Lead Belly's jailhouse was small for a town so rife with criminal activity and perhaps that was no surprise. It certainly didn't shock Cash as she and Boss approached it, done up in their Sunday best, which for Cash meant her all-black attire was simply washed and pressed. Having made an appointment with the sheriff they were escorted without incident from the gatehouse to the office where a deputy greeted them grimly.
"You're here to see..." he glanced down at the note in his hand, "Gideon, yes?"
Boss nodded. "That's correct."
The deputy made a gruff snorting sound and turned, leading them toward a desk littered with empty instafood wrappers and half-empty cups of coffee. "Sheriff got called out on...business," the deputy said unconvincingly. "So I'll be handlin' your visitation." He rifled through the mess for a moment. "You'll have to fingerprint here." He held up an electronic pad with Boss's identification flashing on it and some legal jargon scrolling beneath it. "Here...Here...aaaaand here."
When that was done the deputy put the pad down without a second thought and walked them toward a blast-proof door that led to the cells beyond. He swiped a keycard into a slot and the door clattered upward with a din.
"Come on through, then," said the impatient and exhausted officer.
Boss and Cash stepped into the dimly lit cellblock. Panes of plexiglass, similar to what had greeted them at Asimov's junkyard, lined the walls on either side. Prisoners in identical grey scrubs stared at them in varying degrees of interest and disinterest. Some wore restraints while others did not. Many were human but a few other brands of sentient scrolled by as the deputy led them down the corridor. Cash was not surprised by much, but the few number of guards spaced at long intervals was enough to raise an eyebrow. One of the inmates pounded on the glass with insistent fists as they passed, but the sound was so dampened it barely registered as more than a tap.
The stillness was shattered by an ear-splitting alarm and the sound of shaking metal as blast doors lowered over each and every cell, shutting out the view of the prisoners beyond. The deputy let out a curse, fumbling for the shock revolver in his holster as he bolted away from them. The guards watched the deputy with disinterest as he rushed past, slinging cuss words into the air like ammunition. Boss and Cash exchanged a quick glance before taking off after him.
"What's happening?" Boss yelled over the blare of the alarm.
Cash lifted up one hand, shielding her eyes from the red siren lights now sweeping in quick circles above their heads. "Seems like a jailbreak to me!" Cash grinned back.
They caught up to the deputy as he stopped in front of the only cell that hadn't had a blast door lowered over its facade. His face was as crimson as the dim strobing air around them.
"Gideon, what in Pete's name do you think you are doin?" The deputy yodeled with annoyance.
A moment of confusion took hold of Cash before she could locate the source of the deputy's ire. At first glance, the cell appeared empty but as her eyes rose higher in their search she located the prisoner hanging upside down from the ceiling, one leg in an exposed ventilation shaft, the other holding a tangle of wires in lieu of rope.
"Good afternoon, Deputy Bridges." The Vox's wide triangle ears sprung up on either side of her head in surprise. "I am...uh."
"Escaping?" offered Boss, crossing both slender arms over the purple bodice she wore.
Deputy Bridges did not respond, entering a code into a panel on the wall, face deeply wrinkled in frustration. The alarm and lights immediately ceased their chaotic chorus and the cellblock returned to an eerie quiet. The Vox dropped down from the ceiling in a quick flip, landing lightly on the balls of her feet and straightening to her full height of two and a half feet tall. The plexiglass rose as if commanded by the Deputy's glowering gaze. He lifted his pistol in readiness, holding Gideon in his sites.
YOU ARE READING
Gunslingers & GalaxiesScience Fiction
[Editors' Choice] Cash Guthrie can hide no longer. The notorious gunslinger and her band of alien misfits plan to rob the biggest Casino in town. It's not about the money for Cash though, it's about Boss and the love they once shared. ______________...