Monday, April 6, 2015

Short Story: Loved, Part 10 of 15

It's almost done! I have actually been like organized and stuff and planned out the rest of the story posts. So I can promise you that if you read this one, you only have 5 more to read. Or, if you missed the beginning, well you have 15 to read. But you can start by clicking here: Loved, Part 1

She was walking blindly now. Rain had started pouring from the dark sky, pounding goblets of water into the pavement. The sun had long since gone down, and the buildings began to all look the same. All around her was dark. Where could she turn? She squatted down in the corner of a doorway, trying vainly to hide from the rain.
            A light shone around the corner. It was weak, and broken up by the raindrops, but it was a light, nonetheless. Three little voices followed it. Rebekah lifted her head.
            “I told you we should have brought an umbrella!” Collin squeaked. “But did you listen to me? Nooo!”
            “There wasn’t enough time!” Lucas barked back at him. “We have to find them as soon as possible!”
            “Look!” Polly cried. She was pointing at the shivering girl in the doorway.
            “It’s Rebekah!” they cheered and ran toward her.
            “Are you alright?”
            “You look so cold!”
            “What are you doing out here?”
            “Where is Charlie? Isn’t he with you?”
            They all chattered at once, while Rebekah stared at the trio. How did they know who she was?
            But at the mention of the name Charlie, a memory struck her of their first meeting, and three little children, kindly offering their input. She smiled.
            “Come on dear,” Polly pulled her up. “We’ve got to get you warm.”
            They took her to an old library building where they had used to play. The library had been closed since the advent of online reading; curling up with a book was no longer pleasurable.
            Lucas lit a fire in the old fireplace and Collin pulled the books out of his pile that should never be burned. Polly laid Rebekah on a couch and dried the raindrops on her face. The woman before her looked so sweet and innocent. Neither realized that the layers of masks were being worn off from the rain and the rubbing. Rebekah smiled.
            “You just lay there, dearie, and get dry.” Polly loved having someone to care for.
            As the rain continued to drum on the roof outside, the four bodies inside fell fast asleep.

            “Why don’t you go home and get some rest?” the officer encouraged Charlie. “You look like you haven’t slept in days. We’ve got plenty of men out looking for them.”
            Charlie wasn’t going to be easily convinced. “No, you don’t understand! I’ve lost everything that I ever thought was worth living for. How can I just go and rest? How can I rest until I’ve found at least one of the things that I’ve been looking for?”
            The officer smiled kindly. “If you keep pushing yourself until you find them, you’re going to push yourself too hard. Soon enough there won’t be any of you left to find them. You have to rest, sir, you have to eat. You have to keep up your own being in order to help somebody else.”
            Charlie wanted to keep arguing, but the officer sounded reasonable. The thought of food had penetrated his mind now, and it was a hard thought to get rid of. The adrenaline fading, his legs suddenly felt weak and rubbery. He started leaning dangerously to one side.
            “Ok, ok, sir,” the officer said as he reached out to stabilize Charlie. He pulled him toward his car. “Let’s get you home.”

            Charlie sat stoically at the empty table in his dark apartment. He couldn’t bring himself to lie down on the bed, but he couldn’t bring himself to get up and go back out either. He was stuck in a daze, unable to do something to help the children or Rebekah, but unable to stop thinking about them. Why had he been so foolish to think he could help anybody? Why had he been so foolish to offer to adopt them? He couldn’t handle that! He couldn’t help Rebekah! He couldn’t even handle a date with her!
            He pounded his head down on the table and left it there. Why did he ever even care for anybody outside of his own self? Caring for himself had never led him to this state of utter helplessness. Caring for himself had never cost him so much.
            “I don’t think I can do it,” he said aloud. “I’m not good enough, I’m not able to help anyone at all! It’s just too hard.”
            He lifted his body and dragged himself across the room to the unmade bed. But before he lay down, Charlie mechanically went to the little red rose bud to water it. To his surprise, the petals were not held as tightly together as they had been. In fact, it seemed to be almost about to blossom. The edges of the petals were patterned with a bright white color that had started filtering into the red. Charlie’s eyes opened wide. He had never seen anything more beautiful. Perhaps his quest was not so hopeless after all.
            “I can’t let her go now!” He forgot about sleep and rushed down the stairs and out the door.

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