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The Missing Road

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She ran her overworked hands through her stringy hair and clinched her fist in frustration. So many things going through her head right now. So many....

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

as she leaned against the chilly silver counter of her imprisoment....

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

also known to the locals as Dairy Queen. Her heartbeat thumped, thumped with the steady rythm of the tick tock of the cheap Dollar Store clock across the room. It read 8:50.

Ten more minutes. Ten more minutes of absolute silence...

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Then she had to go home. Go home to her precious little baby. And her new husband.

Too bad Magoffin County High School didn't offer classes for that.

She was 2 days pass 19. Her and her highschool sweetheart, Kyle McCoy, had made some mistakes. But it wasn't her fault. She wasn't taught any better at her alcoholic, broken home. And even now she didn't understand everything. No one had taught her. No one had helped.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Maybe their marriage was a mistake. Maybe they were too young and foolish to raise a family. It wasn't a maybe. They were. She wasn't even sure their marriage would last. She clutched her marriage ring. No. She loved Kyle. She was sure of that. But their marriage was missing something.

Tick. Tock. Tick Tock.

"Why don't you close up for me, Rachael?" Jerry Dunn had asked her. She shrugged her shoulders. She didn't like the idea of being here alone...at night....by herself....

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Rachael looked at the clock. 9:15. Woah. She better hurry and get home. Kyle would get worried. She grabbed her purse and ran from out behind the counter.

The door opened.

A tall, bony woman with stringy silver whisps around her blue eyes walked in with gray sweats on. She looked ancient.

"Sorry, ma'am, we're closed," Rachael mumbled shakily.

"Couldn't you please give me a ride home?" the elderly woman asked kindly. She was close to hypothermia, Rachael noted sympathetically.

"Um.. well.. where do you live?"

The woman smiled and was amused, as if sharing some inside joke. "Puncheon."

"Well... okay..." Rachael said. She lived on Puncheon too. And, secretly, she was grateful for some company on the long ride home.

Rachael locked the doors and escorted the woman out to her car. She opened the beat-in passanger side door for the woman. She turned scarlet when the woman noticed the huge dent.

"My husband and I can't afford to fix it," she looked down.

"Don't you worry honey about that, why, look at me, I don't even have a car," smiled the woman. Rachael found her smile catching.

They drove up the the long stretch of highway that had a little McDonald's and a couple Dollar Stores.... not much else in little Salyersville.

"You feel like you're traveling down a dead end road, don't you, child?" asked the woman.

Rachael looked up from her careful driving. "What?"

"You know what. Your marriage with Kyle. You're having second thoughts."

Rachael looked at this woman who knew so much about her.... some things she didn't know herself.

"Well..."

"Something's missing from your life. You don't know what. You've been raised in front of alcohol and abuse. You sought refuge from that. You found Kyle. You're happy with him, but he's not the refuge you were looking for. You're still broken and empty inside."

Rachael watched this woman intently, like she was crazy. She pulled over to the side of the road. The woman grabbed her hand and squeezed it.

"All the fairytales are wrong. True love isn't what life's all about, although it's nice to have it. I used to be like you. But let me tell you something darling, you've got a hole in your life that you don't know what to put in it. But I know what you need to put in it."

Rachael's voice broke. Her eyes were like waterfalls at that moment.

"Wh-what?"

The woman smiled. "You're going to make mistakes in your life. And you need someone to help you get through them. Kyle can only help so much. But, you know, there is someone who can help you all the way. On the right road you've been missing. His name is Jesus." The woman grabbed a Gideon New Testament Bible from her purse and put it in Rachael's hands. They drove the rest of the way in silence.

"Where do you live?" Rachael asked.

"Just go on home to your little family. I'm what your people call "angels"... the blood covers all sins...all mistakes..." and the woman vanished.

Rachael walked in the front door of her rinky dink trailer and welcomed Kyle's embrace.

"I was so worried..." Kyle had tears streaming from his eyes. "I had thought something had happened to you."

Rachael took a deep breath and put the testament in Kyle's hands.

"Kyle, I know what we're missing."



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