Saturday, August 8, 2020
First things first. Happy 14th Birthday to Crystal! My little feline superhero in the Batgirl mask. She likes to play with the combination of her arched scrubbing brush and teaser-string. On the steampunk background, the brush looks like a sea monster, and super Crystal showing it who is boss. #WorldCatDay too!
She came from a colony of feral cats in a dangerous part of town, south of Albuquerque. A rescue group had their eyes open though. They knew her mom was about to give birth, and they intervened. The tiniest kitten I’d ever seen, she popped her head up and looked at me during an adoption event. That was fourteen years ago, and she’s been through so many challenges. I’m blessed.
I really felt the need to take a break from this serial, and focus on the novel I started way back in November, but I didn’t want you to think I had forgotten you. I managed to write a short episode.
Crystal likes to be sung to, so it’s appropriate that this chapter is “Sing.” The titular verb for this episode name was inspired by today’s random reader thing. Very early in this river voyage, Lavinia Ross gave us Ancient Tone. It turns out, that’s an important thing!
Without further ado…
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 44 — Sing
Polished calcite inlays reflected the lamplight in the Delta Pearl’s hallway as Cal ran ahead of us. An unlikely clockwork pair, the horse and the spider chased the tiny copper scarab. Amethyst was again balanced on Cal’s head.
Victor and I were briefly stuck at the cabin’s doorway, both trying to get out at the same instant, so Cal and Amethyst had a head start.
“Why is it flying downward? I thought it would head for the deck and the open air,” Victor remarked as we ran. “It seems to be going to the boiler room.”
His remark startled me so much that I nearly stumbled. Victor was right. However, what he did not know was the importance of the riverboat’s boiler room. I grabbed his arm.
“Victor, if it gets into the boiler room it must not get out!” I gasped. “No matter what.”
My young inventor looked like the statement befuddled him. His brows knitted, but he nodded.
From her perch on Cal’s head, Amethyst shot a fine silver thread up to a chandelier. The clockwork spider swung up to the light fixture and disappeared into the many faceted crystals.
Amethyst loved to play and hide in the riverboat’s many chandeliers. However, I suspected they also covered the mysterious ways that allowed her to travel unseen all over the Delta Pearl.
“Crazy Horse, Cal” bucked once as the spider left him, but then he kept after the scarab. Victor and I had almost caught up with the mechanical horse.
We neared the boiler room. At the far end of the hall, I heard music and Blue John Boulton’s voice, singing. However, the Mate wasn’t playing his ukulele, as he often did for the crew. The music came from his special tuning forks.
The perfect pitch of Blue’s voice could be mesmerizing. I glanced at Victor, and knew he felt it too. The closer we got to the boiler room, the louder and more penetrating the music became.
“The notes,” Victor began in an amazed voice. “It’s a six-tone scale. When I was small my father took us to visit a Gregorian monastery. It reminds me of the hymns the monks sang. But each new line is one degree higher… The mathematic resonance is extraordinary! They’re ancient tones,” he finished in awe.
He already knew about the clockwork creatures. Was the young inventor in the verge of figuring out another of the Delta Pearl’s secrets? I ran faster.
The music Blue John was making was part of the natural scale of music buried within every single thing in the world. The riverboat used that scale to align herself. The ancient tones were at the core of what made the riverboat the Delta Pearl.
Cal slammed into the boiler room door and then fell back onto his haunches. Victor had said that he couldn’t get the clockwork horse to work properly.
A glint of copper let me know that the scarab had crawled under the door and into the tone-filled room.
End Chapter 44
Ancient Tone. If you want insight into my thought process, click the link and scroll down to “Origin.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solf%C3%A8ge
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.
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