Submitted Date 11/23/2020

"Sorry buddy, we are stuck here, and it's all my fault." thought Amy quietly to herself. Despite the smile, the warmth did not spread to her dark gray eyes. Amy was wearied by all the wrought heartache and guilt, the depression was setting in, and she had no way to stop it. No matter how positive she was trying to be, as she watched her youngest of three, playing unawares on the rolled out blanket before her.

"Hey momma?" her oldest, a stout young boy of thirteen interrupted her thoughts of purgatory. She blinked, wiping tears away swiftly before they fell and he saw her about to cry. Brightly smiling, she looked up to Nathaniel and asked him as cheerfully as she could, "What's up my little man?"

"The guy who owns this place stopped by, and told me to give you this." he held his hand out with some form of note, scribbled roughly on what resembled legal pad paper.

"Thank you darling, where's your sister?"

"Talking to dad, on the phone, outside."

"I see." it was all she needed to hear. A deep sigh resonated of pain from her chest. Feeling as if her breath was caught in a crush, she slowly got up from her knees asking kindly, "Would you mind watching your little brother for a bit? I need to read this, and make a few calls, and bring your sister inside. What would you like for lunch today? Ravioli or meatballs?"

Nathaniel shrugged. Taking a moment to push his spectacles up his nose, studiously. His young face stoic and indifferent.

Amy took another gulping breath to steady herself, as she left the tiny play area, and took the note with her. as she opened it up and began to read it, the pain in her chest magnified.

Dear Ms. Arnold,

I am sorry to inform you, that this place has now been sold. I have to give you fifteen days to get out. I know you have been trying to find a place and have no where to go as of the moment, but we cannot extend it past this Thanksgiving.

Please make sure, you leave the area you having been staying in, in a tidy and presentable manner. I have added a list of shelters to the bottom of this letter, along with the number of the DCS and DHS so you can call and get some resources from them, if needs be, you might want to consider yet again, the proposal of putting your children temporarily in foster care while you sort out, your situation.

Mr. L. D. Gambol."


"YOu horrible man! You want to kick the children and I out, before the holidays?! You want to make our situation worse! Bad enough I got stranded here to begin with! " these thoughts that ran rampantly through Amy's head filling her with anger, bitterness and hatred, seeped their toxic poisonous language to a few choice curses in the writer's direction. She wanted to scream, wanted to cry! Wanted to curl up into a ball and die!

All Amy could do, as one of her hands grasped the side of the door to the outside was choke back the overwhelming emotion and fight back the furious hot tears that threatened to drown her. "I will not, take this out on the kids!" came her snip bitterly to herself. Reminding herself of the promise she had made them.

Biting back the anger that threatened to engulf her very heart and soul, with grave effort she lited her head up, opened the door and marched through calling as she did so, "Shona? Shona! Get in now! I need the phone, and you need to come in! It is too cold for you to be outside today!"

A young girl, of seven disdainfully appeared from round the back of the building. She was carrying the phone. As she swished her way past her mom, rather haughtily, she slammed the phone to her. "Dad said, you need help. Dad says you are crazy. I know it is true, because you got us in this mess."

Amy didn't say anything to respond to that accusation or spouting of hatred from her middle child. The guilt was enough. She had won the custody battle, because their father had literally abandoned them for another woman and had been having an affair for years. The divorce had been painful enough, Amy still had not got over the blow to the reality, that as soon as the divorce had been signed and cleared, he had went out and got married to the other woman.

Amy felt bad enough, always beating herself up over this whole fiasco, and her emotions were so negative, so scattered. It was taking all herself control, she hold it together! Now her daughter hated her and they were being evicted on top of that!

"Shona, just go inside and wash up please? Lunch will along in a bit. I have to make a few calls first. Thank you, for handing the phone back."

"I told dad." came the bold icy remark in turn. "Told him, he needs to come get us."

Amy was not shocked by this confession of blunt acidity. But still, she took a step back as if to view her child anew. "Really? And what did, your father say?"

"He said he can't because you got custody and his new wife has a baby and expecting another already. Said he was too busy with work, and the house is too small, or he would fetch us all in a heartbeat because you are a loser and can't do anything right. Daddy said, you are worthless and he was sorry the judge ruled in your favor."

The lump that filled her throat stole her breath away. "It's okay, she's just expressing her fathers anger. Besides if he was that concerned, if he had really loved the kids like he claims to her, he would have not just handed me the custody without contest, and, he would be sending damn childsupport! It is his fault too, that we are living in an abandoned place, with no way to cook other than a freaking microwave and no way to shower, no way to wash clothes! I hate you Daniel! I hate you for taking all my hard earned money out of the bank, because it was in both our names! I worked my ass off, for that! Bastard!"

Outwardly Amy, merely nodded. Saying not a word of the storm raging in her head. The conflict and bitterness graspoing her deeper into the oblivion of turmoil and emotional suffering. "Go wash your hands please."

The girl gave a dirisive snort and went inside. Leaving Amy outside, in the cold thirty something temperature, shaking - with anger. Blowing a long stream of air out that fogged before her in a faint cloud, she glanced at the phone. She was having second thoughts. But perhaps, it was time to swallow her pride, and ask for help. Anyway she could, she had to figure this out and get the children as well as herself to safety.

She had to get them to a home, for the holidays. She had promised Brandon, Nathaniel and her daughter Shona that she could do it. But that had been two months ago now.

Walking around to the side of the small stark white stoned building, she found a place to crouch away from the short micro-bursts of cold wind and huddled in her cardigan, she lifted the phone. Having rumaged through her address book carefully, she was dismayed. She had by then spent half an hour making various short calls and all with the same response, "I am sorry, we will keep you in our prayers!"

Amy was more frustrated and infuriated than ever before! What good would prayers do? Her family were in need of desperate help and suddenly all those she had been there for, helped out, had turned their backs on her. Amy couldn't hold the damn back anymore. She burst into tears, miserably lifting a sleeved hand to her mouth to stifle the noise. Bawling and ruptured, her world crumbled and shattered.


By the time the children were all tucked up in their sleeping bags, on the only mattress available in the starkness of the empty building, Amy was sat up watching over them. A cup of hot tea in her hands being nursed and she pondered how on earth she was going to get herself out of this.

Her phone vibrated. At first she was so wrapped up in her thoughts the woman of thirty-eight years, didn't even notice it. It vibrated again. Amy glanced at it, quizzically. It was late, almost eleven, and the phone buzzed again. The screen told her the number was out of somewhere in Aibilene Texas. Which made her frown. "Probably some scam or sales call, or worse more debt collectors calling because of what Daniel did."

A few seconds later, having dismissed it. Silence reigned and her thoughts and contemplations returned to the task in hand. Getting the family all somewhere safe for the holidays. They had fifteen days to get out. Another heavy sigh escaped her lips as she sipped on the tea to discover it had already cooled considerably. She would have to reheat it in the microwave, and hated that. But what other choice did she have? There was no stove, or coffee maker available here.

Reluctantly she rose from her seat on a box, and the phone began to buzz again. A singular peripheral glance, it was the same number. "Damnit."

She answered this time. "I am sorry, but Daniel is not associated with this number!" came her angry snip as she moved away from the kids and towards the back of the open building.

"I am not trying to reach a Daniel. I am trying to reach a miss Amy Greene." came a gentlemans voice out from the phone. It sounded vaguely familiar, commanding all in one.

"No one has called me that since before I got married, who is this?"

"My name is Captain Paul Atten, do you remember me?"

"No. Look, you're probably trying to reach another Amy. So, I am just going to hang..."

"You served with me, a whiles back. In Somalia?"

Amy froze in midsentence. Her mind raced, trying to trace the name, the voice. Only eight people knew she had been in service in Somalia. She gulped back fear as dread filled her. "I am sorry. You are again?"

"Captain Paul Atten. I was assigned as your C.O."


"Ma'am, are you there?"

"Er, yes, am still here. Sorry, trying to put a name to the face." Memories had resurfaced, which she had burried with purpose just so she didn't have to remember!

"Well, Captain Atten, how did you get my number?"

"I have been trying to catch hold of you, for over ten years." he began to explain, "I have a lot of our old unit, together with their families now, and I was thinking of my favorite team player nurse." there was a chuckle that accompanied this statement, "I was wondering, Amy, are you working?"

"Er, no, lost my job." nervously Amy answered.

"I need a person to come run my mobile clinic, down here at the ranch by the reservation. Mighten you be interested?"

There was no words to describe the sudden rush of hope that washed over her in a cold chill of goosebumps, "I would love too. Only one problem with that sir."

"And that would be?"

"I have three children, and no home or working vehicle and I am not even sure where this place is, that you are talking about."

He laughed heartily, "That aint gonna be no problem Amy hun. Where are you at? Look I can offer you a cabin, big enough for you and your children, and make arrangements with some friends of mine and some of our fellow veterans here, to come pick you all up and bring you down. Would that help?"

Amy could not believe what she was hearing! It was too good to be true! Might they really, be able to do that? "Sir, you need to know, I was given fifteen days to get out of here. We are currently in an abandoned warehouse type of building in a tiny little nowhere place."

"And since when would that be a problem?"

Suspicion now kicked in. "Why? Why would you want to help me like this?"

"Because, you don't remember do you? Girl, you save my life, and I have been trying to find you, for ten years, just to repay the favor. I had one of my lawyer friends work on it, and your name came up on some divorce up there in Conneticut."

"Oh. You know about that, huh..." disappointment, she wasn't a charity case.

"Look, how about I make some calls? See what my guys and I can do, for you and yours. I know the others are dying to see you again."


"I will give you a couple of days to think it over. This is my private number, so, if you need me - give me a call."

"Thank you Paul."

"You're welome Amy, well girl, I hate to do this, but this old fella has to get some sleep! Good night!"

The phone went dead. Amy rocked back on her heels. She was shocked as much as a quiver with excitement. A notary glance to the children still sleeping and she wondered what to tell them?


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