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No such luck.

Despite my best efforts, Buck still managed to make progress into the little room I was trying my hardest not to let him put me in. “Nooooooo!” I protested, reaching out to grab onto the door frame with every ounce of fight I had in me. I held on so tightly I felt as if my fingertips were going to pop off and go bouncing around the room like the shiny metal balls in a pinball game.

With one last guttural growl Buck took one more step into the room and my fingers slipped from the door frame. Before I could even be upset about losing my grip, he’d already removed me from his shoulders and tossed me into the tiny metal cell, slamming the door shut. I landed on my side on the cold concrete, but didn’t stay there long, springing up from the floor. I held on to the bars as Buck hastily turned the ancient looking key in the lock, the metal of the key made a high pitched shriek as it scraped against the metal of the bars, making my jaw ache and my ears feel like they were about to bleed. “I got an appointment with the sheriff for my questioning. You can’t hold me here!”

“Don’t you think I know that? I’m the deputy for Christ’s sake. We will come back around to what happened with your parents, but this ain’t about that. This is about a certain Mr. Carson,” Buck said, resting his hands on his gun belt.

Shit.

“You and I both know I was well within my legal rights, and besides, it’s not like I really hurt him,” I argued.

“How many times do I have to tell you to call me Deputy Douglas when I’m clocked in? Oh, and here is something you may not have thought about, NEWSFLASH, this time we aren’t ten years old and you didn’t get caught spray painting the Griffin’s new John Deere pink. You SHOT a guy, Thia! What do you expect me to do? Look the other way while he’s up at Dr. Sanderson’s getting his leg put back together?” Buck plopped himself down in front of my cell on a wooden crate labeled with the Blue Mountain green bean logo, dust from the crate puffed into the air and billowed around him.

He waved it away, focusing his attention on his new prisoner.

Me.

The back room of the Stop-N-Shop doubled as the sheriff’s station. Shelves lined every available inch of wall space. Several lines of discolored paint marked the place on one of the walls where a few rows of shelving had been removed to make room for the old wooden school desk where Buck and Sheriff Donaldson were supposed to write their reports.

As a past employee of the Stop-N-Shop I knew for a fact that the box of Alphabettio’s soup on the shelf above the desk contained an old black and white TV that saw a lot more action than any paper work ever had.

It’s not like anything happened in Jessep anyway.

The cell itself had a retractable cot that hung down on a chain and was only large enough for two small people, or one large one.

If I hadn’t stocked shelves for Emma May, I would’ve gone through life not knowing that our little blip of a town had any sort of sheriff’s station at all.

Or the cell I found myself locked inside.

“I shot him, but only in the leg!” I shouted, stomping my foot like a toddler. “He barely even screamed.”

Buck rolled his eyes and removed his wide brimmed sheriff’s hat, revealing his receding hair line that made him look twenty years older than his nineteen years, and a red mark around his forehead from where the hat had been squeezing his head too tightly. He wiped the sweat off his face with a handkerchief. “Either your head is getting bigger than it already is, Bucky, or that hat has shrunk. Either way, it needs a coming to Jesus, or at least a resizing before the brains you might have left in there get squeezed out through your ears.”

“Deputy DOUGLAS!” Buck corrected again. This time slower, enunciating all the syllables in dramatic fashion. He sighed. “You sound real sorry about all this,” he said sarcastically.

I wasn’t. Not one bit.

The only thing I would change about what happened would be next time I’d take into account the slight wind from the impending storm, something I usually considered when shooting cans off the fence post, but had oddly forgotten when my target became the living, breathing, human kind. “The only thing I’m sorry about was that my aim was off.” I huffed. I was being a brat, but I didn’t care. I’ve been ‘adulting’ since I was fourteen. As far as I was concerned, being locked in a cell by someone who I used to share bath times with, was a perfectly good occasion to cash in some of my unused bratty time.

“Thia, you’ve won every shooting competition over three counties since we were kids. You nailed him square in the thigh. I’d call that pretty dead on,” Buck said, leaning forward and pinching the bridge of his nose. It wasn’t the first headache I’d caused him over the years.

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