A Chapter by Kasey Klein


Randy Joyce Locke and the incident at Sparrow Lea



Deep in my heart, I have a sore spot for people that harm others simply because they’re different, which is why Eve was careful presenting the information to me. If Joey Lichen and Lisa Corning were harmed simply because they were lovers, Eve knew I could bring hellfire down on the little burg known as Sparrow Lea. When I was a child, I loved a woman, Abby, so deeply, my love was beyond my reach. She was murdered simply because she was gay. The pain was so deep I couldn’t touch it. The pain, rich and dark, is still with me. Sometimes, as Eve knows, the pain drives me.

In just under three hours of running, I settled myself high above Sparrow Lea to the east beyond the Corning farm. I wanted to be wrong. I wanted to learn the three teenagers were off camping, roughing it the last weeks of summer. I wanted to believe somehow, Alley Reagan was mistaken about Sheriff Templeton and the bikers were just going to rob Satan’s Kitchen. As the sun came up, I wanted to watch Sheriff Templeton stop for breakfast at the restaurant, pulling a newspaper from the bundle at the door and just continue inside, maybe amused.

I wished, later in the day, Joey Lichen, Lisa Corning and Jack Pratt, carrying their gear, would appear in Sparrow Lea, wondering what the big deal was. As the sun cut through the heavy haze of morning, I watched the small figure of Templeton in my binoculars, not casually enter the restaurant, but jump back into his car and speed through the few blocks of the residential section of Sparrow Lea to the east. He drove off the road and parked.

I didn’t want to be right but I was.

I lost Templeton in the trees but he was easy to pick up in his Hawaiian shirt as he made his way up the bluff. With him moving in a beeline, triangulation was easy and confirmed a traditional search would have failed, his tack took him well to the northeast and far a field from where we found Kent.

I judged his direction and speed, if I could even call it speed, and set an intercept course. I wanted to nail him before he reached his destination. I didn’t want to risk losing him. Templeton saw me coming much too late. I took him down with a full body block. I was off the ground at full stride and planted my shoulder in his gut. Before he could consider struggling, I lodged my knee between his shoulder blades, disarmed him, shoving his gun in my belt and secured him with his own handcuffs.

He offered protests and objections.

“Now, Eve assures me you’re not giving anything up, not that it matters anymore.” I thumbed behind me. “I know where you’re going.”

With a grunt and a groan as I pulled him to his feet, he guaranteed me he had nothing to say.

“Templeton, I’ve kinda taken a liking to Roger Carlyle. Just your trying to kill him obliges me to want to put a slug between your eyes right now. Mix in Jeffery Kent, well, I’d rather belly shoot you and leave you to bleed to death.”

“You talk big when you got a gun and I’m in cuffs.”

I laughed. “Man, oh, man, Sheriff, appeal to a chick’s ego. If I didn’t have two girls in big trouble just ahead of me, I’d be happy to take you down in a fair fight. The sound and feel of your neck snapping in my hands would give me great pleasure.”

“Girls in trouble! You know nothing about it!”

“Educate me. But know this: your chances of being alive in the next few hours are very slim.”

“Those girls! Those girls are a corruption! You don’t know. You don’t know!”

“Educate me!”

“We’re helpin’ ‘em! You people can’t understand that! They’re �" they’re �"”

I took a deep breath. “They’re what?”


Rage, black and vile rose in my mind. I planted the barrel of my .38 on his forehead and bit my lip so hard I tasted blood. “D****t, Eve warned me.” I slugged the sheriff hard across the side of the head, sending him limp to the ground. “Hope you have an embolism.”

I holstered my gun and picked wildflowers as I continued the climb up the bluff. Thoughts like voices raged at me, calling me back to kill the man. I knew, within his own context of the way he saw the world, Sheriff Templeton thought he had done the right thing. He meant to do good. Knowing that didn’t matter.

As I crested the ridge, I caught the smell of smoke. I heard people moving purposefully. I counted three, one circled behind me. I knew, when Templeton and I were yelling, our voices would travel. Casually, as if aimlessly, I moved ahead, pausing, gathering more flowers.

“What are you doing up here?” A man stepped in front of me.

“Gathering flowers for my mom and dad. How’s the hunting?”

“Your mom and dad?” He looked behind me.

“Yeah. We’re camping just over there.”

“How’d you cut yourself?” He nodded to my jacket.

The other two came out of hiding. I could see one of them to my left and guessed at the location of the other behind me. “Well, I took a bullet when the bikers hired by Templeton raided Satan’s Kitchen. The other blood is from Jeffery Kent, the guy you left to die in the woods.” 

The man in front of me tried to level his gun. I took it from him, bringing the butt across his face. In one motion, I pulled my .38, took out the right knee of the man to my left and went down crouching as I spun. Eve was not correct. The man behind me did not have his thumb in his ear. He got off two wild shots as I answered with my own. He fell like the hot air filled plastic bags from the other night.

His shot missed me, killing the man behind me. I secured the man I kneecapped with his own belt, checked the man I had shot twice in the chest, he was breathing but I didn’t give him more than an hour without medical care and double-checked the other just to be sure. His brains were leaking out the back of his skull.

Digging in my bag, I sent a flare up between an opening in the trees. Straining all my attention over the moans of the wounded man, I heard six distance beeps from the van’s horn. I gave flight to another flare, gathered the rifles and looked ahead. Calculating the time of my argument with Templeton, the ground I covered and the rate the three men seemed to be moving, I guessed my goal was no more than fifty yards away.

I was right.

I discovered a small hunting shack nestled in a grove. I knew of three adults a danger to me, Templeton aside, and they were down. I knew Jack Pratt was a hunter. I also knew he was seventeen. I could have been more cautious. I didn’t feel like being cautious.

Boldly striding, I dropped the rifles halfway to the cabin, drew my gun and kicked the door open. Life, such as it’s been, has honed me well for just about anything. I’ve stared down death more than once. I’ve held the dying more than once. Death is my sibling.

Sometimes, I like being wrong. Joey Lichen was still alive.

I freed Jack Corning, Lisa Corning and Joey Lichen from their bonds. The girls were half-unconscious, dehydrated, badly beaten and barely clothed. Jack Corning was at least coherent but babbled at me. I assured him everything was going to be all right, to stay put and shut up. He held his daughter and her friend, rocking and crying. I sent up another flare, which was answered by six beeps much closer than before.

The white van was dinged up pretty good by the time Roger wrestled it into the small grove. Eve jumped from the passenger side, keeping my cold eyes. I nodded subtly.

“Thank God.”

I stopped her by the arm, holding her eyes. She swallowed hard. “That bad?”

“Eve, you will not be left the same.”

She nodded with her eyes closed. “Randy, I love you.” She entered the cabin.

Roger came next to me. “Randy?”

“They’re alive, as is Jack Corning. Get the girls in the van.” I could hear Eve sobbing, calling out instructions.

Jack Corning carried his daughter, with great effort, stumbling twice. He persisted. Jeffery Kent limped around, making notes in his notebook. “Wow, what a story.”

I snapped and hit him, not once, but many times before Roger pulled me off. Eve threw herself around me crying, holding on. I glared at Kent and apologized while I stroked the back of Eve’s head.

“Get busy, Eve.”

Eve jumped into the back of the van.

I pulled Jack Corning aside. “Tell me a story.”

Through his tears, he did, in details I didn’t need to hear. The plan was simple and much like I guessed. They wanted to cure the girls by way of repeated normal sexual encounters.

“Eve, what are we looking at?”

“Laundry list of charges.” She sucked back tears. “Plead them in half, maybe. Jack Pratt’s a minor. I don’t think anyone would get more than a dime.”

“That can’t be right.” Kent looked to the sky.

“They didn’t murder anyone. OK.” I watched the trees. “Mr. Corning, we already have the aliens onboard.”

He looked at me hard. “I can sell that.”

“Randy.” Eve’s voice went tight and painful. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’m sure. Everyone down the mountain. I got some mopping up to do.”

Kent grabbed my arm and pulled me away from the van. “Randy, if anyone finds the bodies.”

“They won’t.”

“Alien abductions.” He nodded. “Give me names and pictures?” He didn’t wait for an answer.

I examined the ground to get Jack Pratt’s scent, which I picked up easily. I could almost smell his fear. I heard the van backing out.

“It’s a long road walking home from here.”

Roger came to my shoulder.

“It’s the road I choose.” He cocked the slide of the high-powered rifle. “Let’s go hunting.”



© 2011 Kasey Klein

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Added on April 1, 2011
Last Updated on April 1, 2011


Kasey Klein
Kasey Klein

palmyra, NJ

Greetings and salutations. I'm serious about my writing. I'm not much for writing or reading poetry. I like the classics: Poe, Frost, Whitman. I'd like to read good short stories. If you don't.. more..