"But the spirits say that the Child is important." Brownsville Jack looked hopefully at the stern faced schoolmarm blocking the doorway to the schoolhouse. Inquisitive children craned their necks to try and catch a glance of what was going on at the doorway. Meredith Singleton stared back impassively at the shamans morose face.
"Mr. Jack, I dont care for your superstitious nonsense! However, I do...William Badson, sit down this instant or else its the dunces cap for you! Where was I? I do however think that these children will fare better under my care than with the Pride of Texas."
"Miss Singleton, I must protest..."
"Mrs. Singleton..." she hissed "...my husband may not be alive anymore, however he is still my husband. Now I must insist that you leave the school premises this instant and take that abomination with you..." she pointed to Tombstone Frank, leaning on the gate post picking his teeth with a Bowie knife "...or else I shall be forced to call Sheriff Hunter."
Jack shrugged and turned to leave with Frank when a load splintering noise sounded followed by the screaming of frightened children. Meredith, Jack and Frank turned as one and dashed into the school house. Children instinctively ran towards Meredith, crying in fear, trying to get as far away from the back door to the school house as possible. The door was hanging from its hinges and stood in the doorway was a mountain of a man in a black duster and smoked spectacles leveling a double barreled shotgun at a group of children. Tombstone Frank reacted instantly and leapt for the hulk of a man with his Bowie knife in a pickaxe grip. The man in black turned, snarled "Rebel scum," and discharged both barrels into Franks chest. Frank was thrown backwards, his chest a bloody mess. However, he just grinned and stood back up, advancing towards the man in black with a glint in his eye. Slowly, but surely the man in black backed away out of the door, reloading his shotgun with an uncanny coolness. Then, he was gone.
"Mrs Singleton, I assure you that we are here to protect the child. He is gifted and will be much better off under the protection of the Texas Rangers whilst the Agency are interested in Gomorra." said Brownsville Jack.
Meredith beckoned to a small blond haired boy who had been the target of the man in black. " Now Phillip, I want you to go along with these two gentlemen to visit Miss Karl for a little while. I think you will be a little bit safer under their protection, but dont forget your lessons. Mr Jack, I expect you to bring Phillip Goodson to school each weekday, I intend to give him a good education which will stand him in good stead in adult life!"
Jack looked back with the same glum expression he always wore. " Thank you Mrs. Singleton, I think you have made the correct decision. May the Great Spirit guide and protect you in the coming times."
"Superstitious claptrap, just you make sure you take care of Phillip."
With that, Brownsville Jack, Tombstone Frank and Phillip Goodson left, whilst in the corner William Badson scowled at Meredith Singleton. A shadowy figure moved towards William.
"There, there my boy. You seem to be a little angry with the widow Singleton, why dont you come with your uncle Nicodemus to meet a nice old lady?"