Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 15 — Hummers, Hair, and Hanks

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Welcome back to Thistledown, one and all.  We left Bedlam, River, and Rhymer in a fair amount of faery trouble.  I know you want to know what happened to the girls, but this episode switches to the point of view of another character.  I expect you’ll be surprised by which one.

From Episode 14…

Abruptly the heavy volume snapped shut.  The periwinkle muskox hair was still within, like a bookmark.  The room spun wildly.  It was like looking into a kaleidoscope.

Then the world shattered.

Quickly I moved my hands away from the book and caught the hands of River and Rhymer.

Now, Episode 15…

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 15

Hair, Hanks, and Hummers

 

Ruby-topaz_hummingbird_flying in Tobago

A hummingbird with iridescent feathers in the orange hues of a sunset darted along a forest path.  Bob the hummingbird had brought Bedlam Thunder a magical muskox hair.  He had to admit that even with his communication skills, it took some doing, but he finally made her understand that the electrically charged hair would lead her to what she wanted most.

Or at least Bob thought she understood…  It was so hard to tell with girls.  However, Bob had let himself be distracted and he’d left Bedlam the magical muskox hair.  Once he got his priorities back in order Bob started tracking the faery girl.

Finally, he came to a yellow farmhouse with a thatched roof.  A small duplicate stood to one side of the house.  It was an elaborate chicken coop.  A chicken with multi-colored feathers squawked and clucked at Bob.  Clearly something was amiss.  Though they didn’t have nearly the same flying skills, chickens were just as flighty as hummingbirds.  Bob thought they were even more so, as he tried to make sense of the clucks and cackles.

Bob darted beyond the open door of the yellow house.  He knew Bedlam had gone inside.

Chickens at cottage vintage

“Well hello, little one!” Willow Rainbow greeted the tiny bird.  “My goodness, you surely do seem excited ― even for a hummingbird.  Did you mean to join our crochet circle?” Willow asked.

Her little joke got chuckles from Blossom Stargazer, Crescent Glimmer, Luminous Twinkle, Pepper Stargazer, and Tinder Willowtree.  They all sat amid what must have been a hundred hanks of yarn and almost as many crochet needles.

Bob recognized hanks of blue yarn spun from the hair of Blossom Stargazer’s muskox team.  That hair was not brilliantly magical like the periwinkle colored hair Bob gave Bedlam Thunder, but it was not completely without power.

He expected to find Bedlam inside the farmhouse.  Bob was certain something was wrong.  He fluttered into the room where all the spell books were.

“The hummingbird seems upset about something,” he heard Tinder Willowtree say.

The faeries got up and followed Bob.  The air in the room was heavily charged with static electricity.  It tickled Bob’s feathers uncomfortably.  He saw the hair on the women’s heads lift up.  Their wings rustled and Bob knew they sensed something too.

“I thought the girls would be in here, studying away,” Willow Rainbow murmured in a concerned tone.

“Based on these half-eaten cookies, I think they must have left abruptly,” Luminous Twinkle added.

Then he saw it.  The periwinkle muskox hair dangled like a book mark from an ancient tome.  Bob recognized the volume.  The faeries all saw it too.  They made a collective gasp.

The Etheraris Spiregris.

The End

***

 This Week’s Faery Namers

Click the links to reveal the identity of the namer.

Blossom Stargazer http://www.eloisedesousa.wordpress.com/

Willow Rainbow http://cerobinsonauthor.com/

Crescent Glimmer  https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

Luminous Twinkle  http://www.adelemariepark.com/

Pepper Stargazer  https://anotherfoodieblogger.wordpress.com/

Tinder Willowtree  https://www.etsy.com/shop/MurrayHillGlassArt/

I hope to see you again next time.

Hugs on the wing!

 

 

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene 

All rights reserved. 

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. 

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 – Midsummer Bedlam 14 — The Etheraris Spiregris

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Welcome all.  At last we are back in Thistledown!  It thrills my heart that this serial was warmly embraced by so many.  

Writing Process

With that in mind, I should probably keep this to myself, but because of several… “non writing” or maybe “personal issues” — I can’t find the right words, but I just haven’t been able to enjoy writing it as much as I have the other serials.  However, now that National Novel Writing Month is over, I am here to finish this faery tale. Even so, it will take several more episodes.

I feel this part of the story could stand alone, without the previous episodes. 

Yet, it has been about six weeks since we were in Thistledown… so here are some blurbs to remind you.  If you need more, click on the left-pointing arrow at the bottom of the post. The previous post has a link to every episode.

Featured Image -- 21891

Previously in Thistledown…

Episode 12

“Bedlam, you never mention anything from when you were small.  I don’t think you remember that part of your life.  Haven’t you ever wondered why you don’t remember anything from when you were very small?” River asked……

River Mindshadow gazed at me doubtfully.  I remembered Lavender Cozy, the healer, saying that my friend would be able to “follow the shadows within the mind.”

“Then Fallow Blackmoon came here, and told you that she was a seer.  And she has no double here!…..  Fleur let me look through the images at the Trumpet office, but I didn’t find anything that looked like the strange seer.  I want to know if people have ever disappeared from Thistledown.”

With a gasp I told my friend, “Field Yewwasp said she looked familiar!  Do you think Fallow Blackmoon actually came from Thistledown, yet somehow became part of the colorless faery-verse?”…..

Fleur Thistle came upon Bedlam and River as they speculated.  “That’s too magical of a message to be ignored.  Besides, a hummingbird brought it to you!  You have to listen to it.  I’ll dig up the Trumpet archives.

While Fleur was digging through the newspaper archives,  River and Bedlam ran into Rhymer Rainbow and her aunt Willow.

Episode 13

“Rhymer once told me that her aunt has a ton of spell books,” River suggested with an eager flutter of her wings.  

And indeed Willow Rainbow had spell books aplenty — and cookies.  She helpfully said, “But I’ll have to leave you on your own.  My crochet circle is meeting, or I’d be glad to delve into the books with you.  You girls take some cookies and help yourselves to the books.  Rhymer will you show them to the library?”

Here begins Act 2.  Now… Episode 14. 

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam

Act 2, Episode 14

Old books Annie Spratt unsplash

Annie Spratt, Unsplash

The Etheraris Spiregris

“Oh, just one thing.  Use any of the books you please,” Willow Rainbow had told us.  “But not the Etheraris Spiregris.  It’s far too dangerous.  I really should get rid of it, but it seems so wrong to do away with any book!” she added.

Then Willow left River, Rhymer, and me alone with her marvelous collection of books, including the Etheraris Spiregris.

Well, of course we went straight to the forbidden book.  You knew that was coming!

River Mindshadow glanced from me to Rhymer Rainbow.  I knew she must wonder how Rhymer would feel about disobeying her aunt Willow.  However, Rhymer was the first to touch the forbidden book.

“Please!  Aunt is such a tease.  Nothing else she could have told would have made us so bold,” Rhymer said as with both hands she tilted up the large volume.

“Bedlam, do you think maybe that magic periwinkle colored muskox hair will point to the right spell?” River asked as she fluttered to Rhymer’s side and carefully turned the ancient pages of the book.

Blustering_March_MT Ross 1914

Blustering March, MT Ross 1914

As I moved nearer the book the muskox hair once again started to sizzle and point.  While Rhymer held the book tilted so we all could see, River continued to slowly turn its pages.  She slowed her hand when the hair seemed to pause at one page.

Rain of the Arcane?  That’s a good name,” Rhymer commented in typical rhyming fashion.

However, the hair drew away from the book.  River turned to the next page and the hair sparked, giving me yet another shock.

“Do you think this is the one?” River asked excitedly.  “A Perversion of Phantoms,” she read aloud the title at the top of the timeworn page. 

At River’s words the long muskox hair fell limp against the page.  My hand dropped, resting against the page as Rhymer and I echoed River in stating the name of the spell.  All three of us were touching the pages of the incantation as we spoke.

“The name of the spell reminds me of how we were talking about learning whether people had disappeared from Thistledown.  Missing faeries being like phantoms,” River continued.

The three of us exchanged a look.  It was spontaneous, a coincidence.  We didn’t mean to speak in chorus but as one we gasped.

“A Perversion of Phantoms!”

Abruptly the heavy volume snapped shut.  The periwinkle muskox hair was still within, like a bookmark.  The room spun wildly.  It was like looking into a kaleidoscope.  

Then the world shattered. 

The farmhouse floor beneath my feet seemed to heave and twist.  I winced as my wing, still only partially healed, reflexively unfurled to keep my balance.  Quickly I moved my hands away from the book and caught the hands of River and Rhymer.

The End

***

A Special Note

Months ago, when all the faery naming fun began, River Mindshadow was named in honor of Olga Núñez Miret.  She has just released a new inspirational book.  It’s in both English and Spanish, on one volume!  Click over and check it out. 

Thanks for flying in to visit.  I hope to see you next time when we’ll see where the girls landed after the Etheraris Spiregris snapped shut.

 

This Week’s Faery Namers

Click the links to reveal the identity of the namer.

Rhymer Rainbow  https://whenwomeninspire.com/

Willow Rainbow http://cerobinsonauthor.com/

River Mindshadow  http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/

Hugs on the wing!

 

 

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene 

All rights reserved. 

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. 

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 – Midsummer Bedlam 13: Afoul of a Fowl

Mod Squad 1070s tv cover

Friday, October 13, 2017

When I was a kid, each summer all the network TV shows would go on “hiatus.”  We were left with nothing but reruns (and we didn’t have cable or VCRs).  Or even worse, favorite shows were completely omitted for “summer replacement series,” which almost always fell far short of the mark. 

What’s the connection to writing serials?  It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a labor of love.  Authoring serials can also be stressful, love it or not.  After this episode, Thistledown will be on hiatus until December.  If you need your faery fix, I’m going to reblog the prior episodes.nanowrimo-Bernstein

Why?  I’ve decided to do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  It’s not easy to write the draft of a novel in just the month of November.  So, other things will have to slide for a while.  I really need the “rah-rah!” that I get from that event.  

My midweek posts for Jazz Age Wednesday will continue.  I have a few of those already prepared. 

Now finally, to Thistledown…

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 13

Fairy_Islands_1916_by_Ida_Rentoul_Outhwaite

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, 1916

 

Afoul of a Fowl

The familiar, comfortable sounds of the forest surrounded us as River Mindshadow and I walked, led by the periwinkle colored muskox hair.  The long strand stood out straight, a silken divining rod.  Blue-lavender sparks from that hair glittered the air.

I had no idea why the muskox hair behaved as it did.  Uncle had tried to teach me to divine with any number of objects from sticks to pendulums, but I never had a knack for it.  Then Bob the hummingbird brought me the unusually colored hair.  He had been frightened away before I could figure out why he brought it.  However, when the hair started to point with insistent pops of static energy, River and I decided to see where it led.

“Ouch!” I cried as a particularly stinging static charge hit me.

“Do you want me to take it for a while?” River asked, but I could tell she wasn’t especially eager.

“No… I’m afraid it will stop working if I let go,” I answered resignedly.

“Maybe Tinder Willowtree would let us use that finder* thing,” River suggested.

“No, it wouldn’t work,” I replied after a moment’s thought.  “She told me that whoever she’s looking for has to wear a medallion that’s been attuned to the finder — otherwise it’s not much more than an ordinary scrying mirror.

Chicken face Red jairo-alzate-188815

Jairo Alzate, Unsplash

Low bushes rustled and a chicken with bright multicolored feathers strutted out onto our path.  To my astonishment the periwinkle hair dipped down toward the chicken.  With a purple pop, it shocked the bird’s bottom.  Feathers flew and the chicken cackled loudly as it ran back in the direction from which it came.

While we let the muskox hair lead the way, I hadn’t really paid attention to my surroundings.  The muffled sounds of women’s voices reached my ears.  With a look around, I exclaimed.

“Oh!  I think Willow Rainbow* lives just over there,” I commented, pointing after the chicken.  

“Rhymer once told me that her aunt has a ton of spell books,” River suggested with an eager flutter of her wings.  “It would make things a lot easier if we had a spell to help us understand where the hair is trying to lead, or why the hummingbird brought it to you.”

We both turned toward the sound of the chicken cackling when a familiar voice was added to its squawks.

“Whatever is the matter?  You’re making such a clatter!  You’re upset all together.  It looks like you lost some feathers!”

River and I turned toward one another and remarked in unison, “Rhymer Rainbow!”

“That’s my name, don’t wear it out!” Rhymer said playfully as she came onto the path still holding the chicken.  “Bedlam and River, why didn’t you give me a shout?  I’m visiting my aunt, she lives just over there.  Come on ― there are cookies to share.”

Buffaloberry bush

Buffaloberry bush

The chicken clucked, tucked under Rhymer’s arm.  She pushed aside bushes with waxy leaves and clusters of white and bright red buffaloberries.  The berries were bitter, but they still made a nice pie.  Rhymer commented that the chicken had a fondness for buffaloberries and sometimes wandered away looking for them.

On the other side of the shrubs was a yellow farmhouse with a thatched roof.  A small duplicate stood to one side of the house.  It was an elaborate chicken coop.  Rhymer sat the complaining fowl down.  It looked at its behind, which showed a few missing feathers from the zap of the periwinkle muskox hair.  The chicken turned to me with a parting glare, and trotted to the coop.

Rhymer’s aunt, Willow Rainbow, greeted us warmly, “Come inside girls.  It’s lovely to have so much company.  What brings you to my cottage in the woods?”

River told Willow how the long silken hair suddenly became a divining rod, leading us and then abruptly stopping.

“We thought perhaps a finding spell might get it going again,” River explained.

“How remarkable!” Willow exclaimed.  “Bedlam, your grand-uncle once asked me if I would be interested in giving you lessons about spells, although I honestly didn’t feel qualified,” Rhymer’s aunt said humbly.  “So, I’m sure some research would be fine with him.  But I’ll have to leave you on your own.  My crochet circle is meeting, or I’d be glad to delve into the books with you.  You girls take some cookies and help yourselves to the books.  Rhymer will you show them to the library?”

Chickens at cottage vintage

Each of us grabbed a double handful of cookies as we were about to leave the kitchen.  Willow turned abruptly and we hesitated.

“Oh, just one thing.  Use any of the books you please,” Willow Rainbow told us.  “But not the Etheraris Spiregris.  It’s far too dangerous.  I really should get rid of it, but it seems so wrong to do away with any book!”

River and I exchanged a significant look.

The End

***

This time we revealed only one new person among the mystery folk,  Willow Rainbow was named by Christine Robinson. Be sure to click over and say hello.

On Wednesdays I’ll try to give you some NaNoWriMo updates.  I think you’ll like the book-cover I made to inspire myself.  As for Thistledown, see you in December. 

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.

 

Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam 12: Hear-See-Speak No

Marketing Graphic for Thisledown

Friday, October 6, 2017 

Hello, everyone. I’m happy to see you here in Thistledown after my semi-break last weekend. Before we fly off to Thistledown, let’s take a stroll on the dark side…

Only at Teri Polen’s Books & Such

It’s already October — how did that happen?  My favorite holiday is Halloween.  Leading up to that fun day, author Teri Polen hosts Bad Moon Rising.  It’s her yearly celebration of suspense and horror.  Each year more than 30 horror/thriller indie authors are featured throughout the month of October on her blog, Books & Such

atonement-video-cover-copyEven though many could argue that my “Atonement” books are not thrillers (and they are certainly not horror), they are suspenseful and there is a graveyard…  But Teri thought they qualified.  So I’m participating for my second Bad Moon Rising on October 10th.

In honor of Bad Moon Rising, through October, I’ve priced the Kindle version of my debut novel Atonement, Tennessee at just $1.00. 

Now to the faery world of Thistledown…

In today’s episode, keep an eye out for the character Teri Polen named. 

About This Episode

While gazing through a special moonstone, the Thistledown healer, Lavender Cozy, predicted Bedlam’s friend, River Mindshadow, would be able to follow the shadows of the mind.  I can think of a few directions that gift might take the young faery.  You’ll have to look closely to see them, but figuratively speaking, this episode of my pantser serial has wispy shadows, foreshadowing, hints of the unknown (even to me) directions this tale will take.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 5

Glitter person blue h-heyerlein-199082

H. Heyerlein, Unsplash

Hear No-See No-Speak No

My fingers ran along silken strands of blue hair left by the muskoxen.  I braided it absently.  There was no entertainment for me except my school books.  The hummingbird carried a single long blue hair to me.  I thanked it graciously. 

“You really outshine me with your iridescent orange feathers,” I commented to the hummingbird.

Why not have a playful conversation with the hummingbird?  What self-respecting faery wouldn’t?  It clearly liked the attention.  The hummer’s elongated streamer-tail made a whirring sound as it hovered at eye-level.  The tiny bird gave several twittering chirps as if it understood my words.  Then it gave a light tug at the loose sleeve of my yellow dress.

“Oh no,” I replied.  “I’m glad you like it, but I look positively rumpled.  Nothing to compare with you.”

The tiny bird flew in amazing antics.  I couldn’t help giggling.  With the long orange tail streaming behind him, I was astonished to realize he flew in a spiral pattern.  I looked at the hummer curiously.  Looking at the spiral gave me goosebumps. 

“Strange,” I murmured to myself, but the bird began to twitter and chirp.  “Have you a name, little one?”

The hummingbird twittered excitedly.  Facing me, it flew up and down in a bobbing motion.  My brain ran through likely names for hummingbirds.

“Zippy?  I see, that’s not it.  Erm… how about Firespinner?” I asked, pleased with the idea.

However, the hummer made a disgruntled sounding tweet.  His tiny face looked impatient as he repeated the odd bobbing flight pattern.

“Bob?  Your name is Bob?” I exclaimed in epiphany.  “What an unusual name.”

With that, Bob the hummingbird zipped away.

Ruby-topaz_hummingbird_flying in Tobago

Ruby-topaz hummingbird in Tobago

Maybe that wasn’t his name after all, I thought.  I hope I didn’t offend him.

A moment later Bob reappeared, carrying a long strand of muskox hair.  However, it wasn’t from the blue muskoxen of Blossom Stargazer’s team.  This hair was purplish blue, a periwinkle color.

“Wherever did you find this?” I murmured.

Bob darted about ten feet away, but then turned to hover facing me.  He gave an impatient chirp, clearly meaning for me to go with him.

The light capelet of my yellow dress was pushed aside as I tentatively I unfurled my wings.  I examined the tear cautiously.  It was beginning to knit but even a short flight would reopen the tear.

I looked at Bob sadly and told him, “I’m sorry little one.  I can’t keep up.”

Bob zipped back to me and let go of the long periwinkle hair.  I caught it, and fidgeting I rolled it between my thumb and middle finger.

“Ouch!” I muttered as a static discharge from the hair shocked my hand.

Darting forward again, Bob turned to wait for me.  He was remarkably single-minded for a hummingbird.  Most of them were easily distracted, and given to literal flights of fancy that they might follow anywhere, distracted a dozen times before they found their way back home.

Another pop of static from the strand of muskox hair shocked my hand.  However, I hardly noticed because at the same moment a commotion began in the bushes.  A small carriage broke through the shrubbery.  Startled, Bob zipped away.

Sparkler hands be the spark

Unsplash

I’d know that carriage anywhere.  Scores of chipmunks happily running in large exercise wheels powered the carriage.  Although sometimes the chipmunks could get off course.  They appeared to have taken it upon themselves to take a shortcut.

A head full of sparkling lavender curls popped out of the window.  Glitter Shimmerling smiled and waved before jumping down from her carriageFleur Thistle followed her.

I hadn’t seen Fleur Thistle since I was suspended from school.  I always felt embarrassed whenever I saw someone I had not spoken to since that episode.  I fidgeted, trying to think of what to say.  However, my friend who also got expelled that day, River Mindshadow exited the vehicle behind Fleur, so I felt more relaxed.

“Thanks for the lift, Glitter.  Fleur, I appreciate your help at the Trumpet.  Be sure to tell Peaches and Pucker I said hello,” River told the others before turning to me.  “They were on their way to the orchard and offered to give me a ride.”

Fleur Thistle was one of the reporters for The Thistledown Trumpet newspaper.  I remembered how worried I had been that Calico Rainbowforrest, the managing editor would say something about my terrible vision in the newspaper.  However, my fears had been for nothing.  Calico was incredibly kind to me.  Because of that, I was not as tense in Fleur’s presence as I might have been otherwise.

But what could River have been doing at the Trumpet?

“Hi Bedlam,” Fleur and Glitter said in unison.

“I’d better see to the carriage before we go though,” Glitter stated as she inspected her vehicle.

Fleur pointed at chipmunks trying to count them, and then started over.  Twice.

“Bedlam,” Fleur began with a smile, but shook her head as she bent toward the carriage wheels.  “Could you help count the chipmunks?  They won’t be still.  Someone needs to check my counting.”

“Yes, we must have picked up some extras.  I’m sorry to crash through the bushes like this,” Glitter began.  “Chipmunks love the carriage wheels so much.  To them they are fun exercise wheels.  Sometimes random chipmunks jump aboard while I’m traveling and it gets the carriage off balance, making it a little hard to control.”

However, there was no counting, as the chipmunks collectively seemed to choose that moment for a play break.  They scurried all around the area where the bonfire had been the night before.  A quartet of them ran across Fleur’s feet and she fluttered off the ground reflexively.

My eyes followed the playful chipmunks.  Uncle seemed to think any kind of fun was outside the scope of the “rest” I was supposed to get.  Everyone knew I was grounded.

River seemed to follow my thoughts.  She nudged Fleur and Glitter, and then she covered her eyes.

“I know you’re still grounded, Bedlam ― in more ways than one.  But we don’t see or hear a thing,” River promised with a grin.

“That’s right!” Fleur added, covering her mouth.  “I won’t tell a soul.”

“What?  Did somebody say something?” Glitter joked, covering her ears.

Hear See Speak No Evil Robbie C

Photo by Robbie Cheadle

(Robbie’s post https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/my-thoughts-on-indie-books/)

***

When the chipmunk powered carriage pulled away, River turned to me with a gleam in her eyes. 

“We need to dig something up – literally,” she told me.  “There’s a very old vine of the Trumpet not far from here.  Remember that while news stories come out on curled leaves from the vine, there are archives of articles stored in the roots.”

I remembered Calico Rainbowforest saying as much.  However, I wasn’t following River’s thought pattern.

“But why?” I wanted to know.

“Bedlam, you never mention anything from when you were little.  I don’t think you remember that part of your life.  Haven’t you ever wondered why you don’t remember anything from when you were very small?” 

“Not really.  A lot of people don’t remember when they were little children,” I told River.

River Mindshadow gazed at me doubtfully.  I remembered Lavender Cozy, the healer, saying that my friend would be able to “follow the shadows within the mind.”  I wondered aloud what River was thinking.

“I’m not sure myself,” River admitted and she fluttered from side to side, the equivalent of pacing. “I know everyone thought it was part of the show when that woman rode out of your grand-uncle’s bonfire.  But I figured she was from the place you went to, where no one wears colors.  You said there was a girl like me, and like Meadow Songbird* and Luminous Twinkle* as well.  So, there should be someone in Thistledown who looks like Fallow Blackmoon, don’t you think?  Fleur let me look through the images at the Trumpet office, but I didn’t find anything that looked like her.  I want to know if people have ever disappeared from Thistledown.”

Her words made me more nervous than they should have. Just thinking of the stunning appearance and disappearance of Fallow Blackmoon, was enough to make me uneasy. 

“I’ve never heard of anyone disappearing from Thistledown.  People just don’t do that,” I told her.  “Why would you think of that in the first place?”

“The things you’ve said about that other faery-verse,” River began.  “Everybody seems to have a counterpart, a double.  However, you didn’t have a doppelganger when you went there.  You’re a seer.  Then Fallow Blackmoon came here, and told you that she was a seer.  And she has no double here!”

With a gasp I told my friend, “Field Yewwasp said she looked familiar!  Do you think Fallow Blackmoon actually came from Thistledown, yet somehow became part of the colorless faery-verse?”

In a restless gesture, River flicked her wings.  Then she shrugged.

“You said faeries there didn’t seem to have wings.  What if the other faery-verse doesn’t have seers either?  At least not without them going there from somewhere else… like here,” River tried to explain her thoughts.

With unexpected anxiety, I fiddled with the long strand of periwinkle colored muskox hair that Bob the hummingbird brought me.  It emitted a bigger discharge of static electricity than before.  I cried out as is shocked me.

River gasped.  The strand of purplish hair extended straight out, as if pulled forward.  It was almost like something that had been magnetized by a hematite stone.  It sizzled with static and pointed like a divining rod.

Purple sparkles billy-huynh-278252

Billy Huynh, Unsplash

“It looks like you two should go where that electrified hair leads.”

We both turned, startled.  It was Fleur Thistle.  A chipmunk perched on each of her shoulders and several more danced around her feet.

“I didn’t mean to startle you.  Some of the chipmunks got lost so Glitter and I came back to look for them.  She went in the opposite direction as me,” Fleur explained and then nodded at the periwinkle colored hair.  “That’s too magical of a message to be ignored.  Besides, a hummingbird brought it to you!  You have to listen to it.  I’ll dig up the Trumpet archives.  Sorry ― I couldn’t help overhearing.”

“But Fleur, you could lose your job for doing that!” River objected.

“I doubt anyone will care.  Besides, I’m expected to do some ‘research’ every week,” Fleur added just as the hair gave me another stinging pop of static.  “It seems impatient.  You should probably get going.  I’ll let you know if I learn anything about missing folks.”

The periwinkle muskox hair popped and sizzled. 

***

The End

Please note: I’m compelled to state this because this has happened every time I bring my hamsters into the story.

 Every creature and thing in this serial (and in all my writing) is strictly the product of my imagination, and has nothing to do with any other writer or blog. As with the sheep, hummingbirds, muskoxen and every other creature hamsters portrayed here are the product of my imagination.  The carriage driving rodents in Thistledown are hamsters — not dudes or “hamstas,” or any other name used in the work of any other writer. None of the characters in this serial are affiliated with any other blog, including the rodents.  To avoid any additional confusion, hamsters of any kind will make no further appearances in this serial.

We were happy to see many old friends this time.  However, only one new person among the mystery folk was revealed in this episode:

You have met the “scary faery” counterparts of two more mystery folk, but not the Thistledown characters:

Maybe you can visit all of them.  I look forward to seeing you next weekend, here in Thistledown. 

Until then, 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.

Every creature and thing in this serial (and in all my writing) is strictly the product of my imagination, and has nothing to do with any other writer or blog. As with the sheep, hummingbirds, muskoxen and every other creature hamsters portrayed here are the product of my imagination.  The carriage driving rodents in Thistledown are hamsters — not dudes or “hamstas,” or any other name used in the work of any other writer. None of the characters in this serial are affiliated with any other blog, including the rodents.  To avoid any additional confusion, hamsters of any kind will make no further appearances in this serial.

 

Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam 11

Magical Town Crickadoon

The Magical Town of Crickadoon, Janet Weight Reed

Friday, September 22, 2017

Today I’m excited (oh, let’s be honest — I’m positively giddy) to collaborate with and feature one of my blogging she-roes.  Please welcome artist Janet Weight Reed.  Her love of color and sense of whimsy equals my own.  Janet’s talent and imagination leaves mine sitting in the dust. There are surely faeries in her magical town of Crickadoon.

Some of her magical hummingbirds have made their way to Thistledown for this episode.  (This post shows a beautiful collection of Janet’s hummingbirds click here.  If you want some of your very own, click here for her Zazzle store.)

Writing Process

Fallow Blackmoon, a faery from the colorless world (or the scary faery-verse), made an entrance that was hard to follow.  My pantser pants were not flying me anywhere — by the seat or otherwise.  Then a hummingbird with fiery orange plumage flew into my imagination, inspiring this spontaneous collaboration with Janet.  I have to thank her right now for being so quick to get images to me, with no planning or notice.

Janet was away on a break when I began this serial, and so didn’t get to name a character.  But that didn’t keep the orange hummer away.  In fact the little bird refused to leave.  So, I made a character name inspired by the artist.

About This Episode

This chapter picks up where Episode 10 left off, with the abrupt departure of Fallow Blackmoon.  I still don’t know where we are flying with this serial, but we are fluttering along with some beautiful images this time.

And now, the eleventh installment of my serial. 

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 11

Ashes and Hummingbirds

Sparks from the bonfire sizzled heavenward.  Red, blue, and purple flames crackled in exotic shapes, thanks to the enchantments cast by my grand-uncle and Field Yewwasp.  The faeries who were gathered around the fire seemed to think the machine that roared out of the bonfire was one of the magical effects.  As I stood in bewilderment at the abrupt disappearance of Fallow Blackmoon, loud applause rose from the audience as they looked up at us in the branches of the primeval evergreen.

“For now, we should probably play along,” Field suggested in a rumbling whisper.

The huge furry faery doffed his green top hat and bowed grandly.  I tried to follow his example and nearly fell headfirst down the stairs.  Field caught my elbow to steady me.

Sparks burst high into the sky, drawing everyone’s attention back to the bonfire.  Shimmering flames in yellow, purple, and blue stretched to wing-like shapes.  I saw a woman hovering just above the ground, her orange wings vibrating with intensity.  She held a small wand made of fire opal and waved her arms, conducting the movement of the flames.  The brightly colored flames coalesced and then surged into a starburst of iridescent hummingbirds.  Only Valley Hummer could create such a spectacle.

Amid the oohs and applause, many faeries were inspired to dance.  I saw Moon Shadow put a flute to her lips.  Her long, flowing purple hair swung as she played, and a lively reel began.  A circle formed and wings of every color fluttered, carrying the dancers into the sky.  Moon’s opalescent wings carried her up amid the dancers where she continued to play.  The hummingbirds flew all around the dancers, darting in and out of their circle, moving in time to the music.

***

The next day I was given permission to leave my bed — but not go more than a stone’s throw beyond the branches of the huge evergreen.

So why not let me go down to the bonfire the night before?  It wasn’t as if I was any better or worse a few hours later.

With a dejected sigh I walked down to the blackened remains of the party.  In counterpoint to the ashes, echoes of the merrymaking filled my mind.  As I looked at the burned wood, my thoughts flashed on the recent, truly horrific vision.  Thousands of people were destroyed, wiped from existence.  All that remained were their shadows — shadows that were blasted and burned into the rubble of walls.  I stomped on the frightening thought, hastily pushing down.

I felt a tickle at my head.  A hummingbird with iridescent feathers in the orange hues of a sunset hovered beside me.  It picked a strand of my hair.  When it opened its tiny beak to let go of my hair, I heard the voice of Valley Hummer.

“The other magical hummingbirds went home with me.  However this little one thought he should stay with you, at least for a while,” Valley’s voice told me and then went silent, giving the hummingbird’s natural voice back to him.

Fluttering at eye-level, the hummingbird made twittering chirps at me.  His elongated streamer-tail produced a “whirring sound” during his flight as he made series of darting movements around the circle of stones that had been dragged into place by the blue muskoxen.

I sat down on one of the stones and the humming bird flew to a nearby bush of butterfly weed to drink its nectar.  There were several clumps of long, silken blue hair amid the large flat rocks where the revelers sat the night before.

“One of Blossom’s muskoxen was late to his molt,”I commented to the hummingbird, but he continued drinking nectar.

I picked up several clumps of the blue hair, untangled it and began braiding.  I had no purpose in mind for it.  It was just something to do with my hands while my brain worked on a thought that resisted bubbling to the surface.  Finally, I realized what had been bothering me ― Fallow Blackmoon.

When my visions took me to that strange colorless world, no one was able to tell that I had left Thistledown.  However, Fallow Balckmoon was obviously present in her physical form.  That had troubled me.  Abruptly I remembered that when I went to the place where I met Rotten Soulfire, Satellite Frostbite, and Desert Firesong, I had physical presence there.  Or at least it had seemed that way.  Rotten had touched the joint where my wings depended from my back.  I remembered her amazed reaction that my wings were real.

“I’m Fallow Blackmoon.  It’s good to meet another seer,” the snakeskin clad faery had said before she vanished.

It must have worked that way for her as well.  I shook her hand.  She was actually there.  Yet she must have also been, probably in some unconscious state, in her own world.  Half an attempt to work out how that could be possible quickly gave me a headache.

Headache or not, my brain wasn’t ready to let go of the ideas.  I played with the long blue braid as I thought.  Then I remembered something else that was said during that strange moment.  Field Yewwasp said something I barely heard.  I was so distracted by Fallow Blackmoon’s sudden disappearance that I had forgotten how odd Field’s words were.

“She looks familiar,” he murmured so quietly that I barely heard.  “Could it be?”

It seemed like many of the residents of Thistledown had a counterpart in the colorless world.  Did the big furry faery know the double of the seer from that other place?

I rubbed my temples, trying to make the headache go away and the memories flow.  Did she look like anyone I knew?  It was hard to remember her face.  There had been so many distractions, the flames, her strange clothes, and the loudly roaring machine she rode.  Try as I might, I couldn’t remember ever seeing anyone like Fallow.

Field’s words rang in my mind, “Could it be?”

***

The End

As you saw, this we were revisited by a number of mystery folk from previous episodes.  They would appreciate it if you click over and say hello. 

Please also visit the new ones.  The new mystery folk revealed in this episode were:

I like to have a couple of chapters written in advance.  However, I’m no longer ahead on writing these episodes.  So, I have no clues to offer about the next installment.  Have a wonder-filled weekend.

Hugs on the wing!

Sunday update… I love your comments! But I might be slow to answer today. Somehow I’ve managed to get a stomach virus that has me on a very short leash to the bathroom…

 

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.

 

 

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 10

Friday, September 15, 2017

Marketing Graphic for Thisledown

Welcome back to the faery world of Thistledown!

Writing Process

The writing of this episode was frequently interrupted.  That can make it even harder for creativity to flow, to fly by the seat of my pantser pants.  Then I reminded myself that there were still faery characters waiting in the wings, marking time until their parts in the story are found by my flying pants.  Actually, that didn’t make it any easier.  However, I finally finished the chapter.

About This Episode

It’s been fun to imagine slightly off-kilter versions of the characters in this serial, what I called the “scary faeries,” from the colorless world of Bedlam Thunder’s visions.  You’ll meet another of those today.  Without further ado, let’s fly off to Thistledown.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 10

Tall Bonfire neonbrand-266212

Neon Brand, Unsplash

Fire and Furry

Beautiful birdsong made music throughout the branches of the primeval evergreen tree.  My grand-uncle’s house was nestled in the boughs of the great tree.  Trilling, lilting, happy chirps filled my attic bedroom.

I threw a shoe out the window in attempt to silence the blasted cheery sounds.

Uncle had been none too pleased when I went with Rhymer Rainbow all the way to the orchard to visit Peaches Dragonfly.  Not that the orchard was far, it’s more that I wasn’t supposed to go anywhere at all.  I wasn’t even supposed to leave my bed until the healer said it was okay.  No one cared that I had gotten a bluebird message from Peaches and feared something was wrong.  In return for me being a conscientious friend, Uncle forbade me to go to any of the pre-solstice gatherings.  Adding insult to injury, Uncle decided to have a bonfire right there at our home!

Of all the nerve!  My grand-uncle would host a party right under my nose and I wasn’t allowed to attend.

At the sound of another chirp I threw the other shoe, venting my anger at the injustice of it all.

“Hey – watch out!”

L0059071 Turn pin spectacles, steel wire, eye preservers, double fold

Whimsical blue spectacles were the first thing I saw when I turned in surprise toward the window.  Calico Ranibowforest hovered at the opening, her blue spectacles uncharacteristically askew.

My cheeks heated in embarrassment.  I invited Calico to come in at the door, and hurried to the corner of my room to open it.

“I came to get details about your uncle’s pre-solstice bonfire party so I could announce it in the Trumpet,” Calico began.  “But I wanted to see how you were doing first.  Based on the shoes you threw out the window, it looks like there’s still plenty of lift in your wings, as they used to say.”

I blushed redder at the reference to my temper, but Calico waived away my apologies.  She uncurled a trumpet vine leaf to show me the draft of the announcement.  As she unrolled it, I thought of the voice that came from the vine, exclaiming “Extra!  Extra!” and then the perky chirp of “Take a leaflet.”

“Just don’t tell the grumpy old geezer that I got out of bed to let you in,” I said, making it something between a complaint and a plea.  “I’m not allowed to go anywhere or do anything.  And now he’s having a party right under my nose and I can’t even go to it!” I added on a wail.

Wire glasses blond flowers ryan-winterbotham-227426

Ryan-Winterbotham, Unsplash

Calico took my elbow and pulled me to the window.  She pointed to the clearing that was well away from the branches of the massive evergreen.

“I think maybe he’s doing it for your sake, Bedlam.  Although I doubt he’d admit it.  I realize your grand-uncle is set in his ways.  But the bonfire is going to be in that clearing — and your window has a perfect view.  I think it’s his way of letting you be at the party without having to go back on his word in grounding you.”

That idea shocked me.  It was hard to imagine Uncle doing anything for my sake.  Any solstice was a big event in Thistledown.  Celebrations could go on for weeks before and after the actual date.  However, Uncle rarely hosted anything.  I was undecided as to whether it would be better or worse if I could watch the party from my window.  Maybe my friends would at least fly up to say hello.  If they weren’t so busy having fun that they forgot about me. 

***

Muskoxen blue

Feeling utterly dejected, I watched the preparations for the pre-solstice bonfire.  Uncle oversaw the dead wood being brought in and arranged.

I spotted Blossom Stargazer gently guiding a team of muskoxen with a staff.  Blossom was Belle Stargazer’s younger sister.  While Belle had a gift for hospitality, Blossom’s talent was training any species of “working” animal.

It was amazing to see the group of huge and strong muskoxen.  They stood at shoulder height.  The animals had coats in various shades of blue.  Their silken hair cascaded almost to the ground.  Curved horns were on either side of a patch of short curly white hair at their foreheads.  I remembered being taught that their wool was highly prized for its softness, length, and insulation value.

As I watched, the muskoxen moved ponderously but steadily.  With whispered encouragement from Blossom, they pulled the heavy stones into place around the perimeter of the bonfire.  The stones would serve as seats for the visitors.

The well-dressed furry faery was unmistakable.  He stood head and shoulders above even the tallest fae in Thistledown.  I watched as Uncle and Field Yewwasp worked an enchantment around the dead wood that would become the bonfire.  The spell would keep the fire from spreading or otherwise doing any harm.

***

Fires Bi-Colored jacob-kiesow-349451

Jacob Kiesow, Unsplash

The bonfire was lit.  Uncle grudgingly permitted me to sit on the steps outside my attic bedroom high in the branches of the towering evergreen.  However, I was emphatically not allowed to go down to the party.  He wouldn’t let me descend even a single level down the stairs. 

The fire crackled and sparked.  I wondered if the ancient tree that held our home felt anxious about the popping flames.  However, just as I had watched Uncle and Field Yewwasp work the protective spell around the dead wood, doubtless the tree was looking on as well.

I sat quietly on my step, watching while everyone else enjoy conversations and communion as they congregated around the big bonfire.  Belle Stargazer circulated amid the crowd with refreshments and snacks she brought.  The little Opal siblings fluttered up to my perch carrying a tray for me.  I tried to smile as I thanked them.  At that moment, I didn’t realize that they would be the only people with whom I had a chance to interact.  As the evening went on, I got the impression that just as I was not allowed to go down to the gathering, no one was permitted to come up to me.

Abruptly the branches of the primeval tree trembled.  My eyes searched the crowd below, to see if anyone else appeared to have felt anything.  However, the gathering carried on as before.  I shivered and the pit of my stomach went cold.  The hairs on my arms rose as my skin prickled.

The bonfire did not diminish, but the redness of the flames dulled and then brightened several times.  No one else seemed to notice.  I felt a vibration that seemed to come from the core of the massive evergreen.

A round hole parted the center of the bonfire.  A loud roaring thing burst from the opening.  It looked like a doubled version of Uncle’s unicycle with a seat connecting the two wheels.  The rumbling sound came from the machine.  A woman sat astride the fierce seeming thing as it was propelled from the bonfire.  It sailed over the people standing at that end of the fire, and then skidded in a circle.

Stunt_Pyrotechnics_Luc_Viatour

As the thing paused, the rider looked up at me.  A bright pink streak was in her hair.  She wore a closely fitted jacket and trousers that had a gray snake skin pattern.  She gave a feral grin when she made eye contact with me.  The machine she rode bounded up the stairs toward me.

I never noticed him move or even saw from whence he came, but just as the two-wheeled thing roared up to me, I caught a glimpse of a well-made green jacket, a top hat with a poppy in the band, and rose-colored spectacles.  That glance showed me the huge furry form of Field Yewwasp was at my back.  His russet-colored wings had not yet settled.

The rider didn’t seem intimidated by the big furry faery.  She looked at me as if she evaluated and calculated everything about me.  I felt Field move a protective step closer.  His huge hand rested lightly on my shoulder.  I knew he was ready to zip me away with his extraordinary speed.

“You are even more powerful than Rotten said,” she commented with a smirk, and then thrust out her hand in greeting.  “I’m Fallow Blackmoon.  It’s good to meet another seer.”

I felt Field Yewwasp shift his stance behind me.  The slight movement made me think he was startled or uneasy.

“She looks familiar,” he murmured so quietly that I barely heard.  “Could it be?

Fallow Blackmoon’s half smile and manner reminded me of the others I had met in that colorless world.  I was sure that was where she was from.  I took Fallow’s outstretched hand, but I was too shocked to speak.

While I had visited that strange place in my visions, no one was able to tell that I had left Thistledown.  However, this woman was obviously present in her physical form.  Field clearly saw her.  Was he the only one besides me who could see her?  I tried to look down at the partygoers but my gaze didn’t make it that far.  My eyes were drawn immediately back to the strange fae.

With a grin and a nod, Fallow Blackmoon abruptly disappeared.

***

The End

I hope you checked out the mystery folks who were revealed in this episode.  Be sure to click over and say hello to them.

  • Fallow Blackmoon the “scary faery” name for the character from Andrea Stephenson — Thistledown faery name Luna Moonglow.
  • Blossom Stargazer, the character name from Eloise De Sousa.

As some of you have seen, beginning Wednesday just past (for a while anyway) I’m going to do Jazz Age Wednesday posts in celebration of  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I and The Three Things Serial Story.  Those of you who like short stories or the Roaring Twenties are welcome to drop in. Those midweek posts will be vignettes from the “Pip-verse” as I call it. Of course this serial will be back again next Friday. 

Thanks so much for visiting Thistledown today.  See you next week. 

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. 

 

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 9

Thistledown Girl

Friday, September 8, 2017

About This Episode

We’re privileged to have another recipe for this episode.  When “agave” fluttered into my imagination I asked Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen if she had a drink recipe using it. (Right now, I have no idea how agave managed to get into my twisting mind. However, I had just finished Episode 8, and was already working on this one, when there it was — agave.)  

The creative wheels in Suzanne’s mind whirred into action!  She imagined things Peaches Dragonfly might gather to make a refreshing beverage, then she sweetened it with agave nectar.  Suzanne let me use the recipe and her beautiful photos for this post. Here’s the recipe.    

Sun n Moon Tea in jars Suzanne DeBrango

Sun and Moon Tea, by Suzanne DeBrango

Recipe:  Sun and Moon Tea

https://apuginthekitchen.com/2017/08/21/murder-at-the-bijou-teagans-book-launch/

1 tbs chamomile flowers

1 tbs rose hips

1 tbs red clover flowers

2 sprigs fresh mint

Place all of the ingredients in a 64 oz. glass jar, or two 32 oz. jars.  Pour in fresh filtered or spring water to fill.  Place lid on jar, and set outside in the morning.  Leave the jar(s) all day and night soaking up the rays of the sun and moon. Add agave syrup to desired sweetness, starting with 1/4 cup.  Stir until combined. Strain into a serving container or bottle and chill.

Thanks for the refreshments, Suzanne!  And now today’s episode…

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 9

Sun n Moon Tea w Agave Served apples

Sun and Moon Tea Table, by Suzanne DeBrango

Gone to the Dogs

Bright yellow flowers of the trumpet vine swayed in a warm breeze.  The vine ran throughout Thistledown.  It bore the local news.  River Mindshadow touched a petal awakening the vine.

Extra!  Extra!  Get the Thistledown Trumpet here!” the flower cried.  “Dull haze reported in random parts of Thistledown!  Take a leaflet,” the blossom added shifting to an encouraging voice.

“It says the haze leaves quickly, and that there’s no cause for concern,” River said as she uncurled the leaf to read the news.  “Considering your visions of a dull, colorless place, I find that haze worrisome,” she added with a shudder.

Monticristi_Straw_Hat_Optimo

“Well bless my eyes, Bedlam and River,” Pick Dragonfly said tipping his wide brimmed hat as he walked up.  “Bedlam, it’s nice to see you up and about.  “You know,” he began as if telling a secret.  “Your grand-uncle has been worried about you, even if he doesn’t let on.”

I smiled at the comment, but I doubted it was actually true.  River and I exchanged a glance.  My friend spared me by changing the subject before that conversation could get started.  She motioned to the unusual hat Pick wore.  It was white and made of fine, tightly woven straw, with a brim that was about a finger-length wide.  Pick traveled more and farther than anyone in Thistledown, so I assumed he got the hat in some exotic locale.

River darted up with just a thrust of her wings and grabbed the hat off Pick’s head.  She placed it on her own head and asked how she looked.  River shrugged at our surprised expressions and put the hat back on Pick’s head before settling back to the ground.

“These are popular way down in the southern lands where the sun is hot,” Pick explained, adjusting the hat.  “It’s not the only thing I brought back with me,” he added with a motion to the cart in front of him.

The little cart was hitched to two large dogs.  They wagged stubby tails when River and I walked over to them.  The short tails moved even faster when we paid attention to the dogs.

It was not unexpected to see dogs pulling small carts in Thistledown.  Most creatures enjoyed having a job to do, especially if they were rewarded for it.  I saw Pick hand the dogs treats.  However, what was unusual was the dogs themselves.  Most canines weren’t larger than knee-high.  These dogs were much taller and I had never seen such stubby tails.

“Yes, I got the dogs on my way back.  They needed a home.  I also brought back these agave plants,” he told us motioning to the spikey looking blue plants.

Agave_plant.jpg

I remembered the healer mentioning the tiny drop of nectar she gave me was from a plant related to agave, and described it to Pick.  He nodded.

“Agave is mostly used in making grownup drinks.  You two aren’t old enough for those yet,” he said to our protests.  “The potent kind of drink uses the heart of the plant.  But the nectar from agave is very, very sweet.  So I brought some to Peaches, and now I’m taking some nectar and plants to Belle Stargazer for the Starlight Saloon.  With Belle’s talent in hospitality, I know she’ll put them to good use.”

“Are you ladies ready to go?”  Pick spoke to the two dogs in an encouraging tone.

River and I chuckled when he called the dogs ladies.  But their stubby little tails wagged faster and faster until they seemed to spin in a circle.  Their bottoms lifted into the air.  The back feet of the dogs were barely on the ground.  The dogs shot ahead, pulling the little cart along.

“Hey!  Wait a minute!” Pick called after the dogs.  “You’ll bounce the plants off the cart.”

Pick unfurled his wings, but shook his head.  Apparently he had a leisurely walk in mind, not flying as fast as his wings could carry him.

“I’ll get them,” River said and zipped ahead, quickly catching the excited dogs.

Pick followed, only a heartbeat shower.

I was still grounded from my injured wing.  Even if it had been fully healed, Lavender Cozy had laid out firm instructions for me to rest after the shock of my most recent vision.  I saw Pick look back in my direction.  A moment later, River flew back with a bottle for each of us of the sweet agave nectar.

“He still wouldn’t give us any of the grownup stuff,” River complained as she touched down.

***

Sprig Yellow ben-moore-8884

Unsplash.com

My grand-uncle’s home was nestled in the branches of an impossibly broad and towering redwood tree.  My bedroom was in the attic, the loftiest room of all.  The healer and Uncle insisted that I get a lot of rest.  Let’s be honest ― they’d rather I was confined to my bed and completely unable to get myself into another mishap.

Ironically, I had never been fond of heights.  With my injured wing, I couldn’t glide down from my room, and the view from the top of the stairs was dizzying.  So, I was disinclined to leave.  Fate had conspired to force me to rest.

Fate must be a fiend, I thought.  I was wretchedly bored.  My only “entertainment” was the school books Uncle brought up, so that I’d have a chance of not having to repeat the last term.  You see, just before the end of the term, River and I had been suspended because of the uproar surrounding my vision.

Trying to read one of the books, I nodded off.  A light tapping awakened me.

Psst, Bedlam are you awake?” a quiet voice asked.  “Interrupting your rest isn’t a mistake I’d want to make.”

I could only see one eye and a fragment of the face that peeped at me from the side of my window.  However, the extraordinary long mane that lifted on the breeze was easily recognizable.  It graduated from blond, to blue, to green, to purple.  Only Rhymer Rainbow had such a head of hair.

“Rhymer?  There’s no need to hover outside.  Come on in.  I’d love to have company.”

“I know you’re supposed to rest, so I didn’t want to be a pest,” Rhymer began.  “But I came upon a lost bluebird.  Peaches uses them for messages, or so I’ve heard.  Then on its beak I smelled something odd, and I thought maybe it’s lost because it’s drunk.  So, I brought it up to your bunk.”

“Did it carry a peach blossom?” I asked and Rhymer nodded emphatically.

I took a close look at the bluebird as it clung woozily to Rhymer’s hair.  It did look like one of Peaches’ birds.

“That’s strange and worrisome.  I should go to the orchard.  Do you want to come along?” I asked.  “I’ll have to take the stairs, but I’ll be down in a moment.”

“Don’t worry,” Rhymer assured me.  “I’m in no hurry.”

Peaches Pond nitish-kadam-43351

Unsplash.com

The cottage belonging to Peaches Dragonfly was in the middle of a beautiful orchard of fruit trees and other delicious things.  No matter what the time of year, smoke curled from the twin chimneys of the cottage, because Peaches was nearly always baking something.

When Rhymer and I reached the cottage, we looked from the vine-covered roof, dotted with colorful berries, to the chimneys.  Peaches was still cooking treats in preparation for her Midsummer party.  She started baking well in advance of the holiday, but considering how much she planned to cook, she had to start early.  Our mouths watered as we breathed in the aromas.

I heard Peaches giggle.  Her head of fluffy pink hair bobbed into and out of view from the other side of the low stone wall that surrounded the cottage.  She was outside, apparently playing with something that she had to bend down to reach.  I heard a yip and knew it was the strange gray colored dog she found at the pond.  She had called him Pucker because a suckerfish was attached to his face when we found him.

The little dog was gray from his twisty tail to his squished black face.  Even his tongue was gray.

Rhymer called out, “Peaches!  We brought your bluebird.  I think his eyes were blurred.  I found him before he reached Bedlam.  So, we both came, in case you were in a jam.”

“Hi Rhymer.  Bedlam, I’m sorry I sent for you.  I didn’t know you were supposed to stay in bed until Lavender Cozy told me a moment ago,” Peaches apologized.  “Come inside.  You can try my new recipe!  It’s for sun and moon tea Isn’t that perfect for my Midsummer party?  I’ve been gathering chamomile flowers, red clover, and mint.  I’ll sweeten it with Pick’s agave nectar.”

Peaches was always enthusiastic when she thought of a new food or drink creation.  The tea sounded refreshing and delicious.  A different thought occurred to me.

“Erm… Did Pick leave you some of the grownup kind of agave?” I asked.

“Yes, for the solstice party,” she answered.  “But we aren’t to have any of it.”

Mountain_Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird, Fort Rock, Oregon

“That’s not why I asked.  But I think your bluebird may have had a nip,” I commented and pointed to the little bird that still clung to Rhymer’s multicolored tresses.  “She’s too tipsy to fly right.”

“Oh!” Peaches exclaimed with wide eyes as she fluttered up so Rhymer could hand her the bird across the wall.  “You silly thing,” she told it.  “I was experimenting with making some ice pops with the potent kind.  I splashed some onto the windowsill.  I remember seeing her investigating it.  She must have drunk some!”

“Luckily Pick had left an agave plant here for the healer.  Lavender stopped on her morning rounds to pick it up, so I asked her to take a look at Pucker.”

Rhymer seemed confused when she started to speak, “Look at pucker?  Your mouth couldn’t… pucker?”

Remembering that I couldn’t use my wings, even for a bounce, Peaches invited us to come in at the gate.  Two brick columns were topped by arched white latticework.  Flowers of every color climbed the columns and wove across the arch.

As we walked, from her side of the wall, Peaches told Rhymer about the day we found the dog.  We came to the gate and I heard another yip.  When Rhymer and I set foot inside the blossom filled garden Pucker barreled into me, knocking me onto my bottom.  It was so sudden that all I saw was his squished black face and the pink tongue that licked my face.

“Hey!  His tongue is pink, not gray!”

“Yes, that started yesterday,” Peaches began.  “his tongue turned pink.  It was so different form the gray that it scared me.  Then his gray fur…  That’s why I wanted Lavender Cozy to look at him.”

“If he’s gray that’s all in your head.  That dog is red,” Rhymer tried to insert when pucker jumped over to her.

“He’s not gray!” I exclaimed finally seeing more than Pucker’s face.

The dog’s curly tail wagged as he bounced around at Rhymer’s feet.  As his tail moved, Pucker’s fur changed from red to a sky color.

Pug Yello

“A dog that changes hue!” Rhymer enthused.  “How wonderful ― now he’s blue.”

Indeed, Pucker was suddenly blue, and then yellow, and then green.  Though his face stayed black, the rest of his fur continued to change color as his tail kept wiggling.

“That is what I was so worried about, when I sent the bluebird to you,” Peaches replied.  “But the healer said he was fine.  Lavender said it might be from a change in his environment.”

Peaches and I exchanged a significant look.  I was sure she was remembering the thicket that had developed at the pond, the shadows, the brown suckerfish, and the eerie feeling of the place.  It reminded both of us of the colorless world of my vision. 

Had the little, formerly gray dog come from that other world?

***

The End

New mystery folk revealed this time are Belle Stargazer — Marjorie Mallon and Rhymer Rainbow — Christy Birmingham.  I hope you’ll visit all their blogs and say hello.

Toasting you with a refreshing cup of tea.  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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