This is only part of Chapter 6 I hope you enjoy.
Charlie couldn’t talk Allie into going to the church festival, so she went alone. When she arrived and heard they were going to be short-handed, she jumped at the opportunity to help. The puppet show started at six and ended at eight, so they could have everything wrapped up before it got too late. Halloween night on the back streets of Chicago could get scary.
It was nine forty-five when Charlie, Nyssa, Joe, Tracy and Donna finished cleaning up and locked the church doors. They walked to the parking lot and stood talking.
“We sure appreciate all your hard work.” Pastor Tracy once again shook Charlie’s hand, and then turned to his wife and smiled, “I guess we should go pick up the kids.” Donna nodded and the two walked off leaving Nyssa, Joe and Charlie to say their goodnights.
“We need to get our kids, too. I'm sure glad Nyssa's folks volunteered to take them home so we could help clean up.” Joe moved to his cruiser and motioned to his wife. “I’ll follow you home. No speeding! I’d hate to pull you over and give you a ticket.” Joe started to leave but turned as his wife spoke.
“You better not give me a ticket, Joe Morganson. I’ll give you a trick instead of a treat.” Nyssa laughed and winked at Charlie as she unlocked the minivan. She and Charlie got in, buckled up and were on their way.
It was a short ride from the church to Allie’s apartment, so Charlie and Nyssa were in no hurry to part ways. They were talking about next week’s service, and when Joe flashed his lights, Nyssa laughed. “Well, I better get moving. Joe’s tired, and I don’t want to push my luck. He’s not usually willing to help me do anything at church, so I was thankful he came.”
“Well, he picked a good night to go. You guys did a great job tonight. I loved the play.”
“Thanks. I hope you can come again. If you need a ride, call. The church owns a bus, and the number’s on the pamphlet the ushers passed out.”
“That’s good to know. Taking cabs can get expensive.” Charlie glanced into the mirror. “I better let you go. Thanks again for the ride.” Charlie opened the door and climbed out of the van.
“Anytime,” Nyssa added as Charlie closed the door.
Charlie walked up the stairs and was stepping into the building as Joe and Nyssa left. She turned when she heard a rustling sound. She glanced down the stairs and saw something white in the bushes.
She leaned over the rail peeking down into the dark shrubs. There, with its head stuck in a bag, was a snow-white cat. “Hey there. What are you eating?”
Charlie pulled out a flashlight, shining it in the direction of the cat and couldn’t help but notice the orange pumpkin smiling back at her. She hurried down the steps and walked around to the shrubs. She knelt down, reached in, and pulled the bag off kitty’s head, confirming it came from the church.
She took the sandwiches out, stuffed the bag into her pocket and laid the scraps on the ground for the kitten. The cat purred as she stroked its soft fur. Charlie quickly remembered she was on the streets of Chicago, and not in the suburbs of Ohio, so she glanced over her shoulder.
She was about to stand when once again she heard a rustling sound. Thinking it might be another cat; she moved the beam of light from side to side. When she saw a man’s hand, she fell backwards and screamed. For a moment she sat there, inches away from the fallen man.
It came to her as she began to move; this man was at church tonight. The bag had been inches from his hand. “Hey! Are you okay?” She moved to get on her knees as she began to pray. It was tempting to run inside the building and call the police.
As she was thinking about leaving, the story of The Good Samaritan came to her mind. She couldn’t just leave him there alone. “Sir. Wake up.”
After a moment she could see the man’s hand start to move. “Are you okay, do you need an ambulance?” She watched as he tried to rise to his knees. She hurried to her feet and helped him to stand.
In the process, she dropped her flashlight. She left it lying in the bushes and helped the man out of the shrubs.
“If you can walk, I’ll help you into the building, then we can call the police.” She still couldn’t see his face, but by his build and clothes she could tell he wasn’t an elderly person.
“I need to get some of this mud off. I don’t need the police now. I was mugged, I’ll be fine.”
Charlie looked up and down the street, Could the muggers still be around? She looked at the man. As he moved toward the light she could see him better.
His face was bleeding and caked in mud. “You don’t look okay to me.”
“I will be. I need to wash up and be on my way.”
The idea of taking a stranger into the apartment was intimidating but she couldn’t leave him alone. He was bleeding and he’d be a good target for another mugging. She wondered for a moment if The Good Samaritan wanted to run and hide instead of help.