"You got yourself in here then you can get yourself out. I can't afford visitors here." Owen replied grimly. Removing himself from the situation and viewing it logically. There was no telling if this girl could really do what she claimed; and even if she could, he already had a whole armory full of guns and ammunition. He didn't need her at all. She was a huge security risk. 

He felt her sudden intake of breath as she realized that she wasn't going to persuade him so easily and that she might be forced back to where ever it was that she had come from. His heart melted just a little. She looked to be about his age, and she was pretty enough too. He hated to think what might happen to her if she actually did injure her ankle. 

"If you drop your weapon I'll lead you to the front door and let you out." Owen relented. That was all the risk he was willing to take for this stranger he decided resolutely. 

The girl dropped her gun and Owen realized she was shivering. It wasn't particularly cold, so she must be more terrified than her tone of voice had given away. 

"Please," she whispered, "you can't put me back out there. They already took everything I had." This time her voice betrayed just how desperate she was for a safe place. 

Owen gritted his teeth and almost spat. Keeping her was the biggest risk he had taken since his parents had made the same mistake he was contemplating making. He should throw her out now. He could give her her gun back and she would be on her way never to cross his path again. He could just forget about her. But if she died the next day her blood would be on his hands. Killing a man intent on stealing his food from a long distance and to keep up his reputation was one thing...but to make the choice to kill this girl who was begging him for safety. That was something entirely different.  He didn't want that kind of blood on his hands. 

"Please," the girl pleaded quietly. 

Images of the night his parents had died flashed through Owens head. He had been only twelve at the time. His parents had let a lone man stay the night. He had looked so desperate and all he had asked was a little water and a place to sleep in safety. Owen had woken up the next morning to find his parents' necks slit open and all of the family's belongings gone. That was why you never let a stranger in. No matter how desperate they seemed to be. You just never knew. 

His eyes refocused on the girl. She wasn't the lone man. So long as she was un-armed what could she really do? Maybe if he just let her stay for the night, locked in a room so she couldn't hurt him. Maybe that would ease his conscience a little. To know that he had done what he could. 

"You can stay for one night and one night only. You are out of here in the morning. And if you want to stay it will be behind a locked door, you will have to trust that I will let you out in the morning." Owen stated, making sure to keep an iron-hard and emotionless tone in his voice. He wasn't going to take any nonsense from this girl. This was his house. He had built it from nothing and she had just walked in. She was lucky he was letting her stay just this one night. 

The End

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