Part 2

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"She's going to get herself killed."

The terseness of Abby's words caught Poe completely off-guard. They'd been talking, or at least he had while he'd carefully tended to the grave stone of Daniela Blue.

Alone on the hillside, they were less likely to have been seen or overheard.

He'd found himself using the vampire as a sounding board, going over the events of the past few weeks after explaining how he and Running-Deer had come to be here in the first place.

"Excuse me?" he asked as he stopped his muddled workings in the dirt.

"Your vampire turn at the ... bordello?" she clarified, having meant Pandora and not Running-Deer.

"They call them brothels in these parts." He corrected easily, although to her credit he found either term appropriate. "Why would she be killed? It may seem odd but what little that I do know about ... vampires, is that you all are fairly good at defending yourselves, even without ..." he gestured to her holstered weapons, "... certain tools of the trade."

As she smiled with amusement at his comment, he could appreciate how she must have fared with her patients.

"It takes some time to decide if someone is worth a turn. I've seen prospective supplicants pass years of inspection only to never receive their ... reward."

"Now that you mention it ..." Poe observed as he thought about what she'd just said, "... that would make perfect sense."

"Also ..." Abby continued, "... once turned most are kept on a very tight leash to keep them in-line and to avoid many of the usual problems. From what you've told me of her, this girl is far too fresh to have been left on her own as she was, or to be tasked with travelling further west. If they sent her after a lycan of any sort she'd be taken down long before she got anywhere near him."

Abby seemed to consider what he'd told her about Pandora.

"Lycans enjoy claiming that they can literally sniff us out. Of course she may be fresh enough to pass initial inspection ... if only for a while."

She nibbled absentmindedly on a thumb nail and paced in short steps as he watched.

"If you step back and look at everything that you've just told me ..." she finally offered, "... it all started with that supposed bank robbery."

"Supposed? There were clear signs of at least one, maybe two that almost occurred." He corrected, suddenly wondering if he'd missed something that was obvious to her.

"I saw the bodies with my own eyes." He pointed out.

With a hand on her gun belt while in thought, she sighed with some frustration as she looked over at the empty mansion.

"Take for example that particular building." she offered. "Looking at it, you see the walls, windows, the fencing and roof."

"Go on." Poe prodded as he stood to join her.

"What if I were to tell you that in actuality it was just a barn made to look like a mansion simply to raise the prices of other homes around it ... but the only evidence that you had to dissuade me was what we see ... from here."

Poe took a few moments as he thought about it.

"I'd say you have a very expensive looking barn. What exactly are you trying to tell me."

"From what you told me so far, the bank robbery sounds like a barn made to look like a mansion."

Poe looked at her with some amusement. "Dissuade me ... please."

"Well, for one, how did the Pinkerton detective even know that there would be a robbery on that particular day and at that particular bank." she asked. "Assuming, for the moment, that there is usually more than one in most towns this size that handle both business and other commerce in equal fashion with large sums of money made available as demand might call for it."

"A tip, I would suppose." Poe suggested, both impressed and perturbed that she would have noticed such things just in casual passing.

"So, someone knew ahead of time that they would take an interest and eventually send a detective. From what I understand, Pinkerton agents pride themselves in their dress and attitude. I've seen them on occasion in my travels. And then there would be the odds of two groups attempting to rob the same bank at near the same time when a detective would be there, ready and waiting for them as he was."

"It did seem strange how everything played out that day ..." Poe admitted somewhat reluctantly, "... at the time and in retrospect."

"Was there anything else that you found odd that day?" She asked.

Suddenly Poe was reminded of Daisy May Wells in near the same ally that he and Abby had just met. He told her of finding her body and how something hadn't seemed quite right about it.

When she smiled, he knew he'd told her something important, but he wasn't entirely sure what it had been.

"Do you still have the bullets and notes that you took from that day." she asked.

"Yes, we ..." Running-Deer's absence caused him some discomfort as he sighed in an attempt to cover it, "... didn't have much time to do anything with them once everything else happened."

"Good, let's go take a look. Believe it or not I have some working knowledge of ammunition that can help."

Poe had shrugged and begun to move, when Abby placed a hand on his arm to stop him.

"Consider this Sheriff, had someone fired a shot nearby when we first met, and I had shot you in reaction, would you have seen it in any other way than just the two of us being there as we were."

Poe suddenly realized what she had been trying to let him figure out all on his own.

"Son ... of ... a ... bitch ..." was all he could say when he realized her point.

He didn't bother to wait for her while he made his way as quickly as he could back down the ridge.

A vampire had seen the forest through the trees and he had catching up to do.

Behind him, she simply smiled as she moved to follow.

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