Sierra stepped off the corner to cross over to Mecury Street. She had just left the smoke-filled bar, Deagal’s, where she had been a local for the past 5 years. Forgetting the past was getting easier because she had learned to push everything and everyone away. Sierra walked slowly along the cobblestone sidewalks trying to light her cigarette when she heard a horrific scream. Dropping the Bic-lighter, the tobacco-filled paper stick hung from her lips, she froze like a popsicle. The chill ran right through her veins as if a fan were turned directly on her. “What was that?” she thought.
Sierra’s head was still spinning a little from her choice of beverages at Deagal’s bar as she reached down to take her off her red taffeta shoes. (If something were going to chase her she was not going to be like one of those dumb blondes in the movies and run in pumps.) Tip-toeing like a cat approaching a sleeping dog, she peeked around the dark corner. Gasping for her breath, she could see her biggest fear, a silhouette lying on the cold, black asphalt. Sierra hauntingly stared down at the woman who must have been the one who uttered the menacing scream. A trickle of blood oozed out of the woman’s ear as Sierra reached down to feel the woman’s neck. The body was lifeless. Even though Sierra was in her 40’s, her legs ran like a 20 year-old’s all the way back to Deagal’s, while screaming for help.
The red and blue lights reflected off the surrounding buildings as the police started their investigation. Sierra sat in one of the patrol cars waiting for the officer to take her statement.
“Did you know the woman?’ asked the young dark-eyed cop.
“No, I did not.” replied Sierra.
“Where were you going?”
“I was heading home. I live on Oakland Street.”
“Were you drinking?”
“Yes.” What does that have to do with anything?” Sierra snapped.
“Listen Lady, we are just trying to gather information, so, just answer my questions without throwing a hissy fit.”
“Did you see or hear anything or anyone?” he continued.
“No, I told the officer who picked me up at Deagal’s that I heard only the one blood-curdling scream, and then, I found that poor woman”
Sierra was tired and she wanted to go home. “This young cop must think this is his big break to move up to detective,” she humored herself. However, his last question hit her like a ton of bricks.
“Do you know anyone who might know this woman? She is about your age, height, weight, and smells like booze too. Heck, she could have been you.” he smirked. “We probably won’t solve this mystery because nobody cares who she was.”
It was after 4:00 AM when the police finally brought her home. Sierra unlocked her two-bedroom apartment door and dropped her keys onto the stained counter-top. Sinking into her second-hand lazy-boy, the last statement that young, know-it-all-officer blurted out, echoed in her head. (She could have been you)
The tears flowed before Sierra even knew what was happening. She had spent all this time trying to forget the pain, the betrayal, and the past. This woman’s tragedy last night woke her up. Reaching over to the coffee table she pulled on the handle to the little center drawer and grabbed the 5 x 2inch booklet. On the cover was the title, “A Home for the Broken Hearted.” Sierra remembered the sweet, little old woman that had come by Deagal’s to pass out these booklets. She had told Sierra that she was from Christian’s Home, a new church down on Cypress Avenue and if Sierra ever needed a friend, she would know where to find one.
Sierra reached for the telephone, and as she dialed the number, she knew that this little gift just might be what could save her life and prevent her from becoming like that lonely, lost lady in the street. She wanted someone to care.
“Hello, Christian’s Home. Can I help you?”
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