Both the sheriff’s department and the citizens were doing a door to door search for James. Joleen decided she would take as step back and look at just what this man was doing. He would have needed both help to pull this off as well as a place to take the children. It would have to be private and secure. She immediately thought about the compound across the town line. She knew that the man that killed her husband was there. She just couldn’t prove it or do anything about it. Sam or Sava pretended to be just a mute boy looking to stay out of trouble. In reality, he was the runaway son of a crime boss from Russia. She also knew that it could just be her way of finding an excuse to invade the compound and letting justice have its day. When his family found him they also found Hope and the rail yard. They moved in and took over. Joleen could link many crimes to them just not in a court of law. Thinking about it she realized that if there was proof then she could call the army. She also realized that Sava would think about that. So where ever he was he wasn’t in the compound. She said to no one in the room, “it’s one thing to protect family it’s another to protect an employee.”
Back in her first days on the job as a detective, Joleen had rescued a young girl from her mother’s neglect. Agnes was sold to a hotel. She would work as a day laborer until she was the legal age of sixteen to become a prostitute. To speed up the sale Agnes’s mother had told them she was fourteen and not her real age of ten. One look at the girl and anyone could see she wasn’t fourteen. They knew that some men would pay well to essentially rape a young girl. There were many places that made this practice possible. Both her and Trip knew they had just uncovered a sex slavery ring. Back then the investigation turned towards the drug problem. Anyone involved in Agnes’s sale had either fled or was dead. From time to time they would find more information but nothing that went anywhere. It was a well-known secret that people traveling west were easy targets. Even with the advent of the train many were still victimized. The town charter clearly spells out the limits of their power. Outside of the town line and they became civilians.
Trip looked at the file then back to Joleen. He said, “a reporter named Ernest. Really? An Ernest reporter?” Joleen thought about that one for a second then said, “do you think any of his readers make that connection?” Trip wasn’t happy that this man wanted the file or that the killer got away. He said, “this makes us look like we can’t do our jobs.” He went to go on but Joleen stopped him by saying, “the new mayor wants an open door to everyone. That means all of us. No secrets.” Trip got up and took one of the three files. He didn’t open it or say a word. Trip comes across as a simple man that can sometimes be over his head with the job, but he has a closing rate the beats most of the others. When a neighboring town or city wants someone to help they call on him. He also has the best relationship with the nations. He is the only one that can go on tribal land without permission. After the years of army occupation, the open-door policy from Joleen’s father’s time was over.
A man sat just outside Joleen’s office. He had on a suit and a dark brown derby. He was a city man from the polished shoes to the leather bag. Nothing about this man said he belonged. Joleen had passed him thinking he looked a little like her step-father Allen. Except Allen look more like a man of the west than this guy. Eventually he stuck his head into her office and asked if he could ask a couple of questions. Joleen looked at her stack of reports then back to him. She said, “yes I do mind but if you can make them quick then go right ahead.” He seemed a little put off by her answer, but he still came in and sat down. He didn’t bother to introduce himself. His first question was telling. He asked, “when will Joel Warren be available to speak?” She wished she hadn’t let this guy in. This wasn’t the first time a man like this came looking for her thinking the name was a typo and she was a man. Something about these city people that made them think that a woman couldn’t do this type of work. She said, “there is no Joel. My name is Joleen. I am the lead detective and a deputy sheriff. Do you have any questions?”
A week later and the circuit court judge was in town. His first act was to toss out all the arrests in the drug den. He then wrote a ruling that said the new town ordinance wouldn’t hold up in court without a territorial or national law to back it up. His ruling forced the town council to meet and plan. Eventually they removed the ordinance making any opioid drug illegal. It was a hard blow to a town that felt it had a way to fit a growing problem. The next day Candice told Allen and Joleen she would have to ride out to the capital to see if there was any way to save the law. The day before she left Allen said he would go with her. Joleen thought that a little alone time away from the kids and town may just help bring them back together. It also meant that the kids would be home alone. Allen and her mother were leaving in three days.
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Another body turned up with the same wire threaded through out. This one also had the eyes cut out as well as the tongue and the genitals. According to the doctor all the work was done while he was alive. Joleen looked over the report from the doctor. She said to herself, “so this is someone who wanted an answer or just wanted to inflict pain.” A month prior they had arrested a man who was stealing calves and skinning them alive after dislocating the joints. He said, “I just love to hear them scream.” The idea of someone killing just for the fun of it wasn’t out of the question. It was common for people to have no form of identification. As the town grows the amount of new people coming in grows. Short of bringing everyone in town to see the body they would have to list him as a John Doe and bury him in the red cemetery.
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The door was metal, but the jam and walls were wood. They placed the charges on the wood walls. Something felt wrong with all this. Joleen said to no one in particular, “just one way in or out? Why have the security, the lookout? He would be too close to warn them, so they could get away? A fight wouldn’t go well for them. Just what was on the other side of that door?” Joleen sent two of the deputies around the building. Then she sent two more into the adjoining buildings looking for passageways. When everyone came back the two that went around said that there seemed to be a false front to the store. From the street, it was a deep empty room but up close it was just painted black and about three feet deep. Joleen and one other stayed at the door. She sent the rest to the false store front. Joleen pulled the rope and counted to three then they activated the charges.
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The front of the town hall was covered in red white and blue bunting. It was officially the twentieth century, 1900. The new mayor stepped out of her office and went down the stairs. It was a beautiful day. Candice wasn’t sure what she should do. With all of Gerard’s dealings out, most of the office was slowed to a stop. Nothing for a mayor to do. She hired a couple of accountants to decipher just how much he stole from the town. All projects were on hold. That is all projects except for the new sheriff’s department and the jail. The new station was a hotel that was converted into the largest facility of its type. She worried about the possible militarization of the town. Sheriff Wednesday was building an army to take on this family that has taken over a stretch of land just outside of town. Their property sits just outside of the town charter. The local native population could intervein but after years of wars and occupation by the American government and armies, they wanted little to do with the problems of white people. Having lived in the town when it was more of a cooperation, Candice could understand why they felt this way.
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The sheriff took control of the new hotel the mayor was building. He had said it would be their new base of operations until something else could be worked out. Sitting around a poker table, the sheriff asked, “what do we do now?” Samuel slammed his fist on the table and said, “we go and burn there house down.” One of the newly deputized deputies said, “you haven’t been there have you kid. The place is a fortress with four-foot-thick walls and iron gates. They have enough supplies to last out there for years and enough men to put up a fight that even the army would have trouble with.” David turned to the man and asked, “Josiah, you worked on the place. Is there any way past the wall?” He just shook his head. One of the town council was a man named William. Candice knew him as Billy. He and Bertha his wife once fought off armed men in the desert with Candice. He asked, “if we can’t take them then can we talk to them?”
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Gunfire struck the side of the house. Sheriff David Wednesday and two of his sons returned fire. The gunmen hid behind a turned over wagon and dead horses. The wagon was loaded down with metal plates and sand bags. Trip was down on the floor and not moving. David sent his wife and their younger children away before the gunmen moved in, so no one could check on him. A shot hit a lamp and knocked it onto the floor starting a fire. Timothy, David’s second son went to put the fire out. He used a blanket and managed to extinguish the flames just as a shot came through and struck him in the shoulder. Trip stirred then regained consciousness. He got up and took Timothy’s spot. David could see blood trickle out of Trip’s ears as well as an angry hole in his shirt. David knew that they would soon run out of ammunition and the men outside would win.
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These stories will be based in the old west and an attempt at a modern western (later on).
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