Atonement Character Interviews: Lilith

veil_of_sky_open_Lilith copy

A Mid-Week Challenge

Yes everyone — I just challenged you (the blogger said with a Cheshire grin).Cheshire GrinWhether or not you see yourself as a writer, this will be a good mental exercise.  Write a paragraph or a page — from the point of view of an animal. I find that creative writing is easier if there are some parameters, some limits. So in your paragraph or page, include these three things: house, quick, puzzle.

Just so you know that I’m being fair, I’ve written from an animal’s point of view a number of times. For instance, that applies to some segments of my debut novel, Atonement, Tennessee.

I posted this character interview in January of 2013.  However, now that Atonement, Tennessee is available, I’m re-blogging some early posts. Some characters were more fun to write than others.  I enjoyed myself, seeing the world through the eyes of Lilith, and writing from the point of view of a calico cat.  So I decided to interview the cat.  She’s got a lot of “catitude” I can promise you.

Character Interviews: Lilith the Calico

Teagan: Lilith, won’t you come over here and sit with me?

(She looks all around the room — everywhere but at me.)

You’re even prettier than I expected. (Now she jumps onto the sofa. The compliment seems to have helped.) For this interview, the Creative Muse has given you the power of human speech.

Lilith and mirrorLilith:  Meow…

Teagan:  Now, Lilith. There’s no need to be contrary. You know you can talk for now. Take advantage of it. I understand you were a rescue kitty. Tell us about your life before Ralda adopted you.

Lilith:  Meow…

Teagan:  (I sigh. Talk about catitude…) I think what everyone wants to know most about you is — are you really a cat? Or are you some kind of supernatural? Maybe an enchanted person who has to… atone?  Because, in all honesty, even though I wrote the novel, I do not know.

(Lilith narrows her eyes then turns her back on me and proceeds to wash her face.  Clearly that line of questioning is not acceptable.) Calico washing face

All righty then; I’m not going to get an answer to that one either.

Okay, moving on. You tell the parts of the story that Ralda doesn’t see. What about Cael? Do you know more about him than anyone else?  Wait — what’s that?  …Are you purring?

Cael at rest- Adrian Paul

Adrian Paul as Cael

Lilith: Oh, Cael is simply divine. (Purrrrr…) Yes, I know more about him than Ralda does — even at the end of the story. He’s strong, courageous, faithful, and he knows about a lot more than is apparent. Cael is also childlike sometimes, which is an intriguing contrast to his strength. I also sense even more about him than I witness. I can’t really describe everything I sense. I can’t quite put my paw on some things.

Teagan: At least that brought you out of your shell. Ralda said you like attractive men. Anyway, I don’t think Ralda really trusts him. Do you know why?

Lilith: She can’t put her paw on it either. Or rather she can’t put her finger on it. Cael is truly extraordinary though. His backstory is only hinted at in this novel. I’m sure there will be more about him in “book 2.”

Teagan: What about Gwydion? Ralda seems to at least try to trust him. Should she?Man Flower Face

Lilith: (She purrs again, even louder. Then she even turns halfway upside down, a paw across her face.) Ah… Gwydion! Oh he smells delicious, all manner of flowers and herbs and catnip. Did you know that he brought me catnip?

(Lilith sits back up, still purring.) Gwydion is a magical creature, you realize. His magic is tied to flowers. It’s not stated outright in the novel, but it’s pretty obvious. At the very beginning it’s even hinted that his grandmother was a faery. You know, Fae’s Flowers, named for his Gran?

Teagan: Who do you think would be better for Ralda, Gwydion or Cael? If they, so to speak, fought for her affections, who would win?

Calico runningLilith: Oh, it would be awful if those two actually did fight, wouldn’t it? They do seem to compete with each other in odd ways. But if they fought…  No, I couldn’t bear for either of them to get hurt! I’m not sure, but I have a suspicion that if it came down to it, Cael might be stronger than Gwydion.  However, Gwydion would have fewer — or at least different inhibitions so he might best Cael.  Oh, I’m not just sure. I really don’t like that question at all.

(Her tail makes a slash-thump against the sofa, signaling annoyance. Lilith jumps down from the sofa and sashays out of the room.)

I suppose that ends my interview with the cat.  However, you can read more from Lilith in Atonement, Tennessee.

Copyright 2013 Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene.  All rights reserved.

An American reunion (at last) for Sarah and her parrots

Did “Cracker the Parrot” capture your heart? Here’s something interesting for you.

on the road with Animalcouriers

Way back in June 2013 Sarah contacted Animalcouriers for help moving her two pet parrots from Scotland to the US. Last weekend, the mission was finally accomplished.

Ptak is a Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus Coelestis) and Maverick is a Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus Senegalus). Both species are protected by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), so Sarah had to work through the maze of paperwork required to allow the birds to travel between the UK and the US.

Because the process took longer than expected, Sarah had to return to the US, leaving her beloved birds in the care of friends. At last the correct paperwork was issued by the US Department of Agriculture, but as it was just before Christmas, the birds’ travel had to be delayed until the new year.

After two vet checks and a lot of shuffling of red tape, Ptak and Maverick jetted off from…

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Three Ingredients – 14: Pinto Beans, Brown Rice, Tofu

I’m relatively new to the blogosphere (December 2012)  so I count myself very lucky to have all of you providing encouragement.  Several of you have been here from the beginning — even before I started doing the serialized stories.  Your comments and “likes” truly give me joy.  And I’m absolutely delighted when anyone comments with “ingredients” for the story.

Mike Fedison of “The Eye-Dancers” has been constant in the encouragement he provides through “likes” on this blog.  Mike is a truly talented writer. I’m very happy to say that he has given us the three ingredients for Episode-14. I think you’ll enjoy his blog and his young adult novel — I know I do!

Links for The Eye-Dancers

  • Amazon, please click here.
  • Barnes and Noble, please click here.

Without further ado, here is Episode-14.  Bon appétit!

Pinto Beans, Brown Rice, Tofu

Young Lucille Ball

Young Lucille Ball

Hank Hertz was acting very protective of me.  This annoyed me because I was sure he must be at least a year younger than me.  To make things even worse, I slipped on some damp grass as we crossed the lawn.  I was half way to the ground but he caught my elbow.  However, the sudden bend and twist movement, combined with his head wound made him dizzy.  I ended up catching the young policeman too, which mollified me somewhat.  Somehow we both managed to stand and continue across the grass to the foot path.

There were several buildings of varied shapes and sizes, all painted in crisp white.  Stepping stones made paths between them.  The white structures shone brightly in the sun against the green of the thick grass.  The residence of the doctors had neat green shutters on either side of a bay window and its roof was the same shade of green.  A number of trees dotted the property.  Spanish moss hung from branches here and there.

Movement above caught my eye.  I was hoping that it would be Cracker the parrot, but I realized that was silly of me.  Instead a gray heron glided effortlessly on broad wings to land at the pond behind the house.  I watched in silent awe of its grace.  A horse whinnied in the small “recovery” stable, bringing me out if the brief reverie.  I pointed Hank to a side door in the animal hospital building.  I knew the surgery room was on that end of the building from the time Veronica Vale had showed me her work areas and let me use a microscope.

The path led alongside the house, right by the kitchen window.  It was open just a crack, and an aroma tickled my nose.  I noticed a pot on the stove at a very low simmer.  Then I recognized the scent for pinto beans.  I had the quick thought that maybe I should check them for Veronica, but the beans would be all right at that low temperature for quite some time.  Veronica had probably put the beans on to cook just before Detective Daniels showed up on her doorstep with the badly wounded Marshal Myrick.  So I kept walking to the long one-story building.Vales House

Vincent’s old jalopy was parked beside the house.  The door was left open and a box of dry goods was on the seat.  I noticed a bag of brown rice on the top of the stack.  I guessed they were planning to have beans and rice for supper.  Vincent must have just gotten back from a grocery run and was unloading the car when Dabney arrived.

1920s Cosmo FebLooking at the evidence of daily life that had been interrupted and virtually abandoned gave me a surreal feeling.  It was as if everything had been frozen in time.  I hesitated briefly with my hand on the doorknob.  My thoughts were in a jumble.  How close was Granny Fanny to the injured marshal?  There was clearly more of a history between them than I had ever known.  If Moses Myrick… if he didn’t make it, how badly would Granny be hurt?  I didn’t know how to deal with the prospect of my grandmother grieving.

Hank asked if I was okay.  I glanced up at him.  A dot of blood had seeped through the bandage Granny put on the place where the bullet grazed the side of his head.  It amazed me that he hadn’t realized he was hurt.  But I had heard that kind of thing could happen in an emergency or during disasters like hurricanes.  What if Dabney Daniels had been injured too and nobody knew it until it was too late?  I felt a little guilty about it, but I was as worried about the fact that the detective might be hurt as I was about the obviously critically wounded marshal.

I didn’t realize I had dropped my hand from the brass doorknob.  Hank took off his hat as he opened the door for me.  doorknobThen he courteously took my elbow as we walked over the threshold.  I was immediately met by the clean astringent odor; the hospital smell.  Then I saw Dabney at the other end of the room, pacing.  I breathed a sigh of relief that he was standing, but he was awfully pale.

The detective motioned to a table when he saw us.  His suit jacket was draped over the back of a ladder-back chair.  There was a tear at the shoulder.  With a gasp I realized it was made by a bullet.  “Are you hurt?” I exclaimed.

As he walked to the table he shook his head negatively, buy didn’t speak.  His silence was in no way reassuring, but at least he didn’t seem injured.  I started to hug him, but caught myself.  I had been so worried about him, but at that moment he barely seemed to know I was there.  I had become fond of the detective.  He wasn’t all that much older than me, and he was interesting in his own taciturn way.  Or at least I found him so.  I also JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar adthought he was rather dashing.  I know it was silly of me, but it stung when he didn’t react to me at all.  Maybe the emotional attachment had been completely one-sided.  I swallowed and looked away, feeling foolish.

He exchanged a few words with Hank Hertz about the crime scene.  Then he motioned for us to sit down.  A decanter of coffee steamed when he opened it.  Half a dozen cups and saucers were carefully stacked beside the carafe and neat containers of cream and sugar.  I suddenly felt a little awkward, so I made the first stupid comment that occurred to me.  “Expecting company?” I asked.

Dabney made a rueful face.  “I made coffee.  I tried to help the docs, but I was just getting in the way.”  Then his mouth twisted down at one side.  “And I was getting downright queasy.  Miss Fanny sent me out five minutes after she got here,” he said in a tone that suggested he was disgusted with himself.

“Pip,” he said shaking his head.  “I’ve always known your grandmother is a force of nature.  But she continues to amaze me.  Miss Fanny walked into that surgery room, with all that blood.  Then she went right to work helping the docs dig out bullets and handing them their surgical instruments.  She never even flinched, even though she looked right at what they were doing.  I managed to help some before she got here, but even I couldn’t look directly at what they were doing.”

Hours later Vincent Vale came out of the double doors that led to the operating room.  He looked positively 1920s Man Makes Coffeehaggard.  Dabney was quick to pour him a cup of coffee.  I knew the detective was trying to make up for feeling like he wasn’t useful enough.  “How is he, Doc?” Dabney asked.

The veterinarian let out a whoosh of breath, and took a grateful sip of coffee before answering.  He slumped into a chair and stretched his legs out in front of him as if he didn’t have the strength left to sit up straight.  “Only time can tell, Detective.  I’ve never seen a man shot up like that.  Not like that…  But Veronica has healed worse,” Vincent said of his wife who was an MD, not a veterinarian like him.

Abruptly Vincent noticed the bandage around Hank’s head.  The spot of blood had gotten larger.  He immediately got up and went to work, checking out the young officer.  “That’s quite a nice field dressing,” he commented as he removed the bandage.

Dabney grumbled something unintelligible.  Vincent turned to him with a steady gaze.  “You need to know that you made the difference, getting him here so fast.  If you had tried to get him into town he would never have made it.  If he survives, it will be every bit as much because of you as anything Veronica and I have done,” Vincent said in a tone that brooked no argument.

“Young man, this needs some stiches.  Come with me,” he said to Hank and rose purposefully from his chair.

1920s Halls Coffee“Veronica is finishing now,” Vincent told us.  “Maybe I’m biased as her husband, but I’ve never seen such beautifully done work.  Mrs. Peabody makes an extraordinary nurse too.  I wonder if she’s had formal experience,” he added, but his words trailed off in that preoccupied way that he had.  He took another drink of coffee and made an approving sound.  “It’s far too early to predict whether Mr. Myrick will recover, but I can’t help thinking that he will.”  Then the veterinarian looked sheepish.  “I apologize.  I shouldn’t say that in this circumstance.  It was unprofessional of me.  I suppose I’m just tired,” he said as he led Hank to an examination room.

I was still feeling awkward around Dabney after the epiphany that whatever I had been feeling for him probably wasn’t being returned.  I walked to the house to check on the beans that had been left simmering on the stove.  They seemed about done, so I turned off the burner.  Then I unloaded the box dry goods from Vincent’s car.  I tidied the kitchen even though it didn’t need it.  With a sigh I resigned myself.  There was nothing for it — I had to go back and sit with Dabney and Hank no matter how uncomfortable I felt.1920s Vogue red hat

A little while later the double doors pushed open again.  Doctor Veronica and Granny Fanny walked together.  They were in the middle of a conversation.  The doctor spoke to Granny.  “I spent a year in Hong Kong on an exchange program.  I studied Chinese medicine as much as time allowed, but there was so very much to learn.  I fear I only scratched the surface,” she told my grandmother.  “However, it should help reduce any inflammation.  It would be generally good for him, and actually an easy food for his recovery period,” she added.

Naturally I wondered what “it” was.  Granny nodded emphatically.  “I’ll call-up Arabella Wong.  They keep tofu for their restaurant.  I’ll ask her to fix plenty of it and have Pip fetch it.  That dang fool man…  He eats beef at least twice a day.  He doesn’t eat ‘meat and potatoes’ he eats meat and meat! I know it can’t be good for him.  He needs to have more than just meat,” Granny said and wiped the corner of her eye.

The next thing I knew she was crying.  I completely forgot about my confused feelings for the detective and the distress it had caused me a moment before.  I had never seen Granny cry, and I was beside myself.  I rushed to where she stood.  Dabney was there even faster; his long legs took him to her side in two steps.  A man_ray_tearsmoment later she tried to make as if nothing had happened, saying that she was just a silly woman.  Everyone knew that was far from the truth and said so in chorus.

“It’s just been a lot to bear,” she murmured, and I knew she meant watching and assisting during an operation performed on someone for whom she obviously cared deeply.

“Vincent,” Veronica Vale began, but paused with a sidelong look at the detective.  “Would you please get Fanny something… medicinal?  Something from the crystal decanter?  She needs a little something to strengthen her nerves,” she said and her husband nodded knowingly.

At Veronica’s instruction, the two policemen began rearranging an examining room so it could be a recovery room.  In no time they had dismantled and reassembled a bed, moved out a cabinet, and brought in several things the doctor said would be necessary.

1920s Royal bakingMeanwhile I took over supper preparations.  I didn’t have much confidence in my cooking yet, and I was in a strange kitchen.  I even felt odd about going through someone else’s pantry.  So I decided to work with what they apparently had in mind before their day was interrupted.  I gave the pinto beans another quick check, and then went about cooking the rice and an iron skillet of cornbread.  I spotted some okra so I saved some of the cornbread batter, dipped the okra in it and fried it.

While I cooked I thought about what Granny said to Veronica about tofu.  I wondered if she would make me learn to cook it.  I had no idea where to even begin.  I wasn’t sure if I had ever eaten tofu before.  It couldn’t be any harder than fried okra, I told myself.  I smiled when I looked at the golden brown pods.  They seemed to sparkle as I placed them on a towel to blot the oil.  For once I had gotten it right.

However, I could just imagine Pops complaining that there was no meat — it didn’t matter to Pops that beans and rice together were supposed to be a complete protein.  Pops always had to have meat or it wasn’t a meal.  So I wondered if Dabney and Hank might feel the same way.  Well, I told myself, I was doing the best I could with what I had.  Or at least with what I could find.  Then I found a Mason jar of chow-chow in the pantry.  The relish would go nicely with the beans.  That would have to do for a finishing touch.

Sure, I had cooked for Pops and me, and Granny had me make a number of meals in the time I had been staying with her.  However, this was the first time I had prepared a meal someone I didn’t know well, let alone for a group of people.  I checked every dish one last time.  Then I took a deep breath and went to let everyone know that supper was ready.

Vale windowI found Granny sitting on a chair beside Moses Myrick’s bed.  She looked so tired and small.  I thought I heard a little tap sound, but I had too many things on my mind to think about it.  Worry for Granny went to the top of that list.  I tried to convince her to go with the others and have something to eat.  No matter how faithfully I promised to sit with the marshal, she wasn’t going to budge.

There it was again.  That time the sound pushed through my troubled thoughts. It was like a tiny tap at the window, like the sound a pebble makes.

I walked to the window and pushed aside the white cotton curtain, but I didn’t see anything.  Then I noticed a smear on the otherwise clean windowpane.  I pushed the lever handle and the window swung into the room.  Before I could lean out to have a better look something grazed past my face.  I drew back and put my hand to my mouth to muffle a shriek of surprise.  Then I became aware of the bright color that went past me in a blur.1920s Peoples home journal girl parrot

Cracker alighted on the headboard of the marshal’s bed.  The parrot cooed softly and paced the length of the metal bedrail once.  Then to my utter astonishment the bird swooped to Granny’s shoulder and cuddled under her ear.

***

Clam and Tofu Soup

Clam-Tofu Soup

Recipe and photo credit: Judy Xu, “In Balance with Nature”

Ingredients:

Regular clams (Meretrix lusoria) 250g, Tofu 200g, Ginger 10g, Salt 3g, Pepper powder 2g

Method:

  • Wash the clams
  • Wash the tofu and slice the tofu into thick slices
  • Wash the ginger, cut into long thin strips
  • Add water into a pot and bring it to boil
  • Add clams, tofu, and ginger and boil them all together in the water for around 5 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper

The author of the recipe states certain Chinese medicine benefits.  Naturally I am not making any medical claim; rather I am just sharing what was included with the recipe.

Gentle reminder:  Don’t eat clams alongside river snails, orange and celery

Chinese Medicine Benefits:

The soup replenishes the Yin, improves vision, and softens and removes phlegm. Good for people of Dry Fire or Heavy & Humid Body Constitution.

***

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.

The Liebster Award Returns

What are you supposed to do if you get the same award more than once?  Hummm… I’d say the answer to that is…

Bend the rules!liebster

Here’s a big “Internet hug” to Joe at “Stepping Out with an Agoraphobic” for mentioning Teagan’s Books on his blog with this award.  Pay Joe a visit at his entertaining blog.

As part of the Liebster, Joe had some questions for me.  (Yep — I’m bending the rules there too.) Here are a few of them:

1. Why did you start a blog?

I started this blog, Teagan’s Books, when I learned that blogging is a big part of indie publishing. It’s part of what I call my “grand experiment” with indie. This experiment also includes my debut novel, “Atonement, Tennessee.”

Unfortunately, working full-time, I can’t give indie all the promotional time it needs in order to be done well.

2. What do you write about the most?

For this blog, I most often write episodes for our “interactive” serials.  I say “our” because everyone contributes things for me to include in the episodes. Everyone is welcome to leave three “ingredients” for a future episode.  Go to the top of this page and click on the button for Three Ingredients Serial Homepage for more information.

3. Have you ever gotten into trouble for something you have written?

Ha! I wrote some short stories when I was a bout twelve. Suffice to say that my parents told me I’d better not write anything else or I’d be in big trouble.  They did not care for the attention my writing got.  Yes, an entire novel could be written about that, but you won’t find it here.

(Sorry to skip the rest of the questions, Joe.)  Now, I am supposed to nominate a bunch of other bloggers and give them questions to answer, and have them basically continue the chain.  However, everyone I know is always so very busy.  I think the most important part of these awards is to provide encouragement and promote other blogs.  So in stead if asking bloggers to do anything, I’m going to list a few of the many, many blogs that I enjoy.  Here goes:

Midnight moon farie

Just Olgais a forensic psychiatrist, novelist, and blogger.  Her background is just as fascinating as any book. I hope you’ll take a look at her intriguing novels.

Sharmishtha Basu beautifully spins thought provoking tales and poems for her blog. You’ll also find lovely artwork.

Love and Feathers, Shannon shares charming words about her pet. Those of you who like Cracker the parrot from our Three Ingredients serial are sure to enjoy Pearl.

Christopher in HR, blogs about leadership and motivation.  Give him a visit — you will be glad you did.  (You may have noticed that once in a while I do a motivational post in addition to the fiction.)

Strange Remains — are you a fan of the TV show, Bones? Dolly Stolze is a forensic anthropologist in the real world.  She has a truly fascinating blog.

Evelyne Holingue  is a novelist with an interesting personal story.  At her blog she shares poems, stories, and inspiration.

The Crazy Crone’s Arty Farty Studio is by Mo Davies. I don’t know how anyone could resist her blog’s title.  You’ll find a number of things including fun digital artwork.

Group hug kitties

So here’s a big Internet hug to all of you.  You’re welcome to spread the Liebster award at your will.

Calico Calamity an Atonement Excerpt

Lilith and mirrorI blogged this snippet a while back — before the release of my novel, “Atonement, Tennessee.” Now that the paperback and e-book editions are available, I’m sharing it as a mid-week post for those who might have missed it. This excerpt, this calico calamity, leads the heroine of “Atonement, Tennessee” into a tense situation.  Lilith the cat has a knack for finding those.  Here Ralda Lawton has a strange encounter when her capricious cat gets outside.

Scroll down and enjoy,

teagan

Calico Calamity an “Atonement Tennessee” Excerpt

…I was sheltered by a big clump of tall bushes of some sort.  I thought it might be mountain laurel.  I could see the broad side of the mausoleum from there.  Shadows lurched violently against the stone crypt.  Big shadows.  Reflexively I drew back into the concealing vegetation.  Then I heard a loud avian-like screech and realized that the shadow shapes might have been wings.  My heart hammered.black_eagle_with_open_wings_design-t1

The noise escalated.  It definitely sounded like more than one creature was causing that ruckus.  Then I heard the cat hiss.  I ran toward the sounds; ready to use the flashlight as a club, and wishing I had something more effective.  “Lilith!” I called.  Oh, let’s face it – I screamed.

As I ran out form the concealing mountain laurel a gust of wind buffeted me.  I tripped and fell on the uneven pavers of the path, just as the wind blew my hair, along with some dirt, into my eyes.  I couldn’t see at all for a moment, but I heard a lot of heavy rustling, scraping, shifting sounds.

Every time I thought I had half way cleared my eyes, the wind blew something into them again.  I struggled to my feet, desperately wiping my stinging eyes.  I heard soft footsteps coming toward me.

AdrianPaul_Highlander1“Are you hurt?” he asked.

With an electric jump I gasped.  The calm kindness of the words did nothing to ease the added fear of knowing there was a person there.  A stranger.  In the dark.  In the graveyard.  I was pretty sure it was a large man too.

However, in the way of a panicked brain, I thought of the irrelevant – I couldn’t begin to place his accent, but he certainly had one…  I could still barely see, and couldn’t gauge how much of a threat he might be.  The night had also gotten cloudy, and therefore darker.  If I thought my heart was beating hard before, it was about to explode by then.

“Here,” he said mildly, putting a silk handkerchief into my hand, and taking my elbow to help me stand.

No doubt I should have run, coming upon a scene that seemed violent, running into a stranger in the dark isolated spot.  But his voice was gentle and comforting.  Besides, he already had my arm in a firm grip, so I wouldn’t be going anywhere if he was a criminal or psycho or something.  Shaking with reaction, I used the handkerchief to wipe my eyes.calico closeup pinterest

I looked up at him.  He was tall and well built.  Rudely I pointed the flashlight on him, but I tried not to shine it directly in his eyes.  I just needed to see him, that stranger there in the dark, so I wouldn’t panic.  Then I realized he held something in the hand that wasn’t holding my elbow.  I heard loud purring.

“Lilith?” I cried.  “I don’t know how she’s been getting out.  I was so worried,” I babbled and tried not to give in to tears.  “What was all that commotion?”

Thankfully, he knew what I meant, and handed my cat to me.  “A very large bird,” he said after a minute hesitation.

For some reason, I felt like he wasn’t being truthful, but Lilith was still purring.  Did that mean this man was okay; that he was not a threat?  She had let him hold her, and purred rather than try to get free.  Usually the cat didn’t even like for me to hold her.

Considering the shadows I saw, and the sounds I heard, I couldn’t disagree with his explanation of a bird – but how large would it have to have been?  Wouldn’t it have to be enormous?  It seemed impossible, but I had seen the shadows, heard the screeching, and felt the wind from its passing.

Perhaps sensing my doubt, he went on to explain, “I’ve been watching it ever since I moved into the house.  It only comes out at night, so I haven’t seen it clearly.”

owl pinterest“Where did you come from?  I mean, how did you get here?” I asked, realizing that I still wasn’t making a lot of sense.

“Pardon me,” he said in a gracious voice, seeming to understand my rattled state.  “I came in at the eastern gate,” he turned and pointed gracefully as he spoke.

“From there I have been observing the large bird.  This night I decided to try to get closer, for a better look.  Apparently the kitty had similar ideas.  Since she is clearly your cat, are you the owner of this place?  If so, then we are neighbors of a sort.  I live across the road from the eastern gate.”

He paused and I felt his intent gaze on me.  I shifted nervously.  That was definitely a foreign accent.  The words he chose were unusual.  The accent was more apparent on some words, especially the way he said “kitty.”  However, I couldn’t place it.  How would such a person wind up in a tiny town like Atonement, Tennessee?

“Thank you for getting Lilith.  I’m Esmeralda Lawton,” I said, and immediately wondered why I had used my given name.  It was something I rarely did.

“Thank you,” he said in a way that made it seem like I had given him something beyond my name.  It also seemed strange that he should thank me like that in this situation.Nicole Kidman as Ralda-1

“I am called Cael Adriel.  Would it be an imposition if I continue to observe the bird?  As I said, it seems to only come out at night.  I have not seen it anywhere else,” he requested with a note of childlike excitement.

It seemed like such an odd thing to want to do… but who could say with birdwatchers from unknown countries.  Maybe wherever he came from, hanging out in cemeteries at night, watching oversized birds wasn’t unusual.  I shushed the sarcastic part of my head that said that.

He seemed like such a little kid about it, all innocence and fascination, yet all wrapped up in an exterior of big scary sexy.  It took a moment for me to find my voice.  I realized I was staring at him.  I cleared my throat and said, “I um, I don’t suppose it would.  Be an imposition, that is.”

He smiled and inclined his head.  “You have my gratitude.  I believe the,” he hesitated fractionally, “the bird has gone.  I don’t believe it will bother you tonight.  However, I will see you home if you like?” he made the statement a question.

“I don’t think you need to do that,” I said, feeling very uncomfortable and distrustful, and something else that I wasn’t ready to define.  “But I appreciate the offer.  It’s very kind of you,” I added.

Black wingedWhere was the strong intuition that I had come to rely on when meeting new people?  Apparently it was off somewhere being unreliable.  In any case, it wouldn’t do to be rude, not to a new neighbor.  I wished him a good night in as pleasant and unconcerned of a voice as I could manage.  Then I turned to go back to the house.

I walked a few feet away and looked back over my shoulder.  He was still standing there, as still as any of the cemetery statuary.  I gave a little nervous wave, and kept walking.  When I thought I was out of his sight, I walked faster and faster.  I didn’t exactly feel threatened by him.  It was just that the entire situation had been frightening, and I was a little rattled.

I let myself in the backdoor, and slumped against the kitchen wall, still holding the cat.  I told myself to stop shaking.

 ***

veil_of_sky_open_1 copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Copyright © 2012 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.

 http://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM

Three Ingredients – 13: Pigeon, Microwave, Prune

Lucky 13 — that’s how I’ve always thought of the number.  There have been cliffhangers in our serial lately.  Will Episode 13 PigeonEpisode-13 be lucky for the characters?

Ishita at Kooky Cookyng supplied the “ingredients” today.  She playfully threw me a curve with “microwave.” It took a bit of storytelling for me to work that into a 1920’s story, so I hope this episode isn’t too long for anyone. However, it did give us a new character, and I rather like him.  Thank you, Ishita, for the ingredients and for the character they inspired.  Maybe he will turn up in other episodes too.

Coming Up:  Stay tuned for Episode-14, when the ingredients come from scenic Vermont and Michael Fedison, author of The Eye-Dancers

Remember, you can do catch-up reading of our past episodes by clicking the “Three Ingredients Serial Homepage” button at the top of the screen.  And now… Episode-13.

Pigeon, Microwave, Prunes

1920s Cat and Canary

I don’t remember getting out of the Model-T.  I don’t remember Granny Fanny shouting the words “No, Pip.  Don’t look!”  I don’t remember the young policeman taking my arm to hold me back.  And I don’t remember pulling free of his grasp to approach the tall bloody form stretched out on the ground with a hat covering his face.  All I remember is smelling the coppery odor of blood, and seeing the fedora that belonged to Detective Dabney Daniels covering the face.

The hat was still rumpled from where Dabney crushed it in his hands when he told Granny and me about Marshal Moses Myrick being ambushed.  The young copper caught my arm again, more firmly that time.  Granny had my other arm.  “I have to…” was all I could manage to say.

A Ford that vaguely resembled the one belonging to the marshal sat with steam coming from the radiator.  Its front tires were flat, the windshield shattered.  The metal was so riddled with bullet holes that it hardly looked like the same car.Bonnie-Clyde car 1934

Several pigeons sat on the roof of a small building, looking on curiously.  I noticed the birds in a dazed sort of way.  They fluttered off as two more police cars roared up to the place, sirens blaring.  But I barely saw or heard the commotion.

“Miss, please.  You don’t want to look.  It wouldn’t help you!” the young officer said, seeming almost frantic to find the right words.  I guessed that this kind of scene was as new to him as it was to me.  As I tried to pull away from his grasp the young man spoke in a horrified strangle of a voice, “His face is a mess!”

Granny took in a sharp breath.  She froze next to me.  She tilted her head the way she did when she was unraveling a puzzle of one kind or another.  Then her shoulders relaxed minutely.  She was saying something but I wasn’t listening.  Finally a sharp “Paisley Idelle!” pierced the fog of my overwhelmed mind.

flapper-n-hat“It’s not Dabney!” she said in a tone that suggested she had already said the same thing three times.  Three was sort of a magic number with Granny.  She’d repeat herself, but if she had to say something a third time… well, she didn’t appreciate it.

The young copper let go of my arm and spoke to the policemen in the two cars.  In an instant both cars sped off in the direction the gangsters had gone.

“You have a radio, don’t you young man?” Granny asked him.  He said that he did, but wondered how Granny knew.  “Because you wouldn’t have gotten here before the others if you didn’t.  You heard Dabney radio the station, from wherever you were, and headed straight here — isn’t that right?”

He looked at Granny like he thought she must have read his mind.  “How did…?”

“Oh for goodness sakes, how else would you have known?” she said.  “Now, use that radio and tell them that the crooks are probably headed to Wetson’s Mill.  But they better not go barging in until you get more people there!  Tell them that’s on the word of Moses Myrick,” she added.  “They probably wouldn’t take a woman’s word for it,”1928 Detroit police radio she muttered in a tone so low that I was the only one who heard.  Then she gave the young man a small but encouraging smile.  “Go on now.”

The officer jumped into action, radioing the police station, talking back and forth with first the chief and then other officials.  However, every time he mentioned Marshal Myrick’s name the people at the other end seemed to pay attention.

As he worked Granny shook her head sadly.  The handle of the tin box labeled “Johnson’s Autokit” was clenched in her hand, but she didn’t need the bandages from the first aid kit.  Both of the marshal’s men were dead.  The young policeman told us that Detective Daniels had taken a badly injured Marshal Myrick.  I asked how the revenuer was, and he shook his head and murmured, “Not good…”

Then he turned abruptly to answer a call on his radio and he stumbled to the ground.  I tried to help him up and noticed a trickle of blood running down his face.  When I pushed his hair up I could see that the wound was worse as it stretched back across his head.  Granny opened the first aid kit and went to work.

Hank Hertz or Hugo Johnstone-Burt“Bullet grazed your head, didn’t it son?  Why didn’t you say something?” she asked in a very kind voice.

“I didn’t even realize I was bleeding,” he said.  “I just got dizzy all of a sudden.”

“That was as near a miss as there could possibly be,” Granny commented.  Her calm voice seemed to sooth the young policeman.  I was so shook-up myself that I hadn’t paid attention to his state, but Granny had.  “What’s your name son?” she asked as she cleaned the wound.

He winced and tried to draw back, but she put a firm hand at his chin to hold him still.  “Henry Hertz, ma’am.  But everyone calls me Hank,” he said between cringes.  I winced for him.  Granny would make sure that wound was clean whether or not the disinfecting was pleasant.

“I’m going to Doc Vale’s now,” she said as she closed the first aid kit.  “They might need an extra pair of hands.  Besides, I have to know how Moses is.  There’s too much blood here,” Granny Fanny murmured as she turned away.  “Way too much…”

Looking back over her shoulder she added, “Pip, why don’t you help Hank with what he’s got to 1920s Operating roomdo here.  Then drive his car to Veronica and Vincent’s.  Hank doesn’t need to be driving right now.  And if he starts acting sleepy, keep him awake.  He might have a concussion.  That bullet grazed him pretty good.  Doc Vale needs to check him out… one Doc Vale or the other; doesn’t matter which,” she said in a lighter tone, reminding me that Granny enjoyed the fact that Mrs. Vale was such an accomplished physician in an age when few women were doctors.

Hank Hertz and I quickly did what the policeman at the other end of the radio said needed to be done for the crime scene.  I was fascinated with the police radio.  Hank seemed to know more about it than the older coppers back at the station in Savannah, easily telling them how to fix a problem when they started having trouble hearing each other.

“Aren’t you young to be a policeman?” I couldn’t help asking.  Hank blushed and looked slightly put out.  He said you could be a year younger than him and still be a policeman.  “Well, at least to have this kind of responsibility?” I added, indicating the radio.  “You seem to know a lot about it.”

His cheeks pinked again, but that time in a better way at the compliment.  “My grandfather was a scientist.  He was one of the first people to figure out things like radio waves and microwaves.  His name was Heinrich Hertz, and he proved the existence of radio waves back in the late 1880s,” Hank explained.

1929 Radio News Sept“And that’s what lets the radio work right? Waves you can’t see,” I said, feeling a little pleased that he was surprised I had any idea or interest.  “I paid attention in school,” I told him with a grin.  “And I had teachers that didn’t have anything against girls learning scientific things.  I guess I was lucky.  I know that isn’t always the case.”

The young policeman was really in his element talking about the radio and its technology.  I think it helped Hank get over the shock of the gruesome scene at which he arrived.  He had seen more of the gory details than I had.  What I saw was bad enough.  More than bad enough.

His enthusiasm bubbled up when he talked about how radios worked, despite the headache I could tell he was getting.  He rubbed his head and started to fidget with the bandage.  I pushed his hand away from the gauze dressing.  “Granny will cook your goose if you mess with her bandage,” I told him with a wink.  “So what about the other waves you mentioned?  What was it – mini waves?” I asked meaning to distract him from the headache with a subject he clearly enjoyed.

Hank seemed to have a little trouble focusing.  I thought the headache must be pretty fierce.  “Oh, you mean microwaves?  I tried to tell my ma that SunPigeon-PBmicrowaves might be used in the kitchen one day, for cooking.  But she laughed and said I was too much like my grandpa.  But I think — with the right equipment, they could be used to cook food.  They would stimulate water molecules to vibrate and give off energy.  You see, the frequency at which microwaves oscillate corresponds to a frequency that heats up water molecules, so they can absorb a lot of the energy.  It would cook the food!  Like that pigeon over there,” he said pointing.  “You could cook a Cornish hen in probably three minutes.”

The pigeon chose that moment to fly away rather noisily.  Maybe it was offended.  However, Hank was keen on the microwave idea.  I could tell he thought it was the bee’s knees… and I actually did understand… Well okay, half of it anyway.

I helped Hank get to his car, though he seemed to think he was the one helping me.  prune juiceHe insisted on driving, but all I had to do was remind him that Granny said he’d better not drive.  Granny Fanny had made an impression on the young policeman, and he gave in quickly.

Before we could get on the road, my stomach growled loudly.  Hank was determined to do whatever he could to look after me.  I started wondering just how badly I had reacted to the scene to cause him to be so concerned.  Maybe he just needed something else to focus on, someone living.  He reached under the seat and came up with a tin filled with prunes.

“Uh, I don’t need those,” I said awkwardly when he offered the dried plumbs.  I wondered if that bullet had done more than graze his head.

He laughed and looked a little embarrassed.  “Oh, no.  I mean, prunes are real good for you.  I want to be a better shot. With a gun, you know, since I’m a police officer now.  My ma said prunes will give you healthy eyes and all sorts of good things.  You just have to make sure you don’t eat too many!”

Fortunately that uncomfortable conversation was interrupted when something drew my eyes to the sky.  A brightly colored bird flew low, in front of us.  “Cracker!” I exclaimed.Parrot in flight

Whether or not the parrot heard me, I couldn’t say.  But she kept flying.  At least she was heading in the same direction that we were.  Despite the critical circumstances, I couldn’t help thinking about Cracker’s behavior.  First she had gone in the direction of Wetson’s Mill, where the marshal thought a gang of bootleggers was based.  Cracker’s late, unlamented owner, Cracker Jack Daddy, probably spent a lot of time there, and might well have taken her with him.  What if she had gone there looking for him?

Next she flew in the direction that Dabney had taken Moses Myrick.  I wondered if she actually would go to the doctors Vale.  Was the bird that smart?  She was awfully fond of Marshal Myrick.  Could she smell him and follow the scent?

With the detective and the marshal once again at the forefront of my thoughts, I was sick with worry.  It was overwhelming.  For a moment it seemed like I couldn’t even function.  I stared blankly over the steering wheel of Hank’s car without moving. There were so many bullet holes in the marshal’s car. Empty shell casings littered the ground everywhere I looked.  And the blood — there was so much blood… Dabney Daniels might have been wounded too for all I knew.  Hank had been hurt and bleeding without even realizing it.  It would be just like the detective to hide the fact that he was injured, so he could be sure the marshal got immediate care.

Then I remembered the marshal chuckling about me and telling my grandmother, “That apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”

1927 Life-JanBy golly, I thought with pride, he was right.  I told Hank to hold on tight.  He looked at me wide-eyed.  Then I punched the gas, just like Granny Fanny would have.

Recipe

Brandied Prunes

Brandiednprunes

Recipe credit: Michael Moore (Ninemsn.com)

Ingredients

Brandied Prunes
30 dried prunes (stones removed)
150g caster sugar Chocolate Ganache Mascarpone cream
200ml water 150ml cream 150ml cream
100ml brandy 150g dark chocolate 150g mascarpone
1 cinnamon quill (stick) 50g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways vanilla essence
2 cloves

(Conversion Calculator)

Method

Place all brandied prune ingredients into a pot and bring to the boil. Add prunes and cook for 4 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool in the liquid.

They are best left to steep for 24 hours.

For chocolate ganache, bring cream to the boil, then pour over chocolate. Mix together until dissolved. Allow to cool in the fridge.

For mascarpone cream, whisk cream together with mascarpone. Add sugar and vanilla and place into a piping bag.

Fill prunes with some of the ganache and place into your serving dish, pipe mascarpone on top and drizzle a little sauce over them. You may even like to add a little extra brandy.

***

The Three Ingredients Serial: Copyright © 2014

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

No part of this writing, blog, or book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, 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, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Your Valentine from Atonement, Tennessee

AT Valentine 2

I thought it would be fun to post a Valentine for all of you — in the form of a short story.  I admit the idea of writing a story for everyone came to me a bit late, so I knew I’d have to scramble to get it finished in time, especially since I wanted to post it a day before the holiday.  I didn’t even know what it should be about, what setting, what sort of characters.  Then I thought I’d make an “Atonement” story, but one that is not in the novel at all.

This tale features one of the Atonement, Tennessee characters — the sheriff, Robin Warden.  If you’ve read the novel, you’ll probably think he’s an odd choice, but that’s what makes it fun.  The sheriff is not the most endearing citizen of Atonement.  This short story takes place quite a few years before the timeline of the novel, with a much younger Robin who is only a deputy sheriff. He has recently come to the town of Atonement and of course, strange things happen.

Forgive me if it gets just a little bit corny — after all, it is supposed to be a Valentine.

Hugs,

teagan

An Atonement, Tennessee Valentine

Hey Robin!  Where’s Batman?  He might let you drive the Batmobile if you’re real nice to him.”  The bullies hadBatmanRobin never outgrown their taunts.  Whether they were ten, twenty, or fifty, those jerks would harass him with the same old thing, Robin Warden thought as he landed on his chest with a thud.  Why had he thought of them?  He had been away from those guys for a month.

What was so wrong with looking like Burt Ward, or being named Robin?  Well, all right — he supposed he could understand how the jokes were tempting.  What he didn’t understand was why they got such a kick out of the same old jabs.

Robin picked himself up and continued looking for the pig.  He’d been chasing it all afternoon.  He couldn’t believe a stupid pig kept getting the better of him.  Maybe that’s why he had thought of the bullies he’d grown up with back in Asheville.  The pig was dragging his self-image through the mud. Literally.

True love heartHis breath froze on the air as he sighed… February in Atonement, Tennessee — “East Bumbles,” the back end of nowhere.  Then he realized that it was Valentine’s Day and he was even more annoyed.  Robin secretly had daydreams of a perfect Valentine’s Day, bringing flowers to a beautiful girl, romance, the whole hearts-and-flowers nine yards.  One year the guys had found out, and he’d never heard the end of it.  As if his unfortunate resemblance to the TV Batman’s sidekick didn’t give his tormentors enough fuel for their quips, they teased him about Valentine’s Day too…

He gave a derisive snort at the memory, and a porcine snuffle seemed to answer from the other side of a bush.  With a lunge he almost had the pig that time.  Almost.  It slipped out of his grasp like a magician, and it ran faster than anything that might someday become bacon had a right to run.  Robin patted his chest to make sure the deputy’s badge was still there.  At least he had that over the guys back home.  He was a real deputy sheriff.

“I’ll show those jerks,” he thought.  “I’ll be driving a real ‘Batmobile’ when I get my own police car, or close enough.  They’ll never match that,” he promised himself.  “And I’ll catch that dang pig or die trying too!”

Scrambling to his feet, Robin ran after the pig again.  He was amazed that his Valentine’s Pig ValentineDay was being spent that way.  He asked himself what difference it made.  He hadn’t made any friends in the tiny town of Atonement yet.  There weren’t many people his age period.  He’d only met a couple of girls, and they weren’t interested in him.  He let out an irritated breath.  The blasted pig might as well be his Valentine.

A glance at the cloudy sky told him night would come early.  He picked up his pace in the chase after the pig.  Leaves crunched as he pounded the twisting path, running, sliding, gaining, and losing.  Sometimes he wondered if the little porker intentionally let him catch a glimpse of it.  Once it actually seemed to be waiting for him to catch up.  Robin was so exasperated he could have screamed.

Until the unwanted memory of the bullies intruded on his thoughts, Robin had thought signing up for the Interstate Sheriffs’ Department exchange program had been the worst mistake of his life.  To think he’d believed he was bored living in Asheville, North Carolina!  It was a wonderland of excitement compared to Atonement, Tennessee.  However, after he thought about it, chasing livestock through rural Atonement was probably better than dealing with the bullies and jerks back home. Robin shook his head resignedly.

Gate Ajar Night

It was really clouding up, and it would be dark soon.  Robin thought uneasily that he wasn’t exactly sure where he was anymore; the pig had led him on such a chase.  That was kind of unnerving.  He’d only lived in the area for a matter of weeks.  The idea of being lost, in the woods, on a winter night was not something he liked to consider.

Then he caught sight of the little rascal running up a trail.  With a burst of energy Robin poured on the speed.  That sorry pig was not going to get away again!  It was headed straight for a tall iron fence.  The pig kept running.  So did Robin.  He finally had it cornered.  Or not…  Were some of the iron bars bent aside?

The young deputy cursed as the pig went through the gap in the fence.  However, Robin Warden wasn’t any bigger than Batman’s sidekick with the regrettably similar name.  He slipped through the damaged bars and made a heroic dive for the pig.  It complained loudly when he caught it by its back feet.

The wind kicked up as he tied a rope securely around the wriggling animal.  He was so intent on his task that he didn’t notice how threatening and dark the black clouds became.  Abruptly the pig became unexpectedly still.  That’s when Robin realized the earth was trembling.  A loud thump proved something heavy had fallen, but he didn’t see what it was.  An earthquake?  He knew Tennessee sometimes experienced very small quakes.

A sharp crack made him jump half out of his skin.  It sounded like lightning, but there was no flash, just the sharp, sudden sound.  Robin looked over his shoulder and saw that a huge old oak tree had a wide split down the center of its trunk.Split tree

The frightened pig huddled against him.  For a moment it didn’t dawn on Robin that he was holding the animal.  The ground stilled.  Robin and the pig looked at one another with wide startled eyes.  The pig looked as embarrassed as Robin felt.  At least the guys weren’t around to see that awkward moment.  He set the pig on the ground and stood up.

Robin took a deep breath.  “Oh crap!” he muttered when he saw that he’d dropped the rope.  However, the pig sat calmly back on its haunches, like a well-trained pet on a leash.  Robin quickly bent down and snatched up the rope before the animal could change its mind.

Mystified by the pig’s sudden change in behavior, he scratched it behind the ears.  It seemed to smile, but he guessed that was just the shape of its mouth.  He patted the pig’s head and said, “Good pig.”  Even as he spoke the words they sounded ridiculous.

Robin spotted the source of the heavy thud sound.  A tombstone was overturned.  He looked around at a very old and rundown Mausoleum_dreamstime_xs_20242963cemetery.  At least he knew where he was — the old Sunhold estate’s graveyard.

A snuffling sound drew his attention.  There was another pig behind the tumbled gravestone.  Then he saw a third pig a few feet away, rooting in the tall dead grass.  The more Robin looked around, the more pigs he saw.  There were at least a dozen.

Twilight descended and Robin stood in perplexed awe, looking at all the pigs.  As the light dimmed, the pigs seemed to emanate a pale glow.  The one he had spent most of the day chasing looked up at him with its smiling face and he took a reflexive step back.  The pig had blue eyes.  “What the—” he muttered, wondering how he had failed to notice that.

The blue-eyed pig nudged Robin’s knee and swung its head toward the damaged oak as if it meant for him to look.  The rent in the tree trunk shown with blue light that reminded him of the cobalt vase his mother had, a deep rich blue.

The pig took a few steps toward the tree, as much as the rope would allow.  However, the animal didn’t tug at the leash.  Robin stood rooted to the ground.  As twilight deepened the glow from the pigs became more apparent.  The other pigs walked tranquilly toward the tree.  The one on his rope sat back down, seeming patient and at peace.John_Collier_Queen_Guinevre's_Maying

The cobalt blue radiance expanded beyond the tree.  All the pigs snorted and snuffled in a way that sounded… pleased.  Then a girl stepped out of the glow.  The luminous pigs continued to look peaceful, but somehow Robin could feel that they were happy and excited.

At first Robin thought the girl was little more than a child.  But as she approached, Robin saw that she was in fact a petite woman.  Long ash blond hair fell in waves like a river of moonlight that reached almost to her knees.  Pale blue flowers were scattered through her tresses.  As she moved the blossoms seemed to bob on the currents of the moonlit river of her hair.

Robin stood in open mouthed astonishment.  She was so beautiful that he couldn’t speak; so purely lovely that there was no room in his mind to question the strange circumstance of her appearing.  Finally the idea that he should say something tickled in his stunned thoughts.  He tried to talk, and managed to make some kind of sound, but the noise that came from his lips reminded him of a hog squealing.

The radiant pigs gathered in a half circle at her feet.  They became quite noisy as they looked at one another and then up at the tiny woman.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  The porcine grunts took on a specific pattern and rhythm, and gradually came together as if the pigs were chanting.  They seemed to grunt the same three syllables repeatedly, go-eh-win, go-eh-win.  Finally the grunting chant flowed into the sound of a name, Goewin.

He gazed up at her in silent wonder.  No face had ever been so sublime.  No name had ever bQueen and knighteen so poetic.  Goewin.  She spoke his name and he thought he might die from the happiness the sound gave him.  Robin didn’t realize that he had dropped to the ground on one knee, amid the glowing pigs that clearly adored her.  He felt unworthy of her touch when she laid her hand on his head and told him to rise.  He was no better than the pigs… probably even less.  At least the pigs could glow.

With weakness in his knees, Robin struggled to his feet.  As he stood he looked into her eyes.  He was astonished to find that they were lavender and as bright as any faceted amethyst.  Then when Goewin returned his gaze, Robin felt so light of heart that he was surprised he didn’t float into the air.

She exclaimed in delight.  “Oh you found her!  Deme, you naughty pig!  Your brothers and sisters came right away, but you roamed the countryside in your game, getting this kind man to chase you,” she admonished the pig, but her voice was gentle.  “Robin, I really am sorry that Deme led you on such a chase.  She took an instant liking to you.  To her it was a great game,” Goewin told the young deputy.

It never occurred to him to question how she knew his name, or that he had been in pursuit of the pig all day.  Robin could barely string two words together.  She seemed to understand when she paused briefly.  Goewin continued to talk, but he was sure she meant to give him a moment to adjust to the strange situation and her presence.  By chattering she gave him time to find his voice.

“It truly is important that I get these pigs back where they belong.  Do you know that 2 Pigsthere has already been at least one war over these pigs?” she asked, but nodded as if answering for him.  “Yes.  And it was a very foolish prank that let them get away this time.  How very shortsighted of that trickster to do such a thing.  But you, Robin, have helped set things aright.  You have my eternal gratitude,” she said as she lowered her eyes and curtsied deeply.

She actually curtsied, he thought.  First she’d placed her hand on his head and told him to rise.  Now she curtsied to him.  It made Robin feel like he was a knight of Camelot and she was a princess.  Suddenly he felt strong and valiant, as if he wore the brightest armor.  Then when he glanced at himself he gasped.  He was glowing!  A little anyway — the light wasn’t nearly as bright as the radiance of the otherworldly pigs, but he was definitely glowing.

His reaction made Goewin giggle.  It was like chimes, he thought.  Her laugh made him smile.  Robin didn’t know how long he stood looking at her like a dumbstruck fool.  He didn’t even care if he was being silly.  They looked into one another’s eyes, they laughed, he thought they even sang.  Later he couldn’t say what they talked about, what they actually did, but he never forgot the bliss he felt.  Moreover, he realized he might never feel such things again, so he simply enjoyed it.

Midnight moon farieRobin remembered noticing the various changes to the sky as the hours passed.  Then as pink and gold clouds streaked the morning, Goewin left.  She didn’t ask him to come with her.  Robin was pretty sure that she knew he was afraid to venture that far from the world he knew, so she didn’t invite him.  The young deputy could have kicked himself for that fear, for not asking her to take him with her.  However, Goewin touched his face and her hand sent a vibration that reached from his chin through his scull.  After that all he could feel when he thought of her was joy and peace.

However, that happiness didn’t stop him from going back to that same spot in the old cemetery every Valentine’s night.

The end.

 Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

No part of this writing, blog, or book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, 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, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.