Shaking in Her Flip Flops....coming Joyce Oroz

..... I crossed the wide cobblestone drive, unlocked my Mazda and discovered Solow still cowering under the dash. I helped my poor traumatized hound dog into his bucket seat, rounded the truck and hopped into the driver’s seat. We cruised down the mountain singing ‘Georgia on My Mind’ with our friend, Ray Charles.

Four songs later, Highway 152 finally leveled off, we made a last sharp right turn, and then the road straightened. We passed the cemetery, an apple orchard, a nursery, a couple houses and some empty fields. Solow howled as something caught my eye up ahead in the grass about five yards from the edge of the road. Something that looked like a pile of laundry with legs. I took my foot off the gas, pulled the truck over and stopped at the side of the road. Solow’s baritone howls sounded urgent.

My flip flops tramped through foot-high grass full of bugs, burrs and other prickly things which I mostly ignored as my eyes focused on the curious mound of clothing ahead of me. I tried to tell myself it was just a fallen scarecrow. Traffic was light, but Solow barked when an eighteen-wheeler shook my truck as it whooshed by. I wondered how much it would cost to put my poor dog in therapy.

“Oh, no,” I whispered as I approached a body lying face down. Had I found the dead body of a child? My heart pounded in my ears as a flash of hot fear shot through my flesh. Should I touch it to be sure? I looked around. No help in sight. I stepped closer, leaned down and touched a skinny arm with my finger. Surprisingly, the smooth, light brown skin was warm. Maybe it had been warmed by the mid-afternoon sun. I bent down to the head full of long tangled black hair.

“Help … me.”

I jumped back several feet. It was alive. I looked up and down the road for help. No one in sight. I crept back to the petite person lying in the weeds.

“Help me, por favor.” The voice was so weak I could barely make out the words. The head moved to one side. Big brown eyes looked up at me for a second and then closed. I squatted down beside the stranger.

“Open your eyes if you can hear me,” I said. The eyes opened. Solow howled. “Quiet!” I yelled. The body shivered. “Sorry, I didn’t mean you … it’s my dog.”

I sat down beside the little Jane Doe. She was definitely female even though she wore men’s baggy, rolled up Levis and a big blue T-shirt. A yellow cap lying near her foot caught my eye. She tried to roll over, so I helped her. Two cars zoomed by, but no one stopped. My mouth dropped open when I saw her face full of cuts and bruises, but the injuries would not be the only things that stunned me.


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