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Time sped up! The sun raced across the sky! Darkness grew! The Hunter rode through the shadows. He swore he could hear whispers but decided it was just the winds. Time then stopped! An eternity passed until he finally arrived at a town called Dharma Gulch. He rode in. The town was old. It seemed that even the ghosts had abandoned it! Suddenly, he heard music! Just up ahead. He dismounted and tied his horse to a hitching post by a water troft outside some dive called Our Mutual Friend Saloon. He cautiously opened the swinging doors. The cigar smoke hung thick on the main floor. A player piano in the corner was belting out a ragtime version of "Catch A Falling Star!" Several men were huddled around tables playing backgammon. He slowly walked up to the bar. The bartender was a heavy set man with long red curly hair. "What can I get ya, dude!" he asked. "Water and a Whiskey!" the Hunter replied. The bartender quickly brought out both. "Know where I can get some supplies for my horse?" the Hunter asked. The bartender nodded, "Yeah, up the street. The Friendly Stable. Ask for Tom! I can have their stable boy, Karl, come over and take your horse over there for ya!" "Yeah, that'll be fine," the Hunter said, "she's just outside." "Will do, dude!" the bartender replied. As the Hunter turned, he suddenly came face to face with a beautiful woman! Her long dark hair was pinned up high. Her face was the color of cream and she had freckles lightly sprinkled across her turned up pixie nose. "You're new here," she coyly said, "you just passing through?" "Well," he smiled, "I haven't decided yet! How much for a room?" "One dollar," she replied. He chugged the whiskey! "Not bad!" he said. "For the room or for the whiskey?" the girl asked. "Both," he replied, "you the one I see about the room?" "No," she answered, "you see the proprietor. He owns this saloon and the upstairs boarding house." "Does he own you, too?" the Hunter asked. "No one owns me!" she replied, "I'm my own girl!" He laughed, "I bet you are! Where is this proprietor?" "Upstairs," she said, "I'll get him!" As she left, the burly bartender returned, "Want another drink, dude?" "Naw," the Hunter answered. The bartender leaned in close. "Are you the one?" he whispered. "The one, what?" the Hunter asked. The bartender nervously glanced around, "the one who will lead us and protect us!" "Don't know what the hell you're talking about!" the Hunter replied. The bartender smiled, "Yeah, sure dude! We knew someone like you would come one day!" "Come for what?!" the Hunter asked. "The Smoke Man!" the bartender replied. Next: Chap. 4 "The List"