The Delta Pearl 54 — Flash

Saturday, November 7, 2020 

I’m happy to see you at the river, my chuckaboos!  As many of you know, I’ve thrown my hat into the “ring of fire” for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). 

As if drafting a novel in 30 days wasn’t enough… Well, I already intended to be editing Dead of Winter for serialized book publication — so I added it as a second NaNoWriMo project. My goal is to edit at least 30,000 words in November.  That should keep me on track for publication.  Although, I’m afraid I still haven’t found any mojo for my novel in progress.  I keep hoping my mojo will sizzle and pop out of that ring of fire known as NaNoWriMo.

Ring of Fire, Johnny Cash (video). I know that sometimes don’t work for everyone. My apologies if that’s the case.

Random Reader Things 

The only comment I’ve had from Trish was when she left calling card as a thing, months ago.  The right time for it came today.  Perhaps she’s reading.  At least as long ago, Joanne mentioned a flashback.  I thought that made a good thing, but I’m only just now using it.  Resa’s flat iron added to a new scene.  Thanks again to Dan Antion‘s for letting me use his photos.

Last Time

As you’ll recall, the Delta Pearl basically freaked out about crossing into a different time zone.  The riverboat’s magic took her to a future time.  Garnet Redford risked going ashore just long enough to pick up a newspaper. (The riverboat refuses to stay long in a time that is not her own. We wouldn’t want Garnet to get left behind.)  Opal had Jet and Émeraude search the paper comparing information to the contents of that leather folio.  Let’s see what happens next.

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 54 — Flash

James Tissot, The Confidence 1867, Wikimedia Commons
James Tissot, The Confidence 1867, Wikimedia Commons

Astonishment seized me when Cal, the clockwork horse Victor made for me, leapt to take the leather folio.  A tiny smile came to Opal’s lips and she left the library.

“Amethyst, make sure he takes it to the right cabin,” I told my spider.

She hopped from my shoulder to land on Crazy Horse Cal’s head.  I heard insistent clockwork clicking as the pair clattered away.

Jaspe appeared out of nowhere, as was his habit.  I jumped when he touched my arm.  He detained me as I picked up my skirts to follow the mechanical animals.

“Give them this card,” the Dealer instructed in a serious voice.  “Tell no one else of the names.  That is critical, cher.  One of the names on it is different from what it was when this voyage began.  If others knew, then assumptions might be made which may not be correct.  Their knowing could alter the future in a way that we don’t want.  You understand?” he paused for me to nod.  “Particularly, do not let the Captain see it.  Ça c’est bon.”

“That’s good?  Yes,” I replied, although I was doubtful.

I had never known Jaspe or Agate to keep anything from Cecil Perlog.  Worry gripped me.  I gasped when I read the calling card.  I nodded silently and hurried away.

Cal’s metal hooves rapped a cabin door.  Coral stuck out her head.  The chamber maid looked relieved when she saw Opal.  I followed the Librarian into the cabin.

“No, you’ll need men’s trousers.  Those knee britches won’t do,” Coral said as she brushed Alison’s hair.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, In Summer, 1868.
Pierre Auguste Renoir, In Summer 1868, Wikipedia

 

I was surprised to see the young woman out of her disguise as the boy, Alex Rice.  Also, I was puzzled that Coral would dress a woman’s hair into a soldier’s queue.  However, she proceeded to raise the hairdo and tie it high on the back of Alison’s head.  As Coral applied a flat iron to it, her tresses flowed like a horse’s tail.

“That’s correct,” Opal agreed.  “Ordinary men’s clothing will blend in, but not gowns.  They have a sort of short gown worn by some women, but nothing like yours.  Keep any hairstyle simple — no ringlets or Gibson Girl buns.  Or wear it loose like a child,” she added as she unpinned Azalea’s hair.

The Delta Pearl vibrated and then convulsed.  Cal tipped over.  Amethyst had prudently hid when the cabin door opened.  I cleared my throat and the clockwork horse left in search of the spider.  I bent to pick up the leather folio he dropped.

“There’s no more time.  I’ll make sure the launch is ready,” Opal said urgently and walked out of the cabin.

In a flashback to the day the passengers boarded, I recalled “Alex” and Azalea.  They had both looked so uncomfortable.  Alex clutched a leather folio to his chest and his cap was pulled down low, all but covering his eyes.  I remembered the white-knuckle grip he, or rather she, had on that folio.  Alex held it like a drowning man would grab a life-jacket.

After Jet and I compared the contents of the portfolio to the organizations mentioned in the newspaper Garnet had brought aboard, Opal told us that the bonds it contained would be astonishingly valuable in the future time.

Alone with the two young women, I glanced at the card Jaspe gave me.

“Go to the address on this card.  Your bonds are extraordinarily valuable in this place.  The people at the address will help you exchange them for money.  I gather they’ll understand your situation.  But tell no one on this riverboat the names.  No one!” I emphasized.

In their eyes, I saw that my own fear reached them.  The two women nodded.  They read the card carefully.  Then Alison tucked it into the breast pocket inside her jacket.

With a discrete tap at the door, the Captain asked if everyone was decent.  He dwarfed the cabin when he entered.  His expression was stern, but excitement lit his light blue eyes.  He removed his hat, exposing that thick shock of platinum hair.

Riverboat docked night lights Dan Antion
Photo by Dan Antion

“I know you’ve had little time to make a lifechanging decision.  There’ll be no turning back.  Are you sure you want to go through with this?” Cecil Perlog asked Azalea and Alison.

They held one another’s hands and replied that they were certain.

“The Delta Pearl wouldn’t have brought us here if it wasn’t in your best interest,” the Captain affirmed with a nod.  “Everything will be different.  There will be things that are hard to get used to,” he added with a pause and searched their faces.  “But you won’t have to go about in secret any more.  There are some places where you can even marry each other.  Alright then.  We’ve no more time,” the Captain stated and ushered them out of the cabin.

I stared at his broad back wonderingly as I considered the text on the calling card.

Attorneys at Law
Cecil Perlog, IV and Emerald Needleman

***

End Chapter 54

***

Well dash my wig — they seem to have things under control.  Am I the only one who is worried that won’t last for long?  Until next time.

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.

 


78 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 54 — Flash

  1. Yeah, what another great sequel, and the clockworks are present too. This with the writing on the calling card opens a lot of twists. 😉 Best wishes on the NaNo writing, but do not forget finding spare time, beside making meal for Crystal. :-)) Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Michael. I haven’t met my “word count” goal, but I feel good about what I wrote. 😀
      I’m happy you enjoyed this chapter. Yes, there will be a bit more about the names on that calling card next time. It’s really just adding a little more “color” to the scope of the story. I little something to keep the reader’s imagination going, even after the story is finished. It looks like I threw in another twist, but I didn’t really.
      BUT there is a big twist on the way!
      LOL, Crystal has been eating well lately — which makes me very happy. She’s had a couple of good snoring naps while I worked on my NaNoWriMo novel today. Happy weekend, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Teagan! Sorry, had another delay in answering. 1000 words a day is really a challenge. Dont be stressed, not every day is like the other. The sequel, as the story itself is great. Seems Crystal really is enjoying life. You have to do the same, preventing bad waves in da house. 😉 I hope you could enjoy the weekend, and wish you a beautiful week ahead.Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The Delta Pearl is an extraordinary vessel. There is an underlying benevolence and compassion that comes through in every post. I am fascinated where this narrative will take us, and I especially appreciate that it is coming in the form of a serial – allows us to consider the possibilities on the next twist in the plot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Azalea and Alison will have a new beginning and an eye-opening world in which to live. Great ending to this chapter, Teagan. It is a bright spot for us, something to put a smile on our faces. Hugs and purrs for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, that was a cool ending! I hope when next they meet Alex and Alison they find them living their happily ever after dream.

    The names on the cards…very interesting indeed! Looking forward to the next installment and hoping you have great success with the November writing challenge!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sigh… I’m still looking for my mojo, Diana. But sometimes I think I see it flit across the room. I might grab it yet. 😉
      I’m happy you enjoyed this chapter. Congrats on your newest book! I can’t wait to dig into it. Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. That was a shocking surprise! Quite an unexpected turn of events. I take they’ve landed in the 21st century. And the two names linked together? Wow, Teagan! This just keeps getting deeper and more intriguing as it goes!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So the Delta Pearl has taken care of the girls who will be entering our time period to live out their lives hopefully in peace and without fear. But that calling card! Now that’s a surprise! And Jasper seems more in control of the Delta Pearl than the captain. Definitely anxious to read more.

    Good luck with all your projects Teagan. Hope you left room for some relaxing and fun.
    Ginger

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wish I had been less opinionated about music as a preteen and teen, Tim. I just couldn’t deal with country music because of the whiny twang of some of the artists back then. Johnny Cash never had that. About 15 years ago, I fell in love with his music. All of a sudden, after I made this post, I went to the piano and played Ring of Fire. I didn’t know I could. It was fun.
      Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. You continue to outdo yourself with each chapter. Now I am all agog wondering what will happen next. Must be in the future (like now) from the hints. At first I thought it was the American Revolution. Good luck with all of you NaNoMo projects. Hugs from the future winging their way with promises of better days to come.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pat. Well… steampunk/fantasy… it’s not a precise or particular world or timeline. At least not this story. That’s why I’ve never mentioned any dates, although I do see it as the late Victorian Era. So the riverboat went forward to approximately our time. The real danger is making sure everyone is where they need to be, before she abruptly takes herself home. And it sounds like she’s about to move. I imagine it’s hard to stay in a time that is not her own. Maybe even the Delta Pearl doesn’t have full control over her actions. Magic can be a wild thing. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow! This one stunned me, Teagan. I am so happy for Azalea and Alison. I’m imagining the commotion in their cabin. I love “listening” to Jaspe talk. You have that character finely honed. It seems the Delta Pearl is a wise lady. Thanks for starting my weekend off on a great note.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so very much, Dan — particularly about Jaspe. When there are many characters, it can be hard to give each one an individual voice. But I think it helps the overall impression of individuality if one character can have a particularly distinct voice. Have a beautiful weekend. Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Wow! I’m sure they will be happy and adapt quite well once the initial shock is over. The hints are the future are fascinating as well. Thanks, Teagan and good luck with all your projects. Go NaNoWriMo, go!

    Liked by 2 people

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