Saturday, February 6, 2021
But first, for those who aren’t here on Wednesdays…
Dead of Winter: Journey 2, Penllyn
At the beginning of 2021, I started monthly, serialized novelettes of an epic fantasy, “Dead of Winter.” Journey 1, Forlorn Peak was released then. This week I published, Journey 2, Penllyn. For that announcement click here. (Description and other information is included in that post.)
Now to the free serial that you were looking for, my chuckaboos! I’m here with an all new episode of the #steampunk riverboat serial, The Delta Pearl.
Whenever possible, I let a “random reader thing” add to the story. Today I used one from Olga Núñez Miret, whistle.
For past episodes, either click the back arrow at the bottom of the post, or click on the Delta Pearl category button on the right side of the page. Now let’s get right to it.
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 63 — Whistle
Cool fingers touched my arm. I turned to face a hideous face with a long snout and bulging eyes. I drew breath to scream.
A muffled giggle stopped my wail. I recognized the finely made mauve colored gown that stood below the horrible face.
“Eliza! You startled me. How did you get that breathing apparatus?” I asked Mrs. Needleman about the mask strapped around her head. “Oh, never mind. I don’t want to know which porter you probably cajoled into giving it to you.”
All the passengers were supposed to drink Agate’s tea, and breathe the herbal vapors that were piped throughout the Delta Pearl. The combination would not only make them sleep through the time shifts, but also make them forget the day or two surrounding those events.
I should have known that my friend would find a way to keep her memories. Eliza was not just sophisticated — she was downright brilliant.
“The herbal gas wasn’t pumped into this room,” I told Eliza. “You can take off that mask. The Delta Pearl has finished… transitioning or whatever I should call it. Things feel normal now, but I don’t really know if we’ve returned home.”
Eliza gave her head a sharp shake. I realized that an odd whistle sound was in my head, and made the same motion.
“Shrill, whistling sound?” I muttered in question, and she frowned and nodded. “It’s an after-effect of what the Delta Pearl just did.”
“I knew something was afoot, my chuckaboo,” she began. “It felt more like we were in a storm at sea than on a gentle river cruise. I didn’t want to leave Randall. The tea sent my husband straight to slumber land. It made me sleepy, but I do have a rather strong constitution. When I saw an overburdened porter carrying several of these breathing apparatuses, I distracted him enough to nip one of them.”
Eliza disentangled the mask from her now disheveled Gibson Girl hairdo. She hung it from her arm like a purse. She gave a curious look around at the dazed crew members, before continuing.
“The Librarian saw me when I left our cabin to investigate. Opal dragged me to the boiler room. The woman isn’t half as frail as she looks, I can tell you that! She was going on and on about her peridot and a key. Anyhow, she insisted that I stay in there and she sat me down by a strange array of tuning forks. She said I would be safe as long as I was near them,” Eliza Needleman described the encounter in a mystified tone.
“Ah! That would be why the shift didn’t knock you onto your bustle. Yes. I can’t go into detail, but the tuning forks are unique to the Delta Pearl… they’re part of her. They offer a degree of protection and added power to the riverboat. Activating them with the key makes them even more powerful. However, they are dangerous when they’re active that way. The key is only used in emergencies,” I tried to explain. “And for the bonding. Ugh! I shouldn’t have told you that much! I’ll just say that they are difficult to control when the key is inserted. Blue John was the best at using them, but he’s… Eliza, please. You are sworn to secrecy about all this.”
“Of course, darling. You can rely on my discretion. Oh, by the by… Your purple spider was in my suite. For a moment I thought she was just bubbling around. But she started having a clockwork fit, dancing and tapping. Then I saw that she was having a one-spider collie shangle on top of my music box. I knew she must be trying to tell me something, but I had no idea what. When she ran off, I thought she had gone to you. Maybe you can get her to explain herself.”
I looked toward the etched glass doors of the Chandelier Deck and heaved a sigh, thinking about Amethyst and the others.
Cal, the clockwork horse Victor made for me, cantered to the doors again. He walked into them repeatedly, trying to follow the other clockworks. A woozy Victor stumbled after the horse to retrieve him.
Sunlight, which had streamed through the doors a moment before, abruptly dimmed. I spotted the sooty cloud where Onyx and the other clockworks had flown.
“Whatever Amethyst was trying to tell you we may never know. She’s gone,” I murmured.
End Chapter 63
How could the clockwork creatures, particularly Amethyst, just abandon the Delta Pearl? And that ugly brown cloud again…
Featured Book Cover
Each week I’ll feature a Designed & Ready book cover. I’m offering the service of pre-designed book covers or promotional images if preferred. Here’s this week’s featured design. Click here to see my entire portfolio. Pricing information is also included there.
Here’s one example. This week I added a few more covers.
This post turned into a bit of a hodgepodge. Thanks for visiting. I’d love to hear from you in a comment. Although, remember that this is my sanctuary — so keep it friendly.
Until next time, 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 2021 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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