The Many Works of Pat Hatt
April 17, 2017
What he must have seen ran through my head a thousand times as I stared at the shivering child beside me. His tiny hands were glued to the heater while his hazel eyes glared at me, letting me know he was only there because I forced him to be. His distrust for me had been evident since I snatched him from the middle of the road. Further evidence was likely appearing on my back and legs with each passing second as bruises would surely be visible the next time I looked into a mirror. For such a tiny person, he could sure throw a monster of a fit. If it was not for the hurt in his eyes, I may have guessed him a sociopath and the cause of his blood soaked t-shirt, which he refused to let me change.
“That’s no longer going to work,” I whispered, as he once again tried to lunge across me and hit the button for the child safety lock.
His fingers slapped my face as he swung, the slight sting nothing compared to his icy touch. I knew he was at risk of losing them to hypothermia, maybe even at risk of dying, but what was I to do? Short of jumping on him and potentially suffocating him, his fear and distrust left me with little options.
I stared at the gas gauge for a few moments, knowing we had an hour, maybe two, until the tank was empty. With the radio saying the storm would last the rest of the day and into the night, that failed to leave me with any since of hope for a speedy rescue.
“Okay,” I said, smiling at him. “If you want to go. I won’t stop you.”
I hit the child lock button, fully knowing the snow that now nearly covered the car would not allow him to open the door, and waited for his reaction. Again, I got nothing more than a hate filled glare. But this time it faded faster than before.
His hand barely grasped the handle and then he stared out what little of the window he could see. The top of the red community mailboxes were the only thing standing out from the white of snow and ice surrounding us. It held his attention until the snowfall fully covered the window. He then stared down at his shirt, his eyes quickly filling with tears. He ripped it off and stuffed it under his seat. He looked to me, embarrassed, letting me know he had been down this road before with little help.
My mind again wandered to what he must live with. This storm was nothing compared to what he must have endured each day, the map of bruises across his malnourished torso told me that. But I kept my thoughts to myself and simply took off my jacket. I went to place it between us but he reached out and grabbed it, his frozen fingers brushing against my hand as he took it. He quickly pulled them away, acting as if he had done something wrong. I smiled and placed the jacket between us while he fought through his shivering, still thinking it a trick.
I went to playing with the radio, trying to get something more than the static across every station, and he finally succumbed to his want for warmth. He wrapped himself in the jacket, refusing to zipper it up. He used the sleeves to wipe his eyes and flinched as I moved my hand toward him. If he could have gotten any closer to the door, he would be on the other side of it. His fear left as I calmly yanked the jacket away from his face, allowing him to see. I swear that it was the first time anyone had done such a simple thing for him, as the tension he had been holding in his body since I snatched his bewildered self off the snow-filled roadside began to fade.
“You know, it’s a crime to open other people’s mail, but I won’t tell if you don’t. Deal?” I grabbed a few letters I had yet to deliver and smirked as he nodded at me.
“Dear Mrs. Broome, I am writing to inform you that my quest to receive the $935.56 that you owe me has taken a new turn. I have sent it to a horrible witch that will track you down and call you day and night. Should you refuse to pay they may cast a spell on you and forever prevent you from buying anything again.” I smiled as I showed him the bill, knowing then and there he had never been taught how to read.
“How do you stop a bad person like the witch?”
I could barely hear his whisper, but I have never heard anything louder in my life. He inched closer, leaning over as I opened the next bill.
“Let’s see here. This is another person who the witch is after. She wants $65.24 from them. No witch stopping power here.” I chucked the bill aside and pulled open another one. “This one is free of the witch. There must be some bad people stopping power in here. Let’s see if we can’t find it together.”
I held the bill close, pretending that it held some super secret to rid the world of bad people, and turned off the car, wanting to save the remaining gas to drive us out of there after the storm. I crawled in the back, wrapping myself in the blankets I used to keep dog hair off the seats. I lifted up one side and, after much contemplation, he crawled back and slipped under them, curling up beside me.
I pulled him closer, wrapping the blankets tightly around us. He rested his head on my shoulder and stared at the bill I held up, believing it held the answer to stopping bad people.
“Now let’s see what secret they found.”
Word Count: 997
There we are. Not sure where this one came from but popped on in as I thought on what to give a spin. Plus I like stretching my skill a bit. Thoughts? Yay? Nay? Go away?
Enjoy life, forget the strife.