The Delta Pearl 20 — Slash

Saturday, January 1x, 2020

Delta Pearl announcement. Composite of Pixaby images by Teagan R. Geneviene
Composite of Pixaby images by Teagan R. Geneviene

Welcome back to the #steampunk riverboat, my chuckaboos!  There have been several interruptions in the voyage of The Delta Pearl during the past few months.  I appreciate you for steadfastly coming back to the riverboat dock. With that in mind, here are links from the most recent chapters.  The Delta Pearl 19 — Flirt.   The Delta Pearl 18 — Bump.   The Delta pearl 17 –Jump.  

Call for things!

This chapter’s random things from readers are cosmetics from Mary J Melange.  Also even though it was part of a comment, Kirt Tisdale mentioned help, which I thought would be a great thing

Speaking of random reader things, I could use more.  If you want to leave a random thing — that existed in the Victorian or Steam Era, please do so in a comment. I love to give shout-outs for the things.

Without further ado… 

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 20 — Slash

Dance in the Country Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1883 Wikipedia
Sid and Coral.  Otherwise known as “Dance in the Country,” Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1883 Wikipedia

Red and white stripes made the awning stretched above the Hurricane deck seem festive. The Captain said there wouldn’t be rain, but the Cook was still worried that her food and decorations for my birthday party might get wet. Yes, my sweet sixteen had finally arrived.

The hot pink roses caught my eye.  I quickly turned my head when I realized I was frowning at the blossoms. I was still annoyed at Sid, the Cadette, for nicking one to give me. It wasn’t just that he had taken it from the decorations. Rather, Victor saw it and assumed I had a suitor.

The young inventor had been polite, a perfect gentleman in fact. However, he had been too reserved. When he looked at me, I saw doubt in his expression.

“My own sweet sixteen party and I have nothing even resembling a date,” I muttered under my breath.

Victor T. Elam sat in conversation with the wealthy entrepreneur, Randal Needleman. Nearby, a group of women hung on every word spoken by Garnet Redford, the Chief Porter.

A playful flourish of a lace fan caught my eye. The new chamber maid, Coral had just come up the stairs. Coral was on the arm of Obsidian Durango.  She had been helping me with the language of the fan. I saw she had made careful use of cosmetics. Perhaps she could teach me to use them. Although, the Captain wouldn’t approve… 

Kirk Douglas as Blue John Boulton
Kirk Douglas as Blue John Boulton

I couldn’t help shooting Sid a resentful glare. He threw a monkey wrench into the relationship that was starting to develop with my inventor — and then brought a date. At that moment I didn’t care that he probably had no idea what he had done.

Even though I was too young for Blue John to be my beau, he certainly was a handsome man. A crowd gathered around him as he played a ukulele and sang Come into the Garden Maud. I was glad Blue seemed to be in a better state of mind, but I could tell that he still wasn’t quite himself.

A sigh escaped my lips. When I heard myself, I forced a smile onto my face. Everyone was enjoying themselves. That was the main thing.

Only a few of the passengers were there. Agate didn’t want my birthday party to be open to everyone. She said that was too impersonal. However, I was allowed to quietly invite several passengers. I sent invitations to Victor, the Needlemans, and the supposed governess and her charge ― Azalea Morton and the “boy” Alex Rice, whose real name was Alison Ritchie.

Someone started up the Victrola. That should keep the party lively. Now if I can manage to liven up my own spirits, I thought.

Émeraude and the Dealer dance on the deck of the Delta Pearl
Émeraude and the Dealer dance on the deck of the Delta Pearl. Original image Wikipedia (altered)

People began moving out from the awning and into the sunshine to dance.

Alison was still dressed as “Alex.” The two runaway women knew the value of discretion. When Sid asked Azalea to dance Alex/Alison elbowed her to accept.

I wondered why Coral was no longer on the Cadet’s arm. Then I saw her maneuvering that lace fan flirtatiously at Garnet.

Blue John stopped playing the ukulele when the Victrola started. He excused himself and headed toward the pilothouse. The Mate would relieve the Captain so he could act as host.

Admittedly, I was relieved when the Dealer touched my elbow and led me to the dancefloor. As I twirled and spun, I lost my cares in the dance. That was easy to do with Jaspe as partner. There was no better dancer than the Dealer. I didn’t realize the other dancers had moved to the sides to watch until we finished with a dramatic dip.

Abruptly a dark cloud descended enveloping the Hurricane Deck where I stood. The sooty air was choking. I couldn’t breathe.


The Dealer, brandishing a cutlass in one hand, caught me around my waist with his other hand. He was very tall and slim. It seemed unlikely for a thin man to be so strong. However, my feet came off the deck as Jaspe tossed me like a doll. He threw me clear of the brown mist.

I landed against the Captain’s chest and he held me fast, though I tried to get down. Cecil Perlog was huge. His strength was no surprise at all.

The Captain wore a ceremonial cutlass much like the one Jaspe brandished. I wondered at it, because it was rare for either of them to wear arms. I had passed it off as a formal touch for my party, but perhaps I was wrong.

“Cecil, take Émeraude away from here. He has come!” Jaspe yelled.

From the corner of my eye, I saw Victor run toward me.

“Malachite, you know you are not welcome here. The Delta Pearl herself cast you out!” I heard the Dealer shout though I could no longer see him.

Shocked murmurs from the partygoers rose in volume at Jaspe’s words.

More worrisome than the unexpected weapons was the “all-seeing eye” pin on the Captain’s puff tie. The pin was an oval white “blister” pearl as the eye, and a large round emerald made the iris. It has a small black diamond as the pupil. Yes, he always wore the pin, but I had never seen it glow before!

The thick cloud obscured my view. Two tall silhouettes clashed. They could have been mirror images. The shapes moved in a way that seemed confrontational. I heard the sound of the cutlass slashing the air. Then I heard the sword make contact with something.

silhouettes fight Pixabay altered
Pixabay (altered)

The Captain’s head snapped toward the sound. A fierce grimace came to his face. He set me down, and then rushed into the dark mist to help Jaspe.

I saw the Captain unsheathe the sword as he barreled into the brown mist and out of view.

No sooner had my feet touched the deck than Agate grabbed my arm in a vice grip. At her nod, Victor caught my other arm. They prevented me following the Captain and the Dealer into the sooty cloud.

Clashing sounds of cutlasses rang, followed by a thud. I could only see vague movements of shapes amid the green glow from the all-seeing eye pin.

At the sound of clashing metal, Agate loosened her hold on my arm. Her hands went to her mouth in worry. I pulled free of her and ran around the edge of the cloud. Victor followed, still holding my arm.

A shout came from Blue John in the pilothouse. On the still water of the river, the Delta Pearl began to rock. Then the riverboat started to turn… and turn. It was as if the Delta Pearl had a will of her own and wanted to dislodge something, much like an untrained horse bucking a rider.

Voices cried out from all parts of the Delta Pearl as the riverboat lurched and spun faster.

Victor stumbled from the wild movements of the boat, but he still had my arm.  I kept going, pulling him with me. Near the far side of the hurricane deck the mist thinned. I saw a man in a voluminous coat stagger out of the thinning edge of the cloud, but I couldn’t make out where he went.

German inventor Werner von Siemens
As Benjamin Dundas, German inventor Werner von Siemens 1850, Wikipedia

It was a tall man whose thick mustache grew into his bushy sideburns, Benjamin Dundas ― one of the passengers. I had hardly seen him since the guests boarded. Some people didn’t handle river travel well. It could make them sick at their stomach. I had assumed that was why he seemed to stay in his quarters.

“Dundas, isn’t it?” Victor said next to me. “I’ve noticed him skulking around the deck where my cabin is. At first, I thought his room must be near mine, but then I learned it isn’t even on the same deck,” he added, causing me to rethink my assumption.

The sound of a straining engine overwhelmed Victor’s voice. The cloud seemed to dissipate. However, I saw that it was rising, rather than dispersing. Above me I glimpsed what looked a lot like the underside of a boat, but the mist quickly covered it.

As the cloud rose, I saw the Captain stumble to the deck. High over the Hurricane Deck I saw legs swinging, then the Dealer dropped from the mist. He landed gracefully on the deck and immediately went to the Captain.

“Quickly, we need to clear his lungs!” Jaspe exclaimed as he stooped beside the Captain. “He has breathed malachite dust and it’s poisonous.”


End Chapter 20



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

Copyright © 2016 and 2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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116 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 20 — Slash

  1. The emotions on this one quickly changed from the lightheartedness of a dance to something more mysterious and ominous. The Captain has to be okay. On the edge of my seat for the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Teagan! All this excitement has me whirling! I do hope the dear Captain will be okay and that they can clear his lungs. But, now I’m more curious than ever about the cloud, Malachite, and wondering what it wants and why the Delta Pearl cast it out. So many questions! Sigh! I know. I have to patiently wait for the next installment! Fantastic!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joanne. 😀 I hope you are doing much better. Yes, that sooty cloud… All those weeks ago, when I began this rewrite of The Delta Pearl, I wanted to add an element to help explain one character and to advance the story. That element, at least in part, was mentioned in this chapter — malachite. (Or does she mean Malachite? We shall see. 😉 ) Since I needed to lead up to that element, I added the smudgy sooty cloud to hide it.
      We’re about 3200 words into the story, which would still be considered a ‘short story’ or maybe an estimated halfway point. So I’ll be trying to reveal more and begin to tie up the threads.
      Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!


        1. Adele, I’m still having a boatload of WordPress problems. And my horrible Internet service — which had miraculously gotten somewhat better for a couple of months has gone back to hell. An exhausting combination. I can’t stay connected long enough to read a blog and make a comment…

          Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 I’m delighted you enjoyed it, Jacquie.
      Back in Chapter 10 we had “whale bone corset” but considering the era, I think it’s fine to use corset again. 😉 I added it to my matrix. Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Holy cow! You’ve come back with a real lollapaloozer Teagan! You have an imagination that never quits! Those dark clouds are eerie, to say the least. Good thing “Coral” had her hat tied on. Sid wasn’t so fortunate. A lot of mystery and drama going on….lots of side stories.

    But all in all, that was one hell of a Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party!!

    Anxious to see how you’re gonna top this episode next week….assuming the Delta Pearl hasn’t been swallowed up by that ominous dark cloud never to be seen again! 😳😳
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 You always make me smile, Ginger. You’re the second one to notice that hat. I saw it there on the floor, but didn’t give it any thought. I was focused on the blushing complexion Renoir gave her… which fit with the “thing” cosmetics.
      I’m so happy you enjoyed this chapter, my chuckaboo!


  4. Who is Malachite? Why was he thrown from the Delta Pearl and returned as a black cloud? How is the Captain saved from Malachite’s poisonous dust? I’ll be waiting anxiously for the answers to these questions next Saturday or in the weeks to come. This was an exciting chapter of the Delta Pearl, Teagan, and thanks for using cosmetics in today’s story. Happy Saturday, hugs and purrs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gadzooks! You sent me on a heck of a Google quest with that one. I hadn’t heard of it, then found an assortment of things going back to the Egyptians. I *think* you mean “bottled tears” as from a “tear catcher”… but I still don’t understand the purpose. LOL, that was my project for today. Wheew… where are my vitamins? Anyhow, I liked the term “nefarious force” so much that I’m making it a thing too. 😀 Thanks for visiting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you got it. I read that the Victorians used to collect the tears they shed when mourning and keep them in a bottle. Also called “mourning tears” and bottled tears. 🙂 I figured you’d be able to work this in easier than a “mummy.” Ha ha.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Nerts! (which I learned from “Speak Flapper”)—what an exciting episode.

    And my contribution to random things: purdonium. (A major part of our life when we lived in a castle down in England heated by a coal stove!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG! You’re speaking flapper — I’m psyched!
      Ooo… my curiosity is piqued, Barb. You’ve lived in so many fascinating places. No wonder your writing is spectacular. Okay, “purdonium” it is! Thanks for visiting, my Chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, it’s good to get back to my Cliffhanger Maven self, Deborah. Even three weeks later, my sinuses are still bad. But I’ve been pulling weeds again, so that doesn’t help mattere. (Eye roll) I’m weak, but feeling much more myself.
      I’ve found so many beautiful Victorian Era paintings on Wikipedia. Yes, that couple looks so happy. Since I need “reader things” I’m going to take “Renoir” as one from you. Thanks for reading and commenting, my Chuckaboo!


  6. What a fun, action-packed scene! I have traveled by antique, steam-engine-powered transportation once. What I remember was the soot that covered everything not frequently cleaned. (Haha, including faces!) So maybe soot could be a thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 “Soot” certainly fits into this story. Thanks, Priscilla. I was afraid I was over-using the word, so I’m glad that is not the case. I added it to my matrix. I rode on a steam locomotive a few times as a child. The ride included a sort of wild west show, in which I got so caught up that I don’t remember anything else very well. Thank you for sharing your post about your dad. Hugs.


  7. Phew. Here I was, trying to gently wake up as I sipped some coffee. Now it’s gulp, gulp and wide awake. That’s quite an amazing party scene, Teagan. There’s a dark secret in the air, literally. This journey just got a lot more interesting

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well dash my wig — I wasn’t thinking, Dan. I should have used “malachite” as a reader thing from you in this episode. It came from our off-line discussion months ago. I’ll add it to my matrix and give you a shout out next time it comes up — and it will. (I still keep looking for a way to use “clock with a broken hand” because it’s a terrific thing.) Thanks for your feedback, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your wonderful feedback, Michael. It can be hard to find the balance between too much description and not enough. You’ve helped by letting me know that I got it right. It is a beautiful sunny morning here. Just barely above “freezing” at 8AM, and up to 12.7 C for the high temperature. The sun does a huge amount to heal the spirit. I’m finally better, but not strong yet. I’ll get there. Thanks for being part of this riverboat, my chuckaboo!


    1. Welcome back aboard, Christoph. I was just thinking of you, and how you were willing to help me when I was in such dire straits about getting moved. Thank you again for being you.
      You’ve had such fascinating travels lately. If a Victorian Era “thing” from one of those exotic locations comes to mind, be sure to leave it in a comment. Hugs right back, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good to be back I have been awol over the Christmas period.. And January is always aa funny month for me lots of outside distractions… Now I am catching up… Looking forward to the newt installment… Cheerio for now… 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tim. I can’t seem to shake off the sinus part. But I’ve been pulling weeds, and that might be why… I just can’t keep up with the blasted things. (My realtor was a dud, and it turns out the past owner didn’t put any kind of barrier under the rocks in back…) Anyhow, thanks for asking. I’m much better. Just weak. But I’ll get there. 🙂 Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Weeds will definitely do in your sinuses. I have constant sinus issues. The dryness has a lot to do with it. We run warm mist humidifiers in the winter, and it helps a lot. We save cardboard, lay in on the ground where we don’t want weeds and cover it with a 6-inch thick layer of mulch. It works pretty well. We have tree trimmers dump mulch on the property because it takes lots and lots of mulch to make paths and do ground cover with thick layers of mulch.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, that’s helpful. Thanks! I’ve been trying to think of light-weight ways (for my back) I could do something. My friend had told me not to use mulch because weeds would still grow in it. But I can’t think of anything else that isn’t way too heavy for me. I have lots of cardboard for sure!
          Yes, I use humidifiers too. They do help.

          Liked by 1 person

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