The Dead West

Bad Moon Rising...

by James Pennington

The morning after the sand storm was clear and cooler. There was no more problem with any critters and the wagon had held up well to the storm. A good bit of dusting was required to clear all the sand away, but it was done quickly. We all ate breakfast and headed out.

We were only about a day from Virginia City so we took the familiarity to camp where we camped on the first night out. It was a quiet evening. The stars were numerous in the clear sky and the sounds of coyotes in the distance carried. Come morning, we were off to get back to Virginia City.

We arrived a few hours before dusk. Rowena and Sara seemed to have their minds set on a nice long bath or two, or three. I had totally forgotten about the Annual Poker Tournament at Tyler’s saloon and rushed back to the Marquis to get cleaned up and dressed. Tara came into the room and had started to mention about how worried she had been when she noticed the bandaged wound in my side. I told her we were late and I would tell her later. She knew we were late and let it drop at that for now.

Tyler’s saloon was full. The poker tournament was one of the big yearly events in Virginia City. Players from near and far came to participate. For the most part, it was business as usual with the exception of an unfamiliar face at the bar who seemed to be keeping an eye on me. He made no actions so it was just noted. During the tournament, toward the end, a gunshot was heard by some people in the saloon, even over the raucous crowd noise. Jasper and the others went to check it out.

It wasn’t a good night for me at the table. Maybe it was the rush to get here, or all the other distractions, but I did not play up to my best. After departing that, I went to speak with the gentleman at the bar. He wanted to talk with me. We spoke and then he told me where he would be staying. I met up with the rest of the party just as the late evening train was arriving. But something was wrong.

The train never blew its whistle. It also came in at a constant slower speed. Jasper was able to jump up on it and get into the engine. He stopped the train. He discovered a body, viciously torn apart. He began investigating the rest of the train. I paralleled him outside the train as he made his way towards the back of the train. All the cars had the same basic look as the engine. It was apparent that whatever did this had left after ripping up the horses and livestock in the last car. Jasper tracked whatever had done this and I followed. We came upon a woman, recently attacked. I stopped her bleeding and we moved forward quicker. A scream was heard just ahead and we burst into the area. It was a werewolf and Jasper shot it twice in the head. We subdued it with Rowena’s aid. Rowena mentioned that the gentleman who was watching me may have some aid to offer this poor creature. I went and found Mr. Grayson (his name) and brought him to the scene. He was able to aid the man. The question was now about the woman who was injured. Would she turn next full moon? We will be keeping an eye on her.

The hour was very late and we all turned in for the night.

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