Episode 37: A Little Song | Scryer's Gulch
Mamzelle was just waking up, ready to face another long night catering to the foolish men who came through the doors of the Palace. In a way, she felt sorry for them. They were lonely, as she was, and in need of excitement and solace. The full moon was in a few days. She'd give them excitement a-plenty then, but the only solace would be hers.
And Misi's. On the first night of the full, she would kill the Duniway woman, he'd be free to kill Jedediah Bonham, and Mamzelle would take her revenge. The town would be cinders by the next morning. She could see the flames rising against the night sky, perhaps silhouetted against the full moon. Oh, that would be beautiful.
She'd never killed an entire town before. During her long life pre-Bonham, killing humans was sometimes necessary, but rarely did she do it for the pure sport of it. Usually those were the ones who'd tried to trap her; she'd always caught them out before they'd even started their incantations. If they were young and stupid, she'd rip their throats out and be done with it, but the clever, dangerous, older ones she'd drive before her, sometimes for months, making them think they were escaping only to have her turn up just where they'd run to. One time, she'd killed everyone around the mage again and again wherever he'd run to, until he begged her to kill him and she'd obliged.
That was fun. But this--this was pure bloodlust. They would all pay. No more would she be Mamzelle. She would once again be Mamzellarrainatta Daughter of Zelliniasipatiri, her wings, claws and teeth no longer hidden in this soft human body, and the cat demon would once again be Misiriplinapos Son of Misorianatus and a cat no more. Oh, we will be so happy, Misiriplinapos. A little song ran through her head: Soon, so soon, my friend...
Just as this lovely, bloody future unfolded before her, Misi himself peeked through the window, as if wishing not to be seen. Mamzelle gave him one of her long, slow grins and let him in. "'Allo, cheri, I was just thinking of you."
"Oh. Hi," winced the cat.
"Don' worry, Bonham's not 'ere, but you are cutting eet close, mon ami. A short visit, I fear."
"Ah, Bonham," said Misi, dropping lightly to the floor from the sill. "What do you know about that guy's doings, anyway?"
She closed the window and turned toward him, her white negligee swirling around her ankles. "Doings?"
"What he's up to."
Mamzelle suppressed a hard look. The Duniway woman had apparently ordered her pet to snoop, and he was never very good at it.
Bonham had in fact told her all about his interest in the schoolteacher, and the dinner party that would begin his assault on her dubious virtue. "Bedding that gal pokes both Tony and Runnels in the snooter, and puts Charity's nose out of joint to boot," he'd chortled. "I bet she's a spitfire, too. I aim to have her, Mamzelle, and that's a promise."
What should she tell Misi? That Bonham intended to take Annabelle under his protection one way or another? She certainly had no interest in protecting Miss Duniway from Bonham. In fact, on reflection it might make her life easier. She'd worried that perhaps Bonham's interest might lead to an order to leave the woman alone. Maybe if Charity Bonham got jealous enough, she'd shoot her rival. Maybe Tony Bonham or John Runnels would shoot Jedediah to protect Miss Duniway. It'd rob her of her full revenge against her captor, but that was merely a fantasy anyway; someone else had to kill Bonham for her. All manner of back-up schemes unfolded like paper flowers.
"What Bonham's up to," she mused aloud as she reclined on her red velvet chaise. "Well, I rub 'is feet most nights." The cat's nose wrinkled. "Mm," she agreed. "Sometimes 'e...dallies...with me, sometimes with one of ze girls, sometimes 'e mingles downstairs. Every morning 'e always does one thing: 'e counts 'is monies in ze storeroom. Does that satisfy your curiosity, mon petit chaton?"
Misi began to groom his whiskers somewhat nervously. "What does he do when he's not here?"
"Why ze sudden interest?"
"Oh, I like to keep an eye out," he said, tapping his cheekbone with a paw. "I keep an eye out on everybody, not just Bonham in particular."
"Your master, 'e likes to stay well-informed, ehn?"
"Yeah, you could say that. He doesn't like surprises."
"He" won't like the one Bonham's got in mind, and "he" won't like mine, either. Time for a little redirection. "Still not telling me 'oo 'e is?"
The cat shook his fur-ruffed head. "Can't. Under orders."
"In which direction do you live, at least?"
"Can't tell you that, either," said Misi, shifting his front paws uneasily.
"'Ave you told him about me?" The cat shook his head again, firmly enough for veracity. "Ah, it is not to worry, mon ami, I weel find him in time and win your liberté. So grateful you weel be, non?"
"I told you, I'm the one who kills him," growled the cat.
Mamzelle waved her red-nailed hand. "You cannot, and so I weel. Thank me later, when you are free. But now, since your master is curious, I weel tell you so much: Madame Bonham, she plans a soirée for ze good schoolteacher this Saturday."
"Really? Why? I didn't think Miz Bonham was the hospitable type."
"Ah, non. She is a woman most agreeable. She loves to entertain."
"She doesn't like you," Misi pointed out.
Mamzelle shrugged. "Humans don't like demons."
Before Misi could get in another question, loud footsteps and a louder voice sounded far down the hall. Misi jumped to the sill, Mamzelle let him out, and Jed Bonham came in looking for coffee and a foot rub. "Bientôt, bientôt, bientôt, mon ami, vous serez mort très bientôt, mon ami," she sang to herself.
"That's pretty, Mamzelle, what is it?" grunted Bonham.
"Oh, just a leetle song I made up." I'll sing it all to you some day...