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Rescuing a Snow Angel — Episode 02
Writer’s Note: Character’s in this story are of legal age of consent for sex. The reference to sex is consensual and heterosexual. The main character experiences a PTSD-POW episode and may not be suitable for some readers — its depth of anxiety is more than in the first episode so if you have similar experiences, I would hesitate to have you read this one.
Thanks to those who took the time to provide feedback on the other story line! It really helps me stay inspired and to continue these writings. And thank you for such good ratings!
My Journal — My Journey
Now, day two, into my living quarters arrangement with the project manager, I pulled my collar tightly against my neck and stepped out into the dawn’s dim light. The overnight mixture of heavy snow and freezing rain had turned the hotel parking lot into an ice-skating rink and it was damn near impossible to stand up on the sidewalks. Holding on to anything I could grasp, I made my way around the perimeter looking for signs of entry by vagrants. This morning, I was following Chris Mortenson’s version of general order number two: ‘To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.’
As I trudged over the icy encrusted snow, the only sounds I heard came from the crunching of my boots breaking through the top layers of ice — crunch, pop, and the rhymical snapping that echoed from the building’s hard surfaces. Carefully, I made my way around the complex. My tracks were all that I saw; a good sign, I noted as I carefully made my way around the backside of the building.
How Rachel, my snow angel rescue, had made her way to the Greyhound bus station for the sojourn to South Bend in this weather, weighed heavily on my mind. I just hoped that the Greyhounds were running up the I-75 corridor toward Indiana without much delay. Christmas was just two days away. I could only imagine how surprised her parents would be to find her on their doorsteps. She had not been in contact with them, according to her, and had been wandering around the states for four years; in a homeless state of being.
I imagined her skinny body, bundled up in Murphy’s ragged Army field jacket, reaching for the front door knocker and giving it a soft wrap. From somewhere in the recesses of my brain, came a familiar thought, ‘Knock and it shall be opened to you,’ I hoped that was the way she was received at her parent’s home shortly before Christmas. I hoped they pulled her into their arms and beat back the demons that drove her away from them so long ago. Certainly, she was trying to stave them off in the early morning hours as she rode and pounded me to ecstasy this morning — and then pilfered a hundred bucks from my wallet as she left me sleeping off my sexual exhaustion. The corners of my mouth turned upward at the thoughts of her plunging up and down on me as the sweat rolled down her face. It felt good — the sex certainly helped beat down a couple of my demons!
My thoughts abruptly halted as I noted the maintenance room’s entryway door slightly ajar. I had not spotted it open after midnight, but there were no signs of tracks entering or exiting the area. Guess, it was left open by the construction crew. I launched my one-hundred-ninety-five pounds against it and banged my shoulder into the steel door, breaking the icy grip that held it frozen to the cement slab. With a metallic groan, it gave way. A cursory survey found the dark room void of life — just filled with some tools and bags of stuff. Among the scattered items, I found a snow shovel, an ice spud, and two bags of rock salt. In the corner was a dilapidated salt spreader and I took that out as well. I also grabbed an old boom-box from a table and put it inside the spreader before making my way back to the front office. The ‘sounds of silence’ in the office apartment was getting on my nerves. Perhaps a little background chatter would dull some of my more pensive thoughts. The books I had bought to while away the time until I started my new job, certainly didn’t handle that very well.
Setting the radio in the office, I stepped back outside and began to chip away at the icy doorway and then cut a path out to my truck spreading a trail of salt as I went. The snow angel imprint of Rachel’s body on the hood of my truck was now readily visible in the morning light. So was the totally encrusted doorhandle and ice-laden windshield — no way I was going to jerk that door open anytime soon. So, I headed inside for coffee and breakfast. It was time to get warmed up. At least I had honored my agreement with Mortenson to check for vagrants, today.
Plugging the old radio in, I was glad to find it working and dialed in a local station. The tail end of Janice Joplin’s distinctive voice filled the silence —
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me
A Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches
I must make amends
I worked hard all my lifetime
No help escort sincan from my friends
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me
A Mercedes Benz?
The banter from the radio and the announcer’s local news and weather forecast occupied, then slowly diminished, the anxiety levels created by the previous day’s stark silence. I found myself jumping at the creaks and pops of the metal building structures as they reacted to the increasingly colder weather. Finishing my oatmeal and bacon for breakfast I was startled as the gate alarm rang. For an instant, I found myself reaching for my weapon, then cursed. ‘Fuck you! You’re not in the Army anymore sergeant! Get your head out of your ass!’ the crystal-clear image of my M-16 leaned against a hooch was right there! I saw it as clear as day and then it faded as I sprang from my chair toward it. Bad way to start the fucking day!
‘Back to reality, dufass’ I thought. I grabbed my jacket and gloves, heading out the door to find out who was at the gate. I heard the clatter of the gate’s chain fighting against the ice-filled links as it started opening as I headed toward it. Guess someone has the code, also. According to Mr. Mortenson, no one was supposed to be on the premises until Friday.
A four-wheel drive truck with a hydraulic snowblade pulled into the lot and stopped. Despite the cold, there was no visible exhaust — an indication that the truck was on the move for some time. The truck bed was stacked with sandbags for weight, adding to its mass for traction. The driver had spotted me ambling toward him. If I were a betting man, I’d allow this guy was here on business. The bundled-up figure pushed open the truck door and slid to the ground as the other door opened and a second pair of boots landed. Barely five foot tall it seemed, the diminutive figure called out, “Hello! I’m Gabriella! This is my sister Carmen! We’re here to clean the lot! Chris sent us!”
The driver was certainly animated as she waved in every direction at once. She seemed to have all the energy and commotions of a squirrel racing up a tree with a mouth full of acorns. She gestured to the snow and waved her hands back and forth in the air as justification for her presence. Then, stopping in mid-conversation, she froze asking, “Are you Jim Rawlings?”
“That would be me.” I answered trying to determine if I was having double vision — or just staring at an identical set of twins standing side-by-side before me. I couldn’t help but smile back as their bright eyes glistened and broad smiles spread across the fur enclosed faces of the plowgirls before me.
“Then you’re in luck, Jim!” she said as she reached in her parka to retrieve an envelope. “Chris says to give you this if I saw you, today.”
I tucked the envelope into my jacket having thanked her for the delivery. Later, I would be pleasantly surprised to find another three hundred dollars and a note to meet Mr. Mortenson next Monday after Christmas to discuss lodging.
The driver was clearly no stranger to that big plow, as she deftly cut her way through the massive drifts and skillfully banked the snow against the fence lines. Meanwhile, her sister set to work spreading sand along the walkways to add traction for the soon to return workers. I grabbed another bag of sand and started spreading it along the main sidewalk.
“We got this!”
I heard the words ringout over the sounds of the roaring truck engine and the clatter of the blade scraping over the concrete parking lot. I turned to reply that it was okay; that I didn’t have anything better to do so I could just help them out. As I turned back to the task at hand, I heard the voice shout again.
I responded as I whirled back around, not sure of what I heard, “What did you say?”
“Watch the ice!” I heard her answer again, and grin, as though repeating her first comment.
Over the roar of the truck, maybe ‘watch the ice’ was what she said — but it sure sounded like the former! I helped spread a few more bags and then headed inside to put on a pot of coffee for my comrades-in-arms. On a cold morning like this, coffee was always a welcome ally.
By the time the pot was done, I could hear the truck idling and then cut off. The silence of the vacant building returned. I poured two mugs of java and was about to round the corner of the building when I heard the girls talking and stopped to listen.
“He’s got a nice ass, Gabby. And he’s cute, too!”
“Yea, I saw cute, too, but you can’t tell me he has a nice ass! His coat is covering it up! You just made that up, sister. You’d jump anything in a pair of pants,” came Gabriella’s rejoinder.
“Okay, okay, so I didn’t see his ass, but I say, we knock him out, drag him back inside, and jump his bones all weekend!” Carmen giggled as she shot back with another sassy reply.
“Like we would really do that, you know! Besides he looks like he could take both of us with one hand tied behind his back.” Came a mirthful response from Gabriella.
“Now that’s what I’m ankara escort talk’n about, girl! Then let’s tie both his hands and then see if he can take both of us! I’d fuck him to the cows come home!” she burst out laughing.
“Dammit, it cold!” was the next words I heard. It was then I found a breaking point in the conversation and walked around the corner. Both girls looked up, a bit surprised to see me coming with steaming mugs.
Surprise turned to smiles again as I handed them the coffee mugs. “Thanks, Mr. Jim! And Merry Christmas!” The girls exchanged glances with a hint of impishness in their smiles — the mental telepathy of twins flowing between them, no doubt.
As the girls stood sipping the coffee, we exchanged small talk. I found out they were locals, fresh out of high school and working in a joint business adventure. Their dad had run a lawn and snowplow business, which they inherited this past summer. I shared the fact that I just arrived in the city and would be starting a new job with Worthington and Worthington Accounting. Their eyes lit up at mentioning Mr. Worthington’s place; he is also one of their clients as it turns out; with mutual reciprocity. He also handles their accounting, something I would probably be involved in at some point as we figured out how my forensic accounting specialty would fit into the Worthington client services. ‘Got to respect a man who runs a flag up the pole every day.’ They mentioned when talking about his business.
I noticed neither of the girls drank very much of the coffee and from the grimaces on their faces, I began to figure out that they were cream and sugar girls. I invited them back to the office to doctor up their drinks. Army coffee was pretty much black and strong enough to be cut with a bayonet in most places I had been. I’d not thought of that in my filling and carrying out the mugs to them. They acknowledged that my hunch was right about the cream and sugar and acceded as to how they’d appreciate some; but the strong coffee was just right! They might have been saying that out of politeness I suppose. But, from their demeanor, I felt they were raised to be respectful and socially responsible — not the kind of girls to tie someone up and jump their bones, maybe.
My thoughts wondered back a few years as we walked to the office. No one would be tying up my arms, again, as long as I had breath to prevent it. I’d spent nearly three months bound, gagged, beaten, and up to my neck in a pit filled with shit and water to please my tormentors. Not going to happen, ever again I vowed after I’d watched the last of them lying in the jungles, gunned down by my Recon Ranger rescuers. Hope to hell their bones never got buried and were left to rot in the jungles of ‘nam. Fuck’m!
Just then a shiver ran down my spine; whether from the thoughts running crazy through my head just now, or the cold, I couldn’t say which one caused it. But the rush of anger that mixed with my emotions was leaning to the vivid images of the past rushing into the present and overpowering my senses. I stifled the anger and tried my best to even out my breathing before reaching the office door. I recognized the onset of another panic attack.
It might be better to hustle the girls on their way and take my anger out in solitude. And as luck would have it, Gabby happened to check her watch and exclaimed, “Holy Sh.. Smokes! Carmen, we gotta get going! We’re late for the Foodmarket plow! They open in an hour. Sorry, Jim, we got to run, but we can stop back for coffee another day. That is, if you’d like us to?”
I nodded as the girls shuffled out to their truck, waved good-bye, and steered their way back out of the gate onto the four-lane and disappeared down the empty roadway. With the holiday just around the corner and the heavy snow conditions, there were few vehicles on the roads.
I fought back the temptation to smash the cups into smithereens and focused instead on the Major’s mantra for me, “Watch the sunset, sergeant. Focus on the ball of fire. Push your anger into it. Let its glow fill your eyes; watch it dip below the horizon growing dark; watch it fade from sight. Let it take your anger down with the darkness. Now breathe, breathe slowly, breathe deeply, and exhale gently; feel the ropes untying and sliding away. Let them follow the anger as it sinks into the last of the sun’s glow. Close your eyes and rest, sergeant, breathe and exhale gently. Let your anger flow away into the darkness.”
The bitter cold sent a shiver through me. The cold for sure this time as I became aware of myself flat-assed on the cold cement with my back against the wall and my arms wrapped around my drawn-up knees. Just rocking back and forth as I sank into another trip down into the tiger pit.
I could hear the faint voice of Janis coming from the window above me …
… My friends all drive Porsches
I must make amends
I worked hard all my lifetime
No help from my friends
Oh Lord, …
I don’t remember much of the rest of the etimesgut escort bayan day. Somehow, I must have struggled to my feet and made my way inside. I just woke up, flat on my back in bed, as the sun was disappearing over the horizon. Got to get out, got to follow the 1st General Order. ‘I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.’ I can’t let Mortenson down! I could sense the tenseness in my bones as my muscles fought against the ropes.
“Jimmy, you okay, now?” I heard a soft, unfamiliar voice whispering beside me.
Turning my head, my eyes focused on the concerned look of a short-haired brunette pixie. It was joined by another identical head floating just beyond it. “Hello, girls,” I managed to get out a weak reply. I felt drained and struggled to sit up. They took my arms and helped steady me on the edge of the bed. It’s been a long time since a panic episode hit me this badly. The last one cost me five days of class time while I was locked away in my dorm room. Fortunately, that time, Gennie rescued me. She came looking for sex, to take the edge off of an upcoming exam, and found me huddled up in a corner. I scared the shit out of her, I guess, because a med team showed up and was strapping me down in short order despite my protests that I was …
“So …” I managed to squeeze all my thoughts of how I wound up in bed and how they came to be at my side into that one word.
“We came back after our afternoon rounds to see if you would like to come over to our place for dinner and found you still outside on the sidewalk. Gabby and I managed to get you on your feet and half-carried you inside. You’ve been out of it for about four hours.” Carmen answered in response to my ‘so’ question.
“Do we need to take you to see your doctor, Jimmy?” Gabby asked.
“Or the Major?” Carmen asked as her eyes focused on my hands. I could tell from her response that I must have been holding an incoherent therapy session with my shrink again in my unconscious state. Otherwise, they would not have known anything about the Major. I was left wondering just what I had revealed.
“The Major is in North Carolina, girls, too far a journey back there. I’ll be okay, now, at least for a while. My last panic episode was over eight months ago when I was a graduate student. Guess this one came on when I heard you talking about tying me up. I’ve had some bad experiences with that.”
Their eyes widened and their mouths dropped at the realization that I’d overheard their afternoon conversation. Then the dawning of the connection of my reaction to their remarks came a few seconds later. The results were audible gasps followed by extreme, agitated apologies by both girls at the same time.
Over the next hour, I found myself revealing, to a small extent, my POW days and my struggle toward a new normalcy in post-therapy sessions. I focused on my not being a total nut case — and — being very grateful for their finding and caring for me in this episode of distress. I’d learned from the Major that sharing too much background could only bring on more angst for myself and for those with whom I shared my story. Less is more, it’s said. I gave them the less version of me.
They spent much of that evening watching over me — in part because of a shared sense of guilt that they played some causative roll in the chain of events. They were making sure, in their minds, that I was going to be okay when they left for the evening.
On Christmas day, they hosted a quiet dinner for the three of us at their place, giving me their lusty version of themselves. We exchanged ‘presents’ that evening — pity sex — I think they call it, today. We sort of bonded — without ropes — and as flower children of the ’70’s they freely enjoyed jumping my bones as Carmen described it earlier the day before. I called it a good weekend enjoyed by all. By Monday morning, I would be ready to have that discussion with Mr. Mortenson about living quarter arrangements and adjust to Mr. Worthington’s first day of work.
Plenty of sex has a way of assuaging fears. I think I’ll send a letter with my recommendation to that affect back to the Major in my next progress update. I’m confident that including that into the Army’s restoration practices would be well received by vets — especially when it includes getting someone to jump your bones as part of the plan! I had two participants that I could highly recommend in mind.
My trip back to the empty, dilapidated hotel had me thinking about Rachel again and how her Christmas day was spent. I wish that she had left me a way to contact her. Hell, even if I had her last name, I could have at least tried to find out how many families there might be in South Bend with the same name. Perhaps I could do some library research in the evening when I got settled into the new job. Could do some newspaper researching on missing or run-a-way children’s articles in the South Bend Indiana area about four years ago, I suppose as a start. Although she seemed to display few redeeming qualities, she still piqued my interest as someone salvageable. These last thoughts ran through my mind as sleep flowed over my well jumped bones and kept away the invading dreams of years ago.
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