Saturday, April 3, 2021
Welcome back, my chuckaboos! I apologize in advance — I am still scarce around the blogosphere while I prepare the next installment of my Amazon serial. Dead of Winter: Journey 4, The Old Road will be ready soon.
I literally left Émeraude hanging last time, so let’s step short before somebody tries to batty fang me over this predicament.
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 69 — Sense
Most of my senses were deprived. My goggles were so spattered by the sooty air that I could barely see. With my feet swinging in midair, I couldn’t touch the safety of terra firma. The only thing I could hear was my pounding heart.
One of the straps holding the mask onto my head slipped. My hold on it gained an additional purpose. I had been trying to keep it from strangling me. Suddenly, I was hanging onto it for dear life.
The mask was loose enough that I feared I would fall out of it. That also let some of the polluted air into what had previously been a protected space. My eyes watered and my lungs stung.
I tried to catch the metal ladder with my foot. However, all I managed to do was to kick it farther away. The ladder was beyond my grasp, and the strap of the mask choked me. I began to feel faint from the lack of oxygen to my lungs. I whimpered as spots danced before my eyes.
Abruptly I moved upward.
A moment later I was plopped onto the floor. Between the spots I saw and the dirt on my goggles, I was half blind. However, it felt like I was inside… somewhere.
The noise I made while trying to suck air into my lungs sounded terrible to my ears. To my surprise, I could breathe the air inside the room.
I struggled out of the mask, panting for breath. Then, recalling the nasty air, I stopped myself. Tentatively, I sniffed. The air seemed clean enough.
A soft ap-pat sound reached my ears. To my astonishment a small clockwork creature inched up my sleeve. It was a mechanical worm. Bright blue apatite eyes glittered at me. Tiny goggles were pushed back on its head.
“A bookworm?” I whispered.
“Ap-pat. Shhh!” it softly hissed.
Then the bookworm tucked itself into the pleats of my leg-of-mutton sleeve. It added a final shush before hiding.
A clang of metal startled me. Propelled by a mechanism, the ladder clanked up into view. A dark figure was bent closing a hatch in the floor across the room.
As he straightened to his full height, I gasped.
For the tiniest moment I thought the man was Jaspe.
My sharp intake of breath was a mistake. My throat was raw and I began to cough. Perhaps the air wasn’t so clean after all.
“Welcome, my dear. I’ve waited long to greet you in person,” the man stated.
“Where am I? What kind of place is this?”
“Welcome aboard the Geostrophic Pearl,” he said with a bow and a flourish.
“The what Pearl?” I choked out the question, although the word pearl put the sensation of an icy knife in the pit of my stomach.
“The geostrophic flow is a theoretical wind that results from an exact balance between the Coriolis force and the pressure gradient force,” he added when I stared mutely.
“Huh?” I grunted perplexed.
He was worse at explaining things than Victor. I wondered if he was an inventor also.
I put my hand to my neck. An angry welt stretched across it where the mask strap had dug into my skin. I didn’t think I could hold up my end of a conversation.
Again, I was struck by the man’s resemblance to Jaspe. He was as tall as the Dealer, and had the same lean dancer’s build. He also seemed to be as strong, based on the way he pulled me up and inside the… whatever kind of place it was. He even had a trace of a Creole accent.
However, his complexion was pallid gray, and his face was different from Jaspe’s. So was his choice in clothing. The man wore a tuxedo with tails and a top hat. However, all were in deep forest green, with pale green stripes. The pin in his cravat and the stone of his ring similarly held green striped stones. I knew who he must be.
“Malachite…” I croaked out the name.
“At your service, cher. My… you are almost as lovely as the original.”
“Whuh?” I growled, still unable to speak clearly.
“The original Pearl, of course.”
“Portrait?” I managed to rasp.
“Indeed,” he replied.
His voice, and in the way his eyes rested on my face gave me a shiver of fear.
Somewhere in the distance, I heard a deep, very large sounding growl.
End Chapter 69
Ummm… did I do it again?
Dead of Winter
If you haven’t already joined the journey, you’re just in time to curl up with a nice-sized bite of reading. All three together are under 200 pages — you can catch up before the fourth installment is published.
Journey 3, the Fever Field
Journey 2, Penllyn
Journey 1, Forlorn Peak
Thanks for visiting. I’d love to hear from you in a comment, but like I say, this is my sanctuary — so keep it friendly. Remember — this is not a forum for critique.
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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