The dust smoked up around me as my horse, Jinny, galloped down the highway. A thundering of hooves was following behind me. I was too scared to look back and count them. My boots nudged at Jinny's side, she ran faster. Not fast enough. The thundering grew closer. My heart beat in my throat and the sweat poured down my back.
"Come on, Jinny," I whispered. I could feel her muscles wearing out underneath me. I noticed that her heartbeat was much faster than mine as my arms wrapped around her neck. This corner is going to be tight and I needed all the grip I could get. The road slipped from underneath us and I flew off Jinny's back. My pants ripped at the knees as I slipped across the road. My palms were on fire.
I spared a glance at Jinny, she ran off in the opposite direction. The thundering hooves droned past the road I cornered into. For what felt like the first time in hours, I took a breath. I'm safe. For now. I undid the bandanna covering my face and tossed it along with my black cowboy hat into the corner.
I winced as I retied the strands of my brown curls that tumbled over my face. I really need to find a tap. My eyes searched the walls for the much-needed piece of copper plumbing. I didn't find a tap, but I caught the eye of a little boy. He was holding a wooden pistol, a paper badge lovingly pinned to his cowboy hat. His eyes were wide, his mouth gaped open as I saluted him. He looked from me to the wall behind me. I followed his gaze to the wanted poster.
It wasn't the worst one I've seen. It captured my eyes perfectly, but I looked more like a pin-up girl than a bank robber. I looked down at my decidedly flat chest and compared it with the cleavage the artist added. I shook my head in disapproval and looked back at the boy. He was gone.
The thundering returned and I realized my rest period was over. I suddenly wished I spent my time thinking of a plan instead of looking for water. I forced my aching knees to run down the street. I frantically turned at each door-handle I passed. Rumors traveled fast in small towns. They were all locked. The sheriff's troops have not yet turned the corner. I allowed myself to hope, I ran faster. My hands trembled as my fingers grasped the last door-knob on the street. Please, I prayed.
I slipped into the house. The door closed. The whole block rattled as the sheriff's troops passed. I sighed. Relief flooded into my body as I slipped to the floor. My legs were weak.
"You're coming with me."
The gun's barrel was squarely against my temple. My body automatically leaped into a fight response. A resounding click stopped me in my tracks.
"Dead or alive."