Installment 1: Gwen Tweedy:
Round Robin - May 3, 2003
Susan sat nervously forward in her seat clasping and unclasping her tiny hands. How did she get on this bus anyhow? Let's see. Her head ached so abominably and her brain was so foggy from the past few days that she didn't honestly remember. Was it a cab ride to the bus station? Yes, it must have been. She didn't own a car -- at least not now anyway. It was gone! along with most of her possessions except the clothes on her back. No suitcase was at her feet nor in the underneath luggage rack. All she had was a small hand bag with really very little money because she had spent it all on...
She glanced down at her bag in sheer wonder and stark terror. She opened her bag and pulled out the only thing that would tell her what she had done -- a ticket stub to where? Florida? Who did she know in Florida? Absolutely noone! So why was she going there? She didn't truly know but that she had to get away! She really had no choice -- really. He had driven her to it, made her do it in a large sense.
So here she was on this crowded bus with crying babies, and snoring men and noisy women and young children going who knows where.
Installment 2: Jeff Imbody:
Susan stared at the ticket for a moment longer, thoughts wirling like sparrows trapped in a windstorm, and then pressed it deep into her pocket, wanting to brush away any momory of where she had been and where she was going, and why. The thoughts clung to her mind, relentless burs that dug into her trying to make her pay attention to them. She pushed one small, nail-bitten finger over her forehead to remove a lock of stray, mouse-brown hair from her eyes, and glanced out the window next to her, looking for anything to distact her from the prickly memories trying desperately to surface.
Her attention focused on a blue Ford mustang riding along side the bus, close enough she thought to touch. She could only see the top of the car, only knew the make and model because that was the kind of car she and Allen had bought when they....(she pushed the thought vigorously away as it tried to surface). Her head almost slammed back into her seat as she pulled her focus away from the window and towards the seat next to her's. Susan could just make out the outline of the boy how was sitting there. He could not have been more than eight, long, scraggly blonde hair curling around his head, trying desperately to stay attached, eyes closed peacefully in the act of sleep. How old would Justin be now if Allen hadn't...It was all she could do to keep from punching the seat arm to force the memory from her head. It seemed no matter where she looked, the past was determined to come back to her, flowing over her mind in merciless waves, each one more persistant then the other.
Her hands began to tremble, and a single tear fell down her cheek, tracing a line over her jaw and coming to rest on the edge of her chin before falling, lost, to the floor below. She knew how that tear felt...here she was, lost and alone, and running from something, from someone, that frightened her so much, that she had to sneak away from everything she knew like a coward instead of facing up to the man and all he had done to her.
Sleep came to her somewhere in the dark, mercifully like the strong, gentle wings of a dove, and her fears and memories, and frustration and anguish were lost fora short time in the dim glow of the light from the overhead lamps, and the soft, low murmers of sleeping breath.
Installment 3: Joyce Handzo:
Susan awoke with a start. Something was different.
Her eyes struggled to see in the dim light. She heard, rather than saw, the boy next to her stir in his sleep.
Susan stood and looked around the bus. All was quiet. And then she realized, it was too quiet! The bus wasn't moving!
Susan cautiously walked down the aisle to the front seats. She heard voices. Men's voices. They seemed to be trying to speak quietly but there was an edge of anger in their conversation.
The bus driver was standing outside talking- or maybe arguing with a man. Susan couldn't see the man's face. But she did see the three police cars that screeched to a stop. Their flashing lights made strange shadows leap and dance on the walls of the bus.
Susan leaned over a sleeping passenger to get a better look out the window. The bus driver's arms were pumping angrily as he struggled to make his point. Suddenly the other man turned and looked into the window of the bus. Susan gasped.
Oh no! It couldn't be! What is he doing here?
Installment 4: Matthew Imbody:
The man's eyes met with Susan's in the dim light of the approaching sunrise. He stopped mid-sentence, and fixed his gaze angrily upon her. His mouth drew open slightly, and he slowly and meticulously mouthed three words -- words meant only for her -- "Just like Justin"
Alan stood motionless for what seemed like several minutes. He just stared at Susan menacingly. The driver tried to get between them, and regain Alan's attention, but his efforts were to no avail. Alan had found what he was looking for, and was no longer interested in argument.
Finally, as she stood frozen, lost in her nightmares of the past–finally, Susan's worst fears were realized as Alan pushed his way past the protesting bus driver, and made his way towards the open door of the bus. Then, the terror that Susan had grown to know all to well, rose up inside of her, and she turned and fled towards the back of the bus. Panic had taken over -- her mind's floodgates burst, and she was overwhelmed with the thoughts and memories that she had struggled so long to suppress. She had no idea that three policemen had met Alan several feet away from the bus, and she wasn't aware that the cuffs had snapped into place around his wrists. She only knew that she had to get away!
The alarm pierced the early morning as Susan pushed the emergency exit open. The little blonde boy jumped and began to cry. Through her own tears, Susan stumbled off the vehicle and rushed headlong into the woods along the highway. There would be no Florida now, she thought as she desperately made her way through the brush and trees. No, this was as far as she was going–and this place would have to do -- wherever it was...
Installment 5: Denise Imbody:
As Susan ran as fast as she could into the woods, without even looking back for a second, she found herself crying out, "HELP! Somebody, HELP me! Please!" Suddenly there appeared out of nowhere a kindly looking gentlemen. Susan saw him, as she continued to run, but he firmly said, "Susan, stop!"
Without hesitating for a minute, and not sure why, she stopped dead in her tracks. Turning around to see the man who addressed her, she fell, exhausted at his feet. She burst into tears, and said, "I am so tired, and I just can't do it anymore."
As she sobbed bitterly, he reached out his hand, and took hers. "Susan, stand up." As he said this, he helped her to her feet.
Her eyes met his eyes, and for some reason she had experienced a feeling that she had never known before. She saw love, and compassion, and immediately the tears stopped. Peace washed over her, like she had never felt before, as he began to speak to her.
"Susan, you need to stop running now." He said in a most reassuring voice.
"Who are you?" Susan asked in a puzzled voice.
"There is no need to be afraid anymore. Now, go back to the bus. They're waiting for you." Then as suddenly as he appeared, he left.
Susan dropped to her knees, and began to pray, "God, I am not really a praying woman, but I need Your help. Please be with me."
With a new strength, she stood up, and headed back to the bus. As she made her way back, some of the people, from the bus, met her. One of the ladies, about Susan's age, said, "Oh, Susan, we were so worried about you," as she wrapped her arms around her, and hugged her so tight.
Susan thought how strange that was to hear, especially from someone who didn't even really know her. Overwhelmed with all that had happened, and was continuing to happen, she stood there wondering what was going on.
To Be Completed!
Back to Round Robin page
Check out our other Round Robins:
Leaf - Sept.1, 2002
The Cabin - Sept 25, 2002
Jenny - October 30, 2002
Contact us: E-mail: admin@JEMMinistries.org
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. --1 Thessalonians 5:16-22