Rose

It was the Sunday before Halloween.  The small Pentecostal church was welcoming guest as they flowed through the door.  Most of the members were retirees of the community.  They had known each other for years in the small military town.  Some had fought wars together.  The organ started playing to signal people to take a seat.  As everyone was getting settled in their pews, the choir members walked down the aisle in robes singing the opening Hymn.  Then it happened.  The door opened with a large gust of wind a woman in a red dress pulled the mahogany door close behind her.  Her name was Rose.   She sat in the back pew alone with the ushers to her right.  Just before service was about to end the mystery woman snuck back out the door.

Rose got into her small hybrid car and drove to a Rays Chicken. It was not difficult of miss with its six foot plastic chicken on the roof.   Inside the small mom and pop restaurant there was a swarm of customers.  Rose a shy person with an anxiety disorder wanted to leave, but she remained in line.  Her mother had requested chicken and biscuits from Rays.  Once she gave her order to high school girl behind the counter she was given a number. “We’ll call ya when your order’s ready.”

“Thank you.” Rose took the receipt with the number written on it. She sat in the back corner booth.  She felt overdressed in her red couture dress with black suede boots.  She knew she might be over dressed, but if she had not dressed up her mother would have given her a mouthful.  Rose noticed a large masculine man looking at her.  To keep her mind off it she began to search the internet on her phone.  The web pages were loading so slowly. She acted as though she was reading to look busy so that odd man would stop looking at her.  Rose did not always have anxiety.  When she moved to New York City she had developed a strong case of it.  Her therapist told her she had developed the anxiety as a way to protect herself from harm.  It was refreshing to Rose to know her anxiety was created as a defense and not a sign of oncoming dementia.

“Number 36!” Hollered the girl at the counter.

Rose got up.  She went to the counter to claim her order.  She got into her car to continue her drive to her mother’s house at the Christmas tree farm.  She turned off the small two lane highway onto the old country road.  The road wrapped around the Kentucky hills.  There were no more houses or businesses to pass by just hills and occasional farm animals. Her cell phone began to vibrate. She looked on the passenger side seat.  It was her mother.  She tried to reach for the phone but as soon as she did heard “BAM!”  The steering of the car was difficult.  She pulled over to the side of the road.  When she got out she saw the torn tire.  In the street was a large rock that had fallen from the hill.  She tried to use her cell phone but the limestone hills were blocking her signal.  She went to the trunk to get the jack to change the tire. 

She changed the tire.  As she was putting the damaged tire in the trunk the unkempt man from the restaurant was driving his old pickup truck up the street.  He stopped the truck about twenty feet from her car.

“Thanks for stopping.  I’m good.”  Rose said with a quiver.  Her left hand began to shake.  She could feel uncontrollable heat escaping from her chest.  She was lowering the jack as the man started to walk towards her.  She wanted to run, but her legs were shaking too bad.  “Thanks but I’m good.”

She noticed not only was the man not speaking, but he was still coming at her.  Her heart began to thump so hard she could hear it. She tossed the small jack towards the side of the road, slammed the trunk shut and ran to get into the car.  She locked the doors.  The man stopped where the jack was.  He bent over and picked up the crowbar.  Rose’s right hand was shaking so bad she was having difficulty to put the key in the ignition.   She dropped the key under her dress on the floor board.  The man with the crowbar began to hit her car with immense force.  Rose terrified started crying. “Leave me alone!”

The man was now at the driver side window with steel bar in his hands looked at her with hell’s eyes. “Get out of the car!”

Rose shook her head no. She was gasping for air between her cries.  Her hands were still under her dress on the floor board.  The man began to hit her window.  The widow broke like ice.  Rose lifted her hands up with a loaded Magnum 55.  She pulled the trigger.  Shooting the man in his face, his body fell back.  Instantly, there were sirens.  Rose stayed in the car.  The Sheriff and his men made certain the man was dead.

“Rose?”

“Sheriff Taylor?”

“My granny thought she saw you in church this morning. What the hell happened here?  Are you ok?’

Rose still sitting in the car looked up at him with tear filled eyes.  “I don’t know.  He was at Ray’s starring at me.  Then I got a flat tire.  I was almost finished putting everything up when he pulled over.  I could tell he was not interested in helping me.”

“We’ve been following this worthless man after he robbed Rays.  I guess you just left there before it got hit.  You got him pretty good, thanks to all those hunting years.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

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