As quickly as Rancid had found fresh air to breathe, the door to the jail opened and the sheriff stepped inside holding a shotgun head high. Without hesitation the lawman stepped up to Rancid, pointed the barrel at his face and shot his head off splashing Isaac with brains, bone and blood. Rancid’s dead body fell to the floor in a heap lying next to the fuming deputy. “Back in the cell,” the sheriff said to Isaac, and Isaac complied.
The sheriff fished out his keys and locked the cell door trapping Isaac back inside. “What a fucking mess,” the sheriff said. He set his shotgun on his desk and shook his head in disgust. “What’s that smell?” the sheriff asked.
“Acid,” Bohdan replied. “Your deputy was going to use it on us.”
“Bastard, I knew that fucker was no good.”
“He’s dead now,” Bohdan said.
“No, no he’s not,” the sheriff said. “He’s moving around.”
“You might want to finish him off, he’ll turn into a vampire soon if you don’t”
“I can’t legally kill him, it’s not a crime to be a vampire.”
“If that’s the case, why did you burn those three slave vampires?”
“Slaves have no rights, I can burn them up if I want. It’s not murder. The fact they were vampires was a bonus,” the sheriff explained.
“Do you go around killing slaves as a rule?” Bohdan asked.
“No, they were escaped slaves. I don’t have time to track down their owners and return them. It’s easier to dispose of them.”
“What if they hadn’t of been vampires? Would you have disposed of them then?”
“Probably not, I could have sold them off and kept the money. Use it for the jail.”
“Is that legal?”
“As long as I turned it over to the county clerk. Why are you so interested in small town revenues anyway?” the sheriff asked.
“I just find it odd that you can kill some people and not others. I realize this is a backwards time, and in a way I miss it, but it does seem a bit barbaric.”
“What do you mean you miss it?”
“It’s hard to explain, and I don’t think you’d understand anyway. Let’s say, I miss the old west. It has a romantic history. But then I didn’t care for parts of it either. Nobody ever remembers scraping to get by and starving most of the time. And then there was the war.”
“War? What war?” the sheriff asked.
“I forgot, you didn’t have the war here.”
“You make little sense and I’m getting a bit bored with you. The judge is on his way and your trial is set for tomorrow.”
“That’s quick, where did you find a judge around here?” Bohdan asked.
“He’s a traveling judge, comes on the train. I sent out a wire and he was close enough by he could make it tomorrow.”
“What about our defense? Do we get an attorney provided for us?”
“Us? You’re the only one on trial. The girl said you killed her sister, and probably her mother. She didn’t see the rest of you do anything.”
“Then why are they in jail? Let them go.”
“Not until the judge comes. If I let witnesses go he’ll hang me.”
“So these people are being held against their will?”
“No, they are being detained until the judge lets them go. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I let your friends here walk away.”
“Your deputy raped Cara. She wouldn’t have if she wasn’t locked up in your jail,” Bohdan said.
“And that fucker got what’s coming to him from the looks of it,” the sheriff replied.
“You better do something fast, he’ll be a full vampire in less than an hour.”
The sheriff had no empty cells so he moved Isaac over in with Bohdan and dragged the deputy into the empty cell and locked it. He looked down on the acid burned man who was in the middle of changing and shook his head in disgust. “I hated him, but you know what? Nobody deserves to suffer like that.”
“He said he liked to watch people suffer, he’s getting what he deserves,” Bohdan replied.
The sheriff stepped over to the cell where Cara and Ashley were held. He looked to Cara who was sitting on the bench with her head in her hands. “Sorry about what happened, I didn’t think he’d do anything like that.”
Cara looked to the sheriff and scowled at him. “How didn’t you know? He’s a creepy fucker, I’m sure you had an inkling he was abusing the inmates.”
“If I did, I wouldn’t admit it to you,” the sheriff said. “I know you’re pissed, but he’s all I had for the night shift. Otherwise I’d have to live in this shit hole.”
“I was scared to death he was going to pour acid on me!” Cara snapped.
“I said I was sorry, what do you want me to do?”
Cara put her head back in her hands and went silent. She had nothing else to say to the sheriff.
“So did you like it?” the sheriff asked.
“What?” Cara asked.
“Did you like it when he fucked you?”
“Are you serious? He raped me.”
“Yeah, but I bet you liked it, most of you whores do.”
Ashley stood up and approached the cell bars. “Leave this woman alone! Can’t you see she’s been through hell?”
“Shut the fuck up bitch,” the sheriff said. “You ain’t much better than a nigger. And I hate niggers.”
“Great, we got another one,” Ashley said. “I suppose you want to rape her as well?”
The sheriff rubbed his crotch and adjusted his gun belt. “I wouldn’t mind having a try at her as well. She’s a nice looking lady.”
Just then a sound came from the deputy’s cell. It was the sound a man trying to speak, but couldn’t. All they could make out was growling sounds. The sheriff stepped over and looked through the bars at the man who was severely acid burned, but was clearly alive and trying to stand.
“What’s going on?” Ashley asked. She couldn’t see what was going on in the cell next to her.
“Jim’s trying to stand up,” the sheriff replied. “And he’s not doing a very good job.”
Bohdan could see what was going on from his cell and watched the mutilated half vampire try to stand. The deputy grabbed the bars and pulled himself up to a standing position. He was obviously in pain from the acid burns and his face was disfigured. One eye melted shut and his jaw hanged showing off his newly forming fangs. In an attempt to speak, the new vampire said, “Help me!”
The sheriff stood back as the deputy spit blood as it spoke. The sound it made wasn’t clear, as if it had been chewing on its tongue. “What do you want me to do Jim?” the sheriff asked.
“Get the doctor!” Jim said. Blood and spit drooled from his mouth onto the floor.
“I don’t think the doctor is going to help much Jim, you’re too far gone.”
“I hurt! Stop the pain!”
“I can’t, I don’t know how.”
Jim stumbled back and let go of the bars briefly, then tipped forward and grabbed them with both hands. “Kill me,” Jim said as he looked down at the floor.
“I can’t Jim that would be murder.”
“Don’t let me hurt,” Jim said. His speech was more slurred than before.
“Go lie down on the bench, you might feel better later.”
Bohdan spoke up, “He feels pain far worse than you do. Vampires have heightened senses, pain is one we can’t control.”
“Than what do you suggest?” the sheriff asked.
“I suggest you do as he asked and kill him.”
“I said I can’t do that. He isn’t a horse with a broken leg, or a slave. My hands are tied, he will have to suffer.”
“Then get the doctor for God’s sake!” Bohdan snapped. Normally Bohdan didn’t give a shit about anyone, but watching the deputy drool and bob his head up and down was more than he could take.
“It’s two in the morning and the doctor lives three miles from town.”
“So? Go get him!”
“All he’s going to do is shoot him up with morphine.”
“He needs morphine, how can you stand there and watch your deputy suffer like that?” Bohdan asked.
“I can give him whiskey, that will do the trick,” the sheriff said.
“He barely has lips, how do you expect him to drink from a bottle?””
The sheriff looked at Jim and crossed his arms. From what he could see, the deputy wasn’t getting any better, or worse for that matter. He just bobbed back and forth and drooled on the floor making a puddle of sputum and blood near his feet. “Are you feeling any better Jim?” the sheriff asked.
Jim looked up and tried to make eye contact with the sheriff but his lids were melted over his eyes covering his vision. His lips hung down and his jaw slacked moving from side to side making mumbling sounds.
“He looks fine to me,” the sheriff said.
Then Jim stepped up to the bars and spit across the room at the sheriff splattering his face and shirt with red drool. He didn’t know if Jim did it on purpose because he was pissed, or if he had done it on accident because he was trying to speak. Either way, the sheriff was now livid. “You fucking bastard! Did you see what you did?” the sheriff asked.
Jim tried to smile, and for a moment showed off his new fang buds in the process. He backed away and seemed to laugh at what he had done.
“You think that’s funny do you?” the sheriff asked. He grabbed his shotgun from the desk and stomped his way over to the deputy’s cell. “I’ll show you what’s funny!”
“That’s exactly what he wants you know,” Ashley said. “He wants you to kill him.”
The sheriff stopped in his tracks. If he shot Jim, he’d be on trial after Bohdan. He took a deep breath and backed off. “Yeah, you’re right. I’m not giving that bastard what he wants.”
Bohdan spoke up, “What time’s the trial?”
“After lunch, the judge won’t be in till after eleven. That’s when the train gets here.”
“You didn’t answer my question from before, do I get a lawyer?”
“We don’t have a lawyer, you have to represent yourself,” the sheriff replied.
“The constitution provides I get adequate representation under the law.”
“I can’t give you what I don’t have,” the sheriff replied.
“Then I demand my trial be postponed until a lawyer can be provided.”
“You demand? That’s funny,” the sheriff said. “Get one of your friends here to play lawyer for you.”
“There’s no reason why my trial has to be tomorrow, you can wait until a lawyer can be found.”
“Here’s the reason your trial is tomorrow. We have one judge that works a thousand miles of territory and he’s available tomorrow. If we don’t try you tomorrow, it could be a year before we see him again, and I ain’t housing you in my jail until then. You need to work on your defense because your life will be on the line in about twelve hours. This ain’t the big city where you can get what you want when you want it.”
Bohdan looked away from the sheriff and rested his head on the wall looking up at the ceiling. “I don’t have a chance,” Bohdan said.
“Probably not,” the sheriff said. “You did kill that girl and you will pay for it. Think of it that way.”
“Can you at least move the deputy to a different location, he smells like burnt flesh.”
“I’ll think about it, I need to get home and get some sleep. If he’s still alive by sunrise, I’ll chain him to a tree or something. I’ll have other deputies and I have a long day tomorrow, so you all sleep tight.” The sheriff left the jail, closed the door and locked it.
“What are you going to do Bohdan?” Cara asked.
“Die I suppose.”