TITLE: The Good Samaritan 02/23/2019
By Rachel Jamerson
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Martha waited unaware of the fierceness of the storm which battered the city. In the distance two headlights were approaching, she stepped closer to the curb hoping for a quick escape from the bitter cold. The bus growled to a stop and the doors opened. Martha stood frozen in her wet shoes; standing in the open doorway was her ex-husband John.
Martha no longer felt the cold or the sleet beating against her face. Immediately she was transported to another time and place. Fear gripped her throat cutting off her breath, perhaps this really would be the worst day of her life.
Jim grinned as he pushed past Martha. Was it the wind or the memories that sent a shiver down her spine? Martha’s heart was racing, “what am I going to do?” she thought. “I can’t leave the kids with him here, and I don’t dare stay at this deserted stop?” Hot tears began coursing down her face mixing with the raindrops.
“Make up your mind miss,” growled the driver. I’m on a schedule here.”
Quickly Martha boarded the bus. She could see Jim standing there under the street light watching the bus pull away. He looked so pleased with himself!
The bus traveled a few blocks before the next stop. Martha grabbed her briefcase and hurriedly disembarked. She struggled to find her phone and dial her mom’s number.
“Mom,” she yelled into the phone, “Jim is here! He just got off the bus at my stop.”
“What are you going to do Martha?” her mother asked.
“I don’t know yet but I got off the bus at the next stop and I’m headed back,” she replied. “Call the police station and talk to detective Morris. He knows the situation. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
Martha frantically searched for a cab, “maybe he doesn’t know which house is mine” she thought. There wasn’t a car in sight. The wind had picked up and the snow was all but a whiteout. Desperate Martha ducked inside a cafe and asked the owner to call her a cab.
“No cabs out tonight, mam,” he replied. “I was surprised to see the bus. They say this is a monster of a storm and they are asking everyone to stay inside.”
“But I have to get home,” Martha said. “My children are in danger.”
Suddenly a man in a trench coat and a hat pulled down over his face appeared. “Need some help?” he asked in a quite low voice.
“Uh…yes, I do but who are you?”
“Just a good Samaritan,” he replied removing his hat. “I have a jeep out back if you need a ride.”
Martha searched his face for indication he was genuine. She wasn’t sure but at this time she didn’t have much choice. “I live just a few blocks up Laurel Lane. I really would appreciate a lift.”
The stranger bowed slightly and pointed the way to the back door with his hat, “at your service ma’am.”
“What is your name?” asked Martha while buckling her seat belt.
“John,” he replied. “What’s yours?”
“My name is Martha and I know you must think I am behaving strangely, but my kids are in danger.”
“I don’t doubt you, ma’am. What are you afraid of?” he asked.
“My ex-husband is suffering from PTSD and he thinks I have stolen our children. He hasn’t been right since returning from Iraq.”
“I’m sorry, for you and your husband.” He replied. “War takes a toll on families, especially the children.”
“He threatened to kill me if I didn’t give them to him. Law enforcement helped me relocate and the VA is supposed to be working with him. He told me before I left that he would find me no matter where I went. I thought we had managed to escape this time but I saw him get off the bus at the end of my street just a short while ago.”
“Oh no!” mumbled Martha. “He must already be here.”
“What makes you think that?” John asked.
“The lights are out and the front door is open,” she responded.
John stopped the car. “What do you want to do?” he asked.
Martha jumped out of the car and ran toward her house. When she stepped upon the porch lights came on and Jim stood there waving a forty-five at her.
“Get in here!” he demanded.
Martha could see her mother and the children sitting huddled on the sofa. Misty was crying and Joe was clinging to her mother.
“What are you doing Jim?” she shouted. “The children are frightened! I’m calling the police.”
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he replied smiling broadly. “I have just as much right to them as you. Remember I’m their father.”
Martha remembered the papers removing his visitation rights, were still in her briefcase. It didn’t matter how dangerous he was to protect the children she had to file legal papers.
Jim grabbed Martha by the hair and shoved her to her knees. “I told you what I would do if you…”
Suddenly a figure appeared behind Jim and wrestled him to the floor. Martha regained her balance and stared at the two men on the floor.
“John!” she exclaimed. “I had forgotten about you.” Lights flashed through the windows as detective Morris pulled in the driveway.
“Everything under control?” he asked as he placed the handcuffs on Jim.
“Yes, thanks to….where did John go?” Martha asked. “He disarmed Jim just minutes ago. I don’t understand where is he?”
“John, did you say?” inquired the detective.
“That’s what he said,” replied Martha.
The detective smiled. “Guess you met the Good Samaritan,” he replied. “Seems there is someone in the area that shows up when people need him but then disappears.”
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