By Rob Vaux A tale of Deadlands Weird West

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The tall man had to stoop to enter the tepee. His lanky frame compressed like an accordion as he folded himself into the enclosed space set aside for him. He had to remove his hat, lest it dislodge the plethora of bones, rattles and beaded images that hung around the ceiling. He nodded sagely at the old Indian who sat cross-legged before him. His warm brown eyes belied the lines of concern that creased his face.

"I thought perhaps we should talk," he spoke solemnly.

"So my son has informed me," the Indian nodded. "And what would The Ghost want with a humble Dakota like me?"

The tall man started before smiling wearily. "I'm not sure where you and your people stand in the mix, and I want to make sure I don't eliminate any useful assets." The Indian started.

"Is that a threat?"

"Not unless you wish it to be. Please understand the problem that Gomorra is rapidly spiralling…"

"I understand Gomorra's problem all too well, Mr Lane. More than you can possibly know." The tall man's brow furrowed.

"Then you can tell me what your 'Sioux Union' plans to do about it."

The old Indian leaned forward across the space that separated them. "If I were to tell you, white man, I would be trusting you with a secret that could shatter the heavens."

"I've had my share of secrets."

"Not like this. This isn't Lincoln; you can't burn this town to the ground 'for the greater good'. Gomorra must fight the evil intact, or we will all be swallowed alive."

"How do you know this?" the tall man retorted.

"The same way you knew to talk to me instead of putting my tepee to the torch." Silence pervaded for a moment. "We are both on the same side, Mr Lane. I have no wish to interfere in your 'clean-up' of Gomorra, and the being I wish to fight will invariably be weakened by your efforts."

The tall man considered it for a minute. "I don't like loose ends. I could order you to help me…"

"You forget yourself sir," the reply came sharp and sudden. "I am not a citizen of the United States, nor am I bound by their laws. My people and I need not obey your 'orders'."

The tall man stopped for a moment. "I could order my men to drive you out," he said at last.

"Then Mr. Lane, you would have a fight on your hands. And a fight is something neither of us can afford."

"Yes, I suppose you're right," he replied thoughtfully. The Indian reached out and lightly grasped the tall man's wrist.

"You have nothing to fear from me, or from the men who follow me. I know of the abominations converging on Gomorra, and I applaud your efforts to destroy them. But I cannot join your fight. I am waiting for something far more terrible."

The tall man nodded quietly. "If things go bad, I won't be able to guarantee your people's safety."

"If things go bad, Mr Lane, my people's safety will be the least of your concerns."

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