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Author's Chapter Notes:
Epilogue One

* * * * *
As soon as Marshal Dalton came riding in through the ruined gate, Lewis came bounding down the wooden steps, two at a time, as did Fleischer and Tom. Dalton threw Spencer rifles to each of them. And, then, grabbed up one for himself.

While Skinner remained on the parapet (guarding Lauren and Clark), the others rode up to where the surviving 6th Cavalrymen had finally managed to form a ring around the two remaining Sillitoe sisters. The former were now aiming their Sharps carbines at the semi-giantesses. So, Lewis and the others did likewise with the Spencers.

Dalton called out to them.

"Charlotte! Deirdre! It's over. Alison and Bertha are dead. As is the she-demon who transformed you all! Did you hear that strange pattern of rapid gunfire earlier? It came from something called a Gatling gun. Firing bullets blessed by a Mexican priest! It's on its way here, now. Accompanied by reinforcements for these horse soldiers! Surrender yourselves, to their authority, and we'll get you the best help available. Medical and spiritual. You're only other alternative is to be killed where you stand."

The twin twelve-footers looked at each other.

"You're bluffing, Marshal," declared Charlotte.

Deirdre suddenly tilted her head, while putting her left hand to her left ear.

"I don't think so, Sis. Listen!"

Charlotte did so. And, a moment later, the "little" men surrounding her could hear it, as well. It was an all-too recognizable bugle call.

"Doot! Doot-doot! Doot-doot! Doo-DOO-DOOT!
Doot! Doot-doot! Doot-doot! Doo-DOO-DOOT!"

"We can't fight a whole army, Sis. Not at our present size. And, certainly not without the Mistress. Or, at least, one of _her_ sisters."

Charlotte hated to admit it. But, her twin was right. So, she hurriedly whispered something in Deirdre's right ear. To which Deirdre smilingly nodded, in response.

"Watch it!" warned Lewis: "They're up to something!"

No sooner had he uttered those words than the two semi-giantesses suddenly changed into red-eyed black rats. Each one twice the size of a longhorn steer!

As they had anticipated, all the horses ridden by their would-be captors immediately started rearing and whinnying in fright. Thereby allowing the twin titanesses to leap over the heads of the latter, scale the back wall of the fort, and then vanish into the darkness!

* * * * *

Father Cypriano held on to the belt until Heraclitoris had sunk to her knees. He then jumped for the ground, landing in a crouch with a slight "oof. He then began running until he saw the she-demon's navel was increasingly overhead.

"I pray she has an innie," he thought to himself.

His prayer was answered. As a result, he was spared from being totally crushed into blood-red paste!

"Gracias, Patron Jesus, for this mercy. I pray you will now be equally merciful in letting no witnesses be outside when I emerge."

Whereupon, the monster-hunting priest removed his all his clothing; assumed the likeness of a beast halfway between ape and wolf; and began tunneling his way out from beneath Heraclitoris' upper torso! This time, however, his prayer was only half-answered.

Brevet Major Lancer turned out to be waiting for him.

"Don't worry, padre! I sent the rest of my men on ahead, to Fort Pecos. You're secret is still safe."

"Gracias, Senor Comandante. If anyone should ask, I managed to land on the left side of her belt, facing her left hip."

"Fine. But, this squares us, Benandanti!* "

The lycanthropic priest nodded.

* * * * *

When they got to the fort, they found that Lancer's men had already sorted out the dead bodies, separating the 6th Cavalry from the jaguar cultists who had been serving Heraclitoris. Father Cypriano spotted Lewis, Marshal Dalton, and the others, and went over to keep them occupied with the explanation as to why Leif Ericson O'Reilly was absent.

Lancer spotted one of the jaguar-men being examined by a medical corpsman. The latter sprang to his feet and saluted, only to be told to stand at ease.

"Is this one still alive?"

"Yes, sir! Although, for how much longer is anyone's guess. I patched him up, good as I could, thinkin' you might want to question him. Seein' how he seemed to be the top sergeant of these leopard men."

"Jaguar-Knights, corpsman."

"Yes, sir. Whatever you say, sir."

"Go double-check our own wounded. I'll see if this traitorous piece of scum has any information worth listening to."

"Yes, sir!"

Lancer waited the medic was out of earshot before kneeling down, and whispering:

"Papa? Papa! Es yo."

The jaguar-man that Lewis had mentally referred to as "El Jefe" looked up in evident recognition of the voice.


"Si, Papa."

El Jefe dropped his head back down, and sighed.

"O, mi hijo! I am free. I have free will, again, at last! But, I also remember. Every atrocity I committed in her name. I remember them all! And, that is all the world will remember of me."

"Esta verdad, Papa. The world cannot--and must not--ever learn the truth behind what happened here, today. Take comfort in the knowledge that you will, at least, be reunited with Mama."

Juan Gallegos (nee Sean Gallagher) smiled; nodded;, and, then silently expired.

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