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The clanging of a bell, blast of a steam whistle, and hiss of steam itself sounded as the massive locomotive and train lumbered into the Blackwater station. A woman carrying a suitcase, along with many others, stepped off the train. She walked out of the station and onto the main road pasted the bank. Behind her, the whistle sounded again, this time followed closely by the screech of wheels as the train pulled out again.
She wasn't overly pretty, or at least not enough to turn everyone's heads when she walked passed. Dark brown hair dangled down the back of her dress from underneath her day cap while she walked. It was obvious that she was from somewhere back east, maybe due to the fact that she walked with her nose in the air.
Turning onto the main street, she stopped for a moment as she took in the sight. Iron streetlamps stood on every corner, and people were walking around and talking to each other in a friendly manor. Once again, she began to walk, holding her suitcase just in front of her kneecaps as she walked.
Finally she reached the saloon and walked in. The smoke filled room was surprisingly not all that crowded, granted it was the middle of the day. Weather he was hung-over or still drunk from the night before, the piano player was leaning across his instrument with his fingers touching a key every now and then. But the main thing she was after was the tall redheaded man standing behind the bar.
"Hello miss, what can I do for ye?" The Bartender asked, his voice filled with a heavy Irish accent.
"I'm looking for a man by the name of John Marston, would you happen to know were he is?" the Young Woman asked.
"I'm sorry to tell ye lass, but your friend Marston passed on about three or four years ago," he said.
"Is there any family of his in the area?" she asked. The Bartender's eyes went to the middle of his forehead as he tried to find the name, still wiping out the inside of a glass with a cloth in the process.
"Well, I remember reading that his wife passed on not to long ago. But the only other relative he has that's still breathin is well out of your grasp lassie," he said. The woman cocked her head in confusion slightly.
"Well, Marston's son, Jack, he does a lot of working down along the river and such. Manly shooting at bandits and Mexican Rebels trying to hide on the wrong side of the river," said the Bartender as he sat down one glass and picked up another.
"Where can I find him?" the woman asked, no sweetness in her voice.
"You can try the ole farm outside of Blackwater here, but he's never there. You can spend the next six months here in the saloon waiting for him, but the one place I know of where he's at when he's not on the border is Thieves' Landing," said the Bartender. The woman bowed her head slightly.
"Thank you very much sir, you are most helpful," she said before she turned to leave the establishment.
"One more thing," the Bartender called after her. She turned and looked back at him.
"Thieves' Landing is the only town that I know of that fully lives up to its name, it would properly be best if a young woman like you has some kind of escort if your heading there," he said. The woman thanked him again before turning and walking out of the saloon.
Standing on the street corner, she sat her suitcase down to rest her arms. She hadn't been aware of John's death, or else she wouldn't have made the trip out here. But while she was in the area, she might as well have the next best thing.
"Excuse me sir, can I possibly get I ride to Thieves' Landing please?" she asked a man looking over his automobile. He looked up at her like she had just said a thousand curse words. But the shock quickly faded into a slight worry as he studied her.
"Why would you want to go to a place like that miss?" he asked, standing up straight.
"I'm looking for someone, my reasons are my own," she said. The man raised his hand to his chin while he thought over the situation for a moment.
"I'll take you there, but it'll cost you," he said. The woman opened her suitcase slightly and held up a small bundle of bills.
"Twenty five dollars," she said. The man almost seemed to drool slightly as he looked over the bills. But he quickly straightened himself out and opened the rear passenger door. He bowed slightly and held out his hand in order to help her into the car before running around and climbing into the drivers seat.
With a shacking sputter, the car came to life and began to roil forward. Very quickly, they left Blackwater behind and were crossing the Great Planes. Bison ran across the road before them, being chased by a few mounted hunters. The woman paid them no attention, like this was nothing new to her. After making a few turns and finding themselves in some swamp like trees, the driver brought the car to a halt just before a low bridge.
"Well maim, this is as far as I go. The town is just around the corner so its not a long walk," he said. She handed him his money before she climbed out of the car and began to walk across the bridge. Behind her, a few cranking sounds emanated as the man turned the car around and began to head back to Blackwater.
A low mist and dark storm clouds dampened her mood as she stepped off the western end of the bridge and into New Austin. Just ahead of her, she could make out the buildings of the town as she walked. Coming to a halt, she double-checked on the derringers she had tucked into her sleeves.
If the roomers about the town and the man were true, it was more then likely that she would need them.