Microfiction: County Road

The Sheriff slid his patrol car to a stop on the gravel shoulder of county road 555.  He got out, looked at the setting sun for a moment, then opened the trunk and pulled out a rifle. He worked the rifle’s lever action, loading a round into the chamber as he walked towards a campfire.  Homeless think they can just waltz through my county. Third time this month.

A sitting man warmed his hands over the fire.  A rope tied to two trees with a tarp thrown over it served as his tent. The man stood as the Sheriff approached. “Hello officer.”

“It’s not officer. It’s Sheriff. You alone here, son?”

“Yes, Sheriff. Just camping for one night. I’ll be up at first light and on to the next county. I won’t leave any mess behind.”

“Uh-huh.” The sheriff lifted one end of the tarp with the rifle barrel, revealing an empty sleeping bag. “How’d you cut that wood for the fire? You have an axe or a machete or something?”

“No, sir. I just found that wood dead on the ground. I’m not here to cause any trouble. I don’t want to cause any trouble for anyone.”

“You have any firearms or explosives?”

“No, nothing like that.”

“Then you’ll need this.” The Sheriff handed his rifle to the man, and pulled bullets off his pistol belt one at a time.  He put them in the man’s coat pocket and pointed towards the woods. “It’ll come from that direction.”

“It?” asked the man, but the Sheriff was already hurrying back to his car.

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13 comments

  1. Oh, that was a brilliant twist! I did not see that coming.

  2. Reblogged this on Journeys of the Clayfoot and commented:

    Love the twist at the end!

  3. That was awesome.

  4. I really enjoyed this piece, Steve. You are a skilled, pared down writer and I love that.

    1. So sorry, Bill! I inadvertently typed Steve. Old age and all.

      1. I’m right behind you in the age department…

  5. Thanks to everyone who complimented the twist ending. I especially appreciate it since so many of you are accomplished authors.

  6. I am not a writer, but I am a reader with more than 50 years of experience. I enjoyed the twist!

  7. That was such an awesome ending, PDC! I loved it. And you’ve done such a fantastic job making that Sheriff feel real in such few words. 🙂

  8. […] County Road microfiction quickly climbed onto my “top posts” list, and inspired this follow-on […]

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