Magnificent Seven Old West

by Mary Ann

Missing Scene- Inmate 78

Thanks to my beta Melissa

"Drag his sorry ass to the jail." Sheriff Quince told his deputy. He glanced down at the dust covered man in black on the floor. "Check him over, he'll have to pay for his jail time." He chuckled. Holstering his gun, Quince looked at his mother. She stood back from the man he'd knocked out in their saloon.

"Looks like another for the Warden, Mom. Should be an easy one."

"Be careful, son. He said his name is Larabee. I've heard that name before. I just can't remember what it was about."

"Don't worry. He's ours now." He followed the men dragging the unconscious blond to his jail.

"Check his pockets yet?" Quince asked, standing by the cell door.

"I'll get to it." The deputy started his search. "He looks like any dusty low life that passes through." He removed the gun belt and struggled to get the man on the narrow cot chained to the rock wall. He roughly searched Chris Larabee. His hands went through Chris's pockets, then felt over Chris's arms and legs. He jerked off the prisoner's black boots.

"What are you doing?"

"Checking his boots. You know some men keep money in them. Damn nothing there. All I found is a couple dollars. Didn't have enough money to pay for his room and board."

"Just get done. Leave him barefoot. He looks dangerous. Cuff his hands and make sure the door is locked."

Grumbling under his breath the deputy quickly finished and slammed the cell door. "Want me to stay tonight?"

"No, he'll be fine. I'm going home for dinner."

Chuckling, the deputy motioned to the prone figure in the cell. "Is he going to make it to his trial in the morning?"

"He'll have a headache. I hit him pretty hard." Quince laughed. Did you see the dirt fly?" He shook his head. "On your way home, tell the 'judges' mother he's needed in court at nine. And tell her I'll be home for supper shortly." He grinned and tried to control his laugher.

"I will." The man left closing the jail door behind him.

The sheriff listened to the deputy's laughter as it faded into the darkness. He let the smile slide from his lips as he turned and stared through the bars at the unconscious man in the cell. So, this is the mighty Chris Larabee. Doesn't look so grand to me. Some fancy gunslinger he's turned out to be. He won't be so great out at the prison camp. Can't throw a gun there. Quince laughed. Damn, I took him down easy. He won't be interfering with anything now.

Chris groaned. His head throbbed. He tried to rub his head and discovered he was cuffed. He lay still and replayed what he remembered. He opened his eyes and from the filtered moonlight knew he was in a jail cell.

"What the hell? Why am I in here?" he muttered as he sat up slowly. The pain made him nausea as his cuffed hands moved to his head. He found a lump on the back of his head. ‘Ouch what the hell… Oh damn. I remember what happened, but who hit me?' He let his hands drop and lowered his head to his lap, finding it didn't help.

He struggled to stand and looked around the rooms as much as he could see in the dark. He felt his pockets and found them turned out. With a groan he bent over to pull on his boots. Swaying as he stuck one foot into a boot, he sat down abruptly, his head was pounding so much he felt nauseous. After several minutes, he pulled on the second boot with his head throbbing like drummers in a marching band. He wondered how he was going to get out of this sorry excuse of a town and he laid back down.

Why the hell did I stop? I'd've been home tomorrow. This day has been the trip from hell. Next time I'm going to take Vin with me. He knows how to relax; and he's got all kinds of places to hide away from people, judges and towns. If the Judge wants me to deliver papers again on my day off, I'll take Vin along. That SOB was hiding eight miles from town. I kept following leads that led me all over the country. Vin might have found him faster. Now this. What's next?

Loud clanging on the iron bars startled Chris out of a fitful sleep. His head pounded with the drummers again.

"Hey you, get up!' The deputy yelled, then took a quick step back when Chris glared at him.

"Time to go. Come on," the deputy insisted.

Chris rose and walked to the cell door the man opened. "When's breakfast?"

"Not til after the trial. Maybe," the deputy laughed as he grabbed Chris's arm and shoved him towards a door behind the sheriff's desk. He hustled Chris into the room.

Inside the room Chris got a glimpse of the man donning an old black robe. He worked to adjust his eyes in the gloomy, dark room. The deputy jerked him forward to the large desk as the man started to turn around. Chris blinked in the semi-dark, the judge looked like the sheriff.

Chris couldn't believe how fast this fake trial had happened, and in front of the man who was the sheriff. Not a real judge. With the deputy acting as his counsel, he couldn't even speak. The 'judge' ignored him. The set up between the two men was perfect for railroading someone into their godforsaken prison. As he was dragged out of the room, he wondered how he would survive five years in prison.

Outside the jail, the deputy shoved him into a waiting prison wagon. Chris only saw the woman from the bar. She smiled and watched him being forced into the wagon. She nodded to the sheriff as he climbed up to the high seat above the team of horses. The town appeared to be abandoned.

Chris was pushed down on the long bench along one side of the interior. The clang of the door closing behind him echoed in the quiet town. As the vehicle jerked into motion, he silently prayed for the guys to come soon.


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