Coming in Spring — Why are they screaming?

Saturday, March 23, 2019  

Because there’s A Ghost in the Kitchen!

Fearful man and woman circa 1926

Ghost Stories Magazine circa 1926

Coming in Spring

Another Roaring Twenties Pantser Tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

Hi there, shieks and shebas!  Thanks for all the good thoughts, vibes, prayers, and luck you’ve sent about my relocation.  It was a 2,000 mile trip, and Crystal refused to be the next Toonces the Driving Cat.  

After 1,200 miles I stopped at a hotel, for the cat’s sake. Unfortunately it was so noisy that she was too terrified to pee.  I called the vet and was told that she probably wouldn’t go at all while that stressed.  So, four hours of noise later, I gave up any hope of sleep (or cat using litter box) and got back on the road.

I’m on the way to regaining my energy and getting over some intense sleep deprivation.  Did I mention that the trip started in DC on Sunday at 11 AM Eastern Daylight Time… and I arrived, 2,000 miles later at my new home on Tuesday at 4:45 AM (pretending that would be the same time zone). 

Also I’m restarting my household practically from scratch.  Plus cleaning, painting, putting things together (something for which I’ve no talent at all).  So I’m not back to normal with blogging yet.  I hope to start visiting all of you soon.

Snippet from my next 1920s novel

 Here’s a snippet from A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients 2.  Some of you will have seen it before.

The fizzy purple vapor dissipated and I found that my eyes had not deceived me.  A strange, semi-solid man bowed before me.  I was too stunned to think.  It seemed like the purple mist befuddled my head.  I gradually became aware of one other thing, a shrill unpleasant sound that went on and on…

“Andy!” I cried, suddenly becoming aware again.

My dear old friend Andy Avis, was screaming like a school girl.  I grabbed his arm and shook him.  He stopped screaming.  For five seconds.  Then he screamed right into my face.

I felt like slapping him — only partly to bring him to his senses.  However, riotous giggling shocked both of us to silence.  The ghost stood in the kitchen bent double with laughter.  Apparently he found Andy’s reaction most amusing.Casper cooking

As seems to happen to me in times of stress, one detail stood out to me more than anything else.  I turned to Andy but pointed to the apparition. 

“You can see him?” I said, and I wasn’t sure if it was a question or an accusation.

I had been told that though I hadn’t known it, I had the gift for seeing spirits.  I was also told that Granny Phanny could too, but my grandmother had suppressed the
ability.  However, as you might expect, not everyone could see ghosts.  So I was surprised that Andy was able to see the spirit sitting sprawled at Granny’s kitchen table.

Before I took another breath I whirled on the ghost and demanded, “How can he see you?”

The apparition who had materialized from the gaudy bottle of spirits sobered.  He stuck out his lower lip in an exaggerated expression of consideration that I had a feeling was a habit with him.

“Well, I am one powerful poltergeist, Signorina!” he said between hiccupping giggles.  “It’s no effort for me to let anyone see me, and sometimes they do whether or not I’m intending it,” the ghost told me.

I thought poor Andy’s eyes were going to pop right out of his head.

The spirit looked longingly at the food on the table.  Andy and I hadn’t even started our meal.  He licked his lips and sighed. 

“Signorina, a nice Stilton cheese would be beautiful with that,” he said wistfully.Vintage girl broken dish card

“Err… Would you care for anything?” I asked, knowing that after all, Granny would expect me to be a good hostess.  Then I gave my head a shake.  Had I really said that?

“I rarely partake.  Sometimes that doesn’t turn out so well,” he said, but his eyes never strayed from the food.  “But if I could just take a whiff,” he said leaning toward the table — and closer to Andy.

With a blanched face and panicked eyes Andy staggered backward.  There was nowhere for him to go, so he bumped hard against the table.  The ornate wine bottle wobbled precariously at the edge for a moment, and then it crashed to the blue and white tile floor.  It shattered into dozens of pieces.

The ghost shrieked.

Andy shrieked when the ghost did.

I shrieked at both of them to stop their shrieking!

However, I had an unexpected concern for the spirit.  “Are you all right?  I mean, I’ll bet you were bound to that bottle somehow.  Weren’t you?  Are you going to be okay?”1920s Owl Clock

“Yes!  No!  Both!” he replied, rapid fire in his strange accent.  Then he gave a giddy giggle.  “Thank God that gaudy bottle is no more!  Can you imagine making your home in such an ugly vessel?” he commented.  “However I must have something, or there will be… consequences.  Ah! Symbol of the wisdom I should have had in life!” he exclaimed when he saw the carved wooden owl clock.  “This will do,” he said even as he held the clock to his chest and then disappeared.

The clock dropped the short distance to the counter, landing with a wobble and a clunk.  Andy and I looked at each other in stunned silence.  A moment later the spirit remerged from the owl clock.  He sprawled into one of the white ladder back chairs my grandfather had made.  That was when I noticed the Renaissance era garb beneath his apron.

Bene!  What a relief!” he said and lifted his brimless toque to mop his brow, or at least I thought the chef’s hat was called a toque.

I leaned closer, wondering if ghosts could sweat. 

“If you didn’t like the bottle…” I began, but wasn’t sure how to ask what I wanted to know.  “Well, how come you’re — ” my words failed me so I pointed to the shards of the purple bottle.

“Ah Signorina,” the ghost began.  “It is a poignant tale.  I was chef to the Patriarch of Aquileia at the Vatican.  I always preferred the pun as a form of humor, and the Pope, he shared this with me.  However, one evening we served dinner to a plethora of patrons, speaking Punjabi, Parsi, and Philippine.  I presented a perfect prawn pasta…  Perhaps something went awry with the translations…  But — you see, the short of it is that I pissed off the Pope!  And this predicament is my fate,” the ghost said with a mournful expression.

I marveled at the poltergeist’s capacity to use the letter “P” so many times in one sentence.  I gave a hard blink to clear my mind.  Then I looked from him to Andy, with no idea what to say or do next.  However, Andy found his voice.

“You’re not a genie then?  You really are a ghost?” Andy asked.  “Too bad.  Granting wishes would have been a great ice breaker,” he joked, abruptly loosening up to my surprised relief.  “We don’t have to rub the owl clock’s belly to get you to come out, do we?”

1920s Vaudeville Cats postcard

1920s Vaudeville Furries Postcard

The poltergeist gave Andy that pursed lip expression, but then laughed heartily slapping his knee.  “No, young patron.  I can come and go as I please, so long as I bind myself to an object.  And mind you, I can’t be without one for more than a moment.  However, I tend to lose track of the time.  When I went into that gaudy bottle, I was in a great hurry, but that’s another story.  Anyhow, I think I was intoxicated on the noxious potion, so I did not wake for some little while.  Then you uncorked the bottle, and the rest, as you say, is history,” he said with a hiccup.

My nose wrinkled at the thought of being inside a bottle that smelled like that one had.  I said it must have been awful.  The apparition burped, blushed, and excused himself, making me think he might have become intoxicated from being cooped up in the wine bottle.

“Ah, one gets accustomed to the aroma,” he said affably.  “But now you speak of such… do you have any rum?  I do have a preference for the spirit, tee-hee!” he said with a giggle, inordinately pleased with his joke that a spirit would like spirits.

When I explained prohibition, he looked very downcast.  He somehow hiccuped and burped at the same time.  Then he made a shocked comment about the state of things that would allow such a law.  Andy and I agreed enthusiastically.

I finally found my manners and thought to introduce myself and Andy.  The ghost bowed again, with a slight wobble. 

“My great pleasure, Signorina o Signore.  I present myself, Maestro Martino.  Please do me the honor of calling me Maestro,” he said with a flourish.

The end… or the beginning.  It depends on how you look at it.

***

I hope you enjoyed this snippet from A Ghost in the Kitchen.  I really think it’s swell to hear from you, but with everything that’s going on, I had to close comments.  

You’re the cat’s pajamas!

***

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright ©  2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 35

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Copper Cover

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  I’m off-line, but didn’t want to leave you hanging from any cliffs with the serial.  Collecting the recap for this episode reminded me of some fabulous animated videos created by Chris Graham. 

Let’s get over to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

From Episode 5.  (And an other animation from Chris Graham the Story Reading Ape)  When I upended the owl-shaped lamp, I found an opening.  Some very old documents were tightly rolled and inserted into the lamp…

From Episode 7 .  “Oh!  What have we here?” Cornelis Drebbel exclaimed excitedly over the ancient papers.  “Don’t tell me this is what was hidden in the lamp!” he cried and Copper and I both nodded, taken aback by his enthusiasm.  “Really?  The audacity!  To hide such treasures that way.  Don’t you know what these are?”…

… “My dear, these are the work of Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci!  They are valuable beyond belief,” Cornelis exclaimed.

The Leonardo da Vinci?” I couldn’t help asking.  “Then they must be at the core of whatever is going on here,” I said with certainty.

From last time, Chapter 34   The chimpanzee looked contrite, as if there was something he did not want to disclose.  “Viola’s son Von had that family ring he stole from your son.  There was a man who seemed to recognize the ring.  He tricked Von into giving it to him and then ran off.  Von slipped off to track him.  We found them at a fine home that looked a lot like yours.  But when we got there they were both dead,” the chimp explained.

“We took both bodies and hid them,” the chimpanzee added.  “We were afraid of what might happen if the residents of that world noticed the two were doubles.”

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

35 — Herbs, Kitchen, Texan

submarine breaching surface

Pixaby, image altered by Teagan

Through an accident of alchemy, the submarine in which we traveled crashed on the shores of the amethyst world. The Green Fairy and Cornelis Drebbel had an animated conversation about the submarine Cornelis invented, and whether it could be repaired quickly enough.  After a moment they rejected using the submarine as a means of departure.  However, if we didn’t leave the peculiar purple place soon, we might be trapped forever.

When the missing “chapel chimps” were returned to the amethyst world, a few of them hung back to talk to us.  Cal Hicks sent those chimpanzees back to submarine to retrieve our belongings.  The two fairies, Absinthe and Aubrieta, fluttered ahead of the apes, leading the way.  Copper watched from the laboratory window as they disappeared from view.

Copper with FlowersThe girl stood at a table in the far corner of the long building, tying string around a small bundle of herbs.  I noticed a number of varieties hanging to dry.  Unexpectedly, Copper seemed to know what she was doing.  When I commented on the fact, she told me that she used to help her governess dry herbs.

“Is Viola coming back?” she asked Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape.

“I’m sure you’ll see her again,” Hicks answered.  “You two became friends very quickly,” he prompted.

Copper nodded as she tied the string into a bow.  “She reminds me of Violet, my governess.  I didn’t want her to go away, but Daddy said she was going back to live with her son Vaughner,” Copper told him with a sad look in her eyes.  “Daddy shouldn’t have let Violet go.  I heard him say her son was a criminal.”

“He did?” I was surprised into saying.  I felt like my brain was pulling threads together that I couldn’t quite grasp.

“Yes.  I heard him tell your boyfriend,” Copper answered with a distasteful twist of her mouth and the glimmer of a dare in her eyes.

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

“My what?” I exclaimed with a strangled chuckle, but then I remembered her distrust of Ignatius Belle.

There had not been more between Ignatius and me than some light flirting.  In fact, when I saw how focused he had become on Copper, and apparently wanted to lure her away, I felt he had tried to use me.  I had developed my own mistrust of the tall handsome innkeeper, and learning that he was really Copper’s half-brother did nothing to allay my concern.  However, considering that father and son were somewhat estranged, I was surprised to learn Calvin Hixon had confided that information in Ignatius Belle.

“Daddy shouldn’t have made her go live with Vaughner.  I don’t think she wanted to,” the girl said of her governess.  “Anyway, I think Viola looks like her,” Copper added with a sudden grin.  “Or she would if she had been a chimpanzee.”

Another idea clicked into place when Copper spoke.  I looked around for Cornelis Drebbel, but he had popped off somewhere.  Where was the alchemist?  He’d finish my sentences for me and this would go a lot faster.

“He asked me if the laboratory had a kitchen,” Cal answered my question.  “I think the Lord of Alchemy was feeling a bit peckish.”

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel, Wikimedia

“Trust Cornelis Drebbel to go looking for a snack at a time like this,” I complained.

Without the alchemist to be my sounding board I spoke my thoughts aloud as I sorted them.  

“So… Copper’s father dismissed the governess she loved because he could no longer pay her wages,” I remembered Cornelis figuring out that in the past.  “That woman’s son was a reputed criminal, as Copper told us…” my words trailed away as I continued to assemble jumbled bits and pieces.

“Meanwhile, here in this amethyst world, Voila is the double of that governess.  Viola’s son was a ‘scoundrel’ as you commented,” I added turning to Cal Hicks.  “And the son of the governess a criminal,” I repeated and Copper nodded.

I paced as I untangled the mess. 

“So Viola’s son Von met his doppelgänger in our world… and that doppelgänger was the dead man in Calvin Hixon’s study — and he was Vaughner, the son of the governess!”Reading Ape purple

What a moment of crystal clarity!  If I’d worn suspenders on my trousers I would have given them a snap of satisfaction.  Copper had a wide-eyed expression on her face, but she seemed to have kept up with my summation.  Cal Hicks nodded every step of the way, an intelligent man for certain — or rather ape.

“Vaughner was surely up to some duplicity, since Copper heard her father calling him a criminal.  He stole the signet ring from Von so he could pass himself off as a member of the Hixon family.  He was in the house, sitting at Calvin Hixon’s desk when he died.  So he must have been looking for something.  But did he find whatever it was he wanted?” I questioned.

“I don’t think so.  You’ll see when the chimps get back,” Cornelis Drebbel said as he materialized at my side with a sharp pop.

I jumped, startled.  The Dutchman grinned, as it was his intention to disconcert me.

“Cornelis Drebbel!  Will you please cease doing that,” I insisted for the thousandth time.  “Where have you been?”

1920 Choctaw Bill, Mora, NM cowboy

Choctaw Bill, Mora, NM 1920s

The alchemist, originally from the 1600’s, was attired in knee britches with his favorite doublet, which had broad velvet sleeves, slashed with satin.  The broad brimmed hat that matched his ensemble was exchanged for a Stetson, and he wore tooled leather cowboy boots on his feet — both hat and boots were purple, of course.  Seeing me stare at his apparel Cornelis twisted his pointed blonde beard and wriggled his bushy eyebrows, clearly pleased with himself.

“I found my doppelgänger’s closet,” the Dutchman said with a twirl to show off his borrowed accessories.  “He has the most marvelously eccentric taste, don’t you think?”

I tried not to laugh, but I failed.  “Cornelis, you look like a Texan who fell into a Shakespearean fair,” I said and he pursed his lips, deciding how to react.

“I think they’re rather smart,” Cornelis replied, sticking out his lower lip.  “Copper, don’t you agree?”

Copper answered by giggling and hugging the alchemist.  I decided that was probably the safest response.  Besides, I was rather envious of those cowboy boots, just not with that outfit.

There was a commotion at the front door of the laboratory.  The coverall clad chimpanzees brought in our belongings.

“Ah, good!” Cornelis said.  “You’ll see what I mean.”

He went directly to the large carpet bag Copper had packed with all manner of things.  Cornelis retrieved the owl-shaped lamp.  I gasped.  Inside that lamp, were hidden valuable drawings made by Leonardo da Vinci.

da Vinci drawing of aerial screw, Wikimedia

da Vinci drawing of aerial screw, Wikimedia

Cornelis upended the owl lamp and removed the priceless da Vinci papers.  He smoothed out one in particular.

“Is that some sort of children’s toy?  A top of some sort?” I speculated as I looked at the drawing.

“Oh no,” Cornelis corrected me.  “It’s an aerial screw.  I think it is the key to finding Copper’s daddy.  It might also be how we get back to our world.”

***

Real World Notes

Aerial screw.  Sometimes it’s called a helicopter — you’re right if you think the first helicopter (as we think of them) wasn’t built until the 1940s.  However, it is thought that Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches from the late fifteenth century were the predecessor to the modern day whirlybird.  The invention was meant to compress air in order to obtain flight.  It had a platform mounted by a helical screw, with a system similar to rubber band-powered model airplanes.

***

Will the combination of da Vinci’s aerial screw and the alchemy of Cornelis lead our trio to Copper’s daddy? Or will it lead to a disastrous accident of alchemy?  To find out, be at the port to catch the steampunk submarine again next time, my chuckaboos!

***

I expect to be away from Internet service for some time.  However, I’ll try to have a few posts scheduled and waiting for you.  I hope you’ll talk among yourselves in the comments, although I probably won’t be able to join the conversation.

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 and 2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise. 

 

Coming in Spring — What ghostly place is this?

Sunday, March 17, 2019  

ghost woman old brick building

Pixaby

Coming in Spring

Another Roaring Twenties Pantser Tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

 The brick building in the featured image reminds me of one of the settings in Pip’s next adventure, A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients 2.

Stay tuned, shieks and shebas!  I’m still off-line, but I’m thinking of you.  I hope to be back soon.

You’re the cat’s pajamas! 

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright ©  2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

An Exercise in Absurdity, but Gratitude

Friday, March 15, 2019  

Person Apandoned home dog debris moon

Myriam at Pixabay

For those who have been following the absurd soap opera of my relocation, of my agoraphobia, my mental health… I’m still in my home of the past ten years — though now it is empty. Still trying to cope with panic attacks that include blindness. 

(If you are saying “Just get in the car and drive,” then you aren’t able to understand the bizarre soap opera that is my life.  So kindly make that statement elsewhere.)  

One amazing author answered my appeal for assistance.  He is not a neighbor, not nearby, nor even next to my long route.  He is not someone who has known me in person for many years.  In fact, he has never met me.  Yet he would fly 3,500 miles (5,600 km) and then travel in my car another 2,000 miles before going that same distance back home. 

So without embarrassing him by naming names, I thank him publicly for being willing (at great effort and time, and at his own expense) to take on this burden. 

Though it is his choice, I feel wrong about letting anyone do so very much.  So I will try one more time — to get my pathetic self on the highway, before I let him make this sacrifice.

Bare trees dark road

Tama, Pixaby

 

***

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright ©  2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Heartfelt thanks for your kindness and support.  Comments are now closed.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 34

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Cover Copper Alchemist Woman n Trousers

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  I’m off-line, but didn’t want to leave you hanging from any cliffs with the serial.

Let’s get straight to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

A Rewind from Chapter 3  First things first, I told myself as I turned my attention back to the dead body slumped over Calvin Hixon’s desk.  I had expected to see a pool of blood, but the top of the desk was clean.  The dead man’s left hand rested on the desktop.  Something seemed wrong about the position of the hand.  It had been moved.

Hadn’t Cornelis said he wore a signet ring?  Without looking I could feel the cool metal of the ring the alchemist placed on my finger.  “You’ll need this,” he’d said.  My eyes went back to the naked hand of the dead man.

“You moved a ring from the finger of a cadaver and put it on my hand?” I exclaimed, but Cornelis was nowhere to be seen.

“Cornelis Drebble!”

From last time, Chapter 33    We had a measuring device.  It looked like a silver toothpick holder.  It was shaped like a little gazebo with a domed roof supported by columns.  Within was a crystal bird with wings outstretched.  Tiny holes in the rounded roof held toothpicks.  If the toothpicks started to turn lavender, it was a warning that we had been in the amethyst world too long.  If all the toothpicks turned purple we were in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple, it would be too late.

I quickly took the detector out of the Dutchman’s bag so I could examine it.  The toothpicks were lavender.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

34 — Cornbread, Champagne Glasses, Astrolabe

ape eyes purple

Image by Teagan

The amethyst ape looked to the direction in which his violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper had ridden away on an aubergine coated horse.  Viola went back to his grand house to make sure the doppelgängers of Copper and myself did not come any closer.  Their proximity had made us quite ill, but Cornelis alchemically altered some green Chartreuse, which set us back to rights.  I wondered if the ape versions had also felt ill.

Cal Hicks shook his head regretfully.  “Poor Viola,” the ape murmured, causing me to ask what he meant.

“She showed you the locket containing a bit of her dead son’s hair,” he said as a reminder, so I nodded.  “He was lost in the battle with the one-eyed-one-horned flying-purple-people-eater; the dragon.  Though I cannot reconcile that in my mind with the tiny Purple Fairy, Aubrieta.  Whatever changed her form to the dragon must have also held uncontrollable sway over her personality as well.  We should feel pity for her, not resentment,” Cal added as if to himself, then cleared his throat.Hair brooch

“Forgive me, I digress.  Viola’s son was not in the chapel with the apes that disappeared that day,” Cal said, going back to his point.  “Nor was he among those returned by Aubrieta’s magic.  Viola said she felt his death a short time after the chapel apes disappeared.  I hoped she was wrong, but she must have been correct,” Cal told me.

“More’s the pity,” the amethyst ape commented, again shaking his head.  “Viola’s son was a scoundrel, though I liked to believe he had a good heart.  He never got the chance to correct the path on which he’d put himself.  He never reached his potential,” Cal spoke sadly.

Cornelis Drebbel got that look on his face.  Though his skull was safely ensconced my hatbox, I knew the expression on his face meant the gears in his mind were turning.  Abruptly he held an ancient looking leather portfolio.  That was where he kept his drawings.  He opened the folio and handed two sketches to Cal Hicks.  One drawing was of a chimpanzee and the other of a man.

First I recognized the man in the drawing as the person we found in the study at the Hixon estate.  The man had been dead when we arrived.  The rogue chimpanzees carried away his corpse.  The second thing I noticed was a strong resemblance in the drawings of the dead man and the chimp.

“Is this, by any chance, Viola’s son?” the alchemist asked Cal Hicks of the sketch of the chimpanzee.

Cal gasped. 

“Why yes!  As always, Lord of Alchemy, your talents astound me,” Cal replied.  “Do you have news of him?”

“We found his doppelgänger dead, but that’s as much as I can say,” Cornelis told him.

Empress Little Rock twilight

The Empress of Little Rock, Wikimedia

A few of the returned apes moved uneasily, but they were reluctant to leave.  They stayed nearby, hiding their nakedness as best they could.  Their coloring had fully reverted to various shades of purple, as was natural for them.  Cal Hicks stepped into the laboratory and quickly returned with several pairs of coveralls for them.

Hicks invited them to go to his house for a hot meal.  However they refused, saying they couldn’t take advantage of his hospitality.  They watched Cornelis Drebbel closely, almost as if mesmerized.

“At least have some bread and wine then,” Cal Hicks told them.

The amethyst ape uncovered a basket containing all manner of loaves, muffins, and cornbread.  Hicks insisted that the returned simians at least eat some bread.  He told them that being translocated had surely depleted their reserves.  Since Hicks wouldn’t take no for an answer, they drank and ate a little, but they looked much more interested in Cornelis and the two fairies.Absinthe tail up

Aubrieta and Absinthe cuddled near the laboratory building.  The Purple Fairy and the Green Fairy were both tiny now.  The alchemy that imploded the dome of fire also allowed Aubrieta to remain in her natural winged skunk-looking form.

Absinthe stretched and touched his green nose to the golden unicorn-like horn that was above Aubrieta’s single amber eye.  They both made muttering noises that sounded remarkably like giggles.  The erstwhile purple-people-eater she-dragon and Absinthe entwined their fluffy tails as they muttered and snorted softly to one another.

Cal Hicks looked at them wonderingly. 

“It’s a pity Viola isn’t here to witness that,” he murmured.

Cornelis gave a wicked grin.  He reached into nothingness and produced a tray with etched champagne glasses.  His arm disappeared up to his elbow as he reached into that magic space again and came back with a bottle of champagne.

“I wouldn’t pop the cork on that just yet,” I told him.

To remind them, I held out the measuring device Absinthe had insisted we take with us when we left the submarine.  It looked like a silver toothpick holder fashioned to have a gazebo with a crystal bird inside.  Tiny rods that resembled toothpicks protruded from the roof of the gazebo.  It measured how much we were being influenced by the amethyst world.  If we stayed too long, we might not be able to return home.

The words of the alchemist echoed in my mind.

“Many of the effects can be mitigated,” Cornelis had said, dismissing my concern.  “For instance, a little lavender hue is of no real concern.  But if all the toothpicks turn purple we are in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple,” he added pointing to the crystal ornament in the center of the gazebo.  “Well, then it is too late,” he’d finished with a wry twist of his mouth, which suggested that was a real possibility.

Victorian silver toothpick holder shaped as a gazebo with a bird inside

Wikimedia

The metering toothpicks had turned to a saturated lavender, and not a pastel lavender like they were the last time I looked.  Cal Hicks gasped, his face painted with concern.  Absinthe and Aubrieta fluttered over to me and inspected the device closely, muttering the while.  Cornelis puckered his lips in an expression that made me think he was about to sidestep something.

“As I’ve said, the lavender hue is of no real concern.  It could be from your doppelgängers being too near, or even from what we consumed at tea,” the alchemist said in an unconcerned tone, but he cast a sidelong glance at the device.

Several feet away, the small group of coverall clad apes conversed quietly but animatedly among themselves.  I got the feeling that the group had come to a decision.  A very large dark purple chimpanzee came forward.  I thought there was something reluctant in the way he moved.

“Begging your pardon, Mr. Hicks.  We heard the Lord of Alchemy mention doppelgängers.  When we—,” the chimpanzee began haltingly.  “Well, it’s Von, sir — Viola’s son.  When we were in that strange world Von met his double.  They both ended up dead, although none of us saw exactly how it happened,” the chimp said and hung his head.

“You saw nothing at all?” Hicks questioned, pushing for information.

The chimpanzee looked contrite, as if there was something he did not want to disclose. 

“Von had that family ring he stole from your son.  There was a man who seemed to recognize the ring.  He tricked Von into giving it to him and then ran off.  Von slipped off to track him.  We found them at a fine home that looked a lot like yours.  But when we got there they were both dead,” the chimp explained.

Signet ring, blue stone coat of arms

Lethia at Pixabay

“We took both bodies and hid them,” the chimpanzee added.  “We were afraid of what might happen if the residents of that world noticed the two were doubles.”

Cal Hicks made a tut-tut sound and slowly shook his head.  

“Von was a scoundrel and a petty thief,” Hicks commented.  “But he was Viola’s son.  Even after he stole the signet ring from my son Nate, I wouldn’t have wished him dead.”

I still wore the signet ring Cornelis removed from the hand of the cadaver we found in Calvin Hixon’s study.  Cornelis gave it to me so I could pass myself off as Copper’s aunt, and prevent the people from the orphanage taking her away.

The ring was much too big for my finger, but I had taken to wearing it on a ribbon hung around my neck.  I pulled it out from inside my shirt.  Removing the ribbon I handed the ring to Cal Hicks.  “Is this the ring?” I asked.

“Lady Felicity!  Why yes.  That’s the ring I had made for Nate.  How did you come to have it?” Hicks asked.

He tried to give the ring back to me.  I took the amethyst ape’s large hand in both of mine and closed his thick fingers around the ring.

“It clearly belongs to you, or your son.  I only borrowed it as a way of helping Copper.  We don’t need it anymore,” I said.

Excited chirping and snorting came from the two fairies.  Suddenly Aubrieta popped out of sight.  I heard an agitated screech from inside the laboratory.  Absinthe snorted and then disappeared.  An instant later both tiny fairies reappeared.  Between them they supported an intricately designed astrolabe.  Aubrieta chirped excitedly.  They flew over to Cornelis, and the alchemist gingerly took the apparatus from them.

“What is that thing?” Copper wanted to know.

“It’s an astrolabe,” Cornelis told her.  “They’re used by astronomers, navigators, and astrologers.  Its many uses include locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, determining local time given local latitude and vice versa, surveying, and triangulation,” he explained.

Copper looked blankly at Cornelis and blinked.  Absinthe gave an exasperated snort at the Dutchman, clearly dissatisfied with the appropriateness of his definition.  Absinthe fluttered onto Copper’s shoulder and nuzzled into her hair.

A very old Astrolabe

Astrolabe, Wikimedia

With a longsuffering sigh, the Dutchman revised his explanation.  “They’re used for solving problems relating to time and the position of the Sun and stars in the sky,” the alchemist clarified and Absinthe seemed satisfied that that explanation was suitable for Copper.

The girl looked at the Green Fairy in hopeful astonishment. 

“We can use this to find my Daddy?  Is that what you mean, Absinthe?” she asked the little fairy.

Aubrieta flew to them and hovered near her newly reconciled mate.  Both of the fairies chirped happily to Copper in what seemed to be affirming noises.

“Hopefully the astrolabe can help us get home as well,” I said wryly.

Then I held out the measuring device.  A third of the toothpicks had darkened from a saturated lavender to royal purple.

***

Real World Notes

Astrolabe.  Let’s look at related long-ago-tech.  Astrolabes, inclinometers, and sextants were all used in navigation.

A sextant is a tool for measuring the angular altitude of a star above the horizon.  The astrolabe predates the sextant.

An inclinometer, or clinometer, is an instrument used for measuring angles of slope (or tilt), elevation, or depression of an object with respect to gravity’s direction.

Astrolabes are elaborate, more capable relatives of inclinometers, which were used for navigation and for locating astronomical objects.  Historically, astrolabes were used by astronomers and navigators to measure the altitude above the horizon of a celestial body, day or night.  They were used from ancient times to the Renaissance.

***

So… the dead man in the study had an ape doppelgänger — and both seem to be a tad dishonest. The fairies may have found a device to find Copper’s daddy, but in which world is Calvin Hickson?  The amethyst world or our own — and how much time do they have to find him if he’s in the purple world?  Meanwhile the metering “toothpicks” deepen in purple hues.

What about those awful people from the orphanage?  What about the woman with a chimp — she lead one of the groups chasing our trio? And the ape who gestured “Daddy” in sign language?

There are many questions yet to be answered. So be at the port for the steampunk submarine next time.

Unfortunately, I had to close comments since I can’t be here.  Please don’t give up on me.  I love your comments.  I’ll open comments as soon as I’m able. 

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 and 2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise. 

 

Coming in Spring — What’s that in Granny Phanny’s kitchen?

March 9, 2019  

We went back in time, from the Roaring Twenties to the Victorian Era. This spring, it’s time to get back to the future, if by the future you mean the days when flappers did the Charleston and the Lindy Hop.  Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip, will dance to a different beat.  Her old pal Andy Avis returns. Granny Phanny finds an uninvited guest in her kitchen and bushwa!  She is not pleased.

Coming in Spring

Another Roaring Twenties Pantser Tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

 Pip is waiting at the station for Andy’s train.  If our flapper thought life took a strange turn with Murder at the Bijou, she ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Girl n Cat at Train Station

Stay tuned!  I’m still in the process of relocating.  All the times I’ve said that by now should give you some idea of how difficult it is for someone with severe agoraphobia to make this kind of move alone.

Besides, enough people have said, “Just get in your car and drive!” that I know you are all sick of hearing about my problem.

I will be off line for a couple of weeks.  I’m thinking of you.  Mega hugs!

***

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright ©  2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 33

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Steampunk woman Noel Nichols Unsplash.png

Noel Nichols, Unsplash

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  Unfortunately I still haven’t gotten my agoraphobic self on the road.  Even without my “messed-up-ness,” a cross country relocation is a lot for one person, physically and mentally… and I’m no spring chicken… So, please forgive me for being scarce.  I miss visiting other blogs, and apologize that I haven’t been to see you.

The quite romantically random “things” that drove this chapter were from author Mary J McCoy-Dressel

Now, let’s get straight to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

A Rewind from Chapter 8 back when our trio escaped from fierce marauding chimpanzees. 

The chimp must have seen me looking back at him.  It started wreaking havoc in the branches of the tree, jumping up and down and screeching bloody murder.  His fellows in the distance screamed back excitedly.  It sounded like there were a lot of them.  I remembered nervously how strong they were.  I hoisted the carpet bag, putting its strap over my shoulder so I could take Copper’s hand.  I had to make sure we weren’t separated.

An earsplitting screech made me look over my shoulder.  However, the noise was not simian, rather it was a metallic sound.  Then I heard the shrill whistle of escaping steam.  The doors of the outbuilding where Cornelis was working burst open.  The road locomotive moved toward us with a loud clickity-clack clickity-clack.  As it increased speed, the clicks and clacks blurred together into a continuous roar.

Copper squeezed my hand.  I followed her gaze.  The chimpanzees had amassed at the shade tree.  They milled curiously as they watched the road locomotive.  One and then another would chatter to the others.  I had a bad feeling that they were working themselves up for an attack.

eyes forest aqua fantasy-pixabay

Pixabay

Chapter 31Viola, Cal’s housekeeper, echoed the amethyst ape’s sudden inhalation, putting a hand to her mouth.  “No.  You can’t mean that very small green creature is going out to confront the giant one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!” the violet chimpanzee housekeeper exclaimed.  “Why the poor little thing won’t last a minute.  Please! Can’t you call him back?”

Chapter 33.  Tiny Absinthe, the Green Fairy confronted the gigantic flying purple people eater.  The fire was so bright that it dazzled their eyes.  Felicity could only see glowing spots.  As she stood there blinking she felt someone rush past her.

“Lord of Alchemy!” Cal Hicks yelled as Cornelis used one of his tricks to run right through the door without opening it.

“Cornelis, no!” Felicity screamed.  “You’ll be burned to a crisp!”

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

33 — Courtship, Well-bred Man, Horseback Riding

Queen Anne Style House

Queen Anne Style House, Wikimedia altered image by Teagan

Cal Hicks yelled at me that it wasn’t safe.  His expression immediately became rueful and he apologized profusely for his tone.  Hicks truly was a well-bred man — or rather ape.  However, my feet had taken me to the door before my common sense caught up with them.

When I opened the door I saw Absinthe and the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater hurtling toward the ground.  The vast dome of fire continued to descend.

The tiny green skunk-looking fairy shrieked something at the purple people eater and grabbed onto the tip of her tail as they fell.  Absinthe used a trick like the one Cornelis sometimes used to send his voice.  Though I didn’t understand him, I clearly heard him snuffle and grunt to the Alchemist.

Both Cornelis and the dragon looked at Absinthe doubtfully.  Cornelis shrugged, and then held up the harmonic tuner and gave it one sharp ring.  Absinthe echoed the tone and the pitch of his voice merged with the harmonic sound. 

I could see a emerald aura stretching up from Cornelis to the Green Fairy.  Absinthe glowed verdantly and the intensity of the aura doubled.  I was sure they had somehow combined their powers.

Purple one horned dragon

Racheal Marie, Pixaby

The she-dragon looked at Absinthe as he clung to the tip of her tail.  She snorted a puff of purple smoke that briefly circled her one-eyed one-horned head.  Then she flicked her tail, launching the tiny Green Fairy even closer to the flames above.

Absinthe summersaulted as he soared pointing his bantam backside toward the dome of fire.  He lifted his fluffy tail and proceeded to produce one of his powerfully potent poots.  The forceful fairy fart flew against the flaming dome.

I had first-hand knowledge of the fairy’s formidable flatulence.  When startled or threatened, the Green Fairy produced a spray that was essentially a very highly concentrated form of the liquor, absinthe.  I was fearful to see him aim that fart at the flames.  I was certain it would only make the fire worse.

Cringing, I looked over at Cornelis.  The Alchemist drew a deep breath and then blew upward.  I couldn’t see his breath, but I remembered Cornelis telling me that his alchemy sometimes worked to exchange or transform one thing into another. 

Albert Maignan's "Green Muse" 1895

Albert Maignan’s “Green Muse” 1895

As I watched, the cloud of green vapor from Absinthe’s bottom expanded to the width of the flaming dome.  My arm went up reflexively to cover my face when the green vapor met the flames. 

A blinding flash and a loud crack of thunder shattered the air.  I braced myself for the blast of a huge explosion, but the opposite happened.  The alchemically charged green vapor caused the dome of flames to implode.

The immense Purple Fairy and the tiny Green Fairy settled to the ground, singed but unharmed.  I heard a long sustained grumble.  After a moment I realized that the sound was a low growl from the dragon.  Absinthe snorted and snuffled and the Purple Fairy continued to growl.  I gathered they had not yet settled their differences.

Glimmering green powder slowly drifted to the ground.  It settled on the two fairies, though they didn’t seem to realize it.  I stretched out my hand, watching as it dusted my palm.  Unexpectedly I felt content and happy.

“What is this shimmering powder?” I wanted to know.

Green LIghts Drew Collins_1466939721550-ad3ef4b9eeec

Drew Collins, Unsplash

“It’s residue,” Cornelis said with a shrug.  “It’s what was left of Absinthe’s defensive spray after it caused the flames to implode.  Have a care not to inhale the powder.  It’s not as potent as the concentrated absinthe vapors that Absinthe sprays, but it’s still intoxicating,” he cautioned.

Copper ran to the doorway, with Viola right behind.  The violet complected chimpanzee tried to grab the girl’s arm, but Copper was too quick.  Happily she stopped well away from the one horned cyclops Purple Fairy.

The sharp point of the dragon’s fat curved black onyx horn gleamed in the sunlight as the two fairies continued to make odd noises at one another.  However, they did seem calmer.  I thought I could see a bit of greenish dust on the black onyx horn.  I wondered if the powder had the same comforting effect on the fairies as it had on me.

“Don’t they like each other?” Copper asked.

“She’s his mate,” Cornelis said of the gigantic purple fae.  “They had a disagreement and both stormed off their separate ways.  Each was too stubborn to seek out the other.”

“You mean Absinthe was married to that big dragon?” Copper asked incredulously.

Copper - Victorian young girl

Copper

“Well, that would have been quite an unusual courtship, wouldn’t it?” Cornelis began.  “However, Aubrieta — that’s the Purple Fairy’s name — she wasn’t always a dragon.  I’m not sure how Aubrieta wandered into this place.  However, something about the combination of her particular magic and the nature of this amethyst world transformed her.  Of course, that situation made it even less likely for them to patch up their differences,” the Dutchman added.

Cal Hicks cautiously stepped out of the laboratory building.  Cornelis assured him that all was well.  He sketched a bow toward the two fairies, but did not approach them.

“Lord of Alchemy, you named the Purple Fairy Aubrieta?” the amethyst ape asked and his mouth twitched and puckered.  “Aubrieta is a tiny purple flower,” he whispered but failed to completely suppress a soft chuckle.  “No offense.  It’s just that I enjoy the irony of a one eyed one horned gigantic fairy being named for a tiny flower,” Cal said.

The mannerly ape composed himself and became businesslike. 

“My family surely heard the commotion down at the main house.  That fireball was probably visible for quite some distance as well,” Cal reminded us.  “Since the effects of being too near their doppelgängers made young Copper and Lady Felicity so ill, I’m sure there is great merit to your assertion that bringing any of the two together would be dangerous indeed.”

Victorian Ape Couple

“I’ll take care of that,” Viola called out as she came around the corner of the building leading an aubergine coated horse.  “Swift and I might be long in the tooth,” Viola began and patted the horse.  “If Nate and his wife and Penny are faster than us, we’ll still meet them on the trail.  I can turn them back, or prevent them trying to come in the first place, whichever the case may be,” she said as Cal helped her onto the horse.

We watched as Viola left on horseback.  However, our attention quickly transferred to the fairies.  Absinthe made a series of consolatory sounding chirps.  Then he fluttered up and perched on the curve of the dragon’s black onyx horn.  Aubrieta rolled her single eye upward at the tiny green fae.

I thought she was coughing.  A puff of smoke came from her snout.  Absinthe started chirping happily and flew backward several feet from Aubrieta’s face so she could see him better.  The dragon’s mouth curved and I realized she was not coughing, but laughing.

With an awkward pucker, Aubrieta spat out what looked like a purple grape.  She breathed lavender smoke onto the grape.  Absinthe chittered encouragingly.  The grape grew and grew to the size of a house.  It continued to expand until it finally exploded into a purple mist.

Aubrieta was suddenly transformed into a winged purple skunk-looking fae as tiny as Absinthe.  She still had only one amber eye.  In her dragon form she had a fat curved black horn, but it was changed to a golden unicorn-like horn.

As the purple fog settled, dozens of big chimpanzees could be seen.  They had the coloring of our home, not the hues of the amethyst world.

First one or two, then most of the chimps realized their nakedness.  Clearly embarrassed, they tried to cover themselves and hide.  However, a few stood boldly and cheered that they had returned home.  When they saw the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater, they too scattered and ran away.

“Are those…?” I began but the power of speech left me.

“Those naughty chimps!” Copper exclaimed.

Cornelis Drebbel folded his arms across his chest in a self-satisfied posture.  “Aubrieta, the purple people eater, didn’t devour the chimps, or rather the folk of this place who were lost at the abandoned chapel we saw on the way here,” Cornelis explained.  “However, she was angry at the way she had been treated here, and she used her power to banish them.  They of course ended up in our world.”

“So the chimp who was gesticulating what looked like sign language for Daddy—” I started to ask a question but the Dutchman finished my sentence.

“That clever chimp had figured out that Calvin Hixon, Copper’s father in our world, was the doppelgänger of Cal Hicks here,” Cornelis said with a nod.

Copper moved to the amethyst ape and took his hand.  “Can you help us find my Daddy?” she asked him with wide imploring eyes.

Portuguese Silver Toothpick HolderI thought Cal would melt on the spot.  He doubtless would do anything possible to help the girl who was so much like his own daughter.  The only question was — could he.

As the chimps fled into the distance I saw that their fur was already turning various shades of purple.  That reminded me of the device that looked like a silver toothpick holder.  It was shaped like a little gazebo with a domed roof supported by columns.  Within was a crystal bird with wings outstretched.  Tiny holes in the rounded roof held toothpicks.

It was a measuring device; if the toothpicks started to turn lavender, it was a warning that we had been in the amethyst world too long.  If all the toothpicks turned purple we were in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple, it would be too late.

I quickly took the detector out of the Dutchman’s bag so I could examine it. 

The toothpicks were lavender!

***

Now that the army of naughty chimps has returned to their amethyst world, how does that effect the search for Copper’s missing father?  However, the meter device that detects the danger level of their exposure to that world has begun to turn lavender — a warning sign.  Will our trio be trapped forever in the strange land where everything is purple?

Please forgive me if I am not able to get to comments.  I love hearing from you.  It’s just that it’s a difficult time for me.  I value your support more than you can imagine. Between my back and my brain, I don’t know which is the most messed-up.  My back claims to be the winner of that contest, each time I carry something heavy (for me) up or down all these stairs!

I know it’s impossible to understand my problem.  I hoped that I could be not just on the road, but already there, long before now

Imagine sitting down in the driver’s seat of your car. Your sinuses are stuffy, but after a moment you can hardly breathe at all. Then your vision starts to blur, worse and worse until you cannot see at all.

Imagine the strong memory of falling on ice and being injured in a relatively new city, needing surgery, but not finding anyone who would agree to be the “responsible adult” that the hospital required before doing that surgery. 

Imagine being in your car, and a turn takes you somewhere you didn’t quite expect.  Your breathing gets shallow — and you remember all those things things above. Even though you know the way home, you wonder if you will get there before the blurred vision comes back.

Alone. Hurt. Panicked. Blind.  That’s what I face.  And that is why your encouragement is so valued. 🙂  

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 and 2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.