Rabbit Runnels

Episode 48: A Little Look-See | Scryer's Gulch

Scryer's Gulch never quieted down much overnight, but it did enough so Mamzelle could stake out the Hopewell Hotel without drawing much attention that night, even though it was the first night of the full moon. Jed Bonham had a big mouth, and when he told her he was taking the schoolteacher out to the mines the next day, Mamzelle thought she'd have a little look-see; this Duniway woman bore watching if Mamzelle was going to kill her.

The woman's window opened. A slithery black shape snuck out and bounded over the rooftops: Misiriplinapos Son of Misorianatus, Duniway's pet demon in the shape of a cat. Some demon, she sniffed.

Episode 45: Ace in the Hole | Scryer's Gulch

Annabelle sent the encoded ethergram out to Chief Howman the next afternoon after school, asking for more information. Sending the ethergram via Simon Prake seemed both dangerous and disloyal somehow, but there wasn't any choice.

"I'm afraid this is going to be a two-dollar ethergram, Miss Duniway," grimaced Simon. "It's a long one."

"I know," she laughed, "but I remembered a few things I just have to tell my cousin as soon as possible--it couldn't wait for the mail. I'll just have to be extra-careful with my money this month."

A few things to tell her cousin--that was sure, or rather, her "cousin" had a few things to tell her. She'd had it with all the guessing; if DC knew anything more about the contaminated ore's effects, or what a plotter might possibly do with it, she needed to know if she was going to pin down the culprit--or even defend against him. Until then, she and John were going to track every piece of ore in and out of Simon Prake's office that they could. She and Misi would scout out the mines, and if Rabbit turned out to be able to "taste" the bad hermetauxite, he'd help too.

Episode 44: Friendship | Scryer's Gulch

Mrs Smith was some cook all right. Annabelle had tried to be ladylike, but sitting through services on an unusually empty tummy had taken the restraint right out of her; she'd eaten herself to within a pinch of her stays.

After dinner Mrs Smith retired to the washing-up, Jamie was sent in to help her, and Rabbit excused himself to the jail: "My, uh, my monthly troubles are coming due. Time I got ready for 'em."

"Going up into the mountains, brother?" said John.

"No," said Rabbit reluctantly. "No, I'm stayin in town. Maybe next month."

His departure left Annabelle and John alone before the front parlor stove. "He goes up into the mountains when he changes? Is that safe?" she whispered.

"No need to whisper, everyone here already knows. Yes. Uh, sometimes he goes hunting then."

Annabelle crinkled her nose. "I am uncertain as to how that might work, I fear. A werewolf, or a mountain lion, yes, but a hare?"

Episode 36: Acceptances | Scryer's Gulch

"You gonna go?" said Rabbit, examining the ornate invitation to dinner at the Bonham house.

John shrugged and didn't look up from the shotgun he was cleaning, pieces laid out in precise positions on top of his jailhouse desk. "Haven't decided yet." Which wasn't at all true. He had decided the minute he got the invitation to accept it--anything involving Annabelle tugged at him with a power he chose to chalk up to her mission.

His brother squinted at him, and left off leaning against John's desk. "Uh-huh. I'm going home to eat some lunch, even if you're not. I'll tell Minnie to set aside a plate, but if you know what's good for you, you'll light along to the house and eat it hot. You're apt to get a wrathy look from Minnie to wash it down with otherwise." He paused at the jailhouse door. "And I'll tell Minnie to make sure your best suit is aired and brushed." He ducked out before John could protest.

"Hmf," John said to himself.

Episode 33: Aloysius on the Town

Halloween night came to Scryer's Gulch, and many a party was planned. For most of the camp, they were not so much for celebrating; they were more about not being alone. Always tatty at best on top of the hermetauxite deposit, the veil between worlds got even thinner on Halloween.

Episode 30: Sucker | Scryer's Gulch

"All right," said John once he'd recovered from his shock, "you've convinced me you're a great shot and a great wielder with access to some pretty fancy hardware. Now convince me you're Treasury and tell me why you're here."

"Only Treasury would care about the reason," she answered as she stowed her etheric pistols in their case. "Someone is corrupting ore coming out of Scryer's Gulch."

Icy prickles came over John's skin. "Corrupting--you mean like that nugget you found on Jamie? Someone did that on purpose? It's not natural?"

Annabelle shook her head. "Engineered. The best, our men tell me. Like nothing they've ever seen before."

John's temper rose hand in hand with fear for his son. "And you didn't see fit to take this to local authorities why, exactly?"

"I didn't know who was involved. I still don't. I don't know who the spellcaster is, and I don't know who if anyone is running him."

"Meaning?"

"Meaning," she said as if explaining to one of her slower students, "that you could have been in on it for all I knew. I'm taking a risk as it is that you don't turn that rifle on me and leave me in some gully for the coyotes."

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 16: Culling the Herd | Scryer's Gulch

The full moon crept over the town, slipping silver through the bars of the jail where John held Rabbit through his transformation; it glinted faint on Georgie Prake's tears as he sat in the darkened window he'd occupied almost continually since his disgrace; and it shone white on a woman's bare skin. The moon lit the woman only briefly. Her coloring dappled, and she blended into the surrounding shadows. Mamzelle prided herself on her camouflaging, especially chained as she was to the form of a human woman.

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