The Prisoner

by Ace

Companion Stories

Samantha Dunnison sits in the back of a wagon with chains on her hands. She sits there wondering if they had made it to the town yet, and then the wagon pulls to a stop, as if answering her question.

"This the horse thief?" Vin Tanner asks as he walks into the street to meet the wagon.

The driver nods and JD Dunne joins Vin to walk to the back to get the prisoner.

"Alright, come on," Vin says as he starts to pull back the curtain.

Samantha throws her fist through the curtain hitting someone square in the nose.

"Oww!" JD yells as he grasps his nose.

Vin opens the curtain all the way to see Samantha sitting there. Her dark brown eyes meet his icy blue eyes and she smiles.

"She’s feisty," the driver calls.

"Now, ya tell me," JD remarks, checking his nose for blood.

Vin helps her out of the wagon and JD stares in astonishment at the girl who had just decked him. She smiles and looks at him, he looks quite young for a lawman, but then she thought of herself. Buck Wilmington, standing in front of the jail, chuckles.

"You alright, kid?" he asks.

"Yeah," JD says checking his nose once more.

+ + + + + + +

Now Samantha sits in a jail cell watching her two wardens play a game of poker. One of them being Ezra Standish, a southern gentleman with a taste in good fashion, and the other being Chris Larabee, a man with a dreadful past, but despite it all they seemed very kind.

"Quite a first impression you made Miss," Ezra says in his southern drawl.

"Dunnison, but please call me Samantha," Samantha replies.

"That accent sounds southern," Ezra remarks.

"Yes, Georgia actually," Samantha says.

"I hope you don’t mind my asking, but what’s a girl your age, sixteen, doing in jail," Chris says.

"Well, actually it’s a matter of opinion. Some say I’m a horse thief, some say I’m a gambler, and some say I’m a wandering vagrant," she says.

"Well, any of it true?" Chris asks.

"No sir, the only I’ve ever stolen was my own, I am the occasional gambler, but I’m not a vagrant," she says.

"Well, that doesn’t sound like charges they can keep you in jail for," Ezra says.

"Not actually, but the judge couldn’t find me a job, so they thought it’d be easier on them just to send me away. It’s not that I’m not smart, cause I have a very good education, and I can ride a horse, and I even know a few things about guns," she says.

"Well, I have a friend that I could talk to about you a job, working for a newspaper," Chris says starting to stand.

"Really, I’d be more ‘n glad to work for a newspaper," Samantha says getting excited.

"I’ll go and speak with her now," Chris says beginning to walk out of the door.

"Oh, please send my apologies to your friend," she says before he leaves.

"Sure thing," he remarks, and then heads out of the jail, shutting the door behind him.

+ + + + + + +

Samantha wakes up the next to the sound of her cell being unlocked. She looks over to her warden, a kind looking man, although much older looking than the others.

"Mrs. Travis and Chris would like to see you," Josiah Sanchez says as he opens the cell.

Samantha smiles, "Thank you," and pauses, not knowing his name.

"Josiah," he says.

"Thank you Josiah," she says.

She follows him out of the jail and over to the Clarion Newspaper office.

+ + + + + + +

"Now, it’s not a full time job, but occasionally I’ll ask you to write an article or run an errand, and you’ll be paid in full for your work," Mary Travis, the owner of the paper, says.

"Alright, thank you Mrs. Travis and Mr. Larabee," she says politely looking from one to the other.

"You're welcome dear," Mary responds.

Chris nods his head which from him is a ‘you're welcome.’

+ + + + + + +

"Name’s JD Dunne," JD says running up to introduce himself to Samantha as she walks down the boardwalk.

"Nice to meet you. I’m Samantha Dunnison," she says then notices it’s the same boy she had punched, "Sorry about the nose."

"Oh, don’t worry about it Miss Dunnison," he remarks, "Would you like for me to introduce you to the rest of the boys?"

"That’d be kind of you JD, and please call me Samantha," she says.

He nods and leads her over to the saloon.

+ + + + + + +

"You’ve already met Chris, Vin, Ezra, and Josiah," JD says looking at the table where those four sit.

He looks over to the bar where a tall colored man stands beside a man with a dark moustache.

"That’s Nathan," he points to the colored man, "and that’s Buck."

"Nice to meet you," she responds.

"Pleased to meet you," Nathan says.

"Hey, you’re the little filly that decked JD yesterday," Buck says.

Samantha smiles and blushes, "Guilty."

Buck returns the smile.

"Would any of you care to partake in a game of chance," Ezra says.

Buck and Nathan make their way to the table and JD follows.

"What about you Samantha my dear, would you like to join?" Ezra asks.

"Sure, what’s there to loose," she says taking a seat at the table.

"With Ezra playing, your money," Vin says.

She smiles at the remark and Ezra deals everyone a hand.

When it’s all said and done Samantha beats Ezra with an extraordinary hand, a Royal Flush.

"Well, maybe I should…" Ezra starts to say, but is interrupted by someone in the street yelling.

"Standish, I know you’re in there. Come on out," the voice yells.

"Ez, sounds like you got company," Vin says.

"Yeah and they don’t sound happy neither," Nathan remarks.

The seven men stand up and start to walk outside. Samantha starts to get up to follow, but JD turns around to face her.

"Um, this ain’t for a lady," he says.

"Well, I’m not quite a lady," Samantha remarks.

She follows them outside to see about ten men sitting on horseback.

"Is there a problem gentlemen?" Ezra asks.

"Yes, a month ago you and your friends took my brother to jail. Now he’s dead and somebody’s gonna pay," one of the men says.

"So you’re here to kill us," Buck says leaning against a post.

Samantha sees the derringer up Ezra sleeve so she makes her way over to him.

"We’ll draw on the count of three," the man says, "One."

Samantha whispers in Ezra’s ear.

"Two," the man says, obviously not caring who he kills.

When the man says three the seven men draw, but Samantha leaps out behind Ezra, grabbing his gun from his holster and firing at the men on horses. When the gun smoke clears no one is dead, but the men are wounded and surrendering to the seven.

"Quite impressive, my dear, quite impressive," Ezra says, helping Samantha to her feet.

"Thanks," she says.

"Where’d you learn to do something like that?" JD asks.

"Oh, something I saw my brother do once, a couple years ago," she says.

"Brother, where’s he at now?" JD asks, as Nathan, Josiah, and Buck take the men to jail.

"Dead," Samantha replies.

+ + + + + + +

Later that night at the saloon, as Samantha, JD, Ezra, Vin, and Chris sit around a table playing cards, JD brings up a question.

"So, what happened to your brother?" he asks.

"A man shot him, for no reason other than the fact he thought it would teach the town a lesson. See, he thought that the town didn’t need any law, and my brother was the sheriff. I told him not to take the job, but he was young and stupid," she says.

"Well, you can’t hold that against him," Chris says.

"I know, and I don’t," she replies.

"So, what happened to the man?" Vin asks.

"Four days after he shot my brother, his body was found a couple miles outside of town. No one said who did it, but everyone knew," she says looking at the cards in her hand.

"May we assume you had something to do with the man’s death?" Ezra says.

"Of course, I might have been fourteen at the time, young and stupid, but I don’t miss when I aim a gun," she says.

"Yes, and you’ve proven that already," Chris says laying two cards down on the table.

Samantha smiles then lays her cards down on the table.

"Well, I must be going, I promised Mary I’d help her work on an article for the paper," she says standing up, and then she walks towards the door.

+ + + + + + +

The next morning Samantha gets up and goes down stairs and then over to the saloon. When she walks in she sees Vin and Chris at the bar and Ezra at a table with his infamous deck of cards.

"Good morning my dear, would you like to partake in a game of chance?" Ezra asks.

"Sorry Ezra, but I never play cards before ten in the morning," she replies, "I just came to tell you that I’ll be working with Mary all day today, we’re trying to get the paper done on time. So, I won’t be around much."

"Alright, well, Nathan and Josiah left early this morning to go and visit the reservation, Buck’s out somewhere flirting, and JD’s over at the jail, so we’re probably gonna stay around here all day if the two of you need anything," Chris says.

"Okay, thanks," she says, then leaves.

+ + + + + + +

"This is a really great article," Mary says.

"Thanks," Samantha replies.

"Momma," Billy says running in the newspaper office.

"What is it Billy?" Mary asks.

"Look what I found," he says holding up a flower.

"That’s pretty," Mary replies to her small son.

"Here Sam," Billy says handing it to Samantha.

"Thank you Billy," she replies taking the flower and giving him a hug.

She hadn’t been here long, but she loved Billy already. He was a wonderful child and as sweet as one could possibly get.

"Well, I’m gonna go over to the store to get some more paper," Mary says, "Billy, why don’t you stay inside with Samantha."

"Okay," he replies.

Mary leaves and goes over to the store. While she’s in the store a group of about five men ride up on horseback. By now Nathan and Josiah have returned and all seven men sit in the saloon. As they hear the thunder of the hoof beats, they get up and walk outside. The storekeeper goes to the door and locks it. Samantha hears to, so she walks over to the door and looks out in the street. She sees the men and shuts the door. Walking back over to Billy she undoes her holster and takes out the gun placing the belt in the desk.

"Billy," she says, placing the gun in the back of her pants, "I need you to listen very carefully. I’m gonna stay here with you, but if some men come in here I want you to stay with me, okay."

He nods his head.

Three men get off the horses and calmly walk into the bar. The seven men, deciding it not to be a dangerous situation, walk back in the bar. The other two men get off their horses and one walks over to the newspaper office, while the other walks over to the hotel. The man busts through the door, causing Samantha and Billy to jump. Samantha pulls Billy over in front of her.

"What do you want?" she asks still holding Billy.

"You," the man says.

The man that had headed to the hotel has now turned around and is walking to the saloon.

"Why? Who sent you?" she says her voice strong, but slightly weakening.

"A friend of the man you shot two years ago," he says.

"Oh, the friend too much of a coward to come looking for me himself," she says defiantly.

"No, he just managed to get himself killed," the man says, "Come on, your coming with me."

"No, I’m not," she says.

"Don’t put up a fight, I really don’t want to kill you in front of the child," the man says.

"Then let him go, you want me," she says.

"Fine, get on out of here kid," the man says moving to let Billy out.

Billy doesn’t move.

"Go on, I’ll be fine," Samantha says pushing him towards the door.

Billy runs out of the office and the man turns back towards Samantha, not seeing that Billy is headed straight for the saloon.

Mary looks out the window of the store and sees Billy running across the street.

"Billy," she says worriedly.

+ + + + + + +

"Chris, Chris," Billy says running in the saloon.

"Hey buddy," Chris says grabbing him as he runs to him.

"There’s a man taking Sam," he says to Chris.

The four men that rode up with the man are standing at the bar and they start to draw their guns.

"I wouldn’t do that if I were you," Buck says as he, Ezra, Nathan, Vin, Josiah, and JD draw first.

+ + + + + + +

The man begins to lead Samantha out of the newspaper office, when Chris, Vin, Buck, and Ezra step out onto the street.

"May we help you sir," Ezra says in a harsh voice.

"Just taken the girl, that’s all," the man says.

"Why?" Chris questions.

"Because, she’s wanted for murder," he replies.

"Is that so, who was it?" Chris asks.

"A friend of mine," the man says.

"This the same friend that murdered her brother," Vin says.

The man stands there.

"I believe it’s time you took her hands off her," Buck says.

The man slowly lets go of her and she starts to walk towards the men. The man starts to draw his gun.

"Watch out!" Chris yells.

The four men draw their guns and Samantha quickly ducks grabbing her gun from the back of her pants and turning to aim at the man who’s already fallen to the ground. She stands back up and dusts her pants off, turning to see Nathan, Josiah, and JD leading the other four men to the jail. Billy comes running out of the saloon towards Samantha. She leans down and hugs him.

"Thanks Billy," she says hugging him.

Mary comes running out of the store and Billy runs to hug her.

"Are you alright?" Vin asks.

"Yeah, I’m fine," she says looking at the man who almost shot her.

+ + + + + + +

Later that night, they all sit in the saloon talking and playing cards.

"So, what are you gonna do now?" Nathan asks Samantha.

"Well, I thought about going back to my old town," she says.

The men look up at this statement wondering if she was really gonna leave.

"But, I’ve decided to stay a while longer. That old town is full of old memories, I think it’s time I started out new," she says.

"And there’s no place better to start new than here. Let’s have a toast to our dear friend," Ezra says lifting his glass.

"And let’s hope she has the strength to put up with us," Buck says raising his glass.

They all laugh a little and raise their glasses to the toast.


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