This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental
- Dear Ellie - Part 20
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
We last left Ellie and Scott in the midst of turmoil as they contemplate a divorce. The trauma and frustrations of life have finally made their mark.
"What have I done, Someone, please tell me what have I done? I leave a football game and come home to have our baby girl stolen away. Yes, I broke into the Brownsville Nursing Home, but I was trying to find our child. Ellie, if I didn't care, I would have never done those things."
"You just don't get it. You really just do not get it, Scott." My daughter is gone. You plant phony notes about a child-traffic ring to get the suspicion off you. You're out running to the nursing home in the middle of the night to make filthy deals. Then you get arrested. You disappear out of my life for three months. And let's not forget, I had to bail you out or you would have been arrested for breaking into your own house. And then you expect me to trust you completely? You just don't get it."
"How can you possibly justify what you're saying, Elaine." The handwriting on the note was found to be inconclusive. I did not go to Brownsville to make a filthy deal. I went to find our daughter. I didn't choose to be away for three months. That was the result of trying to find Carrie. And breaking into my own home? That wasn't me.
"Ellie, I'm going to find Carrie if it kills me, and whoever took her will pay the price. I promise."
"Thank you for saying that. You just proved you really don't get it. Whoever took her will pay the price? Scott, I'm paying the price!"
Emotionally spent, Ellie popped a Xanax left over from her hospital stay. She laid in bed facing the wall. Scott laid on the couch. He thought some of the sleepless nights in jail were bad, but this couldn't compare. His mind swam in all directions, trying to make sense of Ellie's senseless behavior. He did have to admit Ellie had been under a lot of stress and pressure. He'd change it if he could, but he knew he couldn't - unless he brought Carrie back.
Crawling quietly up the stairs, he peeked in the bedroom. Ellie was in deep sleep, and no doubt would be until morning. He wished he had a sedative as well, but then again, he had work to do.
The front door was closed as carefully as he had climbed the stairs. The Range Rover was in the driveway begging to go for a drive. Scott obliged and headed for Brownsville. The stars flickered in and out as they disappeared into the light of oncoming cars, only to reappear again as the cars passed. What he was doing, he couldn't say. But he came to the conclusion that action speaks louder than words. If he could bring Carrie home, she would be safe, and the knight would shine again in his armor. He needed to do this for all of them - Ellie, Carrie, and himself.
To do this? What did that mean? Entering a forbidden building again, the same action that landed him ninety days in the county jail. If it meant bringing Carrie home, it would be well worth it. If he was discovered and unable to bring Carrie home, he forfeited much time needed to find her. He would surely end up back on cell block 9.
The winter night was chilly as Scott parked the vehicle two blocks from the abandoned building. He pulled his collar up and pulled his West Mifflin High ball cap down. Being careful, he entered the nursing home parking lot and visually assessed the area. A dim light showed from a second-floor window. Obviously, this would be the place to start. Scott muttered a prayer and crossed the lot. Making his way around the corner of the building, he tripped over an old brick. Just then he heard a voice shout, "Police! Freeze!"
"Go figure. I've been caught again. Ellis's going to love this," was the only thing that crossed Scott's mind.
The officer continued. "Turn around slow and drop to your knees. Put your hands behind your back, and don't move." The blinding light was all Scott could see.
"Scott, what are ya doin' here?" The light was turned off.
He couldn't see a thing, but he recognized the voice. "Stella, is that you?"
"Well, yeah, Child, las' time I checked. Now, what are ya doin' here? You should be home with Ellie."
"I think you know what I'm doing here. I've got to find out what's happened to my Carrie. I know, Stella, I know something's going on here. I've got to find out what. Are you going to arrest me again?"
"On what charges? Breakin' and enterin'? You did neither. Besides this ain't my jurisdiction. It belongs to Brownsville, so you're safe."
"Okay, Stella. I get it. Thanks, but what are you doing if you don't have authority here? You can't make any arrests."
"We've been watchin' this place since you firs' tipped us off. There ain't nothin' to act on jus' yet. You're right. I don't have authority here, I'm jus' actin' as a Good Samaritan, watchin' for your and Ellie's interest. Scott, a word of caution. You can't come around here for any reason. If the Brownsville Boys get you, they may put you away for more than a couple months. There's too much danger. And don't forget, you're being treated as a suspect. Larson's out to get you. Let the police handle this. Now, go home to Ellie. She needs you."
A sweep of relief fell from Scott's brow as he headed back his car. The place was being watched and he didn't have to be involved. Now, he needed to get home and back on the couch before Ellie noticed he was missing.
The stars shined even brighter on the drive back to West Mifflin. A sense of peace fell over Scott as he drove.
Ellie woke to a rattling sound at the front door. Someone was again trying to break in. Ellie grabbed her pistol and carefully slipped down the stairs.
"Scott, Scott, someone's trying to break in." Her whisper was heard bu nobody but herself. She edged toward the couch. Scott wasn't there. Talking to herself, she said, "Oh, okay. Now I see what's going on. Scott's first night back from jail, and he's out running again." she placed the gun on the empty couch and went to the front door. "Now, should I play his game, or should I just let him in? I'm, too tired to play games. You win, Scott."
Turning the doorknob, the door was flung in her face. She fell back as a large hand pushed her into the wall. She slumped down.
Another man followed the first. Together they tore the house apart. "Okay, lady, where is it?"
A stunned Ellie could only squeak out, "Where is what?"
"Carrie's birth certificate. That's what. We want it, and we want it now!"
The second man pointed his own gun at Ellie's fear-struck face. She went to the file box and pulled out the certificate. The man tore it from her hand and both fled.
It took but a moment for Ellie to call Stella. In a flash, she was off to the Branson residence. With lights flashing and siren wailing, she arrived before Scott.
Cresting the top of the hill on Commonwealth Avenue, Scott could see bright flashes of blue and red in the distance. He was thankful he was not the object of the police cruiser pulled at the side of the road. As he drove closer, disappointment filled his being. The bright strobes of blue and red were coming from his driveway.
He jumped out of the car and ran to the house. Stella met him at the door. "Scott, this is why ya need to stay out of the investigation. While you're out snoopin', your home was invaded."
Scott began to spew. "Where's Ellie? Is she okay? What did they take?"
"All they wanted was Carrie's birth certificate."
"And did they get it?"
"They did, but tha's a good thing.That means Carrie is still alive. They jus' need the information to make a fake certificate for Carrie. A new name and the like. Ya know what I mean? She's out there somewhere. We will find her."
Ellie sat in Scott's recliner trying to recover her senses. Her life was a nightmare since the night Carie disappeared, and it was getting worse. Scott walked over and rubbed her shoulders. "You okay, Babe?"
She looked into Scott's face and fell apart. She pulled him beside her on the oversized arm of the chair. She simply said, "Hold me."
Scott's mind was really swirling now. First, she wants a divorce. Now, this. Scott pulled her close but had to ask, "Why do you want me close now?" He understood Ellie's sensitivity. He knew that one question would begin another argument, but he had to ask.
Ellie had to answer, "Because I know you're innocent - and I love you! I know now it wasn't you who tried to break into your own house. What kind of sense does that make? It was those beasts. I know you really care about Carrie . . . and me.
"Stella told me how you were over in Brownsville trying to find our baby. I was such a fool. Will you forgive me?"
"Wow," thought Scott. This wasn't the response he was prepared for, but it was much better. " Of course, I do. Let's get you cleaned up and get back to bed."
- Dear Ellie - Part 22
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
© 2017 William Kovacic