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 34: The Ghostly Convocation | Scryer's Gulch

"No need fer that, Miss Annie!" whined Aloysius as he apparated by the door. "Point that thang somewhar else! Bad enough to be stuck in the jail--a spirit bottle's worse'n that, by a fair piece!"

"You bet it is, so behave yourself," said the cat-thing.

"It's all right, Misi, it's just Aloysius. He's a friend. Aren't you, Aloysius?"


"Hmf. Did Runnels send you to spy?" said Misi.

"Waal, I never!" huffed the ghost. "I wuz a horse thief, sure, but I ain't never been no kind of spy nor stool pigeon nor any sort'er feller like that. Now, please point that away from me afore it goes off!"

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 22: Sapheads | Scryer's Gulch

John held open the jailhouse door for her, and laughed in spite of himself. "That ghost knows what's good for him. Coffee, Miss Duniway?"

"I wouldn't," said Aloysius.

"Put a cork in it, spook."

"I think I shall follow his advice, Sheriff. Too much coffee is overly stimulating to the nerves," said Annabelle.

John offered her a seat and started to take his own, then changed his mind, pulled it out from behind his desk, and sat down. "I shouldn't think you have much in the way of nerves no matter how much coffee you drink, ma'am."

Annabelle sat up straighter. Her eyes flicked up to his own, and held him in a piercing cornflower glare; he met it, with outward calm and an inward shiver. "I do wish you'd say what you mean, sir," she said. "You have been suspicious of me almost from the day I arrived. You wonder about my income, you wonder about my character, you hint at this and that. It is past time I took offense. What is it about me you find so dubious?"

Episode 13: Messages | Scryer's Gulch

The wretched Rabbit woke up at dawn inside the wire cage, naked and shivering. "John?" he called weakly.

"Sheriff's asleepin," said Aloysius. "Hey! Runnels! Wake up! Yer brother's lost his fur!"

John scrambled up from his cot, instantly awake. "Sorry, Rab, sorry! I'm coming." He opened the latch on the cage and helped Rabbit to stand; he wrapped his brother in the still-warm blanket from the cot. "Are you all right?"

"Did I scratch or bite?" said Rabbit. "I'm so afraid I'm going to bite you some day, Johnny--if I ever brought this on you, I'd throw myself in the river!"

Episode 12: Creature of the Night, Pistol on the Right | Scryer's Gulch

John rushed to his brother's side, whipping off the bandanna around his neck. To Annabelle's astonishment, he stuffed it in the deputy's mouth and guided the gagged and sobbing man gently to the floor. "It hurts, Miss Duniway, and he screams a lot," said John. "I'm here, Rab, I won't let go, I promise!"

"'M srry!" whimpered Rabbit around the bandanna.

"Not your fault!" said John.

"What's happening, Sheriff Runnels?" demanded Annabelle. "Should I be going for the doctor?"

Episode 7: An Accusation | Scryer's Gulch

As soon as they entered, Annabelle's bracelet pricked at her wrist; she hid her surprise. "Children, please sit down. Little ones to the front, older ones to the back. I'll return in a moment."

"Wonder where she's going," she heard Georgie whisper to Jamie.

"Maybe she's gotta pee," said Harry Lockson. Georgie and Jamie guffawed. "But maybe she does!" Harry repeated in earnest concern.

Annabelle rolled her eyes, and walked quickly up and down the street, as if looking for errant pupils; her bracelet made not a tickle. The schoolhouse stood off to itself enough that she knew nothing came from a nearby building. No, it was in the schoolhouse, and it came from either Jamie or Georgie.

Episode 4: Detectors and Detectives | Scryer's Gulch

While Annabelle waited a day for the schoolhouse repairs, the best use of her time would be to visit her students in their homes, get a sense of them. That’s what a real schoolteacher would do, she decided the next morning, and it gave her a chance to scan for the anomalies she’d been sent to investigate without raising suspicion.

“What exactly are we looking for, anyway?” said Misi from a perch atop the wardrobe. “You might have said,” he added sulkily.

Annabelle looked up at the demon cat as she buttoned up her bodice. “Daniel asked me to wait as long as possible before telling anyone anything, including you.”

“Who’s Daniel?”

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