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Onyx Landing

OP
xanaphia

xanaphia

Philosopher? I hardly knew her!
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
“Baths are a service we provide,” Victoria started, warming herself to offer one with a smirk and a wink. Because earlier frustrations combined with the adrenaline of the robbery and she really could have gone for getting off right about now. But Jeb left before she make a more prurient suggestion, and Tom seemed more interested in chasing down a story lead, so Victoria sighed, and let Missy handle the questions from Tom. Because she was interested in an entirely different set of questions.

“Want me to run him off, boss?” she asked Miss Vickie, nodding towards the cowpoke. “You said you had business to attend to.”

No, no, work before pleasure. “It’s fine, Miss Cassie,” Vicki said, trying not to sound defeated. “I’ll just be a moment.”

Once she returned to the Dusky Belle, most of the girls were up, watching the doors with concern in their eyes and guns on their hips. Maria nodded towards the street behind them. “Everything okay Vic? We heard gun shots.”

“Just some bandits trying to make a quick buck off honest folk,” she explained. “No one got hurt, ‘cept the dumb bastard that Miss Cassie here shot. Hopefully his fellas will think twice ‘bout hitting Onyx Landing next time.”

“Now, while I got y’all here, gather ‘round, and let me introduce Miss Cassie here right proper. She’ll be helpin' out round here, makin’ sure the men mind their manners. So if you got a problem, you give ‘er a holler.”

“What if we don’t got a problem, can we still give her a holler?” Xia teased with a wink. A few of the other girls giggled as well, and gathered in closer.

“That’s on y’all, but try not to distract her too much in the evenings. Town’s still a damn powder keg, and we need sober heads to prevail. But if ya’ll are feeling that friendly, ya might as well show her where she can draw a bath. And when Miss Huntington shows up, assuming she does bring by that case of whisky she promised, send her back to me in the kitchen.” And with that, she left Cassie in the company of the working girls.
 

WaveVelour

Star
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
A surprise sex before evening, and a good night’s sleep after that. A good combination for many. Both strenuous and relaxing. Quiet environment of the bathroom was suitable for any voice to echo deeply. In the bathroom, behind closed doors, sound of the repeated slams, soft moans and sharper grunts leaked through the walls and radiated on the other side. The pleasant ordeal lasted for a while. In the end, there was a happier cowboy in town, and a somewhat satisfied young lady. As expected from such harsh lands, the people seemed to be wild, at least one of them. It had been a while for Grace, so to a degree, wildness happened to be something she had in common with her ephemeral partner. Her search for a needy distraction turned out to be quite fruitful, making her forget about all of the unpleasant events of the day. However, distressed sounds that came out of her parted lips exaggerated her pleasure as the young brunette knew how to act, how to play the part of an over sensational partner.

The intimate experience indeed purified her troubled mind from polluted concerns, so to speak. Similar to her light body, her sprit was lifted quite high during her time in the bathroom. Feeling more relaxed now, she dressed up. Wearing the same dusty dress over her clean body felt odd, but the other option was to walk about only in her undergarment. Not to occupy the bathroom any longer, the woman left it for someone else’ cleansing, although not before doing a cleaning herself to erase the clues of her suggestive exercise. The steamy activity left the woman quite thirsty as usual. She wouldn’t say no to a light drink before bedtime for recreation. Instead of going to her room right away to retire into seclusion, the woman walked down to the lobby. She was not addicted to drink, more of a social drinker. Her metabolism didn’t do well against alcohol. Knowing her unimpressive limit well enough, she usually made sure to not have one too many. Especially when the inn lacked the light beverages she liked to consume.

Her choice of poison ended up being whiskey; however, among the limited variety of liquors sat on the shelves, she didn’t really have much of a choice. Grabbing her drink, her tender hips rested at a small and round table. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any company to have an idle chit chat. More than anything else though, she was craving for a cigarette right now, just one small roll of tobacco she unfortunately didn’t have. Her tender lips parted. Her soft hands gripped the cup. Leaning against the chair, Grace took a sip of her drink. It was much stronger that the forgiving cocktails the young woman was used to drink. Upon taking the unfiltered substance in, it burned her throat, instantly adding a pink blush on her cheeks and nose. Grace coughed with her watery eyes as if it was poison what she just drank. Still choking on the intoxicating liquor, she crudely put her glass on the table as if there was a little bug under it she tried to murder in cold blood. She had no idea how people drank that thing. One of many inconvenience of the wild west she assumed.
 

Praxis

𝓛𝓮𝓪𝓻𝓷 𝓽𝓸 𝓼𝔀𝓲𝓶
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 13, 2014
Location
the Neitherworld
Missing?” She asked, snagging on a section of Taggert’s fur with her comb as attention lifted from hands to Clint in the doorway of her tent. The dog whined and Missy hushed at him, coaxing the beast’s still damp neck back into her lap to resume combing the tangles of dried blood there. At her side, she’d filled a small, wide-mouthed glass with water that had since been tinged a darkening shade of pink with each cleaning path she took across the animal’s mottled grey and white coat. Taggert whined, looked toward Clint with sidelong eyes and endured. “Well, where are they?”

“Dead, probably.” Clint replied, “don’t survive too long in a cave-in. Not the way a man’d want to.”

“Mm.” Added dismissively, her focus back on her work. The big man had been able to glean -third hand- from one of his men what had transpired in the town center in his absence. Three men, armed, had tried to rob he bank. Pretty standard Western fare, so far as he’d come to learn of the region. What did they expect with a retired fat man as their guard and the sheriff’s station tucked a short walk away? It was an especially ugly smudge on the town’s façade that he’d noticed almost immediately upon arriving. All of it -the entire town- had been thrown together with intent first and design last. Not entirely surprising, considering these towns usually lasted only as long the nearby mine was profitable.

Still. The amount of red being tracked in his mental ledger already far outweighed the blue. And they’d only been there a few hours. He’d rode back to the camp, following a bloody pair of tracks and what looked like boot prints that’d been skipped across the dirt more than they’d been walked. A tub, tipped over and wasted of its remaining contents, told him Missy had found her way back safely. He had wished for something aside from military canvas to knock upon when he inquired to her decency before entering. He’d found her, dog in lap, her own silvery blonde hair undone from its braid and flung over one shoulder. Draped only in a baby pink peignoir that she’d cinched tightly around the middle.

“There’s more. Reporters in town, two of them. Sisters, or so the one says. Unloaded a printing press in that rundown shop across from the saloon. Found one of them up at the mine, poking around.”

“Mm.” Missy replied again, tilting the dog’s chin toward her chest to begin combing along where jaws had made ribbons of flesh. She’d dip the comb in darker still water, tap at the rim and continue.

“That’ll be a problem.” He reminded her, grabbing a chair that’d been hastily unpacked and taking to sit beside a large, heavy case he’d grabbed from the armory car.

Missy shrugged, smoothing over the area she’d worked through and giving Taggert a swift pat on his rear. He sprang up and shook vigorously, spraying the blonde, Clint and most of the room with residual bathwater. She shrieked playfully and shouted for the him to leave. Looking to Clint with a hint of exasperation, she’d narrow her eyes as she poured through recent experiences with reporters and their ilk. Lessons imparted from a less than scrupulous -if not paranoid- father intact, she knew Clint was right. He usually was as it came to intercept the unforeseen issues that so often got by the impulsive young woman. A spark behind blue eyes should’ve gave him a touch more unease than it did.

“So, my dear, I suppose we should get around her, yes?”

Clint snorted. There it was. That unease. “You want me to take her out in the desert? Show her a hole before I put her in it?” He was half joking. Though, it hardly would’ve been the first time that questions asked resulted in permanent answers.

Missy huffed, glaring. “No. I want you to …convince her. Get around her. A few well-placed words in a piece have never worked to undo someone’s image, yes? Make her an ally. So that we control the story.”

The big man tilted his head to the side. “That’s not really how it works.”

"Oh, Daddy doesn't own the newspapers back home?" He caught a flash there, of the hard nosed indignance that had helped her father climb the ladder. "Of course he does. Of course he does."

Lifting to her feet, Missy gathered her loose-fitting garment and moved to a row of trunks that’d been stacked against the far wall of her tent. Kneeling, one hand still clutching at her middle, she spoke without looking. “Besides, I took a cold bath today,” flashing him a look of extreme sincerity over her shoulder. “We’re all trying new things. What’s in the case?”

“Protection.” He paused, “you should’ve-“

She’d known what came next. The pause always preceded something he needed to say. “A weapon, I know, I know.” Pulling a silk blouse that bordered closer to silver than it did white, she’d begin searching for a new -not torn- pair of riding pants. Black, of course. She’d rather have been taken to the desert with that motley gang of bandits than be caught dead in petticoats or a dress. A point that had irritated her father to no end and one that Clint rather enjoyed about the girl. “I was anticipating this lecture. And I don’t know what you’re so upset about. I did just as you taught me, yes? Use what I have, don’t wish for what I want. Isn’t that it?”

He might’ve smiled then but said nothing.

Missy did, though it was more a smirk. Those who knew her personally would come to realize the two were virtually identical. “See? Turns out I do listen.”

“You’ve got that knife in your boot.”

“Hm,” turning to look at the blood and dust stained pair she’d kicked off. “Didn’t trust myself not to kill him.” Her false accent dropped a tone. “He …put his hands all over me.”

Clint’s mind went to a particularly forward suitor a younger Miss Huntington had been pursued by some years back. Hands must’ve coerced better judgement toward an area of her that sent the kid home with a broken nose and a missing front tooth. Clint hadn’t been there for the event. Only the cleanup.

“Heard you stomped him into the dirt.”

She giggled, cheeks flushing for only a second. “Taggert did most of the work. Now, shoo! I’ve got a luncheon I must attend.”


~​


Whistling sharply -though nowhere close to the pitch Clint was able to hit- Missy began the walk to town. Followed closely by a now clean Taggert and two Huntington men; struggling with the case of whiskey between them. She found the saloon, dark and homey, bustling with a touch more patrons than her earlier visit. Only furthering her need to ingrain herself with the ever-stoic Miss Freeman and her seeming ability to stay alive even when everything around withered. She kissed twice and pointed, leaving Taggert to act as sentry for the Dusky Belle. A quick word with one of the elegantly dressed girls and she was behind the bar, through the halls and beaming at Victoria as she readied the kitchen. Sauntering in, as though she belonged, the girl hopped onto a counter.

With a heavy thud, the two Huntington men dropped the case and stood at attention. Missy, with a flourish of her hand, went to introduce them. “Miss Freeman, as promised. My lovely associates, a Mister Murphy and a Mister…” frowning slightly, she peered at the other man for a long while.

Higgins, Miss.” The man replied, not at all surprised she didn’t recall their earlier encounter.

“Yes, Murphy and Higgins here have volunteered to help finish whatever preliminary duties you have. So that we may chat more, oh, personally. So, please, consider them yours for the time being.” She clapped her hands twice and sprang from the counter. Clutching -gently- at Victoria’s arm, she’d take to loop her elbow with hers and tug politely toward the saloon front. Up a staircase they went, idling with her intent until she found a secluded table on a second-floor landing that overlooked the entrance. Crossing her legs, leaning back, Missy studied the woman with a cat-like intensity.

“You’re very good at that, you know. Your -erm modulation as it is.” Biting her bottom lip, she’d lean in, postured as though to divulge a secret. “Ya’ll,” she mimicked, “hush it! I could hardly tell the difference from you and, say, that one-armed man.” Not that she’d heard him speak directly. An educated guess as to what the noise a man like that made would’ve probably been closer to correct than not.

“So!” Folding her hands in her lap, she’d flash Victoria one last gleam of socialite charm. “Tell you what, you drop yours…” shedding the years of conditioning that’d been drilled into her in an instant, she’d pour a thick, southern drawl out from pink lips. “And I’ll drop mine. Figger it’s more honest this way."

Pleased with herself, she'd continue, "My daddy told me no one was ever gonna take me serious if I went around talkin' like this." She rolled her eyes. "And I said -'Daddy, everyone I know talks like this.' To which he said -'Yes, Missy. And everyone you know is a tiny fraction of the world.'" She released a long, wistful sigh. "He'd be over tha moon to know how right he is."
 
Last edited:

Kilted Pervert

Super-Earth
Jeb woke to knock at the door, he pulled on a pair of trousers, sticking a revolver in the waistband. He opened the door to find a teenaged Chinese with his clothes clean and freshly shined boots. Fifteen minutes later, Jeb looked in the mirror to see a far nicer picture than earlier in the day. He had trimmed his wild beard and had the Chinese kid tie back his long hair for him. He traded his traveling clothes for a gray vest over a pinstriped shirt and black trousers, and the wide brimmed drover's hat for his old Confederate kepi. He kissed the Indian medicine pouch around his neck and hid it beneath his shirt.

Jeb walked down the main street of Onyx Landing just as the sun was going down. It was much cooler and more comfortable than earlier in the day. Arriving at the door of the Dusky Belle he paused to pack and light his pipe with opium laced tobacco. The stub of his right arm was hurting again, like a thousand needles in the skin. Taking three long drags off the pipe and holding the smoke in his lungs as he watched the sun set behind the mountain in a brilliant show of red and gold.

The drug and nicotine taking the edge from his pain, Jeb walked through the doors of the Belle, and up to the bar. "Whiskey, if you please." He tipped his hat to the bartender. Drink in hand Jeb turned to look at the interior of the cat house and all it had to offer.
 
OP
xanaphia

xanaphia

Philosopher? I hardly knew her!
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Victoria examined the case of whiskey critically, and picked three bottles out of it. At least this would tide them over another day or two. Then she turned her gaze towards the men, “Alright then. You get started on the dishes. You gon and get a couple empty bottles, and start watering down this whiskey. Should be able to get three more bottles outta that.”

“Water it down?” he asked, incredulously “This is good whiskey!”

“Exactly. It would be a damn shame to waste good whisky on poor miners. And I don’t need ‘em getting used to the good stuff, just to bellyache when the regular stuff comes back in a day or so. ‘Sides, watering it down will make it last a little bit longer.” The man still looked aghast, as if she were explaining to best way to choke a puppy. “Go on now,” she instruct with a flick of her wrists, and she smirked as he grumbled but got to work. She put two of the remaining bottles up in a cupboard, and took the last one with her, with a couple glasses, and let Missy lead her upstairs to a table. She poured a couple drinks, while she waited for Missy to speak.

“You’re very good at that, you know. Your -erm modulation as it is.”


“My what now?”

“Ya’ll,” she mimicked, “hush it! I could hardly tell the difference from you and, say, that one-armed man.”

“Oh.” She drank half her glass in a swallow, wondering if this was more idle prater, or if Missy Huntington would get around to making her point already.

“Tell you what, you drop yours…” And then the tone changed, slowed, with softer vowels and looser consonants. “And I’ll drop mine. Figger it’s more honest this way."

“Dis what you want den, chere?” It was French, but not quite. It was southern, and yet it wasn’t. A smooth creole accent, with delicate lilts. “Soft and meek, eager to please my master lest I get the whip again.” And with a snicker, it was gone again. “I left all that behind in Louisiana, ‘cause, ain’t no one gonna listen to me if I speak like that.”

“Now, I know you didn’t come here to talk accents, but business. So, what is your business in Onyx Landing?”
 

Praxis

𝓛𝓮𝓪𝓻𝓷 𝓽𝓸 𝓼𝔀𝓲𝓶
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 13, 2014
Location
the Neitherworld
Missy squealed in delight as Victoria spoke, cupping her hands over her mouth attempting to maintain the privacy she’d orchestrated. Rocking in her seat, booted feet kicking in amusement, she’d turn an entirely nonreciprocal level of enthusiasm at her hostess. “I knew it! Had me fooled for a minute there. But I knew.” Squinting at the glasses between them -one empty, one full- she cornered her lips as she thought. She’d never been able to stand the taste, herself. Nor the blurry, loss of control that came with it. She’d be a fool to take even a sip if she intended to keep the pace.

“But they do, don’t they?” She pressed herself against the table, leaning close, “listen? They hang on your every word. Where’d they go when they had no place else to turn? Who’s been keeping ‘em sane?” Placated seemed a more accurate term, but she didn’t say that. “It wasn’t that tubby fella I gave the…” she reached for a term that she’d thought heard used, “what fer. No. No, no, no.” She slashed her hand through the air. “Cuz!, he’s just as useless as the lot of ‘em. Standing around, waitin’ for the solution to come up to them.” She sneered at the thought of the Mr. Jacobs who’d come groveling to her. He’d found her, covered in more than a fair amount of blood but luckily in high spirits for the bones she’d broken only shortly before. Last she’d saw, he’d been shuffling back up the hill on a fool’s errand she’d created to be rid of his presence.

“D’ja hear? They got us voting up in Wyomin’.” Smiling lazily, spinning the still full glass of whiskey between her fingers. “Women, if you can believe it. With our delicate sensibilities and weak constitution.” She snorted, rather unamused with her own sarcasm. “It’s a miracle we ever made it this far without a faintin’ couch nearby.” She pushed the glass away from her with a single finger, sliding too with it more of her intention. “We’ll remain out of the Union a hundred years rather than come in without our women.

Missy was no longer smiling. Not even residually as she burned into Victoria with an intense, blue stare. “I wonder what …Dusky Belle gave him the gumption to say all them pretty words.” A tiny, noncommittal shrug followed. “Which is my business, Miss Freeman.” The shift back into her false accent came seamlessly. “I am a solution. To many problems, the list of which I am still adding to. Vigorously. An investor, of sorts, if you prefer.” She turned her eyes to the open door of the saloon and to the dry, lifeless dirt beyond. “Not of businesses or concepts or anything so pedestrian. But of ability.”

Maybe Miss Victoria had been stared at with an intensity that rivaled the blonde’s then. Some time, not long ago even, when a man had set his attention on her so furiously that the line between animal and man was gone.

“This land is worthless, Miss Freeman,” she announced as though it were beyond debate. “Utterly worthless. Nothing will ever grow here, and the only beings suited to living in such miserable, inescapable heat are rodents and reptiles. And when that mine dies -and it will, I assure you, Miss Freeman- this town will consume itself. Until there is nothing left but scrap.” She was breathing a touch heavier than she had been only moments before, blinking in firm, punctuated strokes between the spaces of her sentences. “And who will they come to then? With pitchforks in hand and murderous envy in their eyes?”

Missy inhaled, collected herself and reigned in long enough to make the shift in her pitch less jarring. “The ...colored girl who’s been gathering money like they do flies?” Puffing away a strand of flaxen hair, she widened her eyes in theatric horror. "This is your world, Miss Free man. Our world." Suddenly, with a quickness that rivaled the feline intensity of her stare, she reached out to clutch at Victoria's forearm. "Build it. With blood and bone if you must." She was whispering, hissing nearly. Just as casually, she released and waved at the idea; a passing fancy perhaps.

"For now, the whiskey is yours. All I have. I imagine you'll turn a better profit than I ever will." She paused, attention caught on Taggert's tail as it swished from outside. "In return, I'd like nothing more than to ...rent your establishment. For the evening. For the town -whatever is left of them anyhow."
 

TheCorsair

Pulsar
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Tom spent the rest of the afternoon laboriously scribbling away at his new project - new career, by God. It was a mass of erasures and scratch-outs when he was finished, and his pensmanship was never the greatest, but he felt good about the results. Well, pretty good. He’d only gotten a couple of questions answered, so a lot of his quotes were things he’d heard said by the ladies at the bank.

Newspapers liked quotes, right?

Nodding to himself, he tucked his notebook into his jacket pocket and perched his hat on his head. This shouldn’t be hard, right? Sell the newspaper ladies his story, then hit the whorehouse for the free drinks that had been promised. Free booze sounded like a good deal right now.

The streets were quiet as he walked, shimmering with a heat that a thin breeze did little enough to cut. Yeah, free drinks sounded really good right now. But first... he knocked at the door of the old barber shop. “Pardon me, ma’am,” he said, removing his hat. “But Ah was wonderin’ if’n y’all would be innerested in buyin’ a story fer this here paper?”

-*-

Cassie watched Miss Vickie climb the stairs, not bothering to hide her appreciation of the view. “So,” she finally asked, “anything I should know?”

A petite redhead leaned forward. “Well,” she said in a slight Irish accent, “I can tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue.”

“That, uhm...”. Cassie took a deep breath and tried again. “That's... good to know. But, I meant about the business. Any troubles?”

“Some of the regulars have been getting rough,” a brunette piped in. “Tougher than usual, I mean. Miss Vickie’s kept them in line so far, but some of them are starting to like... hurting us.”

“All right.” Cassie looked at the door. “Point them out, would you? As they walk in. So I can explain manners to them.”
 

WaveVelour

Star
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
Sharp coughs and reddened face of the dark haired outsider easily attracted the attention of the owner of the inn. A mixture of amusement and pity filled the old man. It had always been amusing to witness the struggle of travelers who was not used to the harsh terrain of the west. However, at the same time, a small part of the local innkeeper saw her daughter in Grace. Regardless, holding such sympathy didn’t keep the old timer from giving out a chuckle. Walking out from behind the counter, he neared his foreign customer, currently the only one who occupied a table on the ground floor of the building. Stern fingers patted the young woman on the back, the light taps moving the seated patron back and forth on her seat. “Ya alrahyt gal?” The old man asked, still snickering. Covering her mouth with one hand, distressed eyes of the woman looked up at the man, nodding at him a few times. He made a favor, and took the glass from the table. “Ya one of thuh waggy tails?” The man gestured Grace to follow him, walking back to the bar. “Ah hope not. Them painted gals cuttin’ me out awf business.” He raised the glass to his weary lips. Where only one sip of it was enough to give the woman a hard time, the whole liquid ran down the old man’s throat at one swoop.

“I’m sorry. Me what?” Grace was having trouble understanding the man, not entirely sure if they spoke the same language. “Oh no. I don’t work there.” Especially these days, she wasn’t quick to trust people. Still, the young woman followed the man, climbing on top of a high stool in front of the counter.

“There…” Instead of liquid courage, now water filled Grace’s emptied glass, a little muddy and lacking clarity. “Adam’s ale. Feyts ya mowr.” The old innkeeper suggested. Although the outsider didn’t intend to be rude, she didn’t drink the blurry water to quench her thirst. Her slender fingers closed around the glass, however failed to raise it up. The man poured another glass of whiskey for himself. Unlike his young guest, his coughs and grunts were chronic. For someone of his age, the sixty four year old looked to be doing fine at first glance. His heart however, had been beating a tad less strong each passing day. He just drank too much. His lungs were not so well, a whistle accompanying his shallow breaths. He attended to his regular duties still. The old innkeeper turned around to grab a bottle. His stiff fingers gripped the handle of a sharp knife as he worked on a stuck cork. “What brought yo bang up lil’ ass over hair?” He asked while facing away.

Her hands and big eyes perked up from the liquor filled glass. She was still having difficulty understanding him, but the old man managed to rip a hearty giggle from Grace, not a common sight. In fact, for the first time since her arrival.

“My posterior, good sir, happens to be none of your concern.” Spicing her statement with some exaggeration, Grace responded in a joking manner, while a light giggle embellished her words. Placing the knife on the counter and the bottle on the shelf, the man faced the young woman again. Grace’s gaze was attracted to the sharp looking cutting tool as the old fellow grasped his glass. From the knife, her eyes drifted to the aged fingers of her host. He held that drinkware firm. Thick digits were secure around the glass, his fingers blunt next to the sharp knife, making Grace wonder just how many fingers he needed to hold it that tight. “It is beyond me how do you drink that thing.” Her eyes found the man’s, and her own thin fingers the blade.

As if it was a vulgar display of manly strength, the old man tossed the sharp liquid down, almost in one gulp. An accomplished smirk stretched the wrinkles in his sour face. “Har me lass, ah can squeeze a rattlesnayuk in it, eend it still be faahn.” He claimed, his voice coming out deeper, his heart beating faster.

“Splendid…” Grace paused. Her smile slowly faded. She slid the knife to the side, so it wouldn’t harm anyone. “Because I have poured enough poison in it to kill a dray horse.”

It was a funny suggestion. Old and young, the odd pair shared a contagious burst of laughter as a different kind of humor enlightened the unbusy inn. When the hilarity ceased, silence fell upon the place once again.

“If it’s death what you wish to see, you don’t need an old fellow like me.” The man broke the silence after a while. “No, perhaps you should venture into the mines.” He continued. That wasn’t a pleasant topic to discuss though, so he changed the subject. “I wish I had a daughter just like you.” The man sighed. “As audacious as she is pretty.” He told the outsider. “Do you really think so? Is this what you see?” Grace questioned. In this foreign world, she needed and adored such courtesy. “He was a fool you know. Deserved what he got.” The innkeeper claimed, which knitted his young guest’s dark brows. “Look where it left me though? I didn’t deserve it.” The widowed brunette balled her soft fingers into firm fists, the image of her husband in a pool of blood briefly flashing in her mind. “Certainly… Still, I can’t help but wonder, if he would have suffered the same ill fate if he hadn’t been so well heeled?” The old man’s voice disrupted the disturbing image on the woman’s mind. Only, it wasn’t him who uttered the words, but the woman who had been talking to herself. “Sir?!” Grace exclaimed. “That is a secret. I trust you would keep it.” She pushed the man’s motionless upper body off the counter to let him lie in silence behind the bar. An unfortunate, sudden death for sure. However, his heart had already been beating a tad less strong each passing day. And his lungs were not so well. He just drank too much. Grace got to her feet. Grabbing the knife off the counter, she retired to her room upstairs.
 
OP
xanaphia

xanaphia

Philosopher? I hardly knew her!
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Missy seemed pleased, but Victoria felt dirty. And that was saying something, for one who regularly spread herself for money. But at least whoring herself was on her own terms. Performing for Missy like her dog made Victoria’s skin crawl, and Missy’s enthusiastic response didn’t make it feel any better.

“I’ve never been called delicate, and I ain’t never been offered no fainting couch, much less used one.” She pointed out, distancing herself from Missy’s attempt at solidarity with her. “But, uh…” She shrugged, and offered a half smirk, “You think they let colored ladies vote up in Wyomin’? Hell, you think they got any colored ladies up in Wyomin’?”

That question earned a laugh from Vic, and another glass of whiskey. And while she poured that glass, Missy changed from the southern belle enjoying the latest bits of gossip to the calculating businesswoman.

“Which is my business, Miss Freeman. I am a solution. To many problems, the list of which I am still adding to. Vigorously. An investor, of sorts, if you prefer. Not of businesses or concepts or anything so pedestrian. But of ability.” She spouted off some pretty words that didn’t mean a whole lot to Vic, wasting a whole lot of breath for not much meaning. Vic took a slow sip of her drink, and slid into her own mask, the illiterate former slave.

“Hun, you’re gon hafta forgive me. I’m jus a simple colored lady, without the benefit of your fancy learnin’. If you want me to follow along, you’re gon hafta speak more plainly.”

And she did just that. “This land is worthless, Miss Freeman. Utterly worthless. Nothing will ever grow here, and the only beings suited to living in such miserable, inescapable heat are rodents and reptiles. And when that mine dies -and it will, I assure you, Miss Freeman- this town will consume itself. Until there is nothing left but scrap.”

“And who will they come to then? With pitchforks in hand and murderous envy in their eyes? The ...colored girl who’s been gathering money like they do flies?”

And that was the cruelest thing of all, because it true. Because a former slave could work herself to the bone and sell her very body to any passerby who came along, and all she could get for that was a plot of worthless land in a dying town.

Before Victoria could even speak, however, Missy turned that dire warning into an opportunity, because that’s what her kind did. Create the idea of a problem, and then offer to sell you the solution to it. And dammit if it weren’t working right now.

"For now, the whiskey is yours. All I have. I imagine you'll turn a better profit than I ever will. "In return, I'd like nothing more than to ...rent your establishment. For the evening. For the town -whatever is left of them anyhow."

“Well, I suppose I’d hafta be a fool to deny you,” Vic admitted, finishing off her glass. “But I can’t recommend lettin’ these men know they can drink without payin’. They’ll get ugly drunk then, and that’s more’n headache than even you could pay for.”




The evening shift was in full swing by the time the two gentlemen from before arrived at the Belle, and Vic found herself quite pleased at their arrival. She changed for the night shift, shedding the veneer of respectability for corset top that showed off her cleavage, and a ruffled skirt that showed even more leg.

“Evenin’ fellahs. You wanna come join me for a drink upstairs?” she offered, motioning with her head towards the lone table at the top of the second-floor landing. She led the way, gripping her skirt tight against her so she wouldn’t step on it as she ascended the steps. “So, Onyx Landing excitin’ enough for you fellahs?”

An unopened bottle of good whiskey awaited them on the table, and three empty glasses. Vic made a show of leaning over to pour each one, and crossed her legs deliberately as she sat, and took a long drink of her glass. “I wish I could join you two for more’n just the one drink, but business calls. Don’t worry, though, I’ll leave you two the bottle to finish off.” She took another sip of her whisky, and giggled as the heat made it’s way to her head. “Though, if I’m bein’ honest here, I’d much rather be off my feet this evenin’ if you catch my meanin’.”
 

Kilted Pervert

Super-Earth
>>>“Evenin’ fellahs. You wanna come join me for a drink upstairs?” she offered, motioning with her head towards the lone table at the top of the second-floor landing. She led the way, gripping her skirt tight against her so she wouldn’t step on it as she ascended the steps. “So, Onyx Landing excitin’ enough for you fellahs?”<<<

Jeb stood politely and tipped his cap at her approach, "Evening Ma'am. I'd like that very much." He followed her upstairs, not failing to notice her hips swaying beneath her skirt as she ascended the steps. "You folks sure do know how to welcome a feller into town. A bank robbery and all. Are we stampeding cattle tomorrow morning for an encore?" Jeb took the seat across the table from Miss Vickie and thanked her for the offered whiskey. After a drink, he paused to repack his pipe and light it, the unmistakable aroma of the poppy laced tobacco floating around his head.

>>>> “I wish I could join you two for more’n just the one drink, but business calls. Don’t worry, though, I’ll leave you two the bottle to finish off.” She took another sip of her whisky, and giggled as the heat made it’s way to her head. “Though, if I’m bein’ honest here, I’d much rather be off my feet this evenin’ if you catch my meanin’.” <<<<

Jeb smiled and cocked his head at the thinly veiled invitation, "Well Miss Freeman, I would echo that sentiment wholeheartedly, and if its not too bold of me to say, if you'd care to save the last dance of the evening for Ol' Jeb, I'd be much obliged to ya." Jeb lifted his glass in a toast to her and took a long swallow. The whiskey was far better than the stuff he normally drank, Eastern Kentucky if he had to make a guess, and very fine. Slightly sweet from the corn mash, and tasting of the white oak cask where it aged. "This is a fine whiskey Ma'am. Thank you for the hospitality. I hope my distraction was a benefit this morning, though it appeared you Ladies had things well in hand."
 

WaveVelour

Star
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
Bed sheets neither the whitest, nor the cleanest; it surprisingly didn’t bother the dainty young woman who lay on top of the modest bed. She had found an odd peace at the inn. A soothing aura surrounded her body, ready to surrender to sleep. It was an extraneous voice that rang in her ears and dictated her actions lately. Yes, an influential murmuring to exercise control over her flagitious actions. Or perhaps it was nothing more than a convenient scapegoat. An easy way to blame something else for her own nefariousness. A thin excuse for her malign behavior. The concerning thoughts once again beginning to spark a debate within her little mind, Grace’s body rolled on the mattress. As the woman lay on her side, her knees bent in a fetal position. Her eyes twitched restlessly under the curtain of their lids. When she was now all alone to listen to her inner voice, she couldn’t feel so relaxed anymore. Faces and disturbing images flashed in her head. Unprovoked tears soon started to gently flow down from the corners of her closed eyes. Faint sobs disturbing the silence of the evening.

A sharper whimper came from downstairs however. “Old man!” A deep voice thundered in concern. “Pa!” A cowboy behind the bar counter, kneeled at a dead man’s head, preying out and begging his father came back. “Get up! What happened?” Playing the stubborn, wearing the mask of the tough cowpoke was almost mandatory across these harsh lands of the west, albeit not always easy to maintain. He stared down at the old man, dead eyes looking him back. It was pointless to try to sleep among the many howls of despair. Grace got out of her room slowly, and walked down the stairs even slower, making her way toward the bar like a ghostly presence. It was quite a tragic sight. Her short stay at the lonely inn had brought a curse upon the already struggling house. She had fucked two people today, just in different ways. The son had gotten lust, and the father succumbed to cold death. Desire and misery had balanced each other out. “Go to your room! Get back!” Watery eyes glared at the young woman, without any desire now.

Scolding cries of the man didn’t stop Grace however. “W-what happened?” She managed to ask, although the old innkeeper’s untimely demise was no mystery to her. A shiver ran down her spine. Her blank eyes watched the crime scene from above as she leaned over the counter. As she once again stood at the same spot, it was sorrow what accompanied her presence this time. There was agony in death, but she had also seen beauty in it as well. Something very subtle and elegant.

“I’m busy, don’t you see?” The cowboy kept shouting, however not leaving the cold body to ensure she stayed away from the scenery. Grace knew the words, the truth. The words that would replace the man’s anguish with fiery anger. However, she wasn’t brave enough for this unpleasant confession.

“I saw him. We talked. Laughed.” She admitted.

“When? How? What did he say?!” A few confusing questions arose. Strong men, unyielding brave little cowboys, tough guys. She was attracted to them as much as the next girl. However, emotional and vulnerable, more human in short, she adored those more. Yes, he was vulnerable, defenses lowered. Grace quietly sunk to her knees, sitting behind the suffering man.

“Drinking. Humoring me even. He looked fine.” One of her arms ran around his chest in a demure hug. What had the old innkeeper actually said, and what she had put into his lips herself, it was a blur for the sick brunette. “Mentioned her daughter.” Her coiled arm embraced the man, gradually sliding up from his chest to his neck.

“Damn you Shirley… Look what happened when you ran off.” He suggested. The old man had started to drink more when her dear daughter flew away from the mining town. To follow her dreams, or rather a rebellious boy. Grace put her chin on his shoulder, hugging him from behind and whispering into his ear as if talking aloud would awaken the dead.

“Let them rest from cruel labor, for their deeds shall follow them upon calm.” The woman unwrapped her arm from the man’s neck, taking support from his broad shoulders to rise to her feet. To mourn his loss, she quietly left him alone. At least, the town had a new, better able innkeeper if one needed it again.
 

Praxis

𝓛𝓮𝓪𝓻𝓷 𝓽𝓸 𝓼𝔀𝓲𝓶
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 13, 2014
Location
the Neitherworld
"She is the most difficult person I have ever met!" Missy was fuming, pacing about the open space of her tent while Clint sat; arms folded and chin tucked against his chest. "Truly, I'd have just as much luck speaking to a wall, for all the good it's done me."

"Mm" The big man replied.

"I offer her liquor, free of charge. She refuses. I put about my very best in hospitality; offering my hand. She rebukes me. Tell me, Clint," she turned her furious gaze on him, pretty lips worked into a severe frown that did little to convey how angry the girl was. Such was the problem with delicate features and a fair complexion. It all looked perfectly harmless unless it was actively stomping you into the dirt. Which wasn't an option with the ever elusive Miss Freeman.

"Am I so repellent to these ...people?"

He snorted. "Well, look at you." It was one of the rare luxuries that the man kept for having known the young Miss Huntington for longer than even her own memory served. Being able to speak frankly with her - even if through postured accents - was a tactic few employed. "You think you're the first rich white girl she's dealt with?"

Missy continued to frown silently.

"She's probably been ducking the tempers of people like you her whole life. Worse even. So, she made it out here, set up shop and hasn't looked back since." He let this simmer, watching as the wheels if indignance wore themselves down. "She knows everything comes with a price. And you went in there waving around big promises."

She exhaled, rolling her eyes away from him, his truth and the damned, all-knowing tone of his. Fluttering her lashes, she swallowed a bitter pill and cleared her throat.

"Any other news? What of those reporters?"

"No word. Seemed to have hunkered down after that mess at the bank. I'm sure they've got plenty of story though."

Missy clicked her teeth at this. She wasn't sure if that was a positive or not. And without knowing how to properly register information, she did what she always did: dismissed it.

"Innkeeper died. No word on how."

She stared at him from her place where her pacing had left her. Evening was approaching and she felt as though she'd been run through the wringer. Ever ready with the dawn, the blonde knew she'd need to pounce on free flowing liquor and marginally buoyed spirits while she could. To strike while things still glowed and, hopefully, shape something worthwhile from all of this dirt, stone and supposed ore.

"I..." she started, shrugging, "don't care."

"Miller is missing. Hasn't reported in since second call."

"Which one is he?"

"Doesn't matter." It did, a great deal, in all reality. Going into the specifics of why Miller was a bigger loss than the next man, or the next, would've been pointless though. "Problems are piling up at a pretty alarming rate is all. Not counting those poor bastards they sent to lockup."

Now it was her turn to snort in derision. And she did, biting her lip as an idea formed in her head. "I suppose we'd best climb then. Have our supplies of Gold Label sent to Miss Freeman. All of it. Lisbeth Bouchard and her dimwit husband can do without. I never cared for her anyway."

Clint nodded. "I take it that means we're settling in?"

"Oh yes, Clint, my dear." Missy beamed, leaning across a vanity to inspect the smokey shade across heavy lids. She'd need a touch-up before attending her impromptu meet and greet. "Lock stock and barrel."
 

TheCorsair

Pulsar
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Tom followed Miss Vickie and Jeb up the stairs, feeling just a little out of place. Well, maybe a lot out of place. He wasn’t exactly a stranger to saloons or whorehouses, but he wasn’t used to being treated like a guest. Most of the time, it was more like getting treated like a broke cow puncher, which he usually was. “So, Onyx Landing excitin’ enough for you fellahs?”

Jeb’s answer made him laugh. “Yep. Sore is wild right now,” he agreed, trying not to stare too much as she bent over to pour the whiskey. “Picked a hell o’ a time ta visit, Ah reckon.” Raising his glass, he tipped it back. “But Ah reckon this makes it worth it, cause that’s mighty fine.”

At Miss Vickie’s invitation he poured himself another glass, listening as she lamented having to work all night and Jeb asked her to save a lastdance for him. “Reckon Ah do catch yer meanin’, ma’am,” he agreed, sipping the whiskey this time. “Gotta be hard, havin’ ta ride herd on this here crowd.” A gesture took in the patrons downstairs. “Anythin’ Ah kin do ta help, we’ll, Ah’d consider it an honor ta do you a favor ma’am.”

-*-

“It always this crazy in the evenings?” Cassie asked.

Gwen laughed. “No. It’s probably all the excitement at the bank, got folks coming in.” She laughed. “Or word got out that there’s more booze. Either way, it’s a good thing.” She smiled at a miner who’d been trying to catch her eye. “Crowds mean money, after all.”

Cassie watched the petticoat-clad whore cross the floor, then shook her head. Crazy and crowded it might be, but so far she hadn’t had to break up any fights or toss out anyone who was getting too rowdy. So, that was good. But the noise was giving her a headache.

A decision made, she headed up the stairs. Miss Vickie and the two Good Samaratins That has helped out at the bank we’re there, padding a bottle around. “..,hope my distraction was a benefit this morning,” the one-armed man was saying, “though it appeared you Ladies had things well in hand."

“I, for one,” Cassie said, taking a seat, “will never be so foolish for lack of sense as to turn down help when it’s offered. Especially when guns are involved.” Hesitating, she realized there were only three glasses. “Ah. This a private party? Or do you have room for one more?”
 
OP
xanaphia

xanaphia

Philosopher? I hardly knew her!
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
“Gotta be hard, havin’ ta ride herd on this here crowd.”

“Oh, that’s not the hard part,” Victoria cooed, enjoying another sip of whisky.

“Anythin’ Ah kin do ta help, we’ll, Ah’d consider it an honor ta do you a favor ma’am.”


Vic considered taking him up on that offer, but she knew he didn’t mean the way she wanted to take it. He was just being polite. Both Jeb and Tom were perfectly polite, and that was a problem. Vic wasn’t looking for polite, tonight. She was looking for coarse, and filthy, and rough, and raw. “Nah, it ain’t nothing I can’t handle.”

“Ah. This a private party? Or do you have room for one more?”

“No party here,” Vic assured Cassie, covering most of her disappointment in a smile. Her gaze lingered on the slender woman, and once more the temptation to try her out burned hot in her core. But she didn’t want Cassie to feel obliged to service her employer, and pushed the thought away. Maybe, if she brought it up, first. “You can take my glass, if’n you don’t mind cleanin’ it out.”

Drawing herself erect, she made her way downstairs. It was rowdy, rowdier than usual, but she could handle it. Passing out drinks, smiling and winking at the whistles and cat calls. There was a heat in the salon tonight, a heat that simmered in each set of eyes that lingered on her skin, and drank in her figure. That heat was a presence on her skin, thick and sultry, and it chafed her thighs as she moved the bar and demanded satisfaction.

Bent over one table to refill their drinks, and maybe tempt them, more than a little, Vic got a reaction, all right. A hand, thick and meaty, cupped her ass and squeezed. A miner’s hand, no doubt. A shocked gasp escaped her lips, breathy and high. The table burst into bawdy laughter, each set of eyes leering at her, including the man on her right, sporting a cocky grin. Usually, that would have earned the culprit a hand across his face and an escort outside. Tonight, however, Miss Vickie had other things on her mind.

“Oh, and what are you packin’ now?” she replied, moving in to grab his crotch in return. Laughter at the tabled died out quick, replaced by an awkward, tense focus on her. “Hmm, not bad. But do you know how to use it?”

The miner didn’t answer right away, still stunned by her bold reprisal. It took a couple of blinks before he could manage a, “Hell yeah I kin use it. Why don’t you lemme show you how.”

“Alright then.” She motioned with her head upstairs. “Come on, I ain’t got all night now.” Then without turning to see if he were following –because of course he was– she headed for her room upstairs, and closed the door behind them.
 

WaveVelour

Star
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
The narrow gap between the ragged curtains revealed the start of a new day. Hopefully quieter and more promising than the last. An endless fog of dark clouds filtered the brightness of the sun, and its warmth as well. A subtle breeze ran across the streets in these early hours of the day, carrying the unusual, heavy smell in the air with it, as if hinting at something rotten and corrupt in the small mining town. Gladly not remembering the bad dreams she had throughout the night, Grace opened her eyes to a new day. A shiver of desperation ran through her half-rested body when she remembered where she was and what she was doing across these wild lands. Not very eager to find out what this shady Wednesday would bring to her, she sat on the edge of the bed. Insignificant weight of her fragile body didn’t produce a distinct curve across the mattress. However, events of yesterday had dented her susceptible mental state. Beyond repair perhaps. There wasn’t much to glance through in the small room she called home for the night. Sleepy eyes still stared at the walls, inspecting the little imperfections on them as if they formed an indistinct puzzle. A maze Grace had to solve before she could escape her moody room at the inn. After dressing up, she headed to the bathroom to attend to her vanity concerns.

Unhurried steps of the young brunette brought her downstairs next. Considering the fatal stunt she performed yestereve, the inn couldn’t be considered a lovely place to spend her time for the woman. She was not deeply regretful of her actions, although still worried the possible consequences of them. Gentle thuds of her shoes stopped near the entrance of the sad building as Grace stood in the middle of the lobby. Her wide eyes failed to spot a soul other than hers. Given the recent passing of the old innkeeper, it was unfair to expect breakfast service this moody morning. A few more slow-paced steps taken towards the bar put the woman’s slim figure in front of the counter. Her modest height didn’t allow her to see behind the counter. She slowly leaned over the flat surface of the furniture to peer down. There was no dead body to be seen this time. It was a comforting sight, as if not seeing the old man’s cold body would erase what she had done. A subtle noise which sounded to be coming from somewhere behind her made Grace look back. Over her shoulder, she gazed back in the direction of the noise, if there was indeed a noise of course. With an unnerving tingle she felt on the back of her neck, the woman turned her head back to the bar. Frightened eyes widened up as she looked down over the counter again. Unsurprisingly, there was still nothing but empty space behind the bar.

Its origins unclear, another sudden noise startled the lonely brunette, almost making her jump on the spot. Grace raced towards the door, to leave the eerie lodging house at once. Just outside the building, a makeshift porch provided her cover from the drizzle. She was getting paranoid, more instable over time. The sounds from earlier were nothing but rain droplets hitting the ground. Solving this trivial mystery calmed the woman’s nerves. Many scared Grace, but she wasn’t afraid of getting a little wet. On the contrary, all things considered, a soothing dampness could have felt good to some degree. Just as she tried to step outside the porch however, a hand grabbed her from the shoulder, keen fingers crudely pulling her back and holding her in place. A head appeared above her opposite shoulder shortly after. “Hold there.” The new, younger innkeeper warned the woman. By then, the rain had increased its intensity, from a drizzle to a mild-heavy shower. He pointed out the horses in the distance, a pair of four legged creatures, disturbed by the droplets of rain falling upon their brown fur, neighing and kicking away. “It ain’t right. Smells like sulfur.” The man guessed the heavy scent in the air. It wasn’t a common occurrence, especially for a remote location in the wilderness, to rain down acid from the dark, ivory sky. Perhaps not deadly, but still an inconvenient phenomenon to worry about.

Without giving the discouraging weather conditions much of a thought, Grace freed herself from the man’s concerned grip and darted out. She just wanted out of the inn’s immediate vicinity, set herself free from its shadow. Soon, a barrage of little water droplets danced upon her figure. As if the clouds had been awaiting her escape, the rain poured down in torrents. It felt like little needles, poking her skin through the fabric of her dress, ants nibbling on her skin, slowly making her undone. Wherever the rain dropped, it melted. The sensation at first felt like a gentle tickling, an oddly satisfying scratch on her skin. It soon became worse, a nightmare in fact. Grace could see the red wounds on her hands when she looked down at them, growing in size like the ones over the rest of her body. Her dress fell off. And her birthday suit didn’t last long. Her skin began to peel away from her body in slobbery chunks, leaving its place to melting red flesh as if she was a candle, swiftly burning up. “I can’t see! I can’t see!” The young woman screamed as acid dissolved both of her eyes, making them flow down her face like a thick stream of tears. “Help! HELP!” She shouted in terrible agony, running about aimlessly as if someone set her on fire. Her screams didn’t stop until acid burned her inners, like the very poison she used on others. Most of her hair gone, rain drops began to drill their way into the exposed spots of her skull. The face she adored so much was washed away by the rain as if the nature itself was decomposing her body in an accelerated pace. It was a nightmarish experience. And it was. With a deep breath, Grace sprang up in her bed after a few hours of sleep into the evening. Sweaty and anxious, but glad to be still alive.
 

Praxis

𝓛𝓮𝓪𝓻𝓷 𝓽𝓸 𝓼𝔀𝓲𝓶
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 13, 2014
Location
the Neitherworld
Nightfall somehow did more for the town than Missy could've predicted. Without the blinding light and heat of day, the streets seemed smaller somehow. More familiar. Cozier, even. Orange warmth from any of the supplied lanterns only furthered this effect. In short supply like nearly everything else, whomever was tasked with lighting the little hamlet had only the supplies to provide for the saloon and a fraction of the major thoroughfare. Leaving the further reaches and alleys to fade into darkness.

It was enough. The Dusky Belle was the only place worth being, so far as she'd been able to tell. With innkeepers mysteriously shuffling loose their mortal coil and Clint's right hand all but missing, it was good to hear voices; clamoring and laughing among themselves from just inside the dwelling. Missy preened herself once before entering, turning a glittering eye to Clint only in passing before she pushed beyond the swinging set of half-doors and entered; company in tow.

Well, her gift to Miss Freeman had gone to use. Of that, there was little room for debate. All around Missy and her trio of dark-dressed henchmen were glasses being emptied. Cards being dealt, shuffled and fanned protectively. The sort of electricity that coursed through a full room and danced across the surfaces of roughly hewn walls and joists.

Alive! Yes, that was the word. Truly, a sight to behold when all she'd seen thus far of Onyx Landing was death. Be it quick and violent. Or slow and laborious. But ...it was still missing something. Memories of a bustling three-story brothel in Louisiana she'd recently come into ownership of spurred her to turn to one of the men at her side.

"You. Can you play that?" She asked, assuming the dusty piano tucked against a wall near them was reason enough for her question.

"Uh, I can play a little Camptown Races." Higgins offered, grimacing.

The blonde stared at him fiercely for a long while, manicured brows pitched toward their middle and pink lips working into what might've been the warnings of a frown. The man shifted between his feet a moment, unsure if what he'd said would somehow warrant a tongue lashing from the slip of a thing that was still examining him with all the shrewdness of a cattle vendor.

"That'll be fine, thank you." With that, her attention shifted and she was followed further by Clint and another Huntington associate. Leaving Higgins to sit at the rickety bench and take to wiping away the dust from ivory. It took him four tries before he found middle C.

She swept blue eyes about the room, to the second floor landing and back to the bartender who appeared pleased to not be scraping the bottoms of barrels. Miss Freeman was nowhere to be found but she did pass a half-polite smirk at a man who let his own gaze linger a bit too long. It would've almost been worth having one of them reach out and snake a feel at one of her coltish thighs in passing. Just to see the pain it'd bring.

"Give us a boost, love." She whispered at Clint. Her knee - the one that'd broken a man's face earlier in the day - had been throbbing dully in the hours since. Placing her own tiny hand in Clint's oversized paw, she'd do her best not to wince as she stepped up and onto one of the tables. Causing a small clatter of those seated down the length of it and drawing the attention of more than half the room. Higgins ceased his playing and a comparative silence befell the room.

"Good evening, everyone!" She announced, her voice a bright cut above the din of the saloon. Nowhere toward a shout, borrowing more from a cheer, she'd clap her hands together and survey the faces as each turned in either bewilderment or intrigue to the woman, her silver silk and flaxen hair. She'd gotten most of the blood out of the suede of her toes and calves.

But not all.

"If I could borrow just a moment of your time. There is a matter of..." She grinned devilishly, "money to discuss."

That ought to get their attention.
 

Kilted Pervert

Super-Earth
>>>>“I, for one,” Cassie said, taking a seat, “will never be so foolish for lack of sense as to turn down help when it’s offered. Especially when guns are involved.” Hesitating, she realized there were only three glasses. “Ah. This a private party? Or do you have room for one more?”<<<<

Jeb took Miss Vickie's glass, wiped it dry with a clean handkerchief from his vest pocket, then poured Cassie a tall dram of whiskey from the bottle. "Always room for one more Miss. And by the looks of things this mornin', y'all handled those miscreants jus' fine." Jeb raised his glass in a toast, and tipped his cap to her. Jeb decided he liked the breed of woman in this town, strong, capable and independent. Being easy on the eyes wasn't such a bad thing either. "Jebadiah Morsey, Ma'am. Originally from Missouri, lately Parts Unknown. Glad to make your acquaintance. But I'd appreciate it if ya didn't call me Jebadiah if ya don't mind, nobody ever called me that but me Mum when she was mad at me, and that bitch of a nun at primary school."

After taking a long drink of his glass and giving Cassie time to do likewise, Jeb spoke up. "So, I'm guessing you work security here for Miss Vickie? If that be the case, I'd keep an eye on the two well dressed fellers standing at the far end of the bar. I've had dealings with them before, and they are dangerous cats. The tall one in the derby hat is one Jessup O'Toole. He's a Pinkerton man, and he don't bother bringing men in alive, be they innocent or guilty. And from what I've heard he gets his jollies from beatin' on women in the bedroom, if you take my meaning. His dark complected partner is Johnny Two-Pines. Grew up a halfbreed Cherokee slave in the Territories. That man just enjoys killin', and he shares a weakness for drink like many of his Folk. No idea whether they are here workin' or jus' passing through, but things could go bad either way."

>>>>
"Good evening, everyone!" She announced, her voice a bright cut above the din of the saloon. Nowhere toward a shout, borrowing more from a cheer, she'd clap her hands together and survey the faces as each turned in either bewilderment or intrigue to the woman, her silver silk and flaxen hair. She'd gotten most of the blood out of the suede of her toes and calves.
But not all.
"If I could borrow just a moment of your time. There is a matter of..." She grinned devilishly, "money to discuss."<<<<

Jeb's head jerked around at the sound of Missy's voice, and his face twisted with disgust at her smile and sweet words. He spat on the floor. "That primrose bloodsuckin' leech, she'll bleed this town dry and feed the husk to the buzzards. Mark my words. Ain't no place safe from the Eastern slave masters. Talkin' of money? That money will go in only one pocket, folk here will be fightin' over the scraps." Jeb drained his glass and repacked his pipe. "So much for a peaceful evening."
 
Last edited:
OP
xanaphia

xanaphia

Philosopher? I hardly knew her!
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Much to Victoria’s annoyance, it wasn’t long before she and the miner emerged from her room. Apparently “knowing what to do” much jack hammering her until sweating, and finishing long before she could even get started. Occasionally, she might have spared him some pity after such a performance, allowing him to stay hidden in her room for awhile longer, as to preserve his reputation. Tonight, however, she felt no such benevolence, and ushered him out by the time she cleaned herself off.

As it so happened, she was leaving the room as Missy got up to make her big announcement, and she leaned over the railing to get a listen in. More of that pretty talk from before, so far as Vic could tell. It was hard to tell if it was working on the townsfolk. Oh, they were listening alright, soothed by the drinks in their hands, watching the young woman with mostly curiosity, with perhaps a touch of carnal hunger. She was, after all, a pretty young thing making a fuss in a whorehouse, and therefore easy to draw that association.

And it was clear it wasn’t fooling everyone, as Jeb spoke behind her, "That primrose bloodsuckin' leech, she'll bleed this town dry and feed the husk to the buzzards. Mark my words. Ain't no place safe from the Eastern slave masters. Talkin' of money? That money will go in only one pocket, folk here will be fightin' over the scraps."

Vic spared him a backward glance, and nodded in agreement. “She got some kinda machinations over Onyx Landing, but I couldn’t begin to tell ya what they were.”
 

Praxis

𝓛𝓮𝓪𝓻𝓷 𝓽𝓸 𝓼𝔀𝓲𝓶
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 13, 2014
Location
the Neitherworld
"Wonderful!" She beamed, hands still clasped together, shapely legs taking her slowly down the length of table. Those who'd managed to ignore her initial call were all but forced to then, some placing their cards face down in irritation. Others still fixated on the only word that really mattered in all of this: money.

Oh, yes. It'd worked. Hook, line and sinker. Lucky then, a malicious grin shifted toward a polite enough smile. Lest they see through the ruse.

"Now then. First of all let me say: Hello friends. There are those of you I have had the pleasure of meeting personally," she shifted her eyes up to a leaning Victoria. Glittering only a moment before she was sweeping through the crowd again, being sure to at least offer the illusion of her attention to everyone. "And those I look forward to meeting in these coming days. I believe it is in my best interest to be forthright with you good, honest people."

She cleared her throat, inhaled and lunged.

"The mine. Yes, I am talking about the mine right here in town. I'm told that there was an incident. Men were injured. Killed." She paused for effect, figuring a few seconds was better than nothing for the names of men she'd never care to know. "Since then there has been a..." spinning lazily on heels, the blonde would double back toward the end of the table from where she'd began. "Severe lack of management. Both in terms of how you men have been compensated for this. And in further production. After all, it isn't the promises of Grand Venture or ...their associates that are keeping you men fed, is it?"

Much less drunk, high and drained of most of the fluid of their bodies and further reaches by Miss Freeman's envoy of professionals. Missy spared a moment toward Calvin Jacobs; half drunk and with prostitute in lap, who slunk away from the woman's glare.

Clucking her tongue, she'd continue to the room. "So! First order of business, I'd say, would be to get that mine back up and running, friends." It seemed obvious when she phrased it like she did, all wide eyed and adamant. "Continued production will lead to further revenue. Further revenue leads to disbursement of the appropriate funds." She could tell she was losing them. "Which means you all get paid. It means that this town can continue flourishing as it should have been all along before this little -hm, hurdle, we'll call it."

There was a quick rumble of disapproval from a few of the surviving miners at her glib dismissal of what had been a rather gruesome ordeal. She paid it no mind, powering through.

Still pacing, she could tell by the shuffle of feet and glassware their patience would only extend so long. A quick glance to Clint was the only refresher she needed on lessons regarding promises over offers.

"Now," tucking her chin against her chest a moment, she'd at least look the part of the regretful Belle. "Some of you may have been witness to that unfortunate display earlier, at the bank. And while I am remorseful that some of you were forced to make your first impressions of me based on that..." lifting her head, pleading with everyone at once to forgive her, if only they could, "but I am not ashamed."

"Those men were thieves, friends. Intent on taking what they had no right to. Ferreting off with your earnings and the earnings of our lovely hostess, Miss Victoria Freeman." There was a point she was getting at, even if it seemed to be taking her the better part of the evening to approach it. "And if you take my hand, friends, and lift yourselves back up, you will know nothing short of vociferous concern from both myself," she flourished a small hand near her chest, then to Clint and the other dark-dressed man, "and all Huntington associates."

Taking one final sweep across the room, admiring the way their attention had been appropriately hooked, she'd step back down onto the wood flooring. "If any of you have something to contribute, please, the door to the parlor car is always open to guests." She'd be conducting her business there for the time being. Just as well. She'd probably have shot anyone that approached her tent without warning.

With that handled, the blonde found herself a seat at the bar. Tossing a wink at the bartender and finding little surprise from a trio of grubby looking men eager to discuss why their experiences up at Dead Reach were more valuable than another's. She'd have more than enough of them for an exploratory trip by sunup.
 

WaveVelour

Star
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
The unpleasant nightmare she had not only left a rather bad taste in her mouth, but left her panting on the bed as well. As Grace sat on the edge of the mattress, a depressive anxiety, hidden in the darkness of the small room, began to embrace the young brunette, almost penetrating into her fair skin to find its way into her racing heart. Similar to the acidic rain droplets in her terrifying dream, her sweat ran down her slim body, wetting her thin clothes and further blurring her already deranged mind. Her shallow breaths disturbingly whistled in the quiet room, irregular motion of her lungs putting the distinct pair of orbs on her chest in a loop of heaving and depress. Her fingers clenched the inferior bed sheets, stronger than her husband had ever made her do. Already struggling to keep herself sane, she had long convinced herself that it was more than a mere nightmare what she had seen. There was something terribly wrong within her flesh, or perhaps it was this moody town that had been the troubling source of her escalating distress.

Bare feet of the woman hurried out of the room, to escape this claustrophobic confinement. Not caring what she felt under her soles any longer, or what she wore, Grace rushed downstairs. “Owen! Owen!” Her pitched voice resounded within the walls of the inn, calling out to its new host. Her breaths still a whistle, she clawed on his chest upon the man’s confused presence towering before her. “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” She shouted with widened eyes, hoping for the help of the soul she had unintentionally agonized with the death of his family. As the panic continued to devour her mental sanitation, the cowboy brought her outside the building so that she could fill her lungs with air other than the one in the inn she deemed toxic. Albeit being a bit chilling, fresh air and the faux lustrousness of the moon did her good, bestowing a short term relaxation upon the awed woman. Her slender digits too relaxed soon, her gaze however, remained sharp and perturbed. “Take me away. Get me out.” Grace managed to utter her wish.

Further discussions were in vain. Certainly not dressed for a journey through wilderness, Grace’s half covered form still sprang up and down on the back of a brown horse. Her arms hugging the rider from behind, her chest pressing against his back. Lunar gloss painted a brightness to the black of her waving hair. “Wait.” Grace pleaded as a familiar carriage attracted her attention on the field. It was a modest vehicle, far from being a glorified transport. A cart a lot older and cheaper than what the young woman was accustomed to ride, but so was the small town she had found herself in. It was the one she had arrived in town. She displayed enough persistence to convince her confused escort to pause. The man helped her off the horse. The earth a little damp under her feet, it almost felt like it was inviting the young brunette in itself. Horse of her old carriage had been long gone, an empty flask lying on the ground where it used to stand. Grace cautiously circled around the lifeless cart, her twitching eyes searching for a rotten sight.

Upon finding the dark imagery she sought, the woman looked up in the dark sky to avert her gaze. By then, as if it had been disturbed by the graceless scent of death itself, the horse she rode here betrayed its owner and fled away and out of sight. Amazed eyes of Grace watched a falling star. Her eyes tracked its arc in the sky, to find more little stars before her, shining and glittering at her. The woman stared at the little stars, and the glowing eyes of the beasts of the dark glared back at her. Distant snarls announced a prey. Increasing growls daunted the woman’s company. The man’s concerned glance shifted between the woman and glowing eyes in the distance with the rightful fear of being torn, pierced, moldered and bitten off.

“You mad? Those are not stars!”

“Assume they are.”
 

Shiva the Cat

Chekhov's Mom
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Location
The Highest of the States
The exchange with Jeb might have lingered in Jules' memory as a pleasant one, but as soon as he called her "Pretty Lady" and bid her farewell the conversation instantly soured with suspicion. Was he making fun of her? With her sunken eyes and froglike mouth, Jules knew better than to think herself any kind of a beauty, and had on more than one occasion had suffered the mocking advances of men who found it amusing to court the gangly presswoman, only to humiliate her later on. Her muscles visibly tensed, and she could only mumble the faintest "afternoon" in response as she turned to the horses.

These, at least, the big redhead was sure she could trust, although the poor things were getting restless after all the excitement. Well, there was nothing else for it but to hustle them down to the stables and see if some feed might cheer them up a bit. Easily leading the quartet as though they were a herd of sheep, Jules found the proprietor of the stables cowering inside, clearly still terrified of the excitement outside. Curiosity at a new face soon overtook the old caballero though, and with the aid of his teenage granddaughter serving as interpreter, the pair were able to come to a surprisingly pleasant arrangement.

After seeing the horses, old Guillermo was so impressed that he clumsily offered to buy the animals outright, albeit at a price that was almost insulting to good-natured Jules, and would have started and outright war with her older sister. After some back and forth, it was agreed that Guillermo would have the right to hire out the horses and use them himself in exchange for covering the costs of feeding and stabling the beasts, along with paying 30% of any profit to the Barrow sisters until he could afford to buy the entire team for the tidy sum of four hundred dollars. Jules' only other condition was that at least one of the horses be kept ready in case she or Jess needed to ride one, or that they would be given a different steed in its place if needed, to which Guillermo reluctantly agreed.

Satisfied at having established a small passive income for the business that would at least keep them from starving, Jules was just leaving the stables when she saw the tiny disheveled form of Jules barreling down the street towards her in a fury.

"There you are! Where the fuck have you been? What's all this I'm hearing about a robbery?" Jess shrieked as she stormed up to her sister, looking rather like David about to face a very confused Goliath.

"There was a robbery," Jules stated, inclining her head towards scene of the crime. "At the bank."

"Anyone killed?"

"Don't think so."

"Don't think so, or don't know so?"

Jules crossed her arms over her chest and let out a huffy breath. "I don't believe so, but I haven't had time to ask. I've been seeing to the horses. Old Guillermo down at the stable says he--"

"Unless Old Guillermo was a firsthand witness and is willing to give us a statement, I really don't give a fuck what he says," Jess interrupted, grabbing her sister by the wrist and pulling her back towards the barbershop. "Come on, we've got work to do. There's also been a cave-in up at the mine, at least nine dead and more missing. I'll go write it up right now and that'll be front page top, we can put the bank robbery underneath. You write up everything you saw, then I can go out and fill in the blanks while you edit mine. I want to have at least two dozen editions out by tomorrow."

"What?" Jules jerked her hand back sharply and stared at the editor. "We can't put out an edition with two stories, Jess. We'll be laughed out of town."

Looking back at her sister, Jess opened her mouth and was ready to unleash another torrent of scolds, but at that moment a small gust of wind picked up, sending dust into her open mouth and forcing her to cough until she realized Jules was right. After helping herself to a dipper of water outside the general store, she took a deep breath and looked back at her partner with forced calmness, taking her more gently by the hand and leading her again towards the barbershop.

"You're right, we'll need some filler. Pick some current events from the Chicago and St. Louis papers we picked up last week and we'll reprint them, they should still be pretty fresh. For the inside, do a couple of those Mother Hubbard recipes that were so popular up in Rapid City, and a couple of your short stories--oh! Remember that real blood-curdling one you wrote a couple years back, about the monster in the river? Change that to a mine if you have time, we'll really lure 'em in then." Both Jess' tongue and feet were beginning to quicken as she practically dragged her sister into the office. "For the backpage we'll just do ads. Four pages total, twenty four editions, unless you can do more. We'll give 'em out free as samples in town to start subscriptions, and I'll start pounding pavement in the surround areas tomorrow afternoon. Speaking of which," Jess paused as she sat down at a makeshift desk and looked out the window towards the street. "What happened to the horses?"

Jules bit her tongue at that, but a short time later when Jess passed her a hastily scrawled draft of the report of the mine, the younger Barrow was particularly vicious with her excisions and comments, and Jess did not mention the matter again.

Later that afternoon, Jess could be seen flitting from door to door asking questions about the events of the robbery, only to be told on more than one occasion that "the other fella" had already been there asking his own questions. Had she not felt the deadline pressing on her, the editor might have been more motivated to hunt down the mysterious interviewer, but instead she focused on filling in the gaps of Jules' account and was back at the office by sundown. It did not occur to her again to ask Jules if anyone else had come by the office that day, or that someone might have called to sell a story while she was at the mine and the younger sister was busy at the stables.

It was a good thing that there seemed to be some kind of a big to-do going on across the street that night, otherwise the neighbors might have been troubled by the chugging sounds of machinery that began to kick up shortly before midnight and did not cease until well after. A few curious parties stumbling out of the Dusky Belle did pause to peek in the open windows of the building, but the ink and dirt smeared faces of the exhausted women inside were so terrifying that they quickly went on their way. It was nearly dawn by the time the office had gone quiet, with Jess curled up in her clothes on the mattress-less berth in the back room, and Jules passed out over a desk, her freckled cheek pillowed on a stack of test pages.

And next to the still-hot printing press, a box of neatly stack final editions, emblazoned with ONYX LANDING SENTINEL ISSUE 1 across the top, waiting for the morning.
 
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