Saturday, October 17, 2020
Welcome back, my chuckaboos! It’s been a busy time with so many authors launching new books. I’ve been thrilled that a couple of my older works have also gotten online attention. Today Marian Allen is hosting Deme and Honeybell from Atonement, Tennessee. The Glowing Pigs have taken their party bus to visit Marian. Jump on, click over and join the fun.
The steampunk riverboat is here with another new chapter.
Random Reader Things
Previously, Émeraude and friends learned that the trembles and shivers that were happening to the Delta Pearl were the result of the riverboat encountering a temporal shift. Well, dash my wig! I’d hate to deal with something like that happening, just because I crossed to a new time zone. On the Delta Pearl, you never know what might happen. Anyhow, that shady character with a lot of facial hair, Dundas… Remember him skulking around that disreputable jewelry (pawn?) shop… and the famous Pharaoh Diamond had gone missing before that?
As I was saying, The Dealer told Émeraude that everyone should be safe — as long as they stayed inside. Next thing we knew, Dundas jumped overboard. Shall we see what happens next?
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 52 — Dive
Alarms sounded. The Mate and several crewmen shouted. The Cadet started to dive into the river after Dundas, however Blue John held Sid back, speaking urgently. I supposed the Mate reminded him that we were no longer in our proper time.
Dr. Victor Topaz Elam looked just as horrified as anyone. However, he started shaking his head and made a rueful face that seemed to suggest he was ashamed of his thoughts, but practical and honest just the same.
“I don’t suppose a man from the past, set loose in the future could do any harm. But what if a thieving troll like that managed to get back? He could collect who knows what knowledge from one hundred and fifty years hence, and claim it as his own. Why, he could subvert well intentioned futuristic inventions to his own malevolent purposes,” Dr. Elam stated in a distraught voice.
So mesmerized was I by the scene that had just played out before my eyes, that I didn’t realize I had gone out onto the deck. My hand was still firmly attached to Victor Elam’s arm. I was mortified that I had not only let him get outside, I had pulled him out there with me.
Jet Fisher walked out behind us. The bemused euphoria that often came to one recently bonded to the Delta Pearl gave him a calmly happy demeanor.
“A man with no knowledge of his present world? It’s too dark to see very much, but listen. Nothing sounds familiar. I see lights inland, but the noises are different. I don’t hear the sound of wagons or horses. How profoundly different might ordinary life be?” Jet commented to Victor’s statement. “Dundas wouldn’t know how to make his way in the world, except for petty theft.”
“Jet, I think I follow you,” I told the erstwhile librarian from Cairo, Illinois. “If a highwayman, like the infamous Dick Turpin in England, who was known for riding from London to York on his horse, Black Bess, in less than 24 hours, found himself far into the future… Riding a fast horse, ambushing travelers, and escaping into the countryside… That might not be of much use in this place― I mean time. And if transportation is different, Turpin probably wouldn’t be so good at waylaying his victims. There might not even be a countryside,” I speculated as I gazed at the plethora of lights twinkling beyond the riverside.
“Precisely,” Jet said with a nod.
“But what if he got back?” Victor countered, still holding his line of thought.
“If Dundas tried to explain himself, he’d surely be seen as either an idiot or a lunatic,” Jet replied.
“Well, dash my wig,” Victor declared as he saw the other point of view. “Dundas steals ideas. He has none of his own. He wouldn’t know how to travel in time. What’s more if he tried to find help, he’d likely land in an asylum!”
The Captain’s voice boomed from high above. He was up on the hurricane deck. Though it was dark, I could see two silhouettes. The second form was tall but slender and moved gracefully — the Dealer.
Abruptly the night was illuminated. Beams of light swung in every direction searching the dark water.
The Mate shouted. He waved and pointed toward a place in the river where the searching lights briefly shone before sliding past. The Captain swung the light back to the spot where Blue John pointed.
I could not make out much, other than something splashing. If it was Dundas, and I expected it was, he was farther from the riverboat than I expected. Looking around, I saw that we were in a narrow section of the river. Dundas was in fact startlingly close to the riverbank.
Muffled discussion reached my ears from the hurricane deck. The Captain’s voice was easy to distinguish even if I could not make out his words. However, I could barely hear the second voice.
A white dinner jacket seemed to float down from above. The upper decks were not as broad as the one on which we stood, so the jacket would not have fallen into the water. I took a step forward and caught it.
Then someone leapt far out from the hurricane deck. He dove, easily clearing the passenger decks, and cut neatly into the black river.
Everyone who witnessed the impossible leap gasped in unison. I looked at the finely tailored dinner jacket in my hands, but I already knew it belonged to the Dealer.
“ZASH-pah!” involuntarily I wailed the Dealer’s name.
Disbelief, denial, and worry warred with icy spears in my stomach. Could anyone make such a jump and live?
“If only I had focused on making that amphibious bicycle instead of the wretched automatons,” the young inventor muttered.
Victor Elam had stepped to the railing. Both his hands were on the banister in a white knuckled grip. The inventor took one look at my face as I gazed at the dinner jacket. Comprehension registered on his face. He murmured something, words to which I had no spare thought to listen. He took my elbow and tried to guide me back inside, but I would not be moved.
Instead I walked toward the Mate’s position. Then the bright searchlights illuminated a slim shape streaking across the river. Surely no man could swim so fast!
“It must be a river dolphin,” I murmured and Victor nodded in stunned silence.
The rapidly moving shape caught up with Benjamin Dundas. It was a man after all. Impossible though it seemed, I was sure it was Jaspe.
A brief struggle ensued. I saw the ring shape of the wooden lifesaver rise up into the night. Then Jaspe brought it back down with a sharp crack. An awkwardly shaped, double form moved steadily toward the Delta Pearl through the darkness. The Dealer appeared to be pulling the unconscious Dundas along through the water. A section of the broken life preserver was tucked under Dundas’ chin to help keep him afloat.
End Chapter 52
On Monday, October 19, I’m at Teri Polen’s festival, Bad Moon Rising. I didn’t bring Lulu, but she came by herself. I hope you’ll visit us there. It’s a fun interview.
Lulu has also made it to Vancouver, British Columbia to visit Rebecca Budd. Here’s a video Rebecca made:
Throughout October, Hullaba Lulu is at an introductory price. The eBooks are only 99¢. For those who boycott Amazon I made a Kobo eBook too.
Kindle: Click this universal link
Paperback: Click this universal link
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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