100 COFFINS

Cadman watched the scene unfold.

Paul had the overhanging oil lamps relit, filling the saloon with light. The candles burned low. Paul took a noble stance on an elevated platform which held a player piano. He stood in front of the instrument, distinguished, raising his hands to quiet the crowd. Silence swept across the room with palpable force.

All the while, Cadman eyed the man named Paul intensely. There was something about him -- something he vividly recognized. Cadman swiftly moved over the bar and into the crowd for a closer look. Paul noticed Cadman’s approach, and his magnetic gaze fell over him. There was a reserved stillness in the man’s face. Cadman racked his mind, trying to remember.

“My children,” Paul began in a loud, velvety voice that resonated off the saloon walls. “The night of our departure has finally come.” He smiled.

Finally it clicked in Cadman’s mind, and a quaking chill traveled up his spine. Fresno. Two years ago. He’d tracked a highway robber from Fresno to Trinity Hill, killing the man when he wouldn’t surrender. He’d watched the man die -- seen his grave on the hill behind town. Watching Paul of the Holy Trinity spout his rhetoric, there was no doubt in his mind. Paul was the very man he’d killed that night -- the man he’d seen buried. The savior of these fanatics was a dead highway robber.

Cadman quickly turned towards the bar, his eyes searching out Alexander. Fortunately, the old man hadn’t moved from his perch. Leaning in, Cadman spoke calmly and quietly. “What if I told you I knew that man?”





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