When following the tracks from the watering station to the next town, Ben saw a few buildings in the distance just past sunset. He sneaked closer, and found a ranch devoid of life. There was a dead horse in the stable and no livestock in the corral. The main house was barred from inside. He entered by force, punching at first a hole in the main door and then unhinging the whole door.
In the bedroom he found a half-conscious, pregnant-looking woman. Before he could revive her with water an insectoid thing emerged in a shower of blood from her belly. He shot it, spraying himself with more blood. The others heard the shot in the distance and chose to investigate. Meanwhile he was fighting off three and then four more of the vile things with both pistol and crowbar, weakened already by being tired and hurling his stomach contents.
Eleanore arrived first, only to be attacked by two more things. Marten was quite a bit behind, but also struggled with two more. Each had the unpleasant experience of one forcing itself down their throats. Prairie ticks, Marten remembered! Disgusting and feared – if only they had castor oil to get them back out! They dispatched the rest, but not before a second one was swallowed by Marten. In panic they searched the little house and found two quarts of castor oil in the kitchen. Marten downed his with the desperation of someone with a bug down his gullet. He puked the things up and ran into the dark, his loyalty for his friends overruled by sheer trauma.
Ben and Eleanore panicked too, and barricaded themselves in the dark kitchen. They made torchlights. They even lit the stove. Ever-cool Ben tried to nap off some of his tiredness until help would arrive. Eleanore kept watch, when the things tried to scratch the floor. She was too unnerved to react, feeling her blood being drained from within. Ben turned the kitchen table upside down and put it on the hole before anything could come through, sat on it and went back to sleep!
Marten meanwhile had run a mile away, and then followed the call of nature (and the call of castor oil) and emptied his bowels thoroughly on the prairie. Tired but relieved he made his way back to the rest of the group, trying to lead them in a relief attack on the farm house. Mary Lou made (somehow) light, and Marten found a window on the back of the building farthest from the encroaching ticks. He tried to burst it open with gunpowder from a bullet, but his aim was off. The bang jolted Ben awake, and both inside followed Marten’s shouts and evacuated through the now unbarred window before too many ticks could get at them.
All chose to run off into the prairie, where they stopped in exhaustion. Eleanore swore to find a way to elimate such ticks with utmost prejudice. 2 XP for all attending.