"Piece of shit" the young woman blew a strand of hair out of her face and tried cranking the tired Caprice classic again. All the engine would do when she flipped the key to crank it was go.... Click. She laid her head on her hands on the steering wheel. Silently she sat back up and unbuckled her seatbelt then with a resigned sigh, she opened her car door and stepped out. Of all places to break down she would have to pick here where the closest familiar face was that of the most psychotic human that she had ever met. Melvin Schwartz was a killer. Dangerous, utterly without conscience. A genuine wild eyed Southern boy. With long blonde hair and snapping black eyes that blazed with madness. He used to be a Pentecostal preacher. At this moment, her car had chosen to lay down on her just a minutes walk away from his wrecking yard. Sighing with resignation, she got out of her traitorous automobile and locked it up. She walked to the nearest home and knocked on the door. A cautious looking housewife open the door. She asked to borrow her phone to make a call because her car was broken down. The suspicious lady let her in and she made her call. Afterward she thanked the lady. Then refusing the woman's offer of hospitality she made her exit and begin to walk to the wrecking yard. She got down to the property heavy laden with now dead automobiles. She walked up to the long since retired yellow school bus, which Melvin had turned into a makeshift office. As she neared she thought she heard voices emanating from the old bus, so she knocked on the door. The voices immediately stopped and she heard a scuffling inside. After a moment the door to the bus swung open. There stood Melvin looking suspiciously at the young woman. Upon recognizing her he smiled. " oh it's you. Come on In. " the young woman explained the situation and thrust herself on his mercy (that was non-existent). But Melvin had a grudging respect for her husband who was also a known no nonsense drug dealer. He invited her in and offered her a seat telling her she was more than welcome to wait for her husband here. He was animated today and almost jolly. Very out of character for him. In fact she had never seen him so cordial. A moment later he cocked his head to one side and told her to excuse him that he would be right back. He stepped out of the door and it seemed like in the same moment she heard a knock on the school bus door followed by "Police!! Open the door!! " then without waiting for an answer, the school bus door swung open. The city police and the county officers piled up into the bus filling it up. They began firing questions at the young woman demanding that she produce Melvin. She stared at them in confusion. It seemed impossible that they would not have seen Melvin as he exited the bus. How could it be? She asked the officers "Didn't you see him? " they responded "no ma'am." After a moment's hesitation she replied "Well I can't help you I don't know where he is. I'm just waiting on my ride." "Where's the girl? " they demanded. Again she looked at them stupidly, " what girl? " she asked. "The Patton girl. The one that he's holding hostage." Answered the officer. Suddenly as if in answer to the man's question she heard a noise from the back of the bus. "Who's back there? " an office shouted. "Come on out with your hands where we can see them!" He was answered with silence. "You better come on out. If we have to drag you out it's gonna go worse for you!!" The cop continued to yell. Finally a single shaking hand appeared, followed by a second similar hand. Then a bone thin young girl with long, dark, wild hair gradually came into sight. The young woman with car problems couldn't contain a gasp. The skinny creature was barely recognizable as a person. Someone had obviously beaten her black and blue. Her scalp was bleeding where hunks of hair were missing. She was trembling so badly that she could barely stand. She hung her head down like a kicked cur. Her face was bleeding, and her swollen eyes gazed out flatly. Tear stains ran in rivers down her mistreated face from between wet lashes. The police officer asked the broken creature "So are you the Patton girl?" She nodded barely perceptible. The officer asked her "What happened this morning?" She mumbled but you couldn't understand what she was saying so he said "We got a report that he had tied up his mom and his dad and his kids and threatened to burn the house down over them after he got through kiling you. Is that correct?" she just stood there obviously terrified and not offering anything up anyway the information. The officer said "are you willing to sign a statement against him when we catch him? " all she would do was shake her head violently in the negative he told her "You have to sign a statement in order for us to prosecute." again she shook her head violently no she would not be willing to. The officer looked at her and told the young woman "If she's not willing to sign a statement there's nothing more we can do to help her." He turned away, dismissing her, "Canvas the area. " he told the officers. They filed out of the bus. The young woman was left with the battered girl. "Paula?" The young woman tried out the name as the one that had recently been associated with Melvin. The girl hesitated, then nodded her head jerkily. "What happened? " the woman asked. After a moment the girl began to recount the morning's horrors. The police were correct it would seem. Melvin had indeed tied up his elderly parents and his young children and had promised to burn the house down over them when he finished killing Paula. Later on, the young woman would learn that a neighbor had seen him dragging the weeping girl by the hair in the direction of the wrecking yard. Horrified the neighbor had called the authorities. The girl's story ended with "and he put the 12 gauge shotgun in my mouth then you knocked. " The young woman sat silently trying to absorb everything that she had just heard. After a moment she asked "So what now? " The skinny girl looked at her in confusion. "What do you mean? " she asked. "What I mean is in just a few moments the police will be gone and I will be gone unless you do something about it you will be here to facing him alone. So what are you going to do" The girl suddenly looked terror-stricken. "What I'm talking about is Melvin making good on his promise once we're all gone." "What should I do?" she asked, her face chalk white "You should get out of here somehow." the young woman said. "I don't know, let me see. I need to talk to the police officer's." As if they'd been summoned the officers reappeared and said " Well there's no sign of him out here now" the young woman answered "Listen she needs to get out of here somehow but can you make it look like it's against her will ?" He thought for a moment. "We can arrest her and if he's watching he will see that she's going against her will in cuffs. After that we can take her to a women's shelter, where he won't know where she is or be able to contact her." "Yes let's do that." said the young woman. She turn to the skinny girl and said "Do you understand what we're talking about? " The skinny girl nodded slowly "Yes I think I do. "Is this acceptable to you? "The young woman continued pressing the thin, shaking waif. Then she answered "You're right I should get out of here. But he will kill me if he finds me." "Well hopefully that will never happen." Said the young woman. So the police put her in handcuffs and amidst great struggle they led her out into the wrecking yard and up to the police cars waiting at the top of the hill. The police all got into their respective cars and drove away. The young woman sat in silence inside the bus. Only the chirping of the birds could be heard outside. Suddenly as if blown by a great wind the door swung open and the long blonde haired young man burst into the room. " What did she say? What did she tell them?" he asked obviously agitated. "You know as much as I know." the young woman answered "The police asked her questions and she refused to answer. So they arrested her. Now I've got to go up to the car and wait on Derek." She gathered her belongings together and made her way around him and out into the bright sunlight. As she made her way up the hill toward her car she reflected on the crazy events of the day and how she hoped the skinny young girl could find some happiness after all this nightmare.
And I barely knew her name but it all happened just like that. True story.