Part 9

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A few days later, a fully recovered Clementine Blue walked into the telegraph office to take in the organized chaos that greeted her there, while a man named Henry kept at things at bay as best he could.

With a visor pulled down over his short brown hair and rounded spectacles, he listened patiently to the sound of distant wire while carefully noting what he could of the letters or numbers that he could make out in passing.

While she waited for Henry to finish, Clementine walked over to look at the message board which contained bits of news from points east and west - messages that often carried just enough detail to keep one interested, if only from afar.

Apparently, members of a group called the "Whiskey Ring" stood accused of attempting to unsettle the government; her amusement at what power alcohol appeared to hold over some having proven to be telling of its rather potent nature.

A horse named Aristides had carried Oliver Lewis to win the Kentucky Derby in just over two minutes and thirty-seven seconds. Although she'd heard of such races, it was doubtful that they would catch on given the limited local audiences that they could draw upon for profit.

"May I help you, ma'am?" Henry's soft voice startled her as she read of a man called "Charmer" who'd managed to pitch the first ever nine-inning shutout in a baseball game.

Something to be proud of, she was sure.

With a reluctant sigh, she walked back to take a seat next to the telegraph operator's desk.

"I would like to send a message to my parents back in King's Cross, Pennsylvania, if I could."

Henry smiled as he reached up and selected a form that he readied in front of him. "Okay, shoot. Just end each sentence with stop for me when you can."

"Dearest Mother and Father, Blue." She started, having known full how the news she'd be sending would hit them hard. "Stop." she added with a sad smile as Henry nodded his appreciation and smiled in return.

"It is with deep sadness and regret that I must report the passing of my sister, your daughter, Daniela through her injuries from ... an accident, this week. Stop."

Details of where and how her death occurred would not help their grief any, she realized as she'd caught herself just in time.

"She suffered little and meets her destiny as expected in another place. Stop."

When she rose to her feet while deep in thought, Henry patiently waited as Clementine struggled with what she would say next.

With her hands clasped behind her back, she began to pace back and forth across the small office.

"I have been offered a position of employment with the hotel here and will stay through the summer and possible winter near Daniela. Stop."

"We've selected a beautiful spot for her to rest in the warmth of the sun that she so enjoyed as a child. Stop."

"Spring will bring my decision to stay longer or return home. Stop."

"Peace from your ever loving daughter, Clementine. Stop."

"That's it, then?" Henry asked, having noted the sad news he'd be passing down the wire.

"Yes, for now. May I set up an account that will be paid from my wages from the Long Branch?"

As he quickly reached for yet another form, Henry neatly filled in the date of the telegraph message and the amount due. "And the name that you'd like the account listed under?" he inquired, as his pencil hesitated over the top of the form.

"Clementine Blue; Address me at the Long Branch for the time being."

"Welcome to Goblin's Toe, Wyoming, Miss Blue. I truly believe that once you settle in that you'll like it here; I know I have."

As she stood upon the outer stoop of the telegraph office, a team of large horses pulled a wagon past while it carried yet another load from the mine, which made her smile knowing the men who worked there probably had little or no idea of who now owned them and their mine.

It had also been somewhat amusing to hear that the widow of the partner who'd originally built the mansion had never completely managed to sign over her shares and who, through the original contract, had also manage to inherit the mine in its entirety upon his death; which she quickly sold off to Leviticus LaRouchette for quite a profit.

Something that made many wonder about the distinct possibility that she'd been the one who'd called up the demon in the first place.

"With my sister to keep me company, how could I not like where destiny has brought me." She mused as she made her way back to the Long Branch where her shift was about to start.

Henry watched while the young woman walked out onto the boardwalk, as he carefully began to transmit the station-to-station message to King's Cross, Pennsylvania.

"Amen, Miss Blue. Amen." He observed as his finger danced upon the switch and words began to flow.

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