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My Courage Always Rises

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William Murphy watched his youngest sibling in amusement as she stubbornly refused to accept any help, and limped her way out of the house. Sheriff Pete Hodges and William shared a look of fond exasperation as Samantha Murphy slapped away a hand that reached out to help her when she stumbled slightly. William’s youngest brother, Ronan who was four years older than Sam quickly snatched his hand back from his sister, just barely missing her slap. When she stumbled again, Samantha let out a huff of frustration and stopped before glancing up at William with a faintly amused expression and a raised eyebrow. He grinned and walked over to, offering his arm to her when he reached her. She wrapped her arms around his arm and leaned on him to help get her to Sheriff Hodges’ car.

Once she was comfortably sitting in the backseat of Sheriff Hodges’ car, William shut the door behind her and Ronan put her bags into the boot of Sheriff Hodges’ car. As Ronan walked around to give his farewells to Samantha, he snorted as she had slouched in the chair and was ever so slightly sulking. Samantha wound down the window, while William and Ronan bent down so they could easily talk to her.

“Still don’t understand why I can’t just stay at home while ye are away,” Samantha argued in her strong Irish accent.

“’Cause we already left you alone for a couple of hours and we all know how that turned out,” Ronan replied, raising an eyebrow at her. Samantha had the decency to at least look a little sheepish as Ronan reminded her of the event.

“Sammy, we heard that there’ll be a special deputy coming from Chicago,” William murmured quietly to her, Sheriff Hodges had taken a few steps away from the car to give the siblings some privacy, “He’s gonna be trying to crack down on the bootleggers.”

“Why the feck are ye sending me to the Bondurant’s then?” she asked him confused, “For God’s sake Will, we’ve had some of their moonshine ourselves.”

“Sammy, we got warning from some of the other Marshalls,” Ronan told her, a serious expression on his face with a small hint of concern in his face, “This special deputy, he’s got a bit of a reputation for doing whatever he needs to do to get the job done.”

“This special deputy got a name that I can identify him by?” she asked them, immediately realising why they were sending her to stay with the Bondurant brothers, no one messed with them.

“Charley Rakes,” William answered her, and handed her a knife and a gun belt, “Be careful Sammy. He’s dangerous and sadistic.”

“I’ll be careful, don’t worry,” she answered, taking the knife and tucking it into her boat before looping the belt around her waist and tightening it.

“Might be a good idea to become Sam,” Ronan suggested, but the trio knew it was more of an order than a suggestion, “Just until this Charley Rakes is dealt with.”

Samantha nodded and lifted herself up with a wince to kiss her brothers on the cheek. William wrapped a strong arm around her and kissed her on the forehead, before pulling back and gesturing for Sheriff Hodges to come back over and join them. Ronan slipped something into Samantha’s jumper pocket, it was actually an old jumper that she had robbed from William a few years ago. Samantha glanced at him and he winked at her, and she made a mental note to check the pocket as soon as she was alone.

“Sheriff Hodges, it might be better for Sammy here to be Sam,” William told the Sheriff, “Just until that special deputy is gone.”

“Yeah, I was just thinkin’ that myself,” Sheriff Hodges agreed, “I don’t like what I’ve seen of this Special Deputy so far. Honestly I’m relieved that Sammy will be staying with the Bondurants, would have been constantly checking in on her otherwise.”

“We best be off,” Ronan said to both the Sheriff and Samantha, “Gotta catch up with the other three gobshites before they do something stupid.”

“You boys keep safe,” Sheriff Hodges said, shaking their hands before getting into the driver’s seat.

“Make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid!” William called out as Sheriff Hodges drove away, Samantha held her hand out of the window and flashed her brothers the bird.

Samantha and Sheriff Hodges sat in a comfortable silence as they drove towards Franklin Police Station, a couple of seconds into the drive Sheriff Hodges had turned on the radio. ‘I Got Rhythm’ by Red Nichols was playing on the radio, Sheriff Hodges started swaying a bit to the beat of the song and his dance moves got more and more ridiculous, he grinned as Samantha began to laugh. They pulled up to Franklin Police Station, and Sheriff Hodges opened Samantha’s door for her and helped her out of the car. Wordlessly he offered her his arm, they share a look and she smiled gratefully at him, not wanting a repeat of the stumbling and pain she had felt when they had been leaving her house.

“You’re a real gentleman, Pete,” Samantha complimented him, as he helped her into the police station, “Why we going in anyway?”

“I was gonna bring Henry, to help you bring your bags in to the Bondurants place,” Peter answered her, watching her carefully and he was careful to maintain pace with her, “You ain’t bringin’ your dogs with you?”

“I figured I’d wait ‘till I definitely knew it would be okay with the Bondurants before I brought the dogs over,” Samantha answered, “Didn’t want to impose on them.”

“And your bike?” Pete asked, opening the door for her.

“That was William’s decision,” Samantha answered, walking into the station and sitting on Henry Abshire’s desk, “Didn’t want me hurting myself anymore.”

“He’s a bit too late for that,” Henry teased, Samantha playfully stuck her tongue out at him.

“C’mon you two,” Pete sighed in fond exasperation, “Need to get Sam up to Blackwater Station soon as we can.”

“A’ight,” Henry replied, tapping Samantha’s legs that had been resting on his knee.

Samantha carefully got down from Henry’s desk, when she noticed Henry tense up slightly. She glanced around and saw a man in a three piece suit with slicked black hair and almost no eyebrows.

“You going to be Sam when that Special Deputy’s around?” Henry whispered into her ear, having leaned forward so the deputy couldn’t hear them.

“Aye,” Samantha answered just as quietly, “Will’s heard bad things about him.”

Henry hummed in agreement, placing himself subtly between Sam and the special deputy. Pete glanced at Sam, and relaxed slightly when she winked at him.

“Did I hear you were planning on going to Blackwater Station?” the special deputy asked in a Chicago accent.

“We’re dropping young Sam up there,” Pete answered him, “He’s going to be staying up there till his brothers come back to town.”

“Isn’t that where those bootleggers the Bondurants live?” the special deputy asked, with a small smirk on his face.

Sam didn’t like the look in his eyes, and moved further behind Henry. Henry glanced back at her and sent her a small reassuring smile, the special deputy would have to go through him before he got anywhere near Sam.

“Yeah, it is,” Pete replied somewhat uneasily, he always knew the special deputy and that new attorney would want to meet the Bondurants, but he didn’t think it would be so soon, and not when he had to ask a favour of them either.

“Well then, might be time for myself and Attorney Wardell to meet these bootleggers,” the special deputy said.

“Alleged bootleggers,” Sam said before she realised what she was doing.

All heads snapped towards her and Sam cursed herself in her head. The special deputy narrowed his eyes at her and Henry was looking at her incredulously. They were just lucky that Sam’s voice had been slightly hoarse and had disguised her feminine voice. The deputy started walking towards her and Henry’s hand automatically slipped to his gun, before Sam gently tapped his foot with her own. He glanced at her and she gently shook her head, he reluctantly took his hand off his gun and took a step behind her.

“What did you say?” the special deputy asked.

“Uh, they’re only alleged bootleggers, right?” Sam asked deepening her voice and spoke in a Southern accent, playing stupid and innocent, “I mean, ain’t no one gonna be makin’ moonshine ‘round here.”

The special deputy smiled condescendingly at her, and she felt Henry relax slightly behind her. The deputy ran his eyes up and down her once or twice and she had never been so relieved to be wearing her brother’s baggy sweater and a pair of trousers.

“I’m Special Deputy Charley Rakes, I’m from Chicago,” the man said, introducing himself and offered a gloved hand out to Sam.

“ ‘m Sam Murphy,” Sam said, shaking Rakes hand with a firm handshake like her brothers had taught her to.

A flash of recognition passed over Rakes’ face. Taking his hand back from her and analysed her face for several moments. Sam resisted the urge to fidget, feeling uncomfortable that anyone had been staring at her face for so long.

“You a relation to US Marshall William Murphy?” Rakes asked.

“Yeah, he’s ma brother,” Sam replied, running her hand through her short hair.

“Heard some pretty amazing stories about your brother,” Rakes said.

Sam nodded, unsure of what she should say. She glanced over to Pete, looking for an out.

“If you want to go to the Bondurants, we better be going now,” Pete said, drawing Rakes’ attention, “Gotta collect Mr. Wardell on the way.”

Rakes nodded, and stepped back from Sam. Henry gently and subtly tapped Sam’s lower back, she glanced back at him and they both started walking towards the exit of the station.

“Sam,” Rakes called out, and Sam stopped turning to face him with a small smile, “You be careful around those Bondurant boys, they’re trouble.”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Rakes,” Sam said, grinning at him, and walked out of the station, leaving Pete inside with the special deputy.

Henry joined her outside and let out a huge sigh of relief.

“Jesus, Sam,” Henry scolded her, “What the hell were you thinking back there?”

“I wasn’t,” Sam answered, staring straight ahead of her, “I wasn’t thinking. It just came out before I even know what was happening.”

“You’re riding with me,” Henry told her, they both got into Pete’s car, “I ain’t lettin’ you in the same car as that Special Deputy, Pete can ride with him and Mr. Wardell.”

“I’m not fighting you on that anyway,” Sam guffawed, getting into the backseat of the car, while Henry got into the front.

“Nice accent you pulled off,” Henry complimented, as they waited for Pete and Rakes to come out.

“Why thank ye kindly, sir,” Sam teased him, slipping into the Southern accent easily.

Henry reached forward to turn the radio on, and Sam curled up against the door behind the driver’s side. Her head rested against the car door and she felt her eyes slowly closing. Pete came out of the Police Station, followed by Rakes. As soon as he saw Henry and Sam in his car he shook his head and took the car behind them, Rakes followed him into the car. Henry started the car, and Sam felt herself getting more and more tired.