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      As he bedded down, Red saw that the stars were twinkling wildly tonight. He saw the faces of his father, his mother, Uncle Orrin, Frank, Elisa and another man whom he didn't recognize. They constantly changed and all seemed to look sad. Red fell into an uneasy sleep where the faces appeared in his dreams. He awoke several times in a cold sweat until a fitful peace fell over him.

      Red awoke the next morning knowing that he had had the dream again, but foreboding was overwhelming him. He knew the two men out there were closing in and they were not looking to talk to him. He skipped breakfast and quickly set off west. It was only a couple of hours before he reached the river. He halted Blaze on the river's edge. As he gazed across the river to California, he was momentarily disappointed to see it looked no different than the land he had been traveling through. He hoped that San Francisco would indeed be different from St. Louis.

      Red coaxed Blaze forward and they began to cross the river. As they crossed, the haze in his mind cleared and he remembered the dream. It began with him and Elisa discussing their plans for after they married. He was talking about finally going to California to make his own fortune, but she wanted to stay in St. Louis. He would work for her father and eventually take over his business, since her brother had already left and made his own life in Chicago. They had started arguing.

      Red had said that she knew that he had always wanted to go to California. She had replied that she had hoped that he had grown out of that childish dream. She had said that they had a good life to be made in St. Louis. He had grown angrier as it became more apparent she wouldn't see things his way. She had pleaded with him to reconsider staying in St. Louis. He had finally stormed off after saying some harsh things about having to spend the rest of his life working for her father.

      Red then had wandered off to the same saloon that he had won the silver-plated revolver and had a few drinks. As he had sat there, a man came up to him and told him not to treat Elisa so harshly. Red had told him to leave him alone. The man had refused to leave and demanded to speak to Red about Elisa's honor. This had angered Red even more and he challenged this man to a duel. The other man had refused, saying he just wanted to speak to Red. Red had then spoken ill of Elisa to provoke him.

Absolut Paradigm

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