Goldrun, Revisited: Part Five
Ellie sat in silence, staring at the Lupe in horror.
“I don’t believe we’ve met,” the grey Lupe replied gruffly.
“You don’t remember me?” Ellie asked. “I’m Sheriff Ellie, of Goldrun!”
“Nice to meet you, Sheriff,” the Lupe replied.
“You know this man?” Victor asked.
“I... he’s the spitting image of someone I knew once,” Ellie said distantly.
“If it isn’t too much trouble, sir,” Victor addressed the Lupe. “Just who are you? I don’t like referring to you as ‘the hermit’.”
“I don’t have a name,” he replied, stoking the fire.
“I don’t,” the Lupe repeated flatly. “I just woke up one day on the mountain, nothing but this log cabin to me.”
“Amnesia...?” Victor gasped. “Fascinating! But perhaps this means the Sheriff does know you? Maybe she knew you from before! Ellie, who do you think this man resembles?”
“A man declared dead in Goldrun,” Ellie replied, with an almost haunted tone. “Remember ya briefly met Jason Farley, the owner of the mine?”
“Yes.” Victor remembered the angry shadow Lupe.
“His father, Pete Farley, was a grey Lupe,” Ellie continued. “They say he went mad and stumbled off into the desert; no one ever found him.”
“But they have, now!” Victor said excitedly. “Isn’t this amazing? We can return you to your family, Mr. Farley!”
“No, it isn’t amazing,” Ellie said quietly.
“What?” Victor asked.
“Look at me, Pete,” Ellie commanded suddenly.
“I don’t remember anything,” the Lupe told her.
“I said look at me!” Ellie shouted.
The Lupe fixed her with her eyes.
“What’s the matter?” Victor asked.
“I’m good friends with Doc Brown, back in Goldrun, and in my line of work you meet quite a lot of people who conveniently lose their memories when you try to question ‘em,” Ellie said, her head still reeling slightly from her headache. “I know a fair bit about amnesia. The thing is... ya can lose all sorts of memories. Ya can forget people, places, even the names of objects – but there’s one thing no one ever forgets, not really. Not unless magic’s been involved.”
Ellie stood up, staggering slightly.
“Their name,” she stated.
The Lupe backed away.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he insisted.
“Yes you do,” Ellie told him. “You know me and I know you, Pete. Explain.”
The Lupe seemed to deflate, before sitting down at his table and burying his head in his hands.
“I’m here for my own safety,” he told them.
“Why, Pete?” Ellie asked. “You left Jason all alone...”
“Don’t talk to me about Jason!” he suddenly shouted. “He’s the reason I’m here! He’s the reason I can never leave this mountain!”
“What are ya talking about?” Ellie asked.
“He drove me out of town, Ellie,” Pete explained. “Hired someone... someone to do the job for him. Thankfully he hired someone incompetent.”
“You’ve been hiding out here, while he thinks you’re dead?” Victor questioned.
Pete nodded. “I couldn’t come back, before you ask that. He’d... he’d know; he’d get to me before I had a chance to tell anyone.”
Ellie breathed out slowly, “He tried to get rid of his own father... I knew he was ruthless when it came to the town, but this is a whole new level.”
“What are you going to do?” Victor asked.
“I understand why ya didn’t come forwards, Pete,” Ellie told the Lupe. “But now I know... he needs to be dealt with. Once we find Jonas, we’ll head back to town and arrest Jason as well. We can’t have murderers, attempted or otherwise, running about in Goldrun.”
“He won’t go without a fight,” Pete noted.
“Then he’ll get one,” Ellie replied matter-of-factly.
“Well, that’s sorted then,” Victor sighed with relief. “Now would you please get some rest, Ellie?”
“I’m fine,” Ellie replied dismissively. “We need to find Jonas.”
“It’s almost dawn,” Pete said from the table. “There’s no point in searching until the sun comes up. You might end up jumping on someone innocent again like you did earlier.”
Ellie frowned, “Fine, but wake me up if there’s any trouble.”
She reluctantly climbed back into the bed, and stared resolutely at the ceiling for a few moments. It wasn’t long before her eyelids fell heavy of their own accord, and the world fell into darkness.
The sound coaxed Ellie out of her sleep, through the blackness.
There was something about that phrase... something important, Ellie was sure...
Ellie’s senses exploded in panic as her brain woke. Her eyes opened to the face of Jonas grinning broadly. Ellie tried to move, but found her arms pinned to her sides. The Techo’s hand was clamped firmly over her mouth, and as her eyes darted over to the rest of the cabin, she saw why. Victor and Pete were asleep on chairs by the table. Jonas didn’t want Ellie to wake them.
Insane, not stupid, she thought to herself bitterly.
“Clickerty-Clack,” Jonas whispered softly, bringing his face close to Ellie’s so he could see the fear in her eyes.
His rusty blade ran down her neck, threatening to cut her if it got any closer.
Ellie stopped struggling, and Jonas regarded her curiously as the look in her eyes changed from one of fear to pure anger. He slowly edged the knife away as his head twitched to one side.
Ellie took her chance, and head butted the Techo as hard as she could. Jonas reeled back in pain, as Ellie swiftly pinned his arm against the cabin’s wall and forced him to drop the knife. As quickly as she could, she pinned Jonas’s arm behind him, immobilising him.
“Clickerty-Clack!” she spat triumphantly.
The noise roused Victor and Pete.
“Rope, now!” Ellie ordered.
A few minutes later, Jonas was tightly bound on the floor of the cabin, twitching and screaming, “Clickerty-Clack!” at them.
“That was certainly quick thinking, Ellie,” Victor noted.
“Didn’t do wonders for my headache, though,” Ellie replied with a laugh.
Pete pushed the curtains of the window aside, and morning light flooded into the cabin.
“Dawn,” he announced. “I suppose we’d better be heading down the mountain.”
Ellie stood up and dusted herself off, before forcing Jonas to his feet in front of her.
“You don’t want to take anything with you?” Victor asked, as Pete followed them outside.
“I’ve got a few of my hunting things, but besides that, no,” the Lupe replied, glancing back to the cabin. “I don’t want to remember this place... the life I was forced to lead.”
Progress down the mountain was significantly harder than it had been on the way up. Whilst daylight gave them a clear view of the path they needed to take, Jonas did not intend on going quietly and frequently tried to struggle out of Ellie’s grip.
It was almost noon by the time they reached the less steep section of the mountain trail where they had originally found the footprints.
As the Chief had promised the night before, some native braves were keeping guard near the wagon. Victor noticed that Desert Flower, the Chief’s daughter, was also among them.
“Thank goodness you’re here!” the Moehog called out as they came closer. “We were beginning to wonder if we should send parties into the mountains to look for you.”
“We found Jonas,” Ellie explained, pushing the Techo forward slightly. “Ya can tell your father his people are safe again.”
“What?” Desert Flower asked, sudden confusion appearing on her face. “Oh, that? No, that’s the least of our worries! Something’s going on in Goldrun!”
Ellie’s face fell. “What?”
“A messenger arrived late last night, after you left,” Desert Flower explained. “Well, I say messenger...”
The Moehog and the natives stood aside to reveal another figure sitting in the back of the wagon.
A blue Bruce waved shyly back at them.
“Flagrant?” Ellie questioned. “Flagrant Dohicky? What are ya doing out here? Why aren’t ya at the General Store?”
The Bruce hesitated slightly before he replied, but when he started speaking it was in a panicked tone.
“Oh, Ellie, it’s horrible!” he bawled. “He must have been waiting until you left town! Not long after your wagon rolled out, strange men began to appear out of the buildings near the mines, and they had cork guns, a lot of them. They ordered everyone to stay inside on the authority of the mining company. They were calling it martial law, and well... you know how sometimes Doc Brown can get a little clever with people? He went out to tell them that they can’t actually declare martial law if they don’t work for the Sheriff’s office... suffice it to say they weren’t very happy about that. Mrs. Makepeace is tending to him.”
“Who did this, Flagrant?” Ellie demanded.
“Jason, of course! Didn’t I say?” the Bruce replied. “Jason Farley!”
Ellie gave a brief alarmed glance to Pete before turning to Jonas.
“Jonas, did Jason Farley let ya out of your cell?” she asked.
The Techo slowly nodded, in between jerks of his head.
“He let him out of the cell while we were out to make sure I wasn’t around when he took over,” Ellie told Victor.
“What’s happening?” Pete demanded. “Did he know you’d find me out here?”
“No,” Ellie replied. “I’ve been standing in the way of him extending the mine under the town. I guess he’s got bored of playing politics and has decided he wants to appoint a new Sheriff – himself.”
“What are you going to do?” Victor asked.
“The only thing I can do, ride in there and take the town back,” Ellie answered.
“Alone? That’s madness!” Pete gasped.
“She won’t be alone,” Desert Flower announced. “I can spare a few braves.”
“Princess...” the Tonu guard behind her started.
“I know, Father said to guard the mountain, not to leave,” Desert Flower said dismissively. “But he’s not here right now; I am. You are going to come with me and help; I’ll make sure none of you take any blame from my father.”
“We don’t have any time to waste,” Ellie said, climbing atop the wagon and grabbing the reins. “We need to get back to Goldrun, now!”
To be continued...