She woke up when the sun was already high in the sky. She had slept enough for the next two days and despite it, she would have slept more.
When she sat up, she felt the muscles of her back and legs hurt because of the long ride of the days before.
She stayed on her cot for a while to let herself to fully wake up and then she prepared some coffee.
While she sipped it in front of the window, she thought about what to do.
She wanted to go to the sheriff Gibbs in Valentine to ask him some questions. Maybe that man had noticed something strange during those days or some new faces that could coincide with those of Van der Linde's gang members.
Therefore she prepared Wind Catcher to go to the city.
Once she got in front of the sheriff's office, she tied Wind Catcher to one of the stakes, reassuring him that it wouldn't have taken long.
She closed the buttons of her shirt, hiding her necklace before she entered without knocking first.
"Good morning sheriff " she greeted the man who was reading the paper.
He moved it away from his face and looked up at her for a few seconds.
"How can I help you Miss?" he asked, returning to that new he was reading before he got distracted.
"I wonder why all men always think that we need help" she said.
"Women always need help"
"I think otherwise, but I'm not here to discuss equality" she cut short.
"And why are you here?" he asked again.
The paper abandoned near the man.
"Did you notice something strange in town these days? Maybe some new faces?" she asked looking through the window.
"Valentine's like a harbor. The visitors arrive endlessly, both from West and East.
I see new faces all the time"
"I see" she answered.
"Why do you ask?" the sheriff asked shortly after.
Julia sighed again.
"I've been following a criminal. A certain Elmer Finch. He ran away from Strawberry and it seems that he killed a lot of people there" she said looking at the man who seemed thoughtful.
"I've never heard of him. But maybe his description could be useful"
She thought about it for a second.
"Not so tall and rather skinny. He's black hair, mustache and goatee. He's a mole on the cheek and he usually wears elegant clothes"
Gibbs shook his head.
"I haven't seen him"
"Well thank you anyway sheriff" she said going to the door.
"I think I'd already seen you somewhere" said the man before she could have opened it.
Julia gazed at him.
"I've been in valentine some years ago" she answered.
"Yeah, yeah it could be. Well, good day Miss" he said opening his paper again.
Once she got out, a dispersive crowd in front Clarence's saloon caught her attention.
She came closer to the deputy sheriff, who was smoking a cigarette lent to the wooden porch, and she asked him what was happening.
"A bar fight" he answered without looking at her.
She stared at the crowd, trying to see more but from that distance, she couldn't see people's faces.
She went closer to the saloon, but when she reached the corner between it and the doctor's office, she stopped.
She felt her body go tense and her hands reached the guns on her belt. Her ears buzzed and her breath was patchy while her gaze was impossible to move elsewhere.
There he is.
The man she was looking for was a few meters from her, in front of the store, and he was talking animatedly with a big and fat man, with a thick brown beard that she had never seen.
He must have been a new member of the gang, who knows how many Van der Linde had recruited during the years of her absence.
Without thinking, Julia took a few steps ahead before she realized what she was doing and stopped. She couldn't get close and catch him, not with that man in front of him and Arthur Morgan, that she noticed shortly after, a few steps from them while he was cleaning himself from the mug in a barrel full of water.
He must have been one of the men involved in the fight. She wasn't surprised.
Many times she had seen him coming back to the camp with a split lip or eyebrow or a bleeding nose.
Beat people were his thing and, maybe, the only thing that he could do.
She turned her gaze on Dutch again while he mounted The Count, his horse, and then he left. Julia damned herself for leaving Wind Catcher behind and she couldn't follow him by feet.
The other man went closer to Morgan who sighed up a cigarette.
When he turned her direction, she quickly hid behind a house. She couldn't risk being seen.
She thought of a plan.
Obviously, the two men knew where the camp was, she had only to follow one of the two and she would have arrived into the lion's den.
The only problem was that she didn't know one of the two, while the other was too good at covering his tracks and he would have noticed her if she had followed him.
Besides she couldn't fight him, he was too strong for her.
The other man wasn't weak himself, but it seemed to her that he was kind of stupid. She didn't know why.
She carefully looked them from the corner of the house she was hiding and she saw Morgan go towards a horse and mount on it. Then he said something to the other man and left.
The only left was him.
She followed him with her eyes while he got on his horse, a shire brown horse, and went to the opposite direction of Morgan's.
He was slow enough to be followed by feet.
He stopped in front of the other saloon of Valentine, much smaller and less crowded than Clarence's one.
After an hour, Julia decided to look through the window to see what he was doing.
She saw the man dead drunk, seated at the counter while he was talking to another man who was as drunk as him.
She understood that it would have taken a while, so she went closer Wind Catcher and led him beyond some houses near the saloon, so when the man would have got out, she would have seen him.
She waited tow hours more, seated near her horse while she sharpened her knife and polished the wooden handle.
When she heard for the umpteenth time the saloon door open, she looked up and saw the man who drew closer to his horse stumbling.
He got on it badly and spurred him to follow the road that crossed the station.
Quickly she got on Wind Catcher and followed him.
When they arrived near Citadel Rock, they were alone.
Suddenly the man stopped.
She continued to go on slowly, her heart was beating fast, afraid that he might have noticed her.
Soon enough her fear was replaced by disbelief.
The man fainted.
He leaned forward, laying his head against his horse's mane, which neighed.
Julia frowned while she got off Wind Catcher and drew closer to the man. When the horse noticed her, he started to get nervous.
Julia calmed him down with sweet words and whispers till he did, and then she called Wind Catcher and got on him.
She tied up the man's hands behind his back and then she pulled him from his feet on her horse.
She made sure he wouldn't fall off and then hit the other horse which ran away.
She went to her hideout where she tied up the man to a tree and put a gag in his mouth to avoid his screams once he would have woken up.
She lighted the fire outside the shack and placed her blankets near it.
She cooked some meat and warmed up a can of peas.
When she finished eating she took care of Wind Catcher, curling and feeding him.
The man wasn't awake yet.
She searched his pocket finding some change and small objects.
She took his guns and put them beside her near the fire.
Finally, when the sun had set for a while, the man regained consciousness.
Julia was, as always, staring at the fire, while her head was full of thoughts and when she heard a jump, she turned her face.
The man blinked a couple of times before he looked around to figure out where he was. When he realized the situation, he started to struggle to try to free himself from the ropes that held him firm.
His light brown eyes moved on her. He tried to speak, but he wasn't clear because of the gag.
She looked at him for a while, then she got up and came closer to him.
"Well, well, well…the sleeping beauty is awake" she said kneeling in front of him.
The man continued to struggle and make noise, while his gaze didn't leave hers.
She rolled her eyes.
"Stop struggling and I took off that thing from your mouth" she said and the man calmed down.
Once the gag was out his mouth, the man breathed deeply and a strong smell of alcohol invaded her nostrils.
"Who the hell are you? Why you've kidnapped me? Are you a bounty hunter?"
From his obvious questions, Julia realized that the man wasn't a brilliant fella.
"Who am I is none of your business. Why I kidnapped you should be obvious and yes, I'm a bounty hunter and I can see that you're upset about it"
The man remained silent for a moment looking around.
"Where are we?" he asked.
"Not so far from Valentine nor your camp" she answered catching his attention.
"Don't worry, I don't know where it is. But, hopefully, I won't hurt you much so that you'll tell me" she said reading his confused and worried expression.
"I'll not tell you a damn thing!" he said struggling.
She looked at him.
"What's your name?" she asked.
"Well Bill, let me tell you something. I've killed a lot of men in my life and you know what? I find it satisfying. But there's something that I find more satisfying. Their pleading screams while I tear off piece after piece" she said leaning forward.
"I wonder how many pieces I have to tear off you before you speak"
"They gonna look for me and when they'll find me they'll kill you!" he said.
"I've got the impression that Van der Linde's men are too trustful about him" she said.
The man frowned, not understanding.
"I've paid a visit to your little Irish friend. He didn't want to tell anything too, but he had nothing to say anyway. And he thinks that Dutch will rescue him as well. When he'll have a rope around his neck, he'll understand it's too late"
"You're wrong! We're gonna save him! Dutch's already thought about everything" Williamson said.
She looked at him.
It didn't seem he was lying. His stupidity didn't let him to.
She grasped his hair and pulled so that his face was in front of hers.
"Tell me where are they and maybe I will not kill you"
"Screw you!" the man screamed.
She intensified her grasp to his hair and he moaned in pain, biting his lip to not scream again.
"I'm tired of giving you chances. I'll have what I want with good or bad manners. It seems you chose the bad ones" she said letting him go.
She took out her knife and went to the fire where she waved up the blade which turned in bright orange.
She went closer to him and with a hand she ripped off the bottoms of his shirt, revealing his fat abdomen.
She kneeled in front of him and brought the blade closer to his flesh.
"Last chance"she said.
With a fast movement, Julia cut the man just under his pec with the tip of her knife.
The cut was light but deep.
The man screamed and struggled.
She repeated her actions on his arm and under his foot.
It was useless. The man didn't speak a word while she got tired.
"I don't understand why all this loyalty to Dutch" she said looking at the moaning man.
"But maybe it isn't him that you're loyal to, but only to his words that he said to make you believe that is gonna be all right, that you'll find a cute place only for you where you're gonna leave happily ever after. He's told this horseshit since forever and I'm not surprised that a man like you believes him"
"You're wrong" he said.
She leaned forward to listen to him.
"Dutch gave us hope and family. We're gonna make it just we always did"
"Family… " she repeated looking at him.
"Do you wanna know what those people you call family did to me? They abandoned me" she said between her teeth.
"Dutch would never do that" responded.
"No, of course, but he did" she said and got up walking to the fire, warming the blade again.
"Who are you?" asked the man.
She didn't answer.
She waited till the bald was hot again and then she drew closer to him.
"Maybe this will give you the answer you want" she said opening her shirt to reveal the pendant.
The man's eyes grew wider.
"How did you find us?"
"I followed the smell of Dutch's promises"
She brought the blade closer to the man, but before she could hurt him again, she heard the shuffling of hooves and soon the air was full of bullets.
Sooooooo (eheheh) this was the chapter for today, I hope you liked it.
If so let me now (I don't know how 'cause I still haven't understood how this site works :))
I'll post ASAP.