His Life Depended on It

Running a zigzag pattern, Hargrove reached the top of the ridge and flung himself over, falling and tumbling through the brush down the other side. His shoulder ached where they got in a lucky shot. He knew he'd been hit by a spent bullet because the range was too great for their hunting rifles. Getting to his feet, he reached into his shirt and felt the wound, the bullet was just under the skin. With no time now to worry about it, he picked up the rifle and ran. It had taken him the best part of the night, crawling on his belly, to get to the killing zone, but only fifteen minutes to reach his pickup.

Throwing the brush and limbs off the truck he dove inside and started it up. With wheels spinning and dirt flying, he spun around and took off across country. With no trail out, he followed the path he'd made coming in, guided by the tire bent grass. Climbing the last small rise, his tires digging in, he reached the pavement. He turned East, tires squealing on the pavement. The road was a well paved secondary road, with minimal traffic. Maintaining 85 mph, he kept watching the rear view mirror. After 15 minutes with nothing in sight, Hargrove slowed to the speed limit.

The town of Fairlight, Hargrove's home town, was coming into sight when, a mile outside of town, he turned right onto a farm road. He knew all the back roads, from cruising as a kid. He circled around the section of land, following the fence line, until he found the road that entered the town from the South side. 

He drove into town behind a housing project, a block of empty houses in various stages of completion. Three blocks farther, was his street. He turned into his street and cursed. His eldest daughter's Honda was parked in his driveway. Pulling alongside her car, he clicked the opener and the garage door slid silently open. He drove the truck into the garage, keeping an eye on the entry door. Exiting the truck he could hear the TV blaring and his two grandsons yelling at each other. He quickly stripped off his Como's and stuffed them into the trash can, to be retrieved later. He slid the sniper rifle under the truck. Then he removed the sheriff's shield and pinned it back on his shirt pocket.

Imitating Desi Arnaz, sheriff Hargrove opened the door to the house and called out "Lucy, I'm home."

The End

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