Anatole Prake

Episode 24: On Fair Authority | Scryer's Gulch

"Well, now, Runnels, out on a night like this!" said Mayor Prake, rising from his chair. "Is there cause for alarm? Amelia, fill the kettle please, perhaps the Sheriff might like some tea. Perhaps a wee bit of bourbon in the cup?" he added in an undertone.

Amelia lugged the kettle in, put it on the stove, and took her reluctant leave. "I'm not sleepy!" she insisted as her mother shooed her up the stairs.

Once they were alone, John settled back in his chair, a comfortable shot of bourbon in his tea. "No cause for immediate alarm, Anatole, though things are stranger than usual in this town. To begin with, I believe Georgie is innocent. You should let him go back to school."

"Innocent!" exclaimed Prake. "Why, his own brother believes he did it! You amaze me. What did Miss Duniway say to convince you?"

Episode 21: An Enthusiastic Hour | Scryer's Gulch

Annabelle preferred to sit in the back pew at church; despite her general self-confidence, church always made her feel exposed and vulnerable. She'd been raised both Methodic and Enthusiastic, the product of a rare mixed marriage and a childhood spent bouncing between one set of relatives and the next. She loved the clean formality of the Methodic Church and its emphasis on logic, but when it came down to it, she chose Enthusiasm: the brightly clanging bells, the incense wafting over everything, the exuberantly decorated altar, the music so loud it shook her bones, the shouts of the faithful in response to a good sermon. And the sermons were much shorter.

Her mind was Methodic, but her soul was Enthusiastic.

Episode 18: Servitude | Scryer's Gulch

Mamzelle had a time of it under Charity's orders the next day.

She scrubbed the floors, beat all the rugs, bathed Charity's disgusting little pug dog, shined the copper weathervane atop the gingerbread-encrusted turret, mucked out the stables, and blacked every boot in the house as well as the stoves--all in her best silk dress, now tattered and stained. Blacking smudges covered her face, not all of them self-inflicted, and shoeprints stood out on her dress where the occasional kick had landed.

"Too bad about about the dress. It was so flattering on you, too. I bet you never affront me again!" smirked Charity as the housekeeper fidgeted behind her.

"Oh, no, madame, I wouldn't dream of eet!" said Mamzelle, face downcast; her eyes reflected a dangerous ruby color in the wooden floor she'd polished to a perfect finish; neither human noticed.

Episode 17: Evidence | Scryer's Gulch

"You look happy this morning," said Jed from the depths of a big tufted leather chair.

Mamzelle returned to her boudoir from the balcony. "I am always 'appy at the full moon," she said, settling on her chaise.

"Don't sit down. Bring me my coffee."

She narrowed her eyes to slits, but got up and poured him a cup. "I wonder, 'ow badly this would sting eef I threw it in your face?" she said.

"Go ahead. Then you'd find out how it feels to lose an eye."

"Eet's a rrrhetorical question. I can't hurt you anyway."

"Just remember that," he smiled over the cup's rim.

"I will, even as I eat your liver while you scream for mercy. That is not rrrhetorical."

Episode 3: Near-Revelations | Scryer's Gulch

Agent Duniway was not one to swoon when confronted with a shock, but Annabelle decided Schoolteacher Duniway should feel a little faint at the sight of the vandalized schoolhouse. She staggered gently into Mr Prake, who caught her elbow with a concerned murmur. “There now! Do you carry smelling salts in your reticule?”

She never needed them, and so, unlike most respectable women, she didn’t even own any. “Oh dear...left them at the Hotel, sir!” she faltered. She made an immediate plan to find a vial somewhere, even if she had to order Misi to steal one.

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