Despite her serpentine route, the sensation continued to grow, the same way it had when Tobias approached her the night before. The temptation to reach out to taste the auras around her built as the feeling changed from a chilly tickle to an acidic burn. But this time she refused to give in. Experience had shown the more she employed those abilities, the stronger they’d grow, and she’d somehow already gotten herself committed to helping Bonnie and Tobias settle whatever it was they needed settling.
When she reached the half-darkness of the alley behind the saloon, she slipped around the corner and put her back to the wall, taking comfort in its solid bulk against her body. People came and went, and she watched them for a few minutes from the safety of the passage. No one approached her or even paused as they bustled along.
The sting of paranoia receded as she forced deep, steady breaths in and out of her lungs and the more she thought about her panic the sillier she felt. The stranger’s vague description didn’t even necessarily apply to her; it wasn’t as if she were only woman with a black horse in all of Sacramento. In the face of something so trivial as a poor night’s sleep and an empty stomach, she’d almost lost control and relapsed, almost taken that next fatal step. Falling back into the old ways would be so easy, but she already knew that path had no peace to offer.
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