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The Strange White Man Part 23

A new plan is hatched

Just after sunset, Carpenter and Holly exited the cave and headed for the house. Ever the gentleman he held the door open for her and allowed her to enter first. Upon stepping across the threshold she froze in place because standing there at the kitchen table was her twin.

Holly's face showed total shock and surprise as she slowly moved closer. Even Carpenter's face registered disbelief at the figure before him. It was only when Holly was mere inches away from the face of her twin that she could see the slight traces of make-up.

"Oh my Lord," was all she could summon up to say.

"My friend, you truly are the master of disguises."

"You both are too kind," Lafayette said with a bow.

"He even sounds a little like me."

Carpenter drew the drapes closed as Lafayette began to undo his Holly disguise. They sat, watched and marveled at the ingenuity of this skilled actor. The skirt and blouse were removed and revealed padding made of old sacks and filled with sand to give him the rounded figure of the stunning dance hall girl.

The wig and facial make-up were finally removed to reveal the smiling face of their friend.

"Did he see you?" Carpenter asked.

"Yes."

"Did the ranch hands see you?" Holly questioned.

"Yes, they waved and you waved back along with blowing them kisses. By the way, you shall receive a bill for my laundry services."

They laughed out loud and Holly moved forward and embraced Lafayette while giving him a kiss on the cheek.

"We are not out of the woods yet," he intoned.

"Meaning what?" Carpenter inquired.

"There has to be a face to face meeting."

"Wouldn't that be dangerous?"

"How close were you when you were able to see through my disguise?"

"Kissing close".

"Well I do not intend to let him get close enough to kiss me," Lafayette answered and they all had another good laugh at his wit.

"Before that happens Cousin Jasper will have to go into town and plant some rumors and there needs to be an escape clause in place."

The three of them took a seat at the kitchen table where Lafayette laid out his ideas. Meanwhile back in his hotel room Stiles sat at his table and poured over his large folders of notes, there was no mention of these creature being able to tolerate direct sunlight. If only the books of his friends had not disappeared because maybe they held some clue to this mystery.

He sat there and pondered this puzzle for a few hours before he headed down to the dining room for supper. The sheriff was already there seated with a stranger and waved him over.

"This here is Jasper, cousin to Mr. Carpenter," he said in the way of an introduction.

Stiles took a seat and placed his order and then started the conversation.

"Must be a little uncomfortable for you living with those two."

"I don't take your meaning Sir."

"Two unmarried people living under the same roof."

"There is no discomfort, Miss Holly has her own room and I am in my cousins room."

"Tell him about the malaria," the sheriff said between bites of his food.

"Malaria?"

"Yes, my cousin traveled in the tropics for a number of years where he contracted it. Now being in the sunlight hurts his eyes so he prefers to remain indoors."

"What about the girl?"

"She goes out all the time."

"She doesn't come into town much."

Do you blame her? The last time you slashed yourself and showed the wound to her."

Stiles remained silent.

"If you want to see her and apologize she will be heading to town tomorrow night."

"I'll just do that."

After supper Jasper took his leave and headed back to the ranch. The seeds had been sewn.

"It is done," he told his friends after he entered the house.

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