At the end of a bloody trail, Johnny Redd finds an incredible secret.
While struggling with a bullet in his chest, he crawls along the ground until he finds himself surrounded by a maze of quaint carnival tarps. Inside is a world of color, costumes, false hair, nails, eyelashes -- and a man who dresses like a woman. It’s a world of trickery, deception, and lies. Johnny makes it just inside the tent when his strength fails and he faints dead away. When he awakes, he’s reminded of the bizarre reality that surrounds him.
It’s that he learns he has been taken care of by a man – er. woman -- by the name of Frenchy Starr. The name rolls from the tongue of this fallen angel, this princess of darkness, this twilight queen. She’s a mystery, a dangerously beautiful mystery, and Johnny slowly becomes ensnared in the trap which she sets.
After one night of incredible love, a jealous fan shoots Frenchy. Thinking her dead, Johnny’s heart is broken and he leaves in search of something to fill the hole she left in his heart.
Enter Kit Dalton.
The man sank back down into the darkness, the pain in his chest taking him close to death. In spite of his agony, he began an awkward gait down the alley, hiding behind barrels, in corners, and under stairwells while a posse was being formed. When they finally rode out after the gang of outlaws, the town seemed empty and quiet. The townspeople that were left had taken their unrest out of the street, and into the Rough Rider saloon. While they relived the whole thing over and over again, the injured man crawled out slowly, looked around, and then began to creep down the dark road, stumbling and staggering like a drunk from one shadow to another. He could feel his strength slowly leaving him with every step he took. He had to find some place to lie down and rest before he lost any more blood, and headed toward the soft hay in the town stable. While he stumbled, one foot in front of the other, he saw in the distance what looked like a row of gaudily colored tarps standing tall, and whipping in the wind. As he got closer he discovered that the tarps advertised freak shows of all kinds, such as acrobats, rope dancers, jugglers, a sword swallower, a bearded lady, and even burlesque shows.
He could tell it wasn’t big enough to be a circus, and knew it must be a struggling carnival or a sideshow. He staggered toward it, until he noticed that behind the tarps was a beat up circus train used for temporary housing of the performers. The train compartments stood in back of the larger tents where the exhibits were displayed. All were dark except one. The light drew him, so he continued on until he stopped and looked inside. There he saw the strangest sight he had ever seen in his life. It was difficult to tell if he was looking at a man or a woman since she -- or he -- was dressed in bloomers, and was cinching up a corset. This -- person had bright red hair, green eyes, and sparkling red lips. Her heavy makeup covered a lantern jaw, strong chin, and her -- his shoulders and back were muscled, but it all just seemed to flow down into the corset that struggled to give his strong body an hourglass figure.
The sight was so bizarre he almost got dizzy trying to take it all in.
His gaze shifted around to the brightly ruffled costumes that were decorated with sequins and fringe. He also saw yards of silk lace, net stockings, garters, and built up bodices. In another corner were colorfully hued petticoats that were so stiff they stood up by themselves. On a false head he saw a wig, and lying beside it were scattered tins of colored balm, beeswax, olive oil and rosewater. Looking much like the legs of a spider were strands of horsehair used to make eyelashes, and some kind of glittering dust for -- whatever, he didn’t know. And then his gaze moved to something sparkling, and saw a pistol, and a jeweled dagger lying side by side in among a mess of spilled powder.
Just when he thought that surely he had died and gone to some kind of bizarre hell, he fainted.