The Delta Pearl 55 — Launch

Saturday, November 14, 2020 

Aero-cab Station Jean Marc Cote 1899 Wikipedia
Aero-cab Station Jean Marc Cote 1899, Wikipedia

Welcome back to the steampunk riverboat, my chuckaboos!  

Random Reader Things 

Weeks ago, Dyanna Wyndesong asked me to use the Victorian slang word bricky again.  It’s such a fun word, that of course I use it whenever I can.  This time I wanted to make sure I gave her a shout-out. Thanks again to Dan Antion‘s for letting me use his photos.

Last Time

As this paddle-wheeler has traveled the river, some of the passengers have left. First, the Harveys — a newlywed couple and their bratty nephew.  An early encounter with the kid’s pranks had our heroine dangling precariously over the railing. With enough passenger protest, the Captain put the trio ashore in Chapter 27

Last time the circumstances were entirely different when we parted company with Alison and Azalea.  That goodbye was much happier, as they get to begin life together, in freedom — in the future.  However, you know I can’t let the river be calm for very long.  The magical riverboat answers to no one, and she isn’t inclined to stay there if she’s of a mind to leave.

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 55 — Launch

Naphtha engine built by the Gas Engine & Power Company of New York; at The Mariners Museum
Naphtha engine 1899, Wikipedia

Jaspe gave me a knowing look as I watched the naphtha launch carrying Azalea Morton and Alison Ritchie speed across the dark river.  The Dealer always seemed to know what was on my mind.

Of course, I was worried about the two young women.  However, they were both bricky and capable.  I believed they would be fine.  I was more concerned about Blue John Boulton who piloted the launch.  What if he didn’t get back before the Delta Pearl returned to our time?

As serious as those things were, another thought vied for my attention.  The calling card the Dealer had me give to the women ― the place where they were to get assistance.  It was a law office and the attorneys were Cecil Perlog, IV and Emerald Needleman.

The thing that bothered me most about that was Jaspe saying the Captain must not know.  I eyed the Dealer’s impassive features.  Yes, he certainly knew what was on my mind.

“You had an instant admiration for Mrs. Eliza Needleman, did you not?” he began and I nodded.  “A friendship quickly formed.  I could see that from the moment when, impromptu, you played the harpsichord and she sang.  Good friends, they will be de bons amis wherever they may go.  You’ll have a lasting friendship, cher.”

I supposed that explained the name Emerald Needleman.  If Eliza and I became close friends, a variation of my name, Émeraude, could make its way into her family.  Particularly with her fondness for Egyptomania and rare gems, like emeralds.  However, I didn’t see how that could be create a problem if the Captain knew.

Yvonne et Christine Lerolle au piano Pierre Auguste Renoir 1897 Wikipedia
Yvonne et Christine Lerolle au piano Pierre Auguste Renoir 1897 Wikipedia

“With men, friendships are more likely to be situational.  The strength of the bond is shaped by where they are, how long they are there, and what is happening.  For powerful men, particularly when one is competitive like Mr. Randall Needleman, a friendship must develop naturally.  Or perhaps some dramatic event might also forge a bond,” Jaspe continued.  “For business partners, this is also true.  Lawyers…” he paused to shrug and spread his hands.

“When you gave me the card, you said the names on it were different than they previously were,” I prompted.  “So, the future is changeable…”

T’as raison!  You’re right, cher.  This change may have already happened when Randall Needleman nearly lost his life, freeing you from the big net, that would have carried you away in the noxious cloud.  However, Cecil Perlog is not one to bend if he believes anyone, including the Delta Pearl or Fate herself, has manipulated him.  That’s why I say the friendship needs must grow naturally.  Simply knowing that the future indicates a friendship or partnership — or whatever ship was formed…  Well, this might cause the Captain to choose or act differently than he would if he had no hint,” he finished.

A shadow blocked the moon’s light.  The Dealer tensed.  He turned his head heavenward and murmured a Creole phrase I didn’t catch.

Dangereux…  he muttered.

Abraham Pether - Evening scene with full moon and persons (1801
Abraham Pether 1801, Wikipedia

Following his gaze, I noticed there was something strange about the occluded the moon.  The sky around it looked wrong.  The dark area had an even darker outline.  Bits of it seemed to pulse.  The edges started to surge and then retract.

At the riverbank a strong looking figure jumped from the naphtha launch to the dock.  I knew Blue John Boulton well enough to recognize his silhouette in the darkness.  He extended his hand and helped Alison and Azalea onto the dock.  There was a brief exchange between the three.  Then the women hurried away and the Mate headed the launch back toward the riverboat.

I had never seen the Dealer act anxious.  However, his tension was palpable as he turned his head from the sky to the approaching boat and back to the sky again.

“It’s Malachite.  He mustn’t break out of his own time,” Jaspe stated and cast a glare at the strangeness in the heavens.

The Delta Pearl made a screeching noise unlike anything I had ever heard.  She lurched so violently that I feared the riverboat would come apart at the seams.

When I looked upward, it seemed like the clouds were backlit by a bright sun.  Then I realized there were no clouds.  It was more of a crack in the sky where a strange light tried to break through.

Kirk Douglas as Blue John. Composite public domain and free images, tomfoolery by Teagan
Kirk Douglas as Blue John. Composite public domain and free images, tomfoolery by Teagan

Waves broke as the Mate’s boat rushed toward us.  I feared it would not make it back before the Delta Pearl returned to our time.  Then greater horror caused me to gasp.

As the sound of the naphtha engine got louder, I could see Blue John better.  He had strapped on a sort of kite, but wings protruded from the sides.  Then he used the speed of the boat to launch himself into the air.  I heard the sound of a small motor, propelling him higher into the broken sky.

The six-tone music similar to that of the bonding ceremony blared from every corner of the Delta Pearl.  The colors of the music were all shades of green and blue.  The sound waves blasted heavenward, pushing against the disruption in the sky.

Blue John disappeared into the harmonic waves of color.

The Delta Pearl shuddered violently.

My world went black.

***

End Chapter 55

***

Balderdash!  What now?  Until next time.

Be well, be happy, my chuckaboos.  

***

.

 

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.

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72 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 55 — Launch

    1. I don’t mention him very often. With all these weeks, it’s easy to forget. He is much a mystery, but seems to be the Dealer’s nemesis perhaps. He was in the brown cloud when it descended during Emeraude’s sweet sixteen party and the Captain and Dealer fought with him — although we couldn’t see much because of the cloud.
      Since we saw a green, malachite scarab in Cairo, IL, just before the net (and cloud above) tried to capture Emeraude, we assume he was behind that as well. More about who Malachite is will be revealed as we near the ending.
      I’m happy you enjoyed this, my chuckaboo. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. YIKES!!! A brilliant cliffhanger, Teagan. And yet, what was included in this week’s storyline was even more exciting to me: 1) the idea of freedom 2) Goodbyes may be sad, but there is always happiness that comes 3) Magic has its own pathway 4) Trust is essential 5) Music is more than music – it is a connector. And best of all “the future can be changed.” Powerful stuff! Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning, Rebecca. Thanks for this lovely feedback. Those are the things I hoped to convey. I love how you said music is a connector. So very true. I use it, in various ways, in many of my stories. My unpublished “Guitar Mancer” has music at the core of its mythology. “Brother Love” plays it clearly in the background and setting. My current novel in progress uses it to anchor the setting/era and mood of the story. I love a quote from Lady Gaga, “At the end of the day, I’m just a girl who loves her piano.” Mine has followed me (as impractical and expensive as it was) from Nashville, to Albuquerque, to DC, and back across the country again. I look forward to being able to get it properly tuned one day. Thanks for being on this riverboat. Hugs winging back to you, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, the perils this group continues to face! I was holding my breath, only to exhale loudly when you left us hanging. I do hope Blue John will make it back to the Delta Pearl unharmed! Another nail-biter, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yowzer!! A crack in the sky? Blue John strapped on a sort of kite with wings and launched himself in the air? Jaspe is more than a little concerned? And this is where you leave us….for a week? Some people practice yoga. You, my friend, practice torture! You certainly know how to keep us coming back for more! Don’t you at least feel a little guilty about all the cliffs you dangle us from?! 🤗

    Stay safe and be happy.
    Ginger

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you kindly, Pat. Ha! Yeah, I’m curious to know how the heck I’m going to do that myself! LOL. From this point forward, *everything* is new material for this rewrite. Catching Dundas with the diamond (and giving Alison and Azalea a new life) was the old ending. Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can see by the comments published here before me that your expertise in providing cliffhangers is well-noted. Each episode has brought us into a world where nothing is expected and everything is up for grabs!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my! Teagan, you left us here? My mind is spinning with possibilities. You painted a very dangerous sounding image at the edge of the river. Bolstering my fear is the fact that Jaspe is concerned. That can’t be a good thing. Now the wait begins.

    Thanks for the wonderful entertainment. I hope you have a nice calm weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I have no idea what will happen next, Teagan. And we have a whole week of wondering. Thanks (I guess!) for another awe-inspiring chapter. Good luck with all your projects and take care!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. This certainly left us hanging, Teagan. It felt like a cross between Revelation and the threat of a Tolkien dragon about to part the clouds. It could also be that my mind is going in crazy places. Anyhow, will we see Blue John again or is he about to save the lives on the riverboat in exchange for his own? I suppose we will find out next week, same time, same Teagan bat channel…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. ^^’ I blush at that high praise, Mary J. Thanks so much! Oh, and Crystal approves the Batman reference, since she always wears her Batgirl costume.
          The Dealer catching Dundas in the water with the diamond, followed by Alison and Azalea leaving was the ending in the original. I didn’t publish because I felt the story needed more in the middle — so I chose this serial method of rewriting it. Then a few months ago, I realized that ending wasn’t the right way. So these past few episodes were a lead-in for my new ending. I really hope what I do with it surprises everyone in a good way. Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

          Liked by 1 person

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