toSaturday, July 25, 2020
Hello, my chuckaboos. I’m glad you could come back to my sanctuary. Yes, this blog is my sanctuary. I am the gatekeeper of this place. It’s a safe haven not just for you, but for me too. It’s safe from vitriol, religion, politics, and negativity. Remember that.
Random Reader Things. It gives me great pleasure when someone thinks about my stories after they’ve left my blog. Last week, GP Cox did that and made a comment at his own blog, mentioning a Clockwork Horse. I was captivated by the thought, and it changed what I had in mind. That became my random thing for this short episode.
When we stopped last time, with Agate and Victor fussing over Émeraude, after her ordeal. You know what a matchmaker the Cook is, especially where Émeraude and Victor are concerned. We’d best not leave her with our filly and foal for too long. She might get out of control.
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 42 — Prance
Victor jumped up in dismay. He tried to run the door, but Agate was in his way. The young inventor gave a groan when the thump-thump-thud sounded at the door again.
“It’s gotten loose again,” he muttered just as the cabin door banged open.
The Cook began to coo all sorts of pleased, encouraging sounds. I couldn’t see around her, so I started to get out of bed. Agate gave a sharp glance over her shoulder at me. I swear the woman had eyes in the back of her head. I leaned back against the pillows.
Light clumping sounds reached my ears. The way Victor and Agate moved and bent and spoke reminded me of people with a frisking puppy. Victor’s movements showed that he was still distressed. He had been trying to hide something, I was sure of it.
“And look at Amethyst here on top of the wee barra! Careful there, spider. He’s quite a bampot. You’ll land on your little purple bahoochie!” Agate warned.
The Cook gave a surprised yelp as the clockwork spider suddenly hopped to her head, and from there pounced to my bed. I still couldn’t see what was happening. Although I gathered that whatever it was had been the source of the thump-thump-thud sound I had heard several times of late.
Amethyst looked back at Agate when the woman squealed. My spider chirped a trio of high-pitched clicks, which was her way of laughing.
The amethyst on her back glittered in the lamplight as she scampered up to my shoulder. Her legs stretched so she could whisper in my ear.
“Automaton,” Amethyst hissed, and I sat up straighter.
“I had wanted it to be a surprise for your birthday,” Victor began. “No matter what I do, I still can’t get the mechanisms to work properly. He has too many problems for me to give him to you. But this is Cal.”
My mouth opened in wordless wonder when Victor and Agate stepped aside. Brass hooves pranced toward me. It was a clockwork horse. He was about a foot tall, with a mauve gemstone making the “blaze” at his nose, and covering the larger gears that would be the horse’s muscles.
The clockwork horse shook his head, making a mechanical sound that was not unlike the snorting sound of a horse. Then he started walking into the bed, causing a variation of the thump-thump-thud noise.
“Just look at ‘em,” the Cook enthused. “A little mauve horse. And I think he wants Amethyst to get back on his saddle. Why, isn’t he just adorable.”
“I call him Cal for calcite ― that’s what the gemstone inlays are,” Victor explained. “It’s a certain kind of limestone, that has mauve, mottled with tan and black. Back in Texas, some people call it Crazy Horse stone. And Cal is a crazy horse… I can’t get him to act normally.”
Still crouched at her spot on my shoulder, Amethyst straightened then bent the legs on her left side, and then did the same on her right side. It made a waggling motion. That didn’t just mean “no,” It was an emphatic no. Then she stretched back up to whisper again.
“Stowaway!” Amethyst said.
Abruptly my spider jumped to Cal, the clockwork horse. She started poking and pulling at his haunch as if she meant to dig her way inside.
I heard a metallic screech. My hands went protectively to my ears. The noise wasn’t terribly loud, but it was painfully shrill.
Tiny green wings streaked away from Cal’s leg and toward the ceiling. The clockwork horse pranced trying to bite it.
“A scarab!” I exclaimed. “It’s much smaller than the one we saw ashore, but I’m sure it’s a clockwork scarab. It looked greenish, like tarnished copper. Catch it! We can’t let it get loose.”
Just then the cabin door opened. With another high-pitched shriek, the copper scarab darted toward freedom.
End Chapter 41
Real World Notes
Crazy Horse Stone. Yes, that’s actually a thing. You can learn more about it at Fire Mountain Gems.
Your positivity in comments is welcome. Be well, be happy, my chuckaboos.
This serial is made possible in spite of (not because of) the deplorable lack of Internet service from TDS Telecom. They are even worse than the government about claiming no problem exists in the face of failure. TDS Telecom meets every complaint and service call by saying they find no problem. Their technicians come to my home and refuse to do any work or replace equipment, even when their offsite managers have instructed them to do so. They brought equipment that they openly state does not work properly. They refuse to let me talk to a manager. They refuse to promise to send someone other than the previous do-nothing tech. They refuse to make sure the technicians have working hardware with them. My letters, emails, and tweets go unanswered. Dear readers, please do not comment here in response to this paragraph. Just be aware of my awful experience with this so called provider.
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 2020 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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