Mamzelle

Episode 53: Justice

Justice. The clear, triumphant pealing bell of the word swept over Mamzelle. Justice. What she wouldn't give for justice! Her tired and battered spirit leaned toward the blond woman.

But no--revenge. She wanted revenge, not justice! Bonham was the lesser of the two, and foolish at least in magical matters. She might still find her loophole, find a way to kill him, were he her master. Mamzelle would never find a way out as Duniway's servant; if the woman wanted to keep her bound, she would stay bound. Mamzelle had no doubt of it. She leaned toward her old master; he redoubled his psychic grip, and if a spirit could snarl and spit, his did so.

Episode 52: The Devil You Know | Scryer's Gulch

Sheriff Runnels stood back a ways from the sigil and did his best to stay alert, scoping the area for potential threats--more of Bonham's goons--but it was hard to keep from doing anything other than stare at Annabelle and Bonham, though he couldn't have said why; they were doing nothing but facing one another across Mamzelle.

A hand touched his arm, and he jumped, jerking his shotgun around. "Settle down, Sheriff, it's just me," said the demon cat-man.

"Yeah, well you take some getting used to," John grunted, turning back to the two wielders. "She planning on telling me about you any time soon?"

"I was her ace in the hole. It wasn't time to play me yet."

Episode 51: Trouble Is Expected | Scryer's Gulch

Annabelle lifted her chin. She didn't smile; smiles on a woman's face in combat always made her look weak, and she kept her gaze steady and sober. She unbuttoned her duster just in case, and a good thing.

"Boys, come here!" called Bonham. "It's okay, Mamzelle's corralled." Three men carrying rifles crept out one by one from under the far-flung cover of rocks and equipment. "Were you expecting me to give you trouble, Mr Bonham?" said Annabelle.

"I'm alive because I expect trouble," he answered, "though I do confess I did not expect it from your particular corner."

Episode 50: Gonna Be a Show-Down | Scryer's Gulch

Mamzelle had picked her moment well. She knew Bonham would take Duniway to the stamp mill first. How could he not? It was a fine demonstration of his wealth and power. And it was also the best possible place for an ambush, even as surrounded as they were by other humans, for speech was impossible. No order Bonham or the Duniway woman might give could be heard, and Duniway had left Misi as half-cat half-human--a stroke of luck Mamzelle could hardly believe.

Misi had Bonham tied and gagged before anyone could blink, but his youth and inexperience showed. In his clumsiness he blocked Mamzelle's path, and she had to scramble to reach his mistress. The little whistle punk ran away the moment the demons appeared, but the steam donkey operator decided to be heroic and threw himself between Mamzelle and her quarry. By the Dark One, she'd wanted to get the drop on Duniway! Mamzelle unsheathed her claws, raked him open and tossed him aside to die.

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.

The End...?

And now...a very special episode of Scryer's Gulch:

As Annabelle tied her bonnet laces, Lily hung around the front of the school room after class, beaming, hands clasped behind her back to contain her excitement. The other students filed out, the boys eager, but restraining themselves from shoving their female peers out of the way.

"Well now, Miss Lily," Annabelle said, and Lily giggled at the formality, "are you ready to visit your big brother's establishment?" Mr Bonham had elected to accept Annabelle's offer of refinement, doubtless in his continued misguided attempt to seduce her. Annabelle restrained her nose from twitching at the unpleasant thought.

Episode 40: Duchess Soup | Scryer's Gulch

The little dinner party was rapidly slipping from Charity's fingers, and they hadn't even sat down to the meal yet. The cook had spoilt the soup and had to make up a new one, the greenhorn--er, butler--was clumsy, and worse, that schoolteacher was monopolizing both John Runnels and Tony.

How could it be? Duniway looked like a blue-eyed crow in that black dress, while she was resplendent in feathers and plum-colored silk that set off the green of her eyes. She'd ordered the feathers all the way from San Francisco--what luck that they matched her new dress so well, even if they were shedding a bit. It was to be expected of ostrich.

And Jedediah was late. Damn him for not even bothering to show for a dinner he forced her to throw!

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.

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