Author: TheWriteMV16 PM
This is a short story that I wrote about a cowboy who did something immoral. He's faced with an ultimatum, to either confess of his misdeed, or to commit another one in order to cover it all up.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Western/Crime - Words: 1,805 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 1 - Published: 03-05-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3002703
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"What do you think you're doing?" asked the sheriff.
There was an awkward silence. He stared at me with those terrifying cold, icy blue eyes that would make anyone freeze in their tracks.
"My family is dying," I said,"It's the last hope we have."
"Too bad!" seethed the sheriff,"You're coming with me."
So he took me to the high court of the city, where the judge would deal with this. I entered a few hours later and sat down on the hard, polished, mahogany bench, where I looked up and saw the judge sitting behind the podium. He was wearing a black robe that went all the way down to his feet, and a snowy white wig that was curled more than a pig's tail. The sheriff was sitting smugly beside him, scratching his thick stubble. Freak.
"All right," said the judge,"What do you claim the suspect did?"
" I caught him red handed stealing a whole bunch of cash from the town bank."
" But I needed that money, my family is dying! I can't afford to be arrested now, my family will starve!"
"Oh please, you're making the whole thing up, throw him in jail."
"I'm not making it up! I -"
"ENOUGH!" bellowed the judge,"Sheriff, I've seen his wife, she's bloated from starvation! His kids are probably worse! Now there's only one way to solve this, it might not be the first choice by your standards but this is how it is. A week from now, at noon, there'll be a gun fight. If family guy over here wins, he'll get all of the sheriff's money, and take his place as sheriff. If the sheriff wins, death will be his opponent's punishment, and his family will have to go on without him. But, either way, the robber has to give back the money he stole. Sorry buddy, but that belongs to other people. May the best man win."
"But that's not fair! Why should I risk my life?" asked the sheriff uneasily.
"Because that's what I've decided! Besides, I've never liked you.
I laughed, and the sheriff gave me his stone cold look of annoyance like he did at the bank. He certainly wasn't happy about this, and quite frankly, neither was I.
With a bang of his hammer, it was decided. I would take part in a gun fight with the sheriff.
So that's how I got into this mess. There were now two minutes left until the gun fight. I walked onto the dirt road. No one was watching, the town was completely deserted. It was just the Sheriff and I. I put my hands on my hips as I faced the sheriff. He smiled, slyly at me, revealing those dark yellow, tobacco stained teeth.
"Dong!" went the bell behind the town clock. That was the first of twelve bells we would hear until the showdown started. The sheriff and I squinted at each other. It looked as if the sheriff was trying to read my mind, and find out what I was going to do. When the sixth bell sounded, the sheriff, started to slowly reach for his gun. I was sweating like crazy, I'm guessing that it was around one hundred and five degrees Fahrenheit, though I was also sweating because I was incredibly nervous. I could taste the salty waters of my sweat, beading down my face and into my mouth. I spit out the sweat as if I had just gotten hit with a bone-crushing punch in a boxing ring.
It felt like time had slowed down. Both the sheriff and I were panting quietly and sweating like we were both trying to endure a Sahara desert drought. I had my hand on my gun in the holster with my finger on the trigger ready to pull it and send the hammer flying, igniting the gun powder on the tip and sending the 308 bullet blazing out of the chamber, flying across the narrow, dusty dirt road and into the sheriff's heart.
The twelfth bell sounded suddenly, and the sheriff jolted and went for his gun and fired, I dove out of the way, barely evading the speeding bullet, and in the air I pulled out my own gun and shot. The recoil made my hand shoot up and hit my face. I heard a crack. My nose had been broken, the recoil caught me off guard. I landed on the ground. Hard. My teeth slammed together, sending a ricochet of pain through my body. The good news was, the bullet knocked the sheriff's gun out of his hand. He was absolutely dumbfounded, not that he had the time to get any thoughts through his thick head. He was now seconds away from being murdered. The gun went haywire and was bouncing all over the ground. None of the bullets hit anyone, and the gun ran out of ammo. As soon as I realized that, I was quick to shoot the sheriff square in the head. In the middle of both of his gaping eyes there was a dark red bullet hole. Blood trickled down one side of his nose, went around his mouth, and dripped off of his chin. The bullet had no doubt penetrated his skull and entered his brain. Nobody could have survived that. His eyes rolled upwards and he fell backwards and landed with a dull thump. I was left there, alone, my mouth hung wide open. My nose now dripping blood. I had done it, but it was like I had been injected with a syringe full of guilt, and that horrible feeling was surging through my body.
I got up from the dirt road, and just walked away. What else could I do? Again, I thought back to the day I was stealing from the bank. At the time, I was really mad at the sheriff for turning me in, but when I think back on it, he was just doing his job. I would have to take over that job. It looked to me like I needed to pay a visit to the judge.
I entered the city hall and went up to the receptionists' desk.
"May I please speak with judge Robert Smith please? I asked her.
That was the name of the judge by the way.
"Yes you may, his office is just down the hall," she answered.
I knocked on the door of the office that said Robert. E. Smith.
"Come in," he said.
I entered the office and saw him with his rectangular spectacles looking down at his papers and writing vigorously on them. As I walked in, he looked up and smiled.
"I heard the news, well done my friend. Oh, but nice little gash on your nose. Are you here to claim your prize and job?
"Actually Robert, if I may call you by that name, just the opposite."
" Yes, you may. Really, and what are you proposing?"
"I don't want the job or the money."
"What? I thought your family was starving to death."
There was an awkward silence as I thought about what I was going to say.
"The truth is my wife is pregnant, that's why you thought my family was starving. I made up the whole story about my family going hungry. I was just being the typical bank robber, greedy and all. We have plenty of food, and the sheriff died for nothing. So, go ahead, gimme a life sentence, execute me, gimme any punishment you want. My family can get along without me, and I want to pay for a proper funeral for the sheriff. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I lied.
The judge just stared at me. Every word of what I just said, his smile faded more and more.
"That's a lot to take in," said the judge,"I'll tell you what I'm going to do. It takes a good man to 'fess up like that. I'll sentence you to jail for twenty-five years, you'll pay for the sheriff's funeral, and you'll work hard labour without pay for one year once you serve your jail punishment."
"I think that's perfectly fair," I said
"Well, thank you for confessing to me, I'll let you out of jail temporarily when the baby comes. I will send a couple of officers to your home to tell your family the news, I can set up a time later for them to visit you in your cell, and I'll take your gun."
I turned to see a couple of policemen ready to escort me to the slammer. As I turned away from the judge, he spoke the last words I ever heard him speak.
" And sir?"
" Yes?" I answered
" You would've made a good sheriff."
So the story ends here, My wife got a job and my family was fine while I was in the slammer. I guess this story just goes to show you, you'll never help a problem by lying, if anything, you'll make it worse. From here on, always tell the truth and when I get out of jail, I promise, I will too.