The Delta Pearl 43 — Dart

Saturday, August 1, 2020 

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene, source Pixabay
Delta Pearl Composite of Pixaby images by Teagan R. Geneviene

Welcome back to my sanctuary, my chuckaboos.  Here are some notes for those of you who were not aboard at the beginning of this riverboat journey.  Chuckaboo is a Victorian Era slang word for “dear friend.”  Everyone who reads and leaves a friendly comment is my chuckaboo.

The setting is a magical riverboat, the Delta Pearl.  It’s a steampunk fantasy, so there are elements of magic, along with real (and potentially real – that’d be the fantasy part again) technology that is suitable to the Steam Era.

The most important crewmembers of the Delta Pearl have gemstone names.  They are also known by their positions as if their titles were proper names.  The Captain, the Dealer, and the Cook are parental figures for the young protagonist.

The heroine is Émeraude, who recently had her sixteenth birthday.  Poor thing has a crew full of “big brothers,” in addition to the parental figures — who think they know what – and who is best for her  This is not appreciated by our heroine, who immediately took a shine to a passenger.  He’s a geeky but genius inventor named Victor T. Elam.  Along the way we learned that the initial T is for Topaz.  Hmmm…

This is a rewrite of a novel with which I just wasn’t satisfied — so I’ve been reworking it as a serial here. After the serial is finished, I will “bookize” and publish The Delta Pearl.  I’ve been adding “random reader things” to the existing text, and letting the things drive new material.  Diana Wallace Peach and Mary J both left the word nefarious and used it in a similar way.  As they say, great minds think alike.  Read on to see how I used this “thing.”

Let’s get on with this episode.

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 43 — Dart

Scarab Ankh Pixabay

We couldn’t let the clockwork bug get away!  I jumped out of bed much too fast.  Black splotches and dizziness got the better of me and I plopped back onto the bed.

“Emmie!” Agate began with the hated nickname.  “You keep your bahoochie in that bed.”

Tiny copper wings flitted all around the cabin.  I tried to push past the Cook and her fussing.

The miniature clockwork scarab latched onto the ceiling.  Victor stood on the foot of my bed trying to catch it.

“Do you think this one is connected to the malachite scarab we encountered ashore?” he asked.

“It’s too much of a coincidence not to be.  The only question is, did it get aboard while we were docked in Cairo, Illinois?  Or did it come from the brown cloud ― and whatever was inside it that attacked at my sweet sixteen party?” I replied, still trying to get past Agate.

I pulled my legs out from under the Cook and stood on the bed.  Only then did I realize I was wearing a nightgown.  I vaguely remembered Agate helping me out of my river-soaked green frock.

“Oh… my favorite gown was ruined, wasn’t it?” I remarked in sudden dismay, and then set about trying to grab the bug.

Aline Masson drinking Hot Chocolate Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta Wikipedia
Aline Masson drinking Hot Chocolate, by Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta Wikipedia

“Émeraude, have you no shame?” Agate cried aghast, as I stood, wearing bedclothes in the presence of a man.

The scarab darted down to the bedside table and grabbed the little papyrus scroll.  The larger malachite scarab had dropped the strip of hole-punched papyrus to me while I was trapped in the net, suspended high above the ground.

The Cook shrieked and tried to swat the copper bug.  Agate missed, but she succeeded in keeping the papyrus from it.

“Didn’t you say you know what the little holes mean?” I asked Victor as I jumped for the scarab when it darted past me.

A thump-thump-thud caused me to look at the floor.  Cal, the clockwork horse Victor made, pranced trying to bite the bug.  Despite the urgency of the situation, I almost laughed when I saw Amethyst sitting on Cal’s head.  My spider appeared to be scanning the cabin.  I knew she liked to get to the highest spot in a room.

Amethyst pounced from Cal, to Agate, and to my shoulder.  Then she launched herself to Victor’s head, and from there to a light suspended from the ceiling near the door.

“Yes,” Victor answered.  “I think it’s a template for a music box cylinder.”

Twindia at Pixabay
Antique music box with interchangeable cylinders, Twindia at Pixabay

I bounced on the bed as the bug made another pass.  Victor jumped impressively high when it buzzed him, knocking his own spectacles askew.

“Will you children stop jumping on the bed this instant!” the Cook cried.

Amethyst leapt from the ceiling lamp just as the copper scarab flew for the open door.  She swung from a fine silver thread.  With her pincers, the clockwork spider caught the bug by one of its legs.

Victor quickly put his top hat over them both.  Amethyst gave an indignant shrill.

As soon as Victor had uttered the term music box, my mind started working.  The Captain had an antique music box.  Also, there was one among the multitude of details in the portrait.  We were unsuccessful in our attempt to learn more about the portrait when we went ashore.  However, I had only been thinking about the woman who was its main subject.

A strange associate had told Randall Needleman about the Green Scarab Gallery, where Randall suggested we might learn about the portrait.  However, we found the gallery boarded up, completely closed.  A clockwork scarab had been in the window.  A malachite stone decorated the green scarab.

That scarab was an ominous thing because when an unseen force attacked the Delta Pearl at my birthday party.  I didn’t understand what the nefarious force was, but the Captain and the Dealer mentioned someone called Malachite.  He had been banished from the riverboat before I became part of her crew.

Hissing sounded from beneath the top hat.  A clockwork struggle was taking place.  Agate handed Victor the empty water glass from my bedside.  He approached his hat carefully, glass ready to capture the tiny scarab.

Victor eased toward the top hat, ready with the glass.  Just then both clockwork creatures burst from under their millinery prison.  Amethyst had not let go of the little scarab.  It gave a high-pitched cry and broke free.  A miniature copper leg was still in the spider’s mouth.

The scarab darted out the open door of the cabin.


End Chapter 43


Your friendly comments are 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

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.


81 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 43 — Dart

  1. As someone with a real phobia of spiders, it’s taken you very little time to have me cheering on Amethyst! Loving these.


    1. It’s great to see you, Alex. I admit that I’m not a fan of any creepy-crawly. But when I thought of the amethyst stones that adorn her, the clockwork spider and her personality came to life for me. It means a lot to me that you like her, my chuckaboo.

      Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


    1. Haha! It means a lot to me that you’re catching up, Joanne. When I wrote this clockwork battle, I intended Amethyst to use the scarab’s leg as a boomerang to knock the scarab out of the air (eventually). But when the time came (during Intone) the telling was so complicated, that I felt adding the boomerang bit would be too cumbersome. Who knows… maybe she’ll get to use it before the boat ride is over. Huge hugs, my chuckaboo!


  2. At least the were able to keep the scroll. Now to find the music box and play it before the little bug comes back for another try at retrieving it! Exciting installment, Teagan!! I’ll be on the dock for the next one to find out what happens next. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deborah. I’m so glad you enjoyed this little ditty. The music box/scroll might offer more questions than answers, but we’ll learn what it has to say. Have an easy coast down the other side of this midweek hump, my chuckaboo!
      Oh wait… it’s still Tuesday. I’ve been continuously frustrated, trying to work on my midweek post, and it seems like it’s already Wednesday. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jennie. Adding the reminders makes “bookizing” the story more of a challenge (editing), but sometimes it’s necessary, especially as long as this story has been on the river. I appreciate you reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They are an enigma at the moment, Lavinia. Cal is like a newborn — and his creation has more to do with Victor than the Delta Pearl… he’s a different “breed” of clockwork… So, he follows Amethyst’s lead. Amethyst and Onyx probably know more than anyone else on the riverboat… except perhaps the Captain and the Dealer. Perhaps they know as much as one another, but different things… Thanks for pondering with me, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Effortless use of “nefarious,” Teagan. And well done, and how funny that two of us offered up that word. I loved the scene of the two “children” jumping on the bed. That gave me a smile. And that darn scarab is hard to catch, huh? I’m looking forward to the next episode. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Diana. I’m delighted you enjoyed this short chapter. I couldn’t find my writing mojo. Then I realized I needed a dose of whimsy. What’s more whimsical than jumping on the bed? 😀
      Yes, more on that mini scarab next time. Thanks for spending part of your weekend here. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So much fun, the kidlet rounded the corner and asked me what was so funny. Now she has begun to read from the beginning. This is my child who does not read for fun. I’m one happy momma.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good episode. I wonder if there will be an additional clue associated with the little leg . . . hm, nah, I guess it would be too tiny. See what you’ve done? You’ve got me wondering about happenings in the story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bwahahahaha! You’ve fallen into my trap. (rubs hands together gleefully) Thanks Priscilla. I actually did have an idea for the leg, although I’m not sure if I will use it. Not as a clue though. Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!


  6. A fantastic and exciting episode again, thank you, dearest Teagan, and there it’s stamped with the magic Egyptian Bee 😉🤗
    I am so honoured to be one of your Chuckaboo my lovely friend. Have a nice WE 💖💖🙏🤟

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Darn it all, the little bugger got away, but at least Amethyst got a piece of it and the papyrus remains in the hands of the good side. It sure sounds like Malachite has a hand in this with his scarab minions and evil ways. I’m looking forward to finding out more about the papyrus and what it means for Emeraude and the crew.

    Purrs on the fur from the kids and I. Have a wonderful weekend, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for this very funny episode, Teagan! This sounds like a fight for the little ones. A beautiful episode that can be seen very well once again. Perhaps the Scarabäus is an enchanted composer, and wanted to complete the piece of music by punching the holes? Lol I’m curious to see if this automatic music organ will be used.
    Thank you again, Teagan! Stay save and enjoy the weekend. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s wonderful to see you, Michael. The music box was not part of the original novel. But yes, I do have something in mind for the music box. We shall have to wait to see what that is.
      I love your enchanted composer idea. What a marvelous ghost story that would be. I won’t run away with your idea, but I will add “Composer” as a “random reader thing” from you. Happy weekend to you too, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I had to laugh at Agate. With all the commotion going on, she’s worried about immodestly! 🤗 That tiny scarab is proving to be troublesome. At least Amethyst got one leg! But somehow I don’t think that’s going to slow the little bugger down.

    Entertaining episode. Your stories never fall flat. Looking forward to next Saturday’s edition.

    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right Ginger — the tiny scarab can fly. Losing a leg won’t be a big deal. But it might be some consolation to Amethyst. 😀 Hopefully things “heat up” next time. There’s a hint. 😉 Happy weekend, my chuckaboo!


  10. Nooooooo! My mind was already racing to the analysis of the scarab and it escaped.

    I love the description of the action going on in Émeraude’s room. I laughed as she thought about her gown, the cook was worried about her immodest appearance and Victor is chasing a clockwork bug. It made me think of a slapstick routine (which I think is also appropriate to the era).

    I hope they find the scarab, but this was good entertainment, Teagan. Thanks for inviting us only the Delta Pearl. I hope you have a great weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We’ll see what happens to the little pest, probably next time. I’ve been trying to make it over to your place, Fraggle — and I just keep losing Internet before I make my way to one of your posts. Hope to “see’ you there soon, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

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