Cast of Characters:
Alan Trehorn: Half-Apsalooke/Crow scout who might be taken for a greenhorn, but at your own risk.
Etienne DuMont: Texas Ranger. He used to be dead, but he got better.
Kenneth Lake: Professional poker player and reluctant participant in these events.
Dr. Frances Gray: Doctor and a strong believer in science and natural explanations.
Sister Elisabeth: A nun of maybe questionable past, but unquestionable faith.
Eliah Davis: Black cowboy who has seen some weird shit in his life. He spins this tale for you, somewhere at a camp fire on the prairie.
I've always hated travelling in the winter and I usually see to it that I have employment on some farm well before the snow starts. I didn't plan to start doing things differently now, but travelling with Alan and the others, hunkering down somewhere was not in the cards. We found our way to Downsville, like Etienne was ordered, and arrived there with the first snow.
People here make their living with fur trading and mining mostly and a lot of men camped up on the mountains, closer to the actual mine. The mayor of Downsville told us that they hadn't heard from the camp for a while now and that the last they had heard was that there was some kind of plague. The doc had already sent for drugs, but the stagecoach from Denver was overdue already. We agreed to go look for the coach and bring the drugs to the snow camp, if we could.
The weather got worse when we set out. It snowed, but the worst thing was the sharp wind. The cold sets into your bones in that kind of weather and you just can't get warm, not matter how many clothes you wear. If you work up a sweat or get your clothes wet another way, you die.
At least we found the stagecoach. It had slipped down a steep hill and crushed its driver. The horses were dead, too. At least there were no passengers. The drugs were there and none of them damaged, too. Elisabeth came down after me and almost threw Kenneth off the rope we were using to climb, she was that eager to reach the coach. It had valuables on board, money and other stuff, and when we didn't agree to take them with us, she tried to steal some gold coins, but I caught her.
We took the drugs and the letters for the mining camp with us and decided to make our way there directly. We didn't make it in one day and got caught in a blizzard in the canyon leading up to the camp. In the middle of the night, wolves attacked us - they were mangy and sick, maybe suffering from the same plague as the people at the camp, the winter wasn't nearly long enough for them to be in such bad shape. They bit some of us and some of the horses, but we all survived and came to the mining camp the next day.