Friday, June 28, 2013

Deadlands, Part XXXIX

When last we left our heroes, they encountered an infectious, blasphemous evil (that apparently infected Ruby), were run out of Tucson for being a nuisance, and were going to take a train to Amarillo by way of Albuquerque.  From there, they hope to hit the town of Garrison Wells.  (Meanwhile, Ollie and Rufina were almost eaten by a horde of little lizards.)

David, Father Seward, Ollie, Rex, Ruby, and Rufina gather themselves as the train approaches.  The train stops by the group's camp and allows them to board.  As their tickets are for the simple passenger car, it's going to be a hot, uncomfortable couple of days until Albuquerque.

Since the group is not staying in a sleeper car, and the appropriate tools for an exorcism are hard to come by on a train, the group decides to wait until the stopover in Albuquerque to perform any ritual.  Despite the fact that the black veins in Ruby's eyes are getting more pronounced as the day progresses.

They'll be in Albuquerque in a couple of days.  That should be enough time.  Hopefully.

The decision is made when Father Seward awakens to find Ruby, half asleep, corset undone, straddling him in his seat and kissing him.  She falls asleep on his chest, and after his initial confusion passes, he awakens her.  She is embarrassed and horrified by her behavior, and quietly returns to her seat.

Seward awakens David and tells him what happened.  They then awaken the others and indicate that the exorcism likely needs to happen tonight.

Knowing that Father Seward needs a Bible and a silver cross, as well as a private space, David goes in search of the conductor.  He finds the man in first class, and explains that one of their companions has fallen ill, and that they need a spot to keep her away from the other passengers, and by the way, she would be greatly comforted to have a Bible and a silver cross.

The conductor doesn't have a silver cross, but he does loan David a Bible, and lets them use the cattle car (fortunately for the group's purposes, it is a car or two removed from passengers, and is extremely noisy).  When David tries to bribe the man to get him to fetch a pail of water, the man gets offended and storms off.

As the cattle car is adjacent to the baggage car, the group starts tossing luggage.  Finding a shallow silver bowl, David takes it, writes a note of apology, and leaves a wad of bills in the person's luggage.  With no other source of silver around, Rufina bends it into a roughly cruciform shape.

Rufina then goes and gets a spittoon, washes it out, and fills it with water.  She brings it to Father Seward for use as a holy water basin.

The group prepares itself.  Father Seward notes the dangers to all and asks if Ruby wishes to proceed; she agrees.  Ruby strips down to her bloomers and lies on the floor of the train car.  Father Seward changes into his tattered evening wear to help protect his good clothes.  Seward borrows David's belt to strap the silver cross to Ruby's chest.  Ollie, Rex, and Rufina prepare to hold her down while Father Seward and David enact the ritual.

As Father Seward and David begin walking, chanting, and sprinkling holy water, Ruby's flesh begins smoking.  Her voice drops, and she screams, swears, and utters blasphemies at the group.  She says something to Ollie in Norwegian, something so vile that it sends him scampering into the corner of the train car in horror.  She throws Rex across the car several times; Rufina is the only one who can hold her down.  Unable to throw her off, the Ruby-thing proceeds to humiliate her by ripping her blouse and suckling at her breast.

A few hours into the ritual, the car starts leaking urine; the walls, floor, and ceiling release a foul, urine "sweat" that drenches everything in the car.  The Ruby-thing herself begins urinating profusely, all the while shouting blasphemies and threatening her own life and the life of her unborn child.  Shortly thereafter, she tears off her own bloomers and starts violently masturbating.

Father Seward and David proceed, undaunted.

The Ruby-thing defecates herself, projectile vomits, and continues to hurl threats and insults as the group while trying to assault them.  She hurls another invective at Ollie, prompting him to soil himself and reducing him to a gibbering wreck in the corner of the car.  As the ordeal continues, the Ruby-thing discharges a thick, black, tarring substance from her womb.  The car clatters and rattles, and the cattle doors bang open and closed.  She seems to return to normal, pleading with the group that they can stop, that she's better, that they're hurting her and her child, that they're killing her.

Father Seward and David proceed, undaunted.

After eight grueling hours, taking them from the dark of night to a few hours after sunrise, the exorcism is over.  The car stops its violent clatter, stops leaking urine.  The group has a moment to look at the morning sunshine as the train passes over a bridge over a canyon.  As the group starts to gather itself, Father Seward smiles at Rufina and helps her to her feet.

That's when the knife sinks in.

The knife in Father Seward's right hand is shoved into her gut as he looks her right in the eye and says in a gravelly voice that is not totally his, "You were warned not to go to Garrison Wells."  He lets go of the knife and kicks her out of the train.

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