of their perfectly landscaped bushes.

She sighed and kept walking.

Just after noon, she found a nice small park with plenty of trees and even found a quiet niche where she could rest. Once comfortable, she pulled her back pack open and dug out two granola bars, a small box of raisins, and a bottle of water. After her lunch and a careful look around and noticing that no one was paying any attention to her, she cleaned up her trash and put her now empty water bottle back in her bag and slid unseen into some dense bushes where she found just enough room to lay down and catch some shut eye. She was out in less time it took her to unroll the bedroll and tuck her pack and jacket under her head as a pillow.

Almost everything in the pack was new to her, if not “new”.

Once she had begun searching the preparedness sites, she found she needed to get some cash in order to get prepared. There was no way her mom would have condoned any extra spending for anything. It was rare enough that there was even any food in the house, let alone anything stored for the future.

So Carrie had gotten three well paying babysitting jobs and the owners of a local general store hired her to come in twice a week and do sweeping and dusting. Not only did she get paid $5 an hour but she also got a 20% discount on whatever she bought. This is where she found the thin self inflating mattress to her ‘bedroll’ and other odds and ends of her BOB as she shopped among the few camping items that they had. They had those disposable rain poncho’s -of which she had purchased five.

The backpack was roomy and almost but not quite too big for her. By visiting a couple thrift stores, an army surplus store, and her small general store; she began “to prepare”. There were many “outside” pockets where she stashed different kits in. One pocket held a small but well thought out first aid kit. Another held some small fishing and snare kits that she had in small altoids cans. She had made up three small kits of each. Another pocket held five fire-starters and two dozen lighters along with some cotton balls in old plastic film canisters with alcohol soaked on them. She had a whole Ziploc bag of matchbooks from every bar in town that she swiped from her mother. Her mom never missed a single one: neither the matchbooks nor the bars.

A pouch that was made of a nylon netting material held her canteen. One of the larger front pockets held a small toiletry kit –including two flattened rolls of TP. And the last pocket held the maps, her plant ID book, and her Gramma’s letters all in Ziploc bags to protection from any type of water.

Inside the main compartment were her clothes, of which there were three sets, a pair of tennis shoes, a towel, extra bandanas, the food, and the rest of the water. She was wearing her well broke in hiking boots and jacket. She had three knives hid in her pack and one in her pocket and one up her sleeve on a special holder on her arm.

In the back compartment was the second most precious thing that she had brought -a small Acer netbook. On that small “mini-laptop” was all the information she had gathered from all the survival sites she had visited -from making small alcohol stoves to gardening to how to survive a nuclear war. She even had the two extra memory cards for it, full.

She had gotten a great deal on it. One of the ladies she had baby sat for ordered it for her in exchange for three months of babysitting at least two nights a week. Carrie hadn’t minded since the two kids were always good and were never any trouble anyways. It was sapphire blue and had a battery that would last almost six hours. The lady had also bought a foam carrying case and the extra memory cards for her as a gift. Carrie was hoping she could find places to charge it now and then since she also had her maps, journals, and stories backed up on there. With so many places now offering Wi-Fi for free, even Burger King and McDonalds, she really didn’t think she would have a problem until she got in more rural areas.

Tied up under her backpack, in a small roll, was a sleeping mat and blankets –her bedroll, one wool and the other she had no clue what it was made of, but she did know that the two of them together would keep her warm enough since she had used them this past winter.

Up her left sleeve and belted to her forearm was her “protection”. A very sharp knife in its sheath for which she had made Velcro bands that fit around her forearm snug but without cutting off any blood flow. It didn’t slip or slide around and it was easier to access than if she had put in on her thigh. It had taken her about two hours to figure out just where the best place was for the knife.

She had an older money belt around her waist and under her tucked in T shirt. Inside was all the money she had left over from her jobs after all her purchases. There was a total of $1513 -which had to last her for who knows how long. She knew she would need more food and now as she lay there in the warm spring sun, her last thought before dropping off to sleep was seriously thinking of that bus ticket.

Carrie slept on until she was rudely awaken by a cold nose and wet tongue.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Place to Call Home


As the voices got louder in her mother’s room, Carrie checked the padlock on the inside of her bedroom door. She knew even at the tender age of 13 that she needed the protection from her mother’s various boyfriends -protection that her mother refused to give.

She could hear distinct sounds of a fist hitting flesh now, there was not much sound proofing in the paper thin wall that separated her room from her mother’s. It wasn’t long before the bed began to make squeaking noises and knock up against the wall.

Carrie swore that her mother loved the violence more than the sex sometimes. She pulled the pillow over her ears and tried to sleep.

Her mother’s angry shriek woke her up from her the slight sleep she had fallen into.

“Carrie Ann, OPEN THIS DOOR IMMEDIATELY!” screamed her mother. Carrie dared not open the door but did hustle out of bed and dressed faster than she had ever dressed before. She knew that tonight was the night that her mother was going to allow her boyfriend to have her and she wanted NOTHING to do with that!

Thankful that she had been preparing for something like this for the past 9 months when her mother first began to talk about Carrie “earning” her keep and then saying things like “13 was too old to still be a virgin” she was quick about packing the few things from her room she wanted to keep into her BOB. She had come across this cool website that had stories that taught people how to prepare. And while this wasn’t exactly the types of ‘natural’ or technically a ‘manmade’ disaster they wrote about; it was a disaster made by her mom and in her life.

She was out the window, down the fire escape, and around the corner as her bedroom door was busted in. She never looked back.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

to be or not to be a victim

Abuse is a very serious subject. Too many people have been abused, mostly as children. Sadly some cannot get to a place in their lives where they are able to "live" their life.

Little things can set off a memory which can lead to a panic attack, or full blown seizure. There can be crying, anger, hate, violence, self-pity, etc; on the part of the one who has suffered.

Yeah it would be great if humans didn't abuse other humans. If they treated their children with love and respect and dignity. I think a higher power will have to step in and permanently clean out all the perverts in the world.

What can those victims do NOW though? They can refuse to let their abuser control them or have power over them any more. They can choose to live each day according to THEIR terms! Go for their dreams. Strive to be an honorable person. They can press charges, tell a trusted adult if a minor still, find a GOOD therapist (one who won't drug you to suppress the feelings but help you work through them). Help others who are where you've been.

But this is so much harder to do than to say! Just remember ANYTHING that has worth, is worth the effort! Taking back the power over yourself, controlling your own path in your life, and making decisions for yourself to mold yourself into a person YOU want to be....YOU ARE WORTHY!!!!

It's a long hard road. Many slides, bumps, and maybe even a detour or two. But if you get back on that road, strive to stay on it, and have goals that you can reach along the way; YOU WILL WIN!!!!

Each day, choose to be better than the one who abused you.

Each day, take that step towards your goals.

Each day, do not be afraid.

Each day, reach out to one you CAN trust and let that one help strengthen you, give you courage, and guide you to peace.

Isa 41:13 For I, Jehovah your God, am grasping your right hand, the One saying to you, 'Do not be afraid. I myself will help you.'

Sunday, November 7, 2010

my stories

I am adding this blog to give my stories a home away from home. I hope you enjoy them. Please remember they are under copy write law and so please ask for permission before you go stealing them.