Trigger Finger

Submitted into Contest #41 in response to: Write about an animal who causes a huge problem.... view prompt


Kids Thriller Adventure

The sign in front of the old vacant warehouse said Trigger Finger. It looked like it might blow away at any time.

To Dodie, the name seemed a little mysterious.

Those two words exploded in her mind like they were being shot from the barrel of a thirty-eight pistol. The mural on the side had faded over the years. Weeds were growing all around. The building just looked like a place where they could get in a lot of trouble.

Grownups used to go there for target practice, and before that, it was a country bar where rednecks hung out. A twister had wiped out several homes in the neighborhood awhile back, making the area look like a ghost town.

Dodie’s thoughts started to race.

Maybe we shouldn’t be here. What if something bad happens?

She stayed near the curb several seconds, unsure whether to go or stay. Admitting she’d rather go home would seem awkward. She and Braden had found her dog, Finn, who was lost, and walked him home, so she’d rather not get grounded for being someplace she didn’t belong. If Finn hadn’t wandered so far from home, just a few yards away from the building, there wouldn't have been a reason to be here, or better yet, if Finn wouldn’t have dug under their fence, he wouldn’t have been lost in the first place.

Once they’d gotten the dog home, Braden hadn’t wanted to just watch Netflix or play video games. He wanted to return and explore the building before it got too late.

It was his birthday, and she didn’t want to mess up the fun. She wanted him to think she was dope, not some scared little girl. 

How can Braden be so fearless all of the time? When he wants to do something, he just does it without even thinking.

It was one of the things she liked most about him, but also an equally bad trait. But He’d taught her to skateboard and to pop a wheelie on her bike. Soon, they’d be going swimming. She could hardly wait.

But she needed Braden to stay out of trouble for both their sakes. He never considered during their adventures that they might get them into a bind. This was the third time he’d asked her to go somewhere her gut told her they shouldn’t explore.

Still, her curiosity was starting to get the better of her now.

 Braden was about to head around the back of the building. He hollered and gestured wildly for her to come on. 

Sweat was pouring down her neck and building above her lips due to the blistering heat and strands of her light brown hair had long been escaping from under the front and sides of her light-pink ballcap. She swept the stray hairs back up under it quickly, wiping sweat on her T-shirt. Diving into the parking lot against her better judgement, she pedaled fast until she got to the back of the building, then parked her bike within a few feet of the warehouse door.


“Hey, what took you so long?” Braden’s voice sounded a little agitated.

He'd already tried to open the wooden door, but it wouldn’t budge.

“Fixing my hair,” she replied, “It’s hot today. Can’t we do this another time? Geez.”

“Come on. We’re already here. This place used to have some cool stuff like targets and ammo. A few beer cans are probably layin’ around, too. If I get a pellet gun for my birthday, we can shoot at them. I don’t think anybody will miss anything.”


“We shouldn't take anything, Braden. Those things belong to whoever owns this place. ”

“Not anymore. My brother says the owner died a few months ago, and he didn’t even leave a will. This stuff is just gonna go to the State. His son lives a long way off, doesn’t want any of it. I heard he’s rich and living in some really big house in California. Anyway, nobody’s gonna even know we were here anyway unless you tell them.” His voice had an edge of warning in it.

But Dodie had noticed a real estate sign right on the front lawn.

“Do you have any kind of plastic card in your wallet that you don’t mind getting scratched up?”

Sliding an old, used-up Walmart gift card out her wallet, she handed it over to him. Braden placed the card between the edges of the door, jimmying it open in a matter of seconds. Sure enough, there were a few targets still lying around the place, and on the counter was a stack of red and black boxes with the brand name Fireball on the front. Braden started to grab one of them to put in his pocket, but she stopped him,

“You aren’t gonna take that, are you?”

Dodie searched Braden’s eyes, hoping it would be the pressure he needed to put the box back down.

“Oh alright,” he conceded. ‘I’ll just grab a few of these cans sitting around here. I can put them on the picnic table at my brother’s house. And I’m gonna bring just a few pieces of this ammo back. ” He shoved a few of the silver beads deep into his right pocket.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the front door of the warehouse. Braden dropped the cans right where they were. They snuck out the back quickly before anyone could catch them inside.


Dashing through the edge of the woods, it seemed they were far enough from the back of the building to escape being noticed. The woods probably stretched for several miles. Peeping out from behind a tree, Dodie saw a local deputy scoping the perimeter. He must have noticed their bikes.

“Come out, Braden." He said, "I know you’re around here somewhere. When will these kids ever learn."

Then he turned to walk away.

Suddenly, Dodie’s phone chimed loudly. She nearly panicked trying to silence it. It was her mom texting her to make sure she and Braden were back at the house in about an hour. They were going to the Mexican restaurant for his birthday, but she said not to tell him the plans, just to make sure he came home pronto.

She had to find a way to get them out of this mess. At least, Travis hadn’t heard her phone go off. If they just kept quite a few more minutes, he would probably give up soon. She crossed her fingers and tried to remain calm.

Soon, the deputy left and they crept out of their hiding place.

“Whoo that was a close call, Braden. What if he had decided to keep looking for us?”

Braden shrugged his shoulders and didn’t say anything.

“Well, I’m just glad he didn’t. By the way, Braden, Mom said we need to go home right away. She’s getting something ready.”

“Ok, I really hope its supper,” he answered, “ I’m starved.”

Giving the deputy a minute or two to get a few miles down the road, they waited awhile before finally racing away on their bicycles.

Once they made it back to the house, there was Deputy Travis, sitting there waiting for them.

Everything was about to come unhinged.


Dodie’s heart felt like it stopped for a few seconds. She wondered if the deputy had been inside yet. She was very relieved when she realized mom’s car wasn’t even there at the moment. Mom must have gone to the store for something or else decided to go look for them when she didn’t reply back to her. Dodie hadn’t had a chance to even text her back.

By that time, Travis had already opened the door on the driver’s side and was making his way over to talk to them. She hoped he was not about to arrest them.

Travis smiled knowingly when he saw the both of them. The lady on dispatch knew both all the neighborhood kids since she lived in the area. She told him Braden lived with the Martins and was part of the family now and that she’d seen Dodie riding around with him around the neighborhood lately.

Earlier, he'd decided not to chase them because it might cause an even worse situation. They could end up hurt or lost in the thick woods. It went for at least 30 acres back. It would be much simpler to come talk to their parents, since they needed to know what the kids were up to anyway. He figured they would come out as soon as he left, and was right.

Right then, Braden looked like he was about ready to bolt away on his bike any moment. Travis grabbed the handlebars, keeping him from taking off.

“Woahh, where ya going there, son,” he said, “I need to talk to you two for a minute.”

Braden was biting his bottom lip, wondering what was about to come next. Dodie was fidgeting and trying her best to keep from saying anything she shouldn’t.

“Can I please just tell my mom we’re back,” she begged, “We’re supposed to be going somewhere in a few minutes.”

Travis looked thoughtful for a moment, then answered,

“Just a few seconds more. This won’t take long.”

He looked both of them over, then proceeded to ask them what they were doing at the warehouse, and if they’d taken anything with them from the building.

Braden glanced at Dodie and blinked hard twice. That had always been his special signal to let him do all the talking.

“No, we just looked around. There was just a bunch of junk there.”

“Well, empty out those pockets then,” the deputy replied.

Braden did what he was told. The deputy took the ammo, but didn't ask her role in the situation. Dodie was glad she hadn’t taken anything from the building.

“Son, you can’t take things that don’t belong to you. Now, I’m not gonna take you to the station, but let this be a warning to you both. Don’t ever go near a place like that, even if it’s empty. First of all, it’s dangerous. There could have been anything or anyone hiding in there, whether it was a fox, a rattlesnake, or a person on drugs half out of their mind. It’s just not safe. And second of all, it’s against the law to trespass on someone else’s property. And you know better than to take things. I’m gonna have to talk to your parents though.”

Braden’s eyes widened at that moment. Dodie could tell he was afraid if my mom or his dad found out he would be grounded on his birthday instead of getting presents or a cake.

“Please, Deputy Travis, it’s my birthday today. Can you just not tell my parents, just this once?” he begged, “I haven’t lived here long and I don’t want my stepmom to think I’m a terrible person. I promise I won’t go around the warehouse again or cause any trouble.”

The Deputy looked like he was thinking it over pretty carefully. Soon, he answered, still maintaining the sober look on his face.

“Ok, I’ll cut you some slack just this once, kids. But only because it’s your birthday and I think you’ve learned your lesson. Now have a good birthday, son, and stay out of trouble.”

He tipped his hat toward Dodie and got back in the police car. In a flash, he was gone.


What they didn’t know was that mom had an utterly annoying surprise planned for Braden at the Mexican restaurant. As they sat there eating chips and dips and waiting for everyone’s order to be served, several of the cooks came out from the kitchen, banging their pots and pans while singing Happy Birthday to him, something which he hated. But that wasn't the worst part. Two of the cooks came over to him and slammed a pie right in his face. Dodie thought he looked hilarious with whipped cream and yellow custard all over his face. She laughed so hard her stomach started hurting. But soon, Braden was licking the pie from his face and fingers and laughing just as hard as they were.

After that, it was time to open his gifts. Dodie could see that he was disappointed when there was no pellet gun. But before leaving, Grandpa Roger asked them to come to his house. He had a unique surprise planned. Braden asked what it was. There was a tone of mystery in his voice as he replied, "You’ll see," with a devilish chuckle.


Grandpa sat down at his workbench in the shop he had built many years ago behind his house. Dodie and Braden were curious about what he was about to do. He started working on a Y-shaped tree branch, one that had been hidden in the back of the shop for a few weeks. It was eight inches long and each part of the Y measured around an inch in diameter. Carving the bark from the outer edges, he exposed the yellow wood underneath.

Wow, Grandpa Roger, you're really talented.” Braden exclaimed. 

Pretty soon, he attached a small leather pouch to some very large rubber bands and then attached those to the two forks that made the Y shape."

“What is that?” Dodie said,

Grandpa replied, “It’s a homemade slingshot. Let me show you.”

He placed a small, round piece of ammo into the brown leather pouch and pulled it back as hard as he could. The bead went flying across the back yard like a bullet shooting through the air.


“This is what I use to chase the birds away from my garden,” he said, then looked at Braden,

“ I know a certain boy that’s been wanting a pellet gun, “ chuckling to himself. “I couldn’t get one of those for him cause his mom said no, but this is the next best thing.”

Handing the slingshot to Braden, he said, “Happy Birthday,” by the way, you two can find some cans in the recycling bin if you want to practice in the back yard.”


Dodie sat six cans on a picnic table for Braden to aim at with the slingshot. He missed several before finally knocking off one Mountain Dew can.

“I’m no good at this crap,” he complained.

“You’ll get better,” she said, hoping to sound convincing.

“Do you wanna try?” he asked.

“Nah, I’m good,” Dodie replied.

He gazed at her, looking a little bewildered. Normally, his kid sister would jump at any chance to show him up if she could.

“Is something wrong, D?”

She thought for a moment, not really wanting to say anything, but knew she needed to say what was on her mind.

“Well, Braden, I’ve been thinking. There are some things I want to do and things that I don’t want to do. The lines between the two seem to go blurry whenever you and I are out doing things together. I’ve got to start telling people “no” when I need to.”

“What do you mean?”

“Like when you wanted us to go into that warehouse, for instance. I really didn’t want to. I just wanted to please you, so I did. I really thought it was a bad idea. I knew we might get in trouble.”

“I’m sorry I got us in that situation. I guess I didn’t believe anything would happen. Besides, I thought you liked the fun things we do.”

“Yeah, I do like to do fun things, but geez, that was too close! Just promise me next time you’ll think before doing anything like that.”

He nodded and said, “I promise.”

“Good. Just remember that when you get one of your wild hairs."

Dodie put a piece of ammo in the slingshot and took aim at the same Mountain Dew can Braden just missed. She hit it on her very first try.

Smiling at her victory, she made a wish that Braden would keep his promise.

May 15, 2020 00:35

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Blane Britt
07:44 Jun 03, 2020

Nice Story


15:23 Jun 03, 2020

Thank you, Blane!! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :-)


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Vrishni Maharaj
13:27 May 27, 2020

This is wonderful, Cynthia!


18:18 May 27, 2020

Thank you, Vrishni! I appreciate the compliment, and am glad you enjoyed the story. :-)


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A. Y. R
06:26 May 16, 2020

You described the scene so well I could almost at myself in the surroundings! I love your imagery in the story!


12:36 May 16, 2020

Thank you!!! That's what I was going for with the imagery. I've been working on that aspect of my writing lately. I'm so glad you enjoyed the story!!


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Yoomi Ari
21:39 May 15, 2020

I love Dodies thoughts being pointed out because it keeps the story flowing and grabs my emotions too. I loved the adventurous story and the emotive language that keeps me gripping onto the seat. Well done! I loved that you linked it back to Bradens promise. 😊


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Evelyn ⭐️
13:23 May 15, 2020

I like the ending! This is so good, again! :) I love it! You are so good! It's also very detailed, which is good! Very good job!


14:07 May 15, 2020

Thank you again so much, Evelyn. That means a lot knowing that the sequel was entertaining and successfully moved you as a reader. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!


Evelyn ⭐️
14:10 May 15, 2020

Yes! It's defiantly as good as the first one! Good job!


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