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 24
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
Last Time . . .
We left Ellie and Stella sneaking into the Brownsville Golden Age Nursing Home. it appears as if someone is trying to set up Scott, most likely Detective Larson.
Slowly, and trying to be as quiet as possible, Ellie moved to the bedroom door and turned the knob. She was on her way to Brownsville while Scott slept. She knew her sound sleeper wouldn't awake until morning. But Scott was already awake. Lying still, he waited until he heard the front door close. Then he ran to the bedroom window to see Ellie get into a strange car. Stella was driving her personal vehicle instead of the police cruiser.
Where was she going? And who was she with? Scott's mind began to go in directions he wished it wouldn't, but the questions had to be answered. He jumped into his pants and threw on a sweatshirt while running to the Road Ranger. He managed to stay several blocks behind Stella without being detected. It didn't take long for him to figure out the destination - Brownsville Golden Age Nursing Home.
Still, he was puzzled about who was driving. He stayed close but not too close. His thoughts flashed back to what Ellie said earlier - "We'll work our way up the food chain until we reach the top. But we'll let Stella know what's going on every step of the way. We get the information, but the police do the work. Agreed?"
The two ladies exited the vehicle and began to survey the situation. Scott was relieved to see that Ellie was with Stella. But what were they up to? Why didn't Ellie tell Scott? Then Scott began to understand. They were trying to protect him. But it was Scott's baby girl, too. He had a right - no, a responsibility to find her. He waited.
The door was open. Neither Ellie nor Stella felt good about that, but it did make for an easy entrance. They went in. Rather than take the troublesome elevator, they took the stairs to the second floor. They entered room 236, directly across the hall from room 235. If anything was to happen, they were sure it would take place in room 235. Why should this time be any different from the others?
It wasn't long until they heard the heavy door at the end of the hall close with an echoing slam. They waited. Clumsy footsteps could be heard coming down the stairs at the end of the hall as well. They watched the door open to room 235. Yes, it opened, but nobody was there. It opened of its own accord. That's when Ellie felt an icy hand on her shoulder. She jumped. The hand remained. Only Stella was in the room with her.
The hand seemed to hold Ellie down as she reacted to a shriek from across the hall. Stella was not experiencing the same sensation, but she knew something was wrong. She grabbed Ellie's hand and pulled her to her feet, They both ran for the exit until Rosie Spenser's pale figure appeared in front of them.
Turing and running the other way, They could hear heavy chains being dragged across the broken tile floor. Rosie appeared again. Ellie screamed as Rosie roared in a deep, guttural voice.
Scott was doing his own snooping outside the building when he heard Ellie. That was all Scott could take. He ran into the building just as Rosie attempted to keep the ladies from the exit. Rosie stood with her back to Scott as she faced Ellie and Stella. Scott tore into the building, It was too late. He ran through the apparition, and it faded into nothingness.
Ellie ran to Scott and held him close. Stella, on the other hand, was not so happy to see Scott.
"Scott, I told ya. Ya have to stay away from this place. Larson will have your head on a silver platter. Do ya have a death wish or somethin'? You're on a path to self-destruction. Get it through your head. Ya can't have a part in this investigation."
Scott couldn't hold back any longer/ "And if I wasn't here, then what? I'm not sure what just took place, but if I can hear my wife scream through these thick walls, you better believe, I'm going to be here. I'm taking her home."
"No, I'll take her home, Scott. She needs a woman's touch right now." We'll meet ya back at the house. Besides, if anyone sees ya here or with Ellie, who has been here, you're toas'. Now, let's get movin'." Looking at Scott, she added, "And don't ya ever admit to bein' here tonight."
Ellie and Stella ran to Stella's car. Scott took his time returning to the Range Rover. After the girls were out of sight, he returned to the old, dilapidated shell of a building. He resisted the idea of entering. From across the street, he watched. There had to be a reason Ellie and Stella made the trip to Brownsville. Something was going to happen. Scott knew it.
Another pair of eyes was on the building. Larson kept a close eye on Scott.Three and a half hours later Scott headed for home. So did Larson.
Ellie impatiently was waiting at the front door when Scott finally arrived. "Scott, what were you thinking? I know where you've been." She thought back to Stella's comment. "You're on a path to self-destruction. That's where you're headed. You're going to destroy yourself from the inside out - and you're going to destroy the case. Scott, please. Stop this foolishness!"
"Let's talk about foolishness, You in that empty building and who knows what might have happened if I didn't crash the party. Ellie, you're in just as much danger as I am. And anyway, what happened to our agreement, to let the police handle everything."
Ellie took a deep breath. She explained about the note she found in the car. She filled in the details of Larson being involved. Scott was on the chopping block. She had to make him see that.
"Yeah, but Babe. It's my daughter we're talking about. You can't expect me to just sit back and do nothing. You can't sideline me from trying to bring my own daughter home. She needs me. Even Stella says she's out there somewhere."
"Then let Stella handle it."
Scott threw his hands up in frustration and started for the door.
"Scott, come back here. You can't go back there."
"Who said anything about going back to Brownsville? I just need to clear my head." He slammed the door, and a picture fell from the wall, Ellie could hear the engine rev. Then Scott squealed out of the driveway heading for nowhere.
Ellie tried to sleep, but she knew she was wasting her time. This night had all the marks of another sleepless night. Scott stayed close beside her. He knew he wouldn't be sleeping either. Less than twenty-four hours ago, they were both standing in the old Brownsville hospital hoping to find some clues as to what happened to their beloved Carrie. There were no clues, and Carrie was still missing.
The nights seemed so long without Carrie. Ellie went downstairs and sat on Carrie's bed. She could remember tucking her in for the last time. Tears fell from eyes, watering the pillow.
"God, Scott seems to think you're out there somewhere. He says he knows you're right here in the middle of this mess. If you're here, and he senses you, why don't I? Are you real, or just something someone invented to ease the pain? I'm not even asking you to relieve the pain I'm drowning in, although that would be nice. I just want to know you're walking with me through the pain. If you are real, I'll love you for who you are, not for what you can do."
A silent voice spoke. "I understand your pain, Elaine, I walked through life with hurt, too. Those I came to love crucified me."
Then Ellie remembered a verse from Sunday's sermon - Psalm 30:5 - ". . . weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." she thought on those words for a while, longing for the joy of the morning. How could anything or anybody bring her joy again? Unless, of course, it was Carrie herself.
The silent voice spoke again. "It will be a long night. Much must pass your way, but I assure you, morning will come, and joy will return. For you see, Elaine, I am real."
Ellie wasn't overloaded with hope - just enough to get her through another sleepless night. She fell asleep on Carrie's bed holding her stuffed teddy bear.
- Dear Ellie - Part 26
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
© 2017 William Kovacic