|Time:||Thursday – August 07, 1879 – 08:00 AM|
|Location:||Coffin Rock, CO [MAP]|
|Posse Role-Call:||Allen Jabour with his flock (Anne Wilmarth, Bernard Ackeley, Ed Green, Henry Noyes, Nathan Green)|
Sterling Simms (a.k.a. David Davidson)
The temperature had drastically fallen during the night in Coffin Rock. The strong wind the day before had brought a cold front that dropped the temperature to a brisk 49 degrees Fahrenheit. A warning that fall was fast approaching.
Donning their coats, Allen, Tennesy, and Yang Li decided to go rustle up some breakfast at the Six Feet Under Saloon. They asked both Sterling and Tobias to join them, but Sterling was in one of his feverish “inventive” states (due to his dream – Ed.) and Tobias seemed badly hung-over. The streets were pretty quiet as they walked doen 2nd Avenue to the saloon. Unfortunately, once there, they discovered it was closed.
The group then decided to join Brother Allen’s flock at the livery stable for breakfast at the posse’s wagon. Along the way, they stopped off at the Marshal’s Office, hoping to learn more about the events from the previous night. As they walked up to the door, they noticed that the nearby wall was covered in weathered wanted posters. Looking over the posters, Yang Li found one for himself…
It was not like the poster he had previously seen for the Simms Gang. This poster was specifically for him, with a well-drawn picture, but provided very little information otherwise. According to the poster, he was wanted dead or alive, but someone had crossed out the word ALIVE with red ink. The poster looked as weathered as the others; it had obviously been hanging there for a month or more. Yang Li was a little worried, but felt that as long as he did not draw too much attention to himself, he should be fine. After all, he had bumped into the marshal and a couple of deputies around town already and no one had mentioned the poster.
Yang Li had also caught a glimpse of his reflection in the large, shiny ornamental star hanging in the office’s window. His reflection had an angry red welt around his throat, an apparent rope burn. Definitely not the best of omens.
The group’s activities inside were very anticlimactic after the events on the office porch. They found the office empty except for a deputy propped up and loudly snoring in a chair behind the desk. Since the law men in town had not shown themselves to be very civil even in the best of circumstances, they left without disturbing the sleeping man.
Brother Allen, Tennesy, and Yang Li finally joined Allen’s flock for breakfast by their wagon at the livery stable. As they sat and ate their simple fare, they heard banging and smoke coming from the blacksmith. After breakfast, they walked over to investigate.
The building’s windows had all been smeared with dirt or soot from the inside, making it impossible to see inside as the group approached the front door. A large, shirt-less man answered Brother’s Allen knock. He had obviously been working at a forge inside. In response to Allen’s introductions, he introduced himself as Jonah Thurgood. Behind him, the group could see a large table holding sabers as well as a gun rack with several rifles. Pistols with cleaning supplies were laying atop another table. During his short conversation with the group, Jonah shared his view that something was wrong with Coffin Rock and recommended that the group leave town. When asked about his windows and reflections, Jonah confirmed that he had rubbed soot over the windows to avoid any reflections and recommended that the group avoid looking at any reflective surface: the reflections could play tricks with the mind.
When the group left Jonah to return to his work, they noticed several buzzards circling near the cemetery. They walked over and determined that the bullet-ridden body from last night was attracting the scavengers. Brother Allen suggested that they should be the first to report the body and so the group returned to the Marshal’s Office.
This time as they entered, the deputy, Sam Jones, awoke from his sleep. Once they explained the reason for their visit, the deputy left with them to examine the body. Oddly enough, one of the first questions he asked was whether the body was wearing a white hood, like a pillow case with eye holes. He seemed a bit disappointed when Brother Allen answered him with a no.
On their way to the cemetery, Deputy Jones explained. Last night, the marshal had been shot. (Jones was not the deputy who had encountered Allen and Yang Li outside the hotel.) While search parties had sought the culprit(s) responsible, they had stumbled upon a man wearing a white hood. He proved his guilt by running when the deputies approached so they chased after him, eventually cornering him in an abandoned building with only one door. The deputies then grouped together in front of the door and decided to make things easy. When the man did not give himself up to their shouted warning, they emptied their revolvers into the building. It was riddled with bullets, yet when they checked inside, they found nothing: no body and no other exits.
By this time, the group had reached the body. Deputy Jones was surprised to see that it appeared to be the remains of John Daly. He couldn’t understand why anyone would take the body out of his mausoleum and shoot it. Deciding that there was enough on his plate besides worrying about a man dead for over a month, Jones ordered Tennesy and Yang Li to haul the body back into the mausoleum. Once the body was returned, Deputy Jones left for the Marshal’s Office, but not before recommending Brother Allen leave the town. It was obviously drying up and held nothing for him. (Allen was starting to get tired of everyone telling him to leave. – Ed.)
The group was intrigued by Deputy Jones’ story of the masked man so once Jones left, they set off in search of a bullet-ridden building. While wandering down 3rd Avenue near the abandoned school, a rock narrowly missed Brother Allen. The group stopped but saw no one else on the street. Yang Li saw a second rock lift off the school yard grounds by some invisible force and sail toward Tennesy. Fortunately, it merely skipped off his shoulder.
The group began moving toward the school when suddenly a storm of debris lifted up all around them. There was no wind, but the group was pelted by flying stones and bits of wood. The heroes quickly retreated from this barrage back down 2nd Avenue toward the hotel. Yang Li was the last one to escape, and heard a child’s laugh erupt from directly behind him as he ran. Once the group had moved away, the storm of objects settled once again on the ground.
The group decided that the school house was not for them this day and continued their search on Daly Street and then 2nd Avenue. Near the Six Feet Under Saloon, they finally found the abandoned building. It was the same building on which Sterling had noticed the man-shaped energy signature the day before. Numerous bullet holes dotted the front and the windows had been boarded up. The group searched the interior, but found nothing of interest.
Leaving the building and walking past the saloon, the men noticed the marshal’s funeral procession coming down the street. Deacon Plume rode with a man in the wagon carrying the coffin which was followed by the town’s six deputies as well as the mayor. All of the deputies were a bit unsteady on their feet and were passing a bottle of whiskey between each other.
After a quick discussion, Brother Allen, Tennesy, and Yang Li decided to attend and followed the wagon to the cemetery. A grave had already been dug with a simple wooden marker. Deacon Plume entered into a fiery sermon concerning judgement and damnation for the man responsible for the marshal’s death. As he spoke, the deputies continued to drink, occasionaly hollering at the more enthusiastic punishments spoken of by the deacon. One of the deputies stumbled over next to Allen and whispered out of the side of his mouth: “I know why you’re here. I’ll talk if you let me go.” Upon hearing this, Brother Allen shouted an amen in confirmation and the deputy stumbled away for another toke from the bottle.
When the funeral ended, Allen, Tennesy, and Tang Li decided to visit the barber shop. They were curious about what they would find after hearing from Tennesy about the message Sterling had decoded last night. They found the barber shop deserted with many of the furnishings gone. However, a large mirror along the wall still remained. Anyone looking into it appeared wild-looking and very hairy. Additionally, instead of the back wall of the shop, the background of the reflection was Coffin Rock, and standing on top of the bluff was a watcher in shadows.
Lunch time was approaching so the group headed for a meal at the Six Feet Under. As soon as they entered, they noticed the deputies sitting around a table. The three immediately turned about and left the saloon. Spending time with the six drunken deputies seemed a bit too dangerous at the moment. They were just outside the door when a man raced past them and inside, shouting that Ol’ Pete had gone crazy.
The deputies immediately followed the man outside as he explained that Ol’ Pete, one of the prospectors that occasionally came to town, had gone crazy and was hold up in one of the abandoned buildings by the Marshal’s Office. He had shouted to the man that everyone should stay away and had fired his pistol at him. Hearing this, the posse members decided to follow the deputies to Ol’ Pete. They were definitely more sober and might be able to resolve the situation without killing anyone.
They found Ol’ Pete right where the man had said. He fired a shot at the group as they reached the street, warning them to stay away and that he had a hostage. The deputies began working on a plan where they would use an old wagon as cover until they could get close enough to rush the crazed man. Brother Allen suggested they let him speak with Pete before risking any bloodshed. They agreed and Allen tried to convince Pete to give himself up. During the shouted conversation, it became obvious that Pete was scared and believed that he was being framed for the Marshal’s murder: he had seen a wanted poster for himself on the wall of the Marshal’s Office! (The deputies claimed ignorance of any of this.) Allen grew more and more worried that as time passed, Pete or the deputies would do something foolish, so he prayed to God to stop Pete from doing any harm. (Good old stun miracle to the rescue! – Ed.) He then raced into the building with the others, knocking Pete’s pistol from his hand. Pete’s hostage, his mining partner, Junior, was tied to a support beam and had a head wound, but seemed otherwise unharmed. As the deputies marched Pete to a jail cell, Brother Allen inspected the wall of posters for any poster of Pete. He found none. He also didn’t find the poster he had seen earlier in the day for Yang Li.
As the posse members left for lunch at the Six Feet Under Saloon, one of the deputies, who had “forgotten” his hat during all the excitement, passed by them. It was the same deputy that had whispered to Brother Allen at the funeral. This time he told the preacher that he thought the others were suspicious and he had to be careful. He would meet Brother Allen at the cemetery that night.