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Rescue At Sunset: A Short Story
Mary Delaney stepped around the fresh indication of horses, careful to hold her skirts high enough to keep the hem from picking up any of it. The sun was beginning to set over the quiet little town for the evening. She had just arrived off the stage only a few moments before, the driver and passengers all thankful, as they had been longing for a much needed rest. On her way back from visiting her sister Mary had decided this particular town was one she wanted to stay in for a few days. Not long of course, she did have a life to return to, just long enough for her to rest up ad get her bearings before moving along again. Still single and free of any children who would require her attention, she was able to afford the luxury of doing so. She received several nods and smiles of greeting as she walked down the quiet boardwalk that ran outside of the few business. A few of these places, such as the bank and the mercantile, would be closing soon, leaving only the salon and the one small hotel open for any potential customers. Thankfully they had arrived in time for her to do a bit of shopping for a few items she needed and give her a moment to stretch her legs before moving on to find a room at the hotel
Ten minutes later she was just waving goodbye to the lady of the store, her bundle of supplies clutched to her chest. After the long ride she was ready for a bath and a chance to settle in bed and rest for the night. She was just stepping across the walk between two buildings when she felt a strong had grip her arm and jerk her into the shadows. Too startled to even scream her breath caught her in throat and her chest constricted with fear. Maybe staying in this town wasn't such a good idea.
"Well looky here. You was right boss, we finally snagged ourselves a pretty one."
Struggling against the hand that held her, Mary tried to jerk herself free, dropping her package in the process. The brown paper split open and the soap she had intended to use during her bath time spilled onto the ground. "Let go of me!" Finally finding her voice she added a sharp elbow to the ribs of her captor, bringing a hiss of pain from his mouth.
"And she's fiesty too! Woo-wee! Guess tonight is our lucky night!"
The sun was almost set, the light quickly fadeing. Mary had to do something. She opened her mouth, a scream building in her lungs, ready to find it's way out into the night sky. A second hand quickly clamped down over her mouth as the one on her arm tightened. "Don't even think bout doing that."
A wiry looking man who didn't appear to be too smart stepped forward and focused his eyes right on hers. He was shorter than she was and gave off the idea that he wasn't very smart. "Yeah. Cause if you was to scream then all them there towns folk will know that we's here to rob the bank in the morning, and then we'd all be's in trouble." Despite the difference in height and the hand positioned beneath her nose, she could still smell his foul breath and her stomach turned at it.
"Shut up Homer!" Another of the group slapped Homer on the head. "You done messed up our plans again. Do you remember we said we won't going to tell no one?"
Speaking of not being smart, Mary had quickly noted that none of them had cared to wear a mask. Even if she couldn't get away from them, she might still be able to describe them to someone of the law. She focused on each of them, taking in as much detail as she could before something dark was placed over her eyes.
"Shut up. All of you!"
Homer's voice interrupted the silence again, "But boss-"
"I said shut up. You idiots couldn't find you way out of a bucket. You couldn't even remember to blindfold her or tie her up."
"Why would we be in a bucket? Ain't none of us can fit in no bucket."
"You boys got nothing better to do then to harass a innocent lady?" The deep voice caught Mary's ear and she strained to listen. "I'm pretty sure she asked you to let her go. Can't see why a lady who agreed to your company would be needing a blindfold and rope around her wrists."
"You best stay out of this sheriff."
Even though she was blindfolded she knew that to be the voice of the leader of the group.
"Well now I can't exactly leave crime unnoticed in my town."
"Think again Sherriff. There's one of you and five of us."
"The odds do seem to be against me, but in a situation like this one can't be too picky."
His voice was calm and reassuring, instantly putting Mary at ease.
"You picked the wrong man to mess with. Get him boys!"
The scuffle of feet followed by shouts and shots caused Mary to cringe and jump. She was regretting her decision of going to the store. Perhaps if she had headed for the hotel when she arrived, none of this would have happened. If she made it out of this she would find a way to leave this town as fast as she could. A few moments later and the sounds had died away again, silence replacing the dreadful nosies that often times brought with them the news of loss. The sound of a single pair of footsteps reached her ears and she felt the blindfold being gently removed from her eyes. Looking up she was met with a pair of deep set green eyes focused on her own. "Are you alright ma'am?" Still in shocked she slowly nodded as he helped her to her feet. Had he really taken on all of those men just to save her? She tried to peer around him to see what had become of them, but was quickly met with a gentle hand turning her in the opposite direction. "It's best you don't look. It's not a sight a lady needs to see." A small smile came to her lips at the words he spoke. A quick glance over told him he was indeed the sheriff. The last bit of sun light allowed her gaze to catch site of a wet spot on his shirt. "You been injured!"
He softly smiled at her assessment, "It's only a scratch. Nothing compared to what could have happened to you."
Another smile played on her lips as she thanked him, staring up into his soft and gentle eyes. Maybe her staying in town wasn't such a bad idea after all.
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