This is the second chapter of a book draft. I am pleased to share it with you on this platform in hopes I will receive interesting comments and feedback about the story. I am writing it with the hope it appeals to a youthful audience, both chronologically and spiritually speaking. I plant to share a chapter at least weekly. If you have read the first chapter, thank you. If not, please go there first.
Chapter Two —
The next morning, they decided to get out of the area early and fast. They would stop for breakfast in the next town because they had some fruit they could feed the child to hold him over until then. And he accepted it gladly and ate it quickly. Since they now knew what direction the carnival was traveling, they knew they would head off in a different direction. He spread out the map just before they pulled away from the motel and suggested they take off for Spradenburg since it appeared to be less than an hour away to the southwest and that would put them there at about normal breakfast time. They had filled up the truck’s gas tank the evening before so there was nothing to keep them from hustling on down the road.
If the sheriff did decide to track down the license number on the truck, he would learn that it was registered to Earl and Etta May Watson of Moberly, Missouri. But that wasn’t who they were. They were Ben and Martha Post, and they had borrowed the truck from the Watsons two weeks ago. They planned to either return it or pay a fair price for it sometime in the future when things were better because they were not thieves. The Watsons were friends of the family and agreed to loan the truck to the Posts indefinitely because it was a vehicle they didn’t need or use and they were just trying to help out a young couple who were just trying to find their way in tough times. But if the sheriff checked it out, he would most likely suspicion that it might be a stolen vehicle because it would take quite some time to track down the Watsons and verify that it was not. Ben was quite aware of this possibility and he silently prayed that they did not do or say anything accidentally that would cause the sheriff to put any extra effort into investigating that strange phone call.
The first stop for Ben and Martha after they were loaned the truck was just after they crossed over the Missouri and Kansas border at Baxter Springs. They stopped into a café on the main street of town to have a sandwich before they continued on west on Highway 166 to points unknown at that moment. When they finished their meal and walked back out to the truck, they found a small lad sitting calmly on the running board. He was wearing tattered looking clothes and a small hat with a brim on it, making him look for all the world like a miniature hobo. But the calm, deliberate expression on his face was disarming and stirred great curiosity in Ben and Martha.
“What do you suppose this might be about?” Ben asked as he looked at Martha.
Martha just kept her gaze on the boy and didn’t answer. She had no idea what to say or think about what she was seeing. She had a strong, womanly intuitive feeling come over her almost immediately. She felt this young boy was sitting on their truck running board on purpose, as if he knew who he was waiting for. But that feeling was very unsettling to her. A voice inside her told her that their lives were about to change in a big and unimaginable way! She never could have guessed just how correct that feeling would turn out to be.
“Hello, young man! Can we help you today?” Martha asked as she smiled as warmly as she possibly could. The boy just stared at her with a totally calm face that displayed no expression at all. He appeared to be maybe four or five years old, so she had to believe he could probably talk. He had unusually sharp and mature features for otherwise looking so young. This added all the more to the mystic of his total appearance. And the wide brim had made him look like he was playing at being a grownup.
“How old are you, little fella?” Ben offered. Still no response, just a steady, calm, unexpressive stare. Ben and Martha looked at each other as if to silently ask, “Now what?”
Martha tried again. “Are you with anyone? Are you lost? Do you live here? Can we help you find your parents?”
Ben interrupted, “That’s a lot of questions for a little fella that doesn’t look a day over five years old! Let’s ask him where his momma is.”
“Well, if you think you have a better way of getting something out of him, why don’t you go ahead and try?” she replied in a bit of a huff.
“Where’s your momma, young man?” Ben asked.
Nothing. Still nothing. Just that calm stare.
“Look, little buddy, we have to hit the road. So unless you want to come with us, you need to just move along and find your parents, or go back where you came from, okay?” Ben continued.
“Wow, you really have a way with children, there, Mr. Magic!” Martha chided and started laughing. Ben had to laugh, too, at his unproductive efforts to get a response out of the boy. While they were continuing to ask each other what to do now, the boy quickly and agilely climbed into the back of the truck and sat down on a suitcase lying on the bed. This was starting to get interesting, but neither of them had a clue just how much yet!
“No, no! You can’t do that! You can’t come with us. What are you doing?” Ben protested.
“Drive! Let’s go!” the boy finally said, while he pointed at the cab of the truck in the direction of the steering wheel.
“What the….” Ben stuttered. Martha’s face was just an expression of total confusion. She had no idea what to say or do. Ben just stared at the young boy, then at Martha, then back at the boy. He didn’t want to get physical with him, not on a main street in a strange town. That was a sure formula for a lot of trouble! That’s when their confusion was solved.
“No momma! No papa! Take me! I will help you!” The boy said in such a stern and resolute manner that it caused Ben and Martha’s jaws to drop.
Ben just looked at Martha and said, “Let’s just go!”
And with that, they started to get into the truck. But Martha realized they could not possibly leave this boy in the back of the truck while they were driving down the highway. So she knew she had to appeal to him to climb into the cab with them. She then looked him in the eye very forcefully and gave him and ultimatum.
“You can’t ride back there. Either you get up here in the cab with us, or we will not take you with us!”
The boy quietly climbed out of the bed of the truck and stepped into the cab and took his place in the middle of the seat between Ben and Martha. That was that. He was coming with them and they were on the way. Ben quickly scanned up and down the street to see if anyone had been witnessing this event, even though the duration couldn’t have lasted more than five minutes in total. It appeared to him that no one was aware of any of it and they would be able to slip out of town unnoticed.
“What in the world have we done? What have we gotten ourselves into here? I can’t believe we have kidnapped a little boy. This feels so creepy!” Martha lamented. “But something tells me we were chosen and we are supposed to do this.” She continued.
With that comment, the boy looked up at her and smiled at her as he laid his hand on hers. It seemed he wanted to assure her that he understood her comment and that she was right about her presumption. Martha smiled back, but she was really befuddled about what had just taken place.