Baileys Besieged

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Chapter 10

Georgia is sick for nearly a week. When she finally gains enough strength to open the bible, it is as if all the sickness is sucked out of her and into the book’s aging pages. The young woman’s light-headed(ness) lifts, the queasiness subsides, and she begins to feel normal again. In fact, her fingers feel a surge of renewed energy. The woman with the ability to tell secrets finds an instant need to be creative. She takes out a drawing tablet, and beautiful pencil drawings flow from her lanky fingers. Although she had never seen a picture of him, Cledus Beaumont’s image stares back at her. The only thing she forgets is a cowboy hat.

The next page that flows from her fingers is a dog. Georgia is left to assume it is the Quincy Gulch Mutt. The dog stands, poised, ready to follow a command. Gerty’s face reflects a proud, unfettered spirit. It will be somewhat eerie, but Georgia will pin up the drawings and eventually fall asleep gazing up at them. For charcoal drawings, they are wonderful pieces of caricature art. The drawer finds she can’t produce Jeremiah—quite yet. When she does release the image stowed in her mind, puzzle pieces will start to come together. She wonders if images of people will begin to form who placed certain personal items into the bible, or if several generations of Beaumont’s will spew from her reflective mind like some hidden collage, or if her sanity will hold long enough to fill a plethora of missing holes?

Cledus steals some hospital attire, sneaks into the morgue, and pulls a toe tag off a random John Doe. The tag reads: Male Subject/Autopsy complete…Incinerate soon…File Closed. Cledus fulfills the hospital part, knowing it is (fairly) late at night and he’ll be least suspected of any shenanigans. He grabs an empty gurney and finds something to cover the lickfinger with.

He props up Sammy Moore against the outside wall of the building, to make it look as if the man is resting. Sammy smells rank. In a few simple hours, Cledus plan is to drop the man from legendary status to worm food, to ash; he can only hope that no one will even realize the man is gone. Cledus picks up the dead weight in his strong arms and notices Rigor Mortis has settled in. He forces blue limbs flat, making them crack and pop their way prone.

The stranger throws a cover sheet over the handbill star, turning Sammy into a featureless—abandoned table. Cledus wheels the rock star’s body through a swinging door and past a receptionist talking to her main squeeze. Down every hall, the westerner holds his breath. If he is stopped, he can never explain himself or offer up a defense. But not even lab techs leave eyepieces to investigate.

Cledus sneaks Sammy’s cold body into the cooler and attaches the tag to his big toe. He knows that once Sammy passes incineration, all traces of his act will be erased. Cledus will transform into Sammy Moore, and his new legal name will become Omar Redding. The transporter pulls open a cold storage door with a slight grunt. Once inside, Cledus shoves the gurney through the door and finds a bath of cold vapor engulf him. Quickly, the middle-aged gunfighter extracts the tag from the waiting body and attaches it to Sammy’s blue big toe. As a final reflection of nonchalance, Beaumont shoves the gurney and it rolls across the expanse of the cooler and strikes a couple of other stiffs—resting peacefully—causing their toe tags to jiggle from the end of several cloaked covers.

The sly killer rushes to pull an errant tag from a desk just outside the door. He quickly scrawls a destroy order for the other body—as well, adding a quick copy of the approving signature. He knows that in a matter of hours Omar Redding and John Doe will be incinerated. Probably about the time the clubbed cop begins to feel like himself.

Cledus Beaumont starts a new jaunt as Sammy Moore, minutes before Georgia Alexandre goes into labor. Under anesthetics, she senses an hombre working his way into modern reality. Her foggy head tells her Cledus may affect time for thousands of years, or he might just fade away—like dust in the wind.

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