Safe Passages
by Elizabeth Terraszas

"She cinches the plastic ties around Susan’s wrists and leads her out to the car."

Courtney McCormick is good at her job, but it’s an unusual profession. She is a transporter, responsible for safely delivering troubled and grief-stricken children to schools with expert counseling services. Her assignments arrive at the request of concerned parents who fear for their child’s safety if they do not take drastic measures to intervene. A former cop, her keen eye at surveying the locations of interception proves beneficial at establishing effective capture, restraint, and transport. She intently reviews the details of each case, aware that a single misstep can result in an undesirable or even fatal outcome. But when she is asked to transport her boss’ granddaughter, Courtney fears she may not have the necessary skills to successfully complete this sensitive mission.

Presented in three vignettes, this novella introduces the reader to individuals authorized to safely transport resistant passengers to facilities equipped at handling unstable youth. In many cases, these children have experienced emotional or mental distress and are in need of an intervention to prevent them from hurting themselves or others. The author delicately describes the guilt that manifests as parents admit to having lost control of their familial situation and require the assistance of professionals to address their child’s escalating issues. Each short story depicts a different circumstance in which a mediator is needed and how the experience affects not only the family but also the transporter. The internal turmoil of these routine encounters is examined from the transporter’s point of view. While the context of each chapter reflects somber conditions, the tone of the novella is hopeful and offers a comforting outlook for families in crisis.

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