I thought I’d share a short story I wrote sometime ago…
The cold wind blew the hem of Kathie’s skirt around her ankles as she strolled down the chilly street on an October night. She was exiting a nightclub and on her way back home, alone unfortunately. It was just before midnight.
Where have all the good guys gone? She mused to herself with a disgusted tone. Rude comments, worn-out lines, and free drinks seem to be the modus operands of most men nowadays.
The emptiness of her suburban home seemed to beckon her back to safety and security, but it also held the promise of another night without any serious chance of romance. This thought darkened her mind and made her heart thump longingly in her chest. Another ragged and icy breeze rushed past her, making her clutch at herself to fend off its freezing embrace.
She found her car just where she had parked it, amid lines of other vehicles left by the other patrons of the bar. Fishing through her purse, a small black affair with studded rhinestones, she sought after her keys. There was a crunch of gravel behind her; she froze as her imagination took flight into the realms of terror. A leather clad hand containing a white medicine smelling rag clapped over her mouth, silencing any scream that might have brought aid.
Oh no! she screamed into the wet material as she struggled, but she only helped whatever was coating the handkerchief to fill her spastic lungs. She lashed back with her left foot, attempting to crush the instep of the person (man?) behind her. She heard a hiss of pain as the high heel made contact but no other reaction came from it. He (or she) didn’t let go but gripped her tightly around the waist pinning both arms to her sides. Frantically she shouted into the handkerchief, but a sudden daze overcame her and her eyes rolled back and her body went limp.
This can’t be happening… Kathie whimpered as darkness closed around her stealing away her consciousness.
Jason Bellows was committing all to memory. The sun was hot and bright, the sky blue, and the smell of hotdogs and French fries filled the air. He had just stepped up to the plate, his bat firmly gripped in his young hands.
My first at-bat in the minors! He stated swinging it lazily from side to side. Staring the pitcher down with brown eyes, just below his soft woolen cap, he was aware of his mind a-buzz over the waiting with breathless anticipation of the delivery, quick judgment on the hit ability of the pitch, and the solid palm-buzzing feel of the bat connecting solidly.
The pitcher wound up and then quickly uncoiled as he hurtled the spinning spheroid towards Jason with a snap of his powerful right arm. The young twenty year old stepped towards it, adjusted his swing with the trajectory of the ball, and continued his motion with a smile spreading across his face.
It’s perfect! He almost laughed out loud. It was a memory he looked forward to preserving in his mind, to be shared with his friends and family for years to come.
The sound of the impact echoed in his ears and he completed his twisting motion placing the bat over his left shoulder. The ball sailed over the pitcher’s head, past second base, and arched into shallow center field. Jason dropped the wooden object in his hands and sprinted down the chalk line towards first base. His arms and legs pumped, his body streaking down the line, as each impact of his feet sent pounding tremors up his legs and into his torso. He kept his eyes glued to the white bag ignoring the loud and rowdy cheers of the shouting hometown fans. He placed a foot upon first base just before the slap of leather announced that throw from the outfield was too late.
Yes, a base hit! He had exclaimed triumphantly to himself as he came to a slow jogging stop.
Kathie came to with a groggy haze dominating her confused mind. She moaned as she stirred from her unexpected slumber, her brain trying to piece together what had happened.
I-I fell asleep in the car? She moaned as her eyes fluttered open. She saw the darkness above her and realized the vague shapes were a girder-supported aluminum ceiling so typical in warehouses and factories. Her eyes flicked from side to side as the sudden chill creeped through her dress and onto the flesh of her back sending chills up and down her spine. She tried to move, but the terrifying attempt communicated to her half-dazed brain that she was bond by her wrists and ankles. Kathie’s fear boiled up inside her and the heat of her terror burned away the last remaining fog in her mind. She opened her mouth to scream, but found it filled with a wadded up rag and secured by a tight length of nylon rope. She knew it was nylon; she could both smell and feel its distinctive odor and texture.
Oh crap! T-that man… he’s captured me! She shrieked inwardly as the cold hand of dread gripped her heart. W-what’s he going to do?!
As if to answer her question, she saw a tall male shape limp out of the clinging darkness just to her right. Her body went into powerful convulsions as she threw all her strength into breaking her bounds and making her escape. But the course fibers of the rope cut into her flesh and pain shot into her skull. She couldn’t see his face past the black ski mask, his eyes were glittering and bright, and his thick lips were spit-flecked making his tongue dart out to clear it away.
“You’re awake, that’s good,” a low dangerous voice echoed softly from the man’s silhouetted form. “I was worried I had used too much.”
Kathie shouted into her gag, but none of her words made it past the fabric to be understood by her captor.
“I suppose you’ve heard of me? I’ve been dubbed the Hyatt Street Killer in the media,” the madman chuckled darkly. “It is a poor name, but I’ve yet to come up with a better moniker.”
Oh no… h-he can’t be that monster!? She sobbed to herself as he reached for her face. She recalled the three other women who had been tortured and strangled by the maniac who was prowling the city streets. He collected his victim’s eyes, the thought of his staring into hers made her flinch from his touch. She thought they had caught him, but now it appears the news reports were wrong.
“I’m a bit pressed for time, so let us begin shall we? You have the prettiest eyes…”
Jason looked into the infield and his mouth fell open in shock. A strange man was leaning over a woman with a knife poised over her face, the two of them were located midway between first and second base.
What’s going on? He asked himself as the rest of the players and crowd seemed oblivious to the scene. He lifted his left foot, instinctively wanting to rush to the woman’s aid. But he couldn’t seem to budge; the ballplayer in him knew if he stepped away he could be tagged out.
“Hey what are you doing? Somebody stop that guy!” he shouted but no one reacted to his words. “He’s going to kill her!”
He wanted to help, the need thundering along with the beating of his heart. But still he couldn’t step off first base. He looked at the guy from the opposing team next to him; the man didn’t seem to notice the tragedy about to occur.
What should I do? I can’t stand by and let this happen! I-I don’t want to be the initial out of the inning… oh God what to do! He roared inwardly. His body reacted despite his mind’s dilemma, Jason felt his foot come off the base as he rushed forward to tackle the killer.
The tip of the knife, shiny and bright, gleamed as it eclipsed Kathie’s vision in her right eye. She began to sob and cry as she pleaded and begged for the serial killer to show her mercy. Her gag was halting all attempts to bargain for her life, she shut her eye in a last act of defiance until he wedged it open with cruel, rough fingers. His other hand was twisted into her long blonde hair and kept her head from moving even an inch.
“Be still! I must have your beautiful eyes for my collection!” he snarled hatefully as the blade tip edged closer.
Please God no! She wailed as a gray form appeared out of nowhere and passed through the murderer’s body. She took in the details, as if it happened in slow motion as he sailed over her and into her assailant. He was young, handsome, with soft brown eyes and a cleft chin. He wore an off-gray colored uniform that seemed familiar somehow to her frantic mind. Strangely enough, she could’ve sworn he was wearing cleats.
The effect on her attacker was startling; he stumbled back and spun to his right, his rear making a fleshy thumping sound on the hard concrete. He swore loud and vehemently as he stood up shaking with all the furious ire of a wounded lion. The long dagger flicked from side to side as he sought out the intruder who had crashed his private party.
“Stop right there!” a quivering unfamiliar voice called out from beyond Kathie’s line of sight. She watched the Hyatt Street Killer spin towards the shout and raise the glittering blade.
The gunshot made Kathie’s ears ring and she saw her would-be slayer spin to the ground his chest tore apart by a single shot. He took one ragged, bloody breath and then lay still.
Relief coursed through her veins, her muscles relaxed and she began sobbing in joy as the miracle of her rescue came to realization. A heavy-set old man wearing a gray security officer’s uniform walked towards her, his pistol still smoking from being discharged. He knelt down and quickly undid her bindings.
“Are you okay Miss?” he asked in a nervous voice.
“Yes! Thank you!” she cried out and hugged her savior.
“Take it easy little girl. I gotta call the cops!”
“What about the other guy?”
“He’s dead,” the man flatly remarked with a tone of disgust.
“Not the guy you shot,” she insisted as she clambered to her feet. “But the one who tackled him?”
She looked around but saw no other person nearby, she was puzzled, did she dream it?
“There’s nobody here but you, me, and that… that… one!”
“I don’t understand.”
“You’re just confused.”
“He was wearing an old baseball uniform.”
“What did you say?” the man asked with a serious expression overtaking the previous worried one he had been wearing.
“It was like in those old sports movies from the forties and fifties,” Kathie explained.
“Well this place used to be a baseball park, but that was years before I was even born,” the man stated as he tipped the bill of his hat up.
Three weeks after being attacked and saved from the Hyatt Street Killer, Kathie stood in an old section of a cemetery with a dozen roses in her hand. She had spent the time off from work researching both online and at the local library. Now, after all her efforts, she faced the grave marker of a man she had never met.
“Jason Bellows, born 1932, died 1953,” she whispered, her words whipped behind her along with the steam of her breath. “I don’t know how this happened, or how you were able to help save me, but I wanted to say thank you.”
She knelt down, said a short prayer, and set the roses on the grave. Tears sprung up in her eyes as she recalled reading the newspaper article about how this man had suffered a fatal heart attack while trying to steal second base in his first minor league game. The wet droplets streamed down her face as she recalled he had died before learning of his young bride’s pregnancy, the family he would never know, or the life he had saved on one late October night over sixty years after his death. She stood up and wiped away her tears with trembling fingers.
“Yeah, what are you doing?” a male voice inquired from behind her. She turned around to see a man about her age, a wreath in his hands.
“Oh I’m sorry…,” she started to say as she looked into his eyes. He had a cleft chin, soft brown eyes, and a strong handsome face. She let out an unexpected gasp as she immediately spotted the family resemblance.
“Who are you?” she asked softly.
“Trevor Bellows,” he answered with narrowing, suspicious eyes. “That’s my grandfather’s grave you’re standing near.”
“Yes, he died before my father was born. He was a baseball player, yeah it was minor league but it was his passion and dream to play for the Yankees.”
“Hey this might sound a little crazy and a bit forward. But would you like to go get some coffee with me? After you’re done, of course,” she said with a smile.
“S-sure,” he stammered with a blush creeping into his cheeks. “I’d like that…”