Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Police (10/12/06)
TITLE: The "Rev"
By Peggy Bennitt
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He heard a scrabbling in the alleyway just as he passed, and a muffled moan quickly followed. Silently, he turned back, hugging the dirty, damp wall. Using his hands, walking softly, he followed it back where it opened into the alley. Grabbing his stick from his belt, he threw himself into the alley shouting, “Halt! Police! What goes on?”
Two men, threatening and dirty-looking in the darkness, turned toward him, crouched, and then with cat-like grace, turned again and vaulted over the wall at the end of the darkness.
Running into the alley, he could see a huddled figure. It appeared to be a woman, but so tiny and frail she was, that he could hardly make her out. Huddled against the wall, amidst the decaying debris and rotting rags, she appeared to blend into her surroundings. He had no doubt that she would not have been found alive had he not been passing by. She would've become another part of the squalor around her, another statistic for this neighborhood.
“Ma’am?” he asked softly, as he knelt on one knee next to her, keeping his stick in his hand. “Ma’am?” He quickly looked around, trained to assess his surrounding at a glance. This time he laid his nightstick aside and reached for the small crumpled body. Bones seemed to shift as he attempted to ease her away from the wall she was crumpled against. She moaned as he laid her down and reached for the walky-talky in his belt. “I need an ambulance on Inkster street and, Lucy, be mak'in it yesterday!” And he signed off. Grabbing his flashlight from his service belt, he tried to take stock of her injuries. The beating had been thoroughly and professionally done. “Oh, Lord,” he prayed on a sigh. “What evil we do to our fellow man.” Shaking his head, he continued to assess her injuries.
She was dressed like a streetwalker, but didn’t appear to have all the makeup and trappings that went along with that occupation. He’d seen enough of that to know. Taking out his handkerchief, a concession to his Mum’s upbringing, he tried to wipe away some of the blood and gore from her mutilated face. Recognizing her would probably be hard even for her own mother, given the beating she had taken. She moaned again and her eyes fluttered open. “You,” she breathed, and closed her eyes again.
He sat back on his heels and looked hard at her. Did he know her? He had worked this neighborhood for nine years now, so if she was local, and a hooker, he’d probably dealt with her at one time or another. As he eased her farther away from the wall, he noticed a book lying almost underneath her. Pulling it out from under her, he gasped. It was a small copy of the Bible like the ones he occasionally gave to “customers” who seemed to “call” to him. Of course, he wasn’t supposed to do that, give out Bibles. It was considered unprofessional. Internal Affairs handled passing propaganda or any hints of “politically incorrect behavior” quickly and then buried the bodies in interminable paperwork. By God’s grace, he had never had a complaint in nine years. He had suffered harassment in his Rookie year, but now it was rare. Now he was affectionately called “The Rev,” more often than not, but he really didn’t mind.
He looked at the ruined face and crumpled body. “Lord, grant her peace and healing if it is Your will.” He studied her, wishing as he often did, that he could heal her, make things right for her. He hunkered down next to her to wait for the paramedics, knowing that this neighborhood didn’t warrant a quick response time from them. Hopefully, Lucy could sweet-talk the ambulance driver into making this run happen fast. She was good at that. He took the Book in his hands and, taking her dirty, bloodied hand in his, he opened to the first page, and with a shock saw his own handwriting. Stunned, he read the words, To a modern Rahab, may you find His Story in this piece of history. It’s the best gift I can give you for all your help.
And the memories flooded back. Nine years ago. A rookie cop. A Sting set-up gone bad. A resourceful woman with a heart for justice.
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