I find myself in a puzzlement.
The Dutchman had told us tales of supernatural, tales I chose not to believe. Thinking them fantasies of an otherwise stable man, I agreed to help him find a killer, which he described as either a succubus or a vampyre. It seemed prudent to aid him seek the murderer so I placed the hunt for Reggie Rock aside, and teamed myself with the Dutchman, a native fellow called Dead Feathers (I thought we gave these people proper names nowadays) and a quiet woman introduced as Lonesome.
Progress was stilted at first, we believed the killer a woman, who was then run out of town, and I must admit the usual tricks of the bounty hunter didn’t reveal much of her whereabouts. The Dutchman’s claim to know the activities of the so-called supernatural also came to naught, and I wondered at our chances of success with the failure of my profesional skills and his academic research.
That was before I became a target myself however. Visited in the night by a young mexican girl who may have taken advantage of my person, I may have reacted harshly (in fact I recall threatening death to everyone from my companions to an old woman who only committed the crime of having a rosebush).
But still, even after a second attack by a creature who seemed impervious to our bullets, we have little to go on. The Hunter’s knowledge fails him, and how can I detain a spirit. Time will tell, but I don’t know how much time I have left.
Scott Dill found me yesterday. Sitting in a bar. Surrounded by men. Eating a breakfast in size and content more equitable to two hard used ranch hands than one lonesome widow. He wasn’t particularly happy. I had made him hunt me down. I had been mentioned in rumors. I was keeping questionable company. I was sitting in a bar, before noon, without anyone he would consider a chaperone.
I love Dill. He and Ian rode together on many occasions, meaning I rode with him on many occasions. He is big, he is scary, he is a dead eye with that rifle and he is the most gentle soul walking these god forsaken lands. I know that Dill will be there if I need him. We never speak of Ian, or the last time we saw him. We never speak of where he went or what he did after he found me. But that doesn’t stop him from telling me, in no uncertain terms that I’m walking dangerous paths and that I need to be careful.
No sooner had Dill left then another man took the empty chair at our table. This one was a visitor for Van Helsing. An old friend of the family to hear him talk. V.H. was skeptical, but listened carefully, taking into consideration all the man had to say. The result? Now we are hunting what they call a succubus or quite possibly a vampire. I’m hoping for the former, but it brings up odd thoughts and personal concerns. I’ve never considered it before. If Van Helsing is avowed to eradicate all monsters, will he consider me a monster if he finds out about my curse? Eradicate me as well? It is not my fault. It is something I inherited. I have never entered into a pact with a demon personally. Because someone in my family tree did so should not be held against me. Doesn’t matter that if I so choose I can suck the living soul from your body until you are right and proper dead. I suppose it also doesn’t matter that I have never, knowingly used it either.
But I digress. Which is apparently easy to do today. Since I got left behind. Yesterday I was helpful. Yesterday I had good ideas and spent time using my gender and the particular knowledges I hold to useful ends. Those women at the market and the washings would never have talked to men like they talked to me. Okay, so I didn’t really find much out. But I was able to deduce that she could not really have left the area. That she could quite possibly be hiding right under our noses. Yes SHE. After speaking with the sheriff, hearing his story of woe regarding a particular not so sporting sporting girl with very beguiling ways and sticky little fingers V.H. came to the conclusion it was indeed a woman we were after.
Today, apparently it is leave Lonesome behind like all the rest of the womanfolk. I almost followed them once I discovered they were gone. Even saddled up Laredo after I found the arrow pointing west in the dirt of the stable. But then, I thought about it, and decided that if they had wanted me, they would have woken me. So I’ve taken a little time to deal with my morning toilet and now I am heading down to the bar with just enough coin for a bottle of rye. One bottle. No more. Neither Ian nor Dill would approve, but they haven’t seen what I’ve seen.
Besides. The rye soothes my throat and today it is powerful sore.
Telegraph to the offices of the ’Ard Men.
Have arrived in New Mexico
Hunt for Reggie ‘Little’ Rock proceeds, indicates current employment with local Rancher
Confident of arrest and detention shortly
The posse has arrived in New Albuquerque, and has done a bit of diggin’ about the strange happenings in Old Albuquerque. They didn’t find much about what they are doing, but they did find that the Clayton Brothers were run outta town by John Henry “doc” Holliday when he was here earlier in the summer. Dead Feathers spoke with a potent medicine man in the Indian settlement and has received some rather dire warnings. Solomon is still skeptical about what “Mr. Feathers” and Mr. Van Helsing killed in the darkness last night. Lonesome Has spent few moments with a freind of her departed husband,Scott Dill.
They have just been met in the Dancing Horse Saloon by a man claiming to know Clayton’s grandfather. And we rejoin them, partway through this conversation.
So Albuquerque is just as I left it. Except. I find myself with a room above the Dancing Horse instead of curled up cozy in my own rented flat… and apparently there is fantastical wildlife stalking the streets. If I had gone home to sleep I would have missed the excitement. I think I would have preferred to miss the excitement, but, I do think that I helped save that woman in the street, so perhaps everything panned out the way it was supposed to.
I still don’t know what it was tore that poor woman up. Giant cat? Enormous mountain lion? Mr. Feathers says it is a sort of spirit that bodes no good, but that is the best explanation I have. I didn’t actually see the thing alive, I was busy helping the young lady not to bleed to death (Hush. My daddy says even prostitutes are ladies, they have just fallen on harder circumstances than myself) while the menfolk tracked it down and killed it. Doc Ross has her now.
Aside from that, I spent the day helping Van Helsing follow his leads. Funny man. Seems so competent and experienced, but put him into a situation where he has to talk and he trips over his own tongue. But that is okay. So long as a body is willing to lean close and listen careful, I don’t mind speaking quietly with them.
Now, I’ve washed my hands and arms, but my nightclothes need a good wash, or perhaps I will burn them and treat myself to something new.
The posse has been collecting information about the missing woman, and the sporting girl whowas slit open bloodlessly. At the end of the day, Solomon Rents the 4 rooms of the Horse Dance, but Dead Feathers does no relish the though, so goes over to the stable they use to sleep there.
As afternoon turns to evening, they have a supper and retire to their beds. But late in the night, Clayton and Dead Feathers a woken by a woman screaming, and they rush to help. They find a woman in the dust, with her belly ripped open, mewling in pain. Clayton goes back to wake the others, and returns to the scene. The woman has passed out, but is still bleeding. He finds some tracks and heads after them. Lonesome goes to fetch Doc Ross, and Solomon.
You are not going to belief what I just went through. I have never been so scared and exhilarated in all my life. My hand on the bible I swear to tell the whole truth and everything. Weirdest. Damned. Thing.
Judge Hale headed off on his circuits of some of the wilder portions of this country and in his infinite fatherly wisdom decided I needed to stay put and study. Oh, and please do go out to Fort Tejon and deliver this missive.
So off I ride, missive in my pocket only to discover that the Fort is having some serious troubles with the natives. Or so they thought. I don’t know how I got roped into going, but the Captain of the fort asked if I could, perhaps help, and I found myself nodding an affirmative. Later I found myself riding out in the company of two gentleman (one of which appears to be an actual one from across the Atlantic), a blackfoot indian and the most nervous and jumpy cavalry scout I have ever met.
What we were riding towards, no one, but perhaps the scout could possibly guess. Totems, like no other totems I had ever seen before, gruesome, fresh, oozing human body fluids and dire warning. A mine that moaned and screamed and spit forth beings seemingly made of sticks and straw neatly held together with a human skin wrapper. Scared? Damn straight. Go in? Without a doubt. Survive? Yes, thank you.
I still am not sure how to explain what I saw, or lay out the details in a coherent fashion. It was dark. It was damp. The most hair raising screams and moans followed us down into the darkness. Things fired at us from the dark. When we finally reached the inner sanctum (for lack of a better description) horrid rituals were being cast with, about and on bodies. It was nerve wracking. It was knee wobblingly terrifying. It was a rush on my senses like I have never experienced before. I felt so alive. I am not a fighter. I carry a gun, and can use it with some skill, but aim at a man with intent and then follow through I have never done before… not that I can say what I fired at was a man. There was gun fire, there was wild indian cries and flying hatchets, there were heroics and some clever ploys. At the end we scrambled out the other side alive with news for Fort Tejon both good and bad.
Tonight we clean up and rest. Tomorrow we all, by mutual agreement head into Albuquerque to see what awaits there. Van Helsing, a self proclaimed “monster” hunter is headed there following a cryptic note. Mr. Munroe, the bounty hunter (there is a story there behind that mustache and continental suit) is following a lead on a paper he is carrying. Mr. Feathers (I just can’t bring myself to call him Dead Feathers) is Blackfoot Indian and his reasons are hidden behind his smile and quirky eyebrows. Me, well I live there. I research the law, keep notes and files and mostly to myself.
Or perhaps I should say used to.
After a rather harrowing experience in the mines, against some folks that may or may not have been supernatural…perhaps they were wearing masks and the flickering light available made the two of them look like they were bathed in shadow…they returned to the Fort. They bore the news that the major had been killed, and were paid and given room and board for a night before they decided to head to Albuquerque, about 3 days ride from Fort Tejon. They have arrived, arranged rooms at the Horse Dance, and have begun investigating a potential killer, or vampire (depending upon who you ask!)
Our posse is headed to Albuquerque for different reasons. About three days ride from there, they come upon a small CSA Fort, Fort Tejon. Seems the fort has been stripped of men and is down to less than 20 soldiers, and they have been busy with increased Apache activity in the area. The commander, or acting commander, Captain
Seems Sheriff Downes is not happy with the two. Seeing as how Slate just got shot at, and he was already going to be wreaking havoc. He and the mayor leave, telling Bernie Spurlock to keep them outta trouble. When they go wake up Kohler, Gus heads downstairs and outside.
When the posse is assembled in the bar room, the confront Mr. Spurlock about the gold, who appears quite flustered and sends for the sheriff. When the sheriff returns, he look ready to eat nails, but they have a civil talk, where Vic admits that they took the gold from Slate, and heads out to the Garmin ranch to get some gun hands to set up gaurds around town, hopin’ that they might be able to bushwack Slate and his men when they return. After talking with the doc, Kohler decides it is important to go out to the Garmin Ranch, where Clovis Garman was apparently killed last night, so they ride out toward the ranch, when they spy a man on a hill with a rifle, and as they ride toward him, he fires a shot at them. Not wanting to take such and affront, they charge him, killing him, but discover about 2 dozen men over the rise…Not a pretty way to go…