A jail cell is much worse than sleeping outside.
It is colder, more sterile, and so quiet it borders on spooky. The only sound between the three cells we were in was Hazel cooing completely unaware of the dire situation we were in. It has been 12 hours since the sheriff brought us in, and we have not seen the thief since he brought us here. Only slightly aware of day breaking through the window at the end of the hallway, I could only guess that it was still too early to take care of the new pests giving him a hard time.
How could the sheriff be a corrupt thief? How would we ever get out of here because of that one horrible fact? Looking around at my family, I could tell I was not the only one thinking these things. None of us had spoken since being brought here. Mostly because Harry, Grace and Hazel had been sleeping since shortly arriving, but my mother, Mary and I were all thinking so hard, you could almost hear it.
Suddenly the silence was broken when the door opened and footsteps thudded down the sun laden hallway. Apparently, the Sheriff thief and I had grown a certain bond, because he walked straight over to me as I was slinked and resting on the bars even though it was evident both my mother and Mary were the matriarchs of the family.
“Good morning. I hope you slept comfortably,” the Sheriff thief said with slight amusement. “I am not going to press charges for the attempted horse thieving.” I heard my mother-in-law snicker, but unperturbed, the sheriff continued. “It was just a simple misunderstanding, but I am afraid that I have been forced to hold you on assaulting me with the shovel. I am sure you understand. I can’t have people in this town thinking they can do whatever they feel like.” Looking me straight in the eye, he smiled.
“You may want to make yourselves comfortable,” he continued. “You’re going to be here awhile. Besides, from what I can tell from your makeshift camp, you have run out of ways to get out of here. I don’t think you will be able to get to, where was it you said you were going, oh yeah, Chicago any time soon.” He visibly laughed at us as he walked right back down the same hallway and out the door leaving us alone once again.
Maybe an hour later, Harry, Hazel, and even Grace were asleep once again. Who could blame them? It is so quiet and boring in here, but I unable to sleep. My thoughts are racing through my mind. How are we going to get out of this mess?
“I should have gone alone,” my mother said under her breath, breaking the silence. “I could have saved both our families from being stuck in here.”
“Mother, no!” I said to her. “We are family, and we should always be together. We would not have left you even if you were in this situation alone. We still would have needed to find a solution to get you out. Your life is important to all of us.”
“Anna, I am getting older. Mary too. That is the true reason we left Kansas. I knew to get our farms up and running would take more than Mary and I could do alone, even with the help of the three of you. I knew we had to leave. So, I sat down with Mary, and here we are. Stuck in this god-awful situation.”
“Well then that settles it,” I say, “We have to get out of here and get to father before it is too late.”
“And we have to find a way to stick it to our sheriff friend and his so-called law-abiding town,” Mary said.
My mother smiles sweetly to me before responding to Mary. “Just how do you propose we do that?”
“I think I have an idea. It will not only make them pay, but it will help us get to Chicago since everything we owned was confiscated by our dear sheriff,” Mary told her.
With those words, we once again started working together to plan how to get out of the cell and back on our way to Chicago.
To Be Continued…