The Sheriff sat at his desk rocking too and fro on his wooden chair. Before him stood a man half his age but about the same in height. This man wore a trailered suit not common in New Fairbank and pinned to his lapels was a shining silver star.
"So you understand my dear Sheriff, if you don't comply with me, you are failing to comply with all Marshalls" the man paused "and that just will not do".
The Sheriff pulled his hat low over his face and rocked back in his chair again. He hated politics, this is why he kept Rush around.
"Of course Marshall, conduct your investigation, look into whatever you want. I'll make sure you have the full support of the New Fairbank Sheriff's office" The Sheriff allowed his chair to land straight on the hardwood flooring before standing up and walking to his window.
"Do you see the building opposite?" The Sheriff asked pointing to the Town Hall, over there you'll find Mayor Rush. Why not introduce yourself to him and I'll get a posse together to show you around".
The Sheriff was wearing his warmest of smiles, but with every moment the US Marshall remained in his office he could feel his pleasant demeanour slip further and further from the present.
The Marshall looking the Sheriff straight in the eyes and nodded his approval before striding out of the office and across the road, all the while the Sheriff watched intently just to ensure he had actually left before sitting in his chair again.
He knew this day was coming, the moment he emerged from the Crypts, The Blood Stone wrapped in burlap and dragged in an old cart. Of course it wasn't actually a stone, more a large crystal formation that glowed a vibrant red, but the town had dubbed it 'The Blood Stone' anyway. He knew that word of what went on in that town would spread to the North, and with it the interest of the government.
Just the thought of it made him gag, sharing his power with those rotten power hungry politicians. He'd rather live with the Beasties from below.
No that was why he toiled and built the Town Hall and established the position of Mayor, and also why he had hand picked the perfect candidate.
"Mayor Rush at your service Marshall!"
Eli Rush was a short, round man, he walked with a waddle and always kept a cane to hand for when he would end up red of face and our of breath. His hair was thinning but slicked back and matched his bushy handlebar moustache in it's bone white colour. Rush held out his hand to greet the Marshall who took it and gave it a firm grip.
"Bill Hollenback, U.S. Marshall" the Marshall replied "the Sheriff told me you would be willing to assist me in my investigation?"
Mayor Rush looked flustered "Investigation? Why my dear lad, why would a Marshall want to investigate me?"
Marshall Hollenback almost rolled his eyes, he was used to being palmed off to political puppets, but that didn't mean he no longer took offence.
"No Mayor, that is not what I meant" Rush visibly relaxed at this news "I am here to look into claims of occult activity and to establish what, if any threat this town poses to the safety of our people".
Mayor Rush smiled his warmest smiles "of course me lad! But I can assure you, there is none of that "he paused" 'Occult Activity' going on in my fair town".
The tour proceeded well, the Marshall was shown the residential area, the market district and finally the Last Light, everything was going fine, and for once Mayor began to believe this inspection would end without bloodshed.
It was then they heard a blood curdling cry from behind them and turning they saw a young man, no older than 17 running towards them at full pelt, in both hands he held a dull red sliver of crystal.
With an inhuman speed the man covered in tattered rags launched himself at the Marshall and dug both crystal shards into his neck crying at the top of his lungs "You won't take my shards!" Together they both fell to the floor.
As a last gasp, the Marshall pulled his revolver from its hip-holster, levelled it against his attacker's forehead and gently pulled the trigger, with his other hand, gripped the crystal shards, and pulled them free from his neck.
Both men fell the floor dead, as they did the crystal shards, now without an owner and covered in blood began to glow a vibrant red.
Mayor Rush knelt down and quickly picked up the glowing shards, this was the third investigation in as many months, and they always ended the same.
Rocking back and forth in his chair the Sheriff sat with a grim expression. He didn't know who was worse, the horrific creatures in the crypts below, or the power hungry politicians of the north. Regardless it mattered not, he still had the Blood Stone, and with it the entire town ready to do follow his every wish.
There would be further investigations, he knew the Mayor would have no problems pinning this one entirely on that blood crazed kid, but there were always more investigations.
Despite this knowledge it was something very different that bothered him. It was the blood, and he knew no matter what happened there would always be more.
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley