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.