Wild Western: Confederate Rose #0
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The Town of Bug, Washington State - 1869
Two men dressed in black jackets and trousers, held up by gun belts, walked into the bar, before giving a nod to the balding bartender, who looked up just long enough from the glass he was cleaning to see the men sit down next to his only patron, before going back to his business. The pair of newcomers was almost identical, albeit one was visibly older and supported a handlebar moustache, but they both carried the heir of authority.
The woman on the other hand, was dressed in red and black, her bust held in by a whale bone corset, her short hair covered by a wide brimmed hat, whilst a jagged scaled boa was wrapped around her neck. Like the bartender, the arrival of the two men was only a momentary distraction for her, before she went back to reading the local paper, the headline triumphantly declaring the surrender of the Confederate States of America.
“Interesting news.” The younger of the two men announced. “I bet there was a time, when the Confederacy thought it could survive the end of the war.”
“It doesn't bother me sir.” The woman replied, her gulf-coast accent, chiming like a bell against the background noise of the street outside.
“I’d wager you're from Louisiana miss.” The older man stated, “Don’t you have any allegiance to your home?”
“Why be patriotic to a raped nation, one conquered by a country ruled by a cruel hand?” The woman asked, as she tilted her head slightly, the boa shifting to one side. “A nation where women are forced to work in hellish foundries, a nation where children die for the advancement of industry, with little pay and even less hope of a future. And to think, your President Lincoln had the audacity to call us cruel slave-owners when his own people work in worse conditions than any plantation worker.”
“That’s your opinion miss.” The older man sighed, “We aren't here to talk about the economy, we’re here looking for a spy, one who killed eleven Union soldiers during the course of the war, behind our lines.”
“I’m sorry sir, but I know of no Yankee soldiers or their murders.” The woman purred, “I can only offer my condolences, and prey that God has mercy on their wretched souls.” She added as her arm twitched, the spasm going unnoticed by the men around her.
The younger man smiled, as he drew his pistol and placed it on the table“You misunderstand Miss Mulholland, we've been tracking you ever since you masqueraded as a nurse in service to the Union. It’s very curious that several men died suddenly and painfully, at the same time you were there.”
“Soldiers die all the time in hospital; fever, poisoning from shot and sickness of the lungs all can strike when a man is ill.” Mulholland answered, as she shot a glance at the gun, before looking up at the ceiling.
“Listen Miss Mulholland, we have a writ issued by the court to take you for trial regarding your activities during the war.” The older man announced, as he got to his feet, his hand now resting on his belt.
“No, I won’t be marched in front of a boodle filled with Yankee whoremongers, before being marched to the gallows!!” Mulholland hissed, as she got to her feet, her hands digging long grooves into the wooden table top. Within a second of the words leaving her mouth, a gunshot sounded, and a bullet bored through her brain, her body hitting the floor before the gun smoke cleared.
“Wallace head to the telegram office, and send a message to the boss before going to the undertaker.” The older marshal ordered his partner. “Make sure that they know Rose Mulholland is dead, and will be burred in the local marble orchard.” A few seconds later, Wallace left the room, and the older marshal turned towards the bartender. “I apologise for the disruption to your day sir, we will attempt to have the matter resolved with the undertaker by the end of the day.”
“You’ll need the undertaker, not me.” Rose stated, causing the marshal to spin round as the woman staggered to her feet. “You should have just left me alone,” She added, as the skin on her arms burst open and a swarm of black widow spiders scuttled out, the tiny arachnids scuttling towards the pair of men standing at the bar. Turning the marshal emptied his pistol, bullets gouging holes in the oncoming swarm but not halting the flow of spiders.
“What is this?” The bartender cried, as the first spiders started climbing over the bar towards him.
“You can call it witchcraft.” Rose told him, as she got to her feet, picked up her scale boa and turned to the door. Behind her the men started jumping up and down, as if they were at a dance as the black widows started biting. Walking out the door, she rubbed her arms, the skin now red and raw as if she had been lashed, and held out her hand, a butterfly landing on the outstretched fingers. “Thank you for warning your queen about those two my friend.” She told the insect, as she headed away from the bar.
Wallace Boyce returned to the bar, and looked around at the figure of his partner convulsing on the floor, a swarm of spiders scuttling up and down his body. Going to the table he had been sitting at, he drew his gun, and fired a shot that ricocheted off the beams of the inn and into his partners head, just as another man walked into the room.
“It’s her lieutenant,” Boyce announced, “she was here, and she still has her temper.”
“That works in our favour Marshal; if you can get her on side our chances of success will be improved.” The newcomer announced, the dim light of the bar flashing off the medals pinned to his granite grey military uniform. “I hoped our hatchet-man would be able to sway the Union’s decision, but his actions weren't enough. In essence Mr Booth failed to achieve his main objective, so now it’s out turn. The Union will learn that our southern heart beats on, and that as long as it does, this war is far from over.”