Artie Meets the Alchemist Conclusion — #GetCaughtReading 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Hello, everyone!  I’m back for more Get Caught Reading Month festivities.   Chris Graham – the Story Reading Ape and I collaborated for a mini-series in honor of this event.  

Artie Meets Alchemist promo 1

But first…

Odd Job Girl Sally Cronin

You caught me reading another great book.  This week, you’ve caught me reading one of my favorites by Sally Georgina Cronin Just an Odd Job Girl.

Read the reviews of Sally’s books (and buy them) via a number of distributors. However, for my convenience in creating this post, here’s Amazon (click here), and Amazon UK (click here).

***

Now back to the 2018 Get Caught Reading mini-series…

Previously in Artie Meets the Alchemist…

Artie was testing how fast his motor cycle/time machine could go down Route 66.  Meanwhile Cornelis Drebbel was taking his road locomotive down to investigate, because the civilization alarm in the alchemist’s dirigible went off…

Over to Chris Graham…

Artie Meets the Alchemist

Conclusion

Artie Portable Time Machine cycle

Artie’s portable time machine, image courtesy Chris Graham

Using all his strength, skill and a sizeable amount of good luck, Artie managed to avoid a collision with the rapidly approaching road locomotive.  He basically ran off the road, over an embankment, somersaulting, while doing a 180 horizontally, and abruptly stopping on top of an unfortunate bush, (the only one for miles in any direction), miraculously still on his seat and gripping the handlebars…

From his vantage point, now facing the road, Artie watched the road locomotive stop with much clanking, squealing and copious clouds of steam.  A tall man in formal attire, complete with top hat, and impressively bushy eyebrows, stepped down and hurriedly walked towards him, appearing to be asking questions.  What the questions were, Artie didn’t have a clue at that time — he was still deaf and dazed by the unexpected acrobatics and abrupt stopping manoeuvres…

640px-Road_locomotive__John_boy__(5605531950)

Wikimedia Commons

Then, the man disappeared as the embankment quickly rose.  In fact, the bush had decided it had had enough and collapsed, depositing Artie and the time machine back onto the ground.

The man scrambled over the embankment and after a quick check for broken bones (there were none), helped Artie remove his safety helmet.  He barely paused at Artie’s simian features.

“Are you injured old chap?” he inquired in quaintly polite Teutonic English.

Artie shook his head, wondering at the stranger’s lack of reaction. 

“Yes, I’ve met chimpanzees similar to you before.  I’m terribly sorry to have suddenly materialised in front of you, old boy.  You did a terribly good job avoiding a collision.”

Artie grinned his appreciation of the compliment.

“Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Cornelis Drebbel, and you are…?”

Cornelis Drebbel Alcmariensis

Cornelis Drebbel

Artie put out his gauntlet clad paw, “Aristotle, but please just call me Artie.”

”Your machine looks quite impressive Artie, some kind of motorcycle, but not one I’ve seen before, did you build it?”

”Yes, I did, and your road locomotive is the best I’ve ever seen.  Regarding your sudden appearance, may I ask if you are a time traveler too?”

(Back to Teagan)

“A time traveler?  Oh, my goodness no.  Or well, I suppose you could say that I am.  My companions and I were out for a jaunt in my dirigible and it came to my attention that they had not brought any books along.  The jackalope has some but they were only about weather and empirical data.  So, I set the civilization alarm in hope of finding a library.  Do you happen to know of one?”

Artie sketch thinking color steampunk

Artie, courtesy of Chris Graham

Artie ponderated for a moment, thinking it was good that they had both landed in that world and time.  He gave Cornelis a big toothy grin.

The genius chimpanzee showed the alchemist an app specially adapted for his mobile time machine. 

“This will show us the libraries around the world,” Artie told him.

Library map

“Oh, that’s quite amazing.  Why there are more than two million libraries!  We should find mechanical engineering periodicals for Copper, and weather science volumes for Jack, and romance novels for me,” Cornelis enthused.  “Erm… I mean, history and science books for myself.”

“Indeed!” Artie agreed with a wink.

Then the very remarkable chimpanzee zoomed away on his converted motorcycle / mobile time machine.  With a burst of rainbow colored light, he disappeared.

Cornelis Drebbel shook his head in admiration.

“Copper will never believe this,” the alchemist murmured to himself as he turned on his communication device.  “Jack?  Copper?”

“Yes, Alchemist?” the jackalope answered.

“I’m ready to bring the road locomotive back up to the dirigible.  Could you give me a hand, old thing?” Cornelis asked.

Atonement Airship

Image by Chris Graham

“Of course, Alchemist.  Were you able to find a library?” Jack eagerly inquired.

“Millions of them!” Cornelis cried.

“Conrelis Drebbel,” Copper began.  “Why do you need help getting the road locomotive back up?  You better not have damaged it again.  I only just finished the repairs to it.”

Cornelis cringed momentarily.  He really didn’t mean to abuse Copper’s mechanical talents, but it was certainly a relief that she was so capable.  Besides, the main thing was he had found millions of libraries and there would be no shortage of reading material.

“Dear girl, you are going to be astonished at all the books you’re going to get,” he told her instead of answering.

“You wrecked the locomotive again, didn’t you?” Copper said in a resigned voice.

Cornelis wriggled his bushy eyebrows and smiled to himself.

***

The End.

Who won the drawing for a book from Teagan?

This month is all about encouraging people of all ages to read.  Last week I offered a Kindle version of one of my books to the winner of a random drawing.  I asked anyone who wanted to participate to leave a comment with the title and author of the book I’ve caught you reading.  And the winner is… (drum roll…) Viv Drewa the Owl Lady! 

Viv chose my 1920s stories.  Since The Three Things Serial Story is only a dollar, I threw it in with Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients 1.  Thanks to Viv and everyone who came out to play.

Next weekend I’ll show you all the books I’ve caught people reading.  Meanwhile, ankle over to Jazz Age Wednesdays for my current Roaring Twenties serial.  

Just because I can’t resist, here’s Rob Goldstein’s latest video for my Jazz Age Wednesday series, Hullaba Lulu.  

Thanks for visiting.  Mega hugs!

***

Now, promoting my “partner in crime” Chris Graham.

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

A lovely book of poetry by Chris Graham’s mom

Amazon

Amazon UK

***

And now my own shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

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 and Christopher Graham

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.

Artie Meets the Alchemist Video! — #GetCaughtReading 2018

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Hello, one and all!  It’s Get Caught Reading Month.  I couldn’t resist making a video for the mini-series  Chris Graham – the Story Reading Ape and I are doing in honor of this event.  Please click here for episode-1 of Artie Meets the Alchemist*.  Video trailer follows.

 

Learn how to win a free Kindle copy of one of my books!

***

Artie Meets Alchemist promo 1

Now, promoting my “partner in crime” Chris Graham.

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

A lovely book of poetry by Chris Graham’s mom

Amazon

Amazon UK

***

And my own shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

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 and Christopher Graham

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.

Artie Meets the Alchemist 1 — #GetCaughtReading 2018

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Hello, everyone!  It’s Get Caught Reading Month.   Chris Graham – the Story Reading Ape and I are together again for a mini-series in honor of this event.  There’s also a free Kindle book to be had — read on to learn about that.

Artie Meets Alchemist promo 1

But first…

Escaping Psychiatry beginnings

Every week, you’ll catch me reading a different book.  You might catch Chris too, but you’ll have to ask him what he is reading.  Kicking off this series, you’ve caught me reading one of my favorites by Olga Núñez Miret from her Escaping Psychiatry series — Beginnings the prequel.

Read the reviews and buy the books Amazon (click here), and on Amazon UK (click here)

Now here is the premier of the 2018 Get Caught Reading mini-series…

Artie Meets the Alchemist

Part 1

Man Sun gears Steampunk Eugene_Ivanov_2442

Eugene Ivanov, Wiki Media Commons

“What is that infernal clanging?  Ugh… It’s unbearable!  Where are you, jackalope?”

“It’s the civilization alarm, Miss Copper.”

“Jack, thank goodness you’re here.  Could you please shut off that noise?  My hands are full with the omniscope.”

“Of course, Miss Copper.  There.  Is that an improvement?”  

“Thank you.  You are the world’s most wonderful jackalope.”

“You are welcome, Miss Copper.  The sensors detected a group of lifeforms.  Ah, Alchemist ― good, you are here.  We’ve found sentient life.  It appears to be an established community.  Shall we land your dirigible?”

“Jack, old thing, you are a marvel!  Let’s see what we can from up here first.  That looks like a highway over there.  Copper, do you see anything though the telescope?” Cornelis said.

“It’s an omniscope, and yes.  I see apes.  Or rather chimpanzees.  A bunch of them!  Jack, is that what you meant by an established community?” Copper wanted to know.

Chimps Nitpicking sketch

Image courtesy Chris Graham

“No, no, no… That’s altogether verneukt!  They aren’t purple apes by any chance?  We need to turn this ship around!” Corneils exclaimed.

“No, Cornelis.  Of course, the chimpanzees are not purple.  What an absurd thing to say.  Relax,” Copper assured him.

“I’m sorry, Copper.  It’s just that it wouldn’t be the first time.  I told you about the purple world where everyone had an ape doppelganger.  It was an interesting experience but not one I’d want to repeat.  Although I admit it was difficult enough, landing in a world where you were a young woman, rather than the little girl I knew.”

“Keep your hands to yourself, Cornelis Drebbel.  If you ruffle my hair like I was a small child one more time, then you’ll draw back a nub!”

Miss Copper!”

Copper crop 1

Dreamstime

“Oh, calm down Jack.  You know I wouldn’t really do that.  Although there hasn’t been an un-interesting day since Cornelis Drebbel showed up, claiming that he knew me as a small child ― in a similar but different world.  He might get into only half as much trouble with one less hand.”

“I’m going to take my road locomotive down and investigate.  Copper and Jack, you two should stay up here for now.” 

“That’s fine by me, Cornelis.  Apes make me uncomfortable.  Jack and I have plenty of work to do.  But try to stay out of trouble.  Please!”

***

Artie Formal Dress

Image courtesy Chris Graham

 

Now over to Chris Graham

Since his adventures with Pip and Mona (see: Pip and Artie Meet Again Parts ONE, TWO & THREE), Artie had been busy refining his converted motorcycle / mobile time machine, and even incorporated an inter-dimensional shift facility (IDSF) so he could not only travel through time, but also visit alternative dimensions, or realities, as he preferred to call them.

All this had, of course, involved many periods of deep ponderating, to the extent that he would often jump up (waken himself and half the neighbourhood) with sudden loud exclamations of “Of course!” which sounded suspiciously like loud snoring snorts…

In any case, after each addition, or adjustment, Artie would go off on a test run, to make sure everything worked as he intended, relying on his trusty Emergency Visit Duration Countdown Alarm (EVDCA) to get him safely back home again if all else failed (he hoped)…

During one recent test run, Artie was testing how fast the machine could go down an alternative reality version of Route 66 after his latest adjustments (i.e., too fast) when, with a bright noisy flash, a steam tractor-like road locomotive suddenly appeared about a hundred yards in front of him!

 

***

End Part 1

(For related stories see: The Sign of the Ape series and Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers serial in the blog Categories on the right side of the screen.) 

Drawing for a book from Teagan!

May 9, 2018:  The time period for entering the contest is now over. I’ll announce the winner this Saturday.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first part of our Get Caught Reading offering.  This month is all about encouraging people of all ages to read.  So I’ll do a random drawing to give away a Kindle copy of one of my books (winner’s choice). 

Here’s how you participate.  To enter, leave a comment telling me the title and author of the book we’ve caught you reading!  You must leave the comment by Tuesday to be included.  I’ll email the winner an Amazon Kindle copy of one of my books — you get to choose which one.

Tune in next weekend for more of Artie Meets the Alchemist.   Hugs!

***

Now, promoting my “partner in crime” Chris Graham.

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

A lovely book of poetry by Chris Graham’s mom

Amazon

Amazon UK

***

And now my own shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

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 and Christopher Graham

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.

Thistledown Hiatus 2, #NaNoWriMo

Friday, October 27, 2017

Welcome everyone.  The faery serial, Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam is on hiatus until December.  However, I’m reblogging past episodes for new readers and for those who want to review or catch-up on missed chapters.

First a little business. With November 1st, National Novel Writing Month* (NaNoWriMo) begins.  I promised updates and last week I left you a teaser about my novel-to-be’s title.  Throughout October I’ve been happily doing planning of various types.

Those of you who have been following Teagan’s Books for a long time will remember a “steampunky” serial I did, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  One of the main characters was my fictionalized version of real life inventor, Cornelis Drebbel*, another was a young girl named Copper.  For my NaNoWriMo novel I’m bringing them back.  However, this time Cornelis ends up in a parallel world and Copper is a young woman there.  Here’s the cover I made for (drum roll…)

The Skull of the Alchemist 

Skull of the Alchemist Cover 1

If you’re here for a dose of faery foolery, here’s episode 2 of Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam.

Teagan's Books

Welcome back to Thistledown, everyone!  If you are joining this serial for the first time, or if you need to refresh your memory click here for the premier episode.  I also have a category button on the right side-bar of the screen for “Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam.”  However, these days I can’t make promises about WordPress behaving as it should. (For several days I found myself unable to comment on any blogs — including my own! WP just told me to email somebody else… Finally and laboriously got it fixed myself.)

Thistledown GirlAlex Iby, Unsplash

Writing Process

As a writer, I tend to reject rules. (Often things are presented as rules, but feel more like “formulas” than anything else.  I don’t care for formulas either.)  Although, when writing in a genre, (to a degree) I do try to follow some general expectations, for the comfort and understanding of readers.  

So before anyone…

View original post 2,332 more words

Get Caught Reading — The Sign of the Ape 4 (2016 Rerun Conclusion)

Atonement bookshelf

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

     Welcome, one and all — to this re-run of last year’s Get Caught Reading mini-series.  Without further ado, here’s the conclusion!

***

It’s been fun participating in Get Caught Reading Month.  I hope my zany and bizarre story encouraged people of all ages to read.  Last week my real-world schedule caused me to put blogging on the shelf.  But look what grand company I had, thanks to Chris Graham!  

When we left our heroes…

As many of you know, a few elite bloggers (and their pets) banded together with one quest — catch the Story Reading Ape reading.  During the first chapter, I found a shimmering airship outside my window.  The pilot looked suspiciously like Cornelis Drebbel.  Before I knew it, I was in Time Square beginning a chase to “catch” the Story Reading Ape in the act of reading.

In Chapter 2  Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen and I met a number of author-bloggers (and their pets) who joined the quest to catch the illusive Ape. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel , Christoph Fischer, John W. Howell, and blogger Dan Antion.

Then last time a new duo was added to the intrepid band of bloggers –  Hugh Roberts and adorable Toby.  But to the astonishment of our intrepid band, everyone became anime characters when Cornelis Drebbel’s alchemy went wrong.  Now for the conclusion of The Sign of the Ape.

Sign of the Ape 4

Ape London Atonement

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

Toby barked frantically at the pavement and scratched at it with his little paws.  Doubtless, the dog could hear  John W. Howell, Dan Antion, and their pets in the tunnel beneath the street.  Finally, Hugh couldn’t take seeing the Corgi so upset. He jumped back onto the big construction loader and started digging a hole in the road — much to the dismay of the drivers in the area.

Annette Abens Cats

My phone buzzed at me.  When I answered, I was greeted with a loud chorus of meowing from  Annette Rochelle Aben’s cats.  I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.  And yes, that did remind me of the fuzzy ears and long tail that came with the anime version of me.  I shot Cornelis Drebbel a nasty look and muttered that I’d get him for it.  Then a second call got patched onto the meow-wow.  The four naughty chimps  translated for Annette’s kitties via text message.

“You’ve got to figure out how to get to London. The Story Reading Ape is there.  He left Tokyo before your airship even touched down!” came the message from the chimps.

London?  Well the chimps should know.  They were tight with the Ape.  But London?  I hadn’t figured out how to stop being an anime yet!  How could I possibly get to London?  I sure couldn’t go as an anime — and especially not in that horrid schoolgirl uniform!

Although I was rather shocked that  Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  and Suzanne DeBrango  seemed to take their cartoon situation in stride.  Their dogs, Kasha and Percy, didn’t seem to think it was worth barking about.  Maybe I would feel differently if I were a beautiful goddess or a cute giant-robot-driving future girl, I thought.  I steamed and stewed… I’d never forgive Cornelis for putting me in such an outfit.

Toby reading Hugh

Toby caught reading

Toby gave an excited yip and Hugh turned off the loader.  Once again I heard that crazy, funky guitar music of the original James Bond theme.  Then a sports car roared up through the big hole dug by the construction loader.

Atonement Hot Rod

Thanks again Chris!

John W. Howell  and Dan Antion, along with dogs Lucy and Maddie, and MiMi the tuxedo cat were in the sports car.  Oddly I could have sworn I saw the Boxer, Lucy driving the car.  But who am I to say that was strange. After all, I was an anime schoolgirl with cat ears and a tail…

Lucy close up_John

Lucy, who owns John W. Howell

I could see Dan wave from the back seat that everyone in the car was okay.  John leaned out of the passenger window.  He had a weird looking guitar.  I asked where he got it.

maddie_26502383972_o

Maddie who owns Dan Antion

 

MiMi reading_Dan

MiMi caught reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A strange taxi driver with bushy eyebrows gave this guitar to me,” John told me.  “But no matter what notes I strum, it will only play that James Bond theme,” he added and played the chorus to demonstrate.

However, the music abruptly changed to the Goldfinger theme.  Glittering clouds of golden dust formed in the sky.  John put down the guitar, but it continued to play.  The golden dust settled on everyone (and every pet) who had become anime.

I felt my stomach expand and contract like the beginning of a very unfortunate gastritis attack.  The most embarrassingly loud belch escaped my lips.  However, everyone else produced similar burps, so I was a little less mortified.  We were anime no longer, but the dratted costumes remained.  I muttered a new curse to Cornelis Drebbel about my uniform.

“Thank heavens you’re a redhead again,” John Howell commented.  “The raven locks were nice, but it just wasn’t right.”Animated Teagan book

Then with sharp popping sounds, one by one, my friends began to disappear. Frightened beyond reason, I screamed at the alchemist for an explanation.

“My dear, do calm down,” he said in that droll voice.  “Everyone is perfectly safe.  I sent each of them directly to their homes,” the alchemist explained as I stammered and tried to ask why.  “Darling, remember it is Get Caught Reading Month.  May is almost over!  How can they read anything if they are trotting around the globe with you?  And you still haven’t finished “The Sign of the Four” for that matter,” he told me, adding a tsk-tsk sound for good measure.

Cornelis took my hand and suddenly we were inside the giant robot.  “I’ve always wanted to pilot one of these,” he confessed with a giggle.  “Next stop, London!”

As Cornelis flew the alchemically powered robot, I wandered, exploring the many nooks and crannies.  It was more spacious than I expected.  The sound of deeply pitched chuckling caused me to stop in my tracks.  I strained to hear.  It seemed to be only one voice, like someone talking on the phone.  Ever so carefully I moved closer.Naughty Chimps

“You four truly are naughty,” the voice rumbled.  “Sending all those bloggers on such a wild goose chase.  Although I must admit, a free ride back to London in a magical giant robot is a memorable adventure.  I will see you naughty rascals when I get home, but for now I have reading to catch up on.  I think Gwydion may have just gone too far for Ralda to forgive him.  I really must see what happens next in Atonement, Tennessee

With a silent gasp I realized the Story Reading Ape was hiding right under my nose!  I removed my cell phone from my skirt pocket and switched on the camera.  I crept around the corner… Gotcha!

Ape Caught with phone

As I checked the image, the spoils of my victory, my long tail swished in a self-satisfied rhythm.  

…Tail?  I looked behind myself.  The tail was still there…

“Cornelis Drebbel!”  I yelled.

Here ends The Sign of the Ape.

***********************

Thanks to all of you for tuning-in for this zany chase.  I’m glad you were “caught reading” here at Teagan’s Books.  As you know, this is a workday, so I might be delayed in answering comments.

Special thanks to all the bloggers who participated in this madcap adventure — and to their pets as well!

 

GCR pets

The Sign of the Ape, furry family cast

Row 1:  Percy, Crystal, Lucy, Kasha

Row 2:  Claudius, Oh Kitty, and Sweeney, and Toby

Row 3:  Wilma, Greta, Maddie, MiMi

 

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.

Special mention to Christopher Graham for the marvelous “Atonement, Tennessee” images.

Get Caught Reading — The Sign of the Ape 3 (2016 Rerun)

 

Crystal Reading Atonement

Crystal pointing to a clue

Hello everyone.  Welcome back to my rerun of last year’s mini-series, in support of Get Caught Reading Month.  It’s about the escapades of our intrepid band of bloggers and their pets.  Who could resist those fur babies?  

If you were here last year, I’m delighted that you’ve stuck with me.  If this is new to you, then hang onto your hats, because it’s a wild ride!  I hope you’ll visit the bloggers included in this post.  Now for the rerun.  Enjoy!

***

Wow! May is nearly half over already.  However, it’s still  Get Caught Reading Month.  Welcome back to the zany and bizarre story I’ve been writing to encourage people of all ages to read.  As many of you know, a few elite bloggers (and their pets) banded together with one quest — catch the Story Reading Ape reading.

When we left our heroes…

During the first chapter, I found a shimmering airship outside my window.  The pilot looked suspiciously like Cornelis Drebbel.  Before I knew it, I was in Time Square beginning a chase to “catch” the Story Reading Ape reading.

Last time  Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen and I met a number of author-bloggers (and their pets) who joined the quest to catch the illusive Ape. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  (Cowboy Boss and His Destiny), Christoph Fischer (The Gamblers.), John W. Howell (John J. Cannon Trilogy,) and blogger Dan Antion.

This time a new duo gets added to the intrepid band of bloggers –  Hugh Roberts and Toby.  Now, let’s join our adventuring bloggers.

Sign of the Ape 3

Ape in Tokyo

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

I couldn’t see anything when I looked out the portholes of the dirigible.  No, I don’t mean that it was nighttime.  There was nothing to see, just flat blackness.  I supposed it was just as well.  The airship was traveling outside the laws of nature with the alchemist, Cornelis Drebbel, at the helm.

That gave me a very unsettling feeling.  However, the steady whir of the engines was comforting.  The sound was almost hypnotic.  I wondered aloud how long it would take us to get from New York to Tokyo, even with the magic Cornelis used.Kasha reading

“I don’t feel very well,” Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  murmured, and her fur baby, Kasha, put her head on Mary’s knee.

“Air sickness, Mary?” Suzanne DeBrango asked the author in a concerned voice, but Percy the Pug barked a decisive yip.

Tilting my head, I studied the little dog.  It seemed like he sensed something, but we humans were not picking up on it.

Suzanne made a face.  “Now that you mention it, I don’t feel quite right either.  Maybe it was the hors-d’oeuvres back at the Fictional Heroes exhibit,” the blogger-chef suggested.  “My stomach feels all wrong, but then so does my head.”

Abruptly we experienced a sharp bump, an air pocket, I thought.  However, the pressure inside my ears immediately did something strange, causing me to shake my head.  With a sinking feeling I knew that was no air pocket.  It was the blasted alchemy going awry.

“Cornelis Drebbel!” I shouted, much as Felicity, the woman in trousers, would have.  “What have you done?”

Before the words had left my mouth, I felt the sensation of horrible pressure.  It was like having a giant vice in front and in back, pressing hard against me from both sides.  I thought my head might explode, but my ears finally popped, giving me some relief.  It effected my eyesight as well.  Everything blurred and twisted.  Then my eyes bulged painfully, so I squeezed them shut.Anime eyes Kagome

After a moment I the dirigible bumped lightly.  I heard soft groans from my companions.  Snuffling sounds told me Kasha and Percy were sniffing everything excitedly.  My eyes were still closed against all the unpleasant sensations I had just experienced, but I felt a little paw on my knee.  I put my hand out and knew it was the Pug’s sturdy little body, so I petted him.  Then he ran back to Suzanne.

Finally I opened my eyes, but I had trouble focusing.

“Teagan, are you okay?” Mary asked.  “You know, I never realized how huge your eyes were before,” she commented in a puzzled tone.

Or at least it sounded like Mary.  Her hair was blond, but there was something different about it.  When she moved I realized that her hair flowed almost to the floor.  Something else wasn’t wright, but everything was still blurry.

“I think I’m okay,” I told Mary.  “I’m having trouble getting a deep breath though.”

She and Suzanne helped me stand.  Suzanne led us to the portholes.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

“Look at the lights,” Suzanne exclaimed.  “It’s Tokyo!  We’re there.”

Cornelis called out that we should sit down.  The airship was about to land.  The three of us staggered to our seats.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one experiencing my unfortunate symptoms.

“Teagan, could I ask you something?” Suzanne began hesitantly and my affirmative came out as a groan.  “Oh, here – these might help,” she added handing me my glasses.  “Are you feeling a little… deflated?  Because I sure am.”

Putting on my glasses I looked at Suzanne.  I was speechless.  Her hair was suddenly short and bluish-green.  She was dressed in a turquoise metallic futuristic outfit with matching tall boots.  There was one other thing.  Suzanne was flat.  So was Mary.  So were the dogs!  They all looked like anime characters.  I started to hold my hand up in front of my face to see if I had been effected, but I was afraid to look.

I turned to Mary, who was shifting uncomfortably in her seat.  Mary made a complaint to that effect.  She wore a flowing airy gown.  Indeed there was something that prevented her getting comfortable.

“Erm… that might be because of your wings,” I told her.  “I think maybe you’re some sort of goddess character.”

Mary reached frantically behind her and gasped when her fingers came into contact with her wings.

For a moment I studied Suzanne in that futuristic outfit.  I asked her if she thought perhaps somewhere nearby there was a giant robot that belonged to her.  The oddest expression came to her face.Eureka

“I know it sounds crazy,” Suzanne admitted.  “But I think maybe there is!”

“Don’t you all look delicious?” Cornelis exclaimed as he strolled into the area. 

He was dressed as a Victorian gentleman, but that would not be unusual for him.  However, it was certainly odd that he looked like an anime Cornelis Drebbel.  He reminded me of one of the male characters I might see on the Black Butler series.

“Am I supposed to be some kind of goddess?” Mary asked the alchemist.  “These wings!” she added, still uncomfortable in the seat.

“Darling Mary, all women are goddesses,” Cornelis replied slyly with bobbing eyebrows.

“But what about you, Teagan?” Suzanne asked worriedly.

Inuyasha vol-1 1997

Inuyasha (& Kagome) manga, v. 1, 1997

Looking down, I saw that I wore loafers and knee socks.  I was dressed in a pleated skirt, and white blouse with a sailor collar.  It was like an anime schoolgirl uniform.  I groaned even louder than I had when the air was squeezed out of me.  I was barely aware of hearing a rhythmic thumping sound.

“Cornelis Drebbel,” I growled pushing my skirt into place.  “You’d better be glad this skirt was not a mini!  Else you’d be a dead man.”

“I don’t mean the outfit,” Suzanne told me as she gestured to her head, just above her ear. 

Moving a strand of my hair, I realized it was long and black.  I gasped, but apparently that wasn’t the full extent of my transformation.

Finally Suzanne added, “Ears?  Tail!

I put my hands to the top of my head and felt two soft furry ears.  The thumping sound grew faster and louder.  I put a hand to my backside.  The noise was coming from my anxiously swishing, thumping tail!

“Your character may have gotten a little… crossed,” Cornelis said in a droll voice.  “You were actually supposed to be a Neko character.”

Percevil Ulysses Holmes

Percevil Ulysses Holmes

“Come along.  There’s a city square we must get to.  It has a number of billboards bearing images of our quarry.  We can take the giant robot as transportation, if Suzanne will kindly drive him,” Cornelis told us all, with a bow to the blogger-chef.

The turquoise anime version of Suzanne scrambled to the porthole and gasped in excitement.  I followed and my tail swished, knocking over a small table.  Mary glanced at her wings, murmured something about what damage she might do with her wings, and stayed in her uncomfortable seat.  When I reached the window, I saw a huge flatbed being pulled by a heavy duty construction loader.  Stretched out on the flatbed was a giant flying robot.

Cornelis moved to help Suzanne and Percy as they disembarked the dirigible, though they both scampered down the gangway without need of assistance.  Mary’s wings presented more of a problem.  A gust of wind caught her and she was lifted into the air.

“Mary!” I screamed and Kasha barked.

A thread of magical glowing green shot from the alchemist’s hand and wrapped around Mary’s ankle.  Cornelis and Kasha walked down the ramp, with the anime version of Mary in tow via the magical lead.  Once safely on the ground, Cornelis helped her touch down.

My tail swayed as I descended.  It was amazingly useful for balance.  Then my cat ears picked up a familiar voice and barking.  Kasha and Percy also heard it and barked their replies.  A man and a Corgi hopped out of the construction loader.  It was Hugh Roberts and Toby.

Toby reading Hugh

Toby caught reading

Moments after I introduced everyone, my new cat ears picked up muffled sounds.  It was the same music I’d heard back at the wax museum.  I heard the funky guitar music of the original James Bond theme, and I remembered the tunnel back at Time Square into which John W. Howell, Dan Antion, and their pets had gone.  It seemed impossible that it could be them.  Then I heard two dogs barking and a cat’s meow.  It had to be Lucy, Maddie, and MiMi.

Finally the sounds grew loud enough for the other humans to hear. 

“Isn’t that ruckus coming from below ground?” Hugh commented in surprise.

“Yes.  It sure is,” I replied, feeling very worried.

End Chapter 3, The Sign of the Ape

I begin to think the Ape won’t be caught until he simply allows us to do so.  Now that I’ve seen his image all over billboards in Tokyo I think maybe he’s in charge!  Stick around to see what happens to our intrepid bloggers next week!

By the way, it is a work day, so forgive me if I’m slow to answer comments.

GCR pets

 

The Sign of the Ape, furry family cast

Row 1:  Percy, Crystal, Lucy, Kasha

Row 2:  Claudius, Oh Kitty, and Sweeney, and Toby

Row 3:  Wilma, Greta, Maddie, MiMi

 

 

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.

Special mention to Christopher Graham for the marvelous “Atonement, Tennessee” images.

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Conclusion

99 Things

A few days ago I posted a heads-up that Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers would have its concluding episode today. Then I had the “brilliant idea” to use a poll, asking you to vote on which of certain features you’d like to see on the posts I’ll be doing while I work on book-2 of the Atonement series.  Well… as I told KR Big Fish, I seem to have a bad case of “foot in mouth disease,” because now I can see huge problems, like spoilers, with most of the feature ideas I suggested.

What kind of feature will it be?  Drumroll please

Annie's Antiques

Annie’s Antiques & Consignment Shop

I will rotate between (or possibly do both)…

Recipes from Bethany’s Kitchen

and

Annie’s Inventory Notes

More about these features when the time comes.  Once Atonement in Bloom is finished, I’ll do another “three things” serial, with your things driving the “pantser” plot.

Now back to our serial story.  As you know, all four of the serials I’ve so far published on this blog are pantser stories. They are completely unplanned. I let the “three things” readers send drive the plot of each episode.  This conclusion is the exception. It was not driven by three things — rather it was formed by the 3 things from the 33 previous episodes — so that’s 99 Things!

 

girl-waiting-for-train-freeYou can see how that might make for a longer than usual episode. Some of you will be pleased.  For those who don’t like longer posts, be ready to mark your place, maybe by remembering the closest picture. I hope you’ll be interested enough to finish this final episode. This conclusion is about twice as long as most of the other chapters in this serial; so not really all that long.

The steam locomotive to the Victorian Era has reached the platform one more time.  I’m happier than you can know that you’ve been on the train with me, and that you are here for the finale today.  Are you ready?

All aboard!

34.  Conclusion of Copper, the Alchemist & the Woman in Trousers

The alchemically enhanced, large version of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw powered-on, and with a screech the threads began to turn.

Reading Ape purple“I’m sorry my friend, there’s no time for proper goodbyes!” Corenlis Drebbel called to Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape.  “It will save an enormous amount of energy if we take the aerial screw through the opening the villains created.”

“I understand, Lord of Alchemy,” Hicks told him.

Just then Itsy ran back into view.  The chimpanzee rushed straight for Cal Hicks and I thought she meant him harm.  I yelled for Cornelis to do something, but he only gave me that pucker-faced contemplative look of his.  Itsy slipped as she ran at Hicks.  She slid to a stop, sobbing at his feet.

To my astonishment she turned her tear-streaked face up to Hicks and handed him the mystic people harmonic tuner.  Itsy seemed to be apologizing, but it was difficult to distinguish her words with all the weeping and wailing.

“What the devil?” I began.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

Cornelis cast an impatient gaze on me and I didn’t finish my sentence.  “You really mean to tell me that you didn’t know?” he asked with a sardonic twist of his mouth.

“Know what?” I sputtered.

The alchemist gave a negligent waive of his hand at the contrivance above our heads.  The threads of the device glowed yellow-green and the noise was magically silenced.  I could hear Itsy clearly as she spoke to Cal Hicks, repeating her remorse.

“They said they’d kill you!” she cried.  “Ced told me so.  Those people are the ones who enslaved Ced.  Thinking he was only a stupid animal, the fiends discussed it in front of him.  They plan to kill your doppelgänger, once they get what they want.  And we think you will die when your double is killed!” Itsy bawled.  “I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to you Cal— I mean Mr. Hicks.”

“No, no dear child,” Hicks told Itsy as he patted her hand.  “It doesn’t work like that with the doppelgängers.  If they wanted to kill me, then they’d have to kill me.”

1900 Maid with tray

Bitsy as we “thought” she was

The villains, including Bitsy the erstwhile maid at the Belle Inn moved closer.  Abruptly Itsy gave a horrified look at Cal Hicks, and put both hands to her mouth, desperately trying to avoid sicking-up.  Still halfway across the burned out yard, I saw Bitsy being less successful at controlling her reaction to the nearness of her double.

“Do you mean to tell me Itsy was in love with Cal Hicks and you deduced it that quickly?” I demanded crossly of Cornelis Drebbel.

The Dutchman of course, only gave a self-satisfied smirk.  “I know what they were after too,” he added with a wriggle of his bushy blonde eyebrows at the foes who chased us all the way into the amethyst world.

I tapped my foot, silently waiting for him to answer.  I wouldn’t give the man the satisfaction of asking.

“What did they want?” Copper asked, spoiling the point I was trying to get across.

“Why you are standing in it, Copper!” Cornelis said and tousled her new penny colored curls.  “We all knew it was a potential, we just didn’t really think they knew about the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.”Aerial Screw drawing

“So they wanted to make one of these things?  Will it really fly enough to carry us?” Copper asked.

“Oh yes, Copper.  This one will fly and carry us wherever we want to go,” Cornelis Drebbel told the girl and grinned before turning to me.

Copper looked preoccupied with her surroundings.  The alchemist moved closer to me and spoke in a faint whisper.  “They knew about the valuable drawings all along,” he told me.  “But they needed a talented inventor if they were to have any hope of making it work.  Calvin Hixon slipped through their fingers.  So they set out to kidnap his daughter, planning to use Copper to force her father to do their bidding,” Cornelis finished.

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

“Ignatius,” I hissed accusingly.  “Bitsy got the information from him, one way or another, didn’t she,” I said and Cornelis nodded.  “Hixon surely told him about the drawings when he tried to bring Ignatius into the family fold, if he in fact didn’t tell him before.”

“Wave goodbye, Copper.  We must hurry and be off,” Cornelis told her and she waved and blew kisses to Cal Hicks, who looked very sad to see us leave.

A horrified expression came to Copper’s blue eyes.  “Absinthe hurry — come here!  Aubrieta!” Copper yelled to the little fairies.

The last time I noticed the Green Fairy and his mate the two skunk-looking fae fluttered around the upper parts of the aerial screw, making adjustments.  However, I followed Copper’s gaze and saw them through the tall window of the laboratory.  They were inside the building and investigated the array of gadgets on the long worktable.

Aubrieta, the Purple Fairy who had been trapped in a transformation as the one-eyed-one-horned-flying-purple-people-eater when she first came to this realm, chirped as she darted from one instrument to another.  Absinthe, the Green Fairy behaved similarly.  The two moved a few strange looking implements aside for reasons only they knew.

Absinthe, the Green Fairy

Absinthe, the Green Fairy

The acute hearing of the fae caused them to stop what they were doing and turn toward Copper’s voice.  The fairies dotted on the girl.  A purple and green aura surrounded the small collection of implements.  Absinthe shook his fluffy striped tail at the aura and it disappeared — along with all the devices it covered.  Aubrieta nodded to her mate in a satisfied seeming way and the two fairies popped out of sight.

An instant later Absinthe appeared on Copper’s shoulder.  Aubrieta fluttered in the air beside her, delicately playing with a strand of her coppery hair.  The display was charmingly affectionate, but it seemed sad to me.

A tear rolled down each of Copper’s cheeks.  Absinthe kissed one and Aubrieta kissed the other.  Without realizing I spoke aloud, I had murmured the word no.  Absinthe flew to me and playfully pulled the bright purple streak in my hair.  I knew the metering device would turn completely purple if we stayed too long in the amethyst world.  But the alchemist never warned me that my hair might begin to turn ultra-violet!

Absinthe turned his bantam backside toward me and fluffed out his tail, pretending he was about to spray his potent potable of super-powered absinthe poot.  Aubrieta chirped a warning at him, but both still seemed playful to me.green skunk palm

“They’re not coming with us?” I asked Cornelis, but I already knew the answer.

“Felicity, I do believe you’ve become attached to our farting fae,” Cornelis said.  “No they aren’t coming,” he continued.  “Well, not right away.  They’re far too fond of Copper to stay away.  No, they’ll make sure the portal closes properly behind us.  We don’t want all manner of riffraff from our world coming into this idyllic purple place.”

“So they’ll join us again in moments,” I said hopefully.

Copper shook her head sadly, but then brightened.  “They have a surprise for Cornelis,” she confided in an over-loud whisper that immediately got the alchemist’s attention.  “They’re going to stay and fix his submarine.  Then they’ll bring it with them,” she told me as a grinning Cornelis turned his back, pretending he didn’t hear.Drebbel submarine

As the threads of the contraption whirred the gondola lifted up into the air.  Cornelis didn’t take it up very high though.  The portal through which the hydrofoil entered was not far above the ground.  The aerial screw entered the edge of the bright pink aura that outlined the opening to our world.  Copper looked intently all around at the crowd of simians.

“Viola’s not here.  I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I really liked her.  Can’t we go back so I can tell her?  Maybe she’d like to go with us,” Copper pleaded.

“No child,” Cornelis told her looking genuinely regretful as the flying machine began to enter the gateway.  “This portal can only be used once.  If we tried to go back now, we’d be lost between.”

“Between what?” I had to ask.

Jamie Murray as Felicity

Jamie Murray as Felicity

“Between here and there,” Cornelis said and my mouth twisted, because I should have known he’d say something to annoy me.  “I hear it’s not a terribly pleasant place,” he added.

When I looked back toward the laboratory, I saw the lavender sky.  Turning my head the other direction I saw a sky of blue.  I sighed a relieved, happy breath.  Sometimes I wondered if I would ever see that blue sky again.

Just as the gondola finished traversing the gateway, I looked back and saw the hydrofoil charging toward us.

“Oh no…” Cornelis muttered.

I could see Bitsy’s angry face.  The men with her held up guns aimed at us, ready to fire the minute they got close enough.

“Cornelis, shouldn’t you put some kind of shield around us.  Those guns fire real bullets, you realize,” I reminded the alchemist.

“He wasn’t oh-no-ing about the guns,” Copper said with a light of comprehension in her blue eyes as she watched the scene in wonder.

The hydrofoil entered the portal and immediately the view was dimmed by a foggy veil.  The craft lurched violently.  Then it rocked as if in slow motion.  The fog became so thick we could no longer see inside the portal.  The fog bulged out from the gateway and then drew back.  I heard the hydrofoil’s engine cough and muffled yelling from the people manning the craft.  After a moment there was silence.Forlanini hydrofoil

Copper, the alchemist, and I stared dumbfounded.  Finally the shrill cry of a hawk broke the silence.  I gave an involuntary shudder, pondering the kind of place that must sit between the two worlds.  I wondered if Bitsy and those men deserved whatever their fate actually was.  However, I reminded myself that they were willing to do harm to Calvin Hixon and to Copper to get what they wanted.  Suddenly the idea of their fate didn’t bother me so much.

When I looked down I expected to see the tops of giant redwood trees, or the beaches of the Pacific coastal area where we were before we accidentally entered the amethyst world.  Yet I didn’t see anything of the kind.

“Cornelis, that doesn’t look like California or Oregon or any part of the Pacific coast,” I pointed down and declared.

English countryside aeiral“No?” he said and nonchalantly looked down from our vantage point, which was much higher after we went through the portal.  “Well, it is not exactly to be expected that the flying machine would return us to the place where we left in the submarine.  That portal was opened haphazardly, without professional design or calculations,” he said, finally looking a little bit concerned.

“Actually there’s no telling where it opened or where we are,” the alchemist said with that sardonic twist that curled his upper lip while his lower lip twisted to the side.

“There’s something down there that looks pretty large,” I commented, trying to see through a feathery white cloud.

Cornelis pulled a lever and twisted a crystal knob and the aerial screw moved gently lower.  I saw a massive complex of stone buildings.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

“Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” Cornelis exclaimed to gales of laughter from Copper.  “It’s Windsor Castle.  We’re in England.  I haven’t been to England in at least a hundred years!  Shall we pay them a visit, Copper?”

“I don’t know Cornelis,” I began.  “That seems like a bad idea.  One doesn’t simply drop in on the Queen.”

Naturally the Dutchman paid no attention whatsoever to my protest.  The aerial screw hovered above a green area within the castle walls.  They seemed to be holding a small faire on the lawn.  I thought it must be to showcase inventions, as several large and unusual things were on display on each side of the lawn.Sm SteamboatI saw a boat dry docked that looked a lot like the paddle steamer that belonged to Ignatius Belle, as well as a dirigible tethered by a rope so that it floated twenty feet above the ground.  There was something made of gleaming metal that I supposed was a steam powered motor car.  Then I saw what I could have sworn was our road locomotive!

Our flying machine slowly drew closer to the ground and I could see the people clearly.  A tallish Asian man stood before an elaborately decorated seating area.  He wore a brocade of a white lion and a very tiny woman stood next to him.  “Alastair!” I cried in astonishment when I recognized Alastair Wong and Victoria.Burrell Road Locomotive

With my shout, everyone on the ground turned to look up at us.  I was even more surprised, if less pleasantly so, to see Sheriff Bullard and Ignatius Belle inspecting the strange looking motor car.

However, it was no surprise when the alchemy went awry and Cornelis began having difficulty controlling the aerial screw.  Our craft loomed dangerously close to a tall model of the Eiffel Tower.  The gondola became ensnared on the tower.

Alastair Wong, nimble as ever, rapidly climbed the scale model of the French wonder.  In a moment he freed the gondola and hopped onboard.  I stared in stunned appreciation of his feat.

Sessu Hayakawa as Alastair Wong

Sessu Hayakawa as Alastair Wong

“I hope you didn’t expect me to climb back down,” Wong commented jokingly.  “It’s only fair that I get to experience this magnificent machine from up here.”

Of course we assailed him with questions about the event below and the people we knew.  We already knew about the money problems of Copper’s father.  Alastair informed us that Calvin Hixon had reached out to nobility all across Europe, looking for a benefactor for his inventions.  He had kept that mostly to himself, in fear of rejection.Copper with Flowers

It turned out that Copper’s father had not abandoned her at all.  Hixon got a response to one of his requests for a sponsor.  He arranged for a woman to take care of his daughter while he, on last minute notice in the form of a royal command, sailed across the Atlantic to meet his new benefactor.

Unfortunately, the woman he hired to take care of his daughter was Bitsy.  The conniving maid had already been at work on Ignatius, having overheard conversations between the two men that revealed Ignatius was Hixon’s illegitimate son.  She also heard them discuss re-creating Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions.  She suspected that Hixon possessed the priceless drawings.

Bitsy intercepted Hixon’s communications so no one knew where he had gone.  She made it look like Copper had been abandoned.  Bitsy went to Ether Farthing of Merciful Haven Orphanage and put a bug in her ear that Copper had been left on her own.  Bitsy had thought that if the orphanage took Copper, the girl would be neatly out of Bitsy’s way.  Then Bitsy could search for the drawings and anything else that might be of use in her scheme.

Ethel FarthingOne thing in Alastair’s narration surprised me. I would have thought the mean spirited people from Merciful Haven were involved in the mess.  However, it seemed that they were simply bad people, and not otherwise involved.

Cornelis regained control of the aerial screw and the threads twisted smoothly again.  We floated slowly closer to the grandstand where Alastair and tiny Victoria were standing when we arrived.

I gasped.  “Oh! That’s the Queen isn’t it?  Queen Victoria?” I said excitedly and Alastair chuckled and confirmed my brilliant bit of deduction.

Cornelis really didn’t need to snigger at me the way he did.  Looking down I saw an elegant man of middle years.  He bowed down on one knee before the Queen of England.  He seem completely focused on the monarch, hardly even noticing our flying machine.

Copper

Copper

Abruptly Copper gave a shrill cry, “Daddy!”

Calvin Hixon looked upward toward his child’s cry and a broad smile split his face.  Finally he noticed the aerial screw and wonder lit his eyes.  The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India was utterly forgotten the moment Calvin Hixon saw his daughter.

It wouldn’t have been Cornelis Drebbel if we had landed smoothly.  The contrivance that carried us gave a loud screech.  The Dutchman said he’d have it fixed in a jiffy.

“Cornelis, no!  Please, let’s just land as best we can.  We’re not that far above the ground,” I pleaded.

“Actually Felicity, we’re at enough of a height to risk serious injury,” Alastair said in a reasonable voice.  “I know you wouldn’t put Copper at risk,” he added and I slumped in resignation.

A yellowish green aura surrounded the alchemist.  Cornelis climbed to balance on the edge of the gondola.  He was doing something to the threads of the screw, but I couldn’t see what he did.  The machine stopped making that shrill sound and it appeared to run smoothly.

“See!” Cornelis exclaimed proudly, still balanced on the rim of the gondola.  “Simple as that,” he said with a satisfied nod.

Jamie Murray as Felicity

Jamie Murray as Felicity

The threads of the screw began to rotate rapidly.  “Alastair! The brass lever behind you,” Cornelis cried.

Alastair Wong whirled to move the lever.  When he touched it the aerial screw lurched violently, but immediately slowed to normal and continued to descend.

However, Cornelis Drebble fell from the gondola when the craft lurched.  I saw his body falling rapidly toward the ground.  At the last instant he popped out of sight.  Sometimes when he popped away like that it was a while before the alchemist could return.  I never understood how the pop works.

Alastair Wong, ever a gentleman helped me alight from the gondola — not that I needed assistance thank you.  I was just being polite.  I was not conforming to the constraints of society.

Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong

The diminutive Victoria Wong rushed to join us, delighted to see Copper again.  Not to mention the fact that she was quietly pleased with Alastair’s theatrical rescue of the air machine from being snared on the tower.

Copper and her father had a joyous reunion.  Hixon had sent an excited telegram to Ignatius Belle when Queen Victoria asked him to take part in the faire that was in progress.  Ignatius hurried to join him and let him know the fullness of what was happening at home.  However, none of them knew about the amethyst world.

“So where is this amazing alchemist?” Calvin Hixon wanted to know.

I looked around, beginning to feel worried that Cornelis hadn’t yet reappeared.  Then I heard a sharp pop.  A woman screamed and Palace Guards hurried to her side.  When I got a look between the broad shoulders of the guards, I cringed and shook my head.

Cornelis Drebbel had rematerialized.  The Dutchman sat in the lap of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria olderThe Queen’s eyes narrowed as she looked at the strange man who appeared out of nowhere and landed in her royal lap.  I feared she’d demand his head right then and there.  Then I remembered his skull was safely in my hatbox.  He wasn’t exactly alive, so he couldn’t precisely be killed.

I was absolutely aghast when Cornelis Drebbel wriggled his bushy blonde eyebrows at Queen Victoria.

Her eyes widened as she looked at the alchemist.  “We are not amused,” she said evenly.

It was even more surprising when a wicked glint came to her eyes and abruptly the Queen pinched his bottom and Cornelis shot up from her lap.  For the very first time, I saw shock paint the face of Cornelis Drebbel.

The end

***

copper-cover-3-25-2015

***

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.