Crossfire

Searching for Miss Wiess

The Journal of Father Eric Brooks

Monday, October 18, 1875

When I woke this morning, Mrs Johansen informed me "that woman" failed to turn up to finish work on her kitchen. Figuring I could use the walking-around time to mull over the offer from the Explorers’ Society, I set out to find the young lady.

There was quite a crowd gathering as I neared her tent on the outskirts of Denver. Once I reached the head of the assembly I found the police had cordoned off several tents – including that of Miss Wiess. From what I was able to gather from one of the officers holding them back, several men broke into the tent to investigate a strange smell, and found several dead bodies. The police cordoned off the area and called in the U.S. Marshall.

I explained why I was there, and convinced the deputy to let me through to check on Miss Wiess. Since I wasn’t technically supposed to be there, I tried to keep out of sight of the police chief. The crowd was starting to get rowdy, and I was able to take advantage of the distraction of a random gunshot to slip into the tent unnoticed.

Among the clutter of papers, tools and half-finished inventions (ah, Mr Marconi, wherever you are I certainly hope you’re safe…) I found the young lady – distraught, but fortunately unharmed.

She had been interviewed by the police, and from what she was able to gather the man next door was dismembering and eating his victims. She was then sent back to her tent, had been there ever since, and was quite ready to leave. Unfortunately, she was not willing to leave without her things – most of which was extremely heavy.

I ducked back out to hire a few men to help with the lifting, but the deputy I spoke to wanted no part of it. He pushed me back toward the tent and told me to get her out of there.

Since her tent was at the very edge of the crowd, we decided to move the trunks to that end of the tent. I then ducked back out and managed to hire a few men. We made our way to the side of the tent and let Miss Wiess know we were there. She sliced a hole in the tent – narrowly missing my nose – and we started shifting things out just as the situation started to go rapidly downhill.

One of the deputies tried to stop us, but was quickly distracted by a commotion on the other side of the cordon. It sounded like a brawl had broken out, someone seems to have knocked a tent over, and there was a lot of shouting and general ruckus. He waved us on our way, with the admonition that he didn’t want to see us there again. I don’t see that being a problem.

We eventually got back to St Mary’s, and I had the men leave Miss Wiess’ things in the parlor while we figure out where to put her. I assured Mrs Johansen that the young lady won’t be staying long, but explained she may need to stay for a few days. I then went to find Father St Beuve to discuss what we should do.

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rma1979

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