Monday, January 30, 2012

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

Episode Eight of The Darkness

Episode Seven concluded with:

Dehner and his boss both thanked the sheriff for his help and stepped out onto the boardwalk. Workmen were putting the final touches on the gallows. Both detectives looked grimly at the scene in front of them. Lowrie spoke first: “Mrs. Sarah McRae believes her son is innocent of murder, and I agree with her.”
Rance had participated in the interview with Sarah McRae at the office of the Lowrie Detective Agency in Dallas. Dehner suspected that Sarah could not afford to pay the agency its usual fee. This case probably came under the classification of charity work. As was his custom, Bertram Lowrie would inform his employee of the altruism after they were finished. Nothing like this would ever happen to a Pinkerton operative.
            Dehner smiled inwardly. That’s why he worked for the Lowrie agency.
            But there was one aspect of the case that bothered the detective. “I’m sure you know sir, that I enjoy working with you on an assignment,” Dehner lied. “But why did you pick this case?”
            Bertram Lowrie looked about the town of Jameson with eyes that were narrow and penetrating. “As I have already said, Bart McRae is innocent of murder, but he is guilty of foolish superstition. Old wives tales have destroyed many fine men and marred civilizations. I take every opportunity to expose frauds such as ghosts and dead men who write letters.”
            “We need to expose them quickly.” Dehner pointed at the gallows. “The family fun Sheriff Miley was talking about is scheduled for tomorrow morning.”

Episode Eight


            As the train pulled away from the Jameson Station, Rance Dehner hastened from the poorly lit depot into the black thickness of night. He moved toward the sounds of a battered piano and drunken laughter. Entering the Happy Days saloon, the detective scanned the establishment for his boss.
            Bertram Lowrie sat by himself at a table in a far corner. As Dehner eased himself into a chair across from the brit, Lowrie pointed at the bottle of whiskey that now stood between them.
            “You see before you the cost for the privilege of being allowed to sit at this filthy table, in this wretched establishment.” Lowrie pushed an empty glass at Dehner. The glass, while not filthy, was far from clean. “Fill it up. You’ll fit into the ambiance better. Not that anyone is really paying any attention to us.”
            As Dehner poured the whiskey, he noticed a full glass in front of his boss. “Be sure to put the cost of the whiskey on our client’s bill.”
            Lowrie actually squirmed in his seat. “I will discuss that matter with you later.” 
            Rance Dehner felt guilty about how much he enjoyed needling his boss, but not too guilty. Still, there was very important work to tend to. “I was right,” Dehner declared, “it would have been impossible for Wyatt Cummings to recognize Bart from the train depot, even if he were stone sober. Cummings claimed to have been drinking.”
            “Claimed is the operative word,” Bertram’s eyes focused on Wyatt Cummings, who was deeply involved in a poker game several tables away. “Earlier this evening, I took part in idle chit chat with idle men. Cummings drinks, but not to excess. He spends most of his time playing cards. I am certain Wyatt Cummings was expecting Bart McRae to get off that train. His drunken act was just that, an act.”
            “I talked with the owner of the local general store,” Dehner said. “Wyatt buys stuff there and always pays,--never asks for credit. He occasionally makes large purchases of food. Made one today.”
            “Interesting,” Lowrie’s voice was a quick snap. “What did you find out about Jesse Monahan?”
            “The owner of the Lucky Aces down the street, Rush Sowell, is about the closest thing to a friend that Jesse had in this town. Jesse started as a dealer there but soon outgrew Jameson and moved on to greener pastures. Apparently Jesse Monahan was a real sharper, made good money from the cards. The incident that landed Bart in jail happened early in Jesse’s career.”
            “If Jesse Monahan is now moving in such high circles, why does he continue to live in Jameson?”
            “According to Sowell, Adrian Monahan left his house to Jesse. He also left behind a pile of debt from his failed stagecoach line. A lot of Adrian’s creditors are claiming the house should be sold and the money divided between them. Jesse is fighting them in court. He comes back to Jameson and lives in the house as a way of asserting his ownership.”
            Dehner placed his arm on the table, only to hastily remove it when his shirt began to stick on some scum he didn’t wish to identify. “Judging from the letters and papers on his desk, I suspect Jesse liked to have that house as something of a base. A gambler moves around a lot.”
            “Yes, I have looked at the house myself.” Bertram paused for a moment, taking in everything he had been told. “Oh, did you ever find that doctor?”
            Dehner smirked. “The town doc has been bought off. He wouldn’t tell me anything about Adrian’s wound. My questions made him very nervous.”
            “As well they should,” Lowrie replied. “The bullet from a Colt .44 can do terrible things to a man’s head, but completely blow it away?! I don’t think so. We are close to uncovering a very evil plot, of which Bart McRae is the next intended victim.”

Tomorrow: Episode nine of The Darkness