The Caldwell Devil
These notes have been written by Dell Gunnarson. Edited with the help of the songbird Lillie of the Silver Palace Hotel in Brimstone. The following account is true and to the best of the knowledge of Dell. Written from his perspective.
Dell met with 3 others on Friday at the Silver Palace Saloon in brimstone. Ranger Jared Rockwell, Gontiel Tormenta the Native American Tracker who I believe is Apache and Nick (Benny Snickett’s Character). Dell doesn’t know much about Nick except he has a weird gatling pistol he is super skilled with, dapper with a suit and very intelligent. A dandy worth riding the river with that is for sure.
After acquiring information from Lillie about the rumors of the “Caldwell Devil” and told about the town of Caldwell. A simple 3 day ride from Brimstone. As well as Angus Caldwell, the founder of Caldwell. He was a trapper who now owns a saloon and trading post. The group of 4 made sure to get to know all they needed to know, as well as who to speak with once they arrived at the town of Caldwell.
The 3 day journey to Caldwell was uneventful and the four bonded somewhat. Sharing what information they desired with each other. I was the least forthcoming as I don’t have many nice or enjoyable stories to tell.
Heading into the General store the group encountered a native american woman named Mary trading some furs for some whiskey with the proprietor of the shop, a man named Angus Caldwell. I’d like to take this moment to say I’m only guessing she is native american, for her dusky complexion and ethnicity looks like that of a native. She did not indeed disclose what or even really who she is. Discussing news about the creature as well as who has seen it recently and/or suffered an attack. Mary went to sit by herself and enjoy her drink.
After acquiring information about a rancher and farmer on the outskirts of town named Jenkins, who had their cattle taken recently. The party split with Gontiel and Rockwell heading outside. While Nick and myself remained inside. I went to Question Mary and tried to combine forces. Promising her the pelt of the beast in exchange for information. Mary declined and some harsh words were spoken between myself and her.
Nick and I then left. Encountering the other two in the stables. As well as a group of 6 fancy northern dressed men and women who all had the same colored hair and same bright, almost too bright green eyes. The oldest of the group introduces himself as Shadrach, no last name given. I assumed this to be some sort of family name, but perhaps I am wrong. Seems they were here for the same reason our group was. We parted ways and headed out to speak with Old Man Jenkins. Who we’d know later as Floyd Jenkins, a very small time rancher who was prayed on by the Caldwell Devil.
Arriving on the farm we found out he had lost 3 cattle and one ranch hand to a beast that apparently runs on all fours and takes the sky. The ranch hand in question and deceased was a man known as Big Jim. Not thinking any of us could track them, I was pleasantly surprised that Gontiel could track anything, even something in the air. He held up to his end and is the best tracker I’ve ever seen. It was his suggestion that we stay up all night to try and ambush the creature here at the farm.
So we all got 3 hours of sleep and then stayed up all night to try to encounter the beast. A campfire was spotted about little less then ½ a mile away in the woods. I assumed it to be either Mary, or the Shadrock group. The latter turned out to be right. For it was near the morning, about 2-3 hours before the morning when we heard screams and the sound of something large in the forest. Coming from the campfire.
As one the four of us moved out and hopped the barb wire fence and ran to the camp. Only to find Shadrock the Elder very injured, with a broken leg and most of his men dead. One named Ezekiel (I would later come to find out) taken away. Ranger Rockwell healed the man with his medicine skills and brought him back to the farm house for Old Man Jenkins to take into town. While he was doing that Gontiel with some small assistance from myself proceeded to track the creature. Moving slowly so Rockwell could catch up. Nick covered us.
Rockwell showed up within 10 minutes. Sharing information about the beast being known as the Jersey Devil. Created by an old witch named Agatha Leeds. Shadrach claimed she could use some sort of dark magic. Saying that the only way the beast could die was to kill the old woman. I mistakenly believed the Jersey devil to be the rumored myth of a creature that teleports in shadows and is killed by daylight. I proved to be mistaken however.
We followed the trail deeper into the woods and it was approaching dawn when we found an old cabin nestled in a narrow ravine that looked well kept with signs of life. An axe and freshly chopped pile of wood lay to the east of the cabin’s front door. Gontiel tried to scale the hills and rocks to investigate where he believed the “Creature’s” possible nest to be. While Nick and myself attempted to sneak up onto the cabin.
Might of been my nerves and apprehension of having to possibly hurt an old woman. But I could swear it got darker the closer I got to the cabin. When I was hidden fairly well about 15 ft away the front door opened and an old woman with clothes I’d never seen before except once in a museum in Boston when I was 12, dating back to the early 1700’s or late 1600s. I think they were known as “revolutionary garb”. With a finely crafted dagger held behind her back. It seemed her senses were more alert than I thought. Cause she spotted Nick and myself at once.
I noticed right away her eyes were the same as Shadrach. When conversing with her she admitted she was a cousin to Shadrach and I began to think she alluded to the fact that the Jersey Devil was her son. She admitted later on that the Caldwell Devil was indeed her kin, but it is my belief that the Jersey Devil and Caldwell Devil are both one and the same. The group, myself included, attempted to negotiate with her and get her to come to Caldwell and figure out this inter family dark magic stuff she was discussing. But it turned out she was lying and trying to simply lull us into a false sense of security before attacking.
It was then a large winged four legged beast with scaled skin and heavy leathery bat wings came down to hover above us. It was the size of two horses put together and had large talons on it’s clawed hands, like some mythological beast out of an adventure story. I proceeded to move to the front door of the Cabin and told her to call off the beast. She refused and attempted to do something to my mind. My mind felt muddled for a few seconds before I shook it off. I’ve felt these types of things before and you might think me a fool. But I only speak the truth when it comes to things of “magic”.
Then she used some sort of weird ability to cause the axe to float and try to attack me. Got me good in the leg during the fight. The others outside focused on the creature. With Neck unloading a barrage of bullets into the thing, as it picked him up. The creature bleeding from almost a dozen bullet wounds and shotgun pellets crashed into the ground. While this was going on I was busy dealing with this old woman who moved faster than she should have. Dodging a shot from my peacemaker to her forehead at point blank range. I was stopping her from closing the door and retreating inside however.
While the others fought outside, Ranger Rockwell seemed to take ill suddenly and maybe have a heart attack? I’m not entirely sure as he recovered within about half a minute. Then was able to lay waste to the creature. Meanwhile this old woman pulled out a dagger and it began to glow with this black miasma like fog stuff and almost gutted me. So I put one deep in her stomach and she didn’t react as if hurt. It was all surreal.
She made some sort of fireball out of something she tossed behind me and I barely avoided more than some singed knuckle and neck hairs. Could have been a fire bottle or maybe a spell. I wasn’t sure exactly. I was a bit busy fighting the Old Crone and her dagger, the winged monster and a floating sentient axe.
Gontiel was able to unload his shotgun from the ground behind me and take off her legs, dropping her. But she didn’t cry out in pain or react as her lower body was cut in half. She simply commented how this was not good and then died. The creature died right when she died outside. But that was because Nick had finally put it down for good with a well placed shot to the head. It’s my belief the creature would have died within seconds however, for it seemed it was tied to the old crone somehow.
While Gontiel skinned the creature and took some fangs. I was healed with the help of Ranger Rockwell and the rest of us searched the house. Finding a weird painting with 13 dolls on it, one had messed up legs and stomach wounds like Agatha. I put 2 rounds into each of her eyes to make sure she stayed dead. Might of been over kill but I was pissed off. I found a loose floorboard and found horror beneath it.
For beneath the floorboard was bits of torn clothing, rings, necklaces, trinkets, wallets, coins, cash and bones. More than twenty people worth of bones. I gathered up the wallets, jewelry and other valuables. Handing them off to Nick in a form of a pillowcase. To bring back to Caldwell Town. I took her dagger and kept it with me to get it further examined by the explorer’s society.
The others set fire to her corpse and the monsters and the Cabin and we walked back to town. Meeting up with Old Man Jenkins and telling him it’s safe now. Then heading into town and checking on Shadrach. I didn’t trust him at first and while I still don’t think he’s an honest man. I do believe that he was the better of the two in the “Leeds” family. He confirmed he was indeed related to Agatha. Though further questioning proved useless as he refused to give us any last name.
We left the belongings with the town lawman and headed back to Brimstone to Tell the songbird Lillian of our success. Later I will bring this letter to the Explorer’s Society along with the dagger and find out more about this Jersey Devil and the mother Agatha if I can.
Thank you for reading this and please remember to trust your instincts and keep a weapon handy. For this is more than man and beast in this Weird West.