The Lost Dogs…#1

Friends:  The following weeks I will be posting some of the chapters of my new short story entitled, The Lost Dogs of Mercy Trap.  This is the first of 6-8 unedited stories to be published in 2016.  I hope you enjoy.  John

 

The Lost Dogs of Mercy Trap

A short story

John Preston Smith

Christmas 2015
One
The accident killing the wife of Joseph Christian, also paralyzed his nine-year-old son, Jimmy. It was a case study of vehicular homicide: a snowy and rainy night of slick roads, a man leaving a pub inebriated, and no one at the watering hole willing to demand his car keys.

It was one week before Christmas.

Mary Christian was returning home from her day of work as a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Blessed Heart Community hospital. Her thoughts were full of the coming week. Christmas was her favorite time of year. And though Jimmy had past believing in Santa and his Elves, he did believe in the birth of the Christ child

Mary and Joseph had been diligent in teaching Jimmy the true values of Christmas giving. It was a precarious course to maneuver. They did not want to steal his childhood excitement of receiving gifts, but too, they wanted him to understand the basic needs of clothing and food that many children in his community lacked.

She smiled at him through the mirror. School was closed for the holidays and they had spent the day together. Jimmy loved volunteering in the Pediatrics department by helping children in the toy room. And the children loved it when he bought King, his four-year-old Labrador Retriever. King was a perfect therapy dog. His had an easygoing demeanor, he tolerated ear pulling and kids riding on his back, and he’d lay on the floor when kids wanted to cuddle.

On one particular day as they were driving home from the hospital, Jimmy said, “You know, Mom, it’s like he knows.”
“Knows what, Jimmy?”

Jimmy didn’t answer, but she knew he was referring to King and how he acted when he visited the hospital. “Yes,” she said, “he knows.”

As she approached the intersection of Gunner Hill Road, even though the light was green, she slowed. The crossroad was a recipe for death. Cars coming toward her crested a hill near the traffic light and the evening headlights of those cars made it difficult to see. The glare of the wet roads made it worse.

The intersection set at the bottom of Gunner Hill, the road to her right. The steepness of Gunner Hill was such that oftentimes drivers unfamiliar with the road would slide through the rain soaked intersection with their foot jammed on the brake pedal. The collision possibilities were nightmarish. I
* * * * *
Sixty-five-year old Judd Drought was  both retired and an alcoholic. His wife had left him 20 years past, his three children had disowned him, and he had five DUI’s over the past 9 years.

He had left his drinking buddies the same time Mary Christian had left the hospital.

Christmas, the pangs of loneliness, and his inebriated state overshadowed his ability to control his speed, the wet and slippery pavement, and the downhill danger of Gunner Hill.

     Before he could react, his car was out of control.
* * * * *
The traffic light was green. Mary inched through the intersection as the car coming toward her paused in order to turn left after Mary passed. The high beams of the car blinded her.

     Before the moment passed, she was dead and Jimmy was paralyzed.

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