Crossfire

Arrival in Denver

The Journal of Father Eric Brooks

September 22, 1875

Though we arrived in the general area of Denver last night, we only entered Denver proper this morning. It certainly is a city on the grow, for better or worse. I only wish Mr Marconi were still with us, as he would have thought we’d passed through the Pearly Gates on the way here. Our experiences that day taught us, however, that there are far more sinners than saints in this mile-high city.

As we neared town, we were accosted by beggar children – surrounded, in fact. And even though Charity is truly a virtue, we had nothing to give. Ever impatient, Danika fired one of her small pistols into the air, causing the children to scatter. We were dismayed to find these children had relieved us of some of our possessions, including two whole saddlebags from one of the pack-horses. Shortly thereafter, a man named Hank confronted us, demanding to know which of us (myself or Mirta) had fired at “his children”. As the situation escalated, guns were drawn between Hank and Danika. Just before true violence could break out however, Hank was shot in the back by another man. This man wore a tin star on his chest and introduced himself as a Deputy Ted Irvings of the Denver sheriff’s office – though "everyone calls me “Slick”".

Deputy Irving offered to show us to decent lodging in the city, and on the way gave us quite a tour – including an overview of local politics, businesses, and history. Finally, we came to the mouth of an alley. He instructed us that what we were looking for was on the other side, and took his leave.

The alley was narrow enough that we had to move single-file. I took the lead, with Miss Veila in the back, keeping the child between us. We found the passage blocked by a crate partway down, and just as we were preparing to move it, there was a cry from Danika. We were surrounded from in front as well as above by street children. They seemed to have no concept of the English language, and indeed did little more than hiss at us before they attacked.

I prefer to avoid fighting in general, and the thought of battling children is particularly distasteful. But we were left with no choice, as they were clearly intent upon killing us.

The events that follow, I only have vague impressions of. I was blinded early in the fight with a handful of sand, and spent a good amount of time trying not to be lynched. From what I could infer from the aftermath, Danika once again saved the day with – according to Miss Veila – an impressive display of acrobatics and hand-to-hand combat. I recall hearing in the background several wet thumping sounds during the ordeal – it turned out afterwards to be feral children Danika had thrown from the roof of one of the buildings. Up on that roof, she found the remains of several other unfortunates. It appears that we were meant to be these children’s latest meal.

Once the fighting subsided, I felt a great urge to get to a church and be absolved of my sins – particularly this latest, very terrible one. However, before we could move the blockage from our path, Slick returned. Apparently, his plan was to let the children take us for meat, then sell off our possessions for a tidy profit. Tempers flared, including my own, and in the ensuing altercation Danika slew the villainous deputy.

After removing ourselves from the alley, we set about securing goods for a trip to Salt Lake City. The last large city before the Rocky Mountains, Denver is the natural stocking-point for trains – both rail and wagon – headed west. It is a seller’s market, and the price is whatever the shopkeep feels he can get away with. We quickly determined that we didn’t have enough money to stock up for the two month trip through the mountains. We would need to find a source of income if we planned to continue from here.

Miss Veila retrieved a message from a nearby telegraph office, instructing her to visit a Mister Marcus Brown at the First Colorado State Bank in order to draw funds from her late uncle’s – now her – estate.

September 23, 1875

After spending the night in less than savory accommodations – both in price and atmosphere – we set out to locate the First Colorado State Bank. We quickly discovered that there is no First Colorado State Bank in Denver. We proceeded to the two main banking establishments in the city, in hopes of tracking down the correct location. As it turns out, Mister Brown had been employed at the First National Bank of Colorado, but has since passed away. Mister Kinkaid, another banker at the same establishment, had been assigned to this account. However, the gentleman keeps peculiar hours, and we have as yet been unable to contact him.

While we were waiting for a better time to meet with the banker, I was able to find the Cathedral of St Mary’s and took Danika and myself for a long-overdue confession. Though I tried to keep to the more recent events of Kansas and beyond, Father St Beuve could tell I was holding back and – at his prompting – I gave a full accounting of our tale thus far. Everything from when I joined the group in Texas, to the fiasco in Mexico, the possibly-unfounded “strangeness” going on in Oxford, even our run-in with settlers on the plains.

After receiving my penance, Father St Beuve asked to speak with me in his office. He assigned Father Swinburn the task of taking Danika’s confession. I believe I last saw that unfortunate man heading out of the sanctuary with a faraway, stunned look on his face.

In his office, Father St Beuve informed me that he had been tasked by Holy Mother Church to report on any strange goings-on in Denver. If nothing else came of this meeting, he at least promised to send someone to look into the situation concerning the barn in Kansas, which sets my mind somewhat at ease.

He was particularly interested in Miss Veila’s profession of archaeology – “tomb raiding” as he put it. He explained to me there were some strange things happening surrounding the local cemetery. People being seen about town after their own funerals, supposed ghosts, things of that nature, which seem to be following us around. Though I was unable to vouch for my companions, I agreed to bring it to their attention as a possible source of employment over the coming winter months. In the meantime, the Father agreed to put us up in the rectory, which is a very welcome change from the hard bedrolls and seedy rooms we have been staying in of late.

Comments

rma1979

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.