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.
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.
Midsummer Bedlam 7
Doors and Doors
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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