However, before I continue the tale, I must tell of three new characters tat have joined the ranks:
First, Dr. Abigail Winston, a skilled surgeon; while somewhat elderly, the good doctor is actually quite adept at scaling walls. Oddly so, even.
Next is Slain Ross, a somewhat cowardly fellow with some interesting tricks up his sleeves.
And finally, Ulyssess Brag... a failed politician.
Now, back to the action!
|Dr. Robert Seigal's Steam Wagon|
|Varney Flats, KS; population: less than yesterday|
Meanwhile, at the Palace Saloon, Slain decided he was having none of this, and shadow-walked over to the top of the Dentist, where he covered himself in straw and blended in like a chameleon.
Dr. Abigail was having a little worse luck. Her first sight of the creatures spooked her; it took quite a while until she could get he breath, and by the time she did, one of the creatures had come up the stairs and grabbed her! Using her knowledge of medicine, she pulled out a large knife and, with two quick chops, severed the creature's spine. The light went out of its eyes, and it sank to the ground, ungracefully dumping the doctor to the floor.
The creature Wilhelm shot began to move, slowly getting to its feet. Wilhelm coolly emptied his shotgun into the creature's face, splattering it all over the walls. That'll take some time to clean up - and the creature wasn't coming back from that, either. The now-headless body slumped to the ground. Hector returned his attention to the previously disabled creature outside the saloon.
The townsfolk finally managed to pull themselves together, and began fighting back; as shots rang out, the train whistle blew again, and the creatures scurried back to the train.
Hector caught sight of the engineer - and recognized him! His old train-robbing buddy, "Redeye" Dawson! Last he'd heard, ol' Redeye was headed to New Mexico with his ill-gotten gains. Hector decided that a bullet through the brain-pan was the best hope for his old friend; living as a zombie was worse than no life at all.
The entire town held an impromptu meeting in front of the Palace Saloon; people went door to door, waking anyone who slept through the noise (including Mr. Brag). A dozen people had been kidnapped, and two more had been killed by the creatures - Clarence Johnson, the telegraph operator, and Keat Busterson, a buffalo hunter who was in the Land Office. Among those kidnapped was - of course - Abner Knaggs, the good-for-nothing criminal the posse had protected from lynching just a few hours earlier.
Parrish, the deputy, turned to the newcomers for help. "I'll offer you the same deal on Knaggs - the whole $100 in gold eagles, if you can bring him back alive. More importantly, I'll pay you $20 each for any citizens you can rescue. And... and I'm goin' with you." It seems the deputy had grown a backbone after all.
The posse agreed - if somewhat reluctantly. The money was good, and the creatures needed stopped. Dr. Seigal, in a somewhat serendipitous occasion, returned from his test drive just in time. The posse began to load up to chase the train. The tracks curve to get around a large hill; a hard ride (or drive) across four miles of prairie should intercept the train.