CLOSED SIGNUPS A Sin of No Name

Kuno

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THE INN

NPCS |PERRY THE DRUNK


Truly, what was a man like Perry’s purpose in a town so dedicated to utilitarianism?

Perry sloped against his seat like a thrown overcoat. Indeed, the feeble wooden frame was the only thing keeping him upright, his head lolling against his chest in an awkward position. It did raise somewhat at Jorge’s speedy retreat, and a crooked, toothy smile graced his features at the two women’s dismissal of him. Henrietta in particular earned a sharp bark of laughter.

“Ha! Dunno wha she’s jawin’ bout. Not ol’ Perry…center of attenshun. Ain’t that a hoot an’ a half.”

And yet the look of his foolish face was attentive. Grinning, Perry removed his hat with a flourish and set it down before him, and the shadows obscuring his features lifted some.

His eyes were clear as water.

“Quite the show. Quite. The. Show. Folks use ta clear out soon as the mayor’s boys come. Now they can’t. The gold, youse oughta know.” Perry waved his finger at them, tutting his tongue. “The gold makes em stay. They want em. Highland got em. You fine folk want em…so youse stay. Ya been staying. Understand?”

Underneath the dirt and grime, humanity was etching itself into the man’s face. He looked saddened, something resembling pity lingering in his eyes. He looked askance.

“The good Lord says ‘love covers all things.’ Makes peoples forget the bads…Here we ain’t got love,” He went on, chuckling darkly. “Our love is gold. Gold covers all things…”

In the background, the sizzling of grease hissed from between the kitchen door slats, the smell of bacon wafting through the batwing doors. A hum petered; high and fair, like that of a woman or a child. Perry, either accidentally or intentionally ignorant of such, leaned forward, glancing at each of his listener’s in turn.

“Gimme the gold,” He whispered. “Perry’ll keep it for ya. And youse can leave Highland and go on yonder outta here.”

He looked at Na finally, his eyes somber,

“No use in fetching Miss Eliza. It’s too late.”

 
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Red Thunder

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EL BANDITO GUAPO​

"You keep the gold, pendjo?" Jorge's eyes were narrow, his jaw set. His carotid artery pulsed aggressively. "The gold still in the mountains? The gold still behind locked mine doors?

"The gold promised us?"

His demeanor had become markedly different. Perry's suggestion had, true, come from seemingly nowhere, mirroring Jorge's own desire a bit too well. This gold was freedom, freedom to break free of his criminal past, freedom to begin anew, to have drink and whores aplenty, to live the rest of his days in the hedonistic pleasure he knew he'd always deserved.

To buy freedom from the gnawing of guilt in his head. To buy freedom from the longing of a father's love that he'd never receive.

"'Keep it for us'? Pah!" He spat, fearless of repercussions from the absent lawmen. "You Americanos are all the same: you always look for a way to cheat the idiot Mexicano. Or the idiot senoras.

"Piss off, cabrón, and take your stink with you."

After giving the drunkard a withering glare, he turned away, refusing to acknowledge the seed of jealousy in his heart that such a fool as Perry had manufactured such a good plan as this, even if the execution was a bit on the nose.
 
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Doctor Jax

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Na Zhao
Chinese Herbalist and Fortuneteller


Perry's words, the longer they went on, produced a barely hidden eye roll from the fortuneteller. Ah - another bit of chicanery, that he "hold on" to their hard-earned toil, to keep it safe. That people stay for the gold, that that was all they had here. Never mind there was a bank in town, nor that Perry seemed unfit to hold a mug of water, much less their gold. But she knew what they looked to him - easy marks, perhaps, easiest as could come by in a town far off as this.

But his next words were what immediately drew her sudden ire. Her gaze sharpened, immediate and direct. Her skin grew hot, palms prickling. There was a buzzing in the back of her brain -- that though she did not remember the events of the night prior, she did remember the emotions they had evoked, and she walked towards the drunkard's chair.

She loomed.

"Why do you say that?" Na asked, her voice placid but her carriage almost bellicose.

Her eyes went to Jorge, then to Henrietta.

"Eliza and I had planned to leave together," Na stated, candidly. "I do not imagine she left without a word."
 
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Applo

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"This isn't truly civilization. People do strange things out here in the west, dear."

Henrietta wasn't so much looking at Na so much as she was looking straight through her. Something in the drunk's words had caught her mind. The lure of gold trapping people where they shouldn't be was a familiar concept to her. How many people had she known through the years who had ended up bleeding into the dirt or hanging by their neck because they hadn't been able to resist gold's lure?

If her idiot, good for nothing rat of a husband had known one thing, it was that you played your luck but never pushed it. It was always that one last job or one last con that got you caught or worse. Roll into town, make some money and move on before the world made you regret it.

Now perhaps Perry was just trying to scare them. To, as Jorge put, cheat the idiot Mexican and idiot senoritas. At the same time though, Henrietta couldn't shake the feeling that the man's offer was built of more than just greed. With every passing moment the red-head felt more certain there was something troubling about this strange little town. She was certain the Chinese girl felt it too. The lure of gold seemed to have no hold on them. Even more worrying was that a resident of this place wanted to leave so urgently that a vagrant from the road whom they had known but a couple of days apparently was a good enough traveling companion.

"Did something happen last night Perry?"

Putting down her spoon, the red-head fixed a kindly but unrelenting stare upon the drunkard.

"I must have been very tired and fallen asleep early, but you mentioned a show and something to do with the Mayor's men."​
 
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Kuno

Django Jane
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Eczar

THE INN

NPCS |PERRY THE DRUNK



A drunkard held no plans towards the future save procuring their next source of drink. With alcohol, they wanted for nothing, not food, drink, friends, bath, nor idle conversation. Perry’s willing presence subverted expectations; another man like him in his shoes would have bolted at the first sign of trouble, but curiously, the former miner lingered like glue on tack.

Perry grinned up at Na. Evidently he was pleased, almost giddy, at the sudden confrontation. He was a man attracted to conversation – no matter how angrily it was delivered.

And delivery on his part was not his strong suit.

“Ladies, mi mujer,” He replied, the Spanish directed towards Jorge as wrong as it was mispronounced, “‘fraid you’re all out of sorts about this, and Perry don’t know why. Why-”

His eyes flickered between each of their faces, each look searching.

“Was all there, we was. Youse, me, Eliza girl, clevinger’s boy, all the folks from townie…’ceptin the mayor. What happened? Youse folks nurse the bottle some? Eliza was crying something fierce o’er the body – ‘course, we all come clean out to take a look-see but the sheriff and his goon come ‘fore long and chase us away.”

He paused, his shaggy brows lifting as something behind Na caught his eyes. There was a timid step on the floorboards, then another; a figure appeared in the threshold of the kitchen, her slight arms bearing a tray laden with bowls of oatmeal, biscuits, and bacon. There was a cheerful smile on her ruddy face.

Eliza.

“Good morning. Welcome to Highland, strangers!” The teenager proceeded forward, busily occupying herself with placing food before each of the members there. Perry’s face had sobered, his eyes hard. “Here’s a few things to get you started. Hope y’all don’t mind the delay.”

“You see?” Perry muttered low, looking at Na.

Indeed, as Eliza’s eyes went to meet Na’s, there was an unsettling blankness about them. No recognition or familiarity was evident in her gaze; they were empty, void of any emotion, like a doll.

But they could be forgiven for not noticing, for something else happened immediately upon seeing the girl. Abruptly, in one massive wave, fractals of last night's events crashed into Jorge, Henrietta, and Na's minds: the girl bowed over the abnormal creature in the night, the circle of villagers standing in silent vigil, the ominous approach of the sheriff and his deputy. Bits and pieces of what was said were made clear. But the image of the beast in its entirety was unshakable. Perry stared at them with surprising focus before rising unsteadily to his feet, muttering something about "getting gone."

“Heard the mayor’s back in his office. Might have jobs for you,” Eliza went on, blithely unaware.

 
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Red Thunder

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EL BANDITO GUAPO​

It was an unnatural strength, the girl's. He was no strongman like Mr. Wicks, but neither was the horsethief a weakling. Yet, Eliza, all of four or five stone soaking wet, had broken her arm free of his grasp like it was a child's. His eyes, concerned, shifted focus from her and beheld what she had been weeping over. They widened, both in surprise and shock. Neither Wicks lifting him to his feet nor the sudden heavy presence of the lawmen could break his gaze.

"Mierda," he whispered.

The girl was certainly the same one now as she was last night. But she did not look to remember the events of the night. Indeed, she didn't look to recall the entire day, greeting them as she did as 'strangers'. Jorge took a hard look at her, never minding the appetizers she had provided, before turning his gaze to Perry, ignoring Eliza's inquiry.

"And what do you know, borracho?"
 
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Doctor Jax

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Na Zhao
Chinese Herbalist and Fortuneteller


Na turned at the sound of someone coming into the room, and her heart swelled with relief as she saw that Eliza was whole, and well, and present -- at least, she did, until she looked into the girl's eyes, and it was as if an entire night's worth of memory shunted into her mind at once. They all seemed to be snatches, blinks, of scenes, of monsters and crying girls and the deadened, hopeless eyes of the people at the momentary memorial outside of the inn. Her chest seemed to stiffen tight, her breath catching in her lungs as she tried to make sense of the sudden ingress.

What happened the night before? Even knowing the events, it still made little sense, to a sane mind.

"Eliza, I had wanted to ask you for help with my luggage," Na said, her voice soft but firm. It was evident what she meant, at least between the two of them and their prior conversation. "Could you meet me outside?"

Her eyes searched the girl's, but they seemed like a doll's. They could see, but they could not recognize.
 
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“His office… Thank…you dear.”

The knuckles of the hand that held a fork were white as fresh winter snow, the utensil quivering in the air. The words that fell from the red-heads lips were empty, vacant. A reflex born from years of habit. Her thoughts, her mind were elsewhere, lost in the twisted terrible revelations. The screaming rang in her ears, the smell of blood filled her nose and that horrid twisted monster dying on the floor clouded her vision.

The cheap tin of the fork bounced off of scrubbed floorboards and wood scraped over wood as Henrietta suddenly stood up. Already naturally pale of complexion, her face looked suddenly gray and drained of life as she leaned over the table, both her hands supporting her weight as she took shuddering breaths.

“What… what was that… thing?”

Without waiting for an answer, the red-head began to pace about the room, her hands rubbing and pulling at her face as she tried to clear her memory. With every passing moment she could feel nausea rising in her stomach.

“There was that creature… and you were there…”

A finger was cast at Eliza.

“You were crying over it and-”

Henrietta came to an almost juddering stop. The fragmented memories were falling into place. Their message clarifying in her mind.

“Excuse me.”

Where Henrietta had all but floated into the room earlier, now her movements was sharp and hurried as she almost fled out of it.
 

Kuno

Django Jane
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THE INN

NPCS |PERRY THE DRUNK



A bullet couldn’t have wiped that smile from Eliza’s face. It was uncanny in its fixation, not a quiver nor a crack appearing to break its image, the cream shine of exposed teeth baring from between rosy lips. She blinked once, twice, unfazed as Henrietta threw a revelation of sorts her ways. The girl that stood before them was a far cry from the sobbing wreck of last night’s drama. And yet unmistakably, it was her. Her eyes trailed the redhead’s escape before returning to Na’s own gaze.

A perfect mirror. Naught but the Chinese woman’s face was reflected.

“The lady seems frightfully upset. I hope she settles some.” Unnaturally, her smile stretched even further. “Miss, I can help you with your luggage after your meal. I’ll bring it up to your room soon as I’m done serving breakfast!”

The comment drew Perry the Drunk’s immediate attention – as well as Jorge’s sudden focus. He halted his slow creeping from the room, pausing along the wall much like a bug’s nightly scuttling abruptly caught in a beam of light. His beard bristled, his mind working and his mouth smacking. The man was thinking.

“Perry knows lots of things. Perry knows now it’s too late for youse to leave town, yes, it’s clear to me now…they’ve got ways of fixin’ things so folks don’t leave. Folks don’t git, they get misplaced. Ya understand? Ask Clevinger, ask…”

His eyes darkened.

“The Indian.”

“The mayor has jobs for you,” Eliza’s voice sounded from behind, chipper. She was there now at Jorge’s elbow, clearing away Henrietta’s untouched meal. She still smiled as she mashed sausages upon grits, and eggs upon flapjacks. “Heard the mine’s open again. Might have some gold to get–”

“I wouldn’t touch that damn gold if’n it was glued to my ass!” Perry spat out with sudden vehemence, and for a scant moment, Eliza faltered, blinking.

She recovered quickly. With a happy hum, she returned to cleaning up, her dishes piling higher and higher.

—-----------

Silence greeted her. As Henrietta fled the crowded dining room, the emptiness of the inn enveloped her neatly, her footsteps a damning betrayal of her escape. The aged rugs hugging the wooden floors passed in a sickening swirl beneath her feet. There the stairway to the rooms above leered from the end of the hall, though it hung deceptively out of reach, the lobby approaching first with alarming speed–

“Whoa, hey!”

A pair of rough hands ended her charge. Her arms in his grasp, Mr. Taylor stared down at her, his eyes wide with concern.

“You alright? You half scared me to death, running out like that. I–”

Suddenly aware that he was still holding her, the cowboy released her promptly, though his stare lingered. “Sorry. I, uh, stopped by t’ see if y’all were faring well this morning, I reckon.”

There was the sheepish tilt of his hat.

"'Fraid I've got some news, too. It ain't good."