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Davion and Mary, Meet for the first time
Posted: May 14 2011, 04:57 PM
Member No.: 31
Joined: 7-February 11
November 13-14th, 1865
South of Santa Fe, New Mexico
Through the far seeing ocular lenses she had spotted her man far below in a little back water rundown town on the New Mexican border. It had been nearly three weeks since she had last seen him, often he was back behind her more than ten miles or so but she had slowed in the past few days as her horse was growing weary. The great black stud the Federal Marshal bestrode picked up the pace with little trouble and easily closed the gap. At sunset he called it a day, having found his quarry’s mount’s fresh droppings he was satisfied that his seven year chase may conclude within the week, he was taking her back to Colorado dead or alive.
Seven years ago, fourteen year old Marigold McCarty left the brothel she had been sold to two years prior. The sympathetic Daisy Smith had received complaints from clients that Mary wasn’t exciting in the bedroom, like making love to a rock. Smith relinquished her young employee after gifting the monthly pay early.
In Texas, Federal Marshal Davion Murphy brought in his charge that he had pursued for nearly four years. Murphy was an important and highly sought after lawman, known in his home state for bringing his outlaws in alive so they could face trial, and often a short drop and a sudden stop. Today he meandered through town with a second horse placidly walking adjacent to his own black mount, a shackled wanted felon planted in the saddle. After three years and two-hundred eighty-one days he had slowly approached the man in the streets of a snowy Nebraska town and wounded his shooting arm, sweet justice. At this point Murphy was thirty-two years old and beginning to yearn for some rest and maybe even a wife and a couple young’uns. He planned to take the train robber in, see him tried and sentenced, then call it quits, four years out on the range had taken its toll on him.
Unfortunately it was not to be, the Utah territory had telegraphed for assistance just weeks before the trial of the train thief and requested Davion personally. A young girl, not even in her twenties had been witnessed brazenly approaching a wanted bank robber in the streets and shooting him point blank right between the eyes, she then stole a horse and lit out for the open desert. The shocking vividness of the blatant vigilante slaughter was justified, however it couldn’t go on. The wanted bank robber’s posse was found three days later, ambushed in the night on the plateau where they had been camping out, mercilessly bound and shot. Many also believed they had been sodomized with a rifle barrel but seeing as how news had spread by word of mouth that little tidbit of information was quickly disregarded, it couldn’t possibly be true it was much too heinous!
With just a month’s rest Marshal Murphy saddled his black stud horse and rode north-west to the Utah territory to round up the feme fatale. His efforts proved fruitless however as his quarry had wisely fled the region. He concentrated his efforts instead on the horrified witnesses who described a tall young woman dressed in trousers and a long tan coat with wild windblown blonde hair partially hidden by a black hat. He backtracked her and through masterful sleuthing skills actually traced her roots to the now defunct brothel in Colorado in a space of three weeks. It took little effort to find the owner of The Concord and essentially the head girl, Daisy Smith. She had no interest in speaking with the marshal and coldly blew him off for nearly three days as he snooped around the town, bumping into her here and there, just being a general pain the ass waiting for her to give in. When that failed he offered her a ride to Texas for obstruction of justice and she stubbornly relented, spilling all she knew of the good but troubled youth known as Marigold McCarty.
It was a harsh story to hear from a second account as Daisy retold Mary’s tale of her life growing up in a bitter Billings Montana, born during a hellish snowstorm that wiped out the majority of her ranching father’s livestock. Loretta McCarty did not survive the birth of her ill-fated Marigold and died of exsanguination, leaving her new born and grieving husband in destitution with their ranch cattleless.
Frank McCarty tried his damnedest to drink his sorrows away as the single father moved further and further south through the years, his health taking a parallel path. When Mary was just seven years old she found herself knelling by her dying father’s bedside as he slowly succumbed to aggressive pneumonia brought on by a drunken daze in the streets one night during a chilling rain. He was never conscious and died on his seventh night in the infirmary.
Five years later while cycling through a chain of mediocre orphanages, which had brought her to Utah, a ruthless gang of cutthroats invaded the town and raided the home of bereaved children, taking with them thirteen young girls. During the initial capture, Mary who was always full of piss and vinegar struggled in every way possible to escape the brutish men. She was stunned by a rifle butt to the face and ultimately subdued. When the gang leader was not satisfied with her ugly bruised face and swollen eye, he quickly sold her to the brothel in Colorado while the other girls’ fate remained unknown.
Davion was initially sickened, it was quite possibly one of the most horrific cases of child abuse he had ever heard. Now that he had the run down on the girl he traveled to a former robbery location that had been struck by the gang just three months prior to meeting their end in Utah at the hands of a surprisingly capable fourteen year old girl. It had been half a year since he’d saddled his horse and left for Utah, no sign of the girl as of yet but he had managed to track down the past of the robber whose head was made into a canoe by the adolescent’s .44 colt. Ironically it led him in a circle right back to the Coloradoan brothel, the man McCarty had mercilessly slain was more deserving than originally thought. He was the monster of her past, as was his equally dead gang of misfits.
Though she had not struck again or shown any signs of further vigilantism, Murphy continued to track her hoping to at least offer her a little something to quell her horrendous past. Maybe give her some money, take her to Texas where she could live in a stable home and earn an education or a decent living, anything. From former experience Davion was sure she would be acquitted of her atrocities and just wanted her to be aware of it, hopefully no longer running scared would settle her down and she would at least make an attempt at a normal life. Meanwhile Murphy worried for his own life, speculating just how long this was going to take, how much more of his life was to be spent out on the range with no human company.
Eight months after setting out and still seeing neither hide nor hair of the young gunslinger, Davion stopped in a bustling town on the Utah, Colorado border to telegraph his base in Texas and call off the search, he was pretty sure the girl had no more bones to pick. The telegraph returned with a somber note however, she had no more bones to pick but needed money and resorted to her adversary’s game and robbed a bank at gunpoint just twenty miles south of where Murphy was now. The great black horse thundered down the Colorado territory’s borderline with Utah to the bank that had just been heisted by the troubled girl. Witnesses’ descriptions fit his target and he was quite sorry he had not been able to catch the girl sooner and show her the errors of her ways, now he had to bring her in.
Texas was quite proud of its marshal but began to grow impatient as McCarty knocked off four banks within a two month span and Davion was always a step behind, unwilling to take the outlaw in any condition other than alive and kicking. Weeks turned to months and months to years, Murphy found himself celebrating seven birthdays alone in the deserts of Utah, New Mexico and Nevada. His most recent annual passage was his thirty-seventh, making his target a grown woman at twenty-one.
No matter their ages they were both growing old and lost in a sea of sand in the northern New Mexican territory, nothing but scrub brush, cacti and the occasional ornery rattler. Over this exhausting seven years Mary had slackened her felonious ways and usually only hit one bank every two to three months and was more often than not, unsuccessful, dumping her ill-gotten gains to avoid pursuit. One interesting story placed her in a settlement in Nevada in which she stormed from the tavern at the sound of gunfire to find the bank being robbed. She joined the posse and chased the lawless man down and shot him in the back, then lit out for other territory and less competition. The civilians found the initial thief, but never recovered the money.
Upon the discovery of fresh, green dung he had to stifle a victorious whoop when remounting his own horse, quite confident that this seemingly never ending chase was drawing to a close. Weaving through an ominous looking valley thick with shriveled desert trees and scrub, he kept a close eye on the surrounding mountains for any flashes of light possibly glinting off a snooping rifle scope. Prior experience had halted him at the mouth of the valley of course, when he had thoroughly scoured the slopping mountain sides for movement before continuing. In the low hanging branches, long strands of brown hair, darkening to a black tip that was characteristic of McCarty’s mare, assured the diehard marshal he was on the right track.
Mary squeezed her heels into the mare’s sides, a thick film of frothy sweat coated the animal’s hide and her nostrils flared at each wheezing breath, she could not go on. Murphy was so close she could hear his horse’s hoof beats, this would have been a perfect area to set up a sniper shot, but he was practically breathing down her neck. At the sight of a town the mare got her hopes up and quickened her pace, eyeing the livery. Unfortunately for the dark chestnut Mary cruelly spurred her spent mount through the town and back out again, they couldn’t stay here with the marshal so close. Nearly a mile into the desert the mare’s legs began to wobble as the sky slowly transformed in a burning red sunset, vivid hot pigment splashed across the heavens in a hellish display playing off the high cirrus clouds. McCarty managed to dismount before her poorly treated horse fell on top of her and gave a great sigh of defeat. After thirty minutes the mare still made no attempt to stand and McCarty really wanted her saddle. Darkness was approaching as she leaned all her weight into the exhausted creature, struggling to help it regain its feet, but it was futile. A bullet to the head ended the horse’s suffering.
Davion was in the Inn reserving a room when the shot echoed over the town, he never heard it and was never aware of Mary’s presence when he left the lodgings after settling in and walked to the tavern to loosen up a bit for the evening. The blonde outlaw had gathered her rifle, binoculars, canteen and a bite of food from the saddle and trekked back to the town on foot and found a nice place on a sloping hill to spy on the lawman. She was really in a bind, now horseless she stood no chance surviving the desert or outrunning the marshal, having no idea where the next town was she intended to sneak back down and steal a fresh horse from the livery corral. But the more she thought about it, the more convinced she became that she could pull off a stunt that would rid her of the marshal forever. McCarty had never killed a lawman and became very nervous at this sudden idea, but maybe she could squeeze off a round before he grew suspicious of her. He had come much too close for comfort, if her horse had been able to press on for another day she would have probably been in shackles within twenty-four hours anyway.
The long leather jacket swayed behind her as she made her way down the dusty street, few people were out tonight, the couple of drunkards weren’t even interested in her. Her green eyes widened with uncertainty and her stomach flip flopped as she brushed past the infamous black stallion and thumped up the stairs to the bar and slipped inside, pulling her hat to her brow.
Murphy fluffed up his sweaty hair after removing his own hat and placing it on his knee, a group of three men played poker at his back, a lone townsman sat three stools down from him on the left and the rest of the bar was empty. After taking careful note of his surroundings he called the bartender over and ordered three shots of Bourbon whisky. She was an older, roomy gal and she winked at the younger man who offered a fake grin. Of course Davion was nearly forty now so he couldn’t refer to other people as “older” for much longer. He’d downed the first triplet of shots and ordered another by the time an unknown presence entered the building and took a seat to the far right side of him where the oil lamp hadn’t been lit. He should have thought this to be suspicious, hardly anything ever escaped his attention, but tonight he let it, and would regret it.
Playing with the thought of finally apprehending Marigold McCarty left him smiling on the inside, bringing a close to a seven year chase was going to be bitter sweet. He had studied his opponent thoroughly, knew what clothes she wore, what she drank, smoked, that she only rode mares, he knew all about her past, in a way she was part of him. Although it would be great to see justice dealt, at this point she was surely going to hang at the all too young age of twenty-one, and Davion regretted that. If he had just been able to catch her within that first year all would have been fine, acquitted, she would have been . . . alright. He knocked back the fourth shot and peeled his navy blue jacket off, hanging it over the back of the chair preparing to stay a while.
If she had any reason to doubt before, they were gone now. With the jacket slung over the back of the barstool the shiny metal badge on his hip was winking at her in the dim light. McCarty swallowed hard, hoping to send her thumping heart back down from her throat to her chest, and reached under her jacket for the .44 colt revolver.
“Scuse me ma’am, what can I get you this evenin’?” Mary kept her eyes locked on Federal Marshal Davion Murphy, apprehension clawing at her stomach, “Ma’am?” his head began to turn, almost sensing the nervous energy, she couldn’t be suspicious, who the hell comes to a bar and doesn’t order anything?! She snapped her head around and quickly blurt out, “Same thang he’s havin’!” the ruddy round face nodded and she turned her curvy posterior toward the bar and fetched the Bourbon.
“Excellent choice.” The voice was deep and unconcerned, almost friendly. She was afraid to look him in the eye, though he had never seen her he would surely recognize her from the reward posters he no doubt had in his saddle. The thought crossed her mind that she needed to relax and look as unassuming as possible to avoid suspicion. Whether he recognized her or not both his elbows were firmly planted on the bar and her hand was already on the gun at her side, he wouldn’t stand a chance no matter how fast he was. She turned quickly, that benevolent half grin nearly made her faint, she was so nervous and he either hadn’t a clue, or he was playing her. She reciprocated with her own smile and watched as he knocked back a fifth shot. Now that his attention was on his thoughts he didn’t spare another glance in her direction.
His hair was light and well groomed, a muted brown fringed with a hint of silver at the temples, he hadn’t shaved in a few days and steel grey stubble stood out on his face. He looked awkward on the bar stool and had bent his long legs up to hook his heels into the rungs, his knees nearly touching the underside of the bar counter which was pretty far down for him and he hunched over slightly. The shining pommel of a .44 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, snug in its holster, hung over his right hip next to the badge on his belt, which was short one bullet. Either way, his immaculate appearance had Mary staring with more interest than she had originally anticipated.
The three small single shot glasses clinked to the polished wooden counter, startling McCarty somewhat out of her daze. She turned to the bartender and flashed a quick grin of appreciation, the marshal began to look in her direction again and she knocked back the first shot so as not to rouse any suspicion. The clock kept ticking the marshal kept taking shots until Mary wondered how in the hell he was planning on tracking and taking her tomorrow, he was on his fourth round, Mary on her second. Maybe he was a potent man, able to take hits of whisky like water and she found herself more than impressed by him now as she bit down on her thumbnail and turned away from him a little, but still kept an eye on him from under the curved brim of her black hat. Surely he thought it strange for a woman to dress so masculine, then again she knew from past experience that he’d ridden all over creation trying to catch her, lord only knew what he’d seen, what he’d witnessed.
The tumbler came down on the bar and he ordered yet another round, said he’d take another and hit the Inn for the evening. McCarty’s original intentions had changed since entering the saloon, perhaps it was the Bourbon she’d downed with reckless abandon, or maybe it was just the marshal himself. If she could get away with it my god would that be a story, if she could do it, if she could pull this off and just go with it. Reaching for her belt her hand bypassed her former weapon of choice and instead wrenched a bottle of mysterious clear liquid from the leather gunbelt. There was no label on the glass bottle, it appeared just like a regular tonic as she carefully uncorked it, making sure not to emit a single sound that would rouse suspicion as the barmaid cleared Murphy’s empty shot glasses from the bar and went to fill his final order. Good lord he’d probably drank a whole bottle at this point and there wasn’t a single slur in his speech as he politely declined the curvy barmaid for a quick trip to the kitchen.
Evenly distributing the enigmatic tonic between three of her own tumblers, McCarty filled them up the rest of the way with a glass of Bourbon she had ordered earlier. Maybe if he didn’t taste the queer mixture she would be ok, but she was sure he wouldn’t, this stuff was supposed to be flavorless, like water but it had a strange smell.
”Scuse me miss but I’m done fer the evenin’ as well, the marshal c’n have mine.” she offered her best grin and Davion suspected nothing as he thanked her for her generosity. That smile nearly melted her, too bad. She watched him knock back shot after shot, pausing longer in between than he had previously. Her stomach churned as she watched him, what if he just lifted his leg and gave a big fart and that was it? After all he seemed to be a pretty tough guy.
But she smiled when he began to nod as if he were going to sleep, but most people didn’t look absolutely dazed when they were nodding off, the confusion plastered on his face was priceless. One last look at the barmaid and his eyes went up, Mary covered her mouth upon seeing the lawman sprawled out on the floor, the few other men in the saloon sniggered some under their breath and the barmaid shook her head, less than impressed.
”Poor fella, how embarrassin’! Best not say nuthin t’nobody bout this.” Mary laughed while dismounting the stool and walking over to stand by the dozing marshal. She winked at the bartender, miraculously gathered the drugged marshal up and dragged him to his horse. It was a short ride to the inn where she got some help from the innkeeper to carry Murphy upstairs to his room. The smell of his breath was unmistakably alcoholic but she hoped the other man didn’t catch the hint of distilled ethanol in there as they toted Murphy up the staircase.
Thanking the man for his help, McCarty turned back to Murphy, prone on the coverlet of the bed and quickly shut the door. Suddenly it seemed she had killed him as his breathing became irregular and she feared it may cease altogether. Grabbing a complementary bible from the nightstand she straddled his chest and started to fan fresh air into his face, “Shit . . . don’t you die on me now.” she growled in her frustration fearing she’d overdosed him. The clear watery liquid was from a pharmacy she’d broken into after the nightmares of her past refused to let her sleep for three days. One good swig of that would put her out for about fourteen hours but she’d given the marshal three or at least two and half as far as she could tell. Good thing she hadn’t been a doctor, after such a gross misjudgment of dosage she would have been in a severe bind.
Leaning forward, McCarty was just inches from his slumbering face, listening to his breaths, not that she couldn’t feel them since she was sitting on him but that desire to be close held her there, “Marshal? Halloooo?” the humor in her voice was unmistakable but the last laugh would ultimately be Davion’s. From the deep bowels of the man’s innards there came a rumble that undulated through the both of them, traveling up into his chest and then into his throat. Watching the source of the sound as if she could actually see it, Mary followed it to his gapping mouth and the horrendous odor that struck her in the face sent her reeling back off the bed with a hand clasped over her burning nose, “Nasty bastard.” she whispered before wrenching his good boots off and then went for the belt and gun now that she was sure he would be fine. Fishing through the pockets of the coat she’d grabbed on the way out of the saloon she found a pair of shackles and grinned to herself. After removing his shirt she handcuffed him to the metal bedframe and dropped the key into his boots in the corner.
Davion opened his eyes in the late morning light and recognized her right away, “What the hell Mary?!” she burst into a fit of laughter as he groggily rolled over and discovered he was shackled to a bed post, “What the f*** happened!?” She laughed again as he now spotted his pants hanging over the vanity and quickly concealed himself with the blankets on the bed, which was pointless.
“Oh Davion . . . you don’t wanna know.” she turned and left the room, shouting over her shoulder that the key to his release was in his boots on the other side of the room, and wished him luck.
Walking out into the cool morning light she ran her fingers through her hair and savored the smell of her new shirt, the marshal would have to find himself a new one. An hour later he followed suit, coat buttoned to his chest as his shirt had mysteriously gone missing. Murphy stepped out onto the porch of the Inn and looked over at his horse before surveying the scenery and mulling over the thought that he’d given McCarty a one hour head start. Thinking about it all, going over it in his mind he came to a strange conclusion and a mellow smile laced with pure impishness crossed his face. That had been quite embarrassing but, fun all the same and he looked forward to catching McCarty now more than ever and considered his belated thirty-seventh birthday present to be quite well received.
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