"I see," Judge Munson said, "I'm afraid that isn't good enough."

"My mom ain't lyin', Jesse said rather loudly as he took offense for his mother, "I was there too."

"Yes, I understand, son," the judge said, "what I meant was the confession of the men wasn't good enough. There's no evidence of those crimes, and I understand that would be hard to come by nowadays. I need two witnesses to the actual crimes they're saying they committee, or for them to officially confess these crimes to a law officer."

"They confessed them to her!" Dylan said waving his hand in irritation, "Wade and I were deputized, and we weren't more than a few yards away."

Judge Munson kept his voice calm and even. "I know this is frustrating. But we have to consider that they may have made up these crimes to scare Ms. Jackson and Jesse into doing what they wanted. It's what they're alleging now."

Wade and Dylan exchanged a glance as Dylan shook his head and scoffed. "Of course, they are," he said.

"We should've killed them when we had the chance," Wade said.

"And then you would've been sitting in jail," Judge Munson countered.

"Maybe." Wade shrugged as if he didn't believe it. "Would've been worth it to see them gone."

The judge raised and lowered his hands as he tried to calm the room. "They can still get life in prison. We have plenty of witnesses for that."

Before the AgFlu, Skye had always been unsure of the death penalty, but face to face with the violence that men are capable of, she knew that she now firmly believed it was the right thing to do in this circumstance. Life in prison was something, but how did that even work with the way things were now?

She questioned the judge. "How is life in prison practical now?"

"Well, ma'am," he said, "that really isn't up to me. I'm called in to make a judgment, and that's what I do. Being how there is no government that we can tell at the moment, what your town does with that judgment is up to them. Obviously, a smaller crime with a smaller sentence is easier to handle. This one would be tricky."

Skye knew Tom would hold to the letter of the law, even when that law was as shaky as it was now. She felt the tension rising off of Dylan and Wade in waves. If this is how the case was left, she was afraid it would erupt into a fight between them and Tom. The judge had practically told them his judgment wasn't much more than words.

Skye laid a hand on Dylan's arm hoping to calm him, but instead, the jumping of his arm muscle put her more on edge. The man was doing everything he could to hold himself in check.

Looking at the judge and hoping he had a solution, she asked, "What can I do?"

"Well Ms. Jackson," he said, "I'm glad you asked that. Seems Calvin has a giant-sized bee in his bonnet over you. He's representing the group so he will be questioning the witnesses and that includes you. I'm thinkin' you could try to rile him up a bit as he does so. Try to get him to confess to something in open court."

Skye looked at Dylan, who raised an eyebrow. She knew what he was asking. Could she handle being questioned by Calvin after everything he'd put her through? Could she then turn it around on him and use his questioning against him?

She dipped her head to Dylan, then turned back to the judge, she said, "I can do that."

"Good. Then we will have no problem."

Skye nodded, but her stomach tensed as she realized everything now depended on her.

A twig snapped under Sky's foot bringing her back to the present. They were almost home, and she hadn't thought of a fool-proof way to get Calvin to confess. She blew out a long breath creating a small white cloud she then walked through.

"Don't worry, darlin'," Dylan said. "You'll figure it out. I'll help ya. However, I can."

She threw her arm around his waist and hugged him as they walked. "You're the best guy I know. You're always there for me and look at those two. Look what you did!" She pointed to Jesse and Sue Ellen.

She couldn't tell for sure, but she thought his face reddened just a little bit before he cleared his throat. "Yeah, well-" he said.

She hopped up to kiss his cheek. "Yeah, well," she repeated and then smiled.

Skye pushed all the problems into the background as she took in the delight of the children in front of her.

When they got home, Jesse took Sue Ellen into the house to show her around as the adults watched from the door.

They all agreed with Wade when he said, "That little girl is the sweetest thing I ever saw. Looks like we have ourselves another little addition to our family."


A/N: Thanks for reading SA2: The Captured! I hope you are enjoying how the story is being developed. I know I'm enjoying writing it. :) The story continues to grow, in size and intensity, there are a lot of twists and turns ahead! :)  

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