A Bloomin’ Otherworldly Pigs Snippet

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Pigs Road Moon unsplash composite

Deme and Honeybell, otherworldly pigs of Atonement, TN

Welcome, everyone.   I hope you’ve had a wonder-filled week.  Something fun and unexpected happened to me.  More on that in a second.  First things first.

If I had never written Atonement, Tennessee then I would have never started this blog.  I wouldn’t have written any of the 1920s serials, or met any of you wonderful people. 

I was privileged to become acquainted with baker, blogger, and author Robbie Cheadle back when I did the “Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam” serial.  Robbie’s talents have blossomed so much that she now has two blogs to support her diverse forms of writing and creativity:  Robbie’s Inspiration, and Roberta Writes

I was delighted when Robbie told me she read Atonement, Tennessee — and thrilled when she mentioned that she was going to review it this weekend.  (Update:  Link to Robbie’s review.)

Now my other wonder-filled moment of this week.  A friend returned from a vacation to New York and brought me a very special little treat.  The reason why it is a special treat is that someone was reminded of my characters and books even while having a wonderful vacation.  That means a lot to me. 

Pink Pig with Glowing Pigs cover

She gave me this little pig figure, and it was so much like Deme and Honeybell, the otherworldly pigs!  The little pink, winged pig with a feather boa grunt-snuffle-snorted its way into a gift shop.  (Now Honeybell is in my head, demanding a feather boa, and Deme is wearing a crown, although she’s gotten it lopsided…)

The glowing pigs were not in the first novel, Atonement, Tennessee, but they have several short stories, and they made a couple of brief appearances in Atonement in Bloom.  In honor of The Glowing Pigs, I’m sharing a snippet from “Bloom” that includes them.

After a strange day, Ralda Lawton is having a restless night. First she has a frightening dream, but she manages to go back to sleep.  Then she wakes again and…

A Glowing Warning

black sailing boat digital wallpaper

Johannes Pleino, Unsplash

Lilith made an odd meow and jumped up from her spot on the bed and over to the dresser.  I closed my eyes tighter, because it seemed almost as if the light switch had been flipped.  I cracked open my eyes, desperately wanting to sleep.  I reached for the nightstand lamp to turn it off, but found that it was not lit.  Yet the bedroom was illuminated by a soft radiance.

My gaze moved from the lamp to the dresser where I’d heard Lilith jump.  From that vantage point she watched something in feline fascination.  Sleepily I sat up so I could see what had her attention.  When I looked, I questioned both my wakefulness and my sanity.

Glowing pigs gathered around, circling my brass bed, snuffling and snorting.  After a moment their random grunts came together as one rhythmic voice — grunt-snort, snuffle-grunt-snort.  The chant went on until it started to sound like my name, Ral-da, Esme-Ral-da.

One pig moved away from the rest of its drift, as I had learned a group of young pigs was called.  I marveled to realize that it had blue eyes.  I didn’t know pigs could jump, but it bounded onto the foot of my bed.  Sitting back on its curly porcine tail, it locked its sapphire orbs onto my own eyes.  Maybe I could have looked away from that intent gaze, but I was too dumbfounded to try.

Pig in water forest-simon-1139462-unsplash

Forest Simon, Unsplash

“Deme, no.  You are too bold!” I heard one of the other pigs say.

“Don’t be silly Honeybell,” replied the pig that jumped onto my bed.  “Besides, you know this must be done.”

I actually put my finger into my ear and twisted it around, as if I could fix the crazy things I was hearing.  Even in a dream, pigs shouldn’t talk.  And of course I must be dreaming.  It had to be the wretched brass bed messing with me again.

The pig on the foot of my bed snorted in a way that sounded like chuckling when the other one spoke.  I gathered this blue-eyed one’s name was Deme.

“Ralda-Esmeralda, you must take great care,” Deme spoke to my continued amazement.  “There are too many supernaturals in Atonement, Tennessee, too many different plans are in play at once.  More than one of them is very dangerous!  And the Keeper of the Eastern Winds is not present to protect you,” the porcine voice warned me.

♣ — ♣

Had Ralda fallen into another dream?  Surely such a thing couldn’t happen.  Yet then again, Atonement, TN is no ordinary town.  If you want to know, you’ll have to read Atonement in Bloom.  

I hope you’ll join me Wednesday for Hidebound Hump Day and another chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  The random “things” driving the next episode are Indian Head Penny, and Brocade of a White Lion.  You’ll also meet characters from the Pip-verse!

I’ll be looking for you at the station! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

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 © 2015 and 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 18

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 

Thanksgiving Victorian girl turkey dress-up

Welcome to Hidebound Hump Day.  Find your seat.  The #SteamPunk train is preparing to leave the station.  Oh, and buckle up, because we may encounter some dangerous curves.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  No matter where you are, I am thankful to have you on this train.  My wish for all of you is that every day be filled with friends, laughter, and an abundance of all good things.

I know everyone is busy, and wants to get to a benjo holiday with all their chuckaboos.  So I’ve divided chapter 18 to give you a shorter read.  This chapter will continue next week I’ll get on with the story.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 17.  Last time we were able to catch our breath a bit.  Cornelis used his alchemy to create a beautiful butterfly show for Copper.  In chapter 15, Ignatius volunteered to draw the group of villains away so our heroes could escape.  However, in chapter 16 the group of villains on a hydrofoil — and their big chimp came frighteningly close to the trio’s hiding place.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

18 .1 — Pen Knife

sun rays through the trees

Aaron Burden, Unsplash

The green countryside went by in a prolonged blur, so fast did the alchemist propel the road locomotive.  I was so jarred from the rough ride of the little steam engine that I wondered if my insides might fall out.

Cornelis’ knuckles were white as he tightly held the controls.  From time to time he cast a worried glance at Copper or at me.  That meant he felt he was doing something that put us in danger.

The unnatural speed at which we traveled had to be risky.  I could tell by his grim face and the faraway look in his eyes that he gave his full attention to every aspect of our journey.  He used his tricks to scan the path ahead for dips and holes that could prove deadly at the speed we traveled.

Meanwhile he cast his senses out in every direction to check for signs of any of our adversaries.  I reminded myself that there were three sets of foes, not just the group with the hydrofoil.

We seemed to have left the woman commander of the hydrofoil, along with her crew and their tracking chimpanzee behind.  However, the other two groups might be anywhere.  I scanned the landscape anxiously, but everything ran together because we were moving so quickly.

When my eyes moved again to the alchemist’s face, I had another fear.  His complexion was gray. 

Even the alchemist has his limits, I told myself. 

What would happen if he severely overtaxed his energy?  Cornelis had used a great deal of vitality, being in two places at once, to gather information about our adversaries.  I decided we had traveled far enough to safely take a break.  Else Cornelis might break.

round red fruits

Macu, Unsplash

We stopped amid several sweet cherry trees, heavily laden with fruit.  I climbed onto one of the tall back wheels of the road locomotive so I could reach into the branches.  Taking a pearl handled pen knife from my trousers pocket I gathered the bountiful cherries. 

Shamelessly, I leapt to the ground.  I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I wore a voluminous skirt, bustle, and corset!  Why women put up with wearing such things all day every day, was beyond me.  Yes, I did have a weakness for pretty things, including gowns.  However, who would wear such things (especially corsets) all the time, when practical, comfortable trousers were to be found?

A smile spread across my face when I saw Copper had climbed a nearby tree.  The sun shone warmly on the bright hair that resulted in her name.  Arms and legs wrapped haphazardly around branches, she ate cherries right there in the tree.  She was lucky to be too young to have to contend with the culturally required fashions of the day.  I wondered if as she grew into womanhood she would rebel against foolish social norms as I did.

Cornelis was unexpectedly at my elbow.  His sudden appearance startled me, as it often did.  That never failed to amuse the alchemist.  His bushy blonde eyebrows bobbed and a smile played on his lips.

“You were supposed to be resting,” I chided.  “You still don’t look well.  Where did you get to so quickly?” I asked the Dutchman.

“I was just doing a bit of reconnaissance; checking the area for signs of anyone we might not want to see,” he answered.  “Call it intuition if you will, but something tickles at the edge of my awareness.”

He leaned against the locomotive and stared absently at the treetops.  Suddenly he became rigid. 

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

Without moving a muscle he whispered, “Quick.  Give me that knife!”

Cornelis opened the pen knife and its white mother of pearl handle reflected the green glow that engulfed the blade.  He drew back his arm and threw the knife.  It sailed end over end high into the trees with a whirring sound.  As it disappeared from view I heard a soft thud followed by the rustling sound of something falling.

The Dutchman and I ran toward the trees.  Copper was still playing in the tree she climbed and didn’t appear to notice what we were doing.  We stopped at the corpse of a raven.  It reeked with the odor of carrion it had eaten. 

There was blood on the bird’s beak, but I didn’t think it was from its most recent meal.  It held a bit of fabric from a familiar white crinoline.

The alchemist and I exchanged wondering looks. 

“So,” I began in a speculative tone.  “This raven attacked the woman who led the group on the hydrofoil?  That means at least two of the three groups are actively working against each other,” I said and Cornelis nodded with raised eyebrows and a pursed mouth as he pondered the idea.

“Coincidentally, the raven protected Ignatius when it attacked the vessel following him,” I continued.

“Or perhaps not so coincidentally,” the Dutchman answered to my annoyance.  “The raven might well belong to Belle.”

Have I said Cornelis Drebbel could be insufferable?  If I took one step forward as far as his attitude about Ignatius Belle, then I took two steps backward.  My lips tightened as I paced, trying to control my temper.  Normally I’m not so irritable, but I was exhausted, and the events of the past days had been utterly distressing.

“And look at this,” Cornelis said quietly as he removed a tiny brass cylinder attached to the bird’s leg.

He extracted a small strip of rolled parchment from the cylinder and read it silently.  I asked what the message was.  Cornelis said it was some sort of code.

“It seems to mention us being at the abandoned church and the direction in which we left.  The way this is written, I can’t be certain if we were actually spotted there or if someone tracked us there after we left.  Either way, they were not far behind us when we left the riverside.  Given the speed at which we traveled, no one could have kept up with us,” the alchemist said and his expression became pinched.

It wasn’t helpful, but once again I spoke before I thought. 

“But the bird kept up with us,” I murmured, not intending to be in any way critical of Cornelis — his unique abilities had saved us.

Though I tried to extract my foot from my mouth, one side of the alchemist’s mouth turned down in a wry expression. 

File:The Flying Raven, Ex Libris for The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe MET DP815457.jpg

Illustration for The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, 1875 (artist unknown, public domain)

“Yes, it just might have kept pace with us at that.  Perhaps,” he said, sounding deep in thought.  “But I took us on a backtracking, convoluted route.  Ravens fly ‘as the crow flies,’ that being directly from one spot to the next.  Ravens have a broad wingspan so they’re fast, but they don’t have the magically enhanced speed that we used.  So, the bird had a bit of good ― or rather bad luck.  It seems more likely that the raven was flying due north from the riverbank, and intersected our path here,” Cornelis suggested.

He removed the pen knife and wiped it with leaves.  “I think we can relax for a while now.  This message won’t be delivered,” Cornelis said and the tiny parchment became a flame that burned and was instantly gone. 

***

Real World Notes

I had so much fun with the Victorian vernacular last week that I’m sharing more of their slang today.  I managed to use a few of them in this chapter.  Even though I haven’t used very many of them, here are some of my favorites.

Benjo: Nineteenth century sailor slang for “A riotous holiday, a noisy day in the streets.”

Chuckaboo:  A nickname given to a close friend.

Collie shangles:  Quarrels.

Dizzy age:  Elderly.  Used if it makes one giddy to think of the person’s years.

Doing the bear:  Courting that involves hugging.

Don’t sell me a dog:  Popular until 1870,  Means, “Don’t lie to me!” Sometimes people who sold dogs would try to pass off mutts as purebreds.

Door-knocker:  A type of beard where the cheeks and chin are shaved, leaving a chain of hair under the chin, and upon each side of mouth, forming with moustache.  It looks something like a door-knocker.

***

Come back next time for Indian Head Penny, and Brocade of a White Lion. 

The rest of Chapter 18 of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers will be ready in a week, on Hidebound Humpday.

I’ll be looking for you at the station.  

Hugs! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

 

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 © 2015 and 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

A Bloomin’ Good Week in Atonement TN – It’s Catnip!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Cat silhouette Tree_saso-tusar-130051

Unsplash

Welcome, to my sanctuary.   Could I offer you some coffee or tea, and a pastry or maybe a breakfast biscuit?  Something more unusual — perhaps herbal tea… maybe even catnip tea? 

I had a few days away from my job, and other than a migraine and snow (both on Thursday), it’s been great.  Of course there was a lot going on, just the same — and stressful as you might guess by the migraine.  But it’s all good now.  I’m finally relaxing a bit.

My head is still in my Atonement, TN universe because Atonement in Bloom got two reviews this week!  I’m really excited about them.  Thanks to Barb Taub for sharing her review of Atonement in Bloom.  I’m thrilled that she enjoyed my latest release. 

feline-calico_xs_3280429

Dreamstime

If you haven’t read the first book (Atonement, Tennessee) you might want to stay here though, if you’re hyper sensitive to finding things out anyway. 

Teri Polen also did a marvelous review.  Teri’s post and the comments got a conversation started about Atonement’s part-time narrator, Lilith the calico cat.  At Teri’s the kind and fun suggestion that Lilith should have her own book became a catalyst when it mixed with an idea that’s been catnapping in my brain.  I think I’ve figured out how to tell book-3!  I had been stumped as to how I should go about writing that story, but now I have some ideas simmering.

Speaking of that catnip loving feline, with the the first book I did a character interview with Lilith

Sorry if I seem like a cat with a bowl of cream, but I’m so pleased with these, and all the reviews “Bloom” has gotten.  …Do you detect a feline feeling with this post? 

Catnip flowers.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

Many people are familiar with the effect catnip has on most cats.  In the Atonement universe, Lilith the calico is no exception.  Moreover, Gwydion is sort of Lilith’s “catnip” figuratively too.  That leads the calico into a bit of trouble in “Atonement in Bloom,” but I don’t want to spoil anything by telling you about that. 

Gwydion has flower magic.  Cats might act like they’re under a spell when they get some “nip” but there’s science behind it.

Old meanings associated with flowers (or the language of flowers) are mentioned in the Atonement novels.  I didn’t think catnip was included in that, but I found something for it today.  Some say it symbolizes love, beauty, and happiness. It certainly tends to make cats happy! 

If you are concerned about the origins of store bought nip, you might grow your own.  You can use it yourself too (if you can get it away from your cats).  For humans, catnip tea is supposed to “provide a mild euphoria” but in my experience, the effects are so mild as to be barely noticeable.  However, it is reputed to have other benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, and as an insect repellent.  You might find you have helpers when you harvest it.  Here’s a fun video about growing your own catnip.

♣ — ♣

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you’ll join me Wednesday for Hidebound Hump Day and another chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  If you missed the last chapter, here’s a link to Crinoline, Lye Soap, and Caterpillar.  The random “things” driving the next week’s episode are Pen Knife, Indian Head Penny, and Brocade of a White Lion.  Yes, somebody actually got that detailed with the random “things”… but I managed to continue the story. 

I’ll be looking for you at the station!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Remember, book-1, Atonement, Tennessee is on sale for 99¢ for the e-book.

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

 

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 © 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 17

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

SteamPunk City man-Eugene_Ivanov_2445

Eugene_Ivanov, Wiki Media Commons

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, everyone.  I’m happy to see you.

In this chapter I give you a couple of hints for something that will be revealed in the near future.  So I hope you’ll remember later in the journey of this #steampunk train

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 16.  Ignatius, who volunteered to draw the group of villains away so our heroes could escape, made sure those following fiends could see the direction he headed.  Frighteningly, they still stopped very close the trio’s hiding spot.  Felicity heard a woman commanding the group of villains, and the voice was familiar to her!  Although she couldn’t remember to whom it belonged.  Does this clear Ignatius Belle?  Since three separate groups pursue our heroes, it’s hard to say.  There’s no telling who might be involved.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

17 — Crinoline, Lye Soap, Caterpillar

Warner_Bros Corset ad 1900

Warner Bro’s Corset ad circa 1900

For a tense moment, I thought the hydrofoil would tip over when the very large chimpanzee bounded onto it.  If the craft sunk, the villains on it would be forced ashore with us.  Then we would surely be sunk too. 

Any doubts I’d had as to whether or not the commanding voice belonged to a woman dispersed.  The person who seemed to be in charge of the group stood abruptly as the big chimp ran toward the vessel.  When the chimpanzee’s landing threatened to overturn the craft, my mystery person made a series of sudden movements to regain balance.  A white crinoline was exposed.  It was certainly a woman.

“Cornelis!” I hissed to get the alchemist’s attention. 

Belatedly I realized he was doing something I shouldn’t try to interrupt.  His form shivered, wavered, and became translucent.  He was in two places at once.  I could see Cornelis, his posture, and if he faced me, his facial expressions.  However, I could not see what he beheld.  He gave me a vacant look, but he nodded to let me know he was paying attention.

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t realize.  Do go ahead,” I told him, as I was sure he was checking on Ignatius Belle and our adversaries who followed the innkeeper on that hydrofoil.

Peaches Pond nitish-kadam-43351

Unsplash

While trying to gather my scattered patience I gazed absently into the heights of a tree that sheltered us.  Sunbeams filtered through the branches in a lazy way.  Copper followed my gaze.

“What’s that,” she asked, pointing at something amid the limbs.

It took me a moment to see what her keen eyes spotted. 

“Ah.  Those are cocoons.  If the birds don’t eat them, one day they will be butterflies,” I explained.

Copper told me she had learned about butterflies and cocoons from her last governess.  I remembered Hixon had let his daughter’s teacher go because he could no longer afford to pay her.  Copper had truly liked the woman.  That seemed sad to me, it was one more loss for the girl.

The alchemist wasn’t looking at us or paying attention to our conversation.  His mouth twitched to a half smile.  His unsteady image made me feel a bit queasy.  After a moment he turned and made eye contact with me.  The expression on his face suggested he’d just had an epiphany.  His countenance shifted from puzzled to doubtfully curious, to astonished.

“I have to check on something else,” he said, looking a bit stunned.

“Now?” I demanded.  “Take care not to sap all your strength,” I cautioned the Dutchman, aware that there was a limit to how long he could manage one of his tricks.

three pupas

Suzanne D. Williams, Unsplash

I knew the alchemist had to have some familiarity with a place before he could look in on it in that fashion.  He couldn’t read the minds of our antagonists, or psychically know where they were headed.  So did he see something on the hydrofoil that gave him new information?  Or had he deduced something that had escaped me?

“Where are you going?” I wanted to know, but the Dutchman was intent on his mission and ignored me.

Cornelis winked out of my sight, but a second later I could see him, standing with his arms folded across his chest, looking up at something.  Something about his posture made me think he must be indoors.  He put a knuckle to his chin and tilted his head to one side, considering whatever he beheld.

“Cornelis, where are you?  What are you about?” I insisted, and he turned to face me with a devilish grin. 

“Dutchman, if you aren’t completely honest with me, I swear I’ll wash your mouth out with lye soap!” I made the empty threat — I knew if I tried he’d just dissolve his human form and slip through my fingers, quite literally.

“Calm down, woman.  I’m not in the mood for a collie shangle with you just now,” he admonished, knowing full well that it annoyed me when he used slang that wasn’t even from his time.  “I’m at the Hixon estate,” he admitted.  

Empress Little Rock 1

The Empress of Little Rock

“Surely not,” he murmured to himself with a slow shake of his head, and I knew he was not talking about my threat with the soap.  “I’ve just one more stop,” he spoke quickly before his translucent form wavered in a rough surge.

Wherever Cornelis went next, he acted as though he searched for something.  First he leaned over a tabletop or perhaps a desk, riffling through papers.  Then he walked across the unseen room and opened invisible doors to look around in what I guessed was an armoire. 

The alchemist put his fists on his hips and tapped a foot.  Suddenly he held up one finger and made an “ah-ha” noise.  He reached upward with both hands as if moving something on a wall, and then he placed the thing on the floor.  He turned back and put one hand on what must be a wall, and leaned his head against it.  I wondered if he was trying to hear a conversation in the next room.

After a moment he smiled broadly, turned his back to me and took some items out of the wall.  He also searched through those things and read some papers.  My patience wore thin and I called his name sharply.  I could tell he was in a mood and would not cooperate with me, especially if I was angry.  I closed my eyes and counted to ten.

A little electric shock stung the back of my neck.  My eyes popped open as I shouted my displeasure at the shock.

“Don’t have a blooming fit,” he said in a smug tone and acted as if he had done absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.

“Cornelis, modern slang does not suit you.  Now, did you find out who the woman on the hydrofoil is?” I asked.

“What?” he replied, looking as if my question was the last one he expected.  “Oh, that.  No.  I was suddenly curious about something, and had to look into it,” he commented with a wave of his hand to dismiss the subject.

Vintage Alice Wonderland Caterpillar

I gave a sputtering sigh of frustration.  There was no talking to the man when he got into one of his moods.

“Anyone would think you’d become the hookah-smoking caterpillar in Carroll’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, you ask such questions,” the Dutchman grumbled.  

“That’s not so,” I countered.  “Why you’re more like the caterpillar, being all vague.”

Copper watched the exchange between us interestedly.  Cornelis stepped over to the girl.  His manner changed immediately and she smiled up at him.  Copper really did bring out the best in the alchemist. 

“She acts like she has caterpillars in her knickers,” he whispered to Copper, but it was easily loud enough for me to hear.

Cornelis winked and sat down on the ground next to Copper.  She asked what he had been doing, eyes still wide with amazement at his previously transparent form.

Copper curious w-green

“I went to your house,” Cornelis said and the girl’s eyes took on a wistful but concerned expression.  “Don’t worry.  Everything is fine there,” he assured her.  “That nice portrait of your father in the entry hall?” he began causing Copper to nod that she knew the one he meant.  “Do you know when it was painted?  How old were you when it was done?”

I could not imagine what Cornelis had in mind with his behavior or those questions.  I began to wonder if after hundreds of years in his altered state, perhaps his mental faculties were breaking down.  Unless he was half deranged in the beginning — from some of the things he said, that was entirely possible.  However, it had always been my belief that the man was simply incredibly annoying.

“I wasn’t any age,” Copper answered, making me believe the child was a match for his odd way of thinking.

Good lord, was I going to have to deal with two evasive, obstinate personalities like the Dutchman? I wondered.  What would Copper be like as a teenager?

“Daddy said I wasn’t even a gleam in his eye when the portrait was painted,” she continued and Cornelis laughed heartily.

Somehow I had the feeling I was missing something.  I had a hunch the alchemist had figured out something he wasn’t ready to disclose.  That probably meant he had a shadow of a doubt about his deduction.

Yet what about Copper?  I got the feeling that Cornelis suspected the girl knew something that perhaps she was not entirely aware of herself.

My impatience got the better of me and I broke into their playful conversation. 

“Cornelis, did you see Ignatius?  Is he safe?” I interrupted.

Basil Gill 2

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

By the twist of the Dutchman’s mouth, I could tell that he still did not trust the tall innkeeper.

“I don’t think you need worry about Belle.  He turned his paddle steamer down a small tributary to the river.  There it quickly narrows and becomes marshy.  The last time I saw him he had anchored the steamer and taken to a small punt boat, poling it out of sight.  Those snaking creeks and streams could lead anywhere.  That ape might be able to follow him, but the men cannot.  And that’s if they even spot the right creek.  There are countless waterways in that area,” Cornelis described the escape of Ignatius Belle.

Abruptly my shoulders relaxed and I took a deep breath.  I hadn’t realized I had been so worried about Ignatius.

“Oh my,” Cornelis said drolly.  “Were you truly so concerned?  Anyone would think you were smitten by the man.  Well, I do admit his hair has quite fine coppery highlights when the sun hits it,” he admitted with a sardonic tone and a roll of his eyes.

For the most part, whenever I had seen Ignatius he had worn his bowler hat, or he had been indoors.  Then I thought of an image of him that was so compelling I had kept it shut out, because I didn’t want to feel “that way” about anyone.  I remembered Ignatius standing in the abandoned church, bathed in sunlight.  His white shirt seemed to glow, and the reddish highlights in his hair sparkled enough for me to imagine a halo.

Angel statue, in gilded wood, by Jean-Louis Ajon, 1812

Cornelis looked at me expectantly.  I almost remarked again on his jealousy of Ignatius, of which I had already accused him.  However, there was no point to getting mad as hops.  If Cornelis was spoiling for another argument, I was not going to participate.  He pressed his lips together and shook his head in a resigned manner.

Instead I asked him about the valuable da Vinci papers Calvin Hixon had hidden in the owl-shaped lamp.  Cornelis looked rather disappointed that I left his bait on the hook by changing the subject.

“Did you find anything to confirm these people are trying to get the da Vinci drawings or even the letter from Alexander Graham Bell?” I tried to asked delicately.

It was best to avoid seeming to interrogate.  without seeming to interrogate.  I knew the alchemist could get mulish when asked too many questions.

“Oh those,” he said.  “I wasn’t looking into that,” he commented offhandedly, exasperating me.  “Don’t look like you just ate a caterpillar.”

He smirked so, that I was sure I was missing something.  “Why do you keep mentioning caterpillars?” I demanded testily.

Cornelis pointed up at the branches of the tree.  I saw the cocoon Copper had spotted earlier.  Abruptly I noticed it was actually one among many.  There were scores of cocoons.  The creature inside started to free itself from one of the silken prisons.  I told the girl she was about to see a butterfly born.

A light came to the Dutchman’s eyes as he watched Copper’s fascination.  A green aura appeared around him.  I felt a slight stir of static electricity as he gathered a small amount of power.  Abruptly all the cocoons began to open at the same time.  A moment later we were surrounded by hundreds of colorful butterflies.  I felt a childlike delight akin to the joy Copper showed.  Cornelis smiled blissfully.

Wilhelm von Kaulbach, 1860

***

Real World Notes

In my Roaring Twenties stories, I have fun including slang from the era. I’m careful to couch the whimsical phrases in a way that helps you understand them.  The Victorians had their own vernacular too.  Somehow, it is more difficult for me to use that way.  I’ve managed to use a few slang terms, but not as generously as I did with Pip or Lulu.  Even though I haven’t used very many of them, here are some of my favorites.

Afternoonified.  A society word meaning “smart.” Forrester demonstrates the usage: “The goods are not ‘afternoonified’ enough for me.”

Arfarfan’arf.  A figure of speech used to describe drunken men. “He’s very arf’arf’an’arf,” Forrester writes, “meaning he has had many ‘arfs,’” or half-pints of booze.

Batty-fang.  Low London phrase meaning “to thrash thoroughly,” possibly from the French battre a fin.

Bricky.  Brave or fearless.  Can be used for males or females.  “What a bricky girl she is.”

Butter upon bacon.  Extravagance. Too much extravagance. “Are you going to put lace over the feather, isn’t that rather butter upon bacon?”

***

Come back next time to learn where the “things” Pen Knife, Indian Head Penny, and Brocade of a White Lion take our trio.  Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers will continue next Wednesday on Hidebound Hump Day.  

I’ll be looking for you at the station.  

Hugs! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

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The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

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Atonement, Tennessee

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Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

 

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 © 2015 and 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Superstitions You Might Find in Atonement TN

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The amazing Sue Vincent recently hosted me at her Daily Echo blog.  We were talking about superstitions and I shared some from my youth.  I had a great time at Sue’s and I hope you’ll click over to visit her.

I expect the townsfolk in fictional Atonement, TN would tend to be superstitious.  How could they be otherwise with all the strange goings on and supernatural beings?

The first writing advice I heard was something I took to heart ― Write what you know.  When I wrote Atonement, Tennessee I followed that guidance and created a fictional southern town where the urban fantasy takes place.  Of course, the second novel, Atonement in Bloom, is also set there.

I made it a very small, rural town so some of the manners and personalities I grew up with would not seem out of place.  The townsfolk would be familiar with the old superstitions that were often quoted to me.

tilt shift photography of yellow flower plants with spider web

Unsplash

I’ve always wanted to collect old southern superstitions.  I wish I had written them down back in the day, because I’m sure I’ve forgotten many.  I agree with Sue that so much of that kind of thing is lost.  Some of them are fun or charming.  Others, not so much…

From my grandmother:

  • If a young woman left her handkerchief outside overnight, a spider would weave a web on it. The next morning the dewdrops on a spiderweb would reveal the name of her future husband.
  • A dream dreamed on Friday and told on Saturday will come true, no matter how old.
round copper-colored coins

Unsplash

  • Never give anyone a purse or wallet without adding at least a penny to it. Else you will be made poor.
  • Never give someone a knife without also giving them a penny. Else they will harm you with it (whether or not they mean to).
  • If dogs howl three nights in a row, someone will die.  (Wasn’t she full of cheery thoughts?)
  • Dogs and cats attract lightning. She warned me that I should put my pets outside in a storm rather than cuddle them.  I refused to do so and held them tighter every time it thundered.  As you might guess, I didn’t exactly have the happiest childhood…
black dog wearing blue denim collar

Unsplash

From other relatives:

  • If your pets are extra playful, there’s going to be a change in the weather.
  • Bees won’t sting you during a month with a name that has an “R” in it.  (I refuse to test that one – I have anaphylactic reactions to bee stings.)
  • It’s too early in the year to go barefoot outside if the whippoorwill hasn’t begun to call.
  • Any chore that you do on New Year’s Day – you will be doing all year.
  • For every black-eyed pea you eat on New Year’s Day, you’ll get a penny. (The dads would give the kids the penny for each pea – as long as they didn’t eat too many.  Although I like them now, I didn’t like black-eyed peas back then.  I asked if I could have a dollar instead.  That was not well received.  I didn’t even get the pennies for the five peas I ate.)
    That’s actually more of a tradition. The superstition was that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brought good luck, and the good luck meal for that day was black-eyed peas, turnip (or collard) greens, and ham, preferably with a side of cornbread (no sugar in that bread!). 
  • If your nose itches, company is coming.
  • If your ears are burning, somebody is talking about you.
  • Don’t cut your hair on the new moon, because you won’t get your money’s worth from the hair cut — it will grow too fast.
  • Don’t have teeth pulled when the “Signs” are in the head.  This refereed to a anatomical Zodiac chart in the Old Farmer’s Almanac — however it had nothing to do with that hippie astrology stuff. It was just the Signs.
assorted-color umbrella hanging on gray wires

Unsplash

From my playmates:

  • Never open an umbrella indoors.  (I didn’t understand that one.  Was it going to rain inside if I did?  That rather appealed to me, so I tried several times with no effect.)
  • Hold the stem of an apple. Twist it once for each letter as you recite the alphabet.  The letter on which the stem breaks will be the first letter of your boyfriend’s name.

My little friends and I used that one a lot. It gave us fits, trying to make the stem break on letters that were very early, or later in the alphabet. Based on my former husband’s name, the apple was right.  I recommend eating pears in stead. 

red apple in person's palm

Unsplash

All those superstitions reminded me of the very naughty mirror Ralda Lawton discovered in the old estate house she bought.  Here’s a snippet about the Mirror of Truth and Justice Most Poetic.

Lacey Hampton led me down the foyer in her home.  I stifled a gasp when I saw the mirror I had sent to the consignment store the day before.

“I hope you don’t mind,” Lacey said sheepishly.  “I was quite taken with it.  Oh shoot!  That’s the second time,” she said stooping down and frowning.

When I looked down, I saw the reason for her reaction.  There were several red droplets on the floor beneath the mirror.  I had the morose thought that it looked like teardrops of blood.  I felt a chill along my spine.  It made me think of the reddish stain the wardrobe where I found the mirror.

Lacey speculated aloud that it was rust.  After all, the frame was metal.  Annie must have cleaned the frame and it had not dried properly.  I didn’t make any comment.  Looking at the smear on the napkin I would have said it looked more like blood than rust, but that was a ridiculous thought.

Ornate Mirror autoestima-cidada-682096-unsplash.jpg

Autoestima Cidada, Unsplash

***

Would you risk several years of bad luck to smash that creepy mirror and get rid of it?  Somehow I don’t think it would be that easy to do away with the Mirror of Truth and Justice. 

I’ll see you at the station to catch the #SteamPunk train for the next chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers on Hidebound Hump Day this Wednesday.

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

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Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

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 © 2012 and 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 16

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 

SteamPunk art harlequin chess-Eugene_Ivanov_2361

Eugene_Ivanov, Wiki Media Commons

Hello, November!  It’s National Novel Writing Month again — or #NaNoWriMo as it’s also called.  I have more going on than usual, so this year I’m doing the editing version.  I’m bookizing the third 1920s novel of Pip and Granny Phanny’s adventures, A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients 2.  I’ll keep you updated on that.

Now it’s time for another Hidebound Hump Day, and another chapter of the spontaneously written, #SteamPunk serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. 

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 15.  Cornelis had thought they had gotten a good distance away from their pursuers.  Then the handsome innkeeper, Ignatius Belle showed up on a paddle steamer.  Belle, in true Victorian straightlaced form, objected to Felicity and Copper traveling with a man, and apparently being stranded.

Not wanting to reveal the existence of the road locomotive, the alchemist made made up the excuse that some old family friends were on the way to pick them up.

Then they saw another group of presumed foes headed toward them.  For reasons only the Woman in Trousers could understand, Felicity let Ignatius know about the road locomotive they had hidden.  To everyone’s surprise, Ignatius volunteered to draw the group of villains away so our heroes could escape.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

16 — One Lone Dandelion, Free Verse Poem, Candle Wax

landscape photography of green leafed trees

Florian Giorgio, Unsplash

My jaw clenched as I worriedly looked toward the river.

“How did they find us?” Copper asked in a whisper when the hydrofoil came into our sight.

One lone dandelion grew in our hiding place.  Copper picked it and nervously plucked it apart.  I could tell she was silently playing the “loves me, loves me not” game.  However, I wondered what she was thinking.  Did she ponder whether or not someone loved her, her father perhaps?  I reminded myself that she was only a young girl.  Even an adult might feel abandoned in her circumstance.  Or perhaps she asked the flower if we would find her father, find him; find him not.

“The road locomotive is heavy, so it left a lot of tracks, especially where it nearly fell over into the river.  Cornelis used a trick to cover our trail to some extent, but I doubt it would have been difficult for an experienced tracker to trace our path along the river,” I told her.

“Or they might simply have followed Ignatius Belle,” Cornelis said through lips that held a sardonic twist.  “However, that also leads to the question — how did Belle know where to find us?  Is the man an innkeeper, or an expert tracker?  Does a woodsman lie beneath his fine clothes?  And why does he seem to know so much about Calvin Hixon?  I suppose he’s an innkeeper, woodsman, and inventor!” the Dutchman said in a droll tone, but his face wore a pout.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. Giacomo Di Chirico, 1872

“Why Cornelis Drebbel.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were jealous,” I needled the alchemist.

“Jealous!  Don’t be absurd,” Cornelis objected.  “And I hope you realize it wouldn’t hurt you to use a little objectivity,” he added and my eyes widened.  “I’m surprised you don’t burst out with a free verse poem when you think of him.  You act as though you’re positively smitten with the dandy.”

“Smitten!  Now that’s just ridiculous,” I snapped.  “I have never been smitten in my life.  I’ll have you know that I—”

Shh!” Copper hissed at us both.  “They might hear,” she whispered, pointing at the hydrofoil, which by then had nearly reached the spot where Ignatius Belle had arrived with his paddle steamer.

“Don’t worry dear heart.  They’re too far away to hear us, and the little trick I used to keep them from seeing us will also dampen our voices or any other sound we make,” Cornelis told Copper to sooth her fear.Flying man w umbrella

“What other sounds?” she asked, just as Cornelis intended.

“Oh, any sound,” he said with wriggling eyebrows.  “The snap of a twig, or a hearty belch,” he assured her.

Of course, Cornelis Drebbel couldn’t resist demonstrating a “hearty belch,” to which Copper collapsed in a gale of giggles.  Abruptly she covered her mouth, still concerned that she might be heard.  I rolled my eyes heavenward at the Dutchman’s behavior.

However, I secretly admitted that he really did have a good way with the girl.  As I recalled, during his human lifetime he had four children, or rather four who reached maturity.  Infant mortality rates were even worse in his day.  I supposed he had plenty of practice entertaining and distracting young ones.

Suddenly I wondered if he missed his children, but surely he did.  I stubbornly stamped out the thought.  Every time I thought about Cornelis remembering his life as it was before the accident of alchemy that put him in his current state, it made me sad.  This was no time for me to indulge myself in emotions, particularly not in morose thoughts about which I could do nothing.Forlanini hydrofoil

To my dread, the hydrofoil slowed as it drew near.  I still couldn’t tell who manned the craft, except for one erratically moving figure.  A chill went down my spine when I could see for certain that it was indeed a very large chimpanzee.

Do not underestimate the size and strength of an adult chimpanzee.  I shuddered at the memory of the hoard of chimps bearing down on us at the Hixon estate.  The chaos of their mob, their shrill cries, their inhuman strength, it was something I’d rather forget.

The hydrofoil stopped.  The vessel lowered toward the water.

“What an amazing machine,” I whispered, awe overcoming my fears about the dangerous chimp.

Cornelis was eager to explain such things, but I was rarely patient enough for his invariably long winded explanations.

“The hydrofoil rises as the speed increases.  So the pressure around the foil changes until even the pressure on the top surface can become very low.  That lets the aerated water create a bubble and break down the lift on the top surface of the water.  At that point one might lose as much as two-thirds of the lift.  At that speed the vessel will drop back into the water,” he explained.

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

The Dutchman snapped his mouth closed when he noticed my level expression.  He pursed his lips in annoyance at my lack of scientific enthusiasm. 

Ignoring him, I craned my neck to see the people on the craft.  I couldn’t tell how many passengers it might hold.

The people on the hydrofoil wore rain gear.  I guessed it protected them from the spray the vessel created.  A man leaned over the edge, looking at one of the foils that lifted the craft out of the water.  His movements made me think he was concerned about it.  He jumped to the riverbank and continued to look at the vessel from that angle.

The chimpanzee eagerly bounded to the shore.  It cavorted on the riverbank for a moment, and then it sniffed the air and turned directly toward the spot where the three of us hid.  The man shouted harshly at the ape.  It reluctantly returned to the shore.  The man finally shook his head and shrugged as he inspected the hydrofoil.  I wondered if they had suspected a problem, but found none.

The man turned his attention to the banks.  Ignatius had deliberately scraped his steam boat against the shore, leaving big marks. 

“He was here,” I clearly heard the man call to someone on the vessel.Ape Grandma ad

The tone of his voice led me to believe the person to whom he spoke was in charge.  A muffled reply came to his words.  I couldn’t make out any of it.  The man continued to examine the shore.

Meanwhile the chimpanzee had our scent again.  The ape looked fiercely intent as it resumed its tracing of our steps.  Fortunately, Copper had run all around the site in her adventure of picking flowers and finding the whale’s tooth amulet.  That seemed to confuse the chimp, slowing his progress toward our hiding place.

“Do you have candle wax in your ears man?  Let’s go!” came an angry sounding command.  

Cornelis and I looked at one another in open mouthed shock.  That was a woman’s voice!

The voice was vaguely familiar.  I knew it was one I had heard since coming to the quaint little town.  My mind raced through every woman I had met since I arrived.  It didn’t seem to belong to any of them.  I reminded myself that a woman wouldn’t have used such an imperious tone in ordinary company.

Images of each woman paraded through my mind.  There were the two women at Best’s General Store, Billie Best and I never knew her customer’s name. (Chapter 1)  The two gossips had been unnecessarily hateful to Copper.  The memory irked me, but I didn’t think that voice belonged to either of them.

1900 Maid with trayThen there were Cookie and Bitsy from the Belle Inn.  (Chapter 2)  I remembered Bitsy’s bubbling laugh and impish grin.  It was difficult to imagine that commanding tone coming from her.  But I supposed it could; the pitch might have been about right.  No.  That just didn’t seem possible.

Cookie was not only a talented cook, she had impeccable organizational skills.  She would be capable of directing such goings on, but she had spoken so briefly I wasn’t sure if I would recognize her voice.  (Chapter 6) 

My mind turned then to the dreadful people from Merciful Haven Orphanage.  The cowardly man, Claude Dinkley had a tenor voice.  Could I have mistaken I higher pitched male voice for that of a woman just then?  After all, I only heard it speak one phrase.  (Chapter 4 for the orphanage people)

Then there was tall willowy Gertrude Hobbs, whose honking laugh combined with her long neck and weak chin made me think of a goose.  When they tried to take Copper away, she mostly echoed the proclamations of Ethel Farthing.  It was difficult to imagine Gertrude issuing imperious commands, but perhaps her subservience was an act.

Now, Ethel Farthing was another matter.  I could easily see her commanding men and chimpanzees.  Had it been her voice?  I felt like pulling out my hair in frustration.  I simply did not know.

Ape Eyes 2

Unsplash and public domain images altered by Teagan

While I pondered the voice and the women of the town, the chimp had crept frighteningly close to the place where we were concealed.  The trick Cornelis used could only work up to a point.  The chimpanzee was confused but determined.  It screeched loudly in aggravation.  The man looked toward us with an quizzical expression on his face.  He took a step toward the ape.

A sharp whistle blew loudly from farther along the river.  That would be Ignatius at the bend of the waterway, making sure these adversaries did not lose him.

The chimp whirled toward the whistle.  It ran with astonishing speed and hopped aboard the hydrofoil.  The man followed quickly.  In a moment the craft sped away.

***

To be continued…

***

shallow focus photography of daisies during daytime

Janice Gill, Unsplash

Real World Notes

Loves me… Loves me not.  I don’t know how old this game is.  It originated in France, and the Victorians played it, as you saw in the painting I used in this chapter.  In the original French version of the game, the petals do not simply indicate whether the object of the player’s affection loves them, but to what extent: un peu or “a little”, beaucoup or “a lot”, passionnément or “passionately”, à la folie or “to madness”, or pas du tout or “not at all.”

A humorous twist on the game is “She loves me, she loves me lots.”  This fortune-telling is shown as a pantomime in the 1st act of Giselle, ballet by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot (Paris, 1841). Wikipedia.

 A woman is in command of one of the groups chasing our heroes.  That’s certainly unusual for the Victorian Era.  Felicity found the voice familiar.  Could it really be one of the kind women at the inn who made food for them?  Or one of the horrid women from the orphanage.  Does this clear Ignatius Belle?  Since three separate groups pursue our trio, it’s hard to say.  At this point anyone could be involved.

Come back next time to learn where the “things” Crinoline, Lye Soap, and Caterpillar take our trio.  Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers will continue next Wednesday on Hidebound Hump Day.  

I’ll be looking for you at the station.  

Hugs! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

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Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

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 © 2015 and 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 15

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 

Man Sun gears Steampunk Eugene_Ivanov_2442

Eugene_Ivanov, Wiki Media Commons

Happy Halloween, everyone!  Welcome back to the spontaneously written, #SteamPunk serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  Everything about the story is driven by the random things that were sent by readers, back in 2015

When I say everything, I mean it — even the location.  Although no one seemed to notice (or at least they didn’t seem to mind), after all those weeks, I still had not gotten a “thing” that guided me to where all the zany events were taking place.  Author and translator, Olga Núñez Miret sent the “things” for this chapter, and I finally saw a general location for the story.  Which of “Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, and Vine Leaves” do you think gave me the location? Read on and find out.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 14.  Ignatius Belle seems a little too intent on getting Copper to visit his paddle steamer, anchored at the riverside near the abandoned church compound where our trio took refuge.  Or is it just that he believes the girl is Felicity’s supposed niece, and thinks being nice to Copper would endear him to Felicity?

However, Cornelis invented “old family friends” who are on the way to transport the trio to a fabricated holiday. So the handsome innkeeper will surely have to part company with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  Or will the “things” create more complications?

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

15 — Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, Vine Leaves

Mourning Angel_Cat

Lilith thought this image from the Atonement universe was just right

There was a ragged hole in the roof of the old church.  Sunlight poured through the opening, engulfing Ignatius Belle.  He had taken off his coat and his white shirt caught the light so that it almost glowed.  The effect made him look tall, safe, and… angelic.

I stared at him without realizing it.  Apparently I gawked for so long that it made him uncomfortable, because he chuckled and looked askance at me.  I stuttered, trying to explain without embarrassing myself by telling the man that he looked like an angel.

“It’s just that— Your shirt is dazzlingly bright in the sun’s light,” I stammered, then I reached up and wiped a drop of the shepherd’s pie from his collar, pretending that was the only thing on my mind. 

“You’re right,” he agreed. “This is an interesting ruin, but it is much too fine of a day to be indoors,” Ignatius said and surprised me by taking my hand.

He led me toward the front doors of the abandoned church. 

“Oh wait.  What’s this?” I asked, stepping into an aisle where something was left behind on a pew.

At first I thought it was an old hymnal, but it was too large.  I carefully opened the book and turned thin, fragile pages.  Dates were recorded for births, deaths, and marriages.

Ruins St Dunstan

“Look, it’s an old family Bible,” I commented in fascination.

I turned another page and my eyes were drawn to a name.  “Agustus Belle wed Antigone Stewart—”

“Please, let me see that,” Ignatius said, gently but eagerly taking the antiquated book from my hands.

He squinted and moved back to the place where the sun shone through the damaged roof. 

“Those were my grandparents,” he marveled.  “They eloped.  No one was ever sure where they went to get married.  I wonder who this Bible belonged to,” he murmured, delicately turning the pages.

“It doesn’t appear to belong to anyone now.  The congregation, and apparently whatever village was nearby, they’ve all left long ago,” I began, as I looked up into serious brown eyes.  “I think whoever owned this book would want you to have it.  A tie to your grandparents,” I affirmed with a nod.

Ignatius took my hand again, smiled, and led me outside.  He held the old Bible under one arm, and pulled me close to him with the other.  I looked up, with sun-dazzled eyes as he lowered his head toward mine.

Copper - Victorian young girl

Copper

Aunt Miiiina!” Copper cried my alias on a sustained note as she ran toward us.

I gave my head a sharp shake to bring myself out of the drowsy, mauve-colored moment.  

Of all the bad timing.  But it was probably just as well, I thought.

“Look what I found!” Copper declared excitedly.

There was dirt under her fingernails as if she had been digging in the ground.  Tiny bits of rich soil littered the front of her dress.  The yellow petals of a black-eyed Susan stood out against hair the color of a new-penny.  She had tucked the blossom behind her ear.  I imagined her accidentally pulling up the flower by its roots, and spraying herself with dirt in the process.

Ignatius bowed playfully to Copper. 

“Miss, that is a lovely flower, but it beauty pales next to your own,” he told the girl in a whimsical tone.

Copper tilted her head to one side and looked at the innkeeper as if she didn’t understand. 

“He’s paying you a compliment,” I told her and tried not to laugh.  “Say thank you.”

She made a quick movement that might have passed for a curtsey and mumbled her thanks.  Then Copper held her cupped hands toward me.  I hesitated, wondering if she dug up a mole and made a pet of it.

“Look!  Cornelis said it might be magic!” Copper said in a whisper that could have been heard at the riverbank.

In her hands was an ivory figurine inlayed with abalone shell, and not quite four inches long.  It depicted a man reclining on two humpback whales.  The style of the piece reminded me of Aztec artwork.

Basil Gill 2

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

“I found it in the ground when I picked my flower.  Cornelis said it was an amulet,” Copper explained, testing the sound of what must have been an unfamiliar word.

“May I see it,” Ignatius asked.

Copper drew back slightly.  My warning look encouraged her to give the figure to Ignatius.  “It might well be magic of a sort,” he agreed in the tone sometimes used by adults encouraging children to believe in the supernatural.

The girl’s eyebrows went up expectantly and she moved a step closer to the handsome innkeeper. 

“You realize we’re not far from the Pacific coast,” Ignatius said turning to me before continuing his examination of the ivory.

“This looks like the work of a coastal tribe to the north of here.  You see the little man?” he asked Copper who nodded interestedly.  “He is a shaman, and he is resting on the backs of his spirit animals — these two humpback whales, placed end-to-end.  Their eyes are made of abalone shell.  Oh, and look here,” he added in childlike excitement.  “You see where the shaman rests his head against the whale’s head?  That connects them and his mouth is the blowhole for the whale!  So this is meant to be the shaman traveling to the spirit world upon his whales,” Ignatius said to Copper’s amazement.

1860 Carved Whale Tooth

“So then,” I began.  “Is the ivory actually a carved whale’s tooth?” I asked and Ignatius affirmed with a smile.  “Copper, I’ll have to find a ribbon for you so you can wear this amulet around your neck.  After all, that’s how magic amulets are supposed to be worn,” I promised to her delight.

A shrill whistle interrupted our examination of the little carving.  At first I couldn’t tell from where the sound came, but I wasn’t looking up far enough.  The sun glinted off polished brass, high in a tree near the river.

“Cornelis Derbbel, of all things!” I declared when I spotted the alchemist in the upper branches of the tree.

The Dutchman whistled again and motioned for us to come to him.  By the time we reached the place, he had climbed down.  Or at least he pretended to have climbed for the innkeeper’s sake.  The alchemist probably descended via a less mundane means.  His face expressed a combination of excitement and worry that only Corenlis could achieve.

“You won’t believe this,” he told me.  “It would be wonderful if it wasn’t so horribly wrong.  But we have to hurry.  They’re only ten minutes or so away!” the Dutchman babbled.Drebbel stamp“Cornelis, what are you talking about?” I demanded.

He calmed down minutely and held up his brass spyglass. 

“I saw them headed this way on the river.  And they’re using a hydrofoil!” he added almost dancing in his enthusiasm.  “I can’t tell who it is though,” he added before I could ask.

I watched the attractive face of Ignatius blanch at the alchemist’s words. 

“No.  It can’t be,” he groaned and paced a few steps as if torn.  “I should get you to safety.  But the hydrofoil can outrun my paddle steamer,” Ignatius fretted as he paced.

He seemed genuinely worried for our welfare.  I shot Cornelis a challenging look for his distrust of the dashing innkeeper.

Burrell Road Locomotive

“We actually do have transportation,” I confessed.  “It’s just that we felt it had to be kept secret.  It’s one of Hixon— I mean my half-brother’s inventions, and I don’t think he was ready to show it to the world,” I told Ignatius a partial truth.

His eyes widened. 

“Don’t tell me!  Do you mean to say that he finished the road locomotive?  That he actually got the steam engine working?” Ignatius cried.

I wondered how it was that the innkeeper knew so much about Calvin Hixon’s inventions. 

“Well, mostly.  Cornelis put on the finishing touch, correcting a small problem with the design,” I said looking askance at the Dutchman who nodded with a wide grin.

“Then go!  Go quickly.  No, wait!” Ignatius faltered.  “The road locomotive makes a tremendous noise, does it not?” he asked and we all nodded emphatically.  “I’ll lead them away.  Hide and wait until they are well past.  I’ll make sure they see me.  If they think I have gotten the girl, they are sure to follow,” he said, and then inspiration lit his brown eyes.  “I can even make two bundles.  I’ll put hats on them or something so they can be you and Copper,” Ignatius said turning to me.

Stripped Bustle Gown

“You can have my stripped gown,” I said catching his enthusiasm for the idea.  “It’s ruined anyway,” I justified my donation to the scheme. 

When Ignatius looked like he would ask how it got ruined I realized I spoke without thinking yet again.  I couldn’t tell him about my dive into the river to retrieve the skull of Cornelis Drebbel.

“That’s a long story.  But there’s all manner of things in that large building,” I said pointing to the half ruined building where we hid the steam engine.  “I’m sure we can bundle up some things that will look like Copper and me, at least from a distance.”

“I’d love a look at the locomotive,” Ignatius said wistfully a moment later when we got to the building.

“Ah, but you realize there’s no time,” Cornelis reminded him with a sidelong look that made it clear to me that he still did not trust Ignatius Belle.

“I found this earlier,” Cornelis began in a sad tone.  “I meant to give it to Copper as the next thing to a playmate,” he told us as he presented a doll, about three feet tall, with hair the color of a new penny.  “But it’s better put to use to protect her,” the Dutchman sighed.

closeup photo of doll

Patrick Hendry, Unsplash

“Oh what a shame,” I said.  “Copper is a good deal taller than the doll, but from a distance it should be quite convincing.  Yes, she would love it.  Such a pity not to give it to her,” I commented as I looked around for the girl.

I spotted Copper running back toward us, dragging my stripped frock behind her.  I reminded myself that it was already ruined.  She had also grabbed two ladies’ hats from that opened crate of accessories.  The hats didn’t match my gown or the doll’s dress, but that was of no importance.

Suddenly Ignatius pulled out a knife.  I gasped in shock and jumped back.  Cornelis had a green aura as he gathered his powers.  However, Ignatius didn’t see it because he was already running for the gaping hole in the wall of the abandoned storage building.  He shouted over his shoulder. 

“I saw some vines growing just outside,” he called and he was gone.

Quickly he ran back inside, haloed in green vine leaves.  Ignatius used the vines to tie the bundles and they made passable human-like figures.

***

There was a cluster of bushes just far away enough from the riverbank.  Cornelis used one of his little tricks to make sure we wouldn’t be seen as we watched the paddle steamer pull away.  Just before it rounded a bend in the river, Ignatius gave a blast on the boat’s whistle.  He was making sure whomever piloted the hydrofoil didn’t lose him.

Forlanini hydrofoil

Ignatius claimed that he didn’t know who those people were.  He said the hydrofoil had changed hands a few times since all the chaos began.  I didn’t get to ask him about his involvement in the disappearance of Calvin Hixon, or any of the strange events surrounding it.  Neither could I ask him about his relationship with the man, Copper’s father.  But apparently there had been some level of interaction between the two men.  That might explain the girl’s distrust of the innkeeper.  How I wished for enough time to ask questions!

Too soon, a boat on feet-like skis that lifted it up out of the river neared our hiding place.  For the first time I wondered if Ignatius Belle was a hero or a traitor.  Perhaps he risked his life to lure villains away from Copper and myself.  Then again, he might be meeting them farther down the river, comrades in arms.

Cornelis Derbbel gave a soft surprised grunt.  He used one of his tricks to look farther than the human eye could see.  I raised the spyglass to see what startled the alchemist.  As the hydrofoil drew even with our vantage point, I saw a figure moving wildly on the vessel.  A very large chimpanzee cavorted and gesticulated wildly.

***

To be continued…

***

Real World Notes

Victorian Dolls.  When I was a young girl I always wanted one of those beautifully dressed, elaborately coiffed porcelain dolls.  They were also called bisque dolls and were characterized by their realistic, skin-like matte finish.  They had their peak of popularity between 1860 and 1900.  During the 19th century, dolls’ heads were often made of porcelain and combined with a body of leather, cloth, wood, or composite materials, such as papier mâché or composition, a mix of pulp, sawdust, glue and similar materials. 

Could Ignatius Belle now be in jeopardy?  Or is he only pretending to lead the hydrofoil away from the others?  The question remains as to whether the innkeeper is angel or aggressor.  And once again, who controls the chimpanzees? 

Come back next time to learn where the “things” One Lone Dandelion, Free Verse Poem, and Candle Wax take our trio.  Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers will continue on Straightlaced Saturday.  

I’ll be looking for you at the station.  

Hugs! 

***

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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.

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