A Daring Detective Duo – Extended Epilogue

Delia Childs was seeing to the housework of the house she shared with her husband, Nick. They had settled into a quiet life, Nick a successful shopkeeper, and Delia his adoring wife. She had other interests, including a burgeoning social life and political interests. She remained convinced that women would somehow wind up getting a fair vote in their own country, as the women of Ireland already did.

It was slow progress, and Delia was content to keep house, maintain her new social circle, and keep trying for a baby. She and Nick had tried, and they would keep trying. It would be a matter of fate.

Her mornings had been uncomfortable lately, and she made a mental note to go see the local doctor. She’d been before, and walked away humiliated and childless.

She wanted to be sure, Nick wanted to be sure, they both wanted to be sure.

Delia had never been so happy. Looking back at her time as a Pinkerton showed, she didn’t need to prove herself ever again. It had been an adventure of a lifetime.

Her father was such a dubious, shadowy individual. He had such a ruthless plan, alive for all those years… Delia tried not to think about it. 

Delia was dusting her home, and she couldn’t help but reflect on her life years before. When she spent her time dusting the New York offices of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. She’d resented having to do menial tasks. A few years later, she was happy to be in the home her beloved had provided for her. She was keen to provide for him as well, fully aware of how much and how little she’d changed.

Even with all that had changed, some things were the same as they’d always been. Her years of training remained with her, and her instincts were sharp just below the surface. It was a habit, but it could save her life as it had before, more than once. She’d even saved Nick’s life. It was a stroke of luck and skill she would never regret. He’d saved her too, and went on doing so in so many ways.

Delia was nervous without reason, and it brought her back to her years of training. It was the feeling that she was being watched, one common to her for most of her life. She hadn’t gotten it as much since settling with Nick in New Orleans. Everybody knew they were not a couple to be trifled with, and nobody would come between them. Men turned their attention to others, much to Delia’s relief.

Some of the local men had taken offense to some of her forward-thinking political views, but she didn’t let them carry her away. She’d make her point as a female Pinkerton, and as a worthy individual. The rest of the world could take care of itself for a while, as far as Delia was concerned.

She paused cleaning and placed a hand on her belly. Have to see the doc, she thought. Could… could this be it?

It seemed likely, the queasiness and the clamminess. It could be other things, Delia knew that. It could be a terrible disease which sometimes struck women in their stomach. It sometimes struck women who hadn’t been able to conceive, and the similarity was not lost on Delia.

Her stomach turned, and Delia set down her feather duster. She heard knocks on her front door. The weight and tone of the knocks were familiar, but the speed was worrisome. Delia peeked out the little hole in the door to see her friend, actress Audrey Louise. She’d gotten chubbier in the years since they’d met, but the two had also gotten closer.

Delia pulled the door open and stepped back. “Audrey, come in.”

The stout redhead pushed quickly into the room. Her fading green eyes were nervously jutting around.

“Audrey, what’s wrong? What is it?”

“Have you noticed a certain man about town, Delia? Hunched over in a hooded cloak?” 

“I haven’t,” Delia said. “Is this man a threat to you?”

Audrey sighed, looking around the two-story house. “I hadn’t noticed him until Margaret Hutchins mentioned to me he’d come to her bakery.”

The suspense was almost too much to take, considering Delia’s other malady. “And?”

“And he was asking about you.”

“About me?” Delia searched her memory. The bloody events which had drawn Delia and Audrey together as friends, and her and Nick as lovers had left several unanswered questions.

“Who is it, Audrey? Do you recognize him from the train?”

“I didn’t see him,” Audrey said. “Who among them survived?”

“Well,” Delia searched her memory. “I can’t be sure. Not soulless Jack, not his man Shush. Not my—”

Pap-pap-pap!

Delia and Audrey shared a frightened glance, but there was no time to do more before another, even louder crash knocked the front door open. The man stepped in, just as Audrey had described. He kicked the door closed behind him and threw off his cloak and hood, revealing a familiar beard, although grayer since Delia had seen it last.

But it was not the beard which grabbed Delia’s attention, not even his face. What grabbed Delia’s attention was the man’s arm, stumped under the wrist. Instantly she recognized it from an altercation she had long ago in New York, before meeting Nick on the Sweet Lorraine.

I cut off his hand, Delia recalled, everything falling into place. The man’s stumped arm was encased in a metal, covering the stump and fixed with a long sword, glimmering and ready to take revenge.

Delia said only, “You!”

“Yes,” the man hissed. “You killed my brother and my best friend. You dismembered me, sent me stumbling away…”

“You’re lucky I left you with your life,” Delia said, Audrey looking on in horror. 

“My luck is good,” the man said. “Yours is bad.”

Audrey’s green eyes flicked from Delia to the man, his gray beard, and back again. “Were you on the train?”

The man said, “What train?” Audrey failed to answer, and the man raised a pistol with his remaining hand and pointed it directly at Audrey. “Sing, pigeon!”

“I… the train—”

Delia said, “Leave her alone, she doesn’t know anything about it, and she doesn’t have anything to do with this.”

“But you know,” he said.

“Yes.”

“So you know how this is gonna end up?”

Delia shook her head. “It doesn’t have to. I’m sorry about what happened between us. But you came at me, three men against a lone woman. I did what I had to do. You deserved what you got.”

“Is that what you wanna hear me say, when I’m standin’ over yer own dead body or not yet dead?”

Audrey said, “Why don’t you just leave this house? You think you can handle both of us?”

“I’ll blow your big belly straight to hell, woman!” He returned his attention to Delia. “I know how good you were with a sword, but those pretty hands are empty now.”

“But I still have two.”

“And your head,” the man said, “but not for long.”

Delia cracked a little smile. “That doesn’t mean I can’t still kill you six times before you hit the floor.”

“That was then,” the man said, “this is now. Let’s dance, Irish!”

The man attacked Delia with a flurry of swipes. He’d not only been affixed with some kind of futuristic stump which turned his entire arm into a lethal weapon, but he’d spent the previous years training to use it. He was no clumsy thug coming at her on the streets as he’d been before. The man had been obsessing, Delia knew it. He was fast and furious and starving for revenge.

The long, sharp blade came whooshing at her, slicing through the air between them. He drove Delia back to the desk, banging against her backside as she scuttled to the side to avoid the man’s furious assault. 

The man’s blade swiped and stabbed at Delia, but her instincts, skills, and training kept her inches away from a bloody death.

Audrey cried out, “Leave us alone, you monster!”

“Yer next, ya fat cow!”

Audrey gasped, raising a hand to her forehead, before collapsing into the corner, passed out from sheer fright.

Delia’s assailant turned his attentions back to her, ready to finish what he started. Delia ducked and dodged, leading him around the living room. There wasn’t time to pull out the Winchester repeater, which was in the closet near the front door. There was the parasol, which was in the umbrella stand not far behind her, and she was ready to move for it.

But her aggressor swiped at it, knowing its terrible power. “Oh no,” he hissed, driving her further away from her favored weapon. “Not this time, you don’t.”

He kept slicing, swiping, and driving Delia back in a slow circle around the living room. 

“I don’t even know your name,” Delia said, ducking his swiping blade.

“I’m death, far as yer concerned.” They neared the couch, and Delia grabbed one of the cushions. He nearly took her hand off when she made the move. He cut through the cushion, flinging it out of Delia’s hands and across the room. 

They neared Audrey’s body, still unconscious on the floor.

Delia searched her memory to let her skills loose on the man. But that long, sharp blade kept her martial skills at bay. She was nearing the desk once more, leaving the slumbering Audrey behind. She could only hope the man didn’t decide to use the limp actress as a device for Delia’s sacrifice.

But the man was clearly pitched in his aggression, and nothing would stop him from driving her back.

Delia had already formulated her next move. She pulled two drawers all the way out of the desk, papers and other things flying out as she swung the desk drawers like a pair of boxy weapons. She thrust one of the open-sided wooden boxes straight into the man’s blade. It cut through easily. But with a simple turn of that drawer, the sides bent his blade downward, and he hissed as he struggled with his captured blade.

Delia swung the other drawer at the man’s head, but he ducked back with inches to spare. The drawer swung with such force that Delia could not control it. She had to let go and allow the thing to smash against the wall, splintering and falling to the floor.

With the man’s sword caught in the other drawer, Delia could raise her right leg up and deliver a hard kick straight into the man’s chest. He gasped, eyes wide and mouth spilling the breath out of his chest. But the blade fixed to the mount on his stump kept him in place long enough for Delia to deliver a second side-kick; straight to his face.

Her hope was to break the man’s neck and end the threat of his presence in her home.

Instead, his blade became detached and he stumble back, falling to the floor directly on top of Audrey.

Delia tossed the other drawer aside, blade and all, and turned her attention to the man who called himself death. Even without the terrible weapon, he was close enough to the vulnerable Audrey to prove himself right.

Delia reached down to grab the man and pull him off Audrey. He used that energy against Delia, pushing her back with his good hand and his metallic stump, powerful even without a blade.

But it wasn’t powerful enough, though. Delia was skilled with hand-to-hand combat, and she delivered a flurry of punches into the man’s gut, driving any remaining air from his lungs. Gasping and stumbling, he could only use weight and momentum to push Delia back into the hallway.

Delia’s next move felt predestined, written in her muscle memory. Delia grabbed the big man and dropped back to the floor. She pulled him down with her, but her upraised foot planted into his gut was able to conspire with the force of his own motion to throw him over her, bigger and heavier though he was. He fell, his feet dragging along the walls and hitting the ceiling of the hallway as she flung him over her. He landed fast and hard on his back. The hallway shaking with the impact of his landing behind her.

Delia spun and rose to her feet, grabbing his errant, empty hand. A simple turn of the thumb bent the arm to a terrible angle, causing terrific pain. Even breathless and stunned, the big man writhed on the floorboards, cracked by his impact.

The voice behind her was weak, breathy. “Delia? What’s… what’s going on?”

“Go get my husband at the shop,” Delia said, “send him here straight away. Then run on and get the sheriff.”

“The… that man… he broke in, and—”

“Do as I tell you, Audrey!”

“I will, but… leave you here alone with him?”

“Don’t worry,” Delia said with a slight turn of her new prisoner’s hand, causing a painful cry to leak out of the man’s throat. “I won’t hurt him.”

Audrey did as she was told, and the man was delivered to the law. His name was Jeffery Geere, and he was tried in a fair and public trail before being hanged only days after the sentencing.

Olga Braun attended the trial, retaining all the respect and gravitas that her widowed fortune and stately presence could afford her. Her own part in the tale of the Sweet Lorraine’s fateful journey had only added more luster to her sheen as a matriarch of New Orleans. She had become an aggressive player in town meetings, and she often credited Delia with setting the pace for her new ventures. Her money backed more businesses, encouraged more growth, and furthered everybody’s mutual goals of peace and prosperity in the new century.

In that three-month period of Jeffery Greer’s trial, Delia’s belly began to blossom. The fight hadn’t done the child any harm, and the doc didn’t think, and they could look forward to a blessed delivery on time and without complication. It didn’t prevent Nick from being an overly observant father-to-be, hovering over her and seeing to her every need. He fussed and fretted, especially after having been absent from her life-threatening assault. But she’d proven herself once again able to take care of herself, and any children they would have, with strength and courage and skill, the things every American would need in the coming years.

Delia only hoped she wouldn’t need them, as she had been so often so recently. She was glad to return to the tranquility of her home, her heart and hearth, and leave misadventures behind her. Audrey’s part in the story, which spread like wildfire through the entire state of Louisiana, made her all the more popular. She had a play crafted on the events, casting her as the hero. She played the role with great aplomb and to great reception, securing her place among the great actresses of the American theater and a jewel in the crown of New Orleans nightlife.

She was made godmother to Delia and Nick’s first child, Abigail, after Delia’s mother. 

It had been a matter of fate.

The child grew up healthy and strong in the first decades of the Twentieth century, enjoying all the benefits of that fantastic and tumultuous century. Her daughter would vote, and so would Delia. Every dream was realized, every risk and sacrifice rewarded.

And the Childs’s household was never again visited with such violence and horror. Delia’s reputation had been re-established among anybody considering such a thing. It brought back tales of her journey on the famed Sweet Lorraine, and the legend only grew. Her place as a legend of the American West seemed certain, though her only concern was seeing to her family and friends.

But legends loomed large, and there was always a lingering chance that some other fragment of the past might return to challenge her. She would always be ready, her instincts never abandoning her. She was a strong, proud, independent American woman, the like of which would lead the country forward long after her death, but only by her sterling example.

THE END


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12 thoughts on “A Daring Detective Duo – Extended Epilogue”

    1. Hi Johnnie I have enjoyed both, the book and the extended-epilogue. I’m not very good at putting my words down but I loved the unexpected ending. There’s a place where you transposed Delia’s and Olgas names, but when continuing called them by their correct names(just a small thing). This will not keep me from enjoying more of your work. I love Western, books and movies!!!
      A Daring Detective Duo and the extended-epilogue

  1. you get better the more you write. This was a very interesting book of all sorts of areas! Train robbery, women’s place in the future, Dark magic and the good of the good people. Thank you
    CR

  2. Thanks for the book,which had an interesting take on the Pinkerton Agency, complete with a hint of the supernatural. I was surprised that Olga survived and was remade as a good person.

  3. Good story Johnnie but I spent 38 years as a conductor on passenger trains and freight trains and never had a engineer that rode the cars or was in charge the conductor was the boss but I liked your story BK ware

  4. An engineer would be in the engine cab running the train,not in the cars. That would be the conductor. You’ve written much better. Was disappointed in this.

  5. great book little deep at times and mystic at times. Johnnie you covered a lot of ground with this one. Congrats!!

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