Here is a bit of the prologue I wrote. I'm still on first draft so it's rough.
Virginia City, June 12 1874
Virginia City was a riot of sound and color as Jeremiah Porter got off the train. Horses and wagons moved up and down the streets and the wooden sidewalks bustled with people. He was a long way from New York and he knew it. The place not only looked very different from the grey stone buildings that he was used to, it literally felt different. It was drier and hotter. It was a loud and rowdy place too. It was rather like Five Points except that Five Points was the bad part of town where he came from and here he was in the downtown. Drunken miners bellowed and laughed from the myriad saloons and painted ladies beckoned from upstairs windows, promising him untold pleasures for a modest fee. The last interested him, not for the usual reasons, but because one of those girls, if he was correct, was the one he was looking for.
Jeremiah stood out amongst the scruffy unshaven miners that he moved through. Jeremiah was clean shaven, except for a well manicured mustache. His clothes were relatively new and well fitted. The men of Virginia City mostly took him for a mine owner or at least a wealthy eastern businessman. The impression of authority was helped by his confident, almost military stride.
He hoped that this was going to be easy, though he knew it never was. Get off the train, ask a few questions and bring the girl back to her father. Simple and clean, he thought. But another part of his head reminded him that there was always a twist. Always. The thought made Jermiah grumble, and his mood wasn’t helped by the damned heat.
Her name was Emily, Emily Prince, but according to his informer, that wasn’t the name she was going by here. She was calling herself Bella and she had taken up a trade, the world’s oldest, in fact. Her father was Matthew Prince, a wealthy railroad magnate and she had a falling out with him, severe enough to lead to her coming out west. Severe enough that despite the wealth and privilege waiting for her at home, she was supporting herself by selling her body. The source of the friction was gone now, and her father wanted her to come home. Her father had hired James to find her. Emily’s former fiancé, Carl Denham, was on the way out here. Once Jeremiah found Emily, he was to let Carl try to talk her back home. Then he could take his fee, and get the hell out of this stinkhole.
James pushed his way across the crowded wooden sidewalks to the Union Saloon. A huge polished bar dominated one side of it and a collection of men, miners mostly, gathered around it, drinking and being loud. The place was permeated by the smell of alcohol and sweat and dust, with just an undercurrent of vomit and urine caused by those who could not hold their liquor. James walked up to the bar, and put a couple of silver dollars down on the counter. The barkeep, a tall man with a bald head and a nicely waxed handlebar mustache plopped his grimy hands down upon the coins and asked “What’ll ya have?”
“Beer, if you please”. Jeremiah didn’t really want beer, but he knew that out here, he had a better chance of not having his drink watered down (or worse) if he ordered something inexpensive. Jeremiah got his beer and drank it and forced himself to pretend that he enjoyed it, despite the fact that it tasted like watered down rat piss. However, it wouldn’t do to antagonize the saloon’s staff. At least, not right now.
“Say, barkeep,” Jeremiah said, putting down his atrocious beer “I’m looking for……female companionship. I have heard good things about a girl named Bella. Know any girls by that name? Oh, and give me another of your wonderful beers.” Jeremiah managed a halfway convincing fake smile
“Bella?” The bartender took the coin that Jeremiah proffered, “Hmmmm, I think there’s a Bella that works over at Madame Maria’s place. She’s pretty expensive though. All of Maria’s girls are. Now if you want, I got a couple of girls that work right here, clean, pretty and only….”
“No, thank you.” Jeremiah tossed a five dollar coin on the bar. “Just give me directions to Maria’s place”
Jeremiah had barely gotten a few steps past the doors of the Union Saloon and was beginning to think this might be as simple as it sounded after all when he felt the blow land on his back. It sent him face first into the planks of the sidewalk. Jeremiah rolled onto his back just in time to get a faceful of boot from the big, dark skinned man with the braided hair standing above him. Jeremiah’s nose began to bleed profusely.
Jeremiah however, managed to get his wits together enough to land a punch in his assailant’s crotch. This seemed to take the fight out of him just long enough for Jeremiah to get up. The dark skinned man growled and charged into Jeremiah, pinning him against a wooden post.
“Why are you looking for Bella?” the man asked, angrily, punctuating his request by slamming the back of Jeremiah’s head into the post.
“I’m just a businessman, looking for company in this town”, an uppercut from Jeremiah was just enough for him to get free.
“Like hell you are.” said the man as he drew a knife
The click of a revolver’s hammers cocking brought the fight to a standstill. A small man, young looking, but wearing the badge of a deputy sheriff was training a gun on the dark skinned man; He nodded towards Jeremiah “This Indian bothering you?”
Jeremiah’s curiosity about this man and his connection to Emily had been piqued and he wanted to talk to his assailant alone, he thus didn’t want him dragged off to jail “No, just an argument that got out of hand. My fault really.”
“Well, it looks like ol’ Clayton here picked the wrong day to pick a fight. Drop the knife, Clayton. You’re going to jail”, the deputy walked a bit closer to Clayton.
Clayton looked quizzically at Jeremiah and then back at the deputy. Jeremiah said “No, really, there’s no need…”
The Deputy turned his head toward Jeremiah and said “Stay the hell out of thi…”
His words were cut off, the lapse of attention was enough for Clayton to quickly take a step forward and plunge the knife into the deputy’s belly. The deputy dropped his gun and Clayton took it, firing a couple of shots in Jeremiahs direction, stopping any of the crowd from getting their hands on him. Clayton fired two more shots, breaking some windows but both were over the crowd’s heads. Clayton grabbed the nearest horse and got on it, spurring it to a full gallop headed out of town.
‘Maybe not so simple after all’, thought Jeremiah, as he knelt down to see what he could do for the fallen deputy.
"You see things aren't sequential. Good doesn't lead to good nor bad to bad. People steal, don't get caught. Live the good life. Others lie, cheat and get elected. Some people stop to help a stranded motorist and get taken out by a speeding semi. There's no accounting for it. How you play the cards you're dealt, that's all that matters." - Jigsaw