Network of Angels

The Wings She Needed to Fly

Her hands were sweating against the Jeep’s steering wheel, the desert stretching for miles around her.  She wiped one palm on her jeans, then the other.

She checked the parched landscape for signs of movement, pivoting her head and using her mirrors to get a full 360° scan.  Nothing, from horizon to horizon to horizon.  Just puffs of dust in the wind, and the occasional hawk, scanning the ground, just like she was.

Other than the rough track she had followed to this spot, there were no signs of human activity.  Significantly, there were no communication towers.  She had driven out here once before.  His face when she got home told her she’d been out of range.  She paid for that transgression, as she knew she would.

“Short term pain for long term gain,” she whispered to herself.

There weren’t too many places she could go.  No way to get safe.  At first she thought it was just cellphone tracking he was using, but when she left her phone at home one time, he still traced her to Marguerite’s, where she’d taken refuge.

He knew she wanted to leave, and he took perverse pleasure in making sure she never got too far.  No matter where she’d gone—a friend’s, a motel, a shelter—he tracked her and made her come back.

He used to smirk while he told her how he tracked her.  Little devices that weren’t easy to detect, like luggage trackers or Apple AirTags.  He’d pluck one of these devices from her jacket lining, or from the bottom of her purse and show it to her.

“See?”  Yes, she saw.  It was a game to him.  Like she was on a leash, and she could go only so far before he’d yank it.  She had no doubt there were several trackers hidden in the Jeep.

A puff of dust appeared on the horizon.  Not the wind this time.  A vehicle.

She gripped the steering wheel.  Was it him?  Was it possible his tracking devices worked even way out here?  Beads of sweat formed on her forehead, and rivulets traced a line down her back.

The vehicle made a beeline to her Jeep and lurched to a halt.  Desert dust swirled around it, obscuring the driver.  She heard the vehicle door open, then close.

Out of the dust an angel came.

“Hi, you must be Becky,” the woman called.  “I’m Gloria, from the Angels Network.”

Becky stepped out of the Jeep.

“Hi.  Thanks for coming.  I wasn’t sure….”

“Let’s talk on the way.  We might not have as much time as we think.  Here are some clothes, and a bag.  Put anything you think you might absolutely need into the bag, and I’ll go through that while you change.”

Becky stripped—everything came off.  She put on the clothes Gloria had brought.

“Jewelry, too, and your hair tie,” reminded Gloria.  “I’m taking the credit cards out of this bag.  Nothing traceable.  You won’t need much—the Network will provide everything you need to get started again.”

Gloria tossed the bag of Becky’s former belongings in the back of the Jeep.  She locked the Jeep’s doors and hurled the keys as far as she could into the desert.  Why make it easy for him when he found the vehicle?  As he surely would.

Once Gloria was satisfied that no tracking devices were on Becky or her now-meagre personal effects, they got into Gloria’s Land Rover.  Becky, at Gloria’s prompting, sat in the back seat.

“Put this hat on”, Gloria told Becky.  “If we meet another vehicle, crouch down as low as you can.  Just in case. It won’t be long.  I’m taking you straight to a small airfield, and another angel will whisk you right out of the state.  Our Network has many Angels.”

Becky watched the dessert recede through the rear window.  Then she turned to look forward.  She rubbed her neck.  It felt different, somehow.  Was the stress leaving so soon?  No.  She smiled a bit.

Her leash was gone.

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