Friday, October 10, 2008

Chapter 25 - Rescue

October 21, 1948

Solomon walked into the kitchen where Ma was standing with the ice box door open. He looked over her shoulder. “Mmmm, I see lemon meringue pie.”

“Want a slice?” she asked.

“You betcha.”

“How was Becky tonight?” Ma asked.

“She’s fine,” Solomon said between lemon pie bites.

“I saw her at the post office today. She’s definitely showing now,” Ma said.

“Yep, that she is,” Solomon replied.

A mist swirled near the back door. Sarah O’Hara appeared in it looking worried.

“Sarah!” They both said it at the same time.

“Solomon, ye got to help Becky!” she said quickly.

Solomon’s eyes widened. “What?”

“Turtle’s kidnapped Becky, and he’s taken her to his hooch on Ghost Light Mountain,” she said.

“Where?” Solomon was beginning to panic.

“Don’t panic right now,” she said, “that won’t help. I’ll show ye where the hooch is. Patsy, ye stay with Jerry and wait for Solomon to get back with Becky.”

Solomon parked his truck in the usual spot. He and Sarah jumped out and went off in one direction, and Ma went up the path to Jerry, who was on the front porch waiting for the sheriff. Jerry had used his ham radio to contact someone, who had called the sheriff for him.

Ma said to Jerry, “Solomon and Sarah are going to Turtle’s hooch to get Becky.”

Jerry said, “Sarah? I only saw Solomon.”

Ma said, “We’ll talk about that later.”

The faint glow of the kerosene lantern showed through the evergreen covered lattice at the entrance to Turtle’s hooch. Solomon felt like he couldn’t get there fast enough. He tore the lattice away from the entrance. What he saw before him let loose an animal rage in Solomon that he could never have expected. Turtle was lowering himself on top of Becky. Olive drab duck tape covered her mouth. She was naked and tied down spread-eagled on the mattress.

The woman he so tenderly and carefully protected had fallen prey to the most despicable man Solomon had ever known. Turtle jerked himself up to a standing position. His suddenly deflated penis swayed against pasty white thighs. Solomon hit him in the chest with the force of a raging bull. Turtle staggered backwards against the dirt wall of his hooch. Solomon pinned him to the wall with a strangle hold. Turtle struggled to pry Solomon’s fingers away from his throat as Solomon sank a knee into Turtle’s groin. His testicles made a squishing noise as Solomon kneed him again and again. The last time he kneed him he said, “And this one’s for your sister, Rachael.” Solomon stood up and looked down at the disgusting creature writhing at his feet.

Turtle tried to curl into a ball to relieve the pressure on his swelling scrotum. “No way,” Solomon snarled. He pulled Turtle’s arms behind his back and tied them. Then he wound the rope around Turtle’s ankles and pulled his arms and his ankles together—hog-tied.

Solomon dropped down beside Becky. He took off his flannel shirt and spread it over her to cover her nakedness. He peeled the tape away from her mouth.

“Solomon... Solomon,” she sobbed. Her shredded clothes lay in a pile beside the mattress. It hurt him to see her so vulnerable. He cut through the ropes releasing her arms and legs. She sat up clutching his shirt to her body. She was trembling and weeping. Solomon held her in his arms as he said over and over, “You’re safe. You’re safe now.”

“Please, don’t let me go,” she begged.

“I’ll never let you go, Becky.” He rocked her in his arms while she sobbed and jerked uncontrollably. “It’s okay,” he said, “you’re safe now.”

When her convulsive quivering slowed, Solomon buttoned his shirt around her. He said softly as he held out a shirt sleeve one at a time, “Put your arm in here.” It was cold in the hooch, and Solomon knew it was close to freezing outside. He stripped off his white tee shirt and pulled it over Becky’s head layering it over the flannel shirt. He wrapped her in Turtle’s wool army blanket, picked her up, and started walking towards Jerry’s cabin. She shivered as she held herself close to his chest.

As he carried her, he asked, “Becky, did he rape you?”

She nodded no. “You stopped him before he could,” she said.

Solomon’s long strides covered the ground quickly. Jerry was watching for them. “There they are!” he said.

Ma opened the door for them. “Is she okay?”

“I think so,” Solomon answered heading for Becky’s bedroom. “Pull the covers back,” he said to Ma.

She did it quickly, and Solomon laid Becky in her bed. He threw Turtle’s blanket on the floor and covered her with her blankets. Jerry watched from the doorway. Becky grabbed Solomon’s arm. “Please, don’t leave me,” she said.

He sat down on the edge of her bed and held her hand between his two hands. His wide shoulders were still naked. Powerful muscles defined his shape. Deltoids thickly wrapped his shoulders. His trapezius and latissimus dorsi narrowed to his waist. His broad chest muscles folded into his triceps around his shoulders. They were still plumped up from carrying Becky over the hills. His six-pack abdominals expanded and contracted as he breathed. He had the physique of a Greek god and the face of a movie star. At six foot three inches, he was what legends are made of.

Becky trembled under the covers. “Jerry, make her a cup of hot tea with milk and sugar,” Solomon said. Then he pulled off his boots and climbed under the covers with her. He pulled her back to his chest, and his knees tucked her into a fetal position. He pulled the quilts up to her chin and folded his arms around her. Ma knew that Solomon was warming her body with his. Becky just knew that she finally felt safe.

When her shivering stopped, Solomon said softly to her, “Could you drink some hot tea? You need fluids.”

She nodded okay.

Solomon crawled out from under the covers and helped Becky to sit up in bed. Ma put extra pillows behind her back and handed her the tea. She held it with both hands and sipped. “It’s good,” she said.

Ma tenderly washed Becky’s face with a warm wash cloth. She daubed the cuts and bruises with the corner of the cloth. “These will heal in a few days,” she said.

Jerry handed Solomon a tee shirt. “See if you can wear this, man. It’s big on me so it might fit you.”

Solomon pulled it over his head. It was white with a picture of an Indian wearing a ceremonial headdress on the back. On the front it said “Cherokee” over his heart. It was skin-tight on Solomon’s wide shoulders and biceps, and it just brushed the top of his belt. Jerry said, “I never realized how big you are.”

“Thanks, Jerry,” Solomon said, “I’ll get it back to you.”

Solomon opened his medical bag and pulled out his stethoscope. He moved the blanket so that he wasn’t sitting on it, and he sat down on the edge of the bed. “Becky, can I listen to the baby’s heartbeat?” he asked.

Fear still showed in her face, but she nodded yes.

Solomon lifted the blankets just enough to see the hem of his flannel shirt that she was still wearing. He reached under the shirt and palpated her abdomen until he felt the baby’s back under his hand. Then he pressed the stethoscope’s bell against it and listened. “He sounds good,” he said.

“The sheriff’s here,” Jerry said as he wheeled himself to the front door.

Sheriff Davis introduced himself. Jerry explained what had happened and said that he wanted to press charges for kidnapping. The sheriff stood in the doorway of Becky’s bedroom. “I’m glad you’re okay, Ma’am.” He turned to Solomon and said, “Mr. Banks said that you can show us where to find the suspect.”

“Yes,” Solomon said, “I’ll take you there.” He touched Becky’s shoulder and said, “I’ll be right back. I want to make sure that Turtle never does anything like this again.”

Solomon led the sheriff and his deputies outside. He stopped by his truck and pulled an old coat from behind the seat. He said to the sheriff, “You’ll need a stretcher to carry Turtle out of the woods.”

Sheriff Davis turned to one of his deputies and said, “Get a stretcher out of the equipment truck.” He grinned at Solomon and said, “You disabled him?”

“Something like that,” Solomon answered.

Sheriff Davis halfway expected to find Turtle dead, but he found him hog-tied and moaning…naked in the lantern light. His scrotum was dark purple, and it looked like the skin was stretched over two softballs. One of the deputies flinched when he saw Turtle’s genitals. He shuttered and said, “Looks like justice for a rapist.”

Solomon corrected him. “Castration would have been justice.”

Copyright © 2008 by Robbin Renee Bridges
Coping with Grief through Afterlife Communication

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