Thursday, November 1, 2007

Odd thoughts

Once or twice a year, I think about a couple of incidents that happened here a few years ago. I don't know why. Just that they caught me and I've been thinking of them ever since.

The first was when two people--a brother and sister--walked into the middle of a convenience store robbery at the same time the clerk hit the alarm. The robbers grabbed them as insurance--the cops weren't even there yet, and ran like hell. Well, to make a long story short, the robbers weren't nice people. They'd killed before, and the brother had been following the stories on the news. He knew what he was up against--the cops didn't know where they were, and his sister was pregnant. He knew that if they got too far off the beaten path, the robbers would kill them both and they'd be just another footnote. Y'know, two people killed when robbery attempt goes bad?

So when they stopped for gas, he shoved his sister out of the car, told her to run and distracted the robbers so she could get away. Just like a movie. But in this version--the guy dies, the robbers get away and the sister lives, but the whole story disappears into "yesterday's news" and I never find out the end. Did they catch the guys? Probably not. You can imagine the guilt this woman lives with.

The other is the house fire.

We have this beach community over on the ocean--summer rentals. People snap them up for the winter, poor people usually. Maybe a thousand per month for a place that would run double that per week at the height of the season.

So this woman and her kids rent a nice house--and sometime during a cold winters night, it catches on fire. You know, it's late, it's cold, it's dark--middle of the night, all disoriented. The woman grabs her little girl and runs out into the driveway. People are just starting to come out of their homes. Her house is blazing behind her, and it's bad--real bad.

She looks around, but her other daughter--her teen aged daughter--isn't there.

God--I can only wonder what went through her mind. Do I stay with my little girl? Do I wait for the fire department?

She told her five year old to stay with the neighbors and went back in. Without a hope in hell of finding her kid in the smoke and fire, and inferno that big three story house was becoming. She went back in and never came out. They found her and her daughter later in one of the bedrooms.

If no one else remembers--I do. I respect the hell out of them both.


Jennifer McKenzie said...

Whew. Talk about emotional impact. Those are stories that haunt you.
Thanks for passing them on.

Unhinged said...

Geesh, I came reading to see how you might have done with your NaNo writing and now I've got a lump in my throat. Haunting stories, indeed.

jodi said...

yeah, I cry once a year for these people. It's not the same as prayers, but it keeps the memories alive.