Saturday, November 14, 2020
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.
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.
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 55 — Launch
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.
“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.
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.
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
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