Author Topic: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale  (Read 49234 times)

Offline Patches McDuff

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2004, 07:56:29 AM »
Patches hunkered down next to a rapidly drying wet splotch in the sand. She reached out, touched the splotch with her gloved hand and rubbed a bit of the sand between her fingers. She held it up to her nose.

"Horse piss," she mumbled softly looking in either direction. Thunder blew. Patches stood. Devil's Mountain loomed dark and forboding in front of her. "Whatcha think? We close?" Thunder huffed twice.

The sun was fixin to set soon, and the wind had come up. If she was gonna catch up to Scarlet, if this WAS Scarlet, she'd best push on. No one wanted to be cought in the shadow of the mountain after dark, but that was the best place to be if a wind storm were to blow in.

Patches checked her loads--pistol and rifle. She wasn't too worried about the human element way out here, but the coyote and moutain cat could be visious.

"Next time we do this remind me to bring Dawg," she said as she mounted up. "Coulda used a good sniffer. Git on, GIT." Thunder took off at a trot.

By the time Thunders hooves hit the rocky soil at the base of the Mountain, the whole world had turned dark purple with the twilight. Patches once again dismounted and stood motionless listening. The wind made eerie sounds as it passed through the millions of cracks, crevises and caves that made up Devil's Mountain. Anything could hide up here. Anything or any one.

Scarlet would have chosen a place well out of sight, and the rocky ground made any tracking impossible, even if it were broad daylight. Of course she'd need water and shelter but most of the larger caves had some kind of water system running through them.

Patches shook her head slowly as if saying "no" to herself. Relying only on what she knew of Scarlet to help her determine where she was, she figured Scarlet would not hole up in some big cave. Those were too high up, and difficult to reach by horseback. Not that she didn't have time, Patches figured she was at least a half a day behind her. More like Scarlet was sensible about these things. She'd want a place near the base, a place with good cover, a bit of water, and facing east. It'd be a place easy to get out of, yet unseen by just about any direction. It'd have to break this wind, yet have some dry wood for fire--it was, after all, a bit chilly.

A gust of wind blew sending a high pitched keening wail to Patches' sensitive ears. The Song of the Dead, the Indians called it. If you knew what to listen for, it would fade in softly at first then grow louder until it reached an almost painful pitch, then it would slowly fade out as the winds split and sailed down other avenues.

Patches tilted her head. The sound didn't fade out. It simply stopped as if it had run into a wall. Other sounds were missing also. She didn't hear the call of the little owls that lived in the cactus near here, or the howl of the coyote and wolf.

"Geez," Patches whispered to herself sarcastically. Nothing like trying to track someone by which way the wind blows.

TO BE CONTINUED

Offline Patches McDuff

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2004, 12:37:33 PM »
Two hours later it had come up cloud and the wind was like invisible ice daggars blowling sharp sand around every nook and cranny. Lightning flashed from time to time although there wasn't a hint of moisture on the wind, nor a single clap of thunder.

Patches made no moves to conceal herself or her sounds. If anyone could hear above the wail of the wind they'd know she was coming and the last person she wanted to sneak up on was Scarlet. That'd be the best way in the world to get oneself shot.

She had just rounded a rather large rock outcropping when a bolt of lightning lit up the sky. In the instant it provided light Patches saw  the form of a wolf or coyote standing above her looking down. Once the light faded however, the glow of the animals eyes remained--but only for an instant longer.

That suggested another light source somewhere near, Patches thought. But before she could complete the thought she heard a scraping sound, so soft she almost missed it.

Instinctively she ducked, even as the shadow seperated itself from other shadows and slammed full on into her body. She fell to the ground, heard Thunder nicker and back away, heard another nicker further off, then the tussle began.

Twisting her body she rolled to her back, grabbing for anything she could get her hands on. It turned out to be a double hand full of coat. Something soft brushed against her face as her opponent sat squarely on her chest. Then she felt the cold steel of a knife blade against her throat.

"Nice to see you too Scarlet," she said softly, not releasing her grip on Scarlet's coat but not making any other moves of defence.

The body on top of her hesitated, the knife lifted up just a hair. "Patches?"

"Yeah," she said. "Unless you cut my throat, then I'm nobody."

Scarlet cursed, but got up. "What the hell are you doin' here?" She demanded.

Patches chuckled and held her hand out. Scarlet took her hand and helped her up--more out of habit than anything else--while simultaniously replacing her knife with the other. "Come lookin' fer you. Guess I found ya."

Scarlet sighed. "C'mon. Get outta this storm."

"Sounds like a plan," Patches mumbled as she cought Thunders reins. Scarlet lead her around the outcropping and into a narrow crevice which then widened into something like a small cave. Patches smiled to herself. Just as she thought, shelter on most of three sides, out of the weather, facing east.

A small, smokeless fire burned in the center. Patches stowed Thunder next to Lucky and then went to it. Scarlet joined her a moment later.

"I coulda killed ya, yanno." She stated.

Patches nodded, rubbing  her hands together. "Ya coulda, but ya wouldn'ta. I figgered it was you."

"Yeah? How's that?"

Patches smiled out of half her face. "Even a crazy indian wouldna be out onna night like this. You on the other hand...." She grinned.

Scarlet sighed and squatted by the fire. "Whatcha want Patches?"

Hmm. Nothing like cutting to the chase. She dug in her pocket. "Ya left this back at the Ace," she said tossing Scarlets badge at her feet. Scarlet looked at it but didn't touch it or move to pick it up. "Figured ya lost it."

Scarlet looked up at her friend. "I didn't lose it, I left it."

Patches nodded. "Yeah, figured ya lost it."

Scarlet was about to scream in frustration. Patches could be stubborn as an old mule and nine times outta ten she did it on purpose.

"Wouldn't hurt ta show that to the bad guys though," Patches said indicating the badge. "Sometimes when ya do they just give up."

"Who said anything about me goin after bad guys?" Scarlet said with a squint of one eye.

Patches smiled. "You did. Just now." She dug in her pocket again, this time coming out with a wrinkled yellow flimsy. "Who's Cutter, Scarlet?"

[size=18]TAG SCARLET[/size]


Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2004, 12:17:57 AM »
“That note doesn’t say anything about a Cutter.” Scarlet said flatly.

Patches mouth slightly twisted up on one side and she narrowed her eyes at Scarlet as if she’d just been insulted.

“Yeah that kid Tinkers got coverin’ the telegraph could use some lessons. I saw the tape, the code that was sent. It said Cutter.” Patches snorted.

“Cutter died last month, got that message from Ft. Worth, member? And I’m not going after bad guys.”

Patches smiled. This was going to take a little more work than usual. Scarlet had been quiet like this when they’d first met, but then they became best friends and Scarlet would tell her just about anything when she asked and some things she didn’t ask, specially if she’d been drinking, but it would not be so now.

There was something different about Scarlet now, besides the way she was dressed. Patches could feel it in the air, almost hear it move when Scarlet did, a cold presence, a darkness that shadowed ones soul.

Scarlet looked at Patches and took a deep breath. She’d said it before, if she could have chosen family, Patches would be her sister. Not the kind you fought with but the kind you laughed and shared all your secrets with, the kind you stood by when the going got tough, the one you protected with your very life, and he would use that against her if he knew.

“You shouldn’t be out here Patches. You’re gonna catch a pneumonia and get sick on me.” Scarlet was trying to find some excuse with out lying to her why she should go home.

Patches smiled lopsided and crossed her arms in a show of stubbornness “Not til ya tell me what you’re doing out here instead of curled up in front of that big fire place at home with…Where’s Fritz?” Patches looked around Rebecca had said Scarlet would go alone, but that had been hard to believe. The signs were bad all day and still getting worse.

Scarlet bristled at the question. “Probably followin you.” She hissed. “Ya come someplace to be alone, ya figure folks won’t follow, pretty soon I’m gonna have the entire posse riding in here.” Scarlet was starting to lose her temper, she could feel the anger taking hold.

Cutter did something to her that she could not control. The thought of his existence made her angry. The fact he’d slipped through her fingers irritated her beyond belief. The fact she could feel his presence and hear his heart beat sickened her. The fact she’d been having dreams about him slaughtering her friends and family made her feel like she was going insane. And finally, the knowledge he would not stop until he’d killed them all and destroyed her awakened the kill or be killed instinct within her with a vengeance that had all but consumed her. She hated for anyone to see this side of her.

She stopped a moment to compose herself, took a deep breath and straightened her back.
She wanted to hug Patches for being a sister and at the same time kick her out for following.

Scarlet looked down at the badge again, she could feel sadness mixed in with all the other emotions and hear the words bouncing around in her mind. “A cold blooded killer doesn’t wear a badge.”

“Damn you Scott” she mumbled to herself then looked back at Patches. “Just do me a favor and go home in the morning.”

The statement was followed by a long silence as the two stubborn women looked at each other, both knowing they were not getting what they wanted from the other.

“Why?” Patches finally asked.

“I don’t want you involved; don’t want any of you involved.” Scarlet said softly.

“Involved in what?”

Scarlet wasn’t about to tell Patches what she’d dreamt about.
The dreams confused her. They were mixtures of bits and pieces from the past with people in her present.

What she was sure of was she had told Scott she’d seen him die in a knife fight. Marshal Hart was poor at best in knife fight. When she expressed her concern and encouraged him to learn how to at least defend himself well he’d told her she was crazy…been living with the Indians too long, then he died from knife wounds.

Travis had held her close and kissed her then told her he’d heard pregnant women often had bad dreams when she told him she had seen him shot. He died from a gut shot.

She’d seen Fritz standing over her grave, he had told her he watched her die. That unnerved her some. She’d also dreamed of him being shot from Dancer’s back just like Travis, maybe she was crazy. He’d never been on the gelding and didn’t have any reason to.

Then there was Patches. Scarlet could hear Cutter’s voice. “Kill her” as he held Scarlet tight making her watch as Patches’ throat was cut.

Scarlet could feel her skin crawl.

“Look Patches, Black Wolf calls em visions, Scott used to call me crazy and Travis said they were just dreams of someone who worried. All I’m gonna tell you is I gotta follow them alone and if I told you what they were…well I told Scott and Travis, I think it’s bad luck to tell.”
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2004, 12:18:41 AM »
Cutter always believed fortune smiled on him at times. He’d been shot, but never killed or lost a limb. He’d been jailed but walked out a free man, and now he’d found a good place to hold up while he plotted against his enemies.

The best part of the cabin they had found was the new bride that came with it. It had been along time since he’d had an untouched woman, and never one wearing a wedding dress.

He’d told her if she cooperated he wouldn’t kill her man. Cutter was pleased she only whimpered quietly, so being a man of his word, most of the time, Cutter never did lay a hand on her husband. What she didn’t know while she let him take everything he wanted with out much of a struggle, and then prepare his dinner; Cutter had left her husband to his men.

They had tied and gagged him then used him as a target for knife and tomahawk throwing. All they were told was not to let the mrs see a dead body.

Something intrigued Cutter about the woman; normally he would share them when he was done, but not this one. He really hadn’t figured it out, maybe it was just the fact she was something fresh to play with; and then Rebecca was shoved through the door.

Phil had tried to make it easy on Rebecca trying to trick her by offering her money to come with them for a private party at his place, which she denied. He tried telling her there was a woman in need of help and he was riding for the doctor then suggested Rebecca help, she denied and was obviously becoming suspicious. That’s when Harry had become impatient and nearly gotten himself shot wrestling the shotgun away from her.

Rebecca’s instincts to take flight screamed. She could almost hear her own voice. “RUN BECCA!!” She had backed her horse away from them and pulled the shotgun from its scabbard. The big man leaped on her sending them both to the ground, she’d gotten one shot off that was aimed at the man’s head, but he ducked and yanked the gun from her grip.

Harry tossed the gun to the side and straddled her trying to get control of the situation. He screamed as he felt the sting of her fingers dig deep into both cheeks. Harry backhanded her, grabbed her wrists and pulled her to her feet as he stood. They had tied her to her horse and led her to some place she didn’t know even existed.

Harry pulled Becca roughly from her horse and shoved her up the step and through the door into the small house. He had pushed her so hard she stumbled and fell in.

Looking up she saw the back of the woman with long blonde hair standing over the stove.
“Scarlet” she whispered in shock.

The woman turned around, Becca recognized the pride stripped look in the woman’s eyes.

“Jenny” She said softly. “My name is Jenny”

Rebecca couldn’t believe it, Jenny looked a lot like Scarlet, cept Jenny’s eyes were blue and up close there were differences but from a distance one could easily mistake the two.

Jenny stepped around Becca and placed the dinner plate in front of Cutter. He looked her up and down. That was it! The woman looked like Scarlet. He chuckled to himself thinking of the accusations the men had made about him wanting Scarlet at his side.

Maybe he did, but it wouldn’t happen. They were mortal enemies with some sick need to torture and ultimately kill one another. But they would have made a hell of a team he thought with a grin.

Josh looked at Rebecca, anger crossing his features. She drew back afraid of what he was going to do as he quickly closed the distance between them.

“What did you do to her!” he yelled crossing the room towards her glaring at the two men that had brought her in.

He reached down and wiped the dried blood from the corner of her mouth, then caressed her swollen cheek.

“I’m sorry they did this Martha Ann, but you’re going to have to learn how to cooperate.” He said sweetly.

Rebecca had met some crazies in her life but Josh Rowen was a real piece of dangerous work.

Josh grinned and turned to his brother. “Hey, since you’re done with the dress can I have it?”

Cutter raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“Martha Ann can wear it and you can marry us.” Josh grinned.

“You get it on her..I’m sure Jenny darlin’ has a bible in the house and we’ll marry ya.” Cutter chuckled.

Josh pulled Rebecca to her feet and drug her into the bedroom.

“You become some kind a preacher while you was in the penn Kevin?” Phil asked.

Cutter laughed. “No, but it will shut him up about her.”

In the bedroom Rebecca refused to put on the wedding dress at first. It angered Josh.

“If you don’t marry me Martha Ann then the things Phil says must be true about you being a whore. I don’t think I could stand the thought of you being with other men. I’m not sure if I’d have to kill them or you first, but I’d damn sure beat the desire out of you. Be your first lesson in being a good wife.” He walked to the fire place and started to turn the poker in the hot embers.

Rebecca had no idea why he called her Martha Ann and when he’d gone to the fireplace she didn’t care what he called her as long as he didn’t come after her with that hot iron.

So she slipped on the dress, surprised he didn’t turn to watch yet relieved at the same time.

It was all Rebecca could do to keep from vomiting as Cutter read a few words from the bible and pronounced them man and wife.

When Josh took her to the bed room she began to cry and tell him she was afraid she couldn’t be a good wife to him because Harry had hurt her when he landed on her.

Josh pulled her close and held her. “That’s ok, I’ll look at you in the pretty dress for awhile. I promise as long as you’re good Harry won’t touch you.”

Inside Becca was screaming in sickness and terror but she’d been with men she didn’t particularly care for before and her acting skills were paying off. She thanked God he was happy just looking at her until she could figure something else out.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Patches McDuff

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2004, 09:32:08 AM »
Scarlet could feel her skin crawl.

“Look Patches, Black Wolf calls em visions, Scott used to call me crazy and Travis said they were just dreams of someone who worried. All I’m gonna tell you is I gotta follow them alone and if I told you what they were…well I told Scott and Travis, I think it’s bad luck to tell.”

Patches hunkered down by the fire and put her hands out to warm them. Scarlet studied the thoughtful expression her best friends face. Maybe she'd hit on something?

"Bad luck," Patches mumbled, tilting her head. "Can't rightly say I haven't had my own experiences with that kinda stuff."

Scarlet nodded and there was silence between the two women for a time.

"But," Patches said. "I can't rightly leave ya alone in this either."

Scarlet sighed heavily and rubbed her eyes. She just wasn't gonna give up. "I suppose ya have a plan," she said sarcastically.

Patches snorted. "Ya mean b'sides 'ride in and kill'em all'?"

Scarlet almost laughed. "Yeah."

"Nope," she said. "Can't say that I have. But I'm thinkin' on it."

Scarlet nodded and threw a stick on the fire. She looked over at her freind. "I really can't letcha come Patches."

Patches sighed and looked up at the ever darkening sky. Omens and portents. Stuff never seemed to end. She looked down. "Yeah, I know. But facin this thing by yourself just aint wise. Ya got friends, people who love you--"

Scarlet shot to her feet. "People who I don't wanna see die cuzza me Patches!"

"And a man who you love and wanna marry but can't till this thing is over for good. Am I right?" Patches just sat there looking at her. Scarlet turned to face her. The look on her face was enough, she didn't need to say anything. "Uh-huh. I thought so. Tell me sumpthin' though, before we get too deep into the ins and outs of philosophy," she continued rather dryly. "Whats Becca's place in alla this?"

Scarlet became frozen. "What makes ya think Becca has anything to do with this?"

Patches stood. "Cuz actions speak louder than words, Scarlet." She said in all seriousness. "Just like you're talkin to me now, without sayin a thing. Ya see, cuz if sumpthin were to happen to Becca then Tensleep would find out soon enough. And between Fritz flyin off the handle lookin for you and 'Sleep flyin off the handle lookin for Becca, and Bill prolly flyin offa the handle lookin fer me...well...thats the whole danged posse anyhow."

"Aw crap," Scarlet mumbled.

"Yeah." Patches agreed. "Aw crap. So what we gonna do? We gotta tell'em somethin' make'em understand. And if you keep insistin on goin by yourself then we gotta be ready to roll if you need help. Cuz aint a one of us willin to lose you to some grudge."

Scarlet just threw her hands up and shook her head.

Patches hunkered down again. "If I'm thinkin right we're here." She drew a cone shape in the sand then marked it with an X on the one side. "Figger theres a small town here," she drew an S shaped line and marked it with another X. "That's about a quarter day's ride if I got my bearin's right." She stood.

"Yeah," Scarlet agreed, "that's right."

"Alright. Let me ride with you to that town. I'll telegraph the Star from there and let everyone know I found ya and yer alright. I"ll tell'em I got information that can't be thrown down the wire and I'll be back to tell'em in person."

Scarlet snorted and put her hand on her hip. "With all the codes you know? Do ya really think Ella won't figger that for bullspit?"

Patches shook her head. "Alla the codes I know aint alla the codes Ella knows. Least not yet. I tought her some but not ever'thing. And this really is very sensitive information. Kinda useless ta send a message in a code only I can read, don'tcha think?"

Scarlet crossed her arms over her chest. "Good point. So whatcha gonna tell'em when ya get there?"

Patches smiled out of half her face. "Gimme sumpthin ta tell'em. If nothin' else we can do whatever kinda investigatin we need to do from the Starr, but you gotta leave me some kinda trail. We gotta be able to get where you are if you need us and you gotta promise me on yer fathers grave that you will hollar if you need help. Otherwise you'll have to just shoot me right now, cuz I"m stickin to you like glue, and that'll make yer visions come true in whole different way."

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #25 on: Today at 04:50:49 PM »

Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2004, 12:02:51 PM »
“My father ain’t in the grave.” Scarlet raised her eyebrow in Patches direction “and I don’t want him there because of me. He’s always understood that.

You got to promise you’ll turn around when we reach that town.” Scarlet said leveling her gaze on Patches.

Patches smiled lopsidedly.

 “Promise me on our friendship Patches. You promise me that and I’ll tell ya a few things.”

“Oh alright, I won’t follow ya if you promise ta call for help.”

Both women snorted with a small half smile.

“Patches, ya got to promise me somethin’ else.” Scarlet’s voice was somber.

Patches tilted her head as her eyebrows came together. “What?”

“When you ride back, you’ll be more careful than normal and you won’t stop til you get home. Not for anything.”

“And.” Patches eyed Scarlet knowing there was something else.

Scarlet kneeled and picked up her badge, ran her thumb across it to dust it off, then pinned it in the inside of her coat.

“Tell Fritz I love him and I’m sorry, but don’t tell him where to find me.”

“Ya know he’s gonna pester me til I tell him something.” Patches snorted.

“Tell him my demons came a calling and I had to answer them ALONE. “ Scarlet closed her eyes, tilted her head back and drew a deep breath, “I’d rather have him hate me and ride away than put him in the ground.”

Scarlet opened her eyes and locked gazes with her friend.

“Patches if Cutter were to find out about him, you, anybody I care much for he’d use it against me, he’d gain the upper hand. Can’t have that.” Scarlet sighed.

“He’d have to get a hold of us first, and what about Johnny ‘n them. Aren’t you concerned about them too?”

Scarlet shook her head up and down. “Yeah, but there’s somethin’ bout Bo that scares him; I think he thinks he’s seen ghosts.

Jimmy, folks say he’s got no emotions, no soul. It’s no fun to torture someone who it doesn’t matter to.

Then dad.” Scarlet chuckled. “He told Cutter once he was going to capture his sprit and keep it earthbound in a little box. Cutter steers clear of him.

The man may be suppositious but he’s smart Patches. He’s mean and he enjoys it.”

“Ok, I understand. But you still have ta gimme sumpthin to tell ‘em. And how Becca fits into alla this.”

“Cutter, his real name is Kevin Rowen.

Mr. Dawg said there was a mistake in identity. I heard the name Rabin. If he’s using that, be easier to pin point him, but I’m not positive. I don’t know the name Rabin so I don’t know how it all fits together. If the Rabin’s had a place Cutter would probably be using it, or headed there.

The official word is Rowens, Kevin and Josh, were both killed in the Federal Penn in Ft. Worth. There was another man, rode with ‘em. Harry something..but I’m not sure where they sent him. Scott tried to keep those things from me. Protect everyone involved ya know.” Scarlet said the last part sarcastically.

She noticed how Patches watched her, reading her every moment. Scarlet half smiled. Her friend was good at reading all kinds a signs.

“Rebecca” Scarlet looked down and shook her head. “I hope she stays close to Hank, the man is resourceful; he can protect her if she lets him.” Scarlet looked back up.

“Joshua, Cutter’s brother, has some kind of sick infatuation with her. I guess it keeps Cutter from hurting her. But I fear if Cutter got mad enough he’d hurt her too.

Josh is…..well..I think a few eggs short of a dozen. Temper..damn hot temper.”

Patches could tell by the way Scarlet furrowed her brow and looked into the distance she was picturing the man and his actions.

“I think if he got mad enough, he’d kill her and not even realize it til it was to late, then probably cry over it or someth….”

It suddenly dawned on Scarlet why Rebecca was so afraid of him. “Damn I’m blind.” She mumbled.

“What?” Patches said.

Scarlet put her fingers to her forehead “Alla these years. I couldn’t figure it out and Rebecca could never tell me why.” She looked at Patches again and started to pace slowly.

“You put Becca up against any man or woman, she holds her own. She’s not as dumb as she lets folks think she is and she’s rather skilled at fighting.  But you mention the name Rowen or things that go along with them; it’s all she can do to hold herself together. 

That R on her shoulder; ain’t sumthin’ she did to herself and it don’t stand for Rebecca. Josh put his brand on her, told her she was eternally his. She’d wear his mark forever.

At the trial when they were taking him away..he was calling to her.” Scarlet stopped she was searching her memories, her eyes darting back and forth.

“You’re mine Martha Ann, I’ll be back for you. I’ll kill any man touches you.”

Scarlet slightly paled. “Aw crap.”

“Martha Ann! What’s that?” Patches snorted.

“I’ll be dipped if I know, told ya he’s not all there.”

“He’s gonna have a lot of men to track down.” Patches stated.

Scarlet gave her a serious look. “Depends on how far back he goes.”

“I know ‘Sleeps fond of her, to put it mildly.” Patches sort of smiled.

“Yeah, well I know that Becca isn’t making the money she was a couple of months ago, personal income if ya know what I mean.”

Patches narrowed her eyes at Scarlet. The look on Patches face told Scarlet she was pretty sure she knew what Scarlet meant, but Scarlet chose to make it crystal clear.

“She’s only been seeing ‘Sleep. She’s asked me if I thought it was possible he could love someone like her. Then asked me a whole lot of questions about my relationship with Scott and Fritz.

But how this Martha Ann name figures into things I have no clue. One person I know might could tell us what or who Martha Ann is.”

Patches was on her feet in front of Scarlet like a shot. “Who?”

“You find Trixie Blue, you find the key to Rowen’s past.”

“What’s a Trixie Blue, er who?”

Scarlet took the telegram and pointed at the signature line. “Mr. Dawg, you find Mr. Dawg you find Trixie Blue. Ya find Trixie, ya find someone who knows about the Rowens before they had wanted posters on em.”

Patches eyebrows drew together.

“She’ll answer telegrams ta Mr. Dawg. There’s only few people who know that Patches. I’m telling you because I know you’ll take it to the grave with you. Trixie is in a lot of danger too. Kevin means to find and kill her too.

I don’t know how she knew they didn’t die. But trust me, if anyone could positively identify them it’s her.”

Scarlet went to her saddle bags and pulled out some maps, flipping through them until she found the one she wanted.

“When you get home, you send a message to Mr. Dawg. Simply say Angel tracking Mr. Dawg. If she checks the telegraph offices or gets wind of the message she will contact me er you in this case.”

Scarlet laid out the map of California. “Here is where she lives, but I’m sure she’s fled.”
She said pointing at a tiny place called Mokelumne hill.
“She may go here.” Scarlet said pointing to Jackson. “Here.” She said pointing to Angels Camp. “She may be making her way to the Starr. Mr. Dawg likes mining camps. If they have a telegraph office he likes that better, because he can check for messages.”

Patches studied the map, memorizing the places Scarlet pointed out. “Uh huh, got it.”

Scarlet rolled up the maps and put them away then went back to the fire and started to tear the message in tiny pieces and slowly feed it into the fire so it wouldn’t cause much smoke.

“As for finding me if you need to. Just follow the black road, seems that’s where I’m at right now. If that doesn’t work Travis always sees where I’m headin’.” Scarlet half smiled.

“What? Wuz that supposed ta mean?”

“You’ll figure it out if you have ta. I know how you love a good mystery.” Scarlet chuckled as Patches snorted.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2004, 03:27:23 PM »
The minute his horse’s feet touched the earth of the Southern Starr Johnny could feel it, something was wrong, and then what he saw made the hair stand up on the back of his neck.

Four out riders, the men that should be out there watching who came and went on the ranch, but men that normally rode in two.

Johnny dropped Velvet Ear’s lead rope and kicked his horse to move faster.

As he rode up to the house he didn’t like what he was seeing at all. Stock in the corrals that should be on the range, men walking the property armed, damn felt like he was riding into the Alamo. And the Star, place was locked down tighter than a bulls ass at fly time.

There were a few men walking the porch on the second story armed with long range rifles and carrying spyglasses, men guarding the barns. The iron doors and shutters had been mostly closed. Only standing open enough to slip through or watch the grounds, ready to be shut quickly should they need be.

damn, fart and someone’s gonna know Johnny thought as he reined his horse in by the back door.

Bo stood in the den and huffed between clenched teeth as he watched Johnny’s feet hit the ground before his horse stopped.

“Bo!” Johnny’s voice boomed, knowing it had to be him or Rose that gave the orders to lock the place down, but guessing it was Bo since he had sent the wire to him.

Bo turned to face Johnny as he heard his foot steps echo the halls.

“What the hell is going on?” Johnny said coming through the open doors of his office.

“Scarlet’s gone Johnny, took the maps from the C bar C. Fritz said there was an oil cloth layin’ on the bed and all her weapons were gone at the Ace.”

Johnny’s eyes narrowed. “She took that knife?! I thought that boy watched her alla the time how in hells name did she get away from him!?”

“Ain’t gonna do no good gettin’ mad at Fritz.” Bo said watching Johnny grow more frustrated.

“So first she slips away from a man thet is always with her THEN she parades onto the ranch, goes into the house takes everything she needs and NOBODY SAW HER!!! WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY GOOD FOR?”

Johnny walked to his desk and opened the draw he started to dig through some papers looking for something.

“They’re good men Johnny you know that. Ain’t a man alive Scarlet can’t get passed if she sets her mind to it.” Bo stated.

“You’re walkin on dangerous ground Corbin defending them like that.” Johnny growled slamming the drawer and yanking another open.

“Shouldn’t have to defend ‘em. You know there good men. They stand ready to fight, give their lives if they have ta. And you’re not the only one upset, Fritz just don’t know how bad it could be.”

Johnny’s eyes could have shot daggers as he looked up from rifling through the second draw then slamming it.

“And what did you tell him? All we need is folks all spread out. Thought he was with her and Patches was following, so where are Scarlet and Patches?!” Johnny growled.

“Fritz thought the girls were headed back here. I ain’t told him anything; don’t think it’s rightly fair neither.”

“Fair?” Johnny growled.

“You know what could happen if he rides out of here half cocked..and he’s just the type that would. Damn hot head. What is her attraction to damn hot heads any how?” he grumbled.

“Just like her father.” Rose’s voice came from the door way. “Look at yourself Johnny. You might as well be foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog. Snapping at Bo like that, shame on ya’.”

She walked in carrying a cup of coffee and set it on his desk. At first Johnny glared then his look softened slightly.

“Bo’s been doing the best he can securing this place and gathering people, avoiding there questions.” She looked at Bo and half smiled. “Cept Ella’s” she mouthed so only Bo could see.

“Ella’s been at the wire a good part of the day doing what Patches asked and something that the Marshal sat in motion.”

Johnny kept at the draws in the desk, soon out of frustration he yanked one open and dumped the contents on the desk top and began going through it.

“Where’s Patches. I suppose she happened to ride out here too without being seen.” Johnny said.

“Couple of the boys said she rode out to the C bar C looking for Scarlet then rode off.”

Johnny shot a nasty look at him.

“She’s allowed to come and go just like the rest of us Johnny, nobody knew there should be any reason to be following or watching them.” Bo said crossing his arms over his chest.

“Johnny, why are we getting so upset, when all the wire from Patches said “Scarlet and Fritz gone, I'm going after her. Message Marshal at Fort gather everyone. Inquire anyone within the last 5 years named "Cutter". What aren’t you telling anyone but Bo?” Rose asked.

She had been worried when he and Jimmy had ridden out earlier and Ella asked about Cutter. But then Bo came back with Fritz and Jimmy. Bo’s actions only confirmed her worries that something was terribly wrong when he started ordering men around.

“You know I get crazy at the mention of his name..there should be no reason to mention it now. He’s supposed to be dead. But I sent Bo to check a few things out on a hunch; unfortunately he didn’t find what I hoped he would. That tell’s me Scarlet, for some reason, thinks Cutter is out there and she’s gone after him.”

Not finding what he wanted in the desk Johnny went to the book shelf and began going through the books. Stopping on occasion and shaking ones to see if anything fell out.

Rose pursed her lips together, knowing Johnny wasn’t going to tell her anymore.

“Bo’s right Johnny, ain’t fair you keep us on a need to know basis. She’s my daughter too ya know, and Patches is like my daughter.

Fritz loves Scarlet.” Rose was stating to become angry because people were keeping secrets from one another. “It’s only fair you tell him what’s going on.”

“What am I supposed to do Rose? Tell the man she maybe gone, but I don’t know for sure. She’s chasing a dead man, but I’m not sure.” He threw the book across the room in frustration. “And I can’t find what I need to even start looking where she might have gone!”

“What ya looking for” Rose asked sadly.

“Maps, there were a second set of maps we had.” Johnny suddenly saw the look on his wife’s face.

“I’m sorry Rose” He said crossing the room gathering her in his arms as the tears began to well up in her eyes and spill down her cheeks.

“That storm has rolled in. Any chance I had of tracking her has been washed away.

I had a second set of maps that traced his movements, notes on his behavior. I could probably do some educated guessing if I was to look at them. But I don’t know where they’ve gotten off to.” Johnny said softly.

“Look for you’re maps. Maybe something helpful will come in on the wire. Maybe Scarlet and Patches are hold up somewhere out of the storm and they will be back in the morning.” Rose said drying her eyes.

She half smiled and headed back to the kitchen where she continued to cook to release her nervous energy. Least there was enough folks around the house this evening to eat everything she’d been cooking once she had helped Ella finish from the bird incident this morning.

````````````````````

Back at the Ace men were starting to come in out of the cold. The place was really starting to get busy. Hank scratched his head thinking to himself he hadn’t see Rebecca all day long, which was strange since Marshal Ross was supposed to be out of town.

On a cold night like this Rebecca liked to wear her long green velvet gown with the black fur trim. Was the perfect night to tell her if she undressed him he would have horns and a tail. Hank chuckled to himself. Rebecca was a smart lady but he had told her that men that belonged to the union army grew horns and tails. She had even written Scarlet and asked if it was true Course it was all a ploy on Hanks part to get her into bed.

Scarlet had written back a letter telling Becca it only happened when the moon was full and it was damp outside or something to that effect. Hank enjoyed teasing Rebecca that way. He was just waiting for her to ask Fritz if he had horns under that slouch he wore.

Hank shook his head chuckling to himself at the entire idea as he walked upstairs and knocked on her door.

Timber who had been following pushed his way through and went to his pillow. Hank opened the door a little wider and called her name.

When she didn’t answer he peeked in. He couldn’t help but notice the note with his name on it. That was very strange he thought going in and opening it.

Hank read the note then folded it and put it in his pocket. It was very strange she would ride off with out telling him fifty times how to take care of her puppy and as of late telling him to make SURE she told Marshal Ross she was thinking about him. Hank rolled his eyes. He had drawn the line when she said “give him a big sloppy kiss for me.”

But he would smirk at the marshal and whisper “Becca says I’m thinkin’ about you hun.” In his best imitation of her and only if no one else was in ear shot. Scarlet had once heard and made some comment about don’t forget the kiss and nearly fell offa the bar stool giggling.

He’d come to love those two women and their antics. He’d been privileged to see the side of them most folks didn’t he thought.

Going to see Black Wolf..that he was used to…but Sonny. Rebecca NEVER went to see Sonny.

Hank decided he’d ride out first thing in the morning to find out what was so important Rebecca would ride out to see retired deputy Daily. Not that they weren’t friends or anything, hell she’d thrown him a retirement party that came close to one of the New Years parties, she just didn’t ride out there.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Elegant Ella

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2004, 02:11:31 PM »
Bill looked up from tightening the last bolt that held the massive carbon-arc searchlight down to its mounting plate on the roof of his adobe cabin. With the installation of the electric dynamo and the weir dam on the creek the week before, he now could power the two lights that had arrived from England some time ago. When he was attending the university in Edinburgh, he had seen lamps like this in London and the beam of ferociously bright white light they projected was astounding. It was visible for miles at night and could be used for signalling or illumination at great distances. He had attended to install a pair like this at the ranch in Arizona but…

He frowned and scanned the horizon again hoping to see a pair of horses approaching but there was nothing. Ella had said that Patches was going to find Scarlet who had gone after someone named “Cutter.” He trusted Patches implicitly and if she thought that there was any real danger she could not handle she would call for help. As it was she was just asking for information. He still did not like the situation and frowned again looking at the clouds gathering on the horizon. Bill was a planner and always believed in trying to carry enough gear to account for any situation that might arise. He and Patches had been together long enough that some of this had rubbed off on her so he was concerned that she had not come back to the ranch for any provisions. Well, he thought, she must therefore be fairly sure that she would not be gone for too long.

He opened the trapdoor in the roof and climbed down the ladder in the corner of the kitchen. The house was very quiet. Often by this time of the day Patches would have dropped by and they might be working together on some project or occasionally making supper together if it was Ella’s Sabbath and she was not cooking. “Speaking of supper,” he said out loud and looked toward the main house. It should be just about time. Bill put the cloth tool roll down on the kitchen table for the moment and after lighting a lamp near the door and pulling on his coat, started the walk to the main house to see if he could help with the preparations.



Rose smiled warmly as she watched Fritz looking over the big gun that ‘decorated’ her yard.

She wasn't sure what to say to him, she had been so happy to hear Scarlet had found someone that made her happy. At first Rose had not believed it; she thought Scarlet had made someone up to keep her from worrying. Then Rose got to meet Fritz, and the way he and Scarlet looked at each other. Rose felt a great deal of joy when she watched them together.

She liked Fritz right away, and she liked the fact she could tease him on occasion and make him blush. But today, like her she could see he was worried.

Rose poured a cup of coffee and stepped outside.

"You're going to catch cold out here if you're not careful." She said offering him the cup.

Fritz looked up. He'd been trying to occupy his mind with inspecting the guns that sat in on the lawn of the Star.

"Those things still work. Johnny's kept them repaired and fires them on occasion to make sure they do. Probably work better now then when they rolled out of the factory." Rose ran her hand across the barrel.

"I have no doubt," Fritz replied, accepting the cup. He'd seen the craters in the ground 400 yards out. He was sure that Johnny had every inch of ground dialed in.

"I feel like a useless part here." Fritz patted the barrel. "The men all know their jobs. Johnny's been occupied with other tasks. Bo and Jimmy haven't spoken to me since we pulled in." Firtz looked down the sights. "This is something I know. Something I'm comfortable with."

Rose put her hand on his shoulder. Her son's shoulder.

"But..." Fritz sighed, and she felt it through the fabric of his greatcoat. "I know she's a big girl. I know she can take care of herself. She's done it long before I came along." His words came rapid fire. "It's just that she's told me about demons from her past, coming to get her, and now she's out there alone..."

Rose smiled understandingly.

"Fritz, you're as much a member of this family as anyone of them. They just been around here longer, know what to expect, and what’s expected of them.

Bo and Jimmy, they probably don't know what to say to ya. Sometimes it's hard wondering if you're saying to much or not enough, if it's even your place to say things.

Johnny, well that's just the way he can be. He'll calm down." She looked back towards the house. "He better, Bo can only take so much, chewing on." She half smiled.

"I'm glad she's told you about those demons. The difference between then and now is she never had a man she loved the way she loves you to come back to."

Rose's hand slipped from his shoulder. "I believe she'll come home to you son.

If you want her fathers attention you might have to stand up and be heard so to speak. Johnny respects a man who'll stand his ground. Maybe he's never said it to you, but he respects you."

"You're right, of course," Fritz said. "There's a time for fighting, and a time for waiting. When he wants to talk to me, I'll be here."

Rose pulled the shawl closer 'round her shoulders and turned to go.

Fritz put his hand out. "Rose...who are those 'demons'?"

Rose stopped and turned back around a puzzled look on her face.

"I thought you said she told you about them. A name is that what you want to know?"

"She never told me," Fritz said. "All she'd say is that some day, her demons would catch up to her, and she'd have to go and fight them."

Fritz sighed. "She also said not to be surprised if I woke up alone one day."

Rose could feel her heart twist and Fritz could see the sadness in her eyes.

"Did she tell you..." Rose didn't know how to say in or how to ask, this really was not her place, it was Scarlet’s, but Scarlet wasn't here and she wasn't going to shut Fritz out. She looked down then looked back into his eyes. "Did she tell you she couldn't have children?"

"Not in so many words," Fritz replied. "She made it sound like it wasn't in the cards...as if she couldn't be a mother, because of the life she'd chosen."

Rose rolled her eyes. “More like her father than I ever knew.” She said under her breath.

She slid her hand over Fritz’s arm. “Walk with me.” She said heading towards the barn.

“I don’t know about all the demons Fritz, but I know plenty about this one. Thing that puzzles me, is that he is supposed to be dead, Scarlet always said he was smart. She also said she wouldn’t believe he was dead until his heart was cut out and the ashes spread to the four winds.” She shook her head in disbelief. “Yeah, more and more like Johnny.” She snorted.

“His name is Kevin Rowen, or Cutter. Depends on what part of the country you’ve been standing in if you’ve heard of him or not.“

Rose stopped in front of her stallions stall. The big grey raised his head and approached them stretching his nose out to take the sugar cube Rose offered. She smiled and stroked his forehead.

“You ever hear of the Rowen brothers or a man called Cutter? I know the army chased him along the border states.”

Fritz put his hand out, palm up. The grey sniffed at it, and obligingly lowered his head. "This one likes his ears scratched too," he thought.

"Cutter. The name rings a bell. We didn't do much about him at Riley, but the troopers patrolling the border were fully briefed by the Rangers."

He looked at Rose, and saw the concern in her eyes. "I was briefed too, before my 'unofficial' scouting mission." As Fritz recalled, this Cutter was found of rape, torture and murder. "I promised those boys I'd save a rifle round for Cutter if I came across him."

Fritz took a deep breath. "Rose, what did he do to her?"

Rose twisted her lips. "Some of the stories I heard about that man Fritz...." She shook her head sadly then took her a deep breath of her own. Rose didn’t want to tell him what she’d heard he’d done to that deputy that worked for Scott. She knew it would only cause him more worry.

Fritz took a deep breath. "Rose, what did he do to her?"

“He took her husband, her unborn son, and until you she believed he took the ability for her to love someone else." Rose said softly as she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "She tried to love Scott, I guess looking back they just weren't compatible, she thought it was just her. I probably didn't help the situation either. Then Scott started talking about marriage and a family. Scarlet can’t have children because of the life she’s chosen, she can’t have children because of what happened when her path crossed Rowens."

A soft nicker was heard down the breezeway. Rose smiled softly as she looked at the dark sparkling eyes of the bay gelding who hoped he would get some attention. She started to walk towards Dancer stopping along the way to pet some of the other horses.

He'd spent many hours talking to his love, and she'd never mentioned Cutter. They'd spent nights in a loving embrace, saying nothing but sharing everything...yet he didn't know this.

Suddnely Fritz felt very foolish.

"I'm sorry," he whispered. "I didn't know."

"I'm sure she would've told you, in time," Rose replied. "It may be that she just wanted to keep you safe...to keep from losing you too."

"She won't," Fritz said. "I swear it."

The bay nickered again, wanting his attention as well.

“I suspect that maybe one of the reasons she’s not talked to you about setting a wedding date. Every time I ask her about it she just replies you two have yet to discuss it. Much like everyone around her Fritz, she leaves the door open for you to walk away.”

Rose stopped in front of Dancer’s stall. The bay gelding bobbed his head up and down waiting for treats and attention.

“Scarlet tells people she had a riding accident. That’s why she can’t have children. Cutter’s brother shot her horse from under her and he fell on top her. I think the only thing that saved her was the sandy ground. The doc told us she was lucky to have lived.”

“Dancer was Travis’s horse. I often wonder what he would say if he could really talk.” She held the sugar out to him, and ran her fingers through the long black forelock that laid neatly between the horse’s eyes. Dancer lowered his head and closed his eyes as he ate the sugar obviously enjoying her attention.

“This horse has a lot of miles on him, good and bad. He’s a hell of a ride. I’m glad Scarlet’s riding him again, and Patches too.” She stroked the horses neck and thought she’d have to ask Patches what she thought of the horse, she seemed to enjoy his company.

Dancer lifted his head and looked at Fritz. He was used to seeing the man come and go with Scarlet and his stable mate. The gelding’s nostrils quivered as he put his nose on Fritz's arm.

For a moment Fritz and Rose looked out of the barn at the horizon. There was a storm brewing.

And it was coming their way.



Ella sighed as she stood up and stretched. Her watch said she had been at the key for the last eight hours. Now that the key was quiet, and might stay that way until morning, she felt every minute of time in her hands and back.

She had stopped at her room to buckle on her holster and add a box of ammunition to her pockets after delivering the messages to Bo. Rose didn't comment on the pistol while they finished cleaning the kitchen and made a new batch of bread, but had given a little nod of her head as though she approved. They finished the kneading before the key called her out to the telegraph office at a run.

That was a report from the prison, addressed to ECW and signed by Tensleep. After transcribing it all neatly, she started asking questions. When she reached the limits of the information the prison could provide, she turned to the Fort Worth newspaper. They sent her accounts of the buria l, and promised to mail accounts from the trial and photos from the funeral right away.

During one of the pauses between sending questions and getting answers, she noticed that someone, probably Rose, had brought her a lunch tray with a pot of tea. She managed to eat half of it, and drink a cup of tea, before the wire called her back to work.

Ella gathered the papers into a neat pile and carried them to the kitchen. After dinner would be soon enough to discuss what the words written there all meant. Some of the meaning was going to come from Rose, Bo and Jimmy.
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Offline Tensleep

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2004, 08:57:55 AM »
Tensleep watched Johnny drop Velvet Ears' lead and ride hard into the yard. Buck followed close and stopped when 'Sleep reined the borrowed army mount to a halt in front of the barn. One of the many hands in the barnyard caught Velvet Ears. The marshal dismounted and led his horses into the long hallway tying them each to the rail. He stripped his saddle from the bay and hung it from the rope that had the tag with his name on it. He grinned as he looked at the tag. Scarlet had cut the leather in the shape of his Marshal's badge and Rebecca had carefully carved "10zzz" on the leather.

He hung his bridle on the saddle horn and walked back to the horses.
Slowly he brushed both horses after cooling them down. His mind was on the things he had been told and on how to proceed. Finishing the wipe down Tensleep put both horses in stalls and fed them.

Walking to the cabin that served as both his quarters and office the marshal looked closely at the number of men walking around heavily armed. Bo and Jimmy seemed to have brought in all the hands from all the outposts on the Southern Star. The place was battened down as tight as 'Sleep had ever seen in his life. There were army posts that couldn't begin to compare with the number of men or the measures taken here.

Inside the cabin Tensleep threw his saddlebags on the bunk and saw that there was already a fire in the stove. He filled his coffee pot and set it to boil. In minutes all of the paper that could be found in the file cabinet was spread on his desk. Anything that didn't say 'Cutter" or 'Rowen" was piled to be put away later.

"Damn Scott Hart! Why didn't he write better reports?" Tensleep's report writing wasn't very good so he had started making notes and Patches and Ella would read them, then question him and write the reports filling in the details. To him that was the best way to overcome one of his self known shortcomings. It worked well and the marshal also got different perspectives from his deputies.

After having read everything he could lay his hands on Tensleep knew that there were more holes to be filled. He stood and filling his coffee cup stepped onto the porch in front of his cabin. He looked at the sky and saw the gathering clouds. Then he saw Bo walking from the ranch house.

"Hey Bo! Got some time to talk?"
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Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2004, 08:32:11 PM »
Combined effort of Tensleep and Scarlet

Bo stepped out of the house. He knew what it was Johnny was looking for, just had no clue where to tell him to look. Scarlet was Johnny’s daughter and had been one of his best students when it came to fighting skills and apparently squirreling things away as not to be found unless she wanted them to. The only things he’d been able to say when asked where the maps were was “Where would you put them.” That had only irritated Johnny more. He knew there was a false panel in Lucky’s stall, hell there was one in Dancer’s too. But anything to be well hidden would have been in Lucky’s because nobody went into Lucky’s stall. Bo had found the hiding spot and only turned up a pistol, ammo and a knife. He had searched the C-C and come up with nothing earlier.

He was going over other hiding spots in his mind, wondering if there was anything in the tunnels that led to the house and thinking about asking Fritz if he noticed or knew where there might be any maps Scarlet kept. He’d sent Jimmy to look through the rest of the barns. Jimmy knew of a few spots Scarlet might put things, but so far he’d not found anything but a couple of bottles and a note saying “nothing here Jimmy” with a smiley face drawn on it. Damn that woman.

Bo’s head jerked up when he heard the Marshal’s voice.

“That depends on if you have any more coffee and what you want to talk about.” Bo said stepping onto the porch.

Tensleep could see the frustration in the mans eyes.

"I have coffee aplenty, an' I wanna talk about this 'Cutter' that I keep hearing so much about." 'Sleep poured Bo a cup of strong coffee and pointed to the paper scattered over the desk. "I have gone over everything Hart wrote about the Rowens an' it ain't much. If we are gonna find Scarlet an' catch the Rowens then I need more information. I figger you know as much as anybody but Scarlet, you wanna tell me what ya know?"

Tensleep settled back in his chair waiting.

Bo stood looking down at the paperwork strewn across the desk.

“I know, like you he’s supposed to be dead.” Bo’s finger landed on the paper from Fort Worth informing the Marshal Kevin Rowen and Joshua Rowen had been laid to rest.

“What I don’t know is who set Scarlet off and put Patches on her trail. There’s a missing piece there. You think you could find out what that telegram said and most importantly who it was from?” Bo looked at Tensleep then looked at the papers on the desk again.

Bo spotted the report regarding the deputy Scarlet had called Tom. “Died in the line of duty.” Bo snorted.

“Ya know what I heard Cutter did to this boy.” He said letting the paper flutter onto the desk.

Tensleep shook his head no looking into Bo's eyes.

“Scarlet told me that Cutter skinned him alive. She said Pete told her took him days. Said they cut his eyelids off too.” Bo sipped his coffee and sat across from ‘Sleep.

“Kevin Rowen is a smart man, sick bastard, but smart. The maps Johnny’s tearing the place apart trying to find marked his trails, his hideouts, things like that. The family had a ranch in San Diego at one time.

"His brother Josh, he’s a strange one. I don’t know that he has the blood lust Cutter does but it seems he likes his brother’s praise.

Kevin will do his best to try and figure out how he can get to Scarlet or those that love her, and take advantage of what he knows anyway he can. Mental games Marshal, they are a challenge to him and he enjoys a good challenge before he slaughters his prey.

Men, women, children, babies he don’t care. Rape, torture, sell the women, all depends on the mood of the day. The ones that scream and fight back excite him; like cat and mouse I suppose.

He’s good when he can think about the situation, frustrate him, anger him, he starts to make mistakes. Scarlet is good at that.

There’s a list miles long with names of folks he’s killed. Out of that list there are four people I can think of that have ever escaped him. I think he’s come to collect; Scarlet is one of em. He caught her once ‘Sleep. She wouldn’t tell him anything then and I doubt she’d tell him anything now, especially about you folks.”

Bo leaned back and looked across the desk at Marshal Ross.

Tensleep was taking it all in, listening like he had never listened before. When Bo finished talking the marshal was making a note on a sheet of paper that he had started hours before. Slowly he lifted his head and looked at Bo.

"You said there were four people that had escaped him. Who are the other three?"

"Your deputy Pete, they left him for dead. That's how we knew what happened to Tom. His mother, calls herself Trixie something; you know Scarlet told me his mother prays for his death."

Bo looked down at his cup then back up at Tensleep. "Rebecca is the other one Marshal, Cutter's brother got some kinda of a thang for 'er. If she stays close to Hank she'll be ok.

Cutter went into the Ace once, don't think he'll go back into Hank's playing field again. He'd be the type to wait until someone left there."

Tensleep went cold at the mention od Rebecca's name, he stood suddenly. "You got anyone that can ride to El Paso and to Sonny's? Sonny's name is all over these reports, I wanna meet him. I wanna know right now where 'Becca, Hank an' Sonny are an' if they know what's goin' on. I need to talk to Johnny. We gotta have a plan an' be ready to move. Bo yer gonna hafta stay here an' take care o' Rose an' tha Star. I don't want nuthin' happenin' to these folks. You know that Johnny an' Fritz ain't gonna stay behind. If Sonny will go I want him to be with us. Can ya find two riders?"

Bo eyed 'Sleep knowing when he'd heard Becca's name he'd be upset even more than he was before.

"Sonny rode with Scott for alot of years. He was Scarlet's partner from the day she started til the day he retired; he's chased after Cutter for alot of years too." Bo tapped one of the more completed reports. "He knows all about Cutter Marshal. He's also got a wife and couple of kids. You best be prepared to do some fancy talkin'. You ever even met the man?" Bo asked.

"Never have, but all I ever heard was good. I'll talk to him. I'll have Ella wire Pete, I want him to know the Rowens are alive an' loose. Ya got men that will ride now? I need to talk to you an' Johnny an' Fritz now. If Sonny comes he can tell us lots of things that will help even if he won't ride with us. Tell yer man to see if Hank will come out here to the Star." Tensleep lit his pipe as he looked at Bo.

"Sonny's one of the best in my book. Good deputy from what I know, and a good man fer sure. I can have someone ride out to Sonny's. I'll have 'em tell Sonny what you want and offer for his family to stay here.

Ain't nobody gettin in here unless they are invited, especially with that light Doc Bill has blinking around out there.

You want Hank out here regardless or shall we leave him at the Ace he refuses? And Rebecca, I don't think it would be wise to drag Hank out here and leave her behind, unless someone stayed with her, safer here anyhow." Bo said as he thought of who he was going to send.

"I want Rebecca here, it's the safest place for her. If Hank knows that Scarlet is out lookin' for the Rowens he will come here with 'Becca. He thinks as much of Scarlet as he does of 'Becca.

Bo I don't know if you know it or not but Hank is one of the most efficent killers ever known. He's reformed, but I jist know that he can be one hell o' ah lotta help to us. We need him on our side, we need his help, we need to use things that only he knows. If there is a match for Cutter it's Hank."

Bo raised an eyebrow and looked at the Marshal; Bo knew things about Hank but he was curious just what Tensleep knew. "What makes ya say that?"

"Let's jist say I been to N'orleans, an' I talked to tha lawmen there over coffee. Anytime lawmen git together they talk cases. The 'Iceman' is famous," 'Sleep grinned. "Maybe I should say Infamous in N'orleans. Seems tha he never killed ennybody that didn't need it an' he kinda thinned tha ranks of tha 'bad guys' down there."

Tensleep looked at Bo. "When I got to El Paso I had descriptions of lots of wanted men in my head. I know about lots of things that happened in all kinds o' places. I even know that Bo Corbin had another name for a while."

Bo chuckled softly.

"In my territory if a man ain't caused no problems an' walks the straight and narrow he has no problems with me. You have nuthin' to worry 'bout Bo." Tensleep grinned again. "I might have had another name once myself."

"Then ya probably know the 'Iceman' was killed by a bunch o' boys that didn't like yanks much; or so the story goes.

Hank on the other hand is a little slower on the left draw than he used ta be but I ain't gonna go against him. If Hank doesn't want to go I know someone more efficient than him, ain't me if that's what you're thinking but Hank's more even tempered.

Didn't think the law wanted that other fella you're thinking of Marshal cuz Scott would have arrested him fer sure." Bo grinned as he stood. "I'll get those two riders on their way and find Fritz if you're wanting to talk to him. I don't know if I'm ready to go back in there and tell Johnny we haven't found anything Scarlet might have hidden cept this." He held up the note with the smiley face drawn on it.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #30 on: Today at 04:50:49 PM »

Offline Tensleep

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2004, 08:39:03 PM »
The marshal watched Bo walk out. His mind was on Rebecca and Scarlet and what might be happening as he stood here not yet knowing which way to go. Patches crossed his mind next. That girl had a way of winding up in the middle of any mess that was going on.

Ross shook his head. All three of the women were capable and could handle themselves in a scrape. It was just the fact that he had grown close to all these people, they were all the family he had. Rose treated him like a son. He and Johnny could talk about almost anything. Johnny gave damned good advice... except where it came to women. The marshal snorted when he thought of how Rose and Scarlet could twist him around their fingers. Even Rebecca and Patches could make Johnny squirm. Ella didn't even try to shake Johnny. If she stated a need Johnny jumped.

It was true, Johnny was the boss at the Star. He managed the cows and men, Rose managed the horses. It was just the fact that the women managed Johnny that made 'Sleep snort. When it came to women Johnny didn't have a clue.

Johnny was usually low key and easy going. With the news that Scarlet was out of pocket, Johnny was a raving lunatic. He wanted action, but he was like Tensleep, no place to start.

'Sleep gathered his notes and then checked the fire. With the fire banked the marshal left his office heading to the house for his meeting with Johnny, Fritz and Bo.
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Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2004, 08:55:04 PM »
orginally posted by 1st Sgt Fritz King

The waiting was the hardest part...it always had been. Fritz idly wondered how much time he'd spent in uniform, 'just waiting.' He'd checked his gear already. Everything he'd ever needed was on his person, in his saddlebags, or hooked to his McClellan. All the extra kit had ended up dumped on the trail, or put into storage, never to be seen again.

Fritz leaned against the hitching rail, and patted Strider's head. Old words from an old sergeant came back to him: "Don't wait for it to happen, don't even wish for it to happen." Fritz spoke the ending aloud: "Just be ready when it DOES happen."

He pulled a cigar from his vest pocket, and struck a lucifer with his thumb. Fritz drew in the aroma of good tobacco, but didn't savor it as much as he should have.

Scarlet was in danger.

And he didn't know where she was.

One of Johnny's hands apporached him. Fritz hunted his memory for the name.

"Zeke...right?"

"Yeah. Johnny wants to talk to you in the house."
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Elegant Ella

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2005, 01:58:20 PM »
Combined effort of Fritz, Tensleep & Scarlet

Johnny was standing on a ladder looking through some of the books on the top shelf of the book case and running his fingers along the top of the case. He looked down at Fritz as he came in.

“Fritz, I’m looking for some maps, with markings on them, and some papers on Kevin Rowen. Do you have any idea where Scarlet would keep something like that?” He said calmly as he climbed down from the ladder. He’d had a lot of time to think as he tore the place apart and knew he’d not find anything in the office.

He wanted to scream “Why didn’t you keep a better eye on her.” But he knew it wouldn’t be fair. She had been on the ranch and not one of his so called trained men had spotted her.

There was tension in the room. Fritz felt it as soon as he walked in the study. He wasn't surprised. Scarlet was his daughter, after all.

"I'm sorry sir," Fritz began. "Scarlet never mentioned Rowen to me. And if she had, I wouldn't have made the connection to Cutter."

Fritz was uncomfortable, but did his best to bear with it. "Scarlet and I talked about lots of things...but never this. She said that one day, her demons would come back to haunt her. And," Fritz took a deep breath before continuing, "to not be surprised if I woke up alone one day."

"Hmmm..." Johnny said, thumbing through the same book a second time.

Johnny was about to say something else when he heard Bo clear his throat.

“Are you bringing me something useful Bo?”

Bo handed Johnny the drawing. “Nope, but the Marshal would like a word with the three of us.”

Johnny looked at Bo unimpressed by what he’d been handed then looked at Tensleep.

“Then shut the door and talk to us Marshal.” Johnny took a seat behind the desk and motioned for the rest of the men to take a seat.

"I want to find out what is goin' on..... I hear this from you Johnny, I hear that from Bo... I want to talk to Sonny and Hank. I have Scott's reports and they don't tell me much." Tensleep paused.

"We all need to know the whole story so we can form a plan. Johnny, why don't you start?"

Johnny ran his fingers through his hair and exchanged knowing looks with Bo.

“Where would you like me to start Marshal? Here’s what I will tell you both.

Fritz she rode out after her demons, most likely afraid if she didn’t kill them, they’d come and take you too.

When she rode out after him the first time I was told I was left behind because she didn’t think she could look me in the eyes after she killed a man in cold blood.

Marshal she didn’t invite you along because she intends to kill him.”

Johnny eyed them both waiting for any comments.

"I don't have a problem with Scarlet killing her demon. I have a problem when she won't ask us to help. I know enough about the Rowens to know that they don't deserve to live and a judge made a mistake by not hanging them on the spot."

'Sleep walked, packing his pipe.

"Bo told me about the same thing. He said you were looking for maps. Have you looked in the obvious place? Her room?"

Johnny shoved the smiley face at him. "Jimmy's been in there. Brothers seem to know where to look for hidden things, although I've seen this before."

What did it mean when you saw it before? How were the maps packed and where did you see them last?" Tensleep grinned when he saw the note.

“What did it mean?” Johnny had to laugh. “Means Jimmy used to take stuff. He was not a very nice kid when he came here. He self appointed himself to irritate her. So she took to hiding things. After awhile it became a joke. You’ll probably find notes like this all over her room if you look hard enough. His pockets are probably full of em by now.” Johnny eyed Bo again.

Bo looked down and pulled more notes out of his pocket and handed them over.

“Oh this is cute, isn’t my baby talented.” Johnny said sarcastically as he held up the paper with the smiley face’s tongue sticking out. Better luck next time written across it.

“The maps were in a leather folder, last time I saw them they were tucked in that book.” He pointed to the book that lay on his desk. “It’s a blood line book of the horses. Before that it was tucked in this book.” Johnny held up the book that had notes on loads for the different guns Scarlet used. “That was in her room.” Johnny said flatly. "I am out of places to look gentlemen. Unless somebody else has a good idea?”

"Scarlet have a secret place as a child? Somewhere she went to be alone? Every child has one, think it might be there?" Tensleep was grasping at straws.

“The horse barns was where she went to be alone. You seen grown men digging under my water troughs? She hides stuff everyplace. Rose ran them out of the garden earlier..I think that’s Rose’s hiding spot anyhow.” Johnny sighed.

“I looked in the bird house roof.” Bo said quietly.

Fritz thought hard...would she put them there?

"Gents," Fritz began, clearing his throat. "Back at the Ace, she has a bookshelf. There's an old book on Camelot."

He got questioning looks form the men around him.

"You know...the Arthur legend...knights in armor?"

“Fritz if she would have had the maps at the Ace why did she take the ones from the C bar C? I mean it’s a good idea, but if it were me, I would have taken the one’s from the Ace and not taken the time to ride out to the ranch. Whatcha think?”

Johnny stood and went to the fire place, carefully he put his hand up inside and felt around, coming out with nothing but sooty fingers. “She used ta put stuff up there but I guess she decided it got to hot.” He said.

“That’s a summer hiding spot Johnny, didn’t ya’ know that?” Bo snorted as he watched.

Johnny sat in his chair. “We wouldn’t be so lucky Hart would have noted the places they went would we?”

Tensleep sadly shook his head no.

Fritz was at a severe disadvantage. These people knew Scarlet better than he did, and this was her home ground.

Ground...?

"Damn!" Fritz exclaimed. "I was right on top of them. Johnny, when was the last time you fired that parrot rifle out front?"

"I dunno...six months ago maybe? Why?"

Fritz headed for the door.

The three others exchanged curious looks and followed him. Johnny the most curious of what he was thinking.

Fritz reached the gun first, with all the others in tow. He pulled off the muzzle cover, and removed a wooden plug from the bore. Once done, he peered inside.

Johnny asked, "What the hell do ya think you're doing?"

The bore was dark, but not from rust or carbon. Fritz ran a finger around the muzzle crown. "Grease," he said, smiling.

"Ya..so?" Bo replied.

"You said yourself that Scarlet liked to play games, right? So it stands to reason she'd make it harder for you." Fritz stripped off his blouse, and rolled his sleeve up as far as he could. He reached into barrel of the Parrot rifle, feeling around on the inside. "Ella's gonna hate me for this," he thought.

"Aha!" Fritz exclaimed. "Got it!" He pulled his arm out, and opened his hand. Sitting in his palm was a brass skeleton key.

"What's this Johnny?" Fritz asked.

"That," Johnny said, "is the mystery."

Bo was looking at the key trying to figure out what it might go to. Only one box he could remember that would take a key that size and shape but he’d not seen it in years.

Suddenly it dawned on Johnny. “What the hell is she doing shoving things in the barrel of my guns?” He blurted out.

“She always knows when yer gonna fire ‘em because you talk about three days ahead of time.” Bo said under his breath only to receive a glare from Johnny.

“Yeah I’m afraid to know what else she might have put down the barrels, now I’m gonna have to check them over real good.” Johnny snorted.

Tensleep had watched as the frustration grew in Johnny and Fritz. Bo was uncomfortable because Johnny was frustrated.

Finally the marshal spoke. "Johnny since we can't find the maps do you think that between you, Bo, Jimmy and Sonny you could recreate the maps fairly closely?"

Johnny looked at Tensleep for a moment. “Yeah, we might come close. I have the maps she started with, Sonny might be able to fill in the places the rest of us can’t. Jimmy can tell us a lot; thing is if we find those maps Scarlet has we might find the notes she had on him. Seemed she had figured out just where to find him, if the notes are with the maps.

I found the information I had on Cutter in the beginning, if we go over that we might find a place to start too.

When Ella gets all the information she sent for that will tell us how long he’s been out, maybe could figure where he’s at.” Johnny was talking to whoever was listening.

“We can work on the maps, I asked Jimmy to fetch Sonny, so that part will have to hold til they get back.” Bo stated.

Johnny nodded his head in approval as he watched Fritz reaching into the barrel of the second big gun. At least he’d know the barrels were clear now.

Nobody figured they’d be lucky enough to find anything in the other gun, but since Fritz was already dirty it didn’t hurt to check and they all would have felt foolish if something had been there.

As the men walked in Rose met them in the foyer. “You men need to eat something.”

Johnny opened his mouth to object.

Rose raised her hand. “Look I know how you men are, you’re not going anywhere in the dark and the rain. I expect the moment you get some lead you’ll be high tailing it out of here. First food, then you all can go do what ever it is you were headed for.”

Rose raised an eyebrow at Fritz “Cept you, you get to clean up before you rejoin them, unless they are going to make you go someplace else filthy.” The way she looked at the men and the tone in her voice told them there was no denying her request.



Johnny sat next to Ella. He was tired and he knew Ella had had a long day but like most women he knew you had to look close to be sure.

“Rose told me about this morning, the bird ‘n all. I want to thank you for doing what you did. Want to thank you for everything you do ‘round here Ella. I’m glad Rose has other women to talk to here.” Johnny smiled. “Have you heard anything from your inquiries?”

Ella posted:

Dinner was a far more somber meal than usual, with Patches and Scarlet both absent, and everyone else concerned about them. Ella and Rose tried to keep conversation moving lightly, but it was a strain. It was a relief when Johnny asked, “Have you heard anything from your inquiries?”

"I was waiting until after dinner to bring it up," said Ella as she got up to bring her stack of papers from the kitchen.

"Tensleep had the prison at Fort Worth send me information. They wired that the Rowan brothers were sentenced to life imprisonment, had bounced around the prison system for almost a year with trials and appeals and such, arrived at that prison on March 15, and were murdered in their beds on March 22. That was all they sent, so I started asking questions.

"The Rowans' personal effects were turned over to Kurt and Jerry Rabin, who were released on March 23, having completed their sentences for petty theft. The Rabins had been the only friends the Rowans made in prison, but the four got to be inseparable almost as soon as the Rowans arrived.

"I couldn't get any more information about the week the Rowans were in prison, because the prison guard who checked the Rowans in died of fever in the middle of March. Other guards fell ill of the same fever, so the whole crew was replaced.

"The Rowans were murdered by strangulation. The bodies were chewed up pretty bad by rats before being discovered, so the identification was based on what they were wearing and where they were sleeping.

"I tried the newspaper, and got an account of the Rowans burial, which was attended only by the Rabin brothers. The paper is sending me copies of the pictures taken of the bodies and the burial."
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Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2005, 03:13:24 PM »
Johnny sat next to Ella. He was tired and he knew Ella had had a long day but like most women he knew you had to look close to be sure.

“Rose told me about this morning, the bird ‘n all. I want to thank you for doing what you did. Want to thank you for everything you do ‘round here Ella. I’m glad Rose has other women to talk to here.” Johnny smiled. “Have you heard anything from your inquiries?”

Dinner was a far more somber meal than usual, with Patches and Scarlet both absent, and everyone else concerned about them. Ella and Rose tried to keep conversation moving lightly, but it was a strain. It was a relief when Johnny asked, “Have you heard anything from your inquiries?”

"I was waiting until after dinner to bring it up," said Ella as she got up to bring her stack of papers from the kitchen.

"Tensleep had the prison at Fort Worth send me information. They wired that the Rowan brothers were sentenced to life imprisonment, had bounced around the prison system for almost a year with trials and appeals and such, arrived at that prison on March 15, and were murdered in their beds on March 22. That was all they sent, so I started asking questions.

"The Rowans' personal effects were turned over to Kurt and Jerry Rabin, who were released on March 23, having completed their sentences for petty theft. The Rabins had been the only friends the Rowans made in prison, but the four got to be inseparable almost as soon as the Rowans arrived.

"I couldn't get any more information about the week the Rowans were in prison, because the prison guard who checked the Rowans in died of fever in the middle of March. Other guards fell ill of the same fever, so the whole crew was replaced.

"The Rowans were murdered by strangulation. The bodies were chewed up pretty bad by rats before being discovered, so the identification was based on what they were wearing and where they were sleeping.

"I tried the newspaper, and got an account of the Rowans burial, which was attended only by the Rabin brothers. The paper is sending me copies of the pictures taken of the bodies and the burial."

Fritz hadn't eaten much. Ella's cooking was excellent, as usual. But he didn't have much of an appetite. He'd pushed his food around the plate a bit, and sipped at some coffee. But his mind was on Scarlet, and would be...until she was safe.

"I'm sorry," Fritz said, placing his napkin on the table. Eyes fell on him. "But I can't just sit here. I'll be over at the lab should you need me."

Johnny watched Fritz go, he didn't envy how Fritz felt, at least Johnny was doing something to keep himself busy.

Johnny turned back to Ella. “I’m impressed.” Johnny said as he looked at the papers Ella had “You didn’t happen to find out anything about the Rabins did you?” Johnny furrowed his brow. “Like if they had any family that might be able to identify them? Cutter might think those people need to be disposed of.” He was thinking out loud again. He looked at Ella and smiled. “I’m sure you have thought of all of that.”

Johnny rose “I’ll be in the den working on those maps if anybody needs anything.”

"No, it looks like the Rabin brothers had no family left. They came from Georgia after the War, and started a small ranch east of Fort Worth. They probably met the Rowen brothers in jail awaiting trial in March last year. A neighbor had accused them of rustling his stock. Their lawyer, who happened to be the same lawyer defending the Rowans, convinced them to accept a plea bargain with a sentence of one year. The telegraph operator in Fort Worth thinks their lawyer sold them down the river, since the charges against them were created by the neighbor in order to take over their ranch."

Ella straightened up, "That's it!. The Rabin ranch is the first place Rowens would have gone."


"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2005, 08:21:49 PM »
Hank lay in his bed listening to the wind scream through the street and alleyways. He’d heard some of the patrons talking about how bad the storm was. He sat up at the sound of the thunder and the pounding of the rain. Taking a deep breath he swung his legs over the side of the bed and looked down at Timber. Timber sat up and made a low whine as he looked back.

“Is no rest for man or beast is there.” Hank said leaning over petting the dog’s head.

He reached for the letter he had placed on the nightstand. The weather was turning cold yesterday and Rebecca would have known it before she left. One thing Hank knew about Rebecca Valentine was the woman didn’t like to be out in the cold weather.

Warm bed, hot lovin’ and good whisky, not necessarily in that order, was her philosophy on how to handle a cold night. She’d told him that on more than one occasion. She also told him she’d spent enough cold nights under buffalo robes and inhaling camp fire smoke she didn’t want any more.

So why would she ride out to the Indian camp to spend a cold night under a buffalo robe when she could have stayed home, entertained a house full and then gone to a warm soft bed? The question ate at his insides until he couldn’t stand it any longer.

Gone to see Sonny..her false smile…the conversation with Patches, then Fritz, who both had ridden out of town directly after. It didn’t add up and reeked of deception.

Hank pulled on his trousers and boots then made his way to the kitchen for something to eat and cup of coffee; made his rounds checking the place then back to his room.

Lighting the lamp he looked around for some warm clothes and his gear. It was second nature to put on the shoulder rig he wore under his jacket in the saloon. He stopped just as his fingers touched the leather. Something told him he better be more prepared for this outing.

Hank reached for the rig that lay hooked over his bed post. About the only time he strapped on the gunfighters rig anymore was to practice his quick draw. He grinned, there was still some satisfaction in knowing he was as fast and more accurate than most; one never lost the instinct. Occasionally there were folks that asked him about the stories he’d heard about a gunfighter called the Iceman, but as far as he knew there were very few that really knew where to find the man, or if he still lived.

He’d never forget that night. He’d heard about knife fighters, but until that night had never stood toe to toe with one.

The group had come at him for having the wrong kind of accent and asking too many questions, his gun had misfired. He still felt the ache in his shoulder where the blade had been sunk, especially in weather like this.

He could still hear Travis Corbin’s deep southern drawl behind him. “Knifes always loaded boy.” He was sure he was dead when he saw the flash of the blade, but the spray of blood that hit his face was not his own. Then all hell had broken loose. When the dust had settled he and two of the biggest men he’d ever seen stood over a group of dead men; who he understood were fed to the hogs later.

Strange how folks paths intertwined Hank thought as he made his way to one of the girls rooms and knocked on the door.

The dark haired girl answered the door smiling as she looked Hank up and down. “Sorry Darlin’ you missed out.” She grinned as she pulled the sheet closer around her.

Hank grinned. “I need to talk to your friend, Jack, in there.”

The girl pushed the door open and stepped aside. “Awful early for you to be rousting the customers Hank.”

Hank chuckled as he stepped in. “Jack, I need ya to fill in for me while I ride out to see someone.”

Jack opened his eyes. “Yeah, ok. When ya coming back and where’s Rebecca.”

“I’m not sure, but I trust you’ll run the place as you always do when I need ya.”

“And if I don’t?” Jack chuckled.

“You don’t have ta ask that Jack. To many folks be hunting your hide you do wrong here.”

Jack grinned. He knew he was one of the very few people the owners of the Ace of Hearts trusted behind the bar when no one was looking.

Hank turned to the girl. “Will you watch Timber for me?”

“Always Hank, anything for Becca ya know that.” She ran her hand across his cheek and smiled.

“Thanks” Hank said as he shut the door behind him making sure the dog was safe inside so he wouldn’t follow.

Hank went back down stairs and out to the barn. “Come on Blaze.”

The sorrel dun looked at Hank then out into the storm and back at Hank like he was insane.

“Yeah I know, been along time since we’ve been out in something like that, we’re getting soft old man.” He said saddling the horse.

He was thinking to himself he was worrying for nothing as he mounted his horse and rode out into the pouring rain.

Blaze jumped at the lightning and the sound of thunder that followed soon after.

“Damn all I’m gonna do is get shot riding up on Sonny’s in the middle of the night like this fer nuthin’.” He said to his horse as he patted Blaze’s neck.

Over the sound of the rain he thought he could hear the sound of hoof beats. Hank turned in the saddle and saw nothing in the darkness.

“Must be jumpy too now.” He thought…but there it was again..hoof beats.

The lightning lit the sky and he saw it, a horse and rider coming up the road at a fast clip but suddenly they were gone.

Hank kicked Blaze off of the trail, waited and listened; nothing came, nothing but the sound of rain. The hair stood up on the back of his neck from the feel a presence.

He waited for what seemed like an eternity, the rain just pounded down harder. Hank rode off the trail for awhile before he finally steered Blaze back onto it.

He couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched he turned in the saddle to look, just to confirm to himself he was paranoid when the lighting lit up the prairie again and he saw the pale horse.

Hank spun Blaze about drawing his pistol. The horse and rider had vanished off of the trail again. “Am I seeing ghosts?” Hank wondered as his eyes scanned the trail.

“I’m not gunnin’ fer ya Hank, put it away.”

It was Jimmy’s voice. Hank turned Blaze to face where the voice had come from only to hear the faint sounds of hoof beats as Jimmy’s horse moved.

“What are you doing out here on a night like this following me then?” Hank turned his horse again.

Jimmy rode up onto the trail where he could be seen. “I’m going to fetch Sonny back to the Starr.”

“Why?”

“Ross wants to talk to him about Cutter, they’re sayin’ he’s still alive, and runnin’ lose. Whatcha doin’ out here?” Jimmy said eyeing something on the ground as he rode closer.

“Ah Crap! Well that explains a lot; Becca left a note saying she was going to Sonny’s then…”

The lightning flashed again, Jimmy he slid off his horse to retrieve what he’d been looking at.

“What is it?” Hank asked watching him pick it up.

Jimmy ran his fingers over the hearts and roses engraved on the stock then cracked open the shotgun and picked the shells out. He tossed the empty one up to Hank.

“Becca was here but something tells me she didn’t make it to Sonny's,” Jimmy said handing Rebecca’s shotgun up to him. He looked for signs, if there were any they’d been washed away.

“Somebody better get word to Scarlet, I can ride on to..” Hank was saying.

“Forget it, Scarlets gone too.” Jimmy interrupted as he mounted his horse.

“Then we better be making tracks.” Hank said. Kicking his horse, the two raced towards the home of retired US Deputy Marshal Sonny Daily.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2005, 02:59:14 PM »
Cutter paced the floor. He could feel her, she was thinking about him. He poured the whiskey into the coffee cup then took a long swallow.

“What was she thinking?” He stared into the fire. She was close, it wouldn’t surprise him if she was looking down on the cabin as he thought of her. “Where are you?” He mumbled.

Phil rolled over and looked at him. “None of us is getting any rest with you pacing like that. She’s probably curled up next to her lover. We all ought to be curled up next to something warm.”

Cutter turned and threw his cup at Phil in anger causing Phil to jump to his feet as the cup and hot liquid bounced where his head lay seconds before.

“I want to know where she is!” Cutter growled.

“Why don’t you ask Rebecca?” Phil said walking to the table rubbing his eyes as he sat down.

Cutter slowly grinned then turned, went to the bedroom door and banged on it.

“What?” Josh replied.

“I want to talk to the Mrs.”

“Can’t it wait til morning?”

“NO!”

Rebecca felt instant fear. “Don’t let him hurt me Josh.” She whispered.

Josh looked down at her. “Just be a good girl and tell him what he wants to know.”

Rebecca felt already defeated as Josh led her to the door and opened it.
“What do you want?” Josh asked standing between Rebecca and his brother.

Cutter reached around Josh grabbed Rebecca by the hand and pulled her close.

“I want to know where she is.” He said staring into Rebecca’s eyes.

“I don’t know.”

“Don’t lie or I promise I’ll hurt you.” He chuckled with sadistic glee.

“I swear I don’t know, people been asking all day, and I’ll tell you what I told them. I don’t know.” She said taking a ragged breath.

Cutter grabbed by the jaw and narrowed his eyes.

“Look I can feel her heart beat, means she’s closer than I would like her to be. If you had to guess where might that be?” He snarled.

Rebecca put her hands around his wrist. “You’re hurting me.” She was hoping Josh would intervene but he just stood watching.

“I’m just getting started.” He squeezed harder.

She tried pulling away but he had to tight of a hold.

“I don’t know, just kill me know.” She spat.

“I’ve always been a man of my word, haven’t I?” He said in low tone.

Rebecca shook her head in agreement.

Cutter grinned sadistically as he watched fear take hold of her. “I’m not going to kill you, but I will hurt you and you’ll wish I’d killed you.”

“She went to the ranch earlier.”

“Why?”

“Help to come after you.”

“Then?”

“Don’t know.” Rebecca’s eyes watered from the pain.

“Guess.” He growled.

She finally slipped his grip and started to back away. But he was quick and grabbed her by the back of the neck.

“You lived with the Comanche; are they fond of cutting a mans tongue out?” He said as he drew his knife and drug her towards the fire place.

“NO!” She screamed.

Josh stepped close causing Cutter to shoot an evil glare at him. “Don’t worry I won’t kill her.”

“If I tell you will you leave me alone?” Make you’re men leave me alone?” Rebecca said in a voice filled with defeat.

Cutter chuckled. “You’re not dumb are you; tell me what I want to know and I’ll give you back to Josh, and leave you alone until I get back.”

“The only place I know she might go is the mountain.” Rebecca’s heart twisted with the pain of feeling like she’d just sold out her friend.

“Damn, I hate that place.” Cutter mumbled as he let go of her.

Rebecca slid to the floor and put her head in her hands. “If you had any kindness, you’d kill me now.” She whispered.

“I told you I wasn’t going to kill you. Maybe I’ll let Scarlet have a go at ya though.” He laughed. “Come on men we’re riding out now.”

Josh was next to her almost instantly. “See I told you. Be good and you’ll be ok.” He went to put his arm around her.

Rebecca glared up at him. “What kind of husband are you to let your brother man handle me. How can I ever trust you to protect me?” she said through tear filled eyes. Hoping she could turn the two on each other.

Josh was shocked at first. “He didn’t hurt you.” He finally said flatly.

Harry looked at Cutter. “Are you kidding? Ride at this time of night in this weather?”

“Yeah. Some of ya need to stay here and watch after the women. Don’t let ‘em do anything foolish, like try ‘en run, or hurt themselves. The rest of us are riding out now.” Cutter said then went out the door to the barn followed by his men.

Phil caught up to him. “What are we doin’ this for?”

“It’s the last place she’ll expect to see me. She knows I don’t like that place, probably why she goes there. If I’m going to catch her, gonna have to surprise her.”
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2005, 03:00:01 PM »
Patches watched Scarlet stand at the opening of the cave looking out into nothing. She finally stood and walked up next to her.

“Whatcha looking for?”

Scarlet looked at her. “Just listening.”

It seemed to both women there was more silence between them tonight than the entire time they’d been friends.

“There’s nothing out there.” Patches finally said. “what is it you’re listening for?”

“Listening to ghosts is all.”

Both women turned and walked back to the small fire and sat down.

“Ya know, if Travis was the kind of man I think he was, he’d forgive you if you broke that promise to bring his killer down.” Patches said softly.

Scarlet half smiled. “He would, he’d scold me for runnin’ round out here like this if that was all it was about. Somewhere, somehow it changed from that. There have been days I wished it was just that, there are things now that would have made it easy to break that promise. Same as there are things now that drive me to make sure he dies.”

Patches watched Scarlet run her thumb across the bottom of the ring she wore. Patches wondered if Scarlet was aware she did it when she was thinking.

Patches had been thinking too. Thinking about what Scarlet meant when she’d said Travis sees where she’s at. There must be something hidden that would help them find Scarlet where he could see it; perhaps behind a picture.

“Scarlet, how we gonna find you if you need help?” She asked.

“I told you already.”

“Well much as I love a mystery, how can I look for something when I don’t what it is I’m looking for?”

Scarlet grinned. “Got a point. There’s another set of maps. Like these.” Scarlet held up the leather pouch with the maps they’d looked at before. “And a notes on Cutters habits, with it.”

Patches was immediately trying to envision where a picture would be that would hold something that bulky.

“The only ring I’ve ever seen you wear is the one Fritz give ya.” Patches motioned with her eyes at Scarlet’s hand. “When you stop wearing your wedding ring?” Patches had never seen the ring and thought maybe it was in the same safe place as the maps.

“I took it off along time ago. You have to put the past behind before you can move forward. I tried to move forward, yanno.” Scarlet said a bit regretfully.

“What did you do with it?”

Scarlet half smirked. “Travis had a box that he kept valuables in. I put it in the box, so he could watch over it too.”

Patches was about to say something else when Scarlet rose. “It’s time to go.”

Patches looked outside. “It’s still raining and dark.”

“Yep. The rain will cover our tracks. If we wait til it stops the mud could leave a trail a blind man could follow. It’ll be daylight soon enough. You could be home by this afternoon.”
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2005, 03:00:49 PM »
Combined effort of Tensleep and Scarlet

The rain had pounded the ground all night. Sonny had awoken his family and they had ridden out as soon as they could gather a few belongings for their stay at the Star.

Katharine Daily was a gentle, kind, hard working woman who never questioned her husband’s decisions. She was a supportive wife of a US Deputy and proud of her man and their family. But as she rode in the rain and dark listening to the men talk and telling her baby girl there was nothing to be afraid of she was beginning to wonder what kind of man the new marshal was. He’d sent Jimmy instead of coming himself, although there were reasons for that, she’d heard Jimmy tell Sonny.

Rose spoke well of Marshal Ross, and for Johnny to be letting them live at the Star meant something to her. But why did she want Sonny to ride, after Cutter of all people! He had so many men at his disposal and he had called on Sonny. Would he give Sonny a good partner to ride with, or some idiot that would tuck tail and run at the first sound of gunfire? He had no right, Sonny had done his duties and had a fair amount of scars to show for it!

Katherine didn’t know if she should be ashamed of her thoughts or not. After all Sonny was going to help Scarlet and Scarlet had not only been his favorite partner but the best one.

Katharine remembered having fits when Sonny told her he’d be riding with a woman, then she remembered seeing Scarlet in the Saloon. She had gone to the saloon without Sonny’s knowledge and accused Scarlet of having wicked intentions of getting a married man alone because that’s what those kind of women did. Katharine had been so embarrassed when she realized she was calling her good friend Rose’s daughter a blonde hussy. She remembered Scarlet not saying a word until she was done. Then the woman had simply stated “I have no intentions of bedding your husband but I promise you I’ll never leave him alone.”

She wondered if this Marshal had other deputies that had that kind of grit. Just thinking of what could happen to Sonny made her madder and more upset. By the time they reached the Star she was determined to find out what Ross was made of.

Katherine dismounted and politely handed the reins and her daughter to her husband then without another word she went into the house. She smiled at Rose who smiled weakly back. Skipping the formalities because she knew once Sonny started talking to the marshal she’d probably not get either one of their attention she asked. “Where’s the Marshal?”

“In the office with Johnny.” Rose pointed as she said it.

Katharine straightened her shoulders and took a deep breath as she entered the room of men. Her eyes swept the room until they landed on the man she remembered being pointed out as the new marshal.
She walked up to him ignoring the rest of them, hands on her hips, mad as a wet hen and somewhat resembling one.
“What kind of man are you JB Ross?” she demanded.

"Mrs Daily, it's a pleasure to meet you." The marshal's hat was off in the house and he held his right hand out to her just as he would have had it been a man. "I have heard quite a lot about you and Sonny and your family, now I finally get to meet you all face to face.
If you would like to freshen up please feel free, if not, I would like to talk with you.
Please, come sit down and have some hot coffee or tea. I'm sure that you are cold and damp from the long ride"

Katherine had taken the marshal's hand when he offered it. It was strong but not over powering, work roughened but not hard callused. His touch on her hand was firm but gentle as he led her to the leather sofa near the giant fireplace.

"Thank you so much for coming to the Southern Star, as you know the Rowen's are on the loose again. I need information from Sonny. I need he, Johnny, Bo and Jimmy together so that I can get what I need all at once."

Tensleep had poured steaming tea from a porcelain set that Rose had brought into the room earlier. He poured it in a heavy mug rather than the small cups that let it cool too quickly. Now Katherine was holding the mug warming her hands as she listened.

"I think that we are all safe here and that is the main reason I asked that you and Sonny come." He paused. "You ask what kind of man am I." Here he paused again.

"I hope that I am honest and straight forward. I am a man who works with people, my deputies do not work FOR me, but with me. I am concerned about their welfare and the welfare of their families. I will never ask a man or woman to do something that I would not do myself. I also believe in what is right, and I try to do what is right. I do not court the favor of the town or county."

Tensleep sipped his tea. "I am sure that you have questions."

She eyed Tensleep suspiciously. "Well that alone begins to set you apart from the man you replaced, working with your deputies, it was a lesson hard learned for Scott at times.

Jimmy says you are thinking of having Sonny ride with you. You know he will, under the circumstances, but where does that leave my family marshal?"

Katharine shifted a bit nervously. She knew Sonny would not be impressed she had come in here before he'd had a chance to even introduce himself.

"Mrs Daily, I have not asked Sonny to go with us to find Miss Longknife or to chase the Rowens. What I need from your husband at this time is his knowledge of the way the Rowens travel, think, act, where they go, what they do. I really need Sonny to help recreate a map that Scarlet had made that is lost."

"I understand your concern for your husband and family. I leave it to you and your husband to decide how much you will be able to help us."

The marshal stood. "Would you care for more tea, or perhaps something else?"

"Huh" Katharine snorted "Once a law man always a law man Marshal." She stood when he did. This was something she rarely did, stick her nose in his business, and she was uncomfortable with it.

Katharine looked out the window. Sonny was still making sure the horses were cared for but he'd be along any moment and she didn't want to be in the middle of anything when he came in.

"Something else Marshal. Has anyone asked why Scarlet didn't invite any of you along?"

"We have talked about that. Some think that she feels she must face these "devils" alone. Others feel that she fears for our safety. Personally I believe that she doesn't want any of us to see her die if that is what happens." Tensleep looked at the growing light. "I need to be out there, she is one of the good ones."

"Scarlet always has a reason for doing what she does Marshal." She was watching him, judging his character and he knew it. "Why Marshal? Because the Rowens are bad and the law needs to round them up, or Scarlet is out there and you're going to ask your deputies to risk their lives for her?"

Tensleep turned and looked into Katerine Daily's eyes. "Ma'am I goin' out there for two reasons. One it's my job an' I don't ask anybody to do my job. I ask no man or woman to do something they don't want to do or something that scares them."

He paced then stopped in front of the woman. "The second reason I will go is because I need Scarlet, I like Scarlet and I want to be there if she needs help. No one should have to think they have to face their devils alone. Scarlet is my friend. I'm goin' if nobody else moves a foot outta this house."

The marshal turned and walked to the window and stared into the coming dawn for a moment.

Katharine smiled behind his back. "Marshal, when you step outta this house you'll most likely find a group of good men saddled and ready to ride with you." She wanted to dislike him, but she couldn't. "Thank you for your time Marshal Ross, I suspect Sonny will be along shortly." She turned and took her cup into the kitchen.

Tensleep walked outside to his office where he began to pack. In the distance he heard hoofbeats approaching. Was it Hank and 'Becca? Maybe it was Patches....

He was disappointed to see it was only the rider Bo had sent for Hank and Becca, alone. He turned at the sound of the men coming from the barn, Hank among them, but Rebecca was nowhere to be seen.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2005, 03:01:44 PM »
Orginally posted by 1st Sgt Fritz King

Fritz opened the door and reached for the matchbox. He struck a Lucifer on the bottom of the box, spilling long shadows down the room from its guttering flame. He moved to the desk and lit the lamp. There was a pot of coffee still warm on the stove. Fritz took one of Bill’s spare cups and poured himself some. He grabbed the key ring from the hook, and started moving towards the lockers.

Fritz stopped for a moment, taking it all in. He felt strangely comfortable in the lab. The overhead pipes and the smell of the boiler brought him home. It was like the cab of a locomotive. Fritz imagined his father at the throttle and smiled. Happier times…

Footsteps behind brought him out of the revelry. Fritz turned slowly.

“You caught me off guard at the table,” Bill said, pouring himself a cup of coffee.

“Besides the prairie, I find this place peaceful,” Fritz replied. Fritz handed the key ring back to its owner.

“So, what can I do for you?” Bill asked.

“I was wondering if you’d had the chance to work on those rounds we talked about.” Fritz hadn’t bothered Bill much since their move to the ranch. The destruction of his old lab had hit Bill pretty hard. Most of his time and energy had been devoted to getting the new facility up and running. By all accounts, Bill and Patches had done a great job. And the half-empty coffee cups and unmade military cot told Fritz Bill lived here most days too.

“Come on,” Bill said, smiling as he went. Bill used the keys to open one of the big lockers on the left wall. Inside were boxes of ammunition; enough to rival the arms room up at the fort. Bill pulled a loading block from the top shelf.

“Help me get the lamps lit, and I’ll show you what I’ve got.” Bill set the block on his workbench, and started lighting the carbide lamps along the wall. Fritz worked down the other side.

Bill handed the block over. There were four rows of five holes drilled into the wood block. The rounds sat on their primer end. The first appeared to be an ordinary .38 long colt round. “What’s this?” Fritz asked, picking one up.

Bill smiled. “That’s the standard projectile. However, I increased the powder charge. I had to be very careful. I had to make a charge that’s safe enough to shoot, without blowing up your pistol…it has a bit more kick.”

Fritz wondered how Bill had tested them.

“The second round is what we talked about.” Bill picked one up. “It’s the ‘hollow point’ round. It’s by far the most effective, and consistent round I’ve come up with.” Fritz noted a large cavity in the nose of the projectile. “The cavity causes greater expansion, forcing the round to expend all its energy on the target.”

The next round was capped with sealing wax. “This one’s interesting. What is it?”

Bill frowned a bit. “Ah. That round is a bit disappointing. I envisioned creating a heavier bullet. The method I chose requires filling the cavity with mercury. The wax cap is the only safe way to trap the liquid. Molten metal and mercury tend to react, ah…badly.”

Fritz asked, “How does it work?”

“It’s quite effective at close range,” Bill answered. The mercury causes the bullet to shatter on impact, creating several projectiles. Unfortunately, the round drops quickly.”

“How much?”

Bill sighed. “Eight inches at 25 yards. Your intended target would probably die of peritonitis quicker.”

Fritz pointed at the last row. “And these?”

“Another disappointment I’m afraid,” Bill replied. “In another attempt to add weight to the projectile, I cut tungsten rods and cast them into the bullets. They will penetrate heavy clothes, or even a suit of armor.”

Fritz wondered if he HAD a suit of armor…then thought better of it.

“However,” Bill added, “they begin to keyhole at 25 yards. Not nearly as accurate as you need.”

Bill walked toward the far wall, opening the windows as he went. At the end of the room was a large planked stop on wheels. He rolled it into place, and locked the wheels. Bill then took some squashes from a bushel basket, and stuck them to nails protruding from the surface. Satisfied, Bill walked back to the bench, pushing chunks of sealing wax into his ears.

“The gourds and squashes best simulate human tissues,” he said, handing Fritz a leather pouch.

“Cotton?” Fritz asked.

“For your ears,” Bill said. Fritz was skeptical, but did as he was bid. Once done, he pulled the Navy and emptied the cylinder. He took one of each round from the block, and carefully reloaded.

“Ready?” Fritz asked.

“Fire away!” yelled Bill.

Fritz cocked the Navy and squeezed the trigger. The recoil jerked his arm up and back, and flame erupted from the barrel. But the round found its mark, shattering the first gourd.

“Ouch!” Fritz said.

“What?” was Bill’s reply.

The second round was the hollow point. The recoil wasn’t as fierce, but the results were more dramatic. The squash exploded, covering the backstop with orange liquid. Fritz said one word…

“Wow.”

The third round missed the gourd by a good eight inches, just as Bill had said. But it blew several large chunks of wood from the backstop.

The fourth and final round clipped the right top corner of the target, splashing lead fragments back towards the men. But the round drilled a nice smooth hole through the exterior wall.

“Sorry, Bill.”

Fritz emptied the cylinder. Bill handed him a box covered in wax paper. “The hollow points,” he said to the unasked question. “I’ll work on the others some more. Who knows?”

Fritz shook his hand. “Thanks Bill. I appreciate it.”

Bill grabbed his shoulder. “She’s all right you know. Besides,” Bill smiled, “Patches is with her. What could possibly happen?”

Thunder crackled in the distance.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: Missing Angels --Another Petticoat Posse Tale
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2005, 03:02:26 PM »
Scarlet and Patches skirted the base of the mountain, the rain washing away any tracks they made. Both women were quiet, listening and watching their surroundings; nothing seemed amiss until they reached the river.

Lucky stopped suddenly and eyed the water suspiciously. His nostrils quivered as he lowered his head and snorted at the water.

Scarlet patted his neck and looked into the water. It was murky from the rain and running a little faster than normal. She wondered if the horse had seen a snake; seeing nothing she urged him forward.

Lucky balked for a second before he rose up on his back legs and made an attempt to leap the river. He landed three quarters across and Scarlet could feel him gather himself to jump again. She felt him rise to make the jump then his back feet slipped from beneath him. As they splashed into the river she thought she heard Patches yell “Ambush!” she was sure she heard the sound of gunfire.

Scarlet felt the stallion thrash as they went under the water then roll back to his feet, she held tight as he leaped up and out of the water still kicking his back leg. Scarlet slid off his back, still coughing from the water she’d inhaled, and ran her hand along his leg surprised to feel a rope around his ankle. She slipped it free just before it was pulled tight.

Scarlet’s first instinct was to draw her pistol and fire when she saw the men coming out of the rocks at her but she knew the guns had gotten soaked in the river her powder would be wet and useless.

She drew her knife as she felt Lucky move into her. The man with the other end of the rope was closer than she realized. First Scarlet heard the thud then the man gasped for air as he went down holding his chest.

The second man made a dive for her; Scarlet sidestepped and sunk her knife as deep as she could into the oncoming target. As she pushed the man by she saw him.

Scarlet couldn’t believe her eyes. Cutter in this place, it couldn’t be. He’d never come here.

Everything seemed to move in slow motion from there.

She watched him level the rifle. At first she thought it was aimed at her then she realized it was aimed at Lucky.

“No! Lucky GET!” She screamed as she let go of the big knife leaving it stuck in her attacker.

In one fluid movement she reached behind her drew the small throwing knife she carried and let it go. It struck Cutter in the back of his trigger hand causing him to jerk the gun off target.

She could hear the stallions hoof beats as she felt a full body hit from behind.

The two rolled to the ground. She felt him roll her over and grasp her by the wrists. He smiled at the position they had ended up in. She smiled back just before she wrapped her legs beneath his ribs and squeezed as hard as she could. The man laughed at first, but then he couldn’t catch his breath and her hold just kept tightening. He let go of her wrists and tried to pry his hands between him and her to get away.

Scarlet felt herself being yanked off the ground. There was a struggle between the three before she finally let go of the man she had her legs around.

“Bitch” he gasped as he lay in the dirt.

She knew it was Cutter who had his arms around her and held her tight.

From across the river a voice came. “What do we do with ‘er boss.?”

“Kill her.” He replied.

“Oh God Patches.” Scarlet thought as she struggled to reach the knife that hung on her belt trying to twist away from him at the same time.

Cutter’s hold loosened just long enough for Scarlet to reach her knife and plant it in his thigh.

Cutter gritted his teeth as he felt the sting of the blade. The pain of her dragging it up and out was almost unbearable. As she turned on him he took the rifle from his shoulder.

Scarlet turned into it. The hit wasn’t so much painful as it was just hard and it rocked her. She blinked her eyes and tried to focus. Everything came clear for a split second then went fuzzy. Her head swam, she could feel her legs give out then everything went black.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


 

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