Friday, January 20, 2012

Now Playing: The Darkness
New to these parts? To start the story from the beginning click

Episode Two of The Darkness

Episode One concluded with:

            “There’s somethin’ you can do, all right! Come back here tomorrow night when I’ll be good and liquored up! Push me in front of the danged train!”
            “Wyatt, don’t talk like that!  Look, I don’t know exactly what has happened since I’ve…been gone. But I got a letter from Adrian Monahan, the owner of the stage line promising me--”
            Wyatt Cummings began to laugh hysterically. “Maybe we both should jump in front of the train.” Cummings continued his harsh laugh. “When did you get this here letter?”
            “About three weeks ago.”
            “Is that so?” Sobs mixed in with Wyatt’s laughter. “Well, Mr. Adrian Monahan has been dead for over two years. He shot hisself in the head.” 

Episode Two


            Bart left Wyatt Cummings and began to walk toward the Monahan residence. “The Monahan Residence.” He whispered those words, wondering for the first time about their uniqueness. In the town of Jameson, most people lived in a house, but the Monahans dwelled in a residence.
            As he approached the grand old structure, he was reminded why. The house stood at three stories in the middle of a wide grassy lot. As a little boy, Bart had thought the house was a palace. As he got older, the Monahan Residence held his interest in a different way. There were stories about ghosts and strange cries coming from the house late at night.
            McRae tried to laugh at those memories, but couldn’t. Ghost tales still made him shudder. He undid the hinge on the ornate picket face in front of the house. The fence was there for decoration, but even in the scant light he could see the flaking paint. The yard appeared unattended. When he got to the house, Bart was greeted by creeks on the stairs leading up to the porch. Once again, McRae had the feeling that something was very wrong. Adrian Monahan had always maintained a well cared for home.
            But then, according to Wyatt Cummings, Adrian Monahan was dead. That was impossible! He had a letter from Adrian in his valise instructing him to come to this residence as soon as he was released from prison. Wyatt’s ramblings about Adrian Monahan killing himself must have come from a bottle. 
            Bart pulled on the cord beside the front door and heard the chimes sounding from inside. The time had to be well past nine, but the letter had explained the fastest way to get to Jameson from the territorial prison. He was expected.
            Or was he? There was no answer to his ringing. The second time, he pulled harder on the cord, as if that action would bring more satisfactory results.
            Not until the third yank did Bart hear footsteps rattling from inside. The door opened and a man with a very familiar sneer stood directly in front of him. “Well, well, the prodigal returns. The Good Book says we’re all brothers, should I have run out and greeted you?”
            “That was the father who ran out to greet the prodigal, Jesse.”
            Jesse Monahan’s sneer became a laugh. “Find religion while you were in jail?”
            “I had plenty of time to read.”
            “Guess you did at that.” Jesse Monahan was a dark haired man, handsome in a boyish manner. He was well dressed and carrying a deck of cards in his right hand. Appropriate enough; Jesse Monahan was a professional gambler. “Come in.”
            As Bart entered, Jesse closed the door. “Follow me and I’ll show you something extraordinary.” The two men walked down a long, wide corridor and entered a study. Jesse sat behind a desk and pointed at the cards laid out in front of him. “Solitaire. It’s the only game at which I don’t cheat.”  
            Bart took off his hat and exposed rust colored, shaggy hair. He approached the one chair in front of the desk, then stopped abruptly. A black cat was lying on it. The animal took one look at the new arrival, jumped off the chair, walked around the desk and curled up on the floor in front of a large safe. Bart felt relieved. The black cat had not stepped in front of him.
            Jesse didn’t seem to notice his guest’s discomfort with the animal. He continued to concentrate on the cards which were in the middle of the desk, framed by a stack of letters, a letter opener, and business papers. “As I recall, you never cheated at cards, Bart. You never seemed to win, either.”
            McRae was now facing Jesse Monahan in the same room and in the same chair that he had faced Adrian Monahan in four years before. For reasons he couldn’t understand, that fact made him angry. “You were cheating in that poker game four years back, Jesse, and you still lost. Lost even more money than I did.”
            “Yes, that’s correct.” Jesse spoke as he looked over the cards in front of him. “Ted Bogan cleaned us both out.”
            “Maybe so, but you were the one who attacked Bogan from a dark alley while he was walking home.”
            Jesse put a card down. His concentration seemed to be entirely on the game. “Poor Ted cried out and you came running to the rescue.”
            “I stopped you from beating the man to death! But Bogan never saw who attacked him. When the sheriff arrived, both of us were standing over Bogan’s unconscious body.”
            “Sheriff Buford Miley,” Jesse chuckled as he looked up from his cards. “He’s still the upholder of law and order around here, gullible as ever.” 
            “Miley believed me when I changed my story and said I had attacked Ted…”
            “As I recall, you were well paid for playing out the little charade.”
            Bart McRae sprung up from his chair and stood over Jesse. “I wasn’t paid anything up front. I was promised five thousand dollars and a good job with the stage coach line if I’d plead guilty and go to jail for you.”
            The sneer returned to Jesse’s face. “Uncle Adrian always knew how to strike a good deal. He rescued the family name by promising you great riches in the future. It was a lot cheaper than buying off a jury.”
            “I want what’s coming to me, Jesse!”
            “There are a few problems there, Bart.” Jesse opened the right hand drawer of his desk part way. The handle of a gun was clearly visible. “There is no stage coach line for you to work for.”

Monday: Episode Three of The Darkness