Cowgirl Down

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
It’s early June and Ashley Tucker is having a bad day after failing to place in a Michigan rodeo. While driving home to Fort Worth—in search of some new boots—she gets sidetracked on a rural road in central Ohio. She soon finds herself in a dilapidated western apparel store in the middle of nowhere. With no one around, she decides to walk out with the boots, intending to send a check when she gets home. Just before she gets to the door, a teen girl confronts her and locks the door to the store.

Ashley is escorted to the backroom, assuming she’ll be arrested. She suddenly finds herself face-to-face with an immense girl bully named Andrea. Andrea dismisses the girl, along with another female worker, leaving her alone with Ashley. When Ashley realizes the girl has no intention of having her arrested, she tries to escape.
It’s truly rodeo cowgirl against girl bully in a brutal fight to the finish.

“Cowgirl Down” is the first in a series of eight novelettes about biker chicks, rodeo cowgirls and ordinary women who must fight larger and stronger girl bullies for survival. The stories are not in any sequence so they can be read in any order. Multiple stories are featured in "Street Fight Chicks," "Streetfight Chicks 2" and "Streetfight Chicks - Collector's Edition" -- the later of which contains all eight novelettes plus 12 bonus stories.

Submitted: September 12, 2016

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Submitted: September 12, 2016

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Ashley Tucker drove along Highway 33 just northwest of Columbus, Ohio, gazing at the flat terrain as it flitted past with the celerity of a rewinding movie. The sun was perched just above the horizon, blinding her from the stretch of highway and sparse traffic ahead.  She grabbed her sunglasses from the visor and slipped them over her nose.

She had been driving more than three hours from the Big Horn Rodeo in Coldwater, Michigan, and was growing weary from the soughing wind and clacking of tires on pavement. She yawned as she switched lanes to pass an Isuzu jeep, then returned to the middle lane.

The rodeo had ended late and she was looking for a place to stay for the night.  For the third straight time, she had failed to place in a rodeo, a misfortune a rodeo cowgirl could ill afford. The trip from Fort Worth, Texas, had already cost her nearly two-hundred-fifty dollars in gas.

 Ashley grabbed her iPhone from the passenger seat and tapped in Cindy’s phone number.

“Where are you?” she said in a mellifluous Southwestern draw.

“Just north of Fort Wayne,” said Cindy. “I nearly had an accident and Fabio's water spilled.”

“Is everything okay—Fabio and Nitro?”

“We’re all fine,” said Cindy. “Just a bit of a scare, that’s all.”  She sighed.  “I actually felt the tires on the passenger side of the trailer leave the pavement.”

Fabio was Ashley’s horse, and Cindy owned Nitro.  Cindy was driving the horse trailer with both their horses back to Fort Worth.  She had placed third and “in the money” for the barrel racing competition and second in calf roping.  Ashley placed fourth in calf roping, her best showing of the night.

“I’m going to pull over soon,” said Ashley.  “I see some hotel signs up ahead. Call me you when I get settled.”

“Okay.”

Ashley was glad her best friend placed in the barrel racing competition, but still believed she was the better cowgirl. She had placed in more competitions than Cindy, despite the woman’s two more years of circuit experience.  Ashley was surprising good at wrestling and roping calves, despite her slim build.

Ashley ended the call just as she passed the Dublin exit, after merging onto Interstate 270.  A short time later, she merged onto 71 South.

Traffic grew heavier and she pulled into the center lane.  A girl in a Camaro cut in front of her, with little more than two feet to spare.

“Stupid bitch!”  She honked at the girl and saw the girl flip her the bird.  “Yeah, you can just shove that up your ass, little high school punk.”

Ashley thought all high school kids were stupid today.  Inconsiderate and rude.  She subbed for a high school, so she knew all about today’s kids.  The girl was probably texting as she switched lanes.  Things had sure changed in the ten years since she’d graduated.  Too many electronics devices.

She drove another twenty minutes, meandering through traffic and again switching to the center lane.  It started raining and Ashley flipped on her wipers.  She yawned.  God, she was tired, and she still had another two days of driving, unless she wanted to drive sixteen or seventeen hours tomorrow.

A cop car was parked along a pathway between the north and south lanes. She checked her speedometer; the needle registered eighty.  She took the toe of her boot off the accelerator a tad and reduced her speed to seventy.  That’s when she discovered her gas tank was nearly empty. She took the next exit.

She pulled into an Exxon station and entered the far right bay.  She climbed out of her Chevy pickup.  Her legs wobbled as she approached the gas dispenser and swiped her credit card.  She was hungry and her entire body ached.  Ten minutes later, she found a Comfort Inn and retired for the night.

Ashley didn't wake up until eleven the next day.  She showered, put on a pair of dark blue Levi’s and a long-sleeve blue and white western blouse and drove to Denny’s for lunch. She put her hair in a ponytail. Several heads turned as the blonde Ashley sashayed to her table behind the hefty young waitress—cowboy hat atop her head and ass cheeks oscillating through her tight jeans.

She was proud of that ass, which had won her several tight-fitting jeans contests.

Last year, she’d won a sexy bull-riding contest, pulling off a Debra Winger ride that had all the guys hollering. Her five-four, one-hundred-eight-pound sylphlike stature (twenty three-inch waist and thirty three-inch hips) had also helped her amass a slew of trophies in bikini contests.  At twenty-eight, she was still in her prime . . . and still very much single.

About two-thirty, her truck started chuffing smoke so she made her way to the berm of the expressway.  It shook and rumbled for a few seconds before stalling out.

“Son of a bitch.  Another damn repair which I certainly can’t afford.”  She called AAA. The guy said her car had overheated.  The battery had also died, according to some scruffy dude with a red cap at the auto repair shop.

Her truck was fixed by five.  The bill came to nearly four hundred dollars.  She pulled out her Bank of Texas credit card, which was close to the limit.  The guy swiped it and thanked her for her business.

“It’s not as if I had a choice,” she said.  “But thanks.”

At seven, she pulled into a Wendy’s lot for a dinner, which was an hour north of Cincinnati.  She ordered a single burger combo with cheese and a Frosty.  After she finished eating, while walking to her truck, she spotted a large sign for a western apparel store that was three miles down the road. She needed some new boots and the store was still open according to the billboard advertisement.

She exited a side road off the main highway, made a couple rights and soon found herself on a rural road.  The road grew narrower as she looked for the western apparel store.  She passed a couple farms, where bovines lazily munched on verdant grass. Another mile down, she saw several vacant buildings on the left side of the road.  Most of the windows were dusty; some were cracked or busted out.  A block down, several rusty signs appeared.  One directed her to the western store about a half-mile farther

down.

The store looked dilapidated with its rusty façade; no other vehicles were in sight, save for a Ford truck and beat-up Volkswagen on the side of the building. Ashley pulled into the graveled lot—tires scrunching over the small stones—parked the truck near a telephone pole and hopped out seconds later.  The store was isolated from other businesses on the country road, not that many were in business anyway. She wondered how they attracted any customers in such a desolate venue.

Ashley reached for her cowboy hat on the passenger seat and placed it on her head.

The rain had stopped but water sputtered off the roof of the old building, compliments of a leaky gutter.  The early June breeze stirred up and bussed her cheeks. It cooled her off as she shut the door of her pickup.

She walked toward the front door of the store. She had almost made it to the small concrete block in front of the store, when she twisted her ankle and fell to her stomach.

“Is anything going to go right today?” she whispered, as she brushed dust off her blouse and front of her jeans. She slowly got to her feet and put weight on her ankle. It hurt like a bitch and would probably swell up before she got out this dump.

Ashley looked back before opening the front door. She felt as if she were in a ghost town from a previous decade.  All she could see were miles of country roads and pastures, which undulated into numerous peaks and valleys.  The sun was just ready to dip below the horizon.

She grabbed the rusty handle of the front door, opened it and walked in.  A single bell chimed, announcing her arrival; she closed it behind her as it didn’t have a pneumatic pump attached.

The store reeked of must and leather. Rows of boots were aligned against the side and back walls and in the first two aisles. A fan oscillated near the counter, blowing a couple blue streamers attached to its front.

Ashley scanned the walls and faded hardwood floors.  She had been in the store five minutes, roaming a couple aisles—heels clopping on the hollow floor—when she found the boots she wanted.  She had yet to see one attendant.

The boots cost two hundred seventy-five dollars, which she really couldn't afford, especially now that the damn truck cost so much.  But she needed them.  The soles had practically worn through the pair she had on.

Five more minutes passed and still no one came to wait on her.  A wicked thought then crossed her mind.  She’d try the boots on, and if she liked them, she’d just walk out the door.  Maybe she could leave a note with her address.  She would send a check when she got back to Texas.  She’d never done anything like that—but who would know?

The store employees had seemingly taken a late dinner break. The store was closing in fifteen minutes, according to the sign on the door glass. That’s what she’d do. Screw it.  Her trip had already been a fruitless disaster since she hadn’t made a dime.  At least one thing had worked out for her.

Ashley removed her old boots and slipped into the new Justins.  She walked up and down the aisle to get the feel for them. They were a perfect fit but she’d need to break them in.  She squatted down and wiped the finger prints off her old boots with the sleeve of her blouse. That way they couldn't identify her until she paid.  She had just started for the door, forgetting to leave the note, when some girl said, “Where do you think you're going?”

Ashley’s heart hammered as she inched her way toward the door.  Her face flushed red and she felt faint.  She’d shouldn’t have done this; she didn’t look up right away to see who had spoken. She just knew she was going to get her ass thrown in jail.

A young red-head about eighteen reached the door before Ashley did. She clicked the lock shut and faced Ashley, arms akimbo.

“I asked you a question, bitch.  Where do you think you're going with those boots? You didn’t pay for ‘em.”

“I . . . I’m sorry.  I forgot . . . I-I . . . I had them on.”

The girl chuckled in disgust. She was about five-nine with a medium build.  She glared at Ashley.

“Likely story.  The door’s locked so you can’t go anywhere.  I have the key.

I'm going to get the assistant manager.”

Ashley’s heart raced as she waited.  If she were outside in the parking lot, she could’ve just knocked the girl out and run.  She was a cowgirl, for crying out loud, and a pretty tough one.  She looked at the lock on the door.  There was no way out unless she busted a window, but that would get her into even more trouble.  Five minutes later, another girl appeared.  She was also tall and looked about the same age.

(Sample page only.  Go to my bookshelf to order full story.  Only 99 cents.)

 


© Copyright 2017 Rick Suttle. All rights reserved.

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