Story from Anne Hendricks-Jones

Minerva at School 

The phone rang and she picked it up, eyes still riveted on the news story she was watching about a school that was on lockdown due to an active shooting. Furious at yet another massacre and annoyed at the vibrating device, she turned away from the TV, immediately recognizing the voice on the other end. 

“Mom!” it said. She heard, in the familiar voice, gut-wrenching fear and slowly, unravelling self-control. That was all she needed.
“It’s Minnie Me’s school, isn’t it?”, she questioned, coldness beginning to seep throughout her whole body and various scenarios beginning to run through her brain.

“Yes. We’re here now. Macy’s getting oxygen because she had an anxiety attack, and we just don’t know what to do. The authorities won’t give us any information. The shooter is still in there and we can’t find Gemma.” At this point, he could hold it in no longer. His hard, raspy, intakes of tortured breath were difficult to control as were the trembling shoulders and shaking hands that held the phone.
She couldn’t see any of that, but she felt it as only a mother can and so with the calming, silky, and soothing voice of a Mom but the coldest intentions of a killer, whose heart is covered in bonded steel, she said, “Sweet boy, don’t you worry one bit. I’ll take care of everything!”

Taken aback, her son exclaimed, “Mom! What do you mean, take care of everything? Mom! Mom?” but the line was already dead.
In seconds, she was out the door, having picked up her leather satchel, which contained everything she would need, disassembled repeater rifle, knives, a change of clothes, and other nasty implements of her trade. She did not bother to change from her house dress and fluffy slippers. She would need them, too. It took just a few minutes to hop into her Bentley and fly down the driveway and out to the street, speed limits be damned. About 3 blocks from the location of the shooting, she performed an expert 180 degree turn and ended up speeding to the scene, backwards. Everyone scrambled to get out of her way as she headed for the huge plate glass windowed entrance to the school. 

“Sorry, sorry!” she cried to anyone who could take a moment to listen, as she ripped through wooden sawhorses and side swiped police cars. “I can’t control this car! Help!”

Bam! Boom! Screech! Then there was the tingling explosion of falling glass, but she had no time to notice the effects of the crash, the reaction of her body, or anything else.  There was only the fierce hate for anyone who would endanger children, crazy or not, and her overriding anxiety for her granddaughter.  If he had hurt her, he would not live. Those emotions raised her out of the damaged car easily before anyone could get to her, and into the building she ran, remembering to limp as if old age and injury had command.

She had no difficulty finding the correct room. The kids were screaming, and shots were being fired. She had her Black ops outfit on in no time, with only seconds before the SWAT team arrived.
She banged on the closed door. “Is this the hospital?” she questioned, in her best old lady voice. “My car just crashed and I’m hurt. I need a doctor. See? I’m bleeding!” and she held up a bleeding arm to the small window in the door. She continued to scream, “Help, help!” until the gunman, thinking he had another valuable hostage, turned toward the door. The bullet landed right between his eyes, and he fell to the floor with a flop. 

Entering quickly, she told the kids, “Run! Run as fast as you can!” Out the door they went, clogging up the narrow hall, giving her a minute to hide her satchel and change back into her house dress and flipflops and cower in a far corner of the hallway. Now, she was screaming and crying for real, as adrenalin began to withdraw. SWAT and officers questioned her, but all she could do was respond in hiccups. 

“That man pointed a gun at me! Those children were SO loud! All I wanted was to see a doctor!” and “Where am I?” The questioners gave up. It would have to wait until later. They turned her over to paramedics who took her to their ambo but soon deserted her for the more critically injured. This was the opportunity she needed to creep away, over to the waiting, black, window-tinted Suburban, just up the street. As she slid into the luxurious back seat, Darryl, her handler, looked at her as if to say, “Keep on doing this shit and your ass is cooked!” 

She responded in kind, the eyes saying it all. “Mess with my family and die!” just as her phone rang. 

“Mom, mom! We got her! Gemma’s fine. Macy’s happy as a clam and I am so relieved it’s over. Some old lady crashed into the building, and it was the breakthrough the cops needed to take over. Whew! Mom? What did you mean about take care of everything?"

Minerva did not answer but Darryl watched the smile of the century cross her face and the few wrinkles smooth out to reveal the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. 

“Wow!” He said to himself.

One thought on “Story from Anne Hendricks-Jones

  1. I liked the story, but felt it was somehow incomplete. The pacing seemed rushed. Give us a chance to know the characters. Deliver the plot a bit more slowly. The conceit is interesting — an old woman defending her grankid — but I think the piece would be improved if we knew the main character a little bit better. I know many writing instructors say backstory is verboten, but I think this story would benefit with just a bit more backstory. I want to know the protagonist, to empathize with her. Overall, however, it’s a riveting piece.

Comments are closed.