TITLE: Threads of Light
The rusty hinges creak when the Sheriff closes the door of my cell. He has to push hard--these doors haven't moved in a hundred years. He twists the big iron skeleton key and the lock slides into place. Then he flips the key into the air. It veers toward his neck and snaps in place, sticking like a refrigerator magnet. Weird.
"Don't be thinking about escape," he says in his metallic voice. "Don't" comes out as "doan" and "thinking" as if he never pronounced a "g" in his life. Or, I should say, in the life of the dead cowboy that lives in his mind.
He touches the brim of his hat in a sort of salute. "I'll be back for y'all tonight." The six-pointed badge on his leather vest glimmers in the dim light.
The Sheriff glances across the hall, seems satisfied, and walks away.
My step-mom, Lynda, lies prone on the cot in the cell across from mine. Her tears have dried, leaving streaks in the dust on her cheeks. She looks asleep, but I can tell from the big knot on her head that she's unconscious. There's a fist-sized hole in the wall behind her. I recognize the telltale burn marks on the rim of the perfect circle and thank God they only knocked her out.
The Sheriff promised two nooses at the midnight hanging. I hope Lynda
regains consciousness before then so I can tell her, one last time,
that I love her.