You are having the worst day of your life when someone calls and changes it for the better. Who calls, what’s it about and what series of events follow that call to help brighten your day?
The Longest Drive
I stood at the edge of the bridge contemplating the churning water below me. The wind whipped passed my ears with alarming force, however it was the man who stood near me that made me feel ill at ease. “What are you waiting for?” Damien asked me.
He had hijacked me that morning. He dragged me through the convalescent home where my mother lay belligerent, drooling, and forgotten. We watched my husband rape his secretary up against the window in his corner office. He led me to my daughter’s elementary school so I could see her dealing drugs to her sixth grade peers. Now we were on the bridge that my little brother drove off of years ago. I tore my gaze away from the water and shot him the darkest look I could muster. “An explanation. Why me?”
“Because unlike everyone who abandoned you,” he paused, a grin of pure evil plastered across his face, “I believe that you have value.”
I peered over the edge of the bridge again, dangerously close to yielding to the stranger’s foul suggestion. Give me strength, I prayed silently. “Yeah, sure. I believe that,” the sarcasm oozed between my clenched teeth.
“Just jump, Cassie,” he said with counterfeit sympathy. “You are forsaken, left behind by all you love and hold dear.”
“Go to hell, Damien,” I hissed. “I’ll not do your bidding.”
He grabbed my neck and forced me back. I felt the weight of my heels drop off the edge of the bridge as I struggled to breathe. The wind became hot and dry, and stung my eyes.
“It can all be over. Just jump,” he urged; his voice a ghost of a whisper.
“No,” I choked, my heart racing wildly within my chest. His fingers burned into me and the pain was almost too much to bear. I clawed at his wrists, clinging to the last thread of hope for my survival. Fearful, but resolved, I closed my eyes. “NO!” I repeated with the last ounce of force my adrenaline could fuel.
A cell phone rang from within the confines of the stranger’s jacket. He reluctantly pulled me back from the edge as the phone rang a second time and at the third ring, he released my neck. Finally, he removed the phone from a pocket and handed it to me.
I stared blankly at the phone that advertized a restricted number. It rang a fourth time. “Is this a joke?” I asked him suspiciously through the fifth ring.
“Answer it,” he barked.
“It’s not my phone.”
“It’s your call.”
Finally, on the eighth ring I answered, “Hello?”
“Cassandra Sellers, you are free to go,” a bright, ageless voice said through the line.
“Do I know you?”
“Better than Damien believed, yes. Go back to your car. This will be as if it never was.”
My voice shook and sounded strange to me, “My family? I saw…”
“Fear not, Cassandra. Deception is a tool much favored by the wicked.”
I turned back to confront the stranger only to find him gone, a vapor of sulfuric odors lingering in his stead. I cast one last look towards the churning waters and asked timidly, “What comes next?”
There was no response.
The closer I moved towards my car, the calmer I became. I sank into the Camry’s interior, inserted the key into the ignition, and found I was back in my driveway. The green numbers on the clock indicated a quarter after eight. I had been transported to the moment the stranger jumped in my car introducing himself as Damien. I clutched the wheel, bracing myself for a repeat of the nightmare, but it never came. The voice on the phone had kept his promise. Glancing down at the passenger seat where I had tossed the devil’s phone, I spied a single white feather, glistening in the early morning shadows. “The Lord is my shepherd,” I whispered, breathing deeply. The day was definitely brighter now. If I could defeat a devil, I could certainly handle rush hour traffic.