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Sam's eyes adjusted quickly to the inside of the ranch house, enough to let him know that there was no one inside the room that he had just entered. That was okay, though. Better no one than someone he didn't expect.

It was quiet inside. Too quiet for Sam's tastes. Then again, he had wanted Renee to stay put outside. He very well couldn't chicken out now.

Nobody on the lower floor. His tennis shoes sounded softly as he ascended the stairs.

There were no lights on inside. That was rather appropriate, he thought, for the Sheriff's Western theme. The saloon, no electricity, pretending to be cowboys... the whole thing was a manufactured production for his own twisted ends. Trying to put them in the past, somewhere where they didn't belong. A mind game.

No. Sam had been over all that already. He was tired of it. Tired of a lot of things, frankly. All that mattered at the moment was finding Delilah, if she was here, and checking the other buildings if she wasn't.

Nobody on the upper floor, though one of the bedrooms looked like it had been recently disturbed. The sheets looked like they'd been thrown off in a hurry, the edges trailing dust on the floor. An abandoned pillow sat on the ground next to the bedpost. Sam took a look around the room, but it looked like whoever had done that had already left. No good hiding places, so far as he could tell.

Nevertheless, it was a clue, perhaps, to file away for later. He could feel that ever-present knot in his gut tightening. Maybe Delilah was closer than he had reason to suspect before.

Sam headed back downstairs, back to Renee. Best to keep her updated. Then, out the door, into the too-bright sunlight.

"Nobody in there," he said quietly, his eyes meeting Renee's. "No worries, really. I reckon I'll..." His eyes scanned the surroundings, picked a reasonable building. "I'll check the stables next. You doing alright out here?"
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Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This

Auld Lang Syne
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Breaking Point · The Ranch
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