In the aftermath of the werewolf attack the posse was moved into the first class cabin. They rested in the plush seats under the crystal chandelier, trying to recover. Mary Beth walked over to Eugene and asked if he would do the tarot reading he had promised earlier. When Eugene asked if there was a particular topic she was interested in divining she replied “my love life.”
Min snickered and rolled her eyes. “These customs are so strange,” Iiniwa said to her. “What are they doing?”
“Eugene is telling her fortune but really I think he’s trying to get her into bed,” Min said. “Now he’s saying some shit about a handsome stranger she’s going to meet. But beware! There’s something dangerous about him. It embarrasses me that women fall for this bullshit.”
That statement left Iiniwa feeling even more confused. The group disembarked in Jackson, Mississippi. Ru and Min went to buy tickets for the train to Dallas, Texas while Eugene, Iiniwa and Felix went to look for healing potions and monster hunting equipment in town.
As they waited for the others to return, Ru pointed at a pigeon some 40 yards away. “Bet I can draw and shoot it down first,” he said.
“You’re going to get us into trouble,” Min protested. But professional pride would not let her turn down this challenge. She shifted into her shooting stance.
On a count of three they drew. Min had already shot down the pigeon before Ru had gotten his gun out of the holster. He fumbled and dropped his weapon.
“You should know better than to draw on me,” Min said.
Eugene, Felix and Iiniwa returned with healing potions, silver bullets and wooden stakes. The posse boarded the train to Dallas, Texas and began discussing how the new equipment might be properly used against certain monsters. Unfortunately they were too loud. “Excuse me! We can’t have you talking about supernatural mumbo-jumbo and upsetting the folks on this train,” said a man wearing a military-style uniform. “Keep it down!”
“And who are you?” Felix asked.
“Sargent Mason,” the man replied.
“Well, Sargent, this is a free country and we have freedom of speech. I’ll say whatever I want. Suppressing information about the supernatural only leaves people unprepared.”
Ten men in uniform lined up behind Sargent Mason. “Come with me,” he ordered. When Felix refused, the Sargent drew his gun.
Thinking fast, Eugene cast a spell which created a fake government marshal ID. “I’m sorry, Sargent. We are on official business. We won’t trouble you any further and you don’t want to trouble our work either.”
“Actually, you are just the one I want to talk with,” Sargent Mason said. “Meet me at our private table in the dining car. No harm will come to you, I promise.”
Once there a polite but tense conservation ensued as Sargent Mason tried to find out what the posse knew about paranormal phenomenon and the posse tried to reveal as little information as possible. An uneasy truce was reached and the Sargent and his men departed from the dining car.
They arrived in Dallas. Ru and Felix tried to see what the word on the street was about the whereabouts of the outlaw Sam Bass. They caught a few leads but the trail seemed semi-cold.
The next night the group gathered at the Rusty Nail Saloon for the meeting with Clarissa and Stephan. As they waited a whirl of memories passed through Eugene’s mind – Clarissa dancing in the grass with the sun glinting on her dress, Stephan telling an impassioned tale around the campfire about running for freedom and most of all, the final image of both of them bound, being taken away to their fate as he fled.
The saloon door opened and the two of them walked in. Neither had aged a day in the decade since Eugene had last seen them.
Clarissa and Stephan informed Eugene that the McCartney Plantation still stood. Papa Lavaysse was still there as well and his zombie trade had expanded considerably. He was now in league with Baron Lacroix’s Bayou Vermilion Rail, which was notorious for employing zombie workers. The rebellion had been gathering intelligence under the guidance of “Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau and they believed the time had come to strike.
“How did you escape? It looked like they were taking you to the old hanging tree,” Eugene said.
Clarissa and Stephan exchanged glances. “We didn’t,” she said.
“I don’t understand,” Eugene said. But as one trained in the occult he quickly began to realize the implications. “You mean—“
“No one was more surprised than us when we crawled out of the grave,” Clarissa whispered.
Eugene sat back in his chair. His old friends were Harrowed.