Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 7

Cathedral of Learning Dan Antion

Cathedral of Learning; Photo by Dan Antion

For a few episodes, I have thought this unplanned tale would take me to a feature of fellow blogger, Dan Antion.  His blog has a number of fun features throughout the week, notably Thursday Doors.  Now and then he also does posts about trains or trolleys. Many times I see a story in one of the pictures.  Dan graciously gave me permission to use some of the door and trolley photos from his posts. 

Writing Process

The pantser story kept causing me to mention the character Dan named, leading up to who knew what.  Now I’m finally featuring him.  It carries over to the following episode as well.  However, even then, I’m not sure if I’ve finished with the doors thing.  (Dan can tell you that “Doors” can come to have a strong effect on people.) If you think the uncertainty of where I’m going is enough to drive me nuts…  Let’s just say that it was a short trip.

Need to Catch-up? Last weekend I interrupted this serial to announce my latest novel, Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I.  My heartfelt thanks again to everyone who so generously participated in the book launch!  ❤   Anyhow, I realize you might need to refresh your memory so here are some links.  

Episode 6  and Links to all past episodes.

About This Episode

This time Bedlam Thunder meets a new character from the other faery-verse.  She’s not quite sure what to make of him, but I have a hunch that he might have another part to play in this serial.  I’m just not sure precisely what, or when.  

When we left Bedlam last time, the counterpart of Catseye Glimmer — Royal Chimera, warned her to leave right away.  Then three glowing doors appeared.  When she entered one, I wasn’t so sure how well that was working out for her.  So let’s get on with Episode-7 right now.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 7

Märchendom Saalfelder Feengrotten

Märchendom_Saalfelder_Feengrotten

Doors and Doors

Black. 

Silence. 

It was neither hot nor cold, but in a state near panic I began to sweat.  Was it reality or a horrible dream of being blind and deaf?

“Leave this place before it’s too late!”

Royal Chimera’s warning was strongly in my mind.  How did he expect me to leave when I didn’t know how I had gotten there?  I didn’t know, except that I followed the sandhill cranes. 

Then three doors, glowing with blue light had appeared. 

Had I left that place at all?  The darkness in which I found myself seemed like it should be part of that bleak world. 

One thing seemed sure, I had somehow left Thistledown. 

I exhaled a trembling breath.  Tiny sounds of my clothes rustling told me I was not deaf.  Although my ears had the unpleasant, stopped-up sensation of being underwater.  I shook my head and stretched my jaw, trying to make the feeling go away.

My eyes became adjusted to the dark, and I found that things were more gray than black.  I spotted a dim light and cautiously moved toward it.

I reached the source of the un-dark.  That’s how I thought of it, since it wasn’t exactly light.  It reminded me of the reflection pool, but it stood upright.  I extended a hand and touched a cool gemstone surface.  On closer inspection I thought it must be obsidian.  Yet rather than any color I knew the gem to be, it was pale grayish yellow.  It gave off a diffused glow.

Black Gray Swirls david-werbrouck-247332

David Werbrouck, Unsplash

As I gazed at it, my eye muscles twitched, as if they tried to cross.  I blinked and an image formed.  It was of the tall stone wall where I last saw Poppy Songbird minding the powderpuff sheep.

Wind gusted, just as it had when I left to deliver that message for Poppy.  A twinge of guilt came to me.  I hadn’t delivered the message yet.

The view went upward, over the wall.  Poppy was there coaxing the sheep toward the enclosure.  One animal lagged behind.  Suddenly the wind touched it just right, and the sheep lifted into the air.  The gust took the sheep so quickly that I gasped.

Poppy darted into the sky after the sheep.  Soon she sat astride the accidentally wayward animal.  It bleated in a way that suggested relief, though they were still airborne.  By appearances, Poppy rode a flying sheep.  However, the powderpuffs had no control over their flight.  It was Poppy who controlled the flying. 

Her flower-shaped spectacles were askew, but Poppy held the sheep tightly as her wings fluttered furiously.  Eventually, Poppy and the extra fluffy sheep touched down, but they had traveled some distance.

Purple wings shimmered in the sunlight.  Lavender Cozy fluttered down beside Poppy and the sheep.  She looked worried.  Since Lavender was a gifted healer, her concerned expression made me fearful.

“Poppy, are you okay?” Lavender asked, already checking my friend’s eyes and heart rate.  “I saw that wild flight.  I got here as fast as I could.”

“Fit as a fiddle, Doc!  You must have really been zooming to get here so quick.  But then, you always were one of the fastest things on wings,” Poppy said with a grin.  “Although, I would appreciate it if you could take a look at this powderpuff.  They’re pretty unflappable, but I’d feel better to have your opinion.”

“He’s just fine,” the healer commented, after examining the sheep.  “I’m sorry to rush, but I was on the way to a patient.  So as long as you weren’t traumatized, I’d best leave,” Lavender told her with a wink.

Everyone knew Poppy was not easily rattled, so they both grinned and had a quick hug.  Then Lavender darted into the sky.

As I watched the scene via what was apparently a gigantic scrying stone, I saw Carver Eastdoor hurry toward Poppy.

“Wow, Poppy!  That was some show,” Carver greeted her.  “If they make sheep wrangling a sport you’ll be a champion.”

“Did Bedlam give you the message from my cousin Holly?” Poppy asked him, but her brows knitted in a worried expression as if she already knew the answer.

“Bedlam?  No, I haven’t seen her in ages.  Do you mean she was on her way to see me?  I can tell you are afraid something is wrong,” Carver said.  “There’s a shortcut Bedlam might have used, a deer trail that parallels the pond at the Dragonfly orchard.  I’ll go that way and make sure nothing has happened to her.”

In a jiffy Poppy tied a harness and leash around the powderpuff sheep.  The animal’s hooves frequently lifted from the ground.

“You need a trim so you won’t be so buoyant,” she told the sheep, who made a plaintive bleat in return.  “I’m coming with you!” she called as she hurried to catch up with Carver.

1 Butterfly wing

I whirled away from the scrying stone.  I hadn’t heard anything, but I had the strong sense that someone else was there.  Out of the shadows walked a man wearing a bowler hat.  At first I thought the hat was decorated by three feathers standing from the band.  As he came closer I realized they were not feathers but long, sharp-edged leaves.

Nervously I took a step backward.  I stopped when I saw his disarming smile, but I didn’t relax.  He swept off the bowler had and bowed with a flourish.

Poison Ivy Razorleaf,” he proclaimed himself.  “At your service m’lady.  I see you’ve already found and brought light to the scrying mirror.  You must have quite the talent, Bedlam Thunder.”

My mouth moved noiselessly.  I didn’t know what to say or whether it was safe to be with the strange fae.  The edges of the leaves in his hatband looked sharp enough to cut like a knife.  They glinted even in the dim light as he returned the hat to his head.

“How do you know my name?” I demanded.

Or rather I tried to demand.  It came out as a whisper.

“As the keeper of the mirror, I pick up a lot of information.  Selling it actually makes for a decent livelihood.  I’m not that much of a seer, so I have to supplement my income.  Oh, don’t look like that.  I don’t blackmail anyone or do anything too unscrupulous,” he told me with a twinkle in his eyes and a saucy grin.

The huge scrying stone dimmed for a moment before showing Poppy and Carver again.  They were at Carver’s home.  I watched as he and Poppy spoke briefly with his wife and little daughter.  Then they hurried around to the back where Carver had made a huge sheltered work area.

“That’s quite a setup,” Poison Ivy Razorleaf commented as he stood beside me watching.

I jumped a little.  I didn’t realize the fae had stepped that close to me.  However, his attention was fixed on the image in the obsidian.

“Ah!” Poison Ivy exclaimed in a knowing voice.  “I had wondered how I could get you home, but maybe I don’t need to.”

His comment surprised me.  What did he mean by that?  My eyes involuntarily sought a way out of the strange shadowy chamber.

“Most intriguing,” he murmured, still looking at the image of Carver and Poppy.

“I was making this for your cousin Holly and her band to make a grand entrance at the solstice party Peaches is giving,” I heard Carver say.  “But I think we better use it now.”

Carver disappeared from my view.  I saw Poppy waiting before an elaborately designed door.  The colors decorating the door stood out brightly in the dull chamber.  Surrounding the door was a cloud-like border made of every imaginable candy.  Although he was out of view, I heard Carver say the sweets would fly out into the party crowd in a harmless, happy explosion when Holly Songbird came through it.

Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas Dan Antion

Saks Fifth Avenue at Christmas, photo by Dan Antion

Then he and Poppy had an intense conversation.  I couldn’t make out their words, but Poppy looked really worried.  Beside me, Poison Ivy Razorleaf rocked back on his heels and grinned in what seemed like anticipation.

Finally Carver reappeared.  He held a huge copper ax.

“Where did you get that relic?” Poppy asked him.  “It looks like it was made for chopping more than wood,” she added with a cringe.

“It belonged to my great-great-great grandfather,” Carver answered.  “And you’re right.  It was a battleax.  He had a storied life.  Thankfully there has never been a battle in Thistledown.”

I couldn’t explain why, but Carver’s words made me shiver.  Razorleaf looked at me and chuckled.

Then Carver braced himself and swung the massive ax at the beautiful door he had created.

“It was nice to meet you, Bedlam Thunder,” Razorleaf said in a sardonic voice.

The enormous scrying stone went blank.  A sound like the entire world shattering filled my ears.

The End

*** 

Now, how could Carver Eastdoor think destroying that delicious door could help?  However, he knows his faery magic much better than anyone else.  Come back next time to learn what happened.  

New mystery folk revealed in this episode were Hugh Roberts, and Victo Dolore.  Please take a look at their wonderful blogs.  

Until next time, hugs on the wing!

 

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 © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

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.

Get Caught Reading — The Sign of the Ape 2 (2016 Rerun)

#GetCaughtReadingMonth

Hello everyone.  As you may have noticed I’m rerunning last year’s mini-series.  It’s about the escapades of our intrepid band of bloggers and their pets.  That was how I participated in Get Caught Reading Month.  After May I’ll get back to my usual posting schedule.

This when I’m not working at my “real” job, I’ll be working on a short story to follow-on the story Chris Graham shared with us in my previous post.  So, I’ve disabled comments today. The comments from last year are still there.

I hope you’ll visit the bloggers included in this post.  Now for the rerun.  Enjoy!

The month of May is a lovely time of year.  It’s also Get Caught Reading (GCR) Month.  As many of you know, I’m doing a midweek mini-series in support of this public service campaign.  The intention of GCR is to encourage people of all ages to read, and that is what bloggers do with every post.  So this fictional, fanciful story includes an intrepid band of bloggers.

Have you caught me reading any sort of novel?  Why yes you have — the novel that inspired the title of this mini-series, Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of the Four.  The plot has nothing to do with my story though. I was not ambitious enough to try and follow the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes.  You can get The Sign of the Four free here.

Last Time

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.

At Times Square I glimpsed something very large and very furry carrying a book.  He bounded around the corner.  I ran to the spot, but he was long gone.  Then on the sidewalk I saw a banana.  It had to be the sign of the ape.

The Sign of the Ape — Chapter 2The_Sign_of_the_Four-_in_Lippincott’s_Monthly_Magazine_1890

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of the Four Chap. 6, p. 111

 

“Percy and I will meet you at Madame Tussaud’s Celebrity Wax Museum,”  Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen had promised.

I had thought the blogger-chef was the only person in New York that I knew.  However, at the famous wax museum I entered a gallery with a marque announcing a new exhibit called Fictional Heroes. I saw familiar faces.

Kasha reading

Kasha reading about Michigan lighthouses

The first thing I noticed was a cowboy who seemed oddly familiar to me.  When I saw author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  I understood why — it was Tristan Carlson, from Cowboy Boss and His Destiny. Or rather it was a wax version of him. 

Excited barking greeted me.  It was Kasha, Mary’s fur baby.  Kasha stopped for me to pet her, but then tried to run out to the hallway.  Mary of course caught her.

However, something four footed may have been what interested Kasha.  In came two large curly haired dogs.  Mary said she wondered what they were.  A smile slowly spread across my face as I recognized another statue — Ben Andrews of The Gamblers. 

“I believe those would be Laboradoodles, and I think you’re about to meet Christoph Fischer,” I told her just as the writer walked into the room.

Greta-Wilma

Greta and Wilma caught reading

Then I heard the funky guitar music of the original James Bond theme.  I looked back at the collection of wax heroes.  Was there a spy or thriller hero among them?  I didn’t recognize the statue at first.  However, Kasha was sniffing at one.  I saw the wax man was the hero of the John J. Cannon Trilogyby John W. Howell.

It was odd about the music… Was it my imagination?  I gave my head a shake.  However, I forgot about it when a moment later, Percy the Pug led Suzanne into the exhibit.  Seeing the blogger-chef reminded me…  The opening of the exhibit was shaping up to be such a great party that for a moment I almost forgot the strange events that brought me there.  

“Did you happen to see John W. Howell, out there?” I asked Suzanne, motioning to the hallway.

Lucy digging_John

Lucy digging

“Oh, that must have been the man with the boxer.  I thought he looked familiar,” she replied.  “They were just outside.  The dog was trying to dig up something.  She was really persistent about it.”

That was odd.  I knew John’s pets were well behaved.  I wondered what was going on with Lucy.  However, my thoughts were interrupted when all the dogs started barking furiously.  Suzanne deftly picked little Percy up in her arms.  The other dogs tore out of the exhibit, their author owners running frantically behind them.

As the dogs left, I noticed it on the floor near the wax figures.  The sign of the ape — a ripe yellow banana.  I picked up the banana, examining it carefully.  I saw nothing unusual about it.  There was no clue or suggestion of where the Story Reading Ape had gone.  I followed the sound of barking to another gallery.

A single display was far larger than all the rest, taking up an entire wall. Everyone was transfixed by that figure.  It was a wax exhibit of the Ape himself.  The dogs stopped barking, but Kasha, Greta, and Wilma sniffed every inch of the exhibit.  Percy struggled until Suzanne finally let him down to join the others.

“What has them so excited?” Christoph Fischer asked as he moved closer to Greta and Wilma to make sure they weren’t at risk.  

I explained to him about the chase to catch the Story Reading Ape reading.  Meanwhile I examined the display closely, or at least as much of it as I could reach.  Christoph, being taller than the rest of us inspected the higher portions.  However, we found no clues, nothing that would lead me to the Ape.  The dogs had stopped their sniffing.  Apparently they had lost his trail.  

Ape Gallery

Christoph’s Laboradoodles moved over to me.  I petted the dogs, amazed by their soft curly fur.  I wasn’t sure which was Greta and which was Wilma, but they were both adorable.  Soon the authors were called back to their exhibit.  I was able to quickly introduce Suzanne to Christoph and Mary before the authors had to return to their exhibit.

I detained them long enough to ask if any of them had met John Howell yet.  Apparently John never came inside the museum.  That made me uneasy, so I went looking for the Texas based author.

To my surprise, Percy followed me.  A moment later Suzanne ran behind the pug to catch him.  As I rounded a corner I all but collided with a tall man.

MiMi reading_Dan

MiMi reading for a clue

Dan Antion?” I exclaimed in surprise.

It turned out Dan was in New York to meet John W. Howell and see his John Cannon wax statue.  Dan carried a small kennel, from which I heard a meow.  I asked if he always traveled with one of his cats.

“MiMi has been acting really clingy and… just strange,” he confessed.  “I could have sworn I heard her meowing back and forth with some other cats, but she was alone.  Then she got one of my books.  She slapped my hand when I tried to take it away from her.  I thought it was best to take her with me.”

I suspected Annette‘s cats had called Dan’s for a meow-wow, just as they had called Crystal.  Then I heard barking from a new canine voice.  Dan looked around worriedly and muttered something I didn’t catch.  Suddenly I realized he must have brought his dog too.

Maddie sniffing_Dan

Maddie on the trail

“Maddie!” he called and then whistled as we all moved toward the barking. 

 Outside the museum was a small landscaped area.  Percy ran to a sizable hole in the ground there.  Dan’s Irish Setter had already gone into the hole, but she ran back out when Dan called her.  At that point I realized the hole wasn’t simply a hole, but a tunnel.

Then I heard it again…  It sounded far away and muffled, but I could hear the funky James Bond guitar music again.  The music seemed to move gradually farther away.  Percy wagged his little tail and gave a yip, as if he meant to say everything was as it should be.  Suzanne and I exchanged puzzled looks.  

“I think John and Lucy are down there,” I told them.

Before you could say boo, Dan along with Maddie and MiMi, went into the tunnel after John W. Howell.  Suzanne tightened her grip on Percy’s leash, but the pug didn’t try to follow the others.

“It might be dangerous — especially for just one person,” Dan called from the tunnel.  “I’d better go after John and Lucy.”

A taxi rolled up.  It was the same driver that brought me to the wax museum, the same driver who looked a lot like the pilot of the airship — I mean the man who looked an awful lot like Cornelis Drebbel.  Suzanne’s eyes widened.

Percy Tie pug hill

Percy reads Pug Hill

“It’s him isn’t it?” she exclaimed.  “It’s the alchemist.  How did you bring Cornelis Drebbel here?” she asked in astonishment.

I told her that he was actually the one who brought me.  At that point I had to admit to myself that the driver/pilot truly was Cornelis Drebbel.  Yes, I had been in denial.  As  Sherlock Holmes said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”  My driver and pilot had been Cornelis Drebbel, the alchemist.

 

Cornelis began to flirt outrageously with Suzanne.  The two were having such a good time, I didn’t mean to be a wet blanket.  However, all I could think about was the fact that I had no idea where to look next for the Story Reading Ape.  Then I realized I still had the banana, the sign of the ape.  I took a closer look at it.  There was a little sticker, a brand mark, but the writing was Japanese.

Cornelis looked askance.  I showed him the sticker.  

“Oh yes, I know this market.  It’s in Tokyo,” he said, but I gave him a blank stare.  “That’s your next clue.  Come along now.  Get in the car.  We need to take the dirigible to get there,” he added and I mutely got into the cab.

“Well m’lady?  May I have the honor?” Cornelis spoke to Suzanne and she and Percy eagerly got into the taxi.  

“Did you say dirigible?  That sounds like a slow way to get to Japan,” Suzanne commented.  “Cornelis, are you going to use magic?” she asked with a grin.

Cornellis merely wriggled his bushy eyebrows.  

I cringed.  This couldn’t be good.

“Where is that blond?” Cornelis asked hopefully.

“Do you mean Mary J. McCoy-Dressel?” I wanted to know.

“Well yes, we have a brunette and a redhead,” Cornelis said as if explaining to a child. “It would work better if we also had a blond too.”

That of course made no sense at all to me.  However, as if on cue, I heard barking and Kasha bounded up to Cornelis.  Mary ran after her dog, but looked at Cornelis Drebbel in shock.

“Is he?” she began and I nodded.

“Cornelis, what would work better?” I demanded as a queasy feeling formed in my stomach.  “Cornelis Drebbel, you’re not planning some complicated alchemy are you?”

The alchemist wriggled his bushy eyebrows again.  This really, really couldn’t be good.

***

End Chapter 2

If you remember Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers, then you know Cornelis Drebbel’s magic had a tendency to go awry.  Between the alchemist and the Ape, what will happen to our intrepid band of bloggers in Tokyo?  And what about John and Dan (and their pets)?  We left them in that tunnel.  Come back for the next midweek episode to find out.

Copyright © 2016 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.

 

Pip & Pancakes with Dan

Great news everyone — we have another guest!  Dan Antion at No Facilities agreed to be my next co-conspirator collaborator.  This post is already live at his blog for his One-Liner Wednesday feature.  So I’m handing things over to Dan to explain.  (I also think he should consider a career change to TV announcer.  He gave me such a nice introduction, I’m still blushing.)

A One and Three Twofer

It’s One-Liner Wednesday, the series brought to us by Linda G. Hill, and many of you will be surprised by how close to one line I am going to come. That’s because I am joined today by Teagan R. Geneviene who will soon release her 1920’s novel. If you’re not familiar with Teagan and her three-things stories, you’re in for a treat. If you are familiar with Teagan’s work, you know exactly what kind of treat you’re in for.

My one-liner is all about a treat too. A few weeks ago, when I woke up in Florida with the task making, changing and cancelling flights on a day the airlines were struggling with a blizzard in the Northeast, I wasn’t eager to get out of bed. I talked myself into action with the following thought:

When you know you’re going to have a bad day, make it better by starting with pancakes.”

Teagan told me that Pip could have some fun with pancakes, so let me get out of the way (after a few pictures for the foodies).

Now, while I finish my breakfast, please enjoy Teagan’s story. Try to imagine my best Ed McMahon voice, as I say:

Heeeeeer’s Teagan!

Thank you again, Dan, for agreeing to collaborate on a post with me.  I hope everyone will visit his blog.  Dan uses several post themes and they’re all terrific.  I had a great time at No Facilities.  His picture of the crow was pos-i-lutely inspired.  You’ll see why in a second.

Now for my part… This vignette is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip.  (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story click here.)  Pip’s father and grandmother decided to “settle her down” by having her live with Granny for awhile.  That’s where this tidbit picks up.  Also, as you guessed, the prompt Dan gave me for this tale was pancakes.  I hope you enjoy it.

Pip and Pancakes

1925 La Vie Parisienne woman pancake cooking

La Vie Parisienne, February 1925

Horsefeathers!  I think I sprained my wrist,” I complained as the iron skillet plopped back onto the stove with a loud clang.

Outside a crow made a cawing sound that might as well have been the bird’s laughter.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody, you will mind your language while you’re in my kitchen,” Granny Phanny warned me.

My grandmother hefted the heavy skillet with a quick motion.  A perfectly round pancake sailed high into the air.  It landed majestically, golden side up, in the pan.  I heard the crow again.  If it had a human voice, I was sure it would be saying “Ha!  Let’s see you do that.”

Granny must have biceps made of steel under her shirtsleeves.  She handled that heavy skillet like it weighed nothing.

The clear blue sky beyond the kitchen window distracted me.  I imagined being back in Florida with my friends, watching the boats on Santa Rosa Sound.  However, I was in Granny’s kitchen in Savannah, Georgia.  Pops had not appreciated the fact that I was a modern woman, a flapper.  It was an appalling sentence to be given, and it pos-i-lutely did not fit my transgression.  Why it was just a little yachting adventure.  Nonetheless, Pops and Granny contrived for me to stay with her and learn to cook!

Pillsbury Home Journal Pancake flour ad September 1920

Pillsbury ad, Home Journal, September 1920

Of course the crow chose that moment to caw some more.  It really did seem to be laughing at my predicament.  Or at least at the idea of me cooking.  I was ready to stick my tongue out at the bird.

Honestly, I only looked away for a moment.  Maybe it was my sigh that told Granny my attention had wandered.  Her lips curled in, which meant she was impatient.  I grimaced, knowing I wouldn’t get any sympathy there.  However, Granny gave a sigh of her own, and moved the skillet away from the burner.

“Pip, do you already miss your friends?  You’ve just gotten here.  This was supposed to be something fun for us to do together,” my grandmother told me.

I blinked in surprise.  Granny wanted to do something fun?  Applesauce!  If I had known it was meant to be fun, I might have put some effort into enjoying it.  I cringed when I realized I had said as much out loud.

Granny Phanny gave a snort.  “Maybe I’m not as old as I thought, because that actually made sense to me.”

“In that case, let me try again,” I told her with a grin.

I tried to imitate Granny’s motion and give the pancake a flip.  It only came halfway out of the pan and landed in a folded messy lump.  My grandmother gingerly picked up the half-cooked goo and set it to rights.  She told me to try again and give it some body English.

A tight-lipped grimace settled on my face as I picked up the iron skillet.  I heaved it just so.  The sloppy remains of the pancake lifted into the air.  It sailed up and flipped, and then flew even higher.  It made a wet thwack when it hit the ceiling… and there it stayed.

With a gulp, I looked at Granny, wondering how mad she would be.  Her expression was blank as she stared upward.  She cast an evaluative gaze on me, making me wonder if she thought I’d done it on purpose.

“Pip…  Well, that was right impressive,” she said, with the riotous squawking of the crow in the background.

Bye Bye Black Bird sheet music 1920s

Hurriedly I stirred the batter and poured a puddle of it into the skillet.  I didn’t want to give her time to consider in what way a pancake on the previously spotless kitchen ceiling was impressive.

In my haste I had the heat too high, and the hotcake began to smoke.  Granny moved toward the window.  She told me to just get the spatula and turn it before it burned.  I was more than simply nervous by then.  I don’t know what possessed me, but I tried to do a combination, turn and toss, with the spatula in one hand and the skillet in the other.

Just then Granny shrieked.  The crow cawed even louder.  I whirled around.  The bird was right outside the window. 

My one-handed grip on the iron skillet was too loose.  When I moved so suddenly, the skillet flew from my fingers.  The shining black pan could have been the cousin to the cawing crow, the way it soared across the room.

I gazed in amazement at the flying frying pan.  It spun as it sailed cleanly through the open window.  The skillet crashed into the lilac bush just outside.

The crow’s clamorous cawing abruptly choked.  I might have chuckled to have gotten the last word on the bird, even if by accident.  However, the sound of Granny’s scream was still in my ears, so I didn’t savor that victory.

I spun back toward Granny Phanny to see what was wrong.  She stood stock still.  Her hands were in fists at her side.  My magnificently tossed pancake no longer littered the ceiling.  It draped and dripped over Granny’s forehead.

What’s that they say about the better part of valor?  On pretext of retrieving the skillet, I ran from the kitchen.  The crow alighted on the lilac bush and looked at me accusingly.  It fluttered to the windowsill.

“You won’t go in there if you know what’s good for you,” I told the bird.

Granny appeared on the porch, picking batter from her hair.  She gave me a look that I couldn’t define.  The crow made a brazen cackle.  After a moment Granny burst out laughing.

“Pip, go inside and let’s get cleaned up.  You haven’t been to the Georgian Tea Room.  I’ll treat us to brunch there.  If we stay here we might be eating crow — literally,” she said with a meaningful glare at the bird.

With a last disgruntled caw, the crow flapped away.

Georgian Tea Room in The Olde Pink House 1929

The Georgian Tea Room in the Olde Pink House;  Savannah, GA circa 1929

***

The end.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the cat’s meow.  Mega hugs!

Copyright © 2017 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.

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 32

Word of the Day

Orient Express Dining Table

Orient Express

Often I think I should have a word of the day.  Once I bought a desk calendar of them, but it turned out to be words that none of us would sensibly use under any circumstance, professional, playfully, or otherwise.

I haven’t come up with a viable way to give myself a word of the day, but now and then one pops up, just like Cornelis Drebbel pops up next to Felicity. It happened this morning when I read a re-blog posted by Sarah at First Night Design with the term shilly shally! While I meant for my word of the day to be for my personal use, forgive me if I can’t resist using shilly shally at least once in this episode.

Sometimes the three things to fuel our steam locomotive to the Victorian Era come along in a similar way. During the two years in which I’ve been writing these “interactive” serial stories, there were several times when someone left a comment in which three things stood out to me. (And you thought you couldn’t think of three random things…)

A comment on Episode-31 from Dan Antion at No Facilities gave me the things for this chapter. Dan’s blog will take you on different types of adventures from looking at interesting doors, to random streams of consciousness, to marvelous hikes and other outings with his daughter. He’ll make sure you feel you’re along for the trip with lots of great photos.

Now that the locomotive is well fueled, I see it at the platform.

All aboard!

From last time…

Absinthe flew in circles around the aerial screw.  The Green Fairy jerked his head around, as if he heard something.  He screamed again and pointed.  The sound came again, loud enough for me to hear.  The linen “threads” of the screw ripped loudly.  The aerial screw lurched.  Cornelis struggled to keep his grip as the machine darted wildly.

32.  Tumble, Revealing, Description

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

Cornelis Drebbel dangled from the dangerously darting aerial screw.  It looked like he would take a tumble at any moment.

Cal Hicks stood talking to the chimpanzees who stayed at the laboratory after their comrades ran in fright from Aubrieta when she was in her erstwhile form of the one-eyed-one-horned-purple-people-eater.  I thought this group was surely the brightest and bravest of the returned chapel apes.  (See Episode 24 and Episode 28.)

The coverall clad chimps jumped up and down in frightened agitation as they watched the Dutchman’s predicament above.  In their frantic state they overturned the large basket of bread Cal Hicks brought out earlier, just after Aubrieta’s magic brought the chimpanzees home.  The remains of a loaf of purple bread fell out of the basket, but the lavender alpine goat made short work of the bread.

Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape, looked from the excited chimpanzees to the sky and gave a horrified gasp.  Copper screamed and a tear ran down her face.  The lavender goat made a behh sound as she gazed upward with a funny puzzled expression on her face.Flying man w umbrella

All tuned to me in astonishment when I put my fists on my hips and yelled up to the alchemist.  “Cornelis Drebbel!  Don’t shilly shally!  We have too much work to do!”

“What?” I asked in impatient response to the gallery of aghast faces.

Apparently everyone thought I was being callous.  However, they had not seen the little measuring device that looked like a toothpick holder.  It was made in the shape of a gazebo, enclosing a crystal bird.  If we stayed too long in the strange world where everything was one shade or another of purple, we might be trapped there forever.  The device measured how close we were to that state.

When first I saw the device, the toothpicks, or rather the tiny measuring rods, were colorless.  If they started to turn purple, it was a warning.  The last time I checked the device, all the toothpicks had become pale lavender — not a comforting sign.  Now many of them had darkened to violet.  That meant the amount of time we had was quickly growing shorter.  Should the crystal bird turn purple, it would be too late.

“Oh for heaven’s sake…  He’s an alchemist!” I turned to the group that had gathered outside the laboratory and defended myself.  “All he has to do is pop to safety,” I said with a snap of my fingers.

Vintage Girl GoatA yellowish green aura surrounded the aerial screw.  I watched in fascination as the rip in the linen “threads” of the screw magically wove back together.  The flying screw straightened its course and then gently lowered to the ground.

“See!  He was never in danger,” I exclaimed to the gathered simians, and Copper.

Everyone looked at me in a disdainful way.  The lavender goat made a long drawn out beeehhhh!  I sighed and threw up my hands.

Cornelis was abruptly in the middle of a concerned crowd of simian devotees.  The alchemist loved attention, so there was no point in me chastising him.  I stalked away.

The two fairies, Absinthe and Aubrieta, chirped to one another quietly as they sat atop the model based on Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the aerial screw.  I looked skeptically at the device that caused all the commotion.  However, when I looked up at the two fairies, their chirps and grunts had a serious tone.

“I wish I understood you two,” I murmured.

“They think the flying machine can be fixed to work right,” Copper said, suddenly at my elbow.Aerial Screw Model

I jumped.  “Copper, you’re getting as bad as Cornelis Drebbel — appearing out of nowhere,” I said and laughed.  “Promise me you won’t take on any of his other habits,” I added, causing her to giggle.

The Green Fairy fluttered down to alight on Copper’s shoulder.  He really was fond of the girl.  Absinthe made a series of chirps, bobbing his head as if in encouragement.  Then he flew back to his mate and continued their incomprehensible conversation.

Copper turned puzzled blue eyes up to me.  “Absinthe says the flying thing can let us see something important,” she said.  “But I didn’t really understand what the meant.  He kept something to himself,” she added with a sulky glance at her tiny green friend.

“Show us?” I echoed her words.  “Do you mean from a great height we could see something important?”

The girl shook her head negatively.  “I don’t think so,” Copper replied.

I heard a sharp pop followed by sounds of awe from the apes.  An instant later Cornelis appeared beside Copper.  He tousled her new penny colored curls.

green skunk palm“Copper, I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, but I see that the Green Fairy has been less than discrete,” Cornelis told her.  “In all probability the flying machine, the aerial screw, will be revealing something very important, once it’s working properly.”

Copper and I wore twin expressions as our mouths shaped the question “How?”

“No, no.  No questions just yet.  There is much work to be done, and quickly,” he said in a serious tone.  “I’ve seen the measuring device too,” Cornelis added, looking at me.

As we turned to go back inside the laboratory, I heard the voice of Cal Hicks clearly, as he spoke to the group of coverall clad chimps.  Hicks directed his astonishment toward one powerfully built chimpanzee.

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

“Dear boy!  That is an extraordinary tale!” Cal exclaimed as we reached the group.  “We should tell the Lord of Alchemy,” Hicks told him, but the strong looking chimp drew back, apparently intimidated by the prospect of talking to the Lord of Alchemy.

“I really wish they’d stop calling Cornelis Drebbel that,” I muttered.  “If his head gets any bigger, his skull won’t fit in my hatbox.”

Cornelis naturally wanted to know what had so intrigued Cal Hicks.  The broad-shouldered chimp whispered something to Cal Hicks and shook his head nervously.”

“Oh nonsense, son,” Cal told the chimp who was apparently young, though I could not guess their ages.  “Lord of Alchemy, Ced here has given the most astonishing description of a levitating boat!” Hicks told Cornelis.

“You don’t mean a hydrofoil?” Cornelis asked.

“Yes, tha— that’s what they called it,” Ced replied haltingly, clearly trying to overcome his awe of Cornelis.  “They held me prisoner, and forced me to track you and Lady Felicity and the young miss.  I didn’t mean to betray you Lord of Alchemy!” Ced cried sadly.

Recognition clicked in my head.  Although his coloring had reverted to the purple that was natural for his world, I recognized the chimp.  Ced was indeed the very large chimpanzee who had come so very close to the place where we hid at the river when the group of villains using the hydrofoil caught up with us.  (Episode 12.)  Thankfully Ignatius Belle led them away before we were discovered.Forlanini hydrofoil

Cornelis made a tut-tut sound and patted the chimp’s shoulder.  The Dutchman encouraged Ced to continue.

“On the river in that strange world, I heard your voices before the shield of alchemy was used,” Ced continued.  “So I knew where you must have been hiding.  But I pretended not to know,” he said but paused as anger suffused his face.  “I was determined to thwart the evil woman!  Can you forgive me for tracking you, Lord of Alchemy?”

Cornelis and Cal Hicks spoke to Ced for a while, assuring the big chimpanzee that everything was fine, and his actions were understandable, and were in no wise held against him.  Finally Ced sniffled and nodded.  Cal set him some task, probably to get his mind off things, and Ced hurried off to take care of the work.

Ced turned back with a new expression of worry on his face.  “You should know…  When your submarine disappeared from our sight, for a moment we saw the purple haze of this world.  That woman and her partners plan to take you the moment you return to your own world.  They are certain you either possess something they want, or you will lead them to it,” Ced told us.

I cast a covert look at Copper, hoping that she wouldn’t put that together.  So, at least some of the villains who chased us thought we would lead them to Calvin Hixon.

train tracks spooky place

***

Perhaps our friends would be better off simply staying in the amethyst world.  If they get home, remember that three groups of foes chased them, presumably intent on taking Copper.  Yet if they stay in the safety of the purple place, Copper will never be reunited with her father.  Although, we never understood why Calvin Hixon would abandon his daughter in the first place.  Oh, so much remains to be told…  So be at the train station next time!

Don’t go away yet.  You haven’t seen this chapter’s recipe.  None of the three things were food related this time.  So I chose to use the purple bread mentioned at the beginning of the episode.  Can you believe that I actually found a purple bread recipe?  I’m happy because that meant I also found another delightful cooking blog — This Girl’s Gotta Eat!  So now I bid you, bon appétit!

Recipe:  Purple Wheat Raisin Bread French Toast

purple-wheat-raisin-bread-french-toast-with-yogurt-caramelized-bananas-and-nuts

Photo and recipe credit:  Victoria Orban at This Girl’s Gotta Eat!

http://thisgirlsgottaeat.com/2014/01/11/purple-wheat-raisin-bread-french-toast-with-yogurt-caramelized-bananas-and-nuts/

***

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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