Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)
TITLE: A Genealogist's Dream
By Misti Chancellor
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She pulled into the drive and stopped the buggy. Climbing down, she hitched the horse to the fence rail, and headed for the front door. She felt a little conspicuous in her jean skirt, t-shirt and tennis shoes, but that couldn’t be helped.
“Psst… ma’am.” Startled, she turned and looked at the man who was holding a gun. “Please go back to your buggy. There’s a dangerous outlaw in this house, and I don’t want you to get hurt when we arrest him.” The newspaper articles flitted through her mind. “Are you Sheriff Hail?” she asked. He looked surprised. “Yes, that’s me.” “I know you’re trying to protect me, but please, may I speak to him when you have the situation under control?” she queried. He gave her a quizzical look, but agreed. Turning she went back to the buggy and climbed in.
She watched as the sheriff approached the door of the home and knocked. “It’s the law. Open up!” The door opened and a man came barreling out onto the porch brandishing a navy revolver. “Take me at your peril!” he shouted. His tousled, curly auburn hair glowed in the sunlight. She could see the false bravado in his stance, the sweat glistening on his face, as his eyes darted around, looking for a means of escape. The posse that was stationed around the house came forward to back up the sheriff. She noticed his revolver drop toward the floor the moment he realized that escape wasn’t going to happen. The sheriff moved in and the arrest was complete.
Climbing down from the buggy, she approached the group. “Please, sheriff, can I talk to him for a few minutes?” As the prisoner turned his clear, grey eyes toward her, a brief look of hope flashed through them, and she realized he thought she was going to help him escape. The sheriff gave her permission and stepped slightly to the side to give a little privacy, but held onto the rope that bound the prisoner’s hands.
She looked the prisoner in the eye. “Charles? Why did you throw away your talents and ability to lead on this gang? Wasn’t there some other way that you could provide for your wife and boys than a life of crime?” He looked at her, confused. “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but, do I know you from somewhere?” The sun glinted off her wavy, auburn hair as she turned her blue eyes to meet his grey ones. “I’m a … distant relative. Please, for your sons’ sake, won’t you change?” He gave her a brief look of remorse. “Maybe someday,” he said. It was enough. She stepped back and nodded to the sheriff.
Turning, she went back to the buggy, unhitched the horse, and climbed in. She sat for a few moments as she watched the sheriff, the posse and the prisoner ride away. Turning the buggy, she headed back down the road.
Reaching her previous location, she reached over and picked up the computer. She clicked the “Return to present” button and waited. Everything went fuzzy for a few moments, and then she was once again sitting in her car on the shoulder of US 73.
She looked up in the rearview mirror and noticed a highway patrolman approaching her car. “Ma’am, is everything ok?” She glanced at his badge, and smiled. “Yes, Officer Hail, everything’s fine. I pulled over here to do some things on my computer. I finished up just now, so I’ll be on my way. Thanks for checking on me!”
She watched him in her rearview mirror as he returned to his patrol car and pulled back onto the road. Starting her car, she headed for home.
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