It was late at night as Rosie crossed town in her ancient mini, trying to peer through the windscreen as the wipers flip-flopped in an effort to clear the rain. Her greatest concern was whether she had enough petrol to get her home safely. Her benefit was due tomorrow, but her friend's cry for help had caused her to take this risk, and she was now questioning the wisdom of her decision.
Phut..Phut..the engine began to struggle with the lack of fuel, and she had to let the car run on empty as she pulled to the side of the road. She locked the car, pulling her coat around her as the rain lashed down. Longing for the safety andcomfort of her small flat, she decided to take the shortest route home, despite the fact that this would take her through a dodgy area.
As she hurried along, three figures emerged from a doorway, one blocking her way and the others beginning to surround her. Too late, she realised that this area was as bad as she had heard. The young woman grabbed her bag, as another held by her upper arms. She watched, stunned as they rifled through her bag, throwing her few possessions to the ground. It was when they realised that her purse contained only a few pence, that she thought things were going to turn really nasty. Holding her chin, one of the muggers forced her to part with her PIN number, though she knew perfectly well that her account was empty. The young woman then spotted the wristwatch on her hand, and tore it off leaving her sore and bruised. Finding nothing else that they might usefully sell to feed their craving for drugs, they threw her to the ground, striking her head against the kerb, where she lay in a puddle at the side of the road.
A few miles away, the inter-city train approached its destination, and the Bishop stood to collect
his cases as he returned from the General Synod. It had been a long but rewarding week, culminating in officiating at a Communion Service. Now his busy week had finished. Tired, but content, he was looking forward to returning to his Bishop's Palace, where he very much hoped that the long-awaited jacuzzi was now operational. Anticipating the relaxing soak, with a glass of his favourite tipple in hand he would take his well-earned rest.
Further back the train, unable to afford first class like the Bishop, another tired but content member of the Church was arriving home from the same event. He was in high spirits, longing to tell his wife- and anyone that would listen- that his fifty years as a Reader, had now been recognised with being awarded Emeritus status. Years earlier, he had longed for ordination and the opportunity to celebrate the sacraments, but after three unsuccessful selection conferences, he had to settle for a different ministry. Deep down he had always resented this. Tonight however, he was celebrating; His paper on Social Justice had been well received, and there may be a book opportunity in the pipeline. "Emeritus", he repeated to himself, sounding each of the syllables, and finishing with a satisfying "s" sound. How he liked the sound of this.
Outside the station, as the Bishop looked for his chauffeur-driven car, he noticed what at first appeared to be a pile of rags in the gutter. Despite the tell-tale blood seeping onto the ground, he crossed the road, and headed for the comforts of his home.
Leaving the station just a few minutes later, the newly appointed Reader Emeritus, headed for the nearby taxi-rank. He looked at the crumpled figure lying by the roadside, whom despite the
muffled groans, he assumed to be the worse for drink. Ignoring the figure, he crossed over to the row of waiting taxis.
As Rosie lay in the road,wet through and throbbing from her bruises, she heard the sound of a motor-bike. She feared the worst as it slowed down, and came to a halt beside her. Almost resigned that this leather-clad figure would now finish off what the others had started, she braced herself for the worst.
As he removed his helmet, long hair tumbled to his shoulders, and she spotted a range of metal piercings in his ears and nose. Unexpectedly, she found herself looking into the kindest eyes she had ever seen. Gently he assured her that he was not going to harm her, and helped her sit up. From his pocket he drew a half bottle of some spirit- Rosie didn't drink much herself- and brought it to her lips. She took a sip of the contents, and felt the rejuvenating effects course through her.
Lifting her to her feet, this man saw that she was in no fit state to look after herself, so he helped her onto his bike, which she later found out to be an impressive black and chromeHarley-Davidson. First he took her for a check-up at the nearest Accident and Emergency Department, where a young Policewoman later arrived to take her statement. There would be very little to go on, what with the dark and the rain, she had been unable to give any good descriptions.
In the early hours, Rosie was discharged and her kindly rescuer had remained. Sitting her on his bike, he took her to a Bed and Breakfast that was run by his Auntie. This lady has had a really rough time he told her. I want her to have a good breakfast, warm bath and a nice long sleep in a comfortable bed. Let her stay until she feels strong enough to go home. With that he handed his Auntie a bundle of crumpled notes which he drew from one of his many zipped pockets. If there's any more to pay, I'll settle up with you when I next come by. With that, he sped off to the bank to see if Rosie's Card could be cancelled. Her unexpected hero had thought of everything.
I live in the UK, and attend an evangelical Church of England, where I am training as a Reader, (lay preacher). I support the work of a Christian Healing Centre, and enjoy writing, particularly poetry.