Eva looked longingly at the steaming tub of water her maid was making for her, watching as she poured another pot into the bubbly foam. She wasn't one of those girls who liked perfume and dresses, but she did enjoy a good, hot soak after a long stretch on the trail. Her maid helped her pull her boots off and began scrubbing them clean. Eva smiled graciously, a wide smile that lit the corners of her tanned face. She continued undressing, hanging her gun belt from the hook beside here mirror and folding her chaps across her hope chest. She un-buttoned her sweat soaked shirt and peeled her pants off, wadding them into a ball and tossing them into a hamper.
A small murmur of pleasure escaped her lips as she slid into the tub gingerly, feeling the warmth of the water seep into her bones. She sunk in up to her neck and just closed her eyes, letting the water wash away the last few days. Finally after several minutes, she opened them, staring out the third story window and out across the vastness of her families estate. It was still far to dark outside and there was nary a cloud in the sky. Something was prickling at her senses, something was out of place. She looked over to her maid, Emily, furiously scrubbing her boots over a washtub and sighed. She knew something was out of place. Something wasn't right. Eva set about scrubbing herself down and finished her bathing, thinking to have a talk with her Dad about her concerns.
Ever since she was little, Eva knew not to ignore this feeling. She'd had it during the cholera outbreak that had taken her mother and two brothers away and before the Indian attack that had cost her father the ability to walk unassisted. She even had it on the trail, trusting her instincts to act as a natural guide through rough and dangerous country. Instincts that had saved her life more than once. She got out of the tub and started drying herself off, rubbing the towel hard against her skin. Her maid had pulled out a fresh pair of black pants, the kind she liked that stayed snug on her waist and a light brown shirt with silver buttons. She was combing out her hair when she heard a scream, followed by shout from downstairs.
"QUICK! EMILY! EVA! Downstairs!"
Eva bounded down the stairs two at a time, hearing worry in her father's voice and cries of pain. She crested the final landing and saw her father and two of the ranch hands surrounding the couch in the parlor. She looked at the two men, Rex, the lead foreman and Bartley, one of the best drivers on the ranch, and saw their faces etched with concern. Emily and her rushed to the other side of the couch and saw Evan, one of the youngest boys on the farm, laying on the couch. His skin had taken on a sickly yellow mottle, flushed with sweat. He writhed in pain, as if something was eating him apart from the inside, his cries flinging spittle, blood, and foam from his mouth. Eva watched his eyes begin to take on a glassy haze, fogging over, and fixed her gaze on Rex and Bartley.
"What the fuck happened?"
She usually didn't use that kind of language in front of her father, but in the moment she slipped. Rex replied first.
"Bart found him out near the woods, he was stumbling towards the house, holding his arm. We heard him screaming."
Rex peeled back the mangled sleeve of Evan's shirt to reveal a festering bite mark unlike any she'd ever seen. The skin around it had turned black and hot, though the rest of him was clammy and cold. The wound seemed to bleed black and red through the compress they had put on it, and green pus streamed from the wound. Eva looked to her father, who shook his head sadly. Evan began to thrash harder now, so hard that Bart and Rex had to hold him down so he wouldn't throw himself off the couch. He twisted violently, a loud bloodcurdling shout escaping his lips, before falling still. Evan's eyes, once foggy, now seemed completely black, as a final gasping breath left his still body.
Emily began to cry hysterically, and Eva hugged her father fiercely. Evan, only 15 years old, was dead.
End of Line.