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 21
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
From Part 21
We last left Ellie finding a spark of love for Scott, but that's not where the story ends.
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."
Ellie had been holding the worn, faded piece of paper for so long. It felt good in her hands. She relished every curve, dot, and slant that Scott's pen had left. Scott's note was faded, but his memory wasn't. He was still very present in Ellie's mind - especially the line that read - "Don't forget. I will always you". It all seemed so real to her as if she were reliving it all again. Her thoughts took her back to her private dream world.
Sunday morning arrived with a blue sky and occasional puffs of white clouds sprinkled here and there. Scott bolted from his bed. "Ellie. Ellie. Get up. we'll be late for church!"
Both hurried to ready themselves for the morning service. After all, they promised to be there. The good thing was that the church was only three blocks away. Still, time was running out. Skipping breakfast, they ran to the car and sped down the street.
The service was already in progress as the two entered the back of the sanctuary. Tip-toeing in, they thought they arrived unnoticed, but that was not the case. Jane and Evelyn smiled back from a few pews ahead. Scott was feeling embarrassed, but he gave a short chest-high wave to acknowledge them. Ellie returned the smiles.
The pastor began his sermon, and Scott finally made the connection. He poked Ellie in the ribs and whispered, "That's the preacher that was at the jail I was telling you about." Scott listened intently to the message.
"Now, I know some of you think you have religion. I sincerely hope you don't because religion can't and won't prepare anyone for the afterlife."
Scott concluded he was safe. He remembered his mother telling him he was baptized as an infant.
The preacher continued, "Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.' Again, the Scripture says, 'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' The Apostle Paul adds, '. . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. . . ' That means there is no hope outside of Jesus Christ. The Name is Jesus Christ - not church membership, not love your neighbor, not trying to keep The Ten Commandments, oh, and the name is not baptism."
Scott shrunk in his seat. He figured the preacher must know him better than he thought. Probably Jane and Evelyn were filling him in. How else could he know Scott's thoughts?
The preacher continued. "You see, your Creator," Scott remembered the bombardier beetle, "is holy and pure. You are not, nor am I, but Jesus, ah, Jesus - he is. He is completely pure and holy. We must be like Him to enter Heaven. You see, there really is nothing you can do to earn favor with God. That's why I said I hope you don't have religion. Religion is man-made. Religion is, what can I do to earn God's favor? Unless you're perfect, you can't do anything to earn God's favor. So what's the solution.
"The solution is Jesus Christ. Romans 5:8 tells us that we were sinners, Christ died for us. He took your sin upon Himself. He paid the price that was required to purchase your salvation. Romans also tells us that it a gift of God. If I give you a gift and you try to pay for it, it is no longer a gift. If you do something to try to earn it, it is no longer a gift. You accept it. Accept it by faith that it was bought for you. Accept it by faith that Jesus paid your sin-debt, and if you come to Him, you are free.
"It's not about a religion. It's about an everlasting relationship with your creator. Now, the ball is in your court. Will you trust Him, or will you reject Him? Let me say to remain neutral is impossible. If you do not follow Him, then you have rejected Him.
"Not to belabor the point, but my friend, Heaven is a real, literal place. Just as Heaven exists, Hell is just as real. The Bible has more to say about that topic than Heaven. Your choice - what you will do with Jesus affects your eternity spent in one of these two places. Which will it be?"
Scott felt God driving home His point. That quiet, inner voice spoke louder than the preacher. "Scott, you need Me. Take me into your life right now. I am who I say I am, and I'll meet you where you are. Just claim me as your Lord and Saviour. Do it now."
The best way Scott knew, he gave his life over to new ownership - owned by the King of kings and Lord of lords. Ellie was still a bit confused by the sermon. At least, she and Scott had something to talk about. Pastor Johnson was glad to see Scott again and promised to follow up with the Branson's later in the week.
After spending a few moments with Jane and Evelyn, they headed for home. As they exited the building, Scott noticed someone hiding behind his car. Scott carefully made his way with Ellie close behind him. The man started running. Scott didn't follow but thought the situation through.
"Ellie, did you get a look at that guy? Did you recognize him? That was David Martin. What do you suppose he was doing - or trying to do? Maybe we spotted him just in time. You stay here. I want to check out the vehicle a little closer."
Ellie stood nearby, but out of harm's way, while Scott went over the car with his fine-tooth comb. He pulled something from under the back bumper. "Ellie, it's a tracking device. Martin wants to keep a close eye on us. I wonder why? Or do I know?
Carefully, Scott turned the key in the ignition. The engine kicked in, and all seemed to be safe. "Come on, Ellie. Let's go."
"Yeah, let's go home. I'll get you some lunch."
"No, I'll buy us lunch - in Brownsville. Martin wants to track us, let's give him a reason."
An agitated Ellie responded. "You have got to be kidding me. Scott, you're going to get us killed. You don't know what he's up to. We've been told to stay away from there. Just call the police. Let them handle it. After all, that's what they get paid to do."
Making a left turn out of the church parking lot, they were on their way to Brownsville against Ellie's wishes and no doubt against Scott's better judgment. After a few minutes, Scott noticed Martin's car in the rear-view mirror. His adrenalin was rising with each second. He accomplished what he set out to. He was leading Martin into a trap, or so he thought.
"Okay, Ellie. Call Stella. Tell her Martin is following us. She'll be right over. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!"
The phone fell from Ellie's purse. Scott was growing impatient. She grabbed and started dialing.
"West Mifflin Police. Detective Larson speaking."
Out of the many who could answer the phone, Larson was Ellie's last choice. "Yes, Detective Larson, this is Ellie Branson. May I please speak to Stella Washington?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, Mrs. Branson. This is Stella's day off. How can I help you?"
"I need Stella to meet us at the Brownsville Nursing Home. Can you get in touch with her and have her call me as soon as possible?"
"I'll see what I can do. I believe she's out of town this weekend. By the way, Mrs. Branson, what are you doing in Brownsville? You were told to stay away from there. You could seriously jeopardize the investigation. You need to head home now."
"We can't. It's too late. Ellie disconnected the call and hoped for the best. Martin was closing in. By the erratic movements of his vehicle, both Scott and Ellie knew danger was near. "Ellie, give me the tracking device." She placed the device in Scott's right hand as he opened the window with his left.
At the next intersection, he took a hard left and threw the device out the window. He took another left at the next intersection, then another. He saw Martin pass by as he followed the tracking signal. Although Martin was sure they were going to the nursing home, he took the same left only to find an empty street. Scott began to follow him back to West Mifflin, but Martin turned at the nursing home parking lot.
Scott's suspicions were confirmed. Martin surely had some connection to his missing daughter. Scott pulled his vehicle off the street, ready to walk the rest of the way to the nursing home.
Ellie screamed,"Scott, what are you doing. You can't go there. We have to let the police handle this. When Stella calls we can let her know what's going on, but please, please, don't go there without the police! Your drive to find our baby is going to get us both killed. I lost Carrie. I can't lose you, too."
"Just wait here. I'll be okay. I'll be right back. I have to see what this guy is up to."
© 2017 William Kovacic