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 32
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price.
From Part 32
We last left Scott in his Range Rover with Todd controlling its every movement from room 235 of the old Brownsville hospital.
Todd sat the control table with his toy, the joystick. Scott heard the ignition start and the car shifted into reverse. It slowly backed out and headed for the four-lane at a comfortable 45 miles an hour. The turns were smooth. The braking was excellent. Except for the final destination in view, Todd was driving nicely.
Todd weaved Scott's vehicle in and out of traffic easily. Then the vehicle began to slow down and pull to the side of the road. After the traffic passed, the Range Rover pulled out and made a U-turn. Scott was now going east in the westbound lane. Todd swerved the vehicle in and out, each time getting closer to the other cars. Then an eighteen wheeler appeared down the stretch. This was it. Todd set Scott on a head-on path with the oncoming beast. Scott whispered, "I'm ready to meet You, Lord. Take care of Ellie."
The crunch of metal against metal could be heard from a distance as the impact flipped the car out of control, smashing it into bits and pieces.
A fireball exploded and within seconds both vehicles were burning with a fervent heat. Black smoke billows could be seen for miles.
The Brownsville police stormed the Brownsville Golden Age Nursing Home. Larson and Alexander were called in from the West Mifflin Police Department as well. At least three state police vehicles also roamed the area. A battering ram was used to split the door at room 235.
No one was there. The room was all but empty, No joystick. No monitor. No ghost of Rosie Spenser. A thorough search of the room turned up only one piece of evidence - a name badge bearing the name of Stella Washington, WMPD. In her haste to leave the room, Stella's badge caught on the edge of a table and fell to the floor. It waited for recovery by the forensics team although in all probability it could not be used for evidence. Stella would claim she was investigating the crime scene.
Sharon Gallagher was frantic. She called Ellie's cell. "You better get in here right away, girl."
Ellie was sitting at the dining room table waiting for Scott to return. It was her day off, and needless to say, she was annoyed by an unwanted call from the hospital. "Wait, slow down, Shar. I'm not on call this week. You'll have to call Julie. It's her turn to be on call."
"No, you don't understand, girl. Scott's been in a terrible accident. They just brought him to the ER. He's in critical condition. Now, get down here - NOW!"
Ellie's mind began to float in all directions, from best case scenario to worst case. This truly was one of the worst cases. Scott suffered burns over eighty percent of his body. Three of his ribs were broken causing a puncture wound to his left lung. Miraculously, he had been thrown from his vehicle upon impact. No doubt, that was the only thing that saved him.
The gusting winds flamed the fire spreading it over Scott's body just a few feet away. His head suffered from blunt-force trauma. There was no explanation other than divine protection for his survival.
By the time Ellie arrived at Allegheny General, Scott had already been moved to surgery. Because of his many injuries, surgery was expected to last through the night and into the early morning. Sharon held Ellie close but brought no comfort. "Ell, it's going to be a long night. Go home and get some rest. You're going to need it in the morning. It's going to be an even longer day."
Ellie turned to go. but she didn't want to leave Scott. "Ell, go. He'll need you more when he's out of surgery." Ellie could only think, ". . . if he gets out of surgery . . ."
She turned into her driveway on Commonwealth Avenue and looked at her empty house. Tears began to form in the corners of her eyes. Then she noticed a piece of paper tucked in the screen door. She grabbed the paper and went inside to read it. She began, "Dear Ellie, I'm so sorry for all the difficulty I've brought your way. I never meant for this to happen. I don’t know how it all went wrong. . ."
The handwriting, unlike the other notes that had been passed her way, the writing was unmistakably Scott's, written by his own hand. The note was too upsetting. She called Pastor Johnson at 4:00 in the morning, and he agreed to meet her at the hospital. Pastor, Sharon, and Ellie read through the note a dozen times. A short time later, Stella stopped by to see how Scott was doing.
"Hello, Child. I heard your man was involved in a vehicle accident. Is he okay?"
Ellie fell into the comfort of Stella's arms. "No. No, he's not. We're just praying he makes it through the surgery."
"What happened, Child? Tell me about it." Ellie told Stella everything she knew to tell. Stella knew if Scott lived, her black market organization would be in jeopardy. She had to be sure he didn't survive.
A short time later, Scott came out of surgery, unrecognizable to Ellie. She broke down again in Stella's arms. Scott would need hours of recovery time before Ellie could be with him. Sharon's shift was over, and all four went their separate ways. Ellie would wait for the call to tell her when she could see Scott.
As the night passed into the morning, Larson and Alexander also stopped at the hospital to see Scott. He was awake but unable to speak. They too would have to wait. Stella was returning as they were leaving. "Oh, hi guys. Ya here to see Scott? How's he doin'?" She continued to fish to see how much they knew. "What happened, anyway? It's a wonder that he's still alive. He is still alive, isn't he?"
Larson answered. "An apparent suicide attempt. He didn't succeed, at least not yet. He's still breathing, but if he does make it, it's going to be a terribly long road he'll have to travel."
"A suicide!" Stella faked a gasp. "Not Scott. That's not like him. He's not suicidal. Whatever made him do such a thing?"
The tone of Stella's voice sent a warning to Larson's professional brain - a tone that all but sealed his conclusion that Stella was indeed the one they were looking for in the kidnapping case of Carrie Branson and others.
The men turned left at the end of the hall and disappeared from view. Stella made a beeline for Scott's room but was stopped by a nurse. Scott was no longer receiving visitors.
The long day wore on for Ellie as she waited to hear from the hospital. Finally, the call came, and Ellie was on her way back to Allegheny General. Scott's condition was deteriorating quickly, but a smile crossed his face at the sight of Ellie.He looked into her eyes the best he could and said two words. "Forgive Stella." With that, he exhaled his last breath.
Her mind swirled as she watched Scott leave her. A part of her died, too. She was overwhelmed with grief. And what did Scott mean? "Forgive Stella." She had no idea, but these were his dying words, What did he want her to know?
The shock of all that happened took Ellie away. She wandered over to the river to try to sort through the confusion her life had become. The orange and yellow autumn leaves settled over her as she sat on a bench facing the Three Rivers. Although confused and stressed almost to the breaking point, she read Scott's note one more time.
I'm so sorry for all the difficulty I've brought your way. I never meant for this to happen. I don’t how it all went wrong. I know I’ve caused you so much pain, and I can never make it right. Life has gotten to be too hard too fast. I’m leaving, and I won’t be back. Please don't hold that against me. I love you.
After the struggles with the loss of Carrie, I turned to amphetamines to help me cope. I got started from some jail buddies. I did a pretty good job of hiding it, but it is getting harder. I can't face you right now or ever again.
You should have just let me in jail. You should have never taken me back. You should have left me to rot on the streets. Babe, I didn't deserve you then, and I don't deserve you now. Someday I hope you'll be able to forgive me, but I know I can never forgive myself. So why should you?
It's important to me that you find peace. I know I don't bring it. In the days ahead, try to focus on the good times. Do your best to rid your memory of the bad and the ugly. It's the only way you can ever be free. Some people would say I'm selfish to put you through this ending like this. Very soon, you'll see it as a selfless act to allow you to go on.
Babe, I'm so sorry. I just can't take it anymore. I wish I was stronger. Promise me you'll keep looking for Carrie, and please only tell her good things about me - even if you have to lie.
Don't forget. I will always you.
It struck her as being odd and out of character for Scott. Some of the letters were slightly darker than others. She noticed the line, I'm so sorry for all the difficulty I've brought your way. I never meant for this to happen. I don’t how it all went wrong. I know I’ve caused you so much pain . . . Why was the s in the word so written heavier than the letter o? She continued on. The t and e in the word the were also darkened. The l in difficulty, the l in all, and the a in caused were all pressed harder by Scott's pen. s-t-e-l-l-a, She continued until she had deciphered Scott's entire message. "Stella betrayed us. She took your baby and murdered me. Forgive her."
- Dear Ellie - Part 34 (Conclusion)
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price.
© 2018 William Kovacic