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The Strange White man Part 11

The ranch hands took on their new duties without complaint; spurred on by the extra pay they would receive and being allowed to sleep in the next day when they drew the overnight watch. Although many times Carpenter met them while they were making their rounds and told them to go to bed as he would be in all night and that they could start again at Sunrise.

For the next few nights he labored at cleaning all the blood off the floor and carpets. The carpets were burned as he could not remove all the blood stains from them, but the wood floor cleaned up very easily. He stayed in the house during the daylight hours protected from the rays of the Sun by the heavy velvet drapes and worked until he became tired.

He was an early riser among his kind and he became active just after Sunset. So on the second day he rose just after sunset and performed some final preparations before he headed to the cave carrying some tall bottles and made his way to Holly's side deep within the mine.

He did not wait long until Holly opened her eyes and looked around.

"Carpenter, I am so hungry," she hissed.

"Here, drink this," her said as he handed her a bottle.

She sniffed it and downed the contents in one none stop motion. He then handed her the other and she finished that one off too just not as fast.

"Come, let us go to the house," he said and took her by the hand.

As she moved she noticed that her dress was stiff with caked blood and the smell was overpowering, she wanted a bath. Once inside the house she saw the large kettles of hot water on the hearth and the bathtub she had purchased was close to the fireplace. It had been filled halfway with scented but now lukewarm water. She unfolded the screen and stepped behind in it and stripped off her dress and underwear and threw them on the fire.

After she slipped into the tub she commenced grabbing the kettles and slowly added hot water to the tub until the temperature was to her liking. As he bathed using the French soap she had purchased she noticed that all the marks from the injuries she had suffered at the hands of her attackers had vanished along with the marks that Carpenter had left in her neck.

She exited the tub and donned the black silk robe she had purchased and then stood in front of the mirror. She looked like she always looked, pretty, shapely and fair skinned.

"You know there are some that believe our kind cast no reflection in the mirror or throw no shadow," Carpenter said with a slight smile.

"Just what are our kind?" Holly questioned.

Then over the course of the next few hours Carpenter gave Holly all the answers she sought.

Carpenter then pointed to a stack of books that appeared very old.

"You should read these to understand the history of our kind, though most of the books are a pack of lies."

"Where are you going?"

"To the cave to mine some more gold."

So Carpenter departed and Holly fell at once to reading from the stack and when he returned a few hours later she had more questions.

"So I cannot be killed?"

"No, you are already dead. You can be destroyed but not very easily."

"The book says we don't breath,"

"A lie. Can you smell the bath soap and perfume?"

"Yes."

"For that to occur you have to breath" 

 "Am I really as strong as twenty men?"

"Yes, and you will get stronger."

"Do I have to sleep in that cave?" she asked.

"No, you may sleep in your own bed if you wish. That is a habit of mine that you do not have to adopt."

"What was in the bottles you gave me?"

"Cow's blood, it works just as well as human blood and raises less suspicion."

"I have seen you drink liquor."

"Yes, as can you. It will not intoxicate you however."

"Can we eat food?"

"We can, but only small amounts. It does nothing to sustain us."

"I can go to town and see my friends?"

"Whenever you wish as long as you are back before Sunrise. Keeping your existence a secret is now the most important thing in your life."

Holly spent the few next hours doing her hair, makeup and dressing. She then saddled a horse and went to the Cactus Flower saloon to visit her friends. The Cactus Flower was one of the few saloons around that allowed ladies in without an escort. She sat at a bar and laughed and chatted with her friends when they came up to pick up drinks orders.

Unbeknownst to her she was being watched from a corner table with great interest. The Carlson brothers had stopped drinking and only stared that the former saloon girl.

"Didn't we just kill that whore?" Slim asked.

"I thought we did," Kyle answered as he still felt the pain of where she had plunged her knife.

 "Looks like we get to do it all over again," Slim answered with an evil grin.

"I can't wait," Kyle answered.

He then raised his glass, "To another fun Evening."

"Amen," Slim answered.

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