This has to be done delicate like. I need a target that will allow me to walk around here and get what I need.
In an alley between the general store and the saddle maker, I lean on the wall with a roll-up. My riding boot propped on it and my riders jacket hanging to the dirt. I have my black hat pulled down so I won’t be recognized.
As I puff, I side eye the men that cross the opening. Soon, I see a city slicker in a black suit walk by. He looks like one of those who did too much schooling and not enough fucking. He’s perfect.
I walk around to the backs of the buildings and keep my eye on him through the spaces. He’s heading to the horse corral. Probably fixing to leave.
The corral is a good 30 feet from the saloon. I hang back in an alley and quickly strip my clothes off. I stash them and my human form melts into a medium sized, brown dog. Dogs running loose aren’t uncommon around the desert so I won’t set anyone off.
I trot across the gap and behind the corral. The horses whinny and hoof the wooden, hay covered floor of the stalls as they wait for their riders to get back from drinking or whatever they fix to do.
One thing about my kind is we don’t set animals into frenzies. Mutt, on the other hand, has to practically roll in horse shit to be able to ride his bronco and keep ours from bucking. He gives off an odor that they don’t like. Frankly, I can barely stomach him, but his wolf comes in handy.
The loosely made wall has gaps that are perfect for spying. My target is standing at a pretty, little dapple mare. He’s pulling a book out of his saddle bag and turning pages. This dude is in for a bad day.
I shift to a little, grey mouse and squeeze myself through the crack in the greying, wooden slats. I make tunnels through the hay and once I’m close enough, my body grows as I shift back to my human form and I’m standing next to the pretty boy.
He looks at me wide eyed and was about to announce my arrival when I tick my head, “Howdy.” I smirk and in a flash, I grab the gun out of his holster and hit him in the head with the but end of it.
He falls to the floor like a sack of flour.
I look down at him and shake my head. “Boy needs to pull his nose out of the books.”
I pick him up and throw him over my shoulder. As I poke my head around to watch for prying eyes, I grab a feed bucket and leave the corral.
In the woods, just outside of town, I find a space between two rocks that’s just the dudes size.
Striping off his clothes, I prepare my stomach. I need him alive to access his head if I need it.
I hold his cheeks in my hands. His pretty face and slicked, perfect cut hair makes me arch a brow. “How the hell are you better than me?” I shake my head. I pull him to me and lick his cheek. His DNA hits my system and I shift into his likeness. I look down at his scrawny body and his rather well endowed manhood. “Damn, boy.” I look shocked into his unconscious face.
I shove him into the rocks and grab the bucket. Sticking fingers down my throat, I empty the contents of my stomach into it. Once it’s full, I wipe my lips and carry the bucket to the hole. His soft, featured face is leaning on his shoulder. He’s half my size, so I shouldn’t need much to hide him.
“You won’t feel a thing.” I say as I spread the white stomach liquid around him. It hardens fast, making a shell. Once he’s covered, I leave a hole at the top. I give myself a minute or two then put my head to the hole. The mixture in my gut spills into the shell. It takes an hour to fill it and a shit ton of energy. It’ll keep him sleeping for as long as I need him to be.
I wipe my mouth again then move some leafy branches over the spot to hide it.
I squat down and rest my arms on my black trousers. I pick up his derby hat and put it on. Closing my eyes, I connect my mind to his. My eyes open glowing yellow. His thoughts enter my mind. He’s from the east. Smart. Proper. Everything I’m not. He’s definitely a city slicker. Looking to see how the cowfolk live. I collect everything from his memories. Even his voice.
I stand and look around the woods. I flick my black jacket and pull out his silver pocket watch. A twitch past 11. Good.
I check his pistol and holster it. Honestly, I’m surprised the boy has iron. His hands look like they haven’t seen a lick of dirt, let alone rolled in it.
I can be a distance from him to see his mind and will remain with him unless I’m hurt in some way. That never happens though. These humans have no idea what I am. They certainly don’t know what’ll drop me In the ground. Their human bullets make for a good show, but I haven’t been made permanently dead yet.
I step into town and watch a two horse covered wagon roll by. The horse hooves clopping along. It’s noisy. The saloon is up ‘n at ‘em of course. The painted ladies need the copper.
I look down one side of the board walk. Women, with young-uns, carry baskets for the store. Fancy men talk with each other about the goings on of whatever business they attend to. The school marm walks her line of girls to the school. My lip raises a bit at the sight. Reminds me of my sisters. It’s been centuries since I’d seen them last. They’re hard to find, but I have my ways.
I turn my head the other way to where the town folk cross the large dirt road to the Lochlane Bank of the USA.
I was about to walk to that area of the wooden walkway when the tailor door opens and I’m almost stampeding into the prettiest, little filly I’ve ever seen.
“Pardon me, miss." I promptly remove my hat and step out of her way.
“Quite alright, sir.” She bows her head slightly. “I’m afraid the fault was mine. I should have seen you there. I apologize.” She raises her stunning brown eyes to me and I give a little smile.
I replace my hat. “Nope. I’m sure the fault lies with me.”
She wearing a black and white walking dress with black lace fingerless gloves. She also carries a black parasol. The fashions meant she was in mourning, but it seems like its been a while. Still, I give her the respect she deserves. Her black bonnet hid most of her auburn hair. Her skin was like fresh milk and looked as soft as Asian silk. I’ve seen plenty a fine woman, but this girl makes the rattlesnake in me show his belly for some reason.
“I’ll…um…I’ll say good day.” I tip my hat.
“Good day, sir.” She smiles a smile brighter than the sun.
I smile back. “It’s Edward.” I gave her the name of the dude I was wearing.
“Edward.” Her cheeks soften to a pink that has my palms actually feel like they’re covered in molasses.
“Have a nice day.” I bow a tiny bit and head on down the board walk. I give a quick look back and she’s looking my way. She opens her parasol and crosses the street. I turn my head over my other shoulder. I will remember that walk when I’m laying on the beach, that’s for damn sure.
I walk tall in Edward’s body across to the bank. Stopping at the red, wooden door, I take another look around. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, I walk in.
“Mr. Pembrooke. You forget something?” The sharp looking teller behind the brown, polished counter says.
The bank itself is two floor. The wooden staircase leads to safe boxes. I’d like those too, but let’s not make a bigger deal.
I smile and approach him. “Yes. Yes, I did.” I walk over and lean an elbow on the counter. “I’m afraid in my hurry, I didn’t take out enough for the horse I was buying. I’m so excited, my mind is a little scattered.” I chuckle.
“Don’t we all.” The teller chuckles back. “The other day, my Mrs. was so excited for a hat, she plum forgot it!”
I laugh probably too hard, but I don’t think these people care. “So, I guess I need to make a withdrawal.”
“Yes. I’ll just get Mr. Guthrie and he’ll help you out.” He smiles.
“Perfect.” I slap the counter and stand.
A moment later, an overweight man with white muttonchops comes from around the corner. Right where the vault is. I see the bank teller walk in and then walk out. Locking the barred door.
A few ladies walk in wearing pretty silk dresses and little change purses in their wrists. They’re giggling to each other as they walk up to the teller.
“Mr. Pembrooke. Nice to see you back so soon.” He extends his hand and I take it.
“Yes. Nice to see you again. I’m in a hurry though.” I grin and tip my hat.
“Right this way.” He motions me to the stairs and we climb them to the second floor.
He leads me to rows of cabinets filled with small boxes. “I trust you have your card?”
I look at him then the cabinet we stopped at. I pull out my wallet and search for the safe box card. To my relief, I find it and hand it to him.
He looks it over and hands it back. “Can’t be too careful.” He laughs and I do too.
As we talk back and forth, I’m gathering little things. Things his mind may not provide. How many times in a conversation would he touch his face or his mustache. His subtle muscle movements in his face and body. I commit him to memory. A good mimic never spares a detail. I also take this opportunity to scope out the bank. Who’s where and what I’ll need to clean this place out.
My thoughts are broken by his words. “Hmm, yes. Sorry.” I smile and nod.
“Your key, Mr. Pembrooke.” He holds out his hand.
“Key. Yes. The key…” I feel my trousers. I search my suit jacket then my waistcoat. In the pocket opposite my pocket watch, I feel something. I reach my fingers into the small pocket and pull out a small key. “Here you are.” I place it in his hand.
He nods and walks to a box in the wall. He opens the box and pulls out a square wooden chest.
He walks the chest over to a small table with a record book on it. “Now, how much?”
“How much?” I raise my brow.
“Yes, Mr. Pembrooke.” He opens the box and my jaw goes slack. The box was stuffed with coins and bank notes. I kept my lips shut, but my mouth was drooling. This dude is stinking rich.
“Five…Hundred.” I nod.
“Five hundred.” Mr. Guthrie confirms.
I place my hands behind my back and hold my chin up. “Yes. That’s right.”
“Alright.” He pulls out the bank notes and counts them on the table. My heart skips a beat and my fingers itch. I’m headed to the saloon tonight.
“And fill a bag with some coins.” I point to the box.
“As you wish. Amount?” He side eyes me as he prepares my notes.
“Twenty should do. Have to celebrate my new horse.” I smile.
“I guess a horse would be something to cheer to.” He grins.
“It is.” I pull out my wallet, take the five hundred bank notes and stuff it in my wallet. He hands me the small coin purse.
“Is there anything else?” He asks as he locks the box and walks it to the cabinet. I’d clean the dude out, but I don’t want to draw out questions.
I hold out my hand and shake his. “No. Thank you.” I lean to him.
“You’re very welcome, Mr. Pembrooke. Enjoy your trip back to Oxford.” He says.
“I will.” I turn and pull the coin purse out of my pocket. I smirk as I throw it up and catch it. I jog down the staircase. “Yeehaw.” I say low as I stride across the first floor and out the door.
I walk out of the bank and step onto the board walk.
Loud yelling and whipping came from the desert. The sound of thundering hooves filled the town.
The black and gold decorated stage coach rolled in fast being pulled by four black horses. It runs through the main street.
The driver pulls back on the reins and the horses slow to a stop. He jumps down and walks to the door.
I stride to the edge of the walk and lean on the roof post. I pull out a roll up and light it.
The first off is two feathered up ladies. They look like they’re from one of the larger towns. Probably here to see friends and family. Next is a couple younger B'hoys. Looking for trouble, I’m sure, by the way they’re exploring. Probably looking to get a roll in the hay or two. My thoughts are confirmed when they head straight to the spoiled doves in the saloon. I remember those days.
The last passenger has me tilt my head.
He’s tall. Dark hair and a simple black mustache. He’s wearing a red shirt, black waist coat and jacket. He tucks his thumbs into the hem of his black trousers. His face looks hard and unforgiving. He stands in the middle of the street as the coach pulls away. He walks across the street to the sheriffs office.
There’s something about him that crooks my nose. First, this town has a sheriff. Why a second one? Second, what’s he doing here?
This may put a kink in the plan for my boys.
I flick my cig, push off the post and casually cross the road to the saloon.
I see the sheriff walk out with the stranger. Our eyes meet. For a moment, I feel a little strange and I’m not talking waking up from a drunk beside a 2 cent light skirt kind of strange. No…this guy. He’s the kind that you watch closely. There’s something not right here. I just hope it’s not what I suspect. I better move Edward.