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The Man From Hell-Ch. 2

The Man From Hell-Ch. 2

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Published by clb1966

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Published by: clb1966 on Jul 10, 2010
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10/25/2012

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He reached the town, and snuck around the back way. He didn't want to be seen, at least not yet. Hemade his way around some empty barrels that he assumed were behind the saloon, and kept going.Soon he made his way between two buildings, the one on the right with steps leading up to the secondfloor. He made his way up the stairs, and proceeded to turn the knob once he reached the top landing.To his surprise the door opened, and a woman was there, staring at him in shock.“Just what the hell do you think you're doing?” she barked. She wiped her hands on her apron, andcontinued to stare at him.“Sorry ma'am, to bother you, but I'm in some trouble, and I don't even know where I am,” hestammered out. The lady looked at him like he had lost his mind.“Well, it seems you have a nasty head wound there, that would account for your problems,” shesaid, moving to get some towels and grabbing the basin. “Here,” she said, handing him the tub, “go pump up the well, and put some water in here.”He took the basin, and did as he was told. He took his hat off, and pumped the handle on the kitchenwell. He set the basin on the small wooden table, and sat down in the chair. She walked over to him,dampened a cloth, and proceeded to wipe away the grime and blood from his forehead. He winced ather effort.“Oh, be a man!” she chided. “It looks like its just a scratch.”He sat there, and admired the way she worked. Quietly, methodically cleaning his wound, and whenshe finished, she sat back and took a look at her handiwork.“Much better,” she commented, placing the damp towel on a rack to dry. “Now, let's get to the nitty-gritty. Who are you, and where are you from?”He looked at her, and smiled. “I was hoping you could tell me, ma'am.”She gave him a grimace, and looked at him reprovingly. “Now how am I supposed to know who youare?” she asked. “I just met you.”
 
“I don't look the least bit familiar?” he asked, frowning. She glanced at him sideways, and shook her head.“No, you don't. I don't recollect ever seeing you in this deadwood of a town.”Okay, he thought. That got cleared up. “What town is this, anyway?” he asked.She looked at him through piercing gray eyes, and a slight smile came to her face. “Well, my friend,we are basically in the middle of nowhere. A stage comes through once a week, and we're lucky wehave that, with all the robberies that go on.”He got up and walked over to the window. She was right, there wasn't much to this town. He turned,and walked out the door, his boots clomping on the boardwalk. He looked one way, then the other, andsaw maybe five buildings total. There was a horse tied up at a rail in front of what he assumed was thesaloon. It was a ragged building, with the typical false front advertising the 'High Rollers Saloon', andcomplete with peeling paint and warped boardwalk. He noticed that an old man lounged just outsidethe bat-wing doors, leaning back in a chair that looked about ready to fall apart underneath him. Hewalked back inside, and turned to her.“What is your name, if I may ask, ma'am?” he asked her cordially.“My name's Molly, Molly Wagner, and I've lived in this hell-hole going on for ten years now. Nothing ever changes but the weather and the faces.”“Well, Miss Molly Wagner, pleased to meet you. I wish I could remember my name,” he said,sticking out his hand and shaking hers. She had a firm grip for a woman, complete with calluses on her  palms that indicated that she wasn't afraid of hard work.She turned to him while his back was facing her, and took stock of her visitor. He was close to sixfeet tall, in a rugged sort of way, lean body, probably a cowpuncher. She noticed how his gun wasuntied off his thigh, and didn't figure him for a gunfighter. His dark hair was swept back in a haphazardstyle, and he turned around and caught her staring at him. She quickly looked away, and busied herself  putting the basin and towels away.
 
“I should put a bandage on that head wound,” she said. “It looks like its starting to bleed all over again.” She walked over to the wall, opened a cabinet door, and took out a bowl with a pair of scissorsand some bandage in it. She made him sit down again, and proceeded to bandage his wound.Her closeness gave him a chance to sample her fragrance. She smelled good, but he couldn't placethe perfume. He had no idea of that sort of thing. He just knew that as close as she was, she smelledmighty fine. He smiled in spite of himself, and she caught him.“What are you smiling about?” she asked.He looked down sheepishly, and fidgeted nervously with his fingers. “Well, ma'am, I, uh, mean MissMolly, you sure smell right pretty,” he finally spit out.She took the bowl away and replaced it in the cabinet, then turned to face him. “I'll expect you to dosome chores if you're going to stay here for a bit,” she reminded him. She pointed out the back door,and he got up and walked outside, noticing a pile of wood that needed to be split and carried inside nextto the stove.“Yes, ma'am, gladly!” he said, closing the door behind him. She soon heard the sound of the axechopping wood, and nodded approvingly, smoothing her apron and sitting down at the table tocontemplate who and what he was.The two men herded the cattle north, and were soon joined by five other men on horseback. Thesemen didn't come cheap. They were good at what they did, and expected to be paid top dollar, whether the cattle were rustled or whether they were bought and sold legal. It didn't matter to them, as long asthey were paid in cold, hard currency.John stopped his horse, and watched as the men took over the herd, leading them towards the river to drink. He urged his mount to climb the hill so he could scout out just where the town was. Theywanted to circle around it, and didn't need some nosey Nellie asking questions that they didn't feelmuch like answering. Sam pulled up on side of him, and stared at the town.

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