Don’t know where this one came from or where it’s going. Not a fast paced one, so I hope you are willing to give this one a chance. Oh, and there are a few dragons here.
Jason pulled the cap down over his short cropped hair. It was a bad hair day and he couldn’t be bothered to wet his hair down. He tucked his flannel shirt into his worn jeans and then headed out the door. The pickup truck started up first time.
“Found On Road Dead my ass,” he said to the inside of his truck. His friends all laughed when he restored the 1954 Ford. He’d redone the paint. Green body and black fenders. He’d polished up the chrome and redone the wood slats in the truck bed. It was a beauty. It was his baby. It had been his dad’s first truck, and now it was his. Jason headed down the road to town. The old truck took the curves like it was on rails.
As he headed past the state camp ground something caught his eye. It was too late in the season for most campers, so he pulled into the parking lot. A car sat sideways in the lot, door open, lights on, and no one in sight.
Jason got out of the truck and walked over to the car slowly. It was a Subaru, and the insides were a mess. Trash everywhere and a dark stain on the dash. Jason took a closer look and realized it was blood. He looked around and saw no one. Checking out the ground he noticed another set of fresh tire tracks besides those of the Subaru and his truck. Walking around the car, he saw footprints and drag marks.
He looked around again and then headed to his truck. He grabbed his handgun out of the holster on the driver’s door and then locked his truck. He went back and started following the combination of bloody tracks and drag marks. They headed off into the forest. It wasn’t hard to track whoever had moved through the forest. Broken twigs, heel prints, and crushed plants marked the progress. Half a mile in, he heard whimpering. He stopped and looked around. Last thing he wanted to do was run into a hurt animal. He’d done that more than once as a kid and still had scars to show for it.
Jason moved slowly as he came closer to the noise. Looking through the foliage, he saw that there was a human laying in the leaf litter at the base of a tree. Someone had thrown branches and leaves over the person as if to bury them. He crouched and took a better look.
“Hello, you okay,” he asked quietly.
“Oh god! Help!” said a woman in a raspy voice.
Jason moved quickly, moving branches and debris to clear his way to the woman. She was tied up and tied to the tree as well. Bloody, beaten and nearly naked, Jason wasn’t sure how hurt she was.
“Lay still. I’ll cut you free. Hold on,” he said trying to comfort the crying woman. His belt knife cut through the rope and as soon as he could, he picked her up. Moving out from under the tree, he sat her down and took a look at her injuries. Bruises covered her face. She was cut and scratched from where she’d been dragged through the forest and she was naked from the waist down except for a pair of socks. Jason pulled off his flannel shirt and wrapped her in it. Then he picked her up and carried her back to his truck. She passed out.
Once he got to his truck, he grabbed the blanket from the back and wrapped her in it and buckled her into the seat. Then he got into his truck and headed to town. Jason drove straight to the hospital. It wasn’t a big one, but it was all they had up here in the mountains. He grabbed the woman out of the truck and headed in the emergency room doors.
“Hey! I have an injured woman here!” he hollered at Betsy. She was the nurse on duty.
“Oh god! What in the hell happened?” asked Betsy.
“I don’t know. Found her up at Three Rivers Campground,” said Jason. “We need to call the Sheriff. Found her tied to a tree and left to die.”
“Take her to treatment room two and I’ll call Dave,” said Betsy.
Jason nodded and headed to the room. He placed her gently on the exam table. Her eyes fluttered as he did so and when he went to let go of her, she grabbed his hand.
“Don’t leave me,” she said in a whisper.
“I won’t lady. Just don’t die on me,” he said.
Betsy came in a minute later. “Sheriff is on his way. Said for you to stay here,” she said.
“Can’t go anyway. She’s got my hand,” said Jason pointing to the woman’s bloodstained hand gripping his.
Betsy nodded and started to set up stuff to tend to the woman. She grabbed the trauma kit and evidence bag. She was just finishing up when Doc Stevens walked into the room.
“What do we have?” he asked of Betsy.
“Jason here found this woman tied to a tree down at Three Rivers,” said Betsy.
“Well, let’s see what we have,” said Doc. He unwrapped the woman and began to check her out. “Is this your shirt Jason?” he asked.
“Yeah Doc. My blanket too,” said Jason.
“We may need to hold on to them for evidence,” said Doc. “Now little lady, I need you to let go of Jason’s hand so we can have a look at you.”
“No,” she said with a whisper.
“Now you know we have to see what’s damaged, and,” he started.
“Don’t care. He can stay,” she said. “Scared. He saved me.”
“This is mighty irregular,” said Doc.
“Doc, I’ll just sit in this chair and face away if that’s alright,” said Jason. He didn’t know why, but he could feel that it was important to this woman that he stayed.
“I’m doing this under protest,” said Doc. “But just this once.”
“Thank you,” said the woman.
“What’s your name dear?” asked Betsy.
“Willow,” she said.
With that, Doc Stevens began to examine the woman. He knew that once the Sheriff got there that Jason would be asked to leave while they questioned the woman. She was covered in cuts and bruises that didn’t have anything to do with her being dragged through the forest. Betsy helped and collected samples from under her nails, and did the rape kit samples when it became obvious that the woman had been raped. Through it all, Jason held her hand and stared out into space.
Fifteen minutes later, Sheriff Dave Fletcher knocked on the door. He walked in as Doc was suturing a large cut on the woman’s arm.
“So, what do we have here?” he asked taking in the people in the room.
“I found this woman, Willow, up at Three Rivers Campground. She was tied to a tree and looked like she was left to die,” said Jason.
“And why do you say that?” asked Sheriff Fletcher.
“Cause she was dragged a half mile from a trashed car and not only tied to the damn tree, but covered up with branches and leaves,” said Jason. By this time, he’d had enough. He realized that no matter what she’d done, she didn’t deserve to die out in the forest.
“Okay. Let me send a deputy or two out there before it gets dark. Then I will be back to ask questions,” said the Sheriff. He stepped outside and called.
“Willow, I need to see your hand that Jason’s holding,” said Betsy.
Willow let go and Betsy cleaned it up and checked her hand. Then she let Willow grasp Jason’s hand. Sheriff Fletcher walked in and began to ask questions. Betsy and Doc left the room. The Sheriff let Jason stay. He understood how people needed anchors to reality. Especially when they’d been through hell. As the story unfolded, Jason did his best not to squeeze Willow’s hand. However, the arm of the chair he sat in would never be the same. Once the Sheriff was done, he left and Betsy came back in to escort Willow up to a room. Jason went with them. Once Willow was in bed, Betsy gave her some pain pills and a sedative. Twenty minutes later, Willow was asleep and Jason left the room.
Betsy was waiting for him. She had a cup of coffee and a sandwich for him. “Thought you might be hungry,” she said.
“Yeah,” he replied and sipped the coffee. He sat on the edge of the desk where Betsy was stationed.
“So, what happened?” Betsy asked.
“You mean you didn’t listen through the intercom?” he asked.
“No! Dammit Jason! Can you tell me?” she said.
“Yeah, You’ll hear about it soon enough as it is. Willow lives down at that hippy community about fifty miles south of here. These assholes came into the grocery store they have down there and started roughing people up,” Jason started.
“Assholes,” Betsy said.
“Agreed. Well, some of the men there called the police while others started moving the trouble makers out the door. One of the guys grabbed Willow and another woman and threw them in a car and headed to the mountains. The one guy drove while the others started beating and abusing the two women. They got to the campground and raped the one woman. Willow doesn’t know where she is. They left Willow in the Subaru I found while they dealt with the first one. Then it was Willow’s turn. The three of them raped her and then when the Subaru wouldn’t start, they called one of their friends. When he got there, he raped her too and then they hauled her into the forest and left her tied to a tree. Told her that’s where tree hugging dirt worshipers should be. She cried out until she didn’t have any voice left,” said Jason.
“Oh damn. I hope they find the other woman,” said Betsy.
“So do I. I also hope they find the men that did this,” said Jason. “Before I do,” he thought. Jason finished his sandwich and then headed out of the hospital to run his errands.