Beyond the Western
Hell to Pay
Scott A. Gese

Only trusted inmates were allowed to work the road detail. Image source: Pixabay

He thought he was escaping hell. Instead he ran smack dab into it.

Beyond the Western

As soon as the guard turned his head, Jade Wilkins slipped into the trees and disappeared. Jade was part of a inmate road crew given the task of picking up garbage out of the ditch along an Oregon side road. Only trusted inmates were allowed to work the road detail. Looks like someone made a bad decision concerning Jade Wilkins.

As soon as he was out of sight, Jade took off running through the trees as fast as he could. He wasn’t sure why he did it, why he slipped away, but he was committed now. If he got caught, there would be hell to pay and the price would be too steep for him to deal with. As it was, he owed the devil his due for the chance to break away from the road crew.
Two hours after Jade slipped into the trees, the guard gathered up the inmates for the ride back to the prison. He counted them off and came up one short. He grabbed up his clipboard and looked over the list. “Should be twenty. I count nineteen,” he thought to himself.

The guard loaded up the remaining crew without saying a word, then called it in. Jade Wilkins had wandered off. He drove the crew back to the prison as a full scale manhunt got underway.
Jade was out of shape and ran hard for about twenty minutes before he was exhausted. He kept moving forward even though he had no clue as to where he was going. The hounds would be on his trail soon enough so he didn’t even think about stopping. After two hours he had cleared the top of a high ridge. He kept to the trees. His orange jump suit would be too easy to spot out in the open.

After another hour it began to dawn on him that he was lost. The sun was setting and it was getting harder to see his way through the trees.
Jade suddenly stopped short. Something was up ahead of him. He thought it was the authorities and all of his running was for nothing. The figure was dark and it didn’t move or make a sound. Jade put his hands up. “OK, you got me. I give up.”

“That is correct. I do have you,” replied the dark figure. “I’m not here to capture you. I’m here to collect my fee.”

“Come again? I don’t get what you’re saying,” replied Jade.

“The authorities will have you by mid morning. You can avoid them if you follow me.”

“And just who are you?” questioned Jade.

“You said it yourself. You owe the devil his due for your escape. I’m here to collect, unless of course you want to be caught in which case, as you also stated, the price would be too steep for you.”

The authorities found Jades orange jumpsuit the following afternoon, but Jade was never captured… at least by the authorities. ​

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.