Chapter 2

Kit walked into the hotel and looked around. The lobby was fairly large with a huge staircase at the back and a small check-in desk by the door. Most of the room was devoted to the barroom/café but a small portion and the right side was set up as a lounge. There were a few cowboys at the bar and there was a poker game going in the back that had a few spectators. But it appeared that it was a friendly game between some of the town's more important citizens.
Kit turned and walked over to the desk where the clerk greeted him. The clerk was an older man with white hair and few teeth. He also had a rather bushy beard and spectacles.
"I take it ya want a room?" asked the clerk. "Reckon, I could do with one, ol' timer. Is there a place nearby to put up my hoss?" Kit queried.
" 'Livery Stable down the street, 'cross form the Wells Fargo office."
"Here's yer key. Room 113. Top o' the stairs and turn left, it's the fourth door."

Kit took his gear upstairs, then took Bullet down to the 'Livery Stable. Then he took a walk around town ending at the saloon. The Royal Gold it was called, though there was nothing royal or gold about it.
Kit scouted it out before entering. Mostly cowboys and saddletramps, a few dance and serving girls and even fewer town citizens. Safe enough, he thought has walked up to the bar.
"What'll ya have?" asked the barkeeper.
"Whiskey," Kit replied. "Nice place."
"Yep. Right sweet set-up, seein' as it's the only real saloon in town 'sides the Hotel Bar."
"Who's the owner?"
"Fellar name o' Drake. Owns the general store, the bank, and a large amount of the land 'round town belongs to his ranch."
"Reckon he just about owns everything 'round here then." Kit replied with a whistle.
" 'Cept the Hotel, 'Livery Stable, and private shops."
"He own the Law?"
"Now don't be getting' the wrong idea. Sheriff Carter's an honest man if there ever was one. Drake couldn't influence him no matter what he tried, and he tried alright."
"Don't worry. I already met your Sheriff and he struck me as pretty square."
"Square's right. Ain't no squarer man in the territory than Bill Carter." replied the barkeeper. "See you've still got your guns, though. You'll want ta be checkin' with the Sheriff."
"I reckon the Sheriff's made me an exception." Kit answered.
"If you say so. But you want ta be careful 'round here then. There's several hotheads that Drake employs as "guards" so's they can pack hardware."
"Thanks for the warnin'. I'll keep that in mind, though they may find they've bit off mare than they can chew."
Just then one of the girls spotted Kit and started his way. She was a pretty blonde-haired girl with hazel-green eyes, ruby red lips, and a smile that could charm a rattlesnake out of biting.
"Hello, Handsome. Yer new 'round here ain't ya?" she said, leaning up against the bar.
"Reckon I am." Kit replied, tipping his hat in greeting.
"Well, stranger do ya have name?" she asked slyly.
"Reckon I might, though I was wonderin' what yers might be, darlin'. Reckon it must be right pretty seein' as it has ta match yer pretty face." Kit retorted just as slyly.
"Well, I declare, aren't we gallant. My name's Lily, though it's hardly pretty."
"Lily, I think it's quite pretty."
"Thank you. But now you have to tell me yers." Lily said, smiling.
"Well, it might be Billy the Kid. Only it ain't. Reckon Kit's as good a handle as any."
"Very funny Mr. Kit but what's the rest o' yer handle? It can't just be Kit." Lily laughed.
"Reckon not. It's Travis, Kit Travis." Kit replied with a smile.
" So Mr. Kit Travis, what are you doin' in the town o' Sagebrush?" Lily asked.
"Passin' through, though I reckon I might stay awhile." he answered.
"Well, Mr. Travis, I hope you do stick around for awhile." Lily said sweetly.
"That's right nice o' ya, Miss Lily. Makes me feel right welcome. But I reckon I ought ta be grabbin' some grub and then some shut-eye. I'll be seein' ya." And with that Kit made his way back to the Hotel to grab supper at the café and then headed up to his room. Once there he lay down on the bed and pulled out a letter from his breast pocket.

Dear Kit,
I'm afraid I have some bad news. Your brother Jim has been murdered. Little Sally, Tommy, Sarah, and I have moved into town. John Davis has collected the ranch as payment for some outstanding debt he said that Jim owed him. He did offer to pay Sarah but she wouldn't take charity from anyone. Now she's sick with the grief of losing Jim, she's wasting away and not even the children can cheer her up. I'm afraid, Kit. Afraid we're going to lose her too. We need help, Kit, bad. Personally I don't believe in Davis' debt claim. He's been after the ranch for years and Jim wasn't the kind of man to leave a debt outstanding like that. But don't get yourself into trouble, please. I'd never forgive myself if you got killed on our account. Besides you're all we have left now that's Jim's gone to join Ma and Pa. Hope your safe.
Your Loving Sister,


Kit folded the letter up and put it back in his pocket. Then he rolled over on the bed and blew out the lamp. Lying on his back with his hands behind his head he thought about his family. He hadn't seen Alex in nearly ten years, not since he became an outlaw, the night that their Ma died. Thinking on it brought to mind the similarities between Sarah and Ma. Ma had died of grief after Pa had been murdered, much the way Sarah was wasting away since Jim's death. Tomorrow I'll have to start investigatin' what I know 'bout Davis. Don't worry, Alex, I'll find out who done it, same as I found the ones who killed Pa, he thought. Don't you worry, Alex, you still got me. I won't let you down.