Guitar Mancer — Episode 25: Test

Scooby Doo Mystery Machine

Welcome back everyone.  This time my featured automobile is not a clue about the story. I found a cool list of cars in movies.  For the year 1969 (The Guitar Mancer opens on New Year’s Eve, 1969) I saw one of my favorite vehicles.  That’s right — The Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine van!  

Featured Blogger

Photo artist Kirt Tisdale, as been in the car since the beginning of this road trip (and before that too).  Kirt takes us along with him for all sorts of fun photo shoots. He shows the results when he applies artistic effects to some of them at his blog, The Wall Gallery.  He described one of his prints this way:

Papago Palms is a wall art print where I used a fauvism technique creating this scene. This technique uses bold brush strokes and bright surreal colors. This particular wall art print depicts palm trees reflected in a pond.

See the print here.  Kirt’s explanation reminded me of today’s installment of The Guitar Mancer (particularly the “surreal” part).  Be sure to check out his blog and gallery.  It’s filled with beautiful things.

About This Episode

Last time Mist vanished like… well, mist.  Luci is now on her “path” on the Reflected Mother Road. In that magical place she seems to have traveled across more than one state and landed in Oklahoma.  However, is the Oklahoma on the Reflected Route 66 the same as the real world Oklahoma of 1970?

Episode 25 — Test

Rt 66 Oklahoma sign bullet holes

The coppery tang of blood filled Luci’s nostrils.  Everything was wrong.  The old car, even Bodaway’s clothes just weren’t right.  Luci felt horrified.  She couldn’t think straight.

How did Bodaway Thunder get to the Reflected Road?  Luci’s thoughts raced, near panic.  How had he been injured?  How bad was it?  It looked awfully bad…  What would the Mother do to him for coming there?  Would the Mother throw her back to reality and take Lychnis away?

Luci’s hands shook so badly that it was hard to open the car door.  She fumbled with the door handle.  That’s when she noticed the bullet holes.  With a gasp of shocked concern she tried the door again.  It resisted, but she pulled with a firm yank.  The heavy door gave way with a metallic groan from the hinges.

“Bodaway, it is you!” she exclaimed and rattled off to him all the questions that had just flashed through her mind.

Jay Tavare black suit

Jay Tavare as Bodaway

He struggled to sit up and Luci was mortified to realize that there was even more blood than she had first thought.  Oh, this is bad, was the closest thing to a coherent thought that her mind could manage. 

“I know you,” he mumbled, bleary eyed and barely conscious.  “Luci.  But at the same time I don’t know you.  How can I know you when I’ve never met you?” he rambled, not making any sense to Luci at all.

Luci thought Bodaway must be delirious to make those nonsensical comments.  She got into the car beside him, trying to figure out how to help him; how to tend his wounds.  All she saw was more and more blood. 

“We’ve got to get you to a hospital,” she told him.  “Can you tell me how to move this seat?  My feet will never reach the gas pedal,” she said on a sob.

She tried the car’s ignition and nothing happened.  There were so many bullet holes in the car, she thought the engine must be ruined.  Tears of frightened frustration streamed down her face as Luci realized that she was powerless to do anything.  She was horrified by the sight of an ever growing pool of Bodaway’s lifeblood on the seat of the Packard.

“I never should have let them make me leave Ruidoso.  I wouldn’t have ended up in this mess,” Bodaway muttered to himself before moving his eyes to look at her.  “It’s no good Luci,” he said in a consoling voice.  “We’d never make it to the hospital, and they’d let me bleed to death even if we did.”

“What?” she cried.

A look of comprehension came to his eyes.  “I understand now.  How I know you,” he told her as his lips twisted to a painful smile.  “It would only be possible on the Reflected Road.”

Bodaway’s eyes cleared with that epiphany, but blood continued to ooze from between the fingers he clutched to his chest.  Luci told him not to talk.  She asked if there was a doctor up the road where she saw the buildings.  He shook his head.

Car mirror highway_Whiting

UnSplash.com

“There is not much time, so let me help you.  Please,” he implored.

Luci began to cry harder.  How could Bodaway demand to help her when she should be helping him?  He made a shushing sound to her tears.

“This is not your fault,” he began.  “I did not come here because of you.  I didn’t even know you,” he said again puzzling Luci.  “There was a bank robbery,” he said, looking at her confused face.  “It’s the Depression — try not to judge me.”

Her mind whirled as she tried to make sense of an impossible situation.  The location, the era, and Bodaway being involved in a bank robbery — it just wouldn’t fit into her brain.  She couldn’t process the thoughts.  However, she remembered the Mother talking about time flowing differently on the Reflected Route, and What if? scenarios.

“They knew how bad I needed the money.  And I thought about the good I could do with it back home… I knew better,” he said on a ragged breath.  “It went bad.  When they handed me a Tommy-gun I backed out, told them I couldn’t do it after all.  I just couldn’t kill anybody, you know?” he said with a frightening rattle in his breath.  “I was going back to New Mexico.  And then the others turned on me when I wanted out.  Ambushed me back up the road a ways.”

A Tommy Gun?  Luci’s mind scrambled trying to remember where she’d heard that term.  Bodaway mentioned the Depression.  Then she remembered the name for the Thompson submachine guns used in the gangster days.  Things began to sink in as she looked at the inside of the Packard.  She looked at the cut of Bodaway’s clothes and the style of his shoes.  Something was all wrong.1920s 4_guys_car

“Do you mean that right now, it’s the Depression?  That we’re in the 1930’s?” she asked.  “How is that possible?”

Bodaway blinked his eyes.  He seemed to have to make an effort to focus on her face.  “Did you know my granddad and his brother brought me to the opposite end of Route 66 for a shamanic ritual?  A new highway, connecting the breadth of the country — they said the power of the road was great.  They meant to force my mancer power.  I don’t think I ever had any, but they were sure it was just suppressed?” he asked and Luci nodded. 

“Good.  I thought that might be what’s going on… This is a possible outcome for that,” he gasped painfully as he spoke, his lips twisting into what was probably supposed to be a smile.  “If that happened in both our worlds,” he added looking hopefully into Luci’s eyes.  “Maybe your world is the real one.  Except it reflected into another time — the 1930s.  My world.”

Luci looked back at him blankly, not comprehending.  “So this isn’t real?  You’re going to be okay then!  We’ll snap out of this in a minute and you’ll be okay,” she said as a tear rolled down her cheek.

Jean Shrimpton Look 1966

Jean Shrimpton as Luci

Bodaway took another rattling breath and continued.  “I never completed the ordeal,” he said.  “I didn’t become a mancer or a shaman either one.”

“But of course you did.  You helped me get here for my own ordeal!” she exclaimed.

Bodaway Thunder looked up at her in astonishment, and then the sweetest smile came to his lips.  “You are a powerful mancer, and a shaman too,” she assured him.  “But I don’t know how you got here.”

“So that really is how I am able to recognize you.  It’s through my higher self somehow,” he murmured to himself.  “I exist as everything my grandfather wanted me to be — as everything I wanted to be, but in another reality.  And I know you in that plane.  Could this really be the Reflected Road?  That this is a false reality and there is another, better me out there somewhere?” he asked almost dreamily as a tear leaked from the corner of his eye.

Luci didn’t understand what he meant.  After a second she nodded anyway, just to comfort him.  He used his free hand to grab hers.  He held her hand tightly.  “This is part of your ordeal,” he told her.  “You must be strong, Luci Harper.”

Tears streamed freely down her face.  “What do you mean?” she asked but didn’t wait for an answer.  “I have to get help.  There must be someone who can help you!”

“Shush…” he told her.  “Listen.  Don’t you hear it?” he asked and she was afraid he was having the hallucinations of a dying man.  “The drums.  They’re beautiful.  Just like I always dreamed of playing them.”

Luci gave a loud sob in spite of trying to hold it back.  “It’s mancer power,” he told her.  “Try harder.  You have to hear it Luci!” he insisted.  “It is time for you to go back to the Mother Road or be trapped here forever!” he cried.  “This is no place for you!  Hear it!  There!  Not just drums, but something with strings too.  A lyre, I think.  Can you hear that? Can you hear the strings easier than the drums?” he demanded with intensity.

When she listened hard, Luci realized that she did hear distant music.  “Bodaway, if you hear mancer music here, then you must be a mancer after all,” she told him between sobs.

He looked up at Luci with hope and then peace in his eyes.  Drumbeats urged her with their rhythm.  An ancient melody enticed her.  Silver fog began to roll down the nearby hill. 

“No, Bodaway.  I can’t leave you.  You’re hurt!  I have to help you.  I can’t just leave you here,” she sobbed.

“Go Luci.  You have to go.  The me you know is not the man whose hand you hold.  Everything will be as it is supposed to be.  But only if you go.  Now,” he said and let go of her hand.  “Do it.  Go.  Don’t look back,” he said, his voice turning gentle.  “Go.

Drummer Gene Krupa Stroboscopic

Gene Krupa

With a moan Luci got out of the car.  She ran toward the fog with Lychnis trotting at her side.  The lyre strummed louder.  The drums beat more insistently.  Yet she stopped.  The fog was so thick she couldn’t see anything at all.

“What do I do?  I can’t tell where to go,” she said aloud.

Luci stooped to the ground and hugged the lynx.  The tears she shed for Bodaway Thunder still streamed down her face. 

Mer-rawr?” Lychnis meowed.

Lychins head butted her chin.  Luci saw that the totems eyes started to glow.  He turned toward the thickest part of the fog.  As he walked into the fog, it parted.  His entire body shone like a beacon.  Luci remembered Bodaway’s words, in a moment that seemed a lifetime away.  She supposed that it actually was.  “Lynx medicine will light your way,” he had said.

She followed Lychnis into the fog and emerged on the Mother Road.

The landscape was not much different from the one Luci had just left on the Reflected Road; dirt, dust, strangled looking bushes, a few buildings in the distance, and tumbleweeds.

The bright red 1959 Cadillac was the first thing to draw her gaze.  Tam leaned against it.  The first thing Luci noticed was his change of clothes.  Tam no longer wore the warm military parka.  It belonged to her dad, Grover, but she’d loaned it to Tam when they set out on the journey. 

1969 the Beatles hats

The Beatles 1969

Instead he wore bell-bottom blue jeans with a matching blazer and an unexpected style of hat.  She had seen one of the Beatles wearing one like it in a poster.  It was dark brown with a high rounded crown and wide flat brim.

She was puzzled that he held a bloody handkerchief.  Tam appeared to have cut his hand.  Her lips parted to ask if he was hurt, but the entire scene was so odd the words died unspoken.

An array of musical instruments surrounded Tam.  A trumpet lay on the hood of the Caddy.  A violin was on the car’s roof.  Several guitars and other things she couldn’t see clearly lay in the dead grass on the roadside.  Tucked under his arm he held an odd looking instrument she couldn’t name at first.  Abruptly she knew what it was — a lyre.  

Luci looked at the unexpected display curiously.  She wiped a tear from her face, but she couldn’t stop thinking about how she’d left Bodaway — probably left him to bleed to death.

Her mint green parka suddenly felt too warm.  A light thump drew her attention away from Tam.  To his right, littering the ground was a circle made from every imaginable kind of drum as well as several flutes.  In the middle of the circle sat Bodaway Thunder.

Jay Tavare_Bodaway Thunder_hat

Jay Tavare… (Sorry — I couldn’t resist)

Luci’s breath caught in her throat.  She ran to the tall Apache shaman-mancer as he started to get to his feet.  Before he could finish standing, Luci landed on him with both arms around his neck, blubbering and babbling apologies.  She felt foolish even as she hugged him, but she didn’t stop.  At least not until she heard Tam’s startled exclamation.

Oi! What about me?” Tam demanded.  “I’ve played ‘til my fingers literally bled!  Don’t I get any thanks?” he asked in a playful voice as his mouth twisted into a lopsided smile.

Bodaway finished standing, bringing her feet up off the ground with him. He regarded Luci with a bemused smile.

“I was sure you were dead,” she gibbered.  “I thought I had left you to die!  How did you get here ahead of me?” she asked the shaman, finally beginning to get control of herself.

Tam and Bodaway exchanged a look, and Luci knew she had missed something.

Bodaway lowered Luci so that her feet touched the ground.  She disengaged from the very tall shaman.  Her mind was a ball of confusion as she turned to Tam with a blank expression. 

It finally registered amid the multiple competing thoughts in her head that his hand was injured somehow.  Again she looked at the spots of blood on his handkerchief held in one hand.  He still held his favorite guitar pick in the other hand.  The turquoise plectrum held a faint glow. turquoise plectrum

Luci’s lips moved as she started to ask about the glowing pick and the injured hand.  However, her thoughts got clogged in an overflowing bottleneck.

Then she heard Tam gasp and he fiercely pulled Luci around to face him.

“Where are you hurt?” Tam demanded and she looked at him blankly.  “You’re covered in blood!”

“Luci!  Are you injured?” Bodaway asked in a shocked voice.

Luci shook her head mutely.  She gazed at her blood soaked coat.  “It’s not my blood.  It’s yours!” she cried turning to Bodaway.

The two mancers looked at one another.  Then a barrage of questions flooded from their mouths.

Freyja soared down and inspected Lychnis closely.  Then the big hawk began to preen the long tufts of hair on the oversized lynx kitten’s ears.  Luci saw that some of the blood had gotten in his fur.

Beginning to sweat, Luci removed her ruined parka.  She gazed about curiously.  “How far down the road is this place?” she asked with a combination of suspicion and fear.

“Oklahoma,” Bodaway stated.

***

End Episode 25

Recipe

In keeping with the “surreal” theme of this installment, here’s a recipe from the Surreal Gourmet, Bob Blumer.  It’s for Dishwasher Salmon!

Now, is that far out or what?  Until next time, stay tuned and stay groovy.  Mega hugs!

 

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Guitar Mancer — Episode 24: Oklahoma

1929 Packard hearse

1929 Packard

Welcome back to the road trip that is The Guitar Mancer!   Are you wondering what a 1929 Packard could possibly have to do with a story set in 1970?  Read on to learn the answer.

Featured Blogger

Timothy Price, a photography artist in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area has also been doing some posts about Route 66.  So it seemed appropriate to feature him with this installment of The Guitar Mancer. 

Tim calls his blog Off Center & Not Even @ T & L Photos.  Click here for one of his Route 66 posts.  Check out his photo blog to learn more about Tim and the collection of pets who own him and Laurie.  You might also learn about Tim and the challenges he takes on every day.

I’m also honored to say that Tim did a wonderful review of my novel, Atonement, Tennessee.  He even created photo art especially for it.  See his review here. 

About This Episode

In the early days of this blog I was doing the spontaneously written “Three Things” serials, with 1920s settings.  Often photographs of movie stars in that era reminded me of bohemian hippie styles, particularly the women’s hairstyles.  So I had the idea to “cast” the female Route 66 faeries from Roaring Twenties starlets.  You’ll see a couple of them today.

Last time we got a better idea of what means the Mother would use to unblock Luci’s mancer abilities.  It all ties to the Reflected Road, a strange version of Route 66 where absolutely anything might happen. Now we rejoin the story.  In this installment Luci is led onto the Reflected Road by Mist, one of the Route 66 faeries.

Episode 24 — Oklahoma

Route 66 Map

Luci held tightly to Mist’s hand as the Mother Road sprite led her through the silvery fog.  When the fog cleared, Luci beheld a dry, barren landscape. 

The hippie faery guided Luci along wooded trails.  Mist still held her hand, and Luci was unnerved enough that she didn’t try to let go of the physical contact.  She was even grateful for Lychnis occasionally getting too close to her feet and causing her to stumble.  Somehow that made her feel connected with the real world while in a place that was utterly surreal.

When Lychnis looked up at Luci, she was startled by his eyes.  They shone the way they would at night, but with a brighter light, like small twin lamps.

Mary Pickford as Mist

Mary Pickford as Mist

They had not spoken much, Luci and the Route 66 faery.  Mist seemed to intuit Luci’s need for quiet.  She was still processing all the things the Mother had said.  Her instructions and cautions were not something Luci wanted to risk forgetting.  However, what was even more strongly on her mind was the comment the Spirit of Route 66 had made about Luci’s mother.

Luci thought that often it is not the words that are spoken, but how they are said.  The way the Mother described Luci’s mom as having “great aspirations.”  Luci felt it was good to aspire to things, to keep improving one’s self.  But the Mother’s words made it sound like a criticism. 

Growing up, whenever Luci had questioned her dad about her mom, the answering seemed to cause Grover pain.  Luci could recognize the hurt in his eyes even when she was small.  She couldn’t bear to cause her dad pain, so she stopped asking questions or even talking about her mom.

She had always thought the pain Grover felt was from loss and grief.  What if it was something else?  The Spirit of the Mother Road suggested Darla Harper was ambitious.  Luci had met unpleasant women and men in Nashville who had a thirst for power or prestige.  What if her mom had been like that.  There might have been strife between her parents.  She wondered if there was a conflict between them when her mom was lost.

“Mist,” Luci began.  “Did you know my mom?”

“Darla Harper?” Mist asked and Luci nodded.  “I met her, but I would not say that I knew her.  When the Mother allows people onto the Reflected Road, we sprites are paired as escorts to those who have traits of character or personality that are the most similar to our own.  So I had little contact with Darla Harper,” Mist explained.

Mist’s response was intriguing.  Luci wondered how she was like Mist.  The sprite seemed to guess her thoughts.

“You are quiet and analyze things well,” Mist said.  “It makes you seem more timid than you really are.  And you have a kind heart.  Those are traits we share,” Mist told her with a sweet smile.

1920s for Mist

Jobyna Ralston as Midnight

“Who was chosen to escort my mom?” Luci asked returning the smile, and supposed it must have been the playful Sunshine.

Mist looked at her briefly before she spoke.  She didn’t return Luci’s smile, though her lips twitched as if she tried.  “It was Midnight,” she said.  “She would be the one among us sprites to know Darla Harper best.”

That troubled Luci.  It was unusual for Luci Harper to have an instant dislike to anyone.  However, she couldn’t say that she liked Midnight.  She certainly didn’t like the way the faery flirted with Tam. 

Not that I’d care, Luci thought.  She still didn’t exactly admit her crush on the green-eyed mancer, even to herself.

What bothered her about the Route 66 faery flirting with Tam was the glances at herself that she caught from Midnight.  It suggested the sprite was not flirting with Tam because she was attracted to him, but for some unknown reason of her own.

Based on what she had seen of Midnight, it confirmed what the Mother said about her mom having aspirations, as she called it.  Plus Midnight flirted shamelessly with Tam.  She had a suggestive way about her, and her eyes held desire, but not love.  Midnight seemed mildly calculating, not spontaneous.  Were those characteristics she shared with Darla Harper?  Luci found the idea of her mother acting the way Midnight did appalling.

Mist didn’t offer any more information, and Luci fell silent.  They traveled quietly for a while.  Mist began to walk slowly.  She gazed all around at the trees and up at the sky seeming to ponder something. Mist tilted her head as if listing, though Luci didn’t hear anything.

“We’ve arrived,” the Mother Road faery stated.

It didn’t look to Luci like they had gotten anywhere.  However, she noticed that the trail they had been walking came to a dead end.  A broad stand of trees cut off the path. 

Tumbleweed vintage“This is where we were going?” Luci turned in a circle, looking around as she asked in a puzzled tone.

Mist pointed to show Luci a break in the trees.  The sprite led her through the opening.  They stood atop a small hill, looking down at Route 66.

Tumbleweeds seemed to chase each other down the road.  A battered old car rounded the bend and went the same direction as the tumbleweeds. 

Mist let go of Luci’s hand, her eyes following the antique car.  Until that moment, the sprite’s expression had always been serene, almost beatific.  However, at that moment her brow knitted in a worried expression.

“This is going to be hard.  I wonder if the Mother realizes just how hard,” Mist whispered to herself.

“What do you mean?” Luci asked nervously.

Mist smoothed her facial expression and smiled sweetly.  “Huh?  Oh, this is just not the kind of challenge I expected, that’s all,” she stammered.  “Don’t worry, you will be fine.  I have faith in you, Carolina Lucille Harper,” Mist said in a reassuring voice, though her eyes showed concern.

“Remember,” the hippie faery said.  “What you experience on the Reflected Road may be from your past, from your ancestors, or from other incarnations of your own.  Sometimes, it isn’t any of those things.  Rather it is just a possibility, something that might have happened, but never did — past, present, or future.  You might see ghosts — a true past, happy or horrible,” Mist said as she looked intently into Luci’s eyes.  “Do you understand?”

Luci felt like Mist was trying to tell her something with her gaze, something she was not permitted to say aloud.  However, Luci couldn’t imagine what the unspoken message was.  “Which of those is this place?” she asked cautiously.

“I may not say,” Mist told her with a slow shake of her head.  “But I have a bad feeling, so please be alert and cautious,” she finished in a whisper.Tam-Bodaway blue

She lifted her voice to a normal volume and continued.  “Be alert, and listen for the mancers’ music.  It might come to you at a time when you are extremely preoccupied, or in the middle of something… well, something dangerous to you or to someone near you.  But unless you want to stay in this place forever, you must heed the mancers’ call.  Do not tarry,” Mist said in such a grave voice that a chill went down Luci’s spine.

A cold wind blew Luci’s hair, but the sun was hot, beating down on the desolate hillside.  Mist took a step away from her, apparently ready to part company with Luci.

“Wait,” Luci said frightened.  “Where do I go from here?”

Mist raised her open palms and shrugged.  “The choices you make while here take part in determining what potentials you experience.  After I leave, from your first step, from your first word, you will set the tone for what comes to you.

Luci looked down the hill.  She saw a battered road sign that said “Oklahoma, US 66.”  Otherwise the emptiness of the dusty road was all she could see in either direction. 

Rt 66 Oklahoma sign bullet holes

Oklahoma,” she muttered in astonishment.  “Have we really traveled that far?  We were in Missouri a little while ago.  If we stepped back onto the real Route 66 right now, I wonder if we would still be in Oklahoma,” she pondered. 

What was it the Mother had said?  Time and distance flowed differently on the Reflected Road?  Luci felt a chill as she remembered the words.

Lychnis sat patiently looking up at her.  She stooped to scratch behind his tufted ears.  The sound of an engine drew her eyes back to the road.  It was another antique car.  Based on the body style, she guessed it was from the 1930’s.

The air at the bottom of the hill seemed clouded with dust, so the visibility wasn’t terribly high.  However, if she stretched her neck, looking in the direction the cars traveled, she could make out a cluster of buildings a considerable walk down the highway.

A series of sharp sounds came to her ears.  They seemed so far away that she wasn’t sure what could have caused them.  While she thought, a third car came into view.  That time it moved toward her location.  It wasn’t moving as fast as the others.  There also appeared to be several dips in the road, and the car repeatedly left her view only to reappear a moment later.  As it drew closer she saw that it was a similar model to the first two vehicles. 

“Wait a minute,” she began to ask Mist, but her eyes were glued to the approaching car.  “Are those antiques?  You said it might be from the past.  Is that where we are?” she said turning to the hippie sprite, but Mist was gone.1929 Packard hearse

Luci felt a moment of abject terror.  She turned in every direction, looking for Mist.  However, it was as if she had never been there at all.  There was neither a footprint nor a broken twig to prove her presence had been real.

Lychnis looked up at her and gave a reassuring purr-rawr..  She couldn’t help smiling at his comical face.  “Well,” she reminded herself aloud.  “I knew we’d be on our own eventually, right?  That was part of the deal.  What do you think, Your Kitten-ness?” she nervously asked the oversized lynx kitten, and he head-butted her shins.  “I guess that means get going then… but which way?” she said aloud, more to herself than to the lynx.

Since the only signs of nearby life were the cluster of distant buildings, Luci decided to head that way.  There might well be something closer, around a bend in the other direction, but she chose what she could see.  As she headed down the hill, dust stirring behind her heels, Lychnis walked at her side.

They walked a short way.  She hadn’t seen the vehicle that had been headed her way in a while.  The slow moving car came over a dip in the road.  It swerved wildly.  Luci thought it was a good thing it wasn’t traveling any faster or the driver might have lost control.  However, she realized there wasn’t much for him to run into on that stretch of highway. He’d just run off the road and into the dirt.

She hesitated.  Something was not right about the way that car was moving.  Lychnis sniffed the air in a way that made her think he smelled something he recognized. Lychnis magenta

The car began to move even slower.  Slower.  Luci tilted her head considering it.  She thought it was as if the driver had taken his foot off the gas pedal.  Finally it was close enough for her to see inside.  She gasped when she couldn’t see anyone in the driver’s seat.

Ever so slowly the car veered and ran off the side of the road, coasting to a stop on the shoulder.  Luci was afraid to approach the apparently driverless car.  Curiosity and intuitive concern got the better of her and she ran to the vehicle.

The car was probably white under all the dirt.  The top, fenders and spare tire cover were blue, and it had a chrome front bumper.  Luci guessed it was from the late 1920’s.  When she was close enough she spotted the brand logo for Packard

She kept a good three feet between her and the car.  Seeing an empty car roll down the road unnerved her.  Luci walked cautiously from the passenger side around to the back of the car.  It had a New Mexico license plate.

It was a really long car, with four doors and a compartment behind the backseat.  Looking through the windshield, she still didn’t see anyone inside.  She moved from the front of the car to the driver’s side.  The window was down and she looked inside as she approached.  That’s when she noticed how far back the seat was from the steering wheel.

Movement caught her eye and she jumped.  An involuntary step back caused her to bump into Lychnis.  She regained her balance and looked inside.  Yes, someone was lying across the driver’s seat.  She heard a moan.

Pieces of glass littered the ground beside the car.  She tried to keep Lychnis back, worried that his paws would be cut.  It registered with her that the window had not been rolled down.  No, it was broken out.  There was broken glass inside the car too.

For an instant she thought she saw a snake on the seat by the person’s head, but it turned out to be a long black braid.  As the body shifted up to prop on one elbow she could see that it was a man.  Luci leaned forward and gasped.  He was injured and bleeding heavily.  Worse, he was Bodaway Thunder.

 

Jay Tavare black suit

Jay Tavare as Bodaway

***

End Episode 24

I already hear you screaming about that cliffhanger.  So I thought I’d double the comfort food this time.

Recipes:  Tumbleweeds Two

I found tumbleweed recipes!  Here’s one to eat and one to drink.

Four Ingredient Tumbleweeds

Find this easy little treat at Taste of Home.com

4 Ingredient Tumbleweeds

Here’s something to wash it down, as long as you’re over 21. It’s from Leaf.

Tumbleweed Cocktail

Tumbleweed Drink

Do you forgive me for the cliffhanger yet?  Stay tuned and stay groovy,  Mega hugs!

 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Extra-Extra! John W. Howell Book Launch

Hello everyone and happy Hump Day!  You know I don’t often do midweek posts — unless there’s a special occasion.  I’m delighted to announce the finale in the John J. Cannon Trilogy, from fellow blogger and author, John W. Howell.

John Cannon is a character who had more than his share of “humps” to get over, so it’s fitting that I’m doing this post on a Wednesday!  Now I’ll hand things over to my inimitable friend, John W. Howell.  Take it away John…!

Introducing the third book in the John J. Cannon Trilogy – Our Justice

Our Justice

Click to go to Amazon

Blurb

The terrorist leader and financier Matt Jacobs has figured out a way to eliminate the President. He is relying on John Cannon’s stature as a hero to help him carry it off. John finds himself walking the fine line of pretending to help Matt while trying to figure out a countermeasure to the plan.

The action begins with John fearing for his life. Clearly, whoever is trying to get him has a mission to accomplish and the elimination of John is at the top of the to-do list. The quest to survive takes John and his love, Stephanie from the beaches of Port Aransas to West Virginia and finally to Matt Jacob’s corporate headquarters at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco. There John finally understands what he needs to do to protect both he and Stephanie from further mayhem.

The third book in the John J. Cannon Trilogy brings together two strong wills for a showdown. The question to be answered is who will feel the satisfaction that the achievement of justice delivers? John, Matt or neither?

Our Justice is available on Amazon and KDP now in e-book format for pre-order at $2.99 with shipments starting on September 23rd. The paper edition will be available on Amazon September 23rd at $14.99. Here is the link for pre-order of the e-book https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LDFM9WM?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Excerpt

I see out of the corner of my eye that Ned is on the phone. Hopefully, he’s calling in reinforcements since it looks like the SUV is gaining on us. Just as the rear window of the Focus blows inward, he finishes the call. Hundreds of pieces of glass hit Ned and me. Luckily, it’s shatterproof stuff, so we’re mostly okay cut wise. Ned crouches down and fires three quick shots with his 9MM. In the mirror, the SUV swerves to the left and almost explodes after it rams a parked car. “Stop,” Ned yells.

I slam on the brakes, which nearly tosses Ned through the windshield. “For sh!#’s sake, I don’t have a seatbelt on, junior, so take it easy. Just stop and turn around.”

John Howell

Author BIO

John’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes fictional short stories and novels as well as a daily blog. His first novel, My GRL is available on Amazon and wherever e-books are sold. His second, His Revenge is available on Amazon and KDP Select.

John lives on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of South Texas with his wife and spoiled rescue pets.  (That includes Lucy, who was one of the stars in the Get Caught Reading mini-series, The Sign of the Ape, here back in May.)Lucy close up_John

Other Places

Blog Fiction Favorites – http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Authors db –http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/6604-john-w-howell

LinkedIn –http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-w-howell/48/b59/462/

Google +https://plus.google.com/+JohnHowellAuthor/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Martin Sisters Publishing –Http://www.martinsisterspublishing.com

 

 

Guitar Mancer — Episode 23: Reflection

 

1965 Cadillac ad

1965 Cadillac ad

In The Guitar Mancer, Tam’s pride and joy is his vintage 1959 red Cadillac.  That has nothing to do with the 1965 model I’m featuring with this installment.  You’ve seen that sometimes the automobile I choose to begin a post is a small hint about the episode.  Now that you know it’s not Tam’s car, what do you think this hint might be?

Featured BloggerDragon Soul set Peach

I’ve used up most of the “things” that were given to me at the kickoff of this serialization of The Guitar Mancer.  So I was trying to figure out how to tie a blogger to this story.  I had a Homer Simpson “Duh!” moment when I looked at the titular word, Reflection.  Of course!  D. Wallace Peach (aka Diana) calls her blog Myths of the Mirror.  Perfect.  The “thing” I’ll use is mirror.

Recently Diana released a quartet of what I call “high fantasy” books.  Click to learn more about her Dragon Soul books.

Diana’s prose is beautiful and her stories are filled with rich descriptions. Don’t take my word for it — browse around her blog and see how talented she is.  

About This Episode

This installment explains more of the mythology I created for Route 66.  Luci learns a little about what is in store for her.

Hmmm… I’m trying to figure out how I can remind you of the previous installment without giving spoilers for someone who has not read these posts in order.  So I’ll just remind you that Luci learned her mother, Darla, was lost (and probably died) in a strange place The Mother called the Reflected Route.  Meanwhile Luci continued to try and persuade the Spirit of Route 66 to remove the block from her mancer powers.  But now I have a sneaking worried feeling about whether or not she should go through with it…

Episode 23 — Reflection

Car mirror highway_Whiting

Unsplash.com

The Spirit of the Mother Road stared into Luci’s eyes for what seemed like forever.  Luci wanted to look away from her penetrating gaze, but found she could not.

“I take no joy in this,” the Mother finally said and again the Route 66 faeries murmured to one another.

“I will allow the way to the Reflected Road to open,” she intoned formally.

Bodaway Thunder inhaled sharply.  A frightened expression was in Tam’s green eyes as he looked at the shaman.  Goose bumps rose on Luci’s arms.  There was something in the Mother’s voice that she could only describe as permanence.  She was making a proclamation.  Luci felt ice in the pit of her stomach.

“What do you mean, the Reflected Road?” Luci asked.Hope hand mirror2

The Mother gave Luci one of the brightest, most charming smiles Luci had ever seen.  It made her head hurt to try and keep up with the number of different moods of which the Mother was capable, let alone how quickly they changed.

“The Reflected Road is just that — a reflection of the Mother Road.  It’s a place of…” the Mother’s voice trailed away as she paused in thought.  “It’s a place of what if!  It’s where you might find any potential that ever might have happened, past, present, or future,” she said, her eyes bright with excitement. 

Then her brilliant smile twisted to a no-nonsense frown and she put her hands on Luci’s shoulders.  “Or true places of the past or future.  Whether you find truth or falsehood is not the point,” she surprised Luci by saying.  “What you experience on the Reflected Road should take you to the heights, or depths,” she added, her voice dropping dramatically, “of who you are, of the choices of which you are capable.  All the answers are within.  Knowing that about yourself should unlock the block I put on your mancer powers.”

“And if it doesn’t?” Luci wanted to know.

The Mother’s eyes widened.  She shrugged her shoulders up to her ears and spread her hands dramatically. “How should I know?” was all she would say.

Ally Sheedy behind glass Psych

Ally Sheedy as The Mother

The hippies began to glow softly while the Mother spoke.  They turned to each other and directed their attention to the one called Mist.  The frizzy halo of her silver hair glittered.  Mist slowly walked to Luci.

“Neither man nor woman may go with her.  She must find her way out on her own,” the Mother warned sharply with a fierce stare at Tam and Bodaway Thunder.

“Surely the totem must accompany her,” Tam said in a reasoning tone.  “After all, it is neither man nor woman.  Besides, it’s only a baby.  In fact it will likely cause her trouble rather than helping,” Tam said, his face painted with pure innocence.

Bodaway shot him a pointed glance that appeared to be meant to remind him that the Mother could see through him easily.

Domhnall Gleeson frown fist

Domhnall Gleeson as Tam

One side of her mouth turned down briefly and the Mother gave him a contemptuous sidelong glare.  “Yes, it’s a baby.  A baby lynx!  As if I don’t know the properties of lynx medicine?” she said turning to face them fully with her fists planted on her hips.

Tam bent his head, suitably chastised — or at least he looked like he was.  Luci figured it was another pretense.

“The lynx is a spirit animal,” interjected Bodaway.  “It has not had time to fully bond to Luci.  Its path may be disrupted, doing irreversible harm to the cub if it is separated from her at this stage,” the shaman pleaded.

The Mother stared at the shaman for so long that Luci wondered how he could hold her gaze without flinching. 

Lychnis took several steps toward the Spirit of the Mother Road and then sat down not far from her feet.  He looked up at the Mother with his big-eared comical face and started to purr.  Tam looked at the lynx kit with a smirk of admiration.

“Oh all right,” the Mother relented in a put upon voice.  “Her totem can go with her.  But no one else!  Not either of you and not the hawk.  Understood?”

“Luci, you must be wholeheartedly committed to this,” the Mother admonished in a tone so formal that Luci imagined the reverberating noise of a large gong — or perhaps there actually had been a gong.

“You cannot stay on the Reflected Road indefinitely,” she cautioned.  “Bodaway Thunder and Tammarand Ben Taliesin will use their mancer powers periodically to call you back to the Mother Road,” she said.  “You will know when it is time to go to your companions for a period of renewal,” she said vaguely.

How will I know?” Luci asked nervously, feeling overwhelmed.

Jean Shrimpton candle

Jean Shrimpton as Luci

The Mother straightened her shoulders, her expression dire again.  “You will either hear their music, or there will be a sign.  It will vary, but you will recognize the summons.  Or at least you will if you’re paying attention,” she added in a derisive voice as one corner of her mouth turned down rather scornfully.  “Also be alert to your totem.  He will react to the signs,” the Mother advised.

Lychnis chose that moment to pounce on a beetle that crawled near him.  The Mother sighed and shook her gray-streaked red curls.

“Maybe you’re right about him not being that much help,” she commented with a quick look at Tam.

She folded her arms across her chest and stared at Luci for a moment, as if making sure her instructions were sinking into the girl’s memory. 

“As I said, you must step off the Reflected Road from time to time.  But just as you may not stay on it too long, neither can you stay away for long, once you start your journey.  Else the way back will close and you will not be able to complete your path,” she warned.

Luci nodded gravely at the Mother’s questioning look.  “Each time you step off the Reflected Road and momentarily join your friends, you will have the option to abandon your quest,” she said and Luci’s hope rose.  “But if you quit, you forfeit your mancer power — moreover you forfeit the totem.  Lychnis would be no more!”

“Come on!  Is that really necessary?” Tam objected as Bodaway made shushing motions at him.

A horrified gasp escaped Luci’s lips at the prospect of the big kitten “being no more.”  She knew it was ridiculous for her to be so attached to an animal in such a short time, but knowing didn’t change how she felt.  Maybe, she supposed, that was part of what Bodaway was talking about when he mentioned bonding.

The Mother looked at her gravely.  “You are free to reject this offer.  You have not committed yet.  A trickle of the mancer power for which you have potential may yet emerge.  But it would be nothing compared to the utter torrent of the fullness of your potential power,” the Mother said with a broad gesture and a wild gleam in her eyes.  “And the totem will stay with you as your lifelong companion,” she added, bringing a tear of relief to Luci’s eye.Hawk in flight from below

Lychnis leaned against her shins.  Luci could feel the vibration of his purr.  She bent down and scratched him under his chin.  She looked at Freyja, perched on Bodaway’s shoulder.  The big hawk bobbed her head as if in encouragement, then she gave a soft whistle.

Taking a deep, but this time a steady breath Luci nodded affirmatively.  “What do I have to do?” she asked.

“Simply make it to the end of your path,” the Mother told her, though Luci was sure there would be nothing simple about it.

“Wait a minute,” Luci said as a new thought came to her.  “Am I going to walk all the way across the country?”

“Time and distance progress differently on the Reflected Route,” the Spirit of the Mother Road stated.

The Mother turned to Luci’s companions.  “Gentlemen, it is your charge to divine her progress.  At some times she may travel at a walking pace.  Other times she might make a leap of hundreds of miles.  If this happens, and it probably will,” she stressed the words and gave them a wild-eyed look.  “Then you will have to use your mancer powers to reach her next arrival point in time.  And you must be on time,” the Spirit of Route 66 cautioned in a dire tone.Tam-Bodaway blue

Luci took a shaking breath.  She looked at Tam and Bodaway.  She barely knew either man, but she would have to trust them with her life, and do so repeatedly.  The Mother had stressed that they would have to be on time.  Men were rarely on time in Luci’s experience.  Heck, she thought, nobody was ever on time, male or female.  Luci was always the first one at an appointment.  She sighed without realizing she had done so.

“Oh yes, I almost forgot.  Sometimes it might be hard for her to hear your summons,” the Mother added, putting her fingers to her lips in a childlike gesture.

“What are we supposed to do if she can’t hear us?” Tam demanded.

“Try harder,” the Mother told him drolly.

Luci was surprised to see the Mother sneer at Tam, but then her manner changed in that quicksilver way, and she tossed her riot of red curls in a sassy movement.  Then she lowered her eyelids and cast a coquettish glance at the men.

“And be quick about it.  Remember that footsteps do not travel according to miles there.  It is possible that there may be an instance when you are not able to get to her in time,” she stated in an unconcerned voice, making a small gesture with her hand.

“If that does happen, then what do we do?” Bodaway asked.

The Mother’s mouth twisted and she looked at the men levelly.  “If that happens, there’s probably no point in continuing, but you could move on to the next meeting point and hope,” she replied.

1950 Life atomic explosionHer eyes narrowed suspiciously at their aghast expressions.  “You will not be able to go onto the Reflected Route to get her.  Don’t even think about it!” she warned with a fierce look at Tam.  “If you find a way, if you are that powerful, know that you will destroy her, along with a large portion of your own reality.” 

Tam looked at the ground.  His shoulders sagged.  He acted as if he thought the Mother knew what he was thinking whenever he came up with an idea that would subvert her.

The Mother looked a question at Luci, who responded with a serious nod.

Mist stepped forward onto the pavement of Route 66.  The ageless looking silver haired hippy held out her hand to Luci. 

Luci stood, but suddenly her body felt stiff.  How long had she sat there on the cold ground?  The sun was lower on the horizon than she expected.

Moving toward the edge of the road, Luci’s steps slowed even though she tried to force her feet to move faster.  It was as if the air had thickened and become sucking mud, hindering every step.  Eventually she couldn’t lift her feet from the ground.  Luci looked down at the ground, but saw nothing to keep her stuck there.

The lynx kitten paced nervously back and forth from Luci to the edge of the pavement.  Whatever hindered Luci’s steps had no effect on the spirit animal.  Freyja gave a sharp chilling cry.  It sounded like a warning to Luci.

Fearfully she looked up and beheld Mist standing on the Mother Road.  The air around Mist wavered and flashed like sunlight bouncing off a mirror.  A bank of fog rolled down the road, engulfing it.  The silver frizz of Mist’s hair seemed to merge with the color of the fog.

Fog in trees mountains unsplash_52cd2d19237cd_1

Dreamstime.com

“It’s time,” Mist said encouragingly with a kind smile.  “Take my hand!”

Luci reached forward and grasped Mist’s outstretched hand.  Mist pulled firmly and Luci’s feet came free of the unseen force that held them.  Lychnis gave an approving mer-rawr.

The silver fog crept steadily closer.  The Spirit of Route 66 also stepped onto the Mother Road and she began to glow brightly.  Her eyes, even her skin shined with a light from within.  The strange fog engulfed the three women.  Luci could no longer see Tam and Bodaway even though they were only a few feet away.

The Mother stared into her eyes.  Once again, Luci was unable to look away. 

“This is the Reflected Road.  It’s a mirror of the Mother Road,” she reminded Luci.  “As I told you, on your path you may encounter things that have happened in the past.  Time, even eras do not flow according to any pattern here.  When you come out of this fog, you might emerge at any when,” she said, further confusing Luci.

“You might also see and experience things that never happened at all, but could have happened if different choices had been made,” the Mother told her.

Barbara Feldon three quarter

Barbara Feldon as Darla Harper

The Mother stepped very close to Luci and continued sternly.  “You may find things that terrify you, things that cause you to accidentally run away from your path to escape them.  But you must not stray!” she cautioned with that maniacal gleam in her eyes.  “If you step far from your path you will be lost.  Probably forever,” she said dourly, eliciting another nod from Luci.

“Likewise, you will see beautiful things, lost happiness that tempts you to abandon your quest and stay forever on the Reflected Route in a dream world of false happiness.  If you tarry you will be lost,” she told Luci with an expression of beatific ecstasy that seemed to contradict the warning of her words. 

“If you do find such a ‘what if’ and choose to stay, the decision is irrevocable,” the spirit of the Mother Road pursed her lips and added with a one-shouldered shrug.  “The rest of your existence, life and afterlife, will be spent in the Reflected Route,” she said with intensity that made Luci shiver.

“Is that what happened to my mom?” Luci asked.

The Mother’s hair whipped, because she turned so fast.  She cast cold eyes on Luci.  She did not speak. 

***

End Episode 23

Past, present, and future… Truth or things that only might have been… What if?  I wonder what Luci has gotten herself into now.  Stay tuned to learn the answer to that question.

Recipe:  Marble Mirror Glaze

Marble-mirror-glaze-recipe

I Googled all over the place, looking for a recipe with either “reflection” or “mirror” in the name. I almost gave up, but then I found this gorgeous post from Carolina Westwood at Bake My Cake.  (And yes, when I noticed her name was the same as our heroine’s seldom used first name, how could I resist?)

Her recipe for Marble Mirror Glaze comes complete with videos.  However, I’m issuing a warning.  Carolina’s blog is filled with beautiful deserts.  So don’t blame me if your sweet-tooth takes over.  http://bakemycake.org/marble-mirror-glaze-recipe/

Be ready next time, when the vintage Caddy rolls up with another episode of The Guitar Mancer.  Just get in the car!

Bunny Get-in-Car

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Smorgasbord Open House – Author and Motivational writer Teagan Riordain Geneviene

My delightful and sagacious friend, author Sally G. Cronin graciously invited me to be her guest at an Open House. If you haven’t already, then drop by her place and say hello. Mega hugs!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

New Open House

If you pop in here regularly, you will have seen that every Saturday morning I reblog the fantasy series Guitar Mancer by Teagan Riordain Geneviene. I like nothing better than to escape from my ‘duties’ for 15 minutes and tag along with the mancers in all their different forms. Currently they are on Route 66 which is proving illuminating.  https://teagansbooks.com/2016/08/20/guitar-mancer-episode-21-mother/

You will also find links to previous series where Teagan combines fantasy with ingredients suggested by fellow bloggers, weaving them seamlessly into the episode.. Here is one you might like to read first.   https://teagansbooks.com/cookbook-2-three-ingredients-serial-home/

Before Teagan tells us a little more about herself, including her weekly series on LinkedIn, a look at her book Atonement, Tennessee.

3-D Atonement Cover no background

About the Book.

Esmeralda Lawton is sick of the big city. “Ralda” was betrayed until trust became a theoretical concept. So it’s a dream come true when she buys an old estate, complete…

View original post 1,571 more words

Guitar Mancer — Episode 22: Darla

Chevrolet Fleetmaster Woody ad 1947

Chevrolet Fleetmaster Woody ad, circa 1947

What do you think about this old beauty?  No, it’s not from the era of The Guitar Mancer.  However, it is relevant to this installment.  It’s the kind of car Luci’s dad drove in his younger days.

Featured Blogger

Barsetshire Diary CoverAs you know, I’ve been trying to work “things” left by readers into this story.  That also allows me to promote the people who leave those things.  Meanwhile (and I promise this goes together) several bloggers are taking a break.  One of them is Lord David Prosser of the Barsetshire Diaries.  I’m honored that David is still taking time during his break to visit and comment here.  Back at Episode 16 David left some “things.”One of those things was druid, which I was able to add to this installment.

David has a number of delightful books available.  Be sure to check out his blog — he’s on a break, but the blog is still there for us to enjoy back issues. You can also learn more about his books there.

About This Episode

Last time you finally met The Mother.  Goddess, spirit entity, faery queen, or unidentified mystical creature, whatever else she may be the Mother is the Spirit of Route 66.  Oh, and I had a little brainstorm about “casting” her.  If only I had the PhotoShop skills to give her red hair.  So use your imagination.  It’s Ally Sheedy in a more sane version of how she was on the Psych television show.

While the characters knew obtaining the Mother’s help — that is to say getting her to force Luci’s mancer powers to blossom, might put Luci’s life at grave risk, it never occurred to our mancers that the Mother would flatly refuse to help at all.  However, that is exactly what she did when we left our heroes!

What could possibly happen next?  Well, just get in the car!  Let’s find out.

Episode 22 — Darla

Rt 66 Postcard bicycle sign

“How can you refuse us?” Bodaway asked in a voice that rang of pained astonishment.

“Such indignation,” the Mother chided.  “It’s not as if it’s personal,” she said and made an exasperated noise that reminded Luci of a sound a horse might make. 

The line of her mouth tightened and she looked at each of them in turn.  “If I do anything to bring out the girl’s powers, I would be breaking the pact I made with her father.”

Luci gasped.  “You know my father?” Luci exclaimed, so shocked that her words came out with a hiccup.

The Mother casually turned to her as if she had forgotten Luci’s presence.  Luci thought in fact she probably had.  The Spirit of Route 66 gave her a small sad smile.

Barbara Feldon 1967

Barbara Feldon as Darla Harper

“Yes, Carolina Lucille Harper.  I know Grover Harper.  I knew his parents well, and I knew his wife — your mother, Darla, quite well,” she told Luci.

At the mention of Luci’s mother, her tone of voice shifted and her words stretched in an odd way.  For an instant her mouth twisted in an expression of contempt.

Luci’s brows knitted in confusion.  The thought flashed through her mind that deer caught in the headlights of a vehicle must feel the way she did upon hearing that admission.

“My mom?” Luci whispered.

Tam nodded and smirked in a scornful way.  He looked like his suspicions had just been confirmed.  Luci looked from him to Bodaway.  The shaman’s face showed no emotion, except perhaps vague confusion.  Luci opened her mouth, but she didn’t know what question to ask because she was too stunned.

(Since it’s been so many weeks, I’ll refer you back to Episode 4 — Message in regard to Tam’s smirk.)

“Your family tree has produced a number of great mancers.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you that they were aware of me,” the Mother said in a rather impatient voice that suggested her dumbfounding revelation should have been obvious. 

She twisted one of her gray streaked red curls as she gave a contemplative glance to Tam and Bodaway.  Then the Mother’s appraising gaze fell on Luci again.  Her eyes narrowed suspiciously and she clicked her tongue inside her mouth, making a derisive sound. 

The whirlwind of different reactions, expressions, and sound effects from the Mother was more than Luci could absorb.  If the Spirit of Route 66 had been human, Luci would have been sure she was insane.

“I suppose you didn’t know that your progenitors had great aspirations?” the Mother commented to Luci.  “No.  Of course you wouldn’t.  You only knew Grover and he was the only one who wanted to live a normal life, as he described it,” she added, eyes softening just a little.

Luci slowly shook her head.  She had a bad feeling that she was about to learn something she’d rather have never known. 

1963 Bell telephone long distance ad

Bell Telephone ad circa 1963

“My dad never speaks of the past.  He rarely talks about my grandparents, and never mentions my mom at all,” Luci said to no one in particular. 

A faraway look came to Luci’s eyes and a small bemused smile settled on her lips.  She shrugged, encouraged that the Mother seemed somewhat less confrontational.  However, she was a very strange, mercurial, and downright frightening entity.  Luci was unsure of how to react to her, let alone convince her to unblock her mancer abilities.  Then her quiet inner voice reminded her that keeping that power inhibited might well be the best thing for her.  It could be the safest thing, even if she spent the rest of her life hiding from the rogue mancer.

She thought of her father.  Her emotions warred between anger and admiration.  Grover Harper had given up a lot to try and keep his daughter safe.  Luci realized that, even if a big part of her resented it.  She resented the life he had kept her from having and the fact that he kept so many secrets from her.  She took a deep breath and her dad’s bright smile flashed through her memory.

“The closest he’s ever come to talking about mom was when he saw an old car with wooden sides.  Dad called it a Chevrolet Fleetmaster Woody.  He said that was what he drove when they were ‘courting.’  That’s what he called dating.  Men seem to get so fond of their cars,” Luci commented with an involuntary glance at Tam.  “I think that was the only reason why he mentioned anything related to my mom at all.  Oh my God, I’m babbling now,” Luci said and put her hands over her face, and briefly wondered if the Mother’s craziness was contagious.

Ally Sheedy behind glass Psych

Ally Sheedy as the Mother

Lychnis moved away from his place next to Freyja, near the Mother.  He pushed himself against Luci where she sat on the ground.  The big kitten head butted his way under her arm and started purring again.  Luci put her fingers into his plush fur and absently scratched his neck.

“Yes, your mother particularly wanted to rise in standing with the others of her kind.  However, her mancer power was mediocre at best,” the spirit commented dryly. 

Then she gave Luci a long considering look as if she contemplated whether to tell more of the story.  She played absently with a curly strand of her hair, but finally continued.

“Darla persuaded Grover Harper to bring her to me, in hope that I could amplify her power,” said the Spirit of Route 66.

Tam’s eyes narrowed as if he had new suspicions.  She thought Tam had an idea where the Mother’s story was going, but Luci couldn’t begin to guess.  She looked back to the spirit apprehensively.

“Against my better judgment I agreed to let her walk the path,” the Mother said, placing emphasis on the phrase.  “I didn’t realize that she had already gone to others, in vain hope of make herself stronger.  If I had known…” the Mother paused thoughtfully.  “Things might have turned out differently.”Rt 66 red yellow map

Luci’s eyes widened as foreboding settled like a shroud on her shoulders. 

“However, I granted her request, and she was lost on the Reflected Mother Road,” the Mother continued in a manner that was surprisingly gentle compared to her uncaring beginning. 

“After it was clear that Darla was beyond help,” she said but paused seeing the confused look on the faces of her audience.  She made a broad, sharp, frustrated gesture with her arms before continuing in a voice that one might use for six year-olds. “After all the openings through which we might have brought her back had closed, after enough time had gone by that we knew she could not be retrieved — that is the greatest danger of what you would ask me to do,” she said as if that clarified anything.  “Grover Harper brought you to me.”

“I’ve seen you before?” Luci asked.  “I’m afraid I don’t remember, and I don’t think I would forget you.”

The Mother murmured something about “flattering,” and briefly placed her hand on Luci’s head as if she was a small child.  It should have seemed like a gesture of affection or kindness, but Luci didn’t feel anything of the sort at her touch.

James Garner b-w

James Garner as Grover

“You were only a baby,” she told Luci.  “You would not remember.  Your father was grief stricken.  While he and your mother were with me, trying to enhance her powers,” the Mother spoke, but then hesitated.  “His parents were killed.”

“My grandparents, you mean?” Luci asked.

Luci began to wonder how stable the Spirit of Route 66 was.  It was as if her mind barely made the connection between the relationships.  She seemed to not understand the grief that would be involved.  She certainly didn’t seem to grasp the fact that Luci would care about the grandparents she had never known.  Luci wondered if human concepts of relationships and the emotional aspects of them were alien to the Mother.

The Mother tilted her head to one side and blinked.  Her face held an odd expression that Luci didn’t know how to interpret.  Then she nodded and continued.

“They went to some foreign land about some kind of mancer trouble.  They weren’t just killed — their power was drained away,” the spirit told them in a disturbingly nonchalant tone.  “Grover Harper believed his family would have been intact if not for the mancer power they possessed,” she said.

“Drained?” Bodaway Thunder repeated the word with a glance at Tam, but the Spirit of Route 66 merely nodded.

Luci remembered what her companions had told her about Yamata Orochi draining the power from mancers.  She shuddered, remembering the devastating effect they had described it as having on a mancer.  Was that what happened to her grandparents?  Had they fought Yamata Orochi and been killed in that horrible way?  Luci felt a sick hollowness in the pit of her stomach.

Tam made a grunt that sounded both satisfied and contemptuous,  as if he knew what the Mother would say next.  Luci looked at him, only half aware that unshed tears stood in her eyes.  His attitude relaxed when he looked into her brimming eyes, and his expression softened.

 

Domhnall Gleeson outside

Domhnall Gleeson as Tam

“That is when your father made a pact with me.  I blocked your mancer power from emerging,” the Mother said coolly.  “I will not break my promise to Grover Harper, any more than I would break any other pact.  Not unless he came to me personally and asked me to remove the block,” she added in a tone that was childlike and almost petulant.

“This is my fault,” Tam said surprising them all.  “Grover can’t be here.  I convinced him to go away!  Grover’s powers had lain dormant for so long, I took it for suppression of his ability.  I kept forgetting that he had a child!” Tam said as if shocked at himself.

He paced in his frustration.  Luci was taken aback by his strong reaction.  Tam stopped and shook his head.  The Mother looked at him with a bemused smile.

“Oh tsk-tsk.  Tammarand Ben Taliesin, of course you forgot about her,” she told Tam.  “In blocking Luci’s mancer ability, I also inhibited her glow.”

“That’s actually possible?” Bodaway asked sounding surprised.

Luci had no idea what they were talking about.  It was also maddening that they kept talking over her head.

“What do you mean by my glow?  Those hippies were glowing when they left!  What kind of glow?” Luci knew she hadn’t expressed her confused thoughts very well even as she spoke.

Green LIghts Drew Collins_1466939721550-ad3ef4b9eeec“You shouldn’t have been able to see the sprites glow with your mancer ability blocked,” Tam said in a pondering tone .

“Indeed,” the Mother murmured, momentarily propping her chin on her fist.  “Child, the glow is what makes a mancer memorable.  Without it people tend to forget you exist.  You probably weren’t terribly popular, not a lot of suitors.  Am I right?” she spoke the harsh seeming questions in an offhanded way.

Luci’s face heated in a blush.  She looked down at the ground, unable to answer.  Her shyness responded in full force to what felt like a belittling accusation.

“Think of it as charisma, but more deeply rooted,” Tam told Luci in an unexpectedly kind voice.

When Luci looked up at him she noticed he shot the Spirit of Route 66 a glare for the inconsiderate way she had spoken.  However, he wasn’t in a mood of such kindness that he was willing to forgive himself for what he saw as a mistake.  He looked at Luci and his face was painted with self-recrimination.

Depp guitar hat head-down

Johnny Depp as Yamata Orochi

“I’m sorry Wee Mouse.  I don’t know how I could have been that stupid.  I didn’t mean to overlook you, to dismiss you,” he added with a sidelong glance at the Mother. 

“Don’t call me that,” Luci mumbled, but there was no fire in her voice.

“I can’t believe I sent Grover away because I thought he must be the emerging mancer that Yamata Orochi was tracking!” Tam practically spat the words.  “Maybe I really do jump to conclusions,” he muttered.

“Yamata Orochi?” the Mother asked in a hiss and they all nodded in mute wonder at her intense reaction.

The sky darkened and her eyes flashed as brightly as lightning.  Luci jumped when she heard a sharp crack of thunder.  However, she realized it was not thunder at all  when the crazily painted Volkswagen van appeared with another backfire.

The same group of hippies poured out of the van.  That time the third man, Dip, came out with them.  He wore a tie dyed tunic-length caftan, exposing skinny, hairy legs.  Apparently, Luci thought, he never found his missing pants.  The hippies stood, ranked behind the Mother in a semicircle.  They were not playful as they had been before.  They were silent and reserved.  Bump stood feet apart and arms akimbo.  He looked particularly forceful, despite his chartreuse jumpsuit and rainbow colored afro.

“Yamata Orochi, you say?” the Mother repeated to gasps from Sunshine, Dip, and Bump, while the other three whispered among themselves with apprehensive faces.

“Please,” Luci said amid the murmurs the rogue mancer’s name elicited.  “My dad isn’t here, but I am.  I’m asking you to remove the block.”

Bump’s eyes widened as if in realization.  He nodded slowly causing his afro to sway like a multicolored cloud.  “This is the daughter of Grover Harper?” he asked in his resonate bass voice.

The other Route 66 faeries continued to murmur among themselves.  Midnight took the opportunity to glide gracefully over to Tam.  A long finger traced the line of his jaw before she touched the love beads she previously hung around his neck.  She gave a sidelong taunting glance at Luci.Campbells soup hangup ad

Luci might have been glad to see it when Tam pushed the faery away, but the girl was too stunned by the things the Mother had revealed to notice the raven haired sprite.

“Poor sad thing,” Sunshine murmured and her long blond braids fell forward as she bent over Luci.  “I’m honored to meet the child of the Grove Dweller,” she stated with a warm smile that suited her name.  “I always wondered, is he a druid since he’s a grove dweller?”

“It’s Grover, sweetness.  Grove dweller is just what the name means in their native language.  It has nothing to do with being a druid,” Dip told his wife in a voice that suggested he also thought it odd that Grover was not a druid.

“Such odd customs,” Sunshine murmured.

“You know my father too?” Luci asked Sunshine in amazement.

“We all know Grover Harper,” Bump’s voice rumbled in reply and the other faeries nodded eagerly.

“Grover Harper has the Mother’s favor,” Sunshine added with a beaming smile.

“He has the Mother’s protection,” the bald one named Crook said, and his long caftan billowed as he plopped onto the ground beside Luci.  “She gave him her rowan staff to safeguard him in the mortal world.”

“We are bound to protect and guide him any time he travels the Mother Road,” silver-haired Mist told them, and a fierce gleam in her eyes belied her gentle voice and manner.

Lychnis magentaLuci’s mouth dropped open.  She was reeling from all the secrets her father had been keeping from her.  However, a mer-raw from Lychnis brought her mind back to the problem at hand.

“Please.  My dad would want you to remove the block, I’m sure of it.  Yes, my dad would do anything to keep me from harm.  But he would also want me to be able to protect myself, and the intention in blocking my powers — Well, wasn’t it meant to keep me safe?” Luci implored the Mother.

“Isn’t the fact that I’m asking you to remove it just as good as my dad asking?  Please.  I just want to be able to defend myself.  I don’t want anyone to get hurt trying to protect me!” Luci exclaimed with a frightened look at Tam and Bodaway.

Luci didn’t think she could bear it if either of them, or God forbid, her dad were hurt trying to protect her.  “I will do anything to keep them safe!” she whispered intensely to the Mother. 

***

End Episode 22

***

They haven’t gotten very far with convincing the Mother to force Luci’s mancer power to emerge.  However, the fact that the carved rowan staff actually belonged to the Mother explains how Luci was able to sock it to Yamata Orochi that night. And what a revelation about Luci’s dad, Grover!  So he has “the Mother’s protection,” huh?  I guess the Mother likes the dad better than the daughter.  You’d think she would want to help Luci for Grover’s sake…  I wonder if she could be a little bit jealous?  The Mother is so mercurial, who can say?

Recipe:  Sunshine Juice

Once again, I’m scratching my head about relating a food or drink to this installment.  So I started searching the WordPress countryside for recipes that included the name of one of the characters.  Guess what I found!  A recipe for sunshine — sort of anyway.  Sunshine juice

Check out this recipe for Sunshine Juice at Sareta’s Kitchen.  Click on over and prowl around her blog.  I think you’ll find it as enjoyable as I did.

Until next time, stay tuned and stay groovy!  Mega hugs.

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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