The screams for help were so loud, I could hear them through the walls of the house. I ran to the front door, picked up my shotgun and peeked around the door. The barely clothed woman ran along the dirt road in a panic. The metal manacles that adorned her wrists and neck glinted from the midday sun.
“Over here,” I shouted, waving at her.
She didn’t hear me, continuing to run at full pace, her bare-feet thundering along, doing her best not to fall head-over-heels.
“Hello, Miss!” I tried again and got her attention, “Quickly, this way.”
You could see her over-stressed mind try to weigh up the odds of running into a stranger’s house, or continue on down the road. In the distance, through the heat-haze, a large pickup truck could be seen bearing down. She looked over her shoulder and made up her mind.
She pushed passed me into the house; the smell of sweat and body odor betrayed the length of time since she had been clean. I slammed the door, slotting the deadbolt into place. She collapsed on the floor. I watched through the front window as the vehicle passed without incident.
“If you were worried about that car, it’s gone now,” I said, sitting down at the table, pouring myself a neat glass of whiskey.
I looked down at her breathing heavily on the floor and offered her the bottle, “You want?”
She shook her head, staring up at the ceiling.
“More for me then,” I said, putting the bottle down, “Someone after you?”
She continued to pant and stare.
The skin under her manacles was purple and scared, “Looks like you’ve been someone’s plaything for a little while now, guess they’ll be looking for you. I’ll call the sheriff.”
“No please don’t,” she responded.
“So it does talk. Don’t worry, the sheriff’s a good guy, he’ll make sure you get back to the right place.”
I left the room and picked up the phone.
“Hi sheriff, I have a bit of a situation… Thanks, see you soon.”
Returning to the room, the woman was sitting at the table necking back the whiskey.
“Looks like someone is feeling better,” I said smiling.
She winced as the liquid burned her throat, “No, but the drink is helping.”
“You want to tell me what’s going on?” I asked.
She shook her head and took another gulp.
“Takes a certain type of man to do that to another human being, not me, my junk hasn’t worked in years. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Luckily for you, the sheriff is on his way.”
I heard a knock at the door.
“That must be him now,” I said, getting up.
I slid open the bolt.
“Afternoon Dennis, lovely day today.”
A look of absolute horror materialised on the woman’s face.
“Is that one of yours?” I asked the sheriff.
“It is, remind me to get you that barbecue we’ve been talking about.”