With the prairie ticks dead or in ma belly, Miss Blackstone and I proceeded to pump the necrophile for information on his gang. His beating came short of what was due to ‘im, but he got understanding as to his options and directed us towards the hideout.
Now that bug I ate was makin’ a home in my guts and reminded us of my dire situation so we left the dead so as to not add to them.
We followed the trail till some time afternoon and crossed paths with what looked to be a circus. Seems a man by the name of Dr. Vandersmoot led his merry band of travelers selling his snake oil elixir and entertaining folks. He offered a free bottle of elixir if our able bodied posse would make camp with him. Having sworn that the elixir would cure the infestation in my belly, we stayed.
Seventeen days, he said it would take for the elixir to cure me of that bug. The thing seems to have settled down already so maybe it’ll work. I’d say that evening was uneventful, but I’d be lyin’. Let’s just say we didn’t have to shoot anything till morning.
Come morning, we found our prisoner impaired. We realized that the poor soul would soon get his getting’. He had a prairie tick that was full and comin’ out. He weren’t breathin’ and the tick seemed to be strugglin’ ta get out, and see’n that this was my fate, I tried to help. I tried to reach it’s legs in his throat to pull it out, but just couldn’t get a grip on the thing. I was the only one to try to help the man, the rest just stood by fondlin’ their irons. I was unable to help the man and the tick brust out his throat. The man’s blood and guts were soon joined by the bug’s as someone blasted it to hell from over my shoulder.
I fear I may not be long for this world… maybe the next will be better.
We broke camp, having purchased a number of bottles of that fine elixir from Dr. Vandersmoot, and headed on. Seems that, at some point, the thugs we were tailin’ broke formation and split paths to meet up later.
We were following the smaller of the two groups and were led to a small farm place. This place was eerie and wrong. See’n a it is only spring, the full and bountiful corn fields would have been odd if not for the smell of disease on them. The farm house looked like hell was knockin’ on the door last night but all was quiet, for now.
Mr. Clockwork thought to knock on the door as everyone else assessed the situation further but I
followed Johnny as backup. When Johnny topped the steps on the porch we heard a small voice say ta go away followed by the slightly larger voice of a shotgun blasting through the door. The shot clipped Johnny in his bad leg, which probably didn’t help that much, and I dragged him off to the side to get him out of harm’s way.
Miss Blackstone, again, showed a soothin’ side as she talked her way into the house and eased the tension in the small girl. The girl told us a story about her family planting the corn and spraying it with ghost rock to fertilize it err something and the next day it was fully grown. Her brother went into the corn after the dog and started screaming so her mother and father, God rest their souls, went in to save him, but never came out. Later, 5 men showed up, they beat this little girl and stole from the house but, again, were lured into the corn not to return. Finally, she said that something tried to get her in the house at night, but she kept it locked out.
We asked if she had any caster oil, as this is the only known remedy for the tick that Marty seems to be willin’ to admit havin’. The small jar of oil is only large enough for one person and I hand it to Marty, thinkin’ that maybe he’ll see this as a peace offerin’ for shootin’ his friend. He drinks it and he and I go outside when things get ugly. The rest have no mind to help this poor man either and stay inside. It doesn’t take long for the nasty thing to claw its way up his gullet and I assisted by pulling the thing’s legs as it forced its way out. I shot it when it was clear. I helped Marty into the house to rest as birthing that thing out of his mouth wore his strength to near nothin’.
We were worried that the door would be less effective at night with a shotgun blast through it so we started to make torches to burn the fields. More materials were needed so Johnny, Justice and I headed for the barn and left Miss Blackstone to comfort the little girl. Our materials found and torches built, we found that the only way to light these fields aflame was to walk along them as the sun set.
Of all the terrors of the night a scare crow, made even of straw, attacked me out of the corn. Johnny, as quick as I have ever seen a man, blocked the attack. Eliza saw the beast and recognized that it couldn’t be shot to death so Johnny and Justice beat it back into the corn field and set it ablaze. Eliza tossed an oil lantern on the creature, which exploded sending thick clouds of smoke into the air. We continued beating the monster with the torches until it ran to the house where we beat it to smoldering embers.
With the thing dead, we quickly set the fields on fire to kill off any other unnatural things that may be growing in it