Standoff


In..Out...In...Out..  Jim needed to concentrate on his breathing, or he would stop.  He had never done this before.  He'd been on trial.  He'd been convicted.  He'd been to prison.  But all that was someone else s doing, not his.  All his life he let the forces around him push him around and take charge.  Today was different.  Today, Jim was going to take charge.  Jim was going to confront the man.  The man who lied.  The man who took credit for turning Jim in.  The man who did the crime Jim was accused of.  The man who stole the last twenty-three years of Jim’s life.

In...Out...In....Out..  Jim crept alongside the light blue colonial trying to keep out of sight, both from the inside and the outside.  He altered the hold on his gun from firm to loose and back again.  Firm when he felt he was losing hold of it.  Loose when he felt his arm and hand muscles tighten out of control.  He stood motionless in the dark, waiting for Marshal to be alone.  Then sounds grew from inside the house, from imperceptible to soft and low.  Footsteps and voices leaked from the wooden structure.  The voices of two females mingled among the footsteps, low and unintelligible.  Slowly the voices grew in volume.  The sounds of sliding and clanking entered into the mix.  And then the door opened and they emerged.

“I'm telling ya, Kathy's not going to have it done.”

“Mom, she said she would.”

“That girl has never been reliable.  We're just wasting our time going over there this early.”

The two women walked from the doorway, across the porch, and down the steps.





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