The Delta Pearl 45 — Intone

Saturday, August 15, 2020 

Forgive my hasty intro, my chuckaboos.  I hope you can also overlook the lack of illustrations.  They are usually a big part of my posts.  However, my “technical difficulties” made it more than hard enough to even post a chapter.

This week’s things:

Influence of the Delta Pearl from Dan Antion

Purdonium from  Barb Taub

Without further ado…

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 45 — Intone

Steampunk eye clock broken shattered Kellepics Pixabay
Kellepics at Pixabay

Victor T. Elam scooped up Cal, where the clockwork horse repeatedly walked against the boiler room door.  I threw the lever and opened the hatch.  The reverberation of the ancient tones engulfed us.

“What ever you do, don’t sing!” I told Victor.

“My voice isn’t all that bad,” he defended himself.  “Besides, I don’t know the words anyway.”

“There aren’t words.  Just don’t make any singing sounds,” I snapped.

It was rather similar to walking into an opium den, but the drug was music.  Although, I wouldn’t want the Captain to know I had any idea what such a thing was.  He might not believe that my only knowledge of that depravity came from reading books.

That was not ordinary music.  You could see the music.  It was a biproduct of the riverboat’s magic.

Blue John’s tuning forks stood in an ornate brass box.  The contraption allowed them to be easily moved around.  At the base of the filigree adorned box, a short slim rod was inserted.  It was the key.

When the mechanism wasn’t in use, the key was attached to the Librarian’s peridot butterfly.  No matter what frock or color Opal wore, the peridot butterfly was always at her shoulder.

1925 Review Ad; butterfly kiss

The tuning forks vibrated and glowed in a rainbow of cascading colors that shot across the room.  There were no instruments, only voices.

A small group of crewmembers sat in the midst of the colors, surrounding the tuning forks.

I should not have been surprised to find Jet Fischer there.  I knew that he would be bonded to the Delta Pearl eventually, but I never expected it to happen so soon.  That was a tremendous decision for the erstwhile librarian from Cairo, Illinois.  The influence of the riverboat was such that the connection would last a lifetime ― sometimes more.

With each line, the six-tone scale escalated one degree higher.  The tones didn’t feel complete to me.  Captain Cecil Perlog’s resounding bass was missing.

(The Captain had gone ashore to get Eliza Needleman released from police custody.  Eliza was arrested when she flaunted her soaking wet, pantaloon-clad person as a means of diverting law enforcement’s attention from Alison Ritchie, the runaway wife.  The passengers and most of the crew knew her as the boy, Alex.)

In addition to Blue John Boulton’s perfect pitch, the Dealer was there.  His voice was so versatile that he could hit most notes, high or low.  However, his bass didn’t have the wholeness of the Captain’s song.

Rich, pure, and high, like a spoon striking a fine crystal goblet, Opal’s voice complemented the sound.  The ancient woman rarely left her work.  For more years than anyone aboard could remember, the fragile, almost ethereal looking woman had kept the secrets of all the artifacts of the riverboat, including the clockwork creatures.

Her cloud of loosely held silver hair shifted as she stood.  She moved to the furnace where Obsidian Durango took coal from an elaborately decorated purdonium.  Opal opened the furnace so the Cadet could add the fuel.

“Émeraude!” Sid exclaimed, suddenly noticing me.  “What are you doing bubbling around in your nightgown?”

The confluence of rivers had a profound effect on the Delta Pearl.  I knew she had been exposed to it for too long if the paddlewheel needed the coal to supplement its power.  Regardless, we could not leave until the Captain returned.

My mind plodded past the overwhelming power of the tones.  I scanned the room for the tiny copper scarab.  A glint of purple drew my eyes to the ceiling.  It was Amethyst.  I wasn’t surprised she had gotten there ahead of us.

The copper pest darted above my young inventor’s head.  It flew toward the tuning forks.

Victor stood entranced by the music.  Despite my warning, the inventor started to hum.  It was an unconscious thing, not a deliberate action.  I tried to shush him, but he was beyond any state where he could hear my voice.

“Crazy Horse” Cal broke free of his grasp and bounded to the floor, in pursuit of the tiny clockwork scarab.

Amethyst swung from a fine silver thread.  She did not catch the miniature scarab, but she did knock it off course.

Opal’s languid eyes became intense as they locked onto the scarab.  She shifted her stance to the other side of the furnace door.

Cal chased the scarab, leaping up from the floor as he snapped at it.  Amethyst swung again, knocking the copper bug into the furnace.  The clockwork horse was right behind the scarab.

Opal slammed the door shut with one hand and twitched her heavy skirts out of the way with the other.  A sizzle-pop sound came from beyond the furnace door.

“Cal!” I cried.

Opal shot me a warning glance.  I knew it would be dangerous, particularly for Jet, if I did anything to disrupt the bonding.

The elderly woman took the Cadet’s hand and pulled him with her, back to the other singers.  While I merely assumed more voices were needed, I was certain that Opal knew what she was doing.

Obsidian’s expression looked foggy but bemused, as if he was arfarfan’arf.  Such was the effect of the ancient tones.  Sid was as much a part of the crew as any of the singers, but he was not usually part of the circle.  He was unaccustomed to functioning with the musical presence.

Where the singers circled the tuning forks, the colors of the music streamed wildly.  Jet Fischer tilted his head back, as though he could see the heavens.  A rich note emanated from his mouth and it became an iridescent flow of color, but dark like the jet gemstone for which he was named.  While black was the absence of all light, it was the presence of all color.  The dark rainbow rose up to join the other colors that filled the boiler room.

Victor’s hum became fully intoned notes from his tenor voice.  He stepped into the circle.  Like the gemstone earring in his left ear, strands of vibrant shades of blue emerged from his mouth, joining the rest of the music.

Then I remembered his middle initial.  The T was for Topaz.

Opal’s voice shifted a degree higher.  At first, I thought she took a step to the side, but she had not.  However, her velvet skirt moved even though she remained still.


End Chapter 45


I hope you’ll take a moment to leave a friendly comment.  Although, as things are, I’m afraid I’ll be slow to respond.  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.

90 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 45 — Intone

    1. I’m delighted, Valentina. It has always seemed to me that we should be able to see music… Some people see auras. And Kirlian photography has been photographing auras for decades. I had mine taken a few times, back in the day, at metaphysical of new age fairs. Surely music must have colors… if we could only witness them. ❤ Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah… I’m feeling pretty hopeless with my Internet, Teri. There’s only one other provider, and this one was supposed to be best. I have almost a year of contract left. If the COVID Apocalypse is ever over, maybe I can arrange something…
      I’m happy Cal has a friend in you. Thanks for picking up on that detail. There’s more to come, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennie. Not any real hope at this point. Maybe after the Corona Apocalypse is over someday, maybe then I can look into the only other provider here. Although what I have was widely recommended as the best. Those people aren’t having anywhere near the level of problem as me though. So something deep in the “ethernet” that they are unwilling to go to the trouble of fixing… I’m happy you liked this one, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sigh! How you keep your sanity is a miracle. I would be going nuts. Hats off to you, Teagan! Yes, when this awful pandemic finally goes away, hopefully you can resolve the problems. What crazy times we’re in now. The Delta Pearl certainly keeps me going. Hugs to you! 😍

        Liked by 1 person

  1. OMG! This is very fascinating with the colours of the music, the people… Victor Topaz Elam, and what has happened to the copper bug and clockwork horse? Will they be fused/bonded into 1 new clockwork creature?
    guess I’ll just have to come back next week!
    Cat’s Pyjamas, Chuckaboo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the addition of music, Teagan. It does have a way of enchanting us and binding us to a time an place. Beautiful. But what about Cal??! I’m looking forward to the next episode. And I hope your computer cooperates! Take care, my friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Teagan. I’m so sorry you’re still having connectivity problems. That is so frustrating! This segment of “The Delta Pearl” is fascinating. I am a huge believer in tones of music carrying colors and you really put me into the middle of this scene. I almost started humming. Can’t wait to see what’s next! Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the essence, tone, mystery, and color in this chapter. It’s very magical. Also thrilled that the scarab is hopefully now copper toast. Will look forward to see what becomes of the horse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, thank you for thinking about Cal, Pat. I was afraid there’d be an uproar, but other than you and John, I don’t think anyone noticed. Yes, I think that surely that sizzle-pop sound was the scarab. Maybe we’ll know for sure next time, and about the horse too. Thanks for spending part of your weekend here, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Teagan – I especially appreciated the way you envisioned music as something that could be seen, a “byproduct of the riverboat’s magic.” You remind us that we still have magic in our lives. And when we forget, you will be there to remind us. Sending hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love the idea of seeing the colors of music, Teagan! I giggled at the arrest but happy why. Great episode. Have a great weekend:) hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That sounds like house music on the DeltaPerl.
    But this one “shows a certain decadence, doesn’t it?took coal from an elaborately decorated purdonium” shows a little bit of decadence. Doesnt it? 😉
    Great sequel, Teagan. Oh yes, music can have a great impact to the soul. Most time i am using it powering me up. 🙂 Enjoy your weekend, and stay save. Big hugsx Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michael. Yes, I see the Delta Pearl as a very luxurious place. I didn’t know what a purdonium was before Barb left it as a thing (and kindly provided a link explaining). I thought there would be other readers who also didn’t know what it was, so I described it in a similar way to what the [link] article did. Thank you for reading and commenting. Big hugs back to you — hugs on a song. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting turns and unexpected things are happening! I am enjoying the ride, Teagan! I love your use of the colors of music, and the influence of music on the brain. Thank you again for working Ancient Tones into the story!

    There is a good documentary on music and memory. This group does a lot of good work in nursing homes reaching patients and unlocking memories with the key of music.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A great episode, Teagan. I’m now worried about Cal but will wait for the outcome there. This scene was very well written and showed your talent completely. It was mesmerizing. Also, I think you have come up with one of the best lines ever. “He might not believe that my only knowledge of that depravity came from reading books.” Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful comment, John. You’ve made my week. ❤
      Ha! I had forgotten about that line. I remembered that part of being a teenager. And can I just say *thank you!* for mentioning Cal. I was beginning to wonder if anyone noticed that. LOL. Huge hugs right back, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. How I would love to see music as color!!! What a whirlwind, breathtaking episode, but fun at the same time.

    Eliza running around in her pantaloons, Emeraude in her nightgown!! What next?!
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my dear, I see and feel your problem with the “Technical Issues”! Nevertheless, you have got it and thanks for that😊🙏 I have also got problems nowadays to do works on WP, I suppose that there’s all for making the 4G into 5G 😳😏😂 I wish you good health and a nice weekend, my dear Chuckaboo 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This chapter is truly beautiful, Teagan. Although the action is intense, the music and the color seem to dampen any tension into a manageable flow. Everything is performing in concert. The Delta Pearl is a magical place, so much more than a mere riverboat. I enjoyed this part of the story.

    I hope you have a nice easy weekend. Stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That feedback means a lot to me, Dan. Thank you for mentioning the balance. I was concerned that it was too much back and forth.
      Yesterday I took on a project doing a Senior Executive Service position application package. While I prefer writing novels, I get a certain satisfaction from that work — shining light on someone’s best work and qualities and trying to help them advance their career. Given my current state, I was freaked out at first, but found my groove before the day was over, and look forward to working on it. Don’t work too hard on that shed. I’m sure it’s still hot and humid there. Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds like an interesting project. I can see how it would be satisfying.

        The humidity and the temperature has dropped to tolerable levels. I may attack the weeds with the lawn mower, as it’s cool enough for me to wear hearing protectors.

        Take care. Well-tuned hugs for you today.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If I had been allowed to do the same type and level of work I did for this person, I probably wouldn’t have felt the need to retire early. But then, I wouldn’t be here in my little house, enjoying the desert climate. You take care too, Dan. Huge hugs bac,.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. With a jewel name myself (Ruby), I feel a special fondness for the Delta Pearl … even more so now with the introduction of seeing music as colour! I’m aware that some people have that rare ability, and I’ve always been intrigued by it.

    An extraordinary episode, Teagan!!

    Happy Saturday! Hope your weekend is a good one 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are indeed a gem, Joanne. I’ve heard of people being able to see smells/odors — that could be useful. 🙂 Anyhow, when I think about it, I just feel like we should be able to see music… maybe that ability is similar to being able to see auras. It does make for intriguing speculating. Happy weekend hugs, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

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