We lost the Prophet just outside the Orphan Gulch. We realized he’d gotten away from us because we no longer smelled his toes. The guys had come to refer to him as Ogre Toes. So we took to the horses, and picked up a trail we would’ve expected a Cardinal to leave behind: Papal cough syrup after an encyclical, a Vatican altar polished with the sweat of pagan slaves, and a Jefferson pine forest blessed by Saint Dorothea of Caesarea. I’d say it felt apocryphal, but it was just nice to be past the foot digits.
Before the sun had set, we found him. He was leaning against a tree with a mouth full of assorted desserts from a tray in his lap. It’s the closest thing to supernatural we’d seen him do. But when we got closer, we realized, the dessert tray was as manky as it was sweet. So much for his “powers.”
We put him on the back of my horse and took him back to camp. The woods were heavy with a drying sap that stuck on the back of your throat. Back at the camp, the Prophet finished his night using lemon leaves to eat Kurd-curdled goat milk. At least he kept his shoes on…
The Orphan Barrel Release #4: Lost Prophet is in medias res—It’s no Deus ex machina, and it can be disconcerting at first, but soon you catch on and end up content to have been along for the ride.
–Our thanks to Diageo for the sample!