Sara, the Sheriff's daughter, shows who's boss.
The sun was rising. I sat in my cell looking through the barred iron door at a bare wall opposite. If I pressed my face to the bars, I could see through a larger room to a broad patio that overlooked the small town of Caldera in its desert valley.
My name is John Graham - and that was what had started the trouble. When I'd called in at this remote Sheriff's office yesterday, I found that someone with the same name had been posted on an arrest warrant, and I'd ended up in here. What surprised me was that I'd been arrested by the Sheriff's young assistant. I'd resisted arrest - and that had been a mistake. Sara, the Sheriff's 16 year-old daughter, had proven more than capable of restraining me. I winced as I sat up on the hard bunk. I had any number of bruises, and I now faced charges of resisting arrest and assault.
I heard the clump of footsteps on the stairs that ran down from the main office. A tall athletic-looking girl of about five foot ten walked into the holding area. It was Sara, the daughter and assistant of Sheriff Hatton. She was wearing denim jeans and a black leather jacket. She had long blonde hair which hung loose, and pale blue eyes.
"Hey. How about some breakfast?" I said as she passed my cell.
"You wait until the lady comes from town," she said.
"Have you found out about that warrant yet?" I asked. "I need to be out of here."
The sixteen year-old returned and looked through the bars into my cell. "I told you when I brought you down here last night - I'd phone in the morning. It's not even eight o'clock yet."
"But I need to get home!"
"You may not be going home for some time." She raised one arm to grip one of the bars on the cell door. Her arm swelled, filling the black jacket sleeve. "There's a lot of checks to be done."
"And how about a doctor?" I asked. "My ribs have been hurting all night."
"Take off your shirt."
"You heard me," the sixteen year-old said. "Just do as I say - or your stay here could be a lot longer than you would like."
I took the shirt off, surprised to see the extent of the bruising it had hidden. Big black and purple marks spread across my chest where the girl had hit me the day before. The bruises stung and were painful to the touch.
"Shit!" I gasped.
"It looks nasty, but you'll be okay," Sara did not seem surprised by the extent of the bruising her blows had caused. "But if you like, the doc can take a look at you when he comes to check out Franks in the next cell. He's a lot worse off than you are."
I couldn't see him, but Franks was the drifter who had tried to escape custody yesterday. He'd thought that the sixteen year-old Sara would be a pushover, but like me, he'd found that she was a dangerous opponent, who could hit with shocking power and inflict heavy punishment. I looked at the five foot ten girl's big arm as she gripped the central cell door bar.
"You can hit pretty hard!" I said.
"I train hard," Sara said. "My arms are over sixteen inches." She raised her right arm and flexed harder. The big muscle swelled, stretching the leather sleeve taut. "People think I'm sixteen, so I must be a pushover, but I pack plenty of muscle. My arms have always been real strong, and I've been building them up for the past eight years with gymnastics and weights. The only thing is, I find it hard getting jackets to fit..." There was a creaking sound from the arm of the jacket as her outsized bicep stretched the leather tight. The black leather had become taut and shiny as Sara's startlingly large bicep expanded within the sleeve. She kept the muscle flexed, seeming pleased with the effect it was having.
"Impressive for a sixteen year-old - huh?" she said as the leather began to creak even more loudly under the pressure. Suddenly there was a ripping noise as the stitches holding the leather arm together began to burst apart, one after the other. The girl opened her fist hurriedly, and shook out her arm. The huge muscle subsided, and the leather sleeve was loose once more. "Darn it!" she said. "I'm going to need a new jacket - with a lot bigger arms. Even the extra-sized one I got is tight around the arms and shoulders. The trouble is, I want one that isn't too big for me around the body." She sucked in her marbled waist. "That's just twenty three inches," she said. "But any jacket that's snug around my body, my arms can't even start to get into."
Taking off her jacket to expose the thin, cut down, tee shirt she had on beneath, she threw it over a chair. I noticed that the leather of both arms looked stretched and strained. "Right. You can put your shirt back on now." she said. "What I'm going to do is start on my morning workout." She swung her arms, creating a movement in the air.
The small grey tee shirt left her arms, shoulders and midriff bare. Striding out onto the terrace, she began to hit the big leather punchbag that hung in one corner.
The noise was amazing. The sand-filled punchbag boomed like a drum as Sara's solid fists slammed deep into it. Somehow the noise funnelled into the cell block, echoing around it.
"Shut up!" my neighbor in the next cell yelled, "I'm trying to sleep!" But the girl's strong arms not only hit hugely, they kept on doing it. Ten, fifteen, twenty, blows slammed into the heavy punchbag, and all sounded as hard and loud as the first. Pausing, Sara squinted and slammed in five more appallingly huge blows, one after the other. The noise of the impacts was shocking, making my ears ring as it echoed around the concrete chamber. It was hard to believe that the person handing out this punishment was still at high school. The heavy bag, which must have weighed at least 80 pounds, was jerking wildly on its chain.
Sara caught it and steadied it. "That felt good," she said, swinging her long, heavy arms. "I just love to cut loose with my big punches." Turning, she buried another eight massive slams into the bag, sending jets of dust shooting out of the seams.
She was building up a sweat now. She moved out onto the patio where a heavy rack of weights stood. I watched her select a big barbell from the rack, and start to do bicep curls. The bar looked extremely heavy. I counted one forty five pound plate and one ten pound plate on each side of the bar. If the bar weighed 25 pounds, then she was planning to curl 135 pounds! Massive biceps appeared again as she flexed, swelling and hardening as they curled the heavy weight smoothly up toward her face, before lowering it again. She did this twelve times, her arms seeming to move the weight almost effortlessly.
"Wow!" A young man of about seventeen had come down the stairs, he was slightly taller than Sara and of a similar slim build. "I can't believe how much you lift these days, sis."
"Oh. Hi, Joe," Sara flexed her arms tighter, then lowered the weight. Squatting beside the bar, she took off the two ten pound plates and replaced them with two twenty five pounders.
"Surely you're not going to try to curl that, Sara? That's 165 pounds!"
"I'm not going to try," Sara said, grasping the weight and standing with it at a dead hang. "I'm going to do it." Drawing a breath, she concentrated on the heavy weight. Then the two huge biceps rose in her upper arms, and the huge bar began to move! She was actually beginning to raise it, as those twin cannonballs of muscle reappeared in her upper arms. What impressed me was that she was so slim in the body, so that, side-on, her arms looked almost as broad as her waist, and both looked as if they had been sculpted from marble.
She curled the heavy weight five times. "I was hoping for eight," she said shaking out her big arms and standing. "But I'm probably a little too ambitious. I'll make eight reps with this weight by the end of the month for sure. Maybe ten. Do you want a try?"
"No." Joe shook his head. He was dressed in jeans and a shirt. "I know you've got a talent for that sort of thing," he said. "You're the one who wants to follow dad into law enforcement. I want to be an attorney." He turned to face another man of about five feet ten coming down the stairs. "Oh. This is my new pal, Ben."
"Shit. Those biceps are huge!" Ben's eyes widened as he watched Sara's muscles flexing up close.
She turned, raising both arms in a double bicep display as she gathered her hair into a ponytail. She was only sixteen but her upper arm looked as big as her face, with its big oval bicep and heavy tricep beneath. The big deltoid that balled across her shoulder looked like a football.
"Wow!" Ben's eyes widened. "Are they really that strong?"
"Why don't you try and move them?" Sara said. "Take an arm each. If you can move them six inches, you win twenty bucks."
"Both of us?." Ben said. "That sounds like easy money!"
"She may only be sixteen, but she's real strong," Joe warned. "I can't outwrestle her. Her biceps can..."
"Let's just do it!" Ben broke in impatiently. "Twenty bucks will set up our beers for this afternoon." He reached up and grabbed Sara's right wrist in both hands. Joe reached up to take her left.
"You can start now," Sara said, tensing her big arms.
I watched as the two began to pull, at first fairly playfully. When this produced no movement, however, they began to put in more effort, hauling in different directions. But to my surprise Sara's arms stayed solidly in place, the heavy biceps swelling and hardening into solid hills of muscle as they resisted the two men's pulling force.
"Is that the best you can do?" Sara said after about fifteen seconds. "You've got four arms against two!"
"It's not easy," Joe said. "Those big guns of yours are incredible."
"That's true," she grinned, tensing her biceps harder. "But that's why you get twenty dollars if you win! I know Pa keeps you short of money while I get paid for the work I do as his assistant. So this is a good incentive for you to try harder! All you have to do to get that twenty is to beat my arms!" She was clearly enjoying the guys' discomiture even as she continued to put all her effort into keeping her large biceps tensed.
The two guys were leaning back, hauling on Sara's arms as if they were in a tug of war. Pride was at stake now as well as a useful sum of money. Sara was a girl and at least a year younger than either of them. By all the norms they should beat her easily. But they were really struggling to counter Sara's massive arm muscles.
They were clearly using all of their effort, struggling to force her forearms down from the vertical. But although the sixteen year-old's arms quivered and shook, they didn't move more than half an inch.
"You're nowhere there yet," Sara taunted, her voice strained with the effort of resisting them, but by no means exhausted.
Ben and Joe put in a renewed surge of effort, but I could see that they were tiring. If they were to defeat Sara's powerful arms, they were going to have to do it quickly. The sixteen year-old's biceps looked granite-hard as she concentrated on keeping them set in place. And unfortunately for the boys, she seemed to be gaining her second wind now. Her taut stomach moved steadily in and out as she controlled her breathing to keep her muscles well-supplied with oxygen. The two young men were beginning to look more and more demoralised. They'd put all their effort into trying to move Sara's big biceps, but they had made no impression. Now their strength was fading, and Sara's muscles looked utterly immovable.
A grin spread across Sara's face as she felt their effort slacken. "You guys know you'll owe me twenty dollars each, don't you?" she said.
"Of course. What did you think?"
"We haven't lost yet," Joe said, pulling again. But it was as if he was trying to move an aircraft carrier. Sara's arms remained stock still. He and Ben were sweating, red faced and tired. Sara was looking increasingly confident, breathing more easily as her big arms seemed actually to be gaining in strength.
"I can feel you boys weakening," she said. "You're running out of stamina. But my arms aren't tired yet at all. In fact they've still got a good reserve left..." She took a deep breath, and her huge biceps began to harden even more. To my astonishment, at last her arms had begun to move. But they weren't being pulled outward. They were starting to move inward, against the combined resistance of Ben and Joe! The two guys suddenly found themselves being dragged irresistably toward each other as Sara brought her big arms slowly together, above her head. Both men strained and struggled for an instance as their arms were stretched. Quickly they let go.
"Boy those arms are strong!" Ben gasped, stepping back.
Joe wiped his brow. "My sister is strong as hell." he said. "She could pick me up in her arms when she was seven and I was eight! She could lift my pa when she was ten!"
"So where's my money?" Sara said.
Ben reached in his pocket. "I only have ten. Can I pay you in a couple of days?"
"Okay. But make sure that you do. Don't worry," she added as he left. "I can beat most guys."
She'd begun to turn back to her workout equipment when a man's voice cried out. "Hey. Let me outta here!" It came from the far end of the row of cells.
"Be quiet!" Sara's voice wa surprisingly loud. "You'll get out once your charges are processed."
"Who are these guys?" her brother asked.
Sara took down a set of keys from a far shelf and walked up to the line of cells.
"The first one is John Graham," she nodded at me. "I decided to hold him yesterday on a warrant from some county way across the state. Next is Mr Franks." She pointed to the cell holding the drifter who had given her the trouble the day before. "And this," she pointed to the larger guy. "Is Jed Bainton, a drunk and wife-beater." She unlocked his cell and opened the metal door. "Okay Bainton, pick up your slops bucket, take it in that room," she pointed, "and clean it all out."
"Why should I?"
"Because that's what I'm telling you to do," Sara scowled, "and if you want to get out of here any time soon, you'd better co-operate with me."
"Where's the Sheriff?" the voice asked.
"Dad should be back later today. But you three prisoners are my responsibility. I'll do your paperwork and your processing. You won't get out of here until I say so. If I don't like the way things are going, I'll see you're kept here until I AM satisfied. Do you understand?"
Bainton grunted, but I heard him get up off his bunk and pick up a metal bucket. Seconds later, he was walking past my cell toward the small room Sara had indicated. He was easily as tall as the girl and looked heavily built.
"You're next." The tall sixteen year-old approached the cell next to mine, which held Franks. She turned the key in the lock as Bainton returned with his empty pail.
The lanky figure of the drifter emerged from his cell. He looked nervy and unpredictable. Without warning, he dropped the pail. "I'm not staying here!" he screamed, taking a swing at Sara as he tried to force a way past her, toward the stairs.
Somehow Sara avoided the blow, taking a step back to stay out of his range. "Right!" she said, frowning.
CRACCKK! I didn't see the blow hinted at, let alone telegraphed. Sara swung her body round in an instant, as her right arm delivered a heavy cross that slammed into the side of Franks's head. The drifter hadn't seen it coming either, and his head flew back like a punchball, crashing solidly into the concrete corridor wall.
KRUUMMP! Sara's big left plowed into his lower chest. With a gurgle, Franks doubled over, and collapsed to the ground, where he lay, groaning. I was shocked by the speed with which the girl had dealt with him.
So quickly had the teenager acted that neither her older brother, Joe, or the tall prisoner, Bainton, had had any time to intervene.
Now, suddenly, Bainton reacted. Dropping his own pail, he turned and shoved Joe out of his way, making a dash for the stairway up to the main office. Joe stumbled, falling on his back, but the tall figure of Sara was already in motion.
"Halt!" she yelled, using her "big" voice, the one that seemed able to fill a large hall with very little effort. Involuntarily, Bainton turned round to face her, looking directly in to her eyes. Both figures were around the same height, with the prisoner looking the larger and heavier.
He swung a punch - which Sara evaded easily, swaying backward so that it whistled past, three inches in front of her nose. Then she stepped forward, bringing her big arms to bear upon the larger prisoner.
Sara looked angry, and her fists went into action with the same jolting power that they had shown earlier against the heavy punchbag. But this time they were hitting flesh. She frowned as she targeted each heavy blow to Bainton's body, ensuring that each found its mark. KROOOOMM! KRUMMMP! KAROOOOM!!. The noise of the five foot tenner's big hits was intimidating, echoing around the enclosed space. "I don't much like guys who beat up on women," she said, as her blows struck home.
CRRUMMPP! KROOOMM! The girl's big arms went in again, each blow accompanied by loud groans of anguish from her opponent as he was driven steadily backward. Sara's onslaught was so powerful and continuous that her victim had no time to recover or strike back. He just looked shocked at the sheer weight of the shots that were crashing into him. This kid could hit so hard! The large man was absorbing a whole shedload of punishment.
There were two more deep groans of pain from the prisoner as Sara's long arms hit again, followed by a third as he collapsed and slumped his full length on the floor.
Sara still looked grim as she stepped forward, fists clenched.
"No. Please!" He tried to hold up his hand to ward her off, then let it fall to the floor. He was bleeding badly, his face looked misshapen.
"He's had enough!" Joe said, having climbed back to his feet to survey the scene.
"Perhaps.." Sara took a step back and looked at the two fallen men. Neither looked capable of getting back up anytime soon.
'You'd both better obey me now,' she said. "You do everything I say, and don't question a thing that I order. Understand?"
"Yes, ma'am," Franks said. Bainton nodded.
"Are you in any trouble, miss?" A small, dark-haired woman had come down the steps..
"No, Rosa," Sara said, glancing up. "It's all dealt with. These two guys are just about to go quietly back to their cells. Aren't you, boys?"
The two men nodded and began to crawl on hands and knees into their cells. Sara closed and locked the cell doors behind them. "Be good, and I might even let you see a doctor some time today."
"Shall I make them some breakfast?" Rosa asked.
"Just for Mr Graham," Sara said. "Not for the other two. They aren't going to feel like eating for some while yet."
Rosa looked at the two injured wrecks on the floor of their cells, and nodded.
"I suppose that'll have to do for my workout this morning," Sara said as she slipped her leather jacket back on.