by KellyA

Story idea by: Deborah Moen.  This is my first supernatural thriller.  Thanks to Carla and NotTasha my idea gurus who really got this story moving.  There are references to my ATF story "Hostage" which you might want to read first.

Webmaster Note: This fic was previously posted on another website and was moved to blackraptor in June of 2004.

****Part 1


The quarters were tight, cramped and dirty, but what else would one expect of an underground tunnel.  The saloon directly above had finally closed for the few hours between the last drunken reveler staggering out and lunch time. 

Two men, huddled within the tunnel, lit their lanterns and began their work, digging under the floor of the saloon.  The only thing making the small confines of the secretive excavation bearable was the rich reward it was presenting.

"How much you think we got?"  A young voice whispered within the confines of the tunnel.  The lantern light barely illuminated the figure stretched out in front of him.

The older man turned around the best he could to look back at the young man; he scratched at his white beard.  "Hmmm... between tonight and last night, and what we panned out of the river this morn, I'd say we have close to $500 dollars."

The older man picked up one of the small bags strewn about him and felt its weight.  Collecting the gold dust that fell between the floorboards from careless and drunken patrons had indeed proved profitable. 

A devilish smile crept up the corners of the younger man's face.  He shifted, getting up on his knees, and causing dirt to rain down on them.   

The white-haired man turned back to his work.  Using a small brush, he whisked in-between the floor planks, allowing the dust to fall into a small pan he held up.  It was tedious work, but better than breaking your back and risking your life in some old shaky mine.

The sound of a gun hammer being pulled back caused the old man to stop his work.  He slowly turned around to face his partner, who now held a small derringer in his hand.

"Sorry, old man, I need all the money, sorta got myself in a peck of trouble with some unscrupulous types."

The old man licked his lips and stared sadly at the younger man.  He knew when he hooked up with the young fella that he couldn't be trusted, but the old man had allowed his greed to over-rule his good sense.  He had had a long and exciting life and wasn't really afraid to die, but this wasn't the sort of death he had envisioned.

The bullet entered the old man's skull ending his thoughts.  He slumped down against the side of the tunnel, his eyes staring up as if trying to see the hole in his forehead.  The young man stared sadly at his partner; blood running down the older man's face in tiny rivulets and bleeding into his white beard.  The flickering lantern light gave him a ghoulish appearance, and sent a shiver of dread down the younger man's spine as he quickly collected up the bags of gold dust.

He took one last look at the old man, who had been his cohort for the past two months.  He didn't know much about him; knew he didn't have any family, but he had talked highly of seven lawmen he knew.  A twinge of remorse scratched at the young man's heart, but the combined weight of the pouches he held soon alleviated that.  He crawled back out of the tunnel taking the light and leaving the old man alone in his unmarked and unknown grave.

*****Part 2

Present Day

The seven ATF agents were enjoying the relaxing tempo of their mounts as they made their way through the dense maze of mottled-bark aspens--holding up umbrellas of golden sunshine.  The late morning sunshine flickered through the tree branches, casting lacy shadows on the ground.

Ezra Standish continued to flash deadly glares at the lean sharpshooter's back, who sat slightly slumped in the saddle atop his palomino.  The undercover agent turned his head to look over his shoulder at the four men, who followed behind in pairs up the narrow path.

Nathan Jackson and Josiah Sanchez seemed to be relishing their time in the great outdoors.  Ezra inwardly smiled and rubbed at his eyes as he cast a glance at the tall ex-paramedic.  Nathan had probably saved his life.  Ezra had been severely beaten and blinded, when he had inadvertently walked into a hostage situation in Judge Travis' chambers.  Ignoring orders, and his own sense of self-preservation, Nathan had forced himself upon the hostage takers and then refused to leave Ezra.  Ezra still found this hard to believe that someone would actually risk their own life for his.

Ezra's eyes then fell on the youngest member of their team.  JD Dunne was also enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, trying to catch sight of any wildlife that might be in the area.  Buck Wilmington, who rode abreast of him, just looked resigned to suffer through his young friend and roommate's bountiful energy and excitement.  Ezra reminded himself to talk to JD about how he had wired up the Judge's car to electrocute Earl Barker.  He would definitely have to be careful if he ever got on the wrong side of the young genius.

Standish looked ahead to the lone figure, who led the motley parade, dressed in a dark jacket, riding a sorrel mare.  Ezra grabbed a tree branch and broke off a twig, sticking the end down into the cast on his arm.  Two more weeks before he would be free of the constant itching and inconvenience.  He had been placed on desk duty for the month.  He knew it wasn't all because of being injured.  This was Larabee's punishment for his and Tanner's little unauthorized excursion in the agency's SUV.

Ezra nudged his horse forward bringing himself up alongside Vin.

"Listen, Ez before you say anything I keep telling you it was an accident.  I thought Travis had found out about the SUV we...ah borrowed, and I wasn't going to let you take all the blame so I told Chris," Vin blurted out.  He couldn't stand the silent treatment he'd been getting from the southerner since he had returned to work.  Vin had hoped getting everyone to take a vacation doing what Ezra enjoyed would somehow placate the peeved agent.

Ezra leaned forward flopping his uninjured arm atop the saddle horn.  He stared impassively at the contrite sharpshooter.  "Sir, next time you feel the need to share in my culpability," Ezra began.

Vin's eyes arched.  "Yeah," he prompted.


Ezra allowed his horse to drop behind Vin's.  He smiled at the sharpshooter's exasperated exhale.  He wasn't as mad at Tanner as he made out.  His fellow lawmen now knew his secret passion of exploring Ghost Towns, and for some unexplained reason they had decided it would be a good idea to all go and explore one together.  Ezra never had anyone take an interest in what he did, not even his mother.  Maude believed outside interests detracted from what was really important in life, making money and stepping on the little people as you rose up the societal ladder.

Larabee peered over his shoulder at his men.  He had been slightly stunned by Vin's request that they accompany Standish on one of his Ghost Town tours.  Chris then thought it would be a good way for him and the others to get a peek at what lay beneath Ezra's cool exterior and attitude.  Maybe discover the real man underneath all those Armani suits and silk shirts.  They had once dragged the private southerner on one of their fishing trips, and although Chris believed that Ezra did enjoy their company, fishing was not really his forte.  Chris felt this was probably only fair that they do something that Standish enjoyed.

"Hey, Buck, this is going to be so cool!" JD exclaimed, causing his horse to prance slightly under his rider's excitement.

"Sure, kid, lots of fun.  Only right now I could be having lunch with one beautiful senorita if I wasn't traipsing around in the woods looking for an old town," Buck replied a slight edge to his tone.

"Buck, Inez turned you down, remember," JD reminded

"Yeah, but I'm wearing her down, and I shouldn't let up," Buck explained.

JD shook his head at his exasperating and enamored friend.  He didn't think Buck had a chance with Inez, but one didn't tell Buck Wilmington this.  Dunne's thoughts moved to Casey, wishing she could of come with them.  The two of them could have found a nice quiet spot...JD shook his head, now Buck had him doing it.

*****Part 3

Vin brought his horse up alongside Chris's mount, who chomped unconcerned on a small patch of grass at the top of the rise.  Chris had removed his jacket and a bare arm rested on the pommel as he held the reins loosely in his hand.  His blue-eye gaze was locked on the sight below him.  Vin's own mouth dropped open as he followed Chris's gaze down the slope.  As the others pulled up alongside their faces mimicked the expressions on Vin and Chris's visages.

All seven of the agents felt a strange sense of déjà vu as they stared at the town, which was in fairly good shape, considering it was well over a hundred years old.  At least most of the buildings appeared to be standing.  The town was barely the length of a football field, with clapboard buildings on either side of a wide dirt street.  Vin guffawed slightly, expecting any minute to see Jesse James or Wyatt Earp appear.  Buck smiled at JD's wide-eyed expression and had to admit he was glad he came.

Chris glanced over to his right seeing a strange mix of amazement and bewilderment in Ezra's face.  Chris had never explored a Ghost Town and didn't know what to expect.

"Not what you expected?" Chris asked.

Ezra shook his head and stood up in his stirrups for a moment then sat back down.  A pleasant smile etched on his clean-shaven face.  Like so many other ghost towns from Colorado's past, there should be hardly anything left.  Decades of long winters with heavy snows should have weathered these more-than-century-old buildings into the ground.  Rusty nails, maybe a few bricks from a foundation or the wooden planks of a sagging wall might have survived.  But here many of the buildings still stood, preserved for a glimpse of a fleeting, yet intense moment in Colorado History.

"No, Mr. Larabee, of all the towns I've explored this one has to be in one of the best conditions.  This is truly a fine."  Ezra could make out several buildings that he thought to be the livery and hotel.  This town still held some semblance to its wild-frontier days.  From this distance it was like looking at a piece of history that had been pulled out of the past and laid out at their feet.

Most of the towns Ezra had visited had been nothing more than weathered skeletons, etching the outline of a town.  Usually One had to have a very vivid imagination to even begin to see what had once stood.

"Lord, Ez, this is really something," Buck voiced.

Ezra reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small pamphlet.  He looked at the picture on the front then back at the town.  The picture  was of the same Ghost Town.  He had not taken the picture at face value, most only showed what the town might of looked like in its prime.  And most people were disappointed when they actually came and visited the towns themselves.  This was not the case here.  Ezra then caught the small print underneath the image. 'lovingly preserved by the Hearst Foundation.'

Ezra looked back down at the mountain hamlet again. "Obviously, someone has put a lot of work into trying to restore this town."  His brow furrowed, most old towns were being allowed to just disintegrate, melt back into the past, very few were being preserved.   Worse, some were just being paved over for upscale developments their history lost forever under concrete and golf courses.   For all his sophistication and city-bred upbringing, Ezra at times longed for the simplicity of life that was wrapped within the harsh reality of the bygone western era.

"Maybe some wealthy entrepreneur needed a hobby?" Buck assumed.

Chris nudged his horse down the path toward the town, the others

automatically following.  A wildflower-speckled meadow, in stark contrast to the bare rock surrounding it, carpeted the entranceway to the historic frontier town.  

****Part 4

The seven riders pulled up their horses at the railing that stretched across the wide avenue just before the first building.  A weathered signpost read, 'Please hitch your horses here.  No motorized vehicles beyond this point.'

The seven agents loosened cinches and tied up their horses.  JD's brown eyes kept darting back and forth, trying to take in every detail of the archaic town. 

Ezra also looked intently at the settlement, but not with the excitement that JD was showing, more like apprehension.  He always got a child-like exhilaration when he entered a Ghost Town.  A chance to touch the past, but this was something different, more like the past was reaching out to touch him.  Ezra shook away the feeling, attributing it to his recent altercation with the Barker clan.

JD took the lead, swinging over the railing as the others followed.  They all started walking down the wide dirt street.  The first building on their right, was a mail/telegraph office, and even went so far as

to have a wire coming off the side, to a lone post a few feet away.  From a distance the town had looked remarkably well kept, but as they came closer they could see some of the ruin that time and weather had instilled on the buildings.

Most of the buildings were missing windows and some were even lacking doors.  Only small portions of the boardwalk existed and weeds were trying to make even them non-existent.

Vin was the first to see the spry old man striding toward them.  He nudged Chris and shifted his eyes.  They all then noticed the old man coming down the street, a wide toothy grin on his wrinkled visage.

"Howdy, folks," the old man called out in a gravelly, but firm voice, raising his hand in greeting.

"Lord, he sure takes this western stuff serious," Buck confided to JD, who stood next to him.

"He's probably like those people who do Civil War reenactments," JD explained.

As the old man neared, the agents could hear the soft jangle of his spurs.  He was old, how old was anyone's guess.  A long white beard hung down to his chest and white hair peeked out from under a beaten slouch hat that shadowed his weathered face.  He wore brown tweed pants and a beige linen shirt that was sheer enough to reveal his tan sagging chest. 

The old man stopped a few feet from them, spitting out a wad of tobacco.  "Welcome, to the only fully restored Ghost Town in the state," he cackled; his grin grew wide and brought a sparkle to his blue eyes.  "You all can call me Jasper. I'm sorta the caretaker here 'bout."

Chris stepped forward.  "I'm Chris Larabee, and these are my friends, Ezra, Buck, JD, Josiah, Nathan and Vin."

The old man eyed the strange mix of men, and Ezra wasn't sure but a  sadness of recognition seemed to flicker in the old man's eyes, but quickly vanished under a friendly smile.

"Where you all hail from?"

"Four Corners," Vin answered.  He stared at the old man, there was something about him that felt familiar somehow.  He knew he had never met the man before.  He shook the feeling away.

"Ah, I use to work there a long time ago."  Jasper's words seem to drift along with his eyes for a moment. "Well, let's get to it, thar's lots to see," Jasper suddenly said and turned around.

Chris and Vin shrugged and started to follow the old coot down the street.

JD picked up his pace and came up alongside Jasper.  He turned his head to look at the kindly old man.  "Hey, Jasper, that's a real nice watch," JD remarked, noticing the gold watch hanging from Jasper's belt loop. 

Jasper removed the antique watch and opened it, revealing a picture of an elegant woman dressed in old west period clothing.  "Yeah, my ma, Jasmine Hearst gave it to me right before she died.  Even had it engraved."  Jasper rubbed a callous thumb over the letters of his name etched into the back of the watch.  He snapped the watched closed and looked over his shoulder at the others.

"Hearst?" Ezra noted.  "As in Hearst Foundation?"

Jasper removed his hat and scratched at his head.  "Yeah, I guess you'd say they're relatives of mine.  They help in stoppin' those dang developers from gettin' their hands on this town."  Jasper tugged his hat back on his head.  "It's like all they want to do is pave over every speck of green earth.  Lord, what I wouldn't give to see a building torn down for a tree,"  Jasper ranted.  He stopped and blushed slightly under the curious gazes of the seven agents.  "Sorry, fellas, guess I got carried away there."

Vin smiled and nodded his head.  "Know exactly what you mean, sir."  Vin cringed every time he passed an open space that suddenly sprouted a 'for sale' sign; the kiss of death.  He had often considered moving up north to get away from the sprawl that was creeping all over Colorado.

"No problem, brother," Josiah said.  "I guess we all pretty much feel the same way."

"Well, you fellas came at a good time," Jasper continued, changing the subject. "We don't get many visitors this late in the season.  All afraid of gettin' trapped up here in a blizzard," Jasper cackled.  "Me, I love the solitude."  Jasper looked up at the sun.  "Well, c'mon on, times a wastin'."

****Part 5 

The seven ATF agents followed Jasper down the street.  Vin had to smile at the old man, who even walked like the only thing he rode was a horse.  The agents' eyes all darted back and forth taking in the smallest detail as they listened to Jasper explain some of the history. 

"In 1859 John Gregory made a rich strike at Clear Creek.  Mining camps developed at Fairplay, Georgetown, Gold Hill and Breckenridge.  By 1861 it was all over...this town was the last hold out at the end of the gold rush.  People here were still digging and panning a fair amount of gold," Jasper recited.

Ezra's brow arched at this little tidbit, not that he was interested in staking a claim, but the thought of finding gold did raise a slight fever in him.  The others seemed less interested in the history and more fascinated with some of the buildings, many showing the signs of the brutal Colorado weather.  Much to Ezra's amusement and pleasure, his compatriots seemed genuinely enthralled and interested.

"What's the name of this town?" Buck asked.

Jasper tugged at his beard.  "Don't have no name."

"What? A town with no name," Josiah broke in.

"Guess'n the town folks just never got 'round to namin' it," Jasper explained.


Ezra looked over his shoulder grateful to see the others wandering off on their own curiosity trails.  Josiah and Nathan stayed with Jasper as he continued to walk up the street reciting the history of each building they past. 

Standish had only one destination in mind -- the saloon, and it wasn't hard to find, being one of the biggest buildings in the whole town.  Ezra stepped up onto the partial boardwalk, which creaked under his weight, in front of the saloon.  The glass in the front window had long ago been removed, or maybe shot out.  

Ezra entered the saloon through its single bat-wing door that squeaked as it flapped shut.  He drew in a deep breath, smelling the old wood and a hint of stale liquor.  Ezra couldn't explain the sensation that swept over him, sort of a cold tingle that traveled up his spine, but whenever he entered an old western saloon he felt it.  It was like coming home, not that he knew what that was really like, but déjà vu was strong in this one.   

Ezra walked around the half dozen tables, most looked to be recent additions.  One ancient chair sat off against the wall, having only three legs and one arm.  He listened to the sound of his boots on the rough-hewed floor boards.  He glanced at the wide staircase that led to an upper balcony, the steps themselves bowed and warped with age.  He could see floor tacks that still held remnants of the brown carpeting that had covered the stairs.   A long bar, that might have been very impressive in its day, dominated the whole room.  One shelf had survived behind the bar, and a small piece of mirror remained attached to the wall.   Ezra stepped around behind the bar.  "Well, well, apparently Mr. Jasper indulges in the saloon's accoutrements from time to time," Ezra muttered to himself as he reached underneath the bar and pulled out an unlabeled bottle containing a dark unknown liquid.  

Ezra moved out from behind the bar, still holding the whiskey bottle in his hand.  He stopped at a table that sat in the center of the room, as if demanding to be the center of attention.  His brow furrowed as he circled the table, looking down at the ace of spades that sat in the center of the table.  He was sure it wasn't there when he entered, he suddenly got the feeling that he was not alone.

****Part 6

Eight men, dressed in jeans and various T-shirts, ranging from polo to tee, trudged up the mountainside, having had to abandon their all-terrain vehicles--due to the terrain.

"Tell me again, Hank, why we just couldn't take Larabee out in town?"  a tall, lanky man grumbled out from the middle of the line.

"Because, he's too much on guard, as are his men.  Out here they won't be expecting anything," Hank Gruber panted, stepping over a fallen tree.  He looked over his shoulder at the seven harden men following him up the trail.  The two younger men directly behind him were his brothers, Kenneth and Neal.  The others were men, who asked no questions and did as they were told, having been handsomely paid.

The Gruber's were a notorious drug family, but their empire came to

an end when Larabee, and his agents got involved.  Hank Gruber's father, Lars, was swapping drugs for guns eight months ago when the place was raided.  Hank managed to escape during the melee, but not before seeing his father gunned down by Chris Larabee.  For eight months Hank and his brothers had planned the demise of the Magnificent 7.  He finally got his opportunity when the newly hired secretary at the ATF office was easily tricked out of the information that Larabee, and his men were going on a little outing.  Hank Gruber couldn't have wished for anything better than an out of the way place with no one around to help.


Buck and JD approached a two-story building that sat taller and wider than any of its adjoining neighbors,  Tattered red velvet curtains graced the front paneless windows.  The door stood ajar, inviting. The two lawmen stepped into a spacious lobby that was made even more airy by its lack of a roof.  Two rickety benches sat on either side of a narrow staircase that cut the room in two.  Their boots kicked up the dust, which glittered and danced in the sunlight that streamed down from the hole above.

"Was this a hotel or something?" JD asked, looking at a faded, gold-framed, painting of a very voluptuous woman in a low-cut, dark-red velvet dress, hanging on the far wall.   JD stared at the picture and wondered if it was alarmed or something; although, why anyone would want to steal it was beyond him.  He figured that Jasper must of put it here to give the room a little atmosphere.

"Yeah, a hotel you pay for by the hour," Buck sarcastically replied as he stepped up to the well-worn red-carpeted staircase.  This was one aspect of the old west that Buck wished had never disappeared.  He always considered himself a ladies man and would have loved the idea of traveling from place to place to be met by the less reputable females of the town.  Buck wiped his mouth as he tried to picture what the hotel might have been like in its day.  Women wearing trusses, hanging out the windows, luring all manner of men inside.

JD looked at him with an inquiring smirk, knowing he was missing something.

"A bordello," Buck explained, rolling his eyes.

A wide grin appeared on JD's boyish face, and he started looking at the building in a whole new light.

Wilmington looked up to the top of the stairs where he could make out several doors on either side of the narrow hallway.  A very feminine giggle caused him to spin around suddenly.  "What was that?"  His gazed darted around the small lobby then traveled back up the stairs.

JD had returned his attention to the painting.  "What was what?"

"I thought I...forget it," Buck said as he realized that JD wasn't paying any attention to him.  "Boy, you're going to go blind if you keep staring at that picture."

JD flustered and turned around.  "Hey, I'm going to go over to the jail house want to come?"

"Nah, I think I'll have a look around.  This place sort of interests me," Buck replied.  JD walked out the door as Buck slowly started up the stairs.

****Part 7

Vin strolled down the main street, peering into several buildings that lined the street.  Most he couldn't discern what they had been used for.  He was able to make out what appeared to be some type of store.  There had been several shelves and what looked like food stuff sitting on them.  He also noticed an old cashier box sitting on the counter.

Vin frowned as he neared the livery the fresh smell of hay causing his nose to itch.  He peered into the old stable to see hay strewed over the hard wood floor.  Like most of the buildings the stable had no roof to speak of and most of the stalls were missing slats and doors.  Vin stepped away from the stable and wondered why fresh hay had been strewed over an obviously unusable stable floor.  Out of the corner of his eye Vin caught sight of an old Conestoga wagon sitting alongside the building.  There was only a small amount of material still attached to the frame and that was endanger of disintegrating soon.  Without even a thought he headed over to it.  Vin peeked into the back, seeing what looked like bedding and foodstuff.  He figured Jasper must of put the stuff there to make it look authentic, or maybe the old man slept here.  It looked like someone lived in it.  Vin grabbed the side of the wagon and pulled himself up into the back of the buckboard style wagon.

Tanner pulled back the coverlet on the makeshift bed that sat in the back and stared down at a perfectly preserved sawed-off Winchester.  He looked over his shoulder, and then tentatively reached down and picked up the weapon.  It felt good in his hands, and his fingers caressed the metal barrel and short stock.  Holding the gun he felt he could shoot anything and not miss.


Buck walked up the wide staircase; his eyes never leaving the door at the top, just off to the right.  He stopped at the top and cocked an ear.  He could just barely hear the soft moans of pleasure coming from the nearby room; sounds that were starting to arouse him.  Buck's mouth suddenly went dry, and he took a couple tentative steps toward the door.

It was a definite feminine voice on the other side of the door that caused Buck's heart to race with a mixture of fear and excitement.  He couldn't understand why he was approaching the room instead of racing out of that place as fast as he could.  At first he tried to  rationalize, thinking a couple kids had snuck in and were getting their kicks, but he knew this wasn't true.

Wilmington placed his hand on the doorknob and a cold chill raced through his body, causing him to inhale sharply.  He closed his eyes and counted to three.  On three Buck threw open the door.  He released the breath he had been holding and looked at the huge bed that sat in the center of the room, entirely empty.  A gentle breeze blew the tattered white curtains inside.  Buck let his gaze sweep over the small room.  The bed was nothing more that a couple of stained mattresses setting on a very tarnished brass frame.  A small wooden nightstand and dresser completed the room.  Buck drew up to the closet door and opened it--nothing.  He stiffened as he felt a whisper-light touch on his face then a slow smile came to his face.  He slowly closed the door and made his way down the stairs.  When he reached the middle of the staircase he again heard the titillating giggle, but this time he only smiled.

*****Part 8

JD entered the jailhouse, which sat nestled between two larger buildings.  He was slightly surprised to see Chris sitting on the edge of the desk going through what looked like old wanted posters.

"Hey, Chris."

Chris glanced up at the young agent and smiled.  "Where's Buck?"

"Ah, he's checking out the building on the edge of town,"  JD replied.

JD's brown eyes took in the small two-cell jail.  "Now this is what it was all about," he commented as he came around the large wood desk and sat down.

Chris cocked his head and looked at the young agent with a bemused smile on his serious face.  "What is what all about?"

JD threw his feet up on the desk and leaned back in the aged chair.  "Getting the bad guys and just throwing them in jail.  No multitude of lawyers advocating criminal's rights and getting them released before you even sat down to write the report.  The law was so simple back then," JD dreamily replied.

"Yeah, I suppose." Chris chuckled and returned to the wanted posters, rubbing the aged paper thoughtfully.

"I would'a been a good sheriff," JD proudly remarked, an eastern twang punctuating his words. 

JD dropped his feet to the floor and pulled at one of the drawers of the desk, finding it open.  He looked inside, and his eyes widen as his mouth dropped opened.  He reached in and pulled out a shiny Silver Star, the word, 'Sheriff' clearly embossed on its silver finish.


The awe in JD's voice got Larabee's attention, and he looked over to see him holding the shiny star in his hand.  Chris watched as JD polished the symbol of law on his shirt then pinned it over his left shirt pocket.

"Don't you find all this a little strange?" JD suddenly asked.


"Well, isn't a ghost town sort of like a museum?"

Chris pressed his lips together and thought a second.  "Yeah, I suppose."  He was feeling a little strange himself.  He had been enjoying himself earlier, but now a dark mood seemed to be clouding his thoughts.

"Why is all this stuff not locked up, or at least put under glass?"  JD wondered out loud.  "I mean some of this stuff looks like it was used just yesterday."

Chris hadn't thought about it, but now everything did seem a little odd.  He looked down at the ten wanted posters he had found tacked to the wall.  They looked new, yet the paper felt old.  Chris at first thought that Jasper just had them made to make things feel more authentic, now he wasn't so sure.

Vin suddenly stepped into the jail house.

"You are not going to believe what I found," Vin exclaimed, holding up the sawed-off Winchester.

"Wow!" JD jumped up from his desk to come around and have a look at the rifle that Vin held.

'What the hell is going on here?'  Chris thought to himself.


"So, Jasper, how long you been here?" Nathan asked as the three men walked up the street.  A slight breeze stirred up several dust devils that licked at their heels.

"Oh, I've been taking care of this place a long time," Jasper distractedly replied then without pause added, "Mr. Sanchez, you might find the old church fascinating."  He pointed off down the street where a dilapidated building with a steepled roof stood.  "And Mr. Jackson, you might find the old clinic of interest." Jasper pointed off in the opposite direction.

Both men stopped in their tracks as Jasper abruptly turned down an alleyway.  The two lawmen regarded each other with stunned expressions, not missing the fact that this complete stranger seemed to know a little bit about them.