Mirror of Truth — Features from Atonement, TN

Welcome back to Atonement, TN!

Annie's Antiques

Annie’s Antiques

Yes, this is my warped idea of taking a break — still making a weekly blog post.  However, the interactive serial stories really are much more labor intensive than these posts.  I actually am getting some writing done on Atonement in Bloom, my main novel in progress!

Update — Writing Process and ProgressAtonement_in_Bloom_1_03-24-2014

Previously I said I realized that I needed to divide and move around my chapter length magical prologue.  As “Racine” might say, Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!  Did that ever make a lot of work. I’m happy to say that things are moving and shaking to my satisfaction. I expect to finish that work this weekend.

During that moving-around last weekend I wrote some new material.  I didn’t think it was much though, until I went back to check.  In addition to that arduous editing, I wrote 3,000 words of new story-line.  Since I write at a snail’s pace, I was very pleased with that.  Now I’m crossing my fingers that I make as much progress this weekend.

A New Feature — Annie’s Inventory Notes

Antique store front

Part of my purpose in these doing these posts is to make the setting and characters in the “Atonement” books more real to everyone. So each week I’ll share something about the town and/or its residents.

I had the idea for this “feature” when we did the opinion poll.  This post provides the first installment of Annie’s Inventory Notes.

Annie, the proprietor of Annie’s Antiques and Consignment Shop had a very minor role in the first book, Atonement, Tennessee.  I wouldn’t even describe her as a supporting character, the part was so small.

However, when I had the thought to do Annie’s Inventory Notes, I also had the idea to make Annie something a little out of the ordinary.  I’m not sure how much of her “unusual nature” will be revealed in Atonement in Bloom.  But I thought it might be fun for us to share the secret, here on my blog, that there’s more to Annie than meets the eye!Shop door bell

Adding to this mystery and secrecy, last time I mentioned that an unexpected new character popped up for book-2.  That character is Adelle, who happens to be Annie’s sister. The sisters will lend a mysterious vibe to the story

If you opened the door to Annie’s Antiques and Consignment Shop, you’d hear the old fashioned tinkle of a little bell attached to the door.  It wouldn’t be unusual for you to smell home-baked cookies. Often Annie has a tray of delicious cookies by the cash register.  So look for a recipe at the end of this post.

Now, here is the first installment of “Annie’s Inventory Notes.”  The timeline of this would have been in book-1.

Annie’s Inventory Notes: The Mirror of Truth and Justice Most PoeticAntique Store Inside Annies

Annie carefully cleaned the antique mirror.  The engraved text seemed clear, but she wanted to make sure she didn’t miss so much as a syllable.  “See in your reflection, truth and justice most poetic,” it read.

A chill went down Annie’s spine as she read the words.  Then a wave of nausea assailed her.  Most people wouldn’t have a strong physical reaction to a mystically infused object.  Although Annie looked like an ordinary woman, Annie wasn’t most people.  And the Mirror of Truth wasn’t just any mystical antique.

“Lady Justice,” she murmured with a shudder for blind justice.Mirror

Annie made a point of not looking directly into the mirror before covering it.

Her thoughts rushed as she tried to consider the best thing to do with the mirror.  However, Annie’s burden was that of non-interference.  She was to be a record-keeper, nothing more.  Providing a normal life for her sons depended on her complete abstinence from intervention.  No one could know what she sensed.  Certainly no one could know the things to which she bore witness over her lifetime in Atonement, Tennessee.

The shop bell rang.  The moment she saw Lacey Hampton walk into her store, Annie knew any decision about the Mirror of Truth was already out of her hands.

***

Annie’s Cookies

I searched the WordPress countryside for cookies that Annie might bake and give to her patrons. I found a charming blog called The Little Blue Mixer.  Coincidentally, that blogger is Anna!  Now, how cool is that? Anna’s treats made me think of the kind of things my fictional Annie might bake. So check out her blog, particularly the cookies below.

Apple Maple Sugar Cookies

Apple-Maple Cookies

https://thelittlebluemixer.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/apple-maple-sugar-cookies/

***

Copyright © 2015 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.

 

79 Words & Duct Tape — Features from Atonement, TN

First an Update — My Writing Process

I began drafting Atonement in Bloom about a year ago (as I’ve already whined).  Last week I saw that a long “magical” interlude right after the opening needed to happen later in the story. You’d think that would be a simple matter…

Maxine_cheese-whine

However, delaying that part of the plot actually caused the weather in Atonement, TN to change, so I have to account for that. Plus moving half a chapter creates changes in other parts of the book.  Confused yet?  I am.

A fun side effect of all this moving and shaking is that it brought a new eatery (Adelle’s Attic; a tearoom) to the town, and a new character.  Adelle’s presence adds a new aspect to an existing minor character from Atonement, Tennessee too.  No — that’s all I’m saying about that (winks).  Right now I’m not sure how big Adelle’s part will be in Atonement in Bloom but it should add interest.

veil_of_sky_open_Lilith copyRecently I had an unexpected addition to my “process” — if you can even call it a process.  Blogger extraordinaire, Chris Graham posted a challenge to “write a short story of seventy-nine (79) words (not counting the title) with a plot and characterization.”  Thanks again to the Story Reading Ape (writer, promoter of authors, cover designer, and all ’round fantastic ape) for posting my offering.

Writing short anything is something I’ve never done well… but I thought that might be a good way to get my head back into my Atonement universe, so to speak.  So I did a little ditty for that. You’ll find it below.  Ralda’s calico cat, Lilith gets the spotlight.

Around Town in Atonement

Duct Tape

Creating Adelle’s tearoom got me thinking about details of the other things you’d see if you visited Atonement, TN.  Like Ralda’s duct tape masterpiece.  (She resorted to duct tape to seal off the cat’s escape route.) You’ll have to read the book to learn more about the duct tape, escape routes and the adventures that result.Duct tape


Do you have a bit of duct tape artistry you’d like to share?  Leave a comment if you do!

 

And now… Here are 79 words that have to do with Atonement in Bloom.  This may or may not show up in the book.  Should I keep them?

Lilith’s Decision

Lilith and mirror

Deliberating, Lilith watched the newcomer sleep.

“So strange,” the calico thought, “human shaped but garden scented.”  Lilith inhaled deeply and continued pondering.  “And too newly made to be good or evil.  So do I like you or not?”

Lilith sniffed the female’s long green hair and she stirred and put a delicate hand to the cat’s silky fur, but didn’t wake.  Lovely aromatic catnip suddenly grew from between the planks of the wood floor.  That made up Lilith’s mind.

***

Wishing you a good morning, afternoon, or evening from Atonement, TN!  See you next time.  Mega hugs!

 

Copyright © 2015 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.

Good Mimosa Mornin’! — Features from Atonement, TN

Atonement Tennessee

Here we have it — my first “between the serials” post.  I admit that it feels a little strange, not writing a weekly episode after doing that for so long.

Note: In the title of these posts I’m making a distinction between the name of the first novel and the name of the town. “Atonement, Tennessee” is my debut novel.  I’m using the state abbreviation as title in these posts because they might be about any story set in the fictional town  Atonement, TN.

Update: My Writing Process

 

I actually started work on book-2 (“Atonement in Bloom”) close to a year ago. Unfortunately the bits of time I’ve been able to grab for the novel are brief and infrequent.  I do more backtracking to refresh my memory than moving forward…

Lilith spies something in Sunhold's cemetery

Lilith spies something in Sunhold’s cemetery

Now, it’s also been quite some time since I wrote book-1, Atonement, Tennessee, so the first step in my process is to re-read my novel (and I haven’t even had time to finish that). I want to make sure book-2 has the same tone and feeling.

The re-reading provided inspiration for this post — a novel snippet and the first installment of Recipes from Bethany’s Kitchen.  The excerpt is from book-1  Atonement, Tennessee, Chapter 3, Mimosa Morning.

Holding MimosaHere, early on a Sunday morning, Ralda makes an exploration of her new property, and she unexpectedly gets a little better acquainted with the new neighbors she met less than 24 hours before…

***

Rounding a bend in the path I came upon some of the old stone benches in a small clearing near the outside edge of the cemetery.  Three very surprised women — my neighbors from the day before — turned to look at me.  With cocktail glasses in hand, they exchanged puzzled looks.

“Well, good mimosa mornin’,” Lacey said showing an impossibly white smile and prefect teeth.

“A woman after my own heart,” said Bethany, dressed again in head to toe black.  “She wanders the cemetery on Sunday morning.”

I smiled in return, but feeling like an intruder on my own property, I didn’t move any closer. 

Racine’s eyes widened.  “Oh my God!” she exclaimed.  “This is part of the old Sunhold estate.  I wasn’t even thinking!  And here we are, trespassing on our new neighbor; not to mention the booze.  Just butter my butt and call me a biscuit!”

***

Which brings us to the first installment of Recipes from Bethany’s Kitchen. Bethany brought along a bartender friend this time.

How To Make – Mimosa Cocktail

Wishing you a good mornin’, afternoon, or evening from Atonement, TN!  See you next time.  Mega hugs!

***

Where to “atone”

Barnes & Noble Nook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/atonement-tennessee-teagan-geneviene/1117790203?ean=2940148918431

Kindle and Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A/ref=la_B00HHDXHVM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412384486&sr=1-1

Amazon Canada

http://www.amazon.ca/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444333147&sr=8-1&keywords=atonement+tennessee

Amazon UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A

Amazon India

http://www.amazon.in/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1481826948

Copyright © 2015 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.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

I always enjoy the inimitable Donna Parker’s posts at “Yadadarcyyada” – her style and presence is sparklingly apparent, but her heart shines through, brightest of all. So I was happily reading along, when I discovered she could be sneaky! 😀 I didn’t expect to find a review of my novel, “Atonement, Tennessee” within this wonderful post!
It can be very hard for me to disengage from stress and work on my novels. Donna has just given me a world of encouragement. I hope to be working on book-2 this weekend. Thank you, thank you Donna! Mega hugs!
❤ ⭐ 😀

yadadarcyyada

1age44Dear readers, I admit to being in a bit of a pickle.
In youth, life seemed limitless, infinite.
Writing was the same, I just wrote, not a lot of stopping to think.
Such is the power and joy of youth.

And as we age limitations don’t just come from the outside, but from your own body:

  • Sagging (oh no, those should still be much higher).

  • Weird spots randomly attach themselves to your skin (“Out, Damned Spot!” doesn’t work, believe me, I’ve tried).

  • Eating cake may seem more exciting and less work than other, er, strenuous activities…

  • But if you’re not aging, you’ve discovered the Fountain of Youth (good for you, care to share?), or you’re dead and you just don’t know it yet.

1age43

Sigh, so many things I wish I’d done or not done.
Sweet dreams lost, given up, given away, or stolen…
Sweet dreams fulfilled, waiting in the…

View original post 513 more words

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Conclusion

99 Things

A few days ago I posted a heads-up that Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers would have its concluding episode today. Then I had the “brilliant idea” to use a poll, asking you to vote on which of certain features you’d like to see on the posts I’ll be doing while I work on book-2 of the Atonement series.  Well… as I told KR Big Fish, I seem to have a bad case of “foot in mouth disease,” because now I can see huge problems, like spoilers, with most of the feature ideas I suggested.

What kind of feature will it be?  Drumroll please

Annie's Antiques

Annie’s Antiques & Consignment Shop

I will rotate between (or possibly do both)…

Recipes from Bethany’s Kitchen

and

Annie’s Inventory Notes

More about these features when the time comes.  Once Atonement in Bloom is finished, I’ll do another “three things” serial, with your things driving the “pantser” plot.

Now back to our serial story.  As you know, all four of the serials I’ve so far published on this blog are pantser stories. They are completely unplanned. I let the “three things” readers send drive the plot of each episode.  This conclusion is the exception. It was not driven by three things — rather it was formed by the 3 things from the 33 previous episodes — so that’s 99 Things!

 

girl-waiting-for-train-freeYou can see how that might make for a longer than usual episode. Some of you will be pleased.  For those who don’t like longer posts, be ready to mark your place, maybe by remembering the closest picture. I hope you’ll be interested enough to finish this final episode. This conclusion is about twice as long as most of the other chapters in this serial; so not really all that long.

The steam locomotive to the Victorian Era has reached the platform one more time.  I’m happier than you can know that you’ve been on the train with me, and that you are here for the finale today.  Are you ready?

All aboard!

34.  Conclusion of Copper, the Alchemist & the Woman in Trousers

The alchemically enhanced, large version of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw powered-on, and with a screech the threads began to turn.

Reading Ape purple“I’m sorry my friend, there’s no time for proper goodbyes!” Corenlis Drebbel called to Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape.  “It will save an enormous amount of energy if we take the aerial screw through the opening the villains created.”

“I understand, Lord of Alchemy,” Hicks told him.

Just then Itsy ran back into view.  The chimpanzee rushed straight for Cal Hicks and I thought she meant him harm.  I yelled for Cornelis to do something, but he only gave me that pucker-faced contemplative look of his.  Itsy slipped as she ran at Hicks.  She slid to a stop, sobbing at his feet.

To my astonishment she turned her tear-streaked face up to Hicks and handed him the mystic people harmonic tuner.  Itsy seemed to be apologizing, but it was difficult to distinguish her words with all the weeping and wailing.

“What the devil?” I began.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

Cornelis cast an impatient gaze on me and I didn’t finish my sentence.  “You really mean to tell me that you didn’t know?” he asked with a sardonic twist of his mouth.

“Know what?” I sputtered.

The alchemist gave a negligent waive of his hand at the contrivance above our heads.  The threads of the device glowed yellow-green and the noise was magically silenced.  I could hear Itsy clearly as she spoke to Cal Hicks, repeating her remorse.

“They said they’d kill you!” she cried.  “Ced told me so.  Those people are the ones who enslaved Ced.  Thinking he was only a stupid animal, the fiends discussed it in front of him.  They plan to kill your doppelgänger, once they get what they want.  And we think you will die when your double is killed!” Itsy bawled.  “I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to you Cal— I mean Mr. Hicks.”

“No, no dear child,” Hicks told Itsy as he patted her hand.  “It doesn’t work like that with the doppelgängers.  If they wanted to kill me, then they’d have to kill me.”

1900 Maid with tray

Bitsy as we “thought” she was

The villains, including Bitsy the erstwhile maid at the Belle Inn moved closer.  Abruptly Itsy gave a horrified look at Cal Hicks, and put both hands to her mouth, desperately trying to avoid sicking-up.  Still halfway across the burned out yard, I saw Bitsy being less successful at controlling her reaction to the nearness of her double.

“Do you mean to tell me Itsy was in love with Cal Hicks and you deduced it that quickly?” I demanded crossly of Cornelis Drebbel.

The Dutchman of course, only gave a self-satisfied smirk.  “I know what they were after too,” he added with a wriggle of his bushy blonde eyebrows at the foes who chased us all the way into the amethyst world.

I tapped my foot, silently waiting for him to answer.  I wouldn’t give the man the satisfaction of asking.

“What did they want?” Copper asked, spoiling the point I was trying to get across.

“Why you are standing in it, Copper!” Cornelis said and tousled her new penny colored curls.  “We all knew it was a potential, we just didn’t really think they knew about the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.”Aerial Screw drawing

“So they wanted to make one of these things?  Will it really fly enough to carry us?” Copper asked.

“Oh yes, Copper.  This one will fly and carry us wherever we want to go,” Cornelis Drebbel told the girl and grinned before turning to me.

Copper looked preoccupied with her surroundings.  The alchemist moved closer to me and spoke in a faint whisper.  “They knew about the valuable drawings all along,” he told me.  “But they needed a talented inventor if they were to have any hope of making it work.  Calvin Hixon slipped through their fingers.  So they set out to kidnap his daughter, planning to use Copper to force her father to do their bidding,” Cornelis finished.

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

“Ignatius,” I hissed accusingly.  “Bitsy got the information from him, one way or another, didn’t she,” I said and Cornelis nodded.  “Hixon surely told him about the drawings when he tried to bring Ignatius into the family fold, if he in fact didn’t tell him before.”

“Wave goodbye, Copper.  We must hurry and be off,” Cornelis told her and she waved and blew kisses to Cal Hicks, who looked very sad to see us leave.

A horrified expression came to Copper’s blue eyes.  “Absinthe hurry — come here!  Aubrieta!” Copper yelled to the little fairies.

The last time I noticed the Green Fairy and his mate the two skunk-looking fae fluttered around the upper parts of the aerial screw, making adjustments.  However, I followed Copper’s gaze and saw them through the tall window of the laboratory.  They were inside the building and investigated the array of gadgets on the long worktable.

Aubrieta, the Purple Fairy who had been trapped in a transformation as the one-eyed-one-horned-flying-purple-people-eater when she first came to this realm, chirped as she darted from one instrument to another.  Absinthe, the Green Fairy behaved similarly.  The two moved a few strange looking implements aside for reasons only they knew.

Absinthe, the Green Fairy

Absinthe, the Green Fairy

The acute hearing of the fae caused them to stop what they were doing and turn toward Copper’s voice.  The fairies dotted on the girl.  A purple and green aura surrounded the small collection of implements.  Absinthe shook his fluffy striped tail at the aura and it disappeared — along with all the devices it covered.  Aubrieta nodded to her mate in a satisfied seeming way and the two fairies popped out of sight.

An instant later Absinthe appeared on Copper’s shoulder.  Aubrieta fluttered in the air beside her, delicately playing with a strand of her coppery hair.  The display was charmingly affectionate, but it seemed sad to me.

A tear rolled down each of Copper’s cheeks.  Absinthe kissed one and Aubrieta kissed the other.  Without realizing I spoke aloud, I had murmured the word no.  Absinthe flew to me and playfully pulled the bright purple streak in my hair.  I knew the metering device would turn completely purple if we stayed too long in the amethyst world.  But the alchemist never warned me that my hair might begin to turn ultra-violet!

Absinthe turned his bantam backside toward me and fluffed out his tail, pretending he was about to spray his potent potable of super-powered absinthe poot.  Aubrieta chirped a warning at him, but both still seemed playful to me.green skunk palm

“They’re not coming with us?” I asked Cornelis, but I already knew the answer.

“Felicity, I do believe you’ve become attached to our farting fae,” Cornelis said.  “No they aren’t coming,” he continued.  “Well, not right away.  They’re far too fond of Copper to stay away.  No, they’ll make sure the portal closes properly behind us.  We don’t want all manner of riffraff from our world coming into this idyllic purple place.”

“So they’ll join us again in moments,” I said hopefully.

Copper shook her head sadly, but then brightened.  “They have a surprise for Cornelis,” she confided in an over-loud whisper that immediately got the alchemist’s attention.  “They’re going to stay and fix his submarine.  Then they’ll bring it with them,” she told me as a grinning Cornelis turned his back, pretending he didn’t hear.Drebbel submarine

As the threads of the contraption whirred the gondola lifted up into the air.  Cornelis didn’t take it up very high though.  The portal through which the hydrofoil entered was not far above the ground.  The aerial screw entered the edge of the bright pink aura that outlined the opening to our world.  Copper looked intently all around at the crowd of simians.

“Viola’s not here.  I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I really liked her.  Can’t we go back so I can tell her?  Maybe she’d like to go with us,” Copper pleaded.

“No child,” Cornelis told her looking genuinely regretful as the flying machine began to enter the gateway.  “This portal can only be used once.  If we tried to go back now, we’d be lost between.”

“Between what?” I had to ask.

Jamie Murray as Felicity

Jamie Murray as Felicity

“Between here and there,” Cornelis said and my mouth twisted, because I should have known he’d say something to annoy me.  “I hear it’s not a terribly pleasant place,” he added.

When I looked back toward the laboratory, I saw the lavender sky.  Turning my head the other direction I saw a sky of blue.  I sighed a relieved, happy breath.  Sometimes I wondered if I would ever see that blue sky again.

Just as the gondola finished traversing the gateway, I looked back and saw the hydrofoil charging toward us.

“Oh no…” Cornelis muttered.

I could see Bitsy’s angry face.  The men with her held up guns aimed at us, ready to fire the minute they got close enough.

“Cornelis, shouldn’t you put some kind of shield around us.  Those guns fire real bullets, you realize,” I reminded the alchemist.

“He wasn’t oh-no-ing about the guns,” Copper said with a light of comprehension in her blue eyes as she watched the scene in wonder.

The hydrofoil entered the portal and immediately the view was dimmed by a foggy veil.  The craft lurched violently.  Then it rocked as if in slow motion.  The fog became so thick we could no longer see inside the portal.  The fog bulged out from the gateway and then drew back.  I heard the hydrofoil’s engine cough and muffled yelling from the people manning the craft.  After a moment there was silence.Forlanini hydrofoil

Copper, the alchemist, and I stared dumbfounded.  Finally the shrill cry of a hawk broke the silence.  I gave an involuntary shudder, pondering the kind of place that must sit between the two worlds.  I wondered if Bitsy and those men deserved whatever their fate actually was.  However, I reminded myself that they were willing to do harm to Calvin Hixon and to Copper to get what they wanted.  Suddenly the idea of their fate didn’t bother me so much.

When I looked down I expected to see the tops of giant redwood trees, or the beaches of the Pacific coastal area where we were before we accidentally entered the amethyst world.  Yet I didn’t see anything of the kind.

“Cornelis, that doesn’t look like California or Oregon or any part of the Pacific coast,” I pointed down and declared.

English countryside aeiral“No?” he said and nonchalantly looked down from our vantage point, which was much higher after we went through the portal.  “Well, it is not exactly to be expected that the flying machine would return us to the place where we left in the submarine.  That portal was opened haphazardly, without professional design or calculations,” he said, finally looking a little bit concerned.

“Actually there’s no telling where it opened or where we are,” the alchemist said with that sardonic twist that curled his upper lip while his lower lip twisted to the side.

“There’s something down there that looks pretty large,” I commented, trying to see through a feathery white cloud.

Cornelis pulled a lever and twisted a crystal knob and the aerial screw moved gently lower.  I saw a massive complex of stone buildings.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

“Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” Cornelis exclaimed to gales of laughter from Copper.  “It’s Windsor Castle.  We’re in England.  I haven’t been to England in at least a hundred years!  Shall we pay them a visit, Copper?”

“I don’t know Cornelis,” I began.  “That seems like a bad idea.  One doesn’t simply drop in on the Queen.”

Naturally the Dutchman paid no attention whatsoever to my protest.  The aerial screw hovered above a green area within the castle walls.  They seemed to be holding a small faire on the lawn.  I thought it must be to showcase inventions, as several large and unusual things were on display on each side of the lawn.Sm SteamboatI saw a boat dry docked that looked a lot like the paddle steamer that belonged to Ignatius Belle, as well as a dirigible tethered by a rope so that it floated twenty feet above the ground.  There was something made of gleaming metal that I supposed was a steam powered motor car.  Then I saw what I could have sworn was our road locomotive!

Our flying machine slowly drew closer to the ground and I could see the people clearly.  A tallish Asian man stood before an elaborately decorated seating area.  He wore a brocade of a white lion and a very tiny woman stood next to him.  “Alastair!” I cried in astonishment when I recognized Alastair Wong and Victoria.Burrell Road Locomotive

With my shout, everyone on the ground turned to look up at us.  I was even more surprised, if less pleasantly so, to see Sheriff Bullard and Ignatius Belle inspecting the strange looking motor car.

However, it was no surprise when the alchemy went awry and Cornelis began having difficulty controlling the aerial screw.  Our craft loomed dangerously close to a tall model of the Eiffel Tower.  The gondola became ensnared on the tower.

Alastair Wong, nimble as ever, rapidly climbed the scale model of the French wonder.  In a moment he freed the gondola and hopped onboard.  I stared in stunned appreciation of his feat.

Sessu Hayakawa as Alastair Wong

Sessu Hayakawa as Alastair Wong

“I hope you didn’t expect me to climb back down,” Wong commented jokingly.  “It’s only fair that I get to experience this magnificent machine from up here.”

Of course we assailed him with questions about the event below and the people we knew.  We already knew about the money problems of Copper’s father.  Alastair informed us that Calvin Hixon had reached out to nobility all across Europe, looking for a benefactor for his inventions.  He had kept that mostly to himself, in fear of rejection.Copper with Flowers

It turned out that Copper’s father had not abandoned her at all.  Hixon got a response to one of his requests for a sponsor.  He arranged for a woman to take care of his daughter while he, on last minute notice in the form of a royal command, sailed across the Atlantic to meet his new benefactor.

Unfortunately, the woman he hired to take care of his daughter was Bitsy.  The conniving maid had already been at work on Ignatius, having overheard conversations between the two men that revealed Ignatius was Hixon’s illegitimate son.  She also heard them discuss re-creating Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions.  She suspected that Hixon possessed the priceless drawings.

Bitsy intercepted Hixon’s communications so no one knew where he had gone.  She made it look like Copper had been abandoned.  Bitsy went to Ether Farthing of Merciful Haven Orphanage and put a bug in her ear that Copper had been left on her own.  Bitsy had thought that if the orphanage took Copper, the girl would be neatly out of Bitsy’s way.  Then Bitsy could search for the drawings and anything else that might be of use in her scheme.

Ethel FarthingOne thing in Alastair’s narration surprised me. I would have thought the mean spirited people from Merciful Haven were involved in the mess.  However, it seemed that they were simply bad people, and not otherwise involved.

Cornelis regained control of the aerial screw and the threads twisted smoothly again.  We floated slowly closer to the grandstand where Alastair and tiny Victoria were standing when we arrived.

I gasped.  “Oh! That’s the Queen isn’t it?  Queen Victoria?” I said excitedly and Alastair chuckled and confirmed my brilliant bit of deduction.

Cornelis really didn’t need to snigger at me the way he did.  Looking down I saw an elegant man of middle years.  He bowed down on one knee before the Queen of England.  He seem completely focused on the monarch, hardly even noticing our flying machine.

Copper

Copper

Abruptly Copper gave a shrill cry, “Daddy!”

Calvin Hixon looked upward toward his child’s cry and a broad smile split his face.  Finally he noticed the aerial screw and wonder lit his eyes.  The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India was utterly forgotten the moment Calvin Hixon saw his daughter.

It wouldn’t have been Cornelis Drebbel if we had landed smoothly.  The contrivance that carried us gave a loud screech.  The Dutchman said he’d have it fixed in a jiffy.

“Cornelis, no!  Please, let’s just land as best we can.  We’re not that far above the ground,” I pleaded.

“Actually Felicity, we’re at enough of a height to risk serious injury,” Alastair said in a reasonable voice.  “I know you wouldn’t put Copper at risk,” he added and I slumped in resignation.

A yellowish green aura surrounded the alchemist.  Cornelis climbed to balance on the edge of the gondola.  He was doing something to the threads of the screw, but I couldn’t see what he did.  The machine stopped making that shrill sound and it appeared to run smoothly.

“See!” Cornelis exclaimed proudly, still balanced on the rim of the gondola.  “Simple as that,” he said with a satisfied nod.

Jamie Murray as Felicity

Jamie Murray as Felicity

The threads of the screw began to rotate rapidly.  “Alastair! The brass lever behind you,” Cornelis cried.

Alastair Wong whirled to move the lever.  When he touched it the aerial screw lurched violently, but immediately slowed to normal and continued to descend.

However, Cornelis Drebble fell from the gondola when the craft lurched.  I saw his body falling rapidly toward the ground.  At the last instant he popped out of sight.  Sometimes when he popped away like that it was a while before the alchemist could return.  I never understood how the pop works.

Alastair Wong, ever a gentleman helped me alight from the gondola — not that I needed assistance thank you.  I was just being polite.  I was not conforming to the constraints of society.

Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong

The diminutive Victoria Wong rushed to join us, delighted to see Copper again.  Not to mention the fact that she was quietly pleased with Alastair’s theatrical rescue of the air machine from being snared on the tower.

Copper and her father had a joyous reunion.  Hixon had sent an excited telegram to Ignatius Belle when Queen Victoria asked him to take part in the faire that was in progress.  Ignatius hurried to join him and let him know the fullness of what was happening at home.  However, none of them knew about the amethyst world.

“So where is this amazing alchemist?” Calvin Hixon wanted to know.

I looked around, beginning to feel worried that Cornelis hadn’t yet reappeared.  Then I heard a sharp pop.  A woman screamed and Palace Guards hurried to her side.  When I got a look between the broad shoulders of the guards, I cringed and shook my head.

Cornelis Drebbel had rematerialized.  The Dutchman sat in the lap of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria olderThe Queen’s eyes narrowed as she looked at the strange man who appeared out of nowhere and landed in her royal lap.  I feared she’d demand his head right then and there.  Then I remembered his skull was safely in my hatbox.  He wasn’t exactly alive, so he couldn’t precisely be killed.

I was absolutely aghast when Cornelis Drebbel wriggled his bushy blonde eyebrows at Queen Victoria.

Her eyes widened as she looked at the alchemist.  “We are not amused,” she said evenly.

It was even more surprising when a wicked glint came to her eyes and abruptly the Queen pinched his bottom and Cornelis shot up from her lap.  For the very first time, I saw shock paint the face of Cornelis Drebbel.

The end

***

copper-cover-3-25-2015

***

Copyright © 2015 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.