Weekend Serial — Atonement in Zugzwang: Episode 12 — Featuring Rebecca Budd

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Adelle & Annie image collage by Teagan
Adelle & Annie image collage by Teagan

Welcome back to Atonement, TN.   Today we are joined by Rebecca Budd, who has been a wonderful source of encouragement.

On Wednesday I shared a link to a podcast we did together.  I was honored to be interviewed. She has quite a number of blogs including Tea, Toast & Trivia, and Lady Budd.

When the interview was recorded, I asked Rebecca for three random reader things for this story.  Now that our podcast is live, I wanted to use her things in advance of a special recipe from John W. Howell. (Stay tuned for that next time.)  The random reader things Rebecca gave us are:  Music box, purple crayon, and teacup.

If you missed the previous episode, then click here.  Last time we left the main character, Pepper Riley, and her friend Maudie in the parking lot of the Rowdy Rooster Saloon, where they saw some very frightening bikers. Though she doesn’t know the pigs are otherworldly creatures, Pepper used her car to block a fearsome “trike” rider from running down Moccus, Deme, and Honeybell.

Atonement in Zugzwang
Episode 12

CGI, Teagan
CGI image by Teagan

As the drooling boar’s three-wheeled motorcycle roared toward them, the otherworldly pigs squealed.

Abruptly a bright blue car backed between them and the oncoming brute.  Looking into the car’s side mirror, Deme briefly locked eyes with the woman who drove.  It was Pepper Riley.  Deme could see that the woman was making sure she didn’t run over them.

The driver’s door opened, and further blocked view of the pigs.  It produced a dinging noise.  Deme had the odd thought that the sound was like a music box.

Snapping to her senses, Deme saw Honeybell frozen the way deer get when they see an automobile’s headlights.  She grabbed Honeybell by her twisty tail and tugged her shocked friend farther away from the parking space.  Moccus nodded understanding to Deme, and then he pulled Honeybell under the trash dumpster.

Deme almost got stuck when she, Honeybell, and Moccus scooted under the large metal receptacle.  Moccus caught her by the nape of her neck and pulled.

“Blessed Lady!  Deme you’re bleeding,” Honeybell cried.  “Umm, why are you bleeding purple?” she added with a puzzled inspection of Deme.

“It looks like purple crayon.  All sorts of things were under that dumpster.  The bar people threw out all the stuff they used to entertain the children in the dining room.  They weren’t too neat about it,” Moccus remarked.

A frustrated roar split the air.  The three pigs fled the Rowdy Rooster’s parking lot as if their lives depended on getting away.

I think it actually was life or death, Deme thought as she ran.

She looked frequently over her glowing shoulder to make sure Honeybell was keeping pace.  Deme also kept an eye out for Moccus.  He was easily the fastest in the entire drift of Goewin’s otherworldly pigs.  Deme knew he should have been far ahead of her.  Then it registered with Deme that Moccus lagged behind like a rear-guard, checking whether they were followed.

Abruptly the pig with one brown spot on his right hip, and a small split at the tip of his ear caught up with her.  The bluer-than-blue eyes of the pigs met.

“No one’s behind us.  Head home.  I’ll meet you there,” Moccus said, punctuating his words with snorts.

Then in a tremendous burst of speed, he shot ahead and across the highway.  While the direction Moccus went would take him back to Atonement, it wouldn’t exactly take him home.  Catching up with her, Honeybell muttered as much.

Still in a state of fear, which was compounded by their preoccupation with what Moccus might be doing, the two pigs ran out into the highway without looking to see if it was clear.

Image collage by Teagan

Tires screeched.  A large vehicle swerved, almost losing control before it stopped on the shoulder of the road.

Shocked, terrified, and trembling, the two pigs barely managed to get out of the road before they collapsed.

The front doors of the golden yellow, classic Volvo station wagon opened.  Deme knew it was dark enough that she and Honeybell were glowing.

“Oh, no.  We’ll get in trouble if anyone learns that humans have seen us!  Honeybell, come on, we have to run,” Deme whispered urgently.

Shakily she got to her hooves.  She could barely stand, let alone run away.  However, she saw that was a moot point.  Honeybell had fainted, and she wouldn’t leave her friend behind.

The dome light inside the car came on, showing the vehicle was packed with furnishings.  Two women were getting out of it.

“Honeybell!” Deme repeated, and pulled the other pig’s tail.

“Wha…  Ouch!  Quit that, Deme,” Honeybell grunted.  “What happened?  Oh, that’s right.  Oh, no!” she added, seeing the station wagon.

“Are you hurt?” came words of concern and Deme paused.

The voice was strangely harmonic.  Deme shook her head trying to clear her ears.  However, the voice was familiar.  Looking at the women she understood that it was not some alien-sounding voice.  Rather, it was two people speaking in perfect unison.  She knew them, and so did Honeybell.

“Descendants of Enoch, forgive us for running into your path,” Deme and Honeybell spoke in a tumble of words that was nothing like the simultaneous speech of the twins.

Each extending one foreleg, both pigs bowed formally.

“Now, now.  There’s no need for all that,” Annie Metatron’s platinum head nodded as she told them in a soothing voice.  “We’ve been out antiquing.  Adelle, let’s get them into my station wagon.  I have an uncomfortable feeling out here.”

There, on the roadside, the Metatron sisters gave Deme and Honeybell water and sweets for the shock they had experienced.  The two pigs told the women about everything that had happened outside the Rowdy Rooster bar.

“Annie, this is a good time for me to try out that teacup.  I really do think it’s an artifact,” Adelle remarked as she carefully unwrapped a beautiful cup.

Pouring dark liquid from a thermos into the cup, black-haired Adelle swirled the tea in the cup.  Nothing happened.

Her twin, who was identical in everything with the singular exception of having the opposite hair color, looked on thoughtfully.

“Air… breath?  Some things respond to us breathing on them,” Annie suggested in a speculative tone.

Adelle softly blew across the surface of the cup.  Tiny tealeaves floated to the top.  She swirled the contents again.  The leaves spiraled and then separated into groups.

Deme noticed the entranced expression on Adelle’s face.  She spoke in a distant voice.

“The knights have gathered on neutral ground.  Although the agreement is breached.  A bishop, a biased keeper, has taken possession of the grounds.  Others have congregated as well.  This is indeed a dangerous hour,” Adelle intoned, and then looked up at them.

“Our friends need help,” Adelle stated, abruptly coming to herself.

♣ ♣ ♣

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.  For those in the USA, have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.  I love to hear from you, so friendly comments are encouraged.  Hugs!

♣ ♣ ♣

The Atonement Series

Atonement kindle covers Cat eyes shelf 2023

Atonement, Tennessee

Full series of e-books with one click:  relinks.me/B087JV25JT

Kindle:  rxe.me/HGSVA8A

Paperback: relinks.me/1481826948

Also in Spanish, translated by Olga Núñez Miret! The title for the Spanish-speaking market is Expiación y Magia

Atonement in Bloom

Kindle:  rxe.me/5RRBLH

Paperback:  relinks.me/1726882128

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Kindle   rxe.me/LTBDNH

Paperback   relinks.me/1725891972

♣ ♣ ♣

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 © 2023 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 used with permission, or from free sources.

57 thoughts on “Weekend Serial — Atonement in Zugzwang: Episode 12 — Featuring Rebecca Budd

  1. I’ve always felt that good writing should be CLEAR and also DETAILED, that those are two qualities you always find coming from the best writers, and you have them both in your writing. How are you this week Teagan Well, I hope, happy I hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David, that is so kind of you — thank you. I hope you and yours are well and happy too. I think the stressful parts of the week are out of the way, and I’m hoping for smooth sailing through the weekend. Hope might be the operative word, but fingers crossed! LOL. I appreciate you reading and commenting. Hugs.


    1. Haha. I feel like it’s taking forever for me to bring the villain into the story, inside the saloon. Although there should be another villain (or two) higher up than him. Maybe it’s okay for them to be in another story.
      Anyhow, I’ve decided to try and write a setup type of story for him for the Doors challenge. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “This is indeed a dangerous hour,” Adelle intoned, and then looked up at them. “Our friends need help,” Adelle stated, abruptly coming to herself.

    I had goosebumps, Teagan. You are a wizard of cliff-hangers and there is magic embedded in your narratives. I am fascinated by how you are able to span diverse genres with ease.

    What a thrill it was to have you bring my three things to life. And even more thrilled that your graced TTT with your knowledge and insights about writing. Many thanks, my dear friend. Sending hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you could visit, Rebecca. Thanks for fielding comments.
      To me, having set parameters (in the case of this comment, the requirements of a given genre) makes it much easier than when “the sky’s the limit.” I just have to keep to the rules of whichever genre. There are some that I won’t attempt, like romance or family drama.
      Thanks again for all your encouragement. Have a wonderful Victoria Day. Hugs winging back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for that feedback, Resa. Adding a bit of the game to the story is helping me keep this “pantser” lack of plot into some kind of plot. Although the chess aspect has to have limits, because I really know nothing about the game. I research chess when I bring it into the narrative, but I can’t claim any true knowledge of it. Wishing you a happy Victoria Day. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rebecca, the teacup steered the entire episode. That’s what is fun about writing this way — letting the randomness lead it. And it doesn’t work much if I provide my own things. They have to come from someone else. Weird I know, but that’s how it works in my brain.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks very much, Robbie.
      Sort of… We haven’t seen Annie Metatron (owner of the antique store and mother of handsome Dale and Donny) in this serial until now. However, twin sister Adelle has made a few appearances. Both sisters had small-ish parts in the novels, but that was so long ago. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops… That’s a good point, John. I didn’t consciously have anything in mind. I’ve got to remind my pantser brain that he ran ahead…
      Last night doesn’t bode well for the weekend, but I’ll cross my fingers.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes… Just being loud, and right in the narrow space between our houses. At least they weren’t calling or coming to the door. I know it shouldn’t bother me, but it’s a gigantic challenge to my particular kind of Complex PTSD. I want to be invisible. It’s hard for me to even go outside in my yard. And I can’t cope with conflict of any sort. (Not because I can’t stand up for myself, but because of the fear of escalation and retaliation.) In the “fight, flight, or freeze” response group, I freeze. I get immobilized for anything else I need to do, like simple chores. I’m not complaining — just explaining. I always hope that my being open about my “stuff” will help someone else.

          Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, Adelle had to make another appearance. And I know what you mean when a word/object becomes…something magical or important. I have similar moments in teaching. Enjoy the holiday weekend. 😀 🇺🇸

        Liked by 1 person

  3. More and more magical things are happening, and more ominous things seem upon them as well. Another great episode, Teagan, and who could resist a magical teacup? Happy Memorial weekend to you all and big hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was a great episode, Teagan. I think “This is indeed a dangerous hour” is spot on. I feel better about Deme and Honeybell, but I wonder what Moccus is up to. I did like reading that he stayed behind for a bit to protect them.

    I would also like to add to anyone that hasn’t heard your podcast with Rebecca that they should go there ASAP and listen. It’s wonderful.

    I hope you have a nice easy weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You are so kind, Dan. Thanks for giving that recommendation on the podcast to everyone.
      I really appreciate your feedback on this short installment. It’s always good to know what detail works for a reader.
      Thanks for the good wishes. Although last night doesn’t bode well for the weekend… Oh well. On the upside, we could see some very nice fireworks (either done by a school or the city) from the front windows. More importantly, the kitties were only freaked out for a few minutes (by the deep booms) before they settled in the windows to watch the pretty lights.
      Wishing you and yours a lovely holiday weekend. Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. They had me wondering. I don’t think they exactly liked it because of the deep booms, but curiosity overcame fear. That might not be the case next time. (They don’t like all the sonic booms we get and those sounded similar. Not the sharp crack noises I usually think of with fireworks.)

          Liked by 2 people

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