There was a pop, a flash, the scent of cordite. Hand to chest, Travis collapsed in the dirt.
Cassidy wanted to scream but feared she would vomit.
Tucking the weapon into his pants, Booth stepped over Travis's body. After climbing into the mobile home, he approached Cassidy.
"Well, looky here," he said, stroking the side of her face. "You aren't as fresh as some of these young ones, but you're pretty. I bet I can make a good profit once you go to work."
Cassidy shoved his hand away. "Don't touch me."
Grabbing her hair, Booth pulled her close. The stink of stale beer on his breath washed over her. "Soon you'll learn I'm in charge. Don't worry, I'm not going to punish you. Not yet." He smiled, glancing at Brittney.
"No," she said, panic rising within her. "Don't hurt her. Don't hurt my baby."
Cassidy had asked Travis for help and now he was injured, maybe even dead. If she wanted to save her daughter—if she wanted to survive—she was going to have to think.
In that instant, her mind cleared. Cassidy felt the weight of the gun at her waist.
Moving her hand slowly, she reached for the weapon. "What do I have to do to keep my daughter alive?"
Booth rubbed against her. "Let me think…"
Bringing her gun up and around, Cassidy shoved the barrel under Booth's chin.
"Get your filthy hands off of me," she said. "And keep them up."
Eyes wide, Booth lifted both palms. "Be careful with that thing. You don't want anyone to get hurt." He smirked. "Do you even know how to use a gun?"
She stared him down. "Are you really willing to risk your life to find out?" He took a step back, bumping into the wall of the RV. She shook her head. "I didn't think so."
Casting her gaze on the girls, Cassidy said, "You all get out of here. Go." They filed out of the door and disappeared into the night.
The gun in her hand was heavy. Cassidy's arm shook with fatigue.
"You aren't going to shoot me," Booth said. He let his palms drop and took a step forward.
She moved her finger to the trigger. Could she do it? Could she shoot another person—even one as loathsome as Booth?
He sneered. "You don't have it in you to kill anyone, do you?"
"She might have a problem with hurting you," said Travis. He stood at the threshold, swaying slightly. "But I don't."
Booth reached for his gun at the same instant that Travis pulled the trigger.
The bullet tore through the gang member's chest, knocking him back and punching a hole in the RV's metal siding. Booth gripped his wound. Blood leaked between his fingers, and slowly he slid down the wall.
"Come on, Cassidy." Travis held his hand out to her.
She grasped his outstretched palm and he led her from the RV. Brittney and the other women huddled near the door.
"Mom," Brittney said between her tears. "I knew you'd come back."
"I always will," said Cassidy, reaching for her daughter. Together, they ran, and Cassidy never looked back.
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