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The Strange White man Part 9

Tags: home, ranch work,

As requested Texas Jack and his shotgun collected Miss Holly and her brace of luggage around Noon and then drove non-stop until they reached the Wells Fargo station. They hitched a team of fresh horses and then continued on until they reached their destination around 10:00 PM.

They offered to carry the luggage into the house but she said the porch would be fine. She then thanked them and watched them depart. She felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up and she knew Carpenter was standing behind her. He unlocked the door and they went inside where she discovered that the living room was a collection of crates and barrels of various sizes stacked everywhere.

"So have you considered my offer?" Carpenter asked.

"Yes, I have."

"What is your answer?"

"We need to discuss this some more."

"What is there to discuss?" Carpenter asked with just a hint of aggravation creeping into his voice.

"I can arrange and over-see the work, but its your condition that is the problem."

"Please explain."

"All the craftsmen only work during the day and trying to bother someone with a job offer over dinner is bound to raise some questions."

"Your point is well taken."

Carpenter then bade her to change her outfit into something less formal while he saddled two horses. They rode into town together. Holly's first stop was the sheriff's office were she made up a tale of meeting up with a gambler on the road as she headed back to town after spending the night with Carpenter. He was headed to Lordsville and invited her along. They had a fun filled passionate night but when she woke up the next day he was gone. 

She went on and explained that she hitched a ride with a passing wagon that let her off by Carpenter's ranch and had bumped into Mister Carpenter as he was heading to town. He offered her a ride home that she accepted and during the ride he extended a job offer and that she also accepted. The sheriff seemed satisfied with the story.

She then went to the Cactus Flower saloon. The owner was glad to see that she was alive and well and he took the news of her not returning to work pretty well and wished her luck.

"Holly you've been working here since you were sixteen and I always believed that you deserved something better," he said.

Then over the course of the next few months the old Henderson place underwent a major renovation. Fences were repaired and then painted as was the barn. The old bunk house was also repaired and painted and about a half a dozen ranch hands were hired to finish the various jobs, and an old wagon-train cook was hired to feed them.

Holly made a few more visits to the territorial capital and purchased furniture for the main house and whatever was needed for the ranch hands.

The old Henderson sign was removed and a new one that bore Carpenters name erected. Cattle was purchased and the ranch soon become self sufficient. Whenever the topic of just how much money Carpenter was tossing around raised questions. He didn't work and his ranch was just getting started up so there was a mystery there.

"Ain't no mystery," Curly Sharpton said.

"There ain't?" the bartender questioned.

"Nope, he asked me about some of the lost mines and I told him where they be."

He must be a brave and lucky man they mused. Some of the mines were cave-ins just waiting to happen and the fact that he actually found gold was proof of his luck. Others that listened to Old Curly wound up with nothing . Now Slim and Kyle Carlson had watched the ranch's rebirth from a distance and could only imagine the wealth stored inside those four walls.

It would be a Friday that the Carlson brothers decided to pay a visit to the ranch. The ranch hands were engaged in their duties and the cook had gone to town for supplies. They quietly slipped in the front door and discovered Holly sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. They grabbed her and demanded money, she spit in their faces and was backhanded by Slim and she fell to the floor.

Holly extracted a knife from her boot she lunged forward and stuck it in Kyle's leg. He howled in pain and kicked her in the ribs as a response to his injury. She fell backwards causing her long skirt to ride up revealing a pair of shapely legs, soon money was not foremost of their desires.

They pinned her down and took turns on her. As they were leaving Holly managed to crawl to the desk and remove a pistol and fire at them but due to her pain she missed. Slim returned a shot that struck her in the chest.

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