Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wednesday Briefs: The Sheriff #24 (7.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Last week, if you'll remember, Dustin found himself doing something rather illegal, having listened to what Jordan told him. And things are only getting worse. Find out where he ends up in this week's chapter of The Sheriff. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to! Their links follow my tale!  Enjoy!

The Sheriff #24 (7.1)

Middle of the night found Roy tossing and turning, sleep eluding him. He couldn’t find a comfortable position to save his life. Punching the pillow didn’t help either. Nothing felt right. Certainly nothing felt good.

Then, naturally, he had to take a piss. He swung his legs over the side of the bed, reached for his shorts, out of habit, then decided to hell with it. Not worth the trouble for the short trip down the hall.
Once he finished his business and washed his hands, he was heading back to bed to see what he could salvage of the night when he froze in place as he passed by the living room.

What was that?

His mind must be playing tricks on him, due to lack of sleep. He’d thought he heard someone knock at his door, but who the hell would be doing that at this time of night? Most of the residents of Burnham were long asleep, which was where he should be.

Dismissing the idea as a product of an overactive imagination, he started to move on, but then he heard it again. Yep, definitely knocking at his front door.

Damn, what if it was Lee or Marshall? What if something was wrong? He covered the short distance to the door in quick strides and threw it open, only to find neither Lee nor Marshall. Instead, Dustin stood there, hand upraised as if to knock again.

“Do you know what the fuck time it is?” he started to upbraid Dustin. Was he drunk or what? Then he noticed that Dustin was trembling. He glanced nervously around him as if he was afraid of being seen by someone. What the hell had this kid so spooked?

Without thinking, Roy grabbed hold of Dustin’s arm and yanked him inside nature coming. “Get in here.” Whatever the trouble was, he’d sort it out and send Dustin on his merry way. Not like he was sleeping, anyway. Before he closed the door, he glanced cautiously around, but saw nothing out of the ordinary.

Great, now he’s got me doing it.

Roy turned from the door to find Dustin had seated himself on his couch. His head was bowed, and he seemed to be trying to pull himself together.

Dustin raised his blond head, his hazel eyes fixed on Roy. Roy had seen that sort of look before—desperation mingled with terror. “I’m sorry to wake you up in the middle of the night, but I didn’t know where else to go.”

“Are you in some kind of trouble?” Roy blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

“I’m an idiot is what I am. A certifiable major idiot. I deserve everything that’s coming to me, but Denver doesn’t. He’s been good to me, and he doesn’t deserve to be hurt. So I ran, but now I don’t know if that was the right thing to do.”

Nothing was making sense, but Roy could see genuine fear in Dustin’s eyes, hear it in his voice.  He took a seat beside him on the couch, laid a calming hand on his arm. “Slow down, you’re not making sense. How is Denver going to be hurt? Who’s threatening him? And what’s it got to do with you?”

“Jordan, that’s who.” As he spoke the name, Dustin winced, as if the very thought of this man pained him.

“Who’s that?” Roy was clueless.

“Guy I met at the computer store. We’ve been… dating… for a few weeks now. If that’s what you want to call it.”

“What do you want to call it?” Roy asked.

“I call it him seeing an opportunity and going for it. And me thinking with my dick, as usual.” Now he sounded bitter. He locked his gaze with Roy’s. “I’m sorry to be bringing all this to you, but he scared me, I admit it. Said he’d hurt Denver if I didn’t do what he wanted. And tonight… oh God… tonight.” Dustin gave a shudder and squeezed his eyes shut, as if he was trying to shut out the world. Or at least one particular part of it.

Roy moved his hand to Dustin’s back and began to rub soothing circles, trying to get him to calm down. “It’s all right, don’t be sorry,” he said in a voice that was calculated to help put Dustin at ease. 

“Tell me exactly what Jordan said and did. Is this the guy you were with in Partners not too long ago?”

“Yeah, that’s him.” Dustin took a deep cleansing breath and opened his eyes once more. He fell silent for a few moments, as if organizing his thoughts. “It all began one day at work,” he began.

Roy listened without comment as Dustin told about meeting Jordan, and how flattered he was when the sexy guy asked him out. About his two Cro Magnon pals, Rusty and Lenny. And about what he now realized was breaking and entering someone’s house. About Jordan’s threats, and his plans to rob the computer store.

Holy shit.

Roy gave a long low whistle. Suddenly things were starting to make sense. Particularly the robberies in Tucker Falls.

“Have you told any of this to Denver?” Roy asked.

“No, I’m sure he’s asleep. I honestly didn’t know what to do. I just thought about you, and then I found myself driving here, and I’m sorry, I’m being a pest—”

“You are not,” Roy said. “I’m glad you came. That’s what I’m here for. What time did you say he’s coming by to pick you up?”

“At ten,” Dustin said. “Should I go back there and wait for him… or… or I don’t know what…”

“No, that’s the last thing you should do,” Roy said. “Why don’t you just stay here tonight? What’s left of it, anyway. In the morning, we’ll figure something out.”

Before he realized what was happening, Dustin was hugging him as if never wanted to let go.

to be continued

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