Yeva Reborn - (Landing Day, After Dark)

“Thank you,” Yeva replied in heavily accented English. “I’ll take it all.”

The outfitter nodded enthusiastically. “You’ve got a good eye,” he said as he collected the outdoor clothing she'd chosen. “These’ll wear like iron…stand up to the winters and the summers. And those boots?” he said of the knee length Wilderness Trek model J’s. “Ain’t a creek or a rattlesnake can get through those. Want the box?”

“No,” she said as she grabbed the boots, a set of denims, and a work blouse. “I’ll wear them now, thank you. Keep this fleece scarf and the leather jacket out. Please pack the rest in…” she stopped to review the store’s line of shoulder packs and rucksacks. “This one. I’ll be back.”

“I might close early!” the shopkeeper exclaimed as Kate disappeared into a privy. The veil landed on the floorboards, followed by the black stockings. Slowly, she peeled herself out of the mourning dress as a serpent might shed it’s skin. The form fitting garment gave way with some reluctance until her hips were freed. A few contemptuous kicks later, the fabric death lay in a heap of velvet and lace.

That chapter now concluded, Kate slipped into heavy socks before stepping into the denims. Like her frame, they were long and lean, but permitted a free range of motion. The coarse fabric of the work shirt sliding over her skin was a joy of relief, but not so much as the boots. “I am complete,” she whispered at her reflection.

“Miss?” the merchant inquired as she adjusted the jacket and scarf, “you left your clothes in the changing room.”

“Please,” Yeva said as she slipped the pistol into the jacket’s inner pocket, “Throw them away. Burn them. I don’t care.”

The next move was to meet with Marisol. This proved a fool’s errand, when after stopping at both the Aurora Creek Lodge and the Cross Cut Saloon, descriptions of a “Spanic woman, about yea high, two score, lugging her kit” were met with “she ain’t here. Lotsa folk rentin’ out spare rooms for the festival.”

She’d find her in the morning. Hopefully, someone on the boat may know, Kate thought as she hefted her shoulder bag along the darkened road. First order of business was to book another passage…wherever the LV was headed.

The cargo bay was lit as she strode through the personnel hatch. Riley’s chair was positioned just inside, but there was no sign of anyone, let alone the pilot. Both mules were stowed in the bay. Someone must be home…

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