Quite a while ago I began a short story that I had written many years ago. I only posted two of the chapters and then stopped, but I received comments that there was interest in hearing the rest of the story. So, here is the next chapter of Perfect Love. If you are interested in rereading the previous chapters, here are the links to the blogs:
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When Anna had not returned home that Monday afternoon, Mrs. Livingston had grown worried. She called Philip's house to see if she was over there, but was told he had not come home either.
"Don't worry about Anna," Mr. Livingston had reassured his wife. "She probably just went out for pizza with the gang. I'm sure she will be back soon."
"Yes, maybe she did, but she usually lets us know. You don't think..." Mrs. Livingston stopped and wrung her hands in worry.
"Now, don' jump to conclusions, dear. Maybe something just came up and they had to stay longer. Remember, she is in the Lord's hands. Why don't we take that delicious smelling dinner outside to the porch and enjoy the evening as we wait for her to come home."
Anna never returned home that night. The next afternoon the Livingstons decided it was time to investigate where their daughter was. Along with Philip Barry's mother and father, they drove to the police station and waited at the desk. An older lady, with a glasses and a pinched up nose glanced up at them from her work. "Can I help you?" She asked.
Mr. Livingston replied, "We're here to inquire about our children. They never returned home from school yesterday and we were wondering if you might help us track them down?"
"We did get a call about a group of young people yesterday afternoon. They were breaking the law by having a religious meeting after school. Let me run down the list of names here and see if your children are listed. What did you say their names were?"
"Anna Livingston and Philip Barry." Mr. Livingston told her.
The secretary squinted as she scanned a piece of paper on the desk. "Um, yep, yep, there she is right there. And the Barry boy is listed here too." She set the paper down. "Serves them right, breaking the law like that. The government doesn't set the laws just so we can go out and still do whatever we want to do."
"But what is going to happen to them now?" Mrs. Livingston asked in a choked voice.
The secretary peered at them over her glasses and shrugged. "Oh, you don't have to worry about them. They are in good hands and will be well cared for. I am sure they will be returned home once they have paid their dues for breaking the law. Now, if you will excuse me, I have work to do."
Mrs. Barry squeezed her husband's arm and motioned for him to speak. He stepped forward. "Ma'am, please, this is a matter of utmost importance! We are talking about our teenage children here. We need to see them and see for ourselves that they are okay!"
The secretary squinted again and shook her head. "Nope, sorry, that is quite impossible. You cannot see your children right now."
"Because they left this morning for the coast of Maine."
"Maine? Whatever for? Why did they go up there?" Mrs. Livingston asked, panic evident in her voice.
"To work on a ship, I guess. Nobody ever tells me anything around here. I'm simply the secretary, doing whatever they give me. I hardly know what goes on beyond the walls of my office. I tell you one things though, it was plain stupid for your children to break the law. If it had been my children I would have stopped them, but parents don't say no to their children anymore. They just let them run the house. Crazy."
With sagging shoulders, the foursome turned to leave. It was up to the Lord now, and all they could do was wait and pray.
It seemed like hours as the truck drove endlessly down the road, its destination unknown to the prisoners in the back. They were forbidden to talk; a guard sat at the front of the truck and sternly watched them all with a gun in his hand. Anna had no way of communicating with Philip who was in the very back of the truck. Her legs were curled up under her, and she could barely feel them anymore. May was leaning against Anna's shoulder fast asleep. Anna was afraid if she moved she would wake her friend and did not want to disturb her. She began to pray for the group and for her parents not to worry about her.
The guard dozed off and began to snore. This was a welcomed sound because it signaled to the teens that they could possibly quietly whisper to each other. Anna sent a message back to Philip and asked him what they were going to do. His answer was simply, "Pray. Remember that perfect love casts out fear."
The guard woke up and looked around suspiciously at the group. They all smiled at him and he frowned.
The truck finally stopped and the guard jumped out first and carefully guarded the doorway to make sure no one escaped. The driver approached the guard and they talked in hushed voices. As Anna waited inside the truck, she listened and thought she heard seagulls and water. Where they by the ocean?
"Everyone out in single file!" The guard interrupted her thoughts. With handcuffs still around her wrists, and legs refusing to move, Anna struggled to climb out. The guard impatiently grabbed her by the arm and pulled her roughly from the truck. She was shoved to the side as the others filed out behind her. Philip was one of the last ones out. He caught her eye and gave her a smile as he was shoved to the last spot in line.
They were at the seaside, on a large dock, with many different size ships anchored around them. Policemen stood around with their billy-clubs in hand, guns strapped to their hips, making sure everyone behaved. Anna heard the driver of their truck ask one of the men if Greenhart was around.
"These kids are ready to embark whenever he is!"
"He is on his way over now," replied the police officer. He pointed to a man making his way toward them on the dock.
"Does he know he is getting a rather large group of them?" the driver inquired.
"Greenhart always says, 'the more the merrier'!" laughed the policeman.
"Well, so this is the group of crazies!" a loud voice barked from behind Anna. Startled, she turned to see a tall, rough looking man with a neatly trimmed red beard standing close beside her. "There are a lot of you, but no need to worry. We have plenty of room and work aboard my ship." He clasped his hands behind his back and looked them over. "I will take it from here, Stanley!" he told the driver.
The driver nodded and tipped his hat. "All right, Captain. Have fun!" He laughed as he walked back to his truck and closed the door behind him.
Captain Greenhart barked an order for them to follow him to the ship with three sails. "This is my ship, the Night Hawk, and you will have the pleasure of sailing with me as your captain. All board, everyone!"