That damned madam with the cut tongue knew he was coming, it seemed. She just stood there at the bar with that odd little girl next to her while one of her women tickled the piano keys in the background.
The smell of eggs and bacon hung thick in the air and it made him hungry. People shuffled out of his way as he moved toward her and her eyes sparkled in the morning sun like she knew his darkest thoughts.
The emotionless voice that crawled out of the little girl’s throat stopped him in his tracks, “Clementine? Why don’t you see what this gentleman wants…?”
Clementine made a beeline for him but he pushed her away, “I aint here to satisfy no urges woman.”
The madam’s lips curled into a hard smile as the little one who acted as her voice spoke out, “Urges are what we live on here. What else would someone such as you come here for?”
His hand snaked out and grabbed the young girl by the neck but he hesitated when he felt a hand on his wrist. He could feel the strength in that grip. He could feel the promise. The little girl’s dead eyes bored into his and he pushed her away and spun on the madam, “I came here for answers wag-tail, not to play your little games.”
Her eyes sparkled with a dark mirth as the little girl’s voice drove shivers up his spine. “Answers have costs. Are you willing to pay?”
People usually stank of fear when he confronted them but this cursed nanny didn’t see him as anything more than a mark. A sour grunt escaped him and the stink of it caused the madam’s eyes to water. “Where’d that nun say she was goin’?”
“She didn’t call out no destination,” answered Clementine with a lilt to her tongue. “She just grabbed that fool Corporal. That is, after she shot up your man… and your brother…”
His face blurred into a mask of rage as he moved toward Clementine. The slow click of a hammer being pulled back behind him brought him to a standstill.
That monotone voice broke the tension. “Now, now señor Melendez. That’s twice you’ve threatened to shoot one of my girls. I don’t take kindly to that. Maybe you should be asking yourself what she wanted with Corporal Wallace. What would he know that no one else here could?”
Surprise blanked his expression for a moment and was then replaced with a brutish grin. “Looks like I don’t need you for nothing at all.” A sneer lit up his eyes as he tipped his hat in the madam’s direction, “Ladies.”
That dead voice rant out as he made his way back to the door, “Third time’s the charm, Tuco. Third time’s the charm.”
In a rage, he kicked the door open as that promise hung in the air.