Part 2

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Franklin Tombs was the man responsible for having convinced Poe to join up as a Marshal, although Poe himself had often referred to it more as a hard twist of the arm rather than simple conviction that may have caused him to pick up and wear a badge as he had.

Together they'd roamed the territories for several years before Tombs suddenly up and quit to take the Sheriff's job that he now held. Once settled, he'd also married a local woman last Poe had heard and managed to produce a couple of children to chase after.

At a few notches above six-foot, Tombs thick muscled build hinted at someone who could easily have wrestled a bull to the ground bare handed; an ample bulk that also often served as simple intimidation rather than the twin six shooters that he wore which in turn easily resolved most any problem that may have otherwise come up amongst the locals without having drawn any blood in the process.

Poe also noticed that since he'd last been out this way his friend had lost much of his dark brown hair. Thinned remnants that remained now wrapped around the bald spot atop his head and showed speckled hints of gray.

Not one to waste time with idle conversation, Tombs pulled out a half-empty bottle of whiskey and two shot glasses which, in turn, lead to several toasts to old friends and the various badges that they'd worn along the way.

Once they'd finished, Poe put his glass down and looked at his friend. "You mentioned something about the telegraph earlier. While I hate to take credit for showing up to answer it, truth be told, I just happened to have been riding through the area and wanted to stop by to give my regards only to discover a whole lot of dead folks out there in the dirt just now ... care to tell me what the hell happened?"

"You remember old Henry Plummer?" Tombs asked, before he tipped his head back to drain the last of his shot.

"The Sheriff of Bannack City back in the early sixties?" Poe replied with some surprise. "Wasn't he strung up with a couple of his deputies around January of sixty-four?"

"That they were. Along with several other men, whose collective guilt is still debated to this day ..." Tombs sat forward to rest his elbows on the desk, "... there was also a Mexican greaser by the name of Pizanthia who was killed three ways to Sunday by the same mob."

Tombs paused to pour another shot before he sucked it down as well. Given the nature of the work going on in the street of his town, Poe couldn't blame the man for having found comfort from a bottle.

He'd probably known most of the people who'd died.

"Trapped the son of a bitch in his cabin only to use a god dammed howitzer on him when he refused to come out and surrender all peaceful like. Damn fools went even further and emptied their guns into him before they strung him up half-dead."

Tombs shook his head at the thought.

"Morons then shot him full of yet more lead once his feet left the ground simply because he was stubborn enough not to have been dead in the first place, now ain't that something to consider as charitable on their part."

He paused as he sat at back in his chair which released a loud creak of protest as it shifted beneath his bulk.

"Burned him up and what was left of his place after that ...the damn cowards. The day that I shoot a man that I had just strung up with a hundred rounds or more of lead ..."

The big man angrily downed another shot before he pushed the empty glass away with clear disgust.

"I take it that greaser had something to do with your problem today?" Poe suggested with a smile, while his old friend frowned at him. "Kind of hard to do when you're dead and all like that, isn't it?"

Tombs simply cleared his throat as he gently shook his head.

"A man in town who once worked out that way ..." the nature of his smile as he spoke unsettled Poe just a bit as he listened, "... and knew of Pizanthia and the whore that he once kept: white woman about twenty-five to thirty, long auburn red hair and skin that bordered upon pale to anyone that saw her, who also went by the name Medusa. Damn greaser whored her out when he could and apparently made plenty of good money doing it. Perhaps too good, given the company that she kept ... if you know what I mean."

Poe patiently waited for him to continue, having politely refused another shot when it was offered before his friend simply capped the bottle and pushed it aside.

"Now it would appear that this whore was always around the greaser's cabin working her business, day and night ..." He paused for a brief moment as he recalled the events, "... so just before the mob that finally came for him arrived, someone who'd kept a watchful eye on the greaser saw her go into the cabin with him all cozy like while neither hide nor hair of her was found once they'd dragged him out of the place kicking and screaming, or even after they'd burned it right down to the ground."

"I'm guessing from what you've just told me that you've run across Pizanthia's whore recently?"

Tombs nodded as he glanced out the window at the failing light. "Night before last, Graven pulled in with a new stable full and set them right to work. One of them was a white woman who had long auburn red hair and skin that bordered upon pale even for this neck of the woods; called herself Medusa as well, when asked."

The big man paused a moment as he thought things through before he continued.

"To fully understand just how strange this is going to sound, you'll have to listen with an open mind for a bit."

"Sure." Poe readily agreed, having clearly sensed the seriousness of his friend's mood as somehow the strangeness of his story appeared to have made even him uneasy as he'd told it; something that Poe had never witnessed in his friend before now – clear traces of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Even while during the darkest days of their previous adventures together, the big man had more often than not shown himself as someone who couldn't be easily intimidated.

Apparently, that is, until now.


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