The Smorgasboard Features Adelle’s Teapot, an Atonement, TN Story

Hello everyone. Thank you very much for visiting.  I know you are not used to seeing daily posts from me. However, I wanted to show my gratitude to the people who have been so generous in supporting me this week.  Yesterday, it was Chris, the Story Reading Ape.  Today it is Sally.  I promise to go back to my usual schedule at midnight Saturday (Eastern).

Sally Cronin Photo

Sally G. Cronin

When the multi-talented Sally G. Cronin asked for holiday short stories to post at her wonderful blog, Smorgasboard, Variety Is the Spice of LifeI asked her if she’d use a story that had already been posted. She graciously agreed to use one of the stories from my “Atonement universe” called Adelle’s Teapot.  It’s not really a holiday story, but the setting is at the right time of year.  

As most of you know, for the longest I’ve been working on book-2 in the “Atonement” series that began with “Atonement, Tennessee.”  The title is the name of my fictional town where supernaturals secretly live among the residents of this seemingly quaint town.  (Book-2 will be called Atonement in Bloom.)

The characters in this story only play a small part in the novels, but I think it’s fun to get to know them as well.  I hope you enjoy this tidbit.  If you do, please click over to Sally’s blog to comment. (I’ve disabled comments here.)

Adelle’s Teapot — Features from Atonement TN

1924 Good housekeeping 2 girls tea

The inventory notes Annie recorded were part of an ancient list, passed down through the Metatron clan.  For the most part, the older the item, the more power it held.  The kind of power varied widely.

The Mirror of Truth and Justice Most Poetic could show one’s true self.  The mirror could be playful, cryptic, devilishly mischievous, or brutally honest.  It almost seemed to have a mind of its own.  In age and in power, that mirror ranked about mid-way on the inventory list.  Annie shuddered to think of the havoc she had known the mirror to wreak.

She kept many of the items hidden in plain sight in her antique shop.  It had been easy enough to steer Ralda Lawton away from a special quilt.  Ralda, the new owner of the Sunhold estate, did not need that star design quilt, but someone else would.  However, the brass Bed of Dreams was meant for her.  The bed wasn’t strong in power, but it was effective.

ad 5 Oclock TeaAnnie looked down at the ancient list.  Something glowed through several layers of paper.  She knew the glow came from the script identifying a very old item.  The glowing writing meant an item awakened.  Her hands shook as she leafed through the pages to the very beginning of the catalogued inventory.

The teapot.  Annie took a shuddering breath.  It was simple and unassuming looking, but the teapot was the oldest item listed in Annie’s inventory notes.  It was also arguably the most powerful.  Because of its unique properties the teapot had always been kept separate from the other items.  Adelle, Annie’s sister was the teapot’s custodian.  It was safely tucked away in the attic of the Victorian house that was Adelle’s tearoom and home.

A brew had not been made from that teapot in living memory.  But what else could awaken the pot but the alchemy of water, heat, and the right combination of herbs, flowers, and leaves?

“No Adelle,” Annie muttered as she put away the ancient ledger.1937 Look Shirley Temple Santa tea

Annie ran out of her shop, the door banging shut behind her.  Her platinum hair shone in the moonlight.  She skidded around the corner and ran down the town square.  Annie stumbled to a stop.  She gazed at the night sky in open mouthed astonishment.

Above Adelle’s tearoom the sky shimmered in a golden aura.  When Annie looked farther up into the sky, she saw an even more astonishing sight.  The entire town of Atonement rested unaware beneath five columns of light pillars.  The columns of light pulsed through the clouds.

“Adelle,” Annie gasped.  “What have you done?”

With a hand to her chest, Annie continued toward her sister’s home.  She fell going up the front porch stairs.  As she righted herself, Annie saw that the front door stood open.  Then she realized that every door and window in the Victorian house was wide open.

“My God, Annie!  Are you all right?” Adelle exclaimed as she helped her sister to her feet and guided her inside.

Annie allowed her sister to guide her, gasping for breath and shaking with fright, to the kitchen table.  There Adelle poured a cup of tea.  Annie turned horrified eyes from the teacup to her sister.

1940s Home Notes Girl tea party“Oh don’t be silly,” Adelle chastised.  “It’s not from that teapot.”

Annie took a sip of the tea her sister pressed upon her.  She took a bite of cake or scone or some baked treat that would ordinarily have been delicious.  However it might as well have been cardboard in her mouth.  Without even realizing what she was doing Annie crumbled the rest between her fingers never looking at it.  She stared blindly out the kitchen window into the darkness, too stunned to process the thousand thoughts in her mind.

“Why in heaven’s name would you let the teapot awaken?” Annie finally asked.

“It couldn’t be helped.  I needed to talk to our grandfather,” Adelle replied.

“That wouldn’t be difficult for you,” Annie said.  “Why would you use the teapot for that?”

Her sister’s mouth curved to that self-satisfied, cat-with-a-bowl-of-cream smile that Annie knew all too well.

“Which grandfather,” Annie asked, closing her eyes and bracing herself for the answer she already knew was coming.

Adelle pursed her lips then made a reluctant, sardonic grimace.  “The one quite a few times removed.  Maybe a few hundred times.”1905 Sunday Mag Tea Woman steam kiss

Annie groaned and dropped her head to the kitchen table, her pale hair falling to cover her face.  Forehead against the polished wood, she rocked her head side to side.  Finally she looked up at her raven haired sister.

“Tell me this is not happening,” Annie pleaded hoarsely.

“It really couldn’t be helped, Annie.  I had to consult Enoch,” Adelle said apologetically.

“What could possibly be that important?” Annie demanded.

The sardonic twist left Adelle’s mouth.  She looked into her sister’s eyes, coldly serious.

“Cailleach Bheur,” Adelle said.  “Beira the Crone.”

***

As you can see, my odd little imaginary town has its quirks.  (And when I finally finish Atonement in Bloom, you will meet Beira the Crone.)  I hope you enjoyed this visit to Atonement, Tennessee.  Be sure to visit Sally too.  I’m grateful for her ever generous support.

Mega Hugs,

Teagan

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

3-D: A Party for the Story Reading

Naughty Chimps

Hello everyone. The Four Naughty Chimps are back and it’s time to get jiggy!  None other than the one and only Chris Graham, better known to you as The Story Reading Ape, is here today.  And I’ve decided to throw him a party.  Woot!

Chris/Ape is such a multi-talented individual, making book cover designs and promo trailers.  Not to mention his tireless promotion of Indie authors.  I’m going to start this party by showing you a sample of something new he’s doing — 3-D images of book covers.  I was so excited to see Atonement, Tennessee in 3-D!

 

3-D Atonement Cover no background

The Prices, etc, can be found at: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsra-3d-books/

It wouldn’t be a party if I didn’t invite everyone to come out and play.  When I saw the wonderful 3-D image, on a whim I challenged our Ape/Chris to write a quick story relating to 3-D.  Not only did he go 3-D, he put three “D” names in the story.  Now that’s jumping into the game!

Then I realized it was a little unfair of me to ask the Story Reading Ape to write a story if I didn’t take the same challenge.  (I freely admit that his story is better than mine though.)  Of course he had upped the ante by adding the three “D” names.  Chris TSRA

Now, since this is a party, you know that I want all of you to come out and play too.  Leave something in the comments that the thought of “3-D” inspires in your imagination.

First we’ll have the story from Chris, and then you’ll see mine.

 3-D

By Chris Graham

Davy, Don and Duke had apparently not only painted the town red last night, they’d applied three coats of primer and varnished over two coats of waterproof emulsion judging by they way they felt this morning.

The alleyway they woke up in didn’t look familiar; it was wet and kinda flat looking; even when they forced their eyelids wide open.

As the others watched in befuddled disbelief, Duke slowly peeled himself off the wall and flopped around for a while before draping over a nearby garbage can.

“God – I feel so FLAT!”

“You are!” slurred Don.

“Don’t ya mean – “You Do?””

“Nope, he was making a statement of fact Duke”, a stunned looking Davy slurred in agreement.

Flat Stanley“Waddya mean by that?” grunted Duke as he tried to push himself upright.

“Because you ARE flat” Don slurred more clearly.
“As a pancake” Duke clarified.

Duke looked down at himself, slowly turned his hands and arms around a bit, repeated the action on each of his legs and looked back at his two buddies, still sitting propped up against the alley wall.

“As paper…” his buddies screamed in unison when Duke momentarily disappeared from the waist up as he turned.

Silence gripped the alleyway as all three of them fainted.

Some hours later, when they woke up together, a trio of voices shouted “Hey Guys, I’ve just had the weirdest dream.”

The alleyway still looked as flat as they did.

The end.


My Turn

Okay… that’s hard to follow, but I’ll at least participate.  Here’s my spontaneous 3-D story.  But since I can…  I’m going to put the title at the end, to avoid spoilers.  Here goes…
1930s bedroom elaborate

“Well, Dinah…  It’s a little bit, I don’t know, Gothic looking,” Daisy said thoughtfully as she looked at a picture of a bedroom design her friend wanted to use.

Daisy actually thought the décor bordered on tacky, with all the ruffles and lace.  However, that kind of thing did suit her romanticizing friend.  She moved to a spot where the light was better.  The two young women had slipped into the copy room of the university’s Advanced Technologies lab.  It was the closest place to make a photocopy.

“Where did you find this photo?” Daisy wanted to know.

“It was in the research materials my cinematography professor let us use,” her friend replied.  “Oh I can’t afford to be late for class.  Give it back.  Let me just make a copy of it.  This machine looks like it’s already warmed up,” Dinah said as she put the photo into the machine.

“Cinematography?  Dinah, wasn’t your assignment in that class about a director named John Badham and Frank somebody-or-other?  Hang on a minute.  That’s not a copy machine!  It’s a 3-D printer.”

The lights flickered and went out as all the power was diverted to the 3-D printer.  The machine clicked and chugged.  With a groan it spat out a ruffled pillow.  Shrill whirring whistling sounds filled the room.  The printer shook and belched out a lacy curtain.

Smoke Blue Horizontal

“Turn it off!” Daisy cried, worried that the printer would explode with all the noise it was making.

Dinah frantically and repeatedly pressed the off button.  When that had no effect, she began to slap every button on the control panel.

“I can’t!  It won’t stop!” Dinah yelled above the noise.

The printer screeched and hissed.  Smoke filled the room.  The girls coughed and tried to see through the vapors as they felt their way toward the door.

The sound of soft footfalls reached their ears.

“Who’s there?” Dinah cried.

With the grace of a cat a dark silhouette strode toward them.

With a shaking voice Daisy whispered to her friend, “You don’t suppose that’s D—”

Dinah finished the name in a shaking voice, “Dracula?”

3-D Dracula

Daisy and Dinah Meet Dracula

The end.

Your Turn!

Okay, now it’s your turn.  Think 3-D and all the advancements, or all the science fiction, or even the goofy red and blue 3-D movie glasses.  Give your imagination freedom and leave a comment about 3-D.

Open Invitation

If this inspired you to just write something or otherwise create anything related to 3-D, that’s even better!  If you want, you can use the comments to leave a link to your story or blog post.  Kindly link back to this post if you blog about what you wrote, cooked, painted, or photographed.

Thank you from my heart for “coming out to play” at my party for the Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape.  Drop by his tree house to say hello.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

Copyright © 2016 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

A Tricky Little Valentine

Cowgirl valentineHello everyone.  Thanks for coming back.  During the past four weeks we’ve all been playing with my mini-series on the five senses.  However, since Valentine’s Day is this weekend I decided to write a short story for the occasion.  Next weekend I’ll be back with the fifth and final part of the mini-series.

If you know me at all, then you are not expecting a romance, certainly not a typical one anyway.  This is an odd little story I jotted down on impulse, but I hope you’ll enjoy it.

The narrator made one previous appearance here at Teagan’s Books in a short story called Kokopelli’s Daughter.  It’s just a little flight of fancy.

Kokopelli’s Daughter and Valentine’s Day

Moments after sleep blanketed my tired mind, my eyelids sprang open.  I shot out of the bed and ran toward the kitchen in a state near panic.  As I skidded around the corner I flipped on the light switch.  I stumbled to a stop at the calendar that hung beside the refrigerator.  A moan escaped my lips when I saw the date — February 13th, but only for a couple more hours.

How could I have forgotten?  Being Kokopelli’s daughter I unconsciously exert a unique magic on Valentine’s Day.  It’s a very tricky sort of magic too.  My father is a music spirit, but also the eternal trickster.  The magic of that genealogy is a dirty trick forever played on unsuspecting people through me.  The joke is also on me as often as everyone else.  It’s uncontrollable, and it gets stronger and stranger each year.1955 February Valentine calendar

The picture on the calendar should have been a good enough reminder.  A bewildered boy holding one heart-shaped box of candy, greeted by two identical girls — it was a painful reminder of one year’s disastrous Valentine’s Day.  That year desires doubled on one side of a couple, but were cut in half on the other.  I was surrounded by angry twosomes… not to mention my own overly amorous date.

Another year I happened to be in Japan on Valentine’s Day.  I had no idea the gender roles for were reversed there in that women bought chocolates for men.  The magic that surrounded me on that day wreaked havoc, and not just roles, but men and women themselves were reversed for miles around me.

After that year I made a point of taking myself to some remote corner of the world on Valentine’s Day.  Yet somehow the date had escaped me.  The best I could do would be to simply get as far away from civilization as I could manage in the short time remaining before midnight.

I jumped into a pair of jeans and threw on a leather jacket.  I ran out of my “painted lady” Victorian home on Haight Ashbury.  I hurried down the stairs and vaulted into my yellow 1928 M-Type MG Midget.1929 MType MG Midget

I headed the Midget up the coast to Highway 101.  Even if I “helped” the car travel faster, I couldn’t get far enough away before midnight.  However, at least humanity would only be on one side of me.  The ocean would be on the other.

When the clock struck twelve, I felt it deep inside without even looking at my watch.  I pulled the MG off the highway and walked down to a deserted beach.  Sitting down on the sand, I gazed up at the cloudless sky.  With a groan I saw that fate conspired with magic to make things worse.  The moon was full.  There were formations on the face of the moon that some people referred to as the “rabbit moon.”  However, I knew the truth of that.  The shape on the moon was not a rabbit, but Kokopelli!

Vintage Rabbits MoonI glared at the luminous orb.  Soft chuckling emanated from the heavens in return to my spiteful stare.  Then the trickster appeared beside me.

“Do you know, hija,” my father began.  “It was the twisted magic of this night that brought your mother to me.”

I answered with a silent gaze, waiting for him to continue.  I thought of my mother, Themis, the Greek goddess of Justice.  The odd mix of my parents gave me constantly warring impulses.  Because of Themis I was forever compelled to see justice done.  Yet my nature was also to be a trickster like Kokopelli.

“Play for me, hija.  Play upon the beautiful flute your mother gave you,” he urged offering me the flute I had left at home.

“You play far better than I could ever hope to play.  If you want music, then play for yourself,” I said irritated.  I turned my head toward the moon which was suddenly and suspiciously devoid of “rabbit” like formations and shadows.  Abruptly his duplicitous intent sprang with clarity to my mind.  “You would have me bring her to you!  Themis would never forgive me,” I admonished my father.

“If you play for me,” he urged purely devious.  “I will mix my greater magic with your accident riddled, enchanted emanations.  You could have a Valentine’s Day the likes of which mortals can only dream,” he pressed and then smirked when he saw the sharp expression on my face.  “And by dream I do not mean nightmares.  How hurtful that my daughter would think such of me,” he added with such a preposterous pout that I rolled my eyes.Kokopelli

“No?” he asked again proffering my multi-colored flute.

My answer was a loud snort.  Kokopelli began to play the flute himself.  He danced slowly on the beach as he played.  Fish began to summersault out of the ocean, flipping seafoam into moonlight glittered heart shapes before they splashed back into the sea.

I felt movement at my side.  Turning, I was stunned to see my mother beside me.  Themis smiled at me gently, but fire smoldered in her eyes when she turned toward my father.

“Just one dance,” she whispered.  “Just this once.”

Kokopelli and Themis danced.  The flute appeared on the sand beside me.  Though it was untouched, the music continued.  I knew their dance would soon progress to movements no one wanted to see their parents make.

I strolled down the beach and out onto a jetty.  I heard the loud noise of something large as it slapped the water.  A great fishtail with scales shimmering in the moonlight, arced down to again slap the water.

Music from my magically played flute wafted to my ears.  I rolled up the legs of my jeans and strolled into the ocean.  Hundreds of tiny fish jumped into the air, also making heart shapes in the reflected light of the full moon.

heartI continued to walk and soon the water was hip-deep.  Then the large shimmering tail slapped the surface again.  A merman beckoned to me playfully.  I looked back down the coast and saw that Kokopelli and Themis still danced.

The magic that was part of me twisted fitfully on Valentine’s Day, but my father’s enchantment was holding things in place, at least for that span of time.  So I decided to seize the moment.

As I took the merman’s hand the tune of the flute trilled.

 

The End.

***

I hope you’ll come back next time for the fifth and final installment of the mini-series on the senses.

Mega hugs!

Teagan

Copyright © 2016 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Valentine’s Day in Atonement, Tennessee

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends!
AT Valentine 2I wish there had been time to write a new short story as my Valentine to all of you… But I’m going to re-Press the one I wrote last year. At least it will be new to some of you.

What is new is the video I made for it. Yes, I tried my hand at making a trailer. So if you’ll put up with the short video, the story will follow.

It is an “Atonement” story, but one that is not in the novel at all. It takes place about 20 years before Ralda Lawton moved to the quaint little town of Atonement, Tennessee.

This tale features one of the Atonement, Tennessee characters — the sheriff, Robin Warden.  If you’ve read the novel, you’ll probably think he’s an odd choice, but that’s what makes it fun.  The sheriff is not the most endearing citizen of Atonement.  This short story takes place quite a few years before the timeline of the novel, with a much younger Robin who is only a deputy sheriff. He has recently come to the town of Atonement and of course, strange things happen.

Animoto video

Embedded

An Atonement, Tennessee Valentine

Hey Robin!  Where’s Batman?  He might let you drive the Batmobile if you’re real nice to him.”  The bullies hadBatmanRobin never outgrown their taunts.  Whether they were ten, twenty, or fifty, those jerks would harass him with the same old thing, Robin Warden thought as he landed on his chest with a thud.  Why had he thought of them?  He had been away from those guys for a month.

What was so wrong with looking like Burt Ward, or being named Robin?  Well, all right — he supposed he could understand how the jokes were tempting.  What he didn’t understand was why they got such a kick out of the same old jabs.

Robin picked himself up and continued looking for the pig.  He’d been chasing it all afternoon.  He couldn’t believe a stupid pig kept getting the better of him.  Maybe that’s why he had thought of the bullies he’d grown up with back in Asheville.  The pig was dragging his self-image through the mud. Literally.

True love heartHis breath froze on the air as he sighed… February in Atonement, Tennessee — “East Bumbles,” the back end of nowhere.  Then he realized that it was Valentine’s Day and he was even more annoyed.  Robin secretly had daydreams of a perfect Valentine’s Day, bringing flowers to a beautiful girl, romance, the whole hearts-and-flowers nine yards.  One year the guys had found out, and he’d never heard the end of it.  As if his unfortunate resemblance to the TV Batman’s sidekick didn’t give his tormentors enough fuel for their quips, they teased him about Valentine’s Day too…

He gave a derisive snort at the memory, and a porcine snuffle seemed to answer from the other side of a bush.  With a lunge he almost had the pig that time.  Almost.  It slipped out of his grasp like a magician, and it ran faster than anything that might someday become bacon had a right to run.  Robin patted his chest to make sure the deputy’s badge was still there.  At least he had that over the guys back home.  He was a real deputy sheriff.

“I’ll show those jerks,” he thought.  “I’ll be driving a real ‘Batmobile’ when I get my own police car, or close enough.  They’ll never match that,” he promised himself.  “And I’ll catch that dang pig or die trying too!”

Scrambling to his feet, Robin ran after the pig again.  He was amazed that his Valentine’s Pig ValentineDay was being spent that way.  He asked himself what difference it made.  He hadn’t made any friends in the tiny town of Atonement yet.  There weren’t many people his age period.  He’d only met a couple of girls, and they weren’t interested in him.  He let out an irritated breath.  The blasted pig might as well be his Valentine.

A glance at the cloudy sky told him night would come early.  He picked up his pace in the chase after the pig.  Leaves crunched as he pounded the twisting path, running, sliding, gaining, and losing.  Sometimes he wondered if the little porker intentionally let him catch a glimpse of it.  Once it actually seemed to be waiting for him to catch up.  Robin was so exasperated he could have screamed.

Until the unwanted memory of the bullies intruded on his thoughts, Robin had thought signing up for the Interstate Sheriffs’ Department exchange program had been the worst mistake of his life.  To think he’d believed he was bored living in Asheville, North Carolina!  It was a wonderland of excitement compared to Atonement, Tennessee.  However, after he thought about it, chasing livestock through rural Atonement was probably better than dealing with the bullies and jerks back home. Robin shook his head resignedly.

Gate Ajar Night

It was really clouding up, and it would be dark soon.  Robin thought uneasily that he wasn’t exactly sure where he was anymore; the pig had led him on such a chase.  That was kind of unnerving.  He’d only lived in the area for a matter of weeks.  The idea of being lost, in the woods, on a winter night was not something he liked to consider.

Then he caught sight of the little rascal running up a trail.  With a burst of energy Robin poured on the speed.  That sorry pig was not going to get away again!  It was headed straight for a tall iron fence.  The pig kept running.  So did Robin.  He finally had it cornered.  Or not…  Were some of the iron bars bent aside?

The young deputy cursed as the pig went through the gap in the fence.  However, Robin Warden wasn’t any bigger than Batman’s sidekick with the regrettably similar name.  He slipped through the damaged bars and made a heroic dive for the pig.  It complained loudly when he caught it by its back feet.

The wind kicked up as he tied a rope securely around the wriggling animal.  He was so intent on his task that he didn’t notice how threatening and dark the black clouds became.  Abruptly the pig became unexpectedly still.  That’s when Robin realized the earth was trembling.  A loud thump proved something heavy had fallen, but he didn’t see what it was.  An earthquake?  He knew Tennessee sometimes experienced very small quakes.

A sharp crack made him jump half out of his skin.  It sounded like lightning, but there was no flash, just the sharp, sudden sound.  Robin looked over his shoulder and saw that a huge old oak tree had a wide split down the center of its trunk.Split tree

The frightened pig huddled against him.  For a moment it didn’t dawn on Robin that he was holding the animal.  The ground stilled.  Robin and the pig looked at one another with wide startled eyes.  The pig looked as embarrassed as Robin felt.  At least the guys weren’t around to see that awkward moment.  He set the pig on the ground and stood up.

Robin took a deep breath.  “Oh crap!” he muttered when he saw that he’d dropped the rope.  However, the pig sat calmly back on its haunches, like a well-trained pet on a leash.  Robin quickly bent down and snatched up the rope before the animal could change its mind.

Mystified by the pig’s sudden change in behavior, he scratched it behind the ears.  It seemed to smile, but he guessed that was just the shape of its mouth.  He patted the pig’s head and said, “Good pig.”  Even as he spoke the words they sounded ridiculous.

Robin spotted the source of the heavy thud sound.  A tombstone was overturned.  He looked around at a very old and rundown Mausoleum_dreamstime_xs_20242963cemetery.  At least he knew where he was — the old Sunhold estate’s graveyard.

A snuffling sound drew his attention.  There was another pig behind the tumbled gravestone.  Then he saw a third pig a few feet away, rooting in the tall dead grass.  The more Robin looked around, the more pigs he saw.  There were at least a dozen.

Twilight descended and Robin stood in perplexed awe, looking at all the pigs.  As the light dimmed, the pigs seemed to emanate a pale glow.  The one he had spent most of the day chasing looked up at him with its smiling face and he took a reflexive step back.  The pig had blue eyes.  “What the—” he muttered, wondering how he had failed to notice that.

The blue-eyed pig nudged Robin’s knee and swung its head toward the damaged oak as if it meant for him to look.  The rent in the tree trunk shone with blue light that reminded him of the cobalt vase his mother had, a deep rich blue.

The pig took a few steps toward the tree, as much as the rope would allow.  However, the animal didn’t tug at the leash.  Robin stood rooted to the ground.  As twilight deepened the glow from the pigs became more apparent.  The other pigs walked tranquilly toward the tree.  The one on his rope sat back down, seeming patient and at peace.John_Collier_Queen_Guinevre's_Maying

The cobalt blue radiance expanded beyond the tree.  All the pigs snorted and snuffled in a way that sounded… pleased.  Then a girl stepped out of the glow.  The luminous pigs continued to look peaceful, but somehow Robin could feel that they were happy and excited.

At first Robin thought the girl was little more than a child.  But as she approached, Robin saw that she was in fact a petite woman.  Long ash blond hair fell in waves like a river of moonlight that reached almost to her knees.  Pale blue flowers were scattered through her tresses.  As she moved the blossoms seemed to bob on the currents of the moonlit river of her hair.

Robin stood in open mouthed astonishment.  She was so beautiful that he couldn’t speak; so purely lovely that there was no room in his mind to question the strange circumstance of her appearing.  Finally the idea that he should say something tickled in his stunned thoughts.  He tried to talk, and managed to make some kind of sound, but the noise that came from his lips reminded him of a hog squealing.

The radiant pigs gathered in a half circle at her feet.  They became quite noisy as they looked at one another and then up at the tiny woman.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  The porcine grunts took on a specific pattern and rhythm, and gradually came together as if the pigs were chanting.  They seemed to grunt the same three syllables repeatedly, go-eh-win, go-eh-win.  Finally the grunting chant flowed into the sound of a name, Goewin.

He gazed up at her in silent wonder.  No face had ever been so sublime.  No name had ever bQueen and knighteen so poetic.  Goewin.  She spoke his name and he thought he might die from the happiness the sound gave him.  Robin didn’t realize that he had dropped to the ground on one knee, amid the glowing pigs that clearly adored her.  He felt unworthy of her touch when she laid her hand on his head and told him to rise.  He was no better than the pigs… probably even less.  At least the pigs could glow.

With weakness in his knees, Robin struggled to his feet.  As he stood he looked into her eyes.  He was astonished to find that they were lavender and as bright as any faceted amethyst.  Then when Goewin returned his gaze, Robin felt so light of heart that he was surprised he didn’t float into the air.

She exclaimed in delight.  “Oh you found her!  Deme, you naughty pig!  Your brothers and sisters came right away, but you roamed the countryside in your game, getting this kind man to chase you,” she admonished the pig, but her voice was gentle.  “Robin, I really am sorry that Deme led you on such a chase.  She took an instant liking to you.  To her it was a great game,” Goewin told the young deputy.

It never occurred to him to question how she knew his name, or that he had been in pursuit of the pig all day.  Robin could barely string two words together.  She seemed to understand when she paused briefly.  Goewin continued to talk, but he was sure she meant to give him a moment to adjust to the strange situation and her presence.  By chattering she gave him time to find his voice.

“It truly is important that I get these pigs back where they belong.  Do you know that 2 Pigsthere has already been at least one war over these pigs?” she asked, but nodded as if answering for him.  “Yes.  And it was a very foolish prank that let them get away this time.  How very shortsighted of that trickster to do such a thing.  But you, Robin, have helped set things aright.  You have my eternal gratitude,” she said as she lowered her eyes and curtsied deeply.

She actually curtsied, he thought.  First she’d placed her hand on his head and told him to rise.  Now she curtsied to him.  It made Robin feel like he was a knight of Camelot and she was a princess.  Suddenly he felt strong and valiant, as if he wore the brightest armor.  Then when he glanced at himself he gasped.  He was glowing!  A little anyway — the light wasn’t nearly as bright as the radiance of the otherworldly pigs, but he was definitely glowing.

His reaction made Goewin giggle.  It was like chimes, he thought.  Her laugh made him smile.  Robin didn’t know how long he stood looking at her like a dumbstruck fool.  He didn’t even care if he was being silly.  They looked into one another’s eyes, they laughed, he thought they even sang.  Later he couldn’t say what they talked about, what they actually did, but he never forgot the bliss he felt.  Moreover, he realized he might never feel such things again, so he simply enjoyed it.

Midnight moon farieRobin remembered noticing the various changes to the sky as the hours passed.  Then as pink and gold clouds streaked the morning, Goewin left.  She didn’t ask him to come with her.  Robin was pretty sure that she knew he was afraid to venture that far from the world he knew, so she didn’t invite him.  The young deputy could have kicked himself for that fear, for not asking her to take him with her.  However, Goewin touched his face and her hand sent a vibration that reached from his chin through his scull.  After that all he could feel when he thought of her was joy and peace.

However, that happiness didn’t stop him from going back to that same spot in the old cemetery every Valentine’s night.

The end.

 Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

No part of this writing, blog, or book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, 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, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

My “Sexy” Saturday

my sexy saturdayI’ve been a busy blogger this extended-weekend. This post was a bit of something extra I suddenly decided to do. I’ve been feeling a tad guilty over just “re-winding” the first serial for you…  And then…

Everything happened at once. There was no plan for me to re-blog that lovely post from Randstein, but how could I resist?  Then I was so excited to have a completely unexpected book review at Lit World — well I had to re-blog that too!

Betty Boop Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 1988

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Betty Boop balloon.

Back to topic – the original extra bit I actually planned to give you.  You may have figured out that I don’t exactly take this blog to “Sexy”…  But the folks at the My Sexy Saturday blog hop are very flexible about the definition of  sexy.  They were happy to accommodate the less than daring way in which I write. (Believe me you can find things there that fit a more traditional version of sexy!) Plus, they were so very nice to me the few times I’ve come out to play… I’ve always wanted to do more. However, my plate simply overfloweth… I can’t do everything just because I’d like to.

Then I saw that this weekend they have a “Thanksgiving and Families” theme. They even included characters who have no family.  That reminded me of two characters in my short story, Chocolate with Death. So I decided to rearrange my overfull plate.

Even though these characters are not romantically involved, their relationship has a little sex appeal, and they are thankful for one another.  You can read the full story if you want.

In accordance with the blog hop rules I am to post “7 paragraphs or 7 sentences or 7 words ONLY.”  So here are seven sentences from Chocolate with Death.

chocolate-strawberries

If I was startled by the pain in his eyes, which clearly spoke of endless solitude and loneliness, then I was truly astonished by his reply.

“Well yes, that was sort of the entire point when I chose to visit you,” he said.  “We are not strangers. Why do you think you felt that you knew me?”

I flopped back into my chair, confused and overwhelmed. One of my bunny slippers had come off and Death examined it curiously, and then began to refill the glasses with Spumante.

“I only came to visit you – I didn’t come for you,” he said, meaning my time on this earth was not yet over.

betty boop champagne

***

The blog hop’s Twitter handle is @MySexySaturday.

Atonement, Tennessee by Teagan Geneviene

Barnes & Noble Nook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/atonement-tennessee-teagan-geneviene/1117790203?ean=2940148918431

Kindle and Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A/ref=la_B00HHDXHVM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412384486&sr=1-1

Amazon UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A

Amazon India

http://www.amazon.in/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1481826948

The Micro Story Challenge

Earlier this week a challenge showed up in my inbox.  It was already a month old, but it was part of a newsletter with various things from Amazon and Create Space.  I looked at for a minute… and decided to play.

The Micro Story Challenge

Tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end in a single, yet wholly satisfying sentence. If you are able to construct an entire story in one sentence, and that one sentence is compelling and absent of any structural phenomenon in order to cram in details, you will have stripped away what holds most writers back: a lack of knowing what their books are truly about.

My Answer to the Challenge

The morning sunlight brought pain from the past, laced with fear of escape, but pierced by the determination to create a future.

 

Tree circle limbs vines

I hope you’ll leave your own one-sentence stories in the comments.

My board of Magical Portals, Gates, and Doors at Pinterest might provide ideas.

Hugs,

teagan

 

Your Valentine from Atonement, Tennessee

AT Valentine 2

I thought it would be fun to post a Valentine for all of you — in the form of a short story.  I admit the idea of writing a story for everyone came to me a bit late, so I knew I’d have to scramble to get it finished in time, especially since I wanted to post it a day before the holiday.  I didn’t even know what it should be about, what setting, what sort of characters.  Then I thought I’d make an “Atonement” story, but one that is not in the novel at all.

This tale features one of the Atonement, Tennessee characters — the sheriff, Robin Warden.  If you’ve read the novel, you’ll probably think he’s an odd choice, but that’s what makes it fun.  The sheriff is not the most endearing citizen of Atonement.  This short story takes place quite a few years before the timeline of the novel, with a much younger Robin who is only a deputy sheriff. He has recently come to the town of Atonement and of course, strange things happen.

Forgive me if it gets just a little bit corny — after all, it is supposed to be a Valentine.

Hugs,

teagan

An Atonement, Tennessee Valentine

Hey Robin!  Where’s Batman?  He might let you drive the Batmobile if you’re real nice to him.”  The bullies hadBatmanRobin never outgrown their taunts.  Whether they were ten, twenty, or fifty, those jerks would harass him with the same old thing, Robin Warden thought as he landed on his chest with a thud.  Why had he thought of them?  He had been away from those guys for a month.

What was so wrong with looking like Burt Ward, or being named Robin?  Well, all right — he supposed he could understand how the jokes were tempting.  What he didn’t understand was why they got such a kick out of the same old jabs.

Robin picked himself up and continued looking for the pig.  He’d been chasing it all afternoon.  He couldn’t believe a stupid pig kept getting the better of him.  Maybe that’s why he had thought of the bullies he’d grown up with back in Asheville.  The pig was dragging his self-image through the mud. Literally.

True love heartHis breath froze on the air as he sighed… February in Atonement, Tennessee — “East Bumbles,” the back end of nowhere.  Then he realized that it was Valentine’s Day and he was even more annoyed.  Robin secretly had daydreams of a perfect Valentine’s Day, bringing flowers to a beautiful girl, romance, the whole hearts-and-flowers nine yards.  One year the guys had found out, and he’d never heard the end of it.  As if his unfortunate resemblance to the TV Batman’s sidekick didn’t give his tormentors enough fuel for their quips, they teased him about Valentine’s Day too…

He gave a derisive snort at the memory, and a porcine snuffle seemed to answer from the other side of a bush.  With a lunge he almost had the pig that time.  Almost.  It slipped out of his grasp like a magician, and it ran faster than anything that might someday become bacon had a right to run.  Robin patted his chest to make sure the deputy’s badge was still there.  At least he had that over the guys back home.  He was a real deputy sheriff.

“I’ll show those jerks,” he thought.  “I’ll be driving a real ‘Batmobile’ when I get my own police car, or close enough.  They’ll never match that,” he promised himself.  “And I’ll catch that dang pig or die trying too!”

Scrambling to his feet, Robin ran after the pig again.  He was amazed that his Valentine’s Pig ValentineDay was being spent that way.  He asked himself what difference it made.  He hadn’t made any friends in the tiny town of Atonement yet.  There weren’t many people his age period.  He’d only met a couple of girls, and they weren’t interested in him.  He let out an irritated breath.  The blasted pig might as well be his Valentine.

A glance at the cloudy sky told him night would come early.  He picked up his pace in the chase after the pig.  Leaves crunched as he pounded the twisting path, running, sliding, gaining, and losing.  Sometimes he wondered if the little porker intentionally let him catch a glimpse of it.  Once it actually seemed to be waiting for him to catch up.  Robin was so exasperated he could have screamed.

Until the unwanted memory of the bullies intruded on his thoughts, Robin had thought signing up for the Interstate Sheriffs’ Department exchange program had been the worst mistake of his life.  To think he’d believed he was bored living in Asheville, North Carolina!  It was a wonderland of excitement compared to Atonement, Tennessee.  However, after he thought about it, chasing livestock through rural Atonement was probably better than dealing with the bullies and jerks back home. Robin shook his head resignedly.

Gate Ajar Night

It was really clouding up, and it would be dark soon.  Robin thought uneasily that he wasn’t exactly sure where he was anymore; the pig had led him on such a chase.  That was kind of unnerving.  He’d only lived in the area for a matter of weeks.  The idea of being lost, in the woods, on a winter night was not something he liked to consider.

Then he caught sight of the little rascal running up a trail.  With a burst of energy Robin poured on the speed.  That sorry pig was not going to get away again!  It was headed straight for a tall iron fence.  The pig kept running.  So did Robin.  He finally had it cornered.  Or not…  Were some of the iron bars bent aside?

The young deputy cursed as the pig went through the gap in the fence.  However, Robin Warden wasn’t any bigger than Batman’s sidekick with the regrettably similar name.  He slipped through the damaged bars and made a heroic dive for the pig.  It complained loudly when he caught it by its back feet.

The wind kicked up as he tied a rope securely around the wriggling animal.  He was so intent on his task that he didn’t notice how threatening and dark the black clouds became.  Abruptly the pig became unexpectedly still.  That’s when Robin realized the earth was trembling.  A loud thump proved something heavy had fallen, but he didn’t see what it was.  An earthquake?  He knew Tennessee sometimes experienced very small quakes.

A sharp crack made him jump half out of his skin.  It sounded like lightning, but there was no flash, just the sharp, sudden sound.  Robin looked over his shoulder and saw that a huge old oak tree had a wide split down the center of its trunk.Split tree

The frightened pig huddled against him.  For a moment it didn’t dawn on Robin that he was holding the animal.  The ground stilled.  Robin and the pig looked at one another with wide startled eyes.  The pig looked as embarrassed as Robin felt.  At least the guys weren’t around to see that awkward moment.  He set the pig on the ground and stood up.

Robin took a deep breath.  “Oh crap!” he muttered when he saw that he’d dropped the rope.  However, the pig sat calmly back on its haunches, like a well-trained pet on a leash.  Robin quickly bent down and snatched up the rope before the animal could change its mind.

Mystified by the pig’s sudden change in behavior, he scratched it behind the ears.  It seemed to smile, but he guessed that was just the shape of its mouth.  He patted the pig’s head and said, “Good pig.”  Even as he spoke the words they sounded ridiculous.

Robin spotted the source of the heavy thud sound.  A tombstone was overturned.  He looked around at a very old and rundown Mausoleum_dreamstime_xs_20242963cemetery.  At least he knew where he was — the old Sunhold estate’s graveyard.

A snuffling sound drew his attention.  There was another pig behind the tumbled gravestone.  Then he saw a third pig a few feet away, rooting in the tall dead grass.  The more Robin looked around, the more pigs he saw.  There were at least a dozen.

Twilight descended and Robin stood in perplexed awe, looking at all the pigs.  As the light dimmed, the pigs seemed to emanate a pale glow.  The one he had spent most of the day chasing looked up at him with its smiling face and he took a reflexive step back.  The pig had blue eyes.  “What the—” he muttered, wondering how he had failed to notice that.

The blue-eyed pig nudged Robin’s knee and swung its head toward the damaged oak as if it meant for him to look.  The rent in the tree trunk shown with blue light that reminded him of the cobalt vase his mother had, a deep rich blue.

The pig took a few steps toward the tree, as much as the rope would allow.  However, the animal didn’t tug at the leash.  Robin stood rooted to the ground.  As twilight deepened the glow from the pigs became more apparent.  The other pigs walked tranquilly toward the tree.  The one on his rope sat back down, seeming patient and at peace.John_Collier_Queen_Guinevre's_Maying

The cobalt blue radiance expanded beyond the tree.  All the pigs snorted and snuffled in a way that sounded… pleased.  Then a girl stepped out of the glow.  The luminous pigs continued to look peaceful, but somehow Robin could feel that they were happy and excited.

At first Robin thought the girl was little more than a child.  But as she approached, Robin saw that she was in fact a petite woman.  Long ash blond hair fell in waves like a river of moonlight that reached almost to her knees.  Pale blue flowers were scattered through her tresses.  As she moved the blossoms seemed to bob on the currents of the moonlit river of her hair.

Robin stood in open mouthed astonishment.  She was so beautiful that he couldn’t speak; so purely lovely that there was no room in his mind to question the strange circumstance of her appearing.  Finally the idea that he should say something tickled in his stunned thoughts.  He tried to talk, and managed to make some kind of sound, but the noise that came from his lips reminded him of a hog squealing.

The radiant pigs gathered in a half circle at her feet.  They became quite noisy as they looked at one another and then up at the tiny woman.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  The porcine grunts took on a specific pattern and rhythm, and gradually came together as if the pigs were chanting.  They seemed to grunt the same three syllables repeatedly, go-eh-win, go-eh-win.  Finally the grunting chant flowed into the sound of a name, Goewin.

He gazed up at her in silent wonder.  No face had ever been so sublime.  No name had ever bQueen and knighteen so poetic.  Goewin.  She spoke his name and he thought he might die from the happiness the sound gave him.  Robin didn’t realize that he had dropped to the ground on one knee, amid the glowing pigs that clearly adored her.  He felt unworthy of her touch when she laid her hand on his head and told him to rise.  He was no better than the pigs… probably even less.  At least the pigs could glow.

With weakness in his knees, Robin struggled to his feet.  As he stood he looked into her eyes.  He was astonished to find that they were lavender and as bright as any faceted amethyst.  Then when Goewin returned his gaze, Robin felt so light of heart that he was surprised he didn’t float into the air.

She exclaimed in delight.  “Oh you found her!  Deme, you naughty pig!  Your brothers and sisters came right away, but you roamed the countryside in your game, getting this kind man to chase you,” she admonished the pig, but her voice was gentle.  “Robin, I really am sorry that Deme led you on such a chase.  She took an instant liking to you.  To her it was a great game,” Goewin told the young deputy.

It never occurred to him to question how she knew his name, or that he had been in pursuit of the pig all day.  Robin could barely string two words together.  She seemed to understand when she paused briefly.  Goewin continued to talk, but he was sure she meant to give him a moment to adjust to the strange situation and her presence.  By chattering she gave him time to find his voice.

“It truly is important that I get these pigs back where they belong.  Do you know that 2 Pigsthere has already been at least one war over these pigs?” she asked, but nodded as if answering for him.  “Yes.  And it was a very foolish prank that let them get away this time.  How very shortsighted of that trickster to do such a thing.  But you, Robin, have helped set things aright.  You have my eternal gratitude,” she said as she lowered her eyes and curtsied deeply.

She actually curtsied, he thought.  First she’d placed her hand on his head and told him to rise.  Now she curtsied to him.  It made Robin feel like he was a knight of Camelot and she was a princess.  Suddenly he felt strong and valiant, as if he wore the brightest armor.  Then when he glanced at himself he gasped.  He was glowing!  A little anyway — the light wasn’t nearly as bright as the radiance of the otherworldly pigs, but he was definitely glowing.

His reaction made Goewin giggle.  It was like chimes, he thought.  Her laugh made him smile.  Robin didn’t know how long he stood looking at her like a dumbstruck fool.  He didn’t even care if he was being silly.  They looked into one another’s eyes, they laughed, he thought they even sang.  Later he couldn’t say what they talked about, what they actually did, but he never forgot the bliss he felt.  Moreover, he realized he might never feel such things again, so he simply enjoyed it.

Midnight moon farieRobin remembered noticing the various changes to the sky as the hours passed.  Then as pink and gold clouds streaked the morning, Goewin left.  She didn’t ask him to come with her.  Robin was pretty sure that she knew he was afraid to venture that far from the world he knew, so she didn’t invite him.  The young deputy could have kicked himself for that fear, for not asking her to take him with her.  However, Goewin touched his face and her hand sent a vibration that reached from his chin through his scull.  After that all he could feel when he thought of her was joy and peace.

However, that happiness didn’t stop him from going back to that same spot in the old cemetery every Valentine’s night.

The end.

 Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

No part of this writing, blog, or book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, 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, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.