Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 36

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

purple Steampunk woman drawing_Pixabay

Pixabay (image altered by Teagan)

It’s Hidebound Hump Day again, my chuckaboos!  This is a rather noisy episode. I didn’t notice Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine coming into port.  However, I see the harbor master waving, and now I can hear his voice.  Let’s get straight to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

From last time, Chapter 35   They decided to try a combination of da Vinci’s aerial screw and the alchemy of Cornelis lead our trio to Copper’s still missing daddy.  You know as well as I do, how the Dutchman’s alchemy can go awry.  Let’s see how it’s going.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

36 — Purple, Diary, Kitchen

Purple folio Unsplash altered

Unsplash (image altered by Teagan)

My finger traced the edge of a purple leather portfolio I found.  Now the case held the priceless drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, which were previously hidden in the owl-shaped lamp.  I nearly dropped the folio at the sight before me.

In open-mouthed wonder I stared at the riot of possessions and the general confusion of what might have been the alchemist’s bedroom.  It was such a mess that I wasn’t completely sure it was a sleeping chamber.  I thought that was a bed under a stack of shoe-boxes and a pile of clothing, though I couldn’t imagine anyone managing to sleep on it.

I came to the conclusion that the meticulously way in which the laboratory was organized was not the doing of the alchemist — or I should say the version of Cornelis Drebbel that inhabited the amethyst world.  I shrugged.  After all, our Cornelis kept the most haphazard scheme of things, whether on his submarine or anywhere else.  So I expected it was only natural that his doppelgänger would be a slob.  Alright… that wasn’t very generous of me to use such a word to describe my traveling companion.  Shall I say untidy?

Thank goodness his skull, which was safely in my hatbox, wasn’t capable of disarranging things too.  Then I had an uneasy thought.  What if the skull had capabilities of its own?  I firmly pushed that idea into a dark corner of my mind.  There was more than enough trouble at hand, without borrowing even more.  But I digress…

Skull Green SIlks

Image by Teagan Geneviene

No, I thought, the orderly one must be Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape of the strange purple world of doppelgängers where we’d run aground.  Cal was also the double of Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon.

I tapped my foot in a restless rhythm, annoyed with myself for wasting time, yet drawn to the room nonetheless.  My intuition had become a feather, tickling a sleeping notion in my mind.  That feather suddenly woke the notion and in the full light of thought, it quickly morphed into a certainty.

“Ooooh…” I murmured aloud, stretching out the word.

Abruptly I was sure that the alchemist of the amethyst world was with Copper’s missing father!  However, the question remained — where?  How they got together in the first place was a secondary matter.  I hoped to find some sort of clue in the personal quarters of amethyst world’s version of Cornelis Drebbel.  Unfortunately I had no idea what I sought, and the disarray of the room didn’t help.

Victorian w purple feather hat

A soft snuffling sound alerted me to the presence of Absinthe, the Green Fairy.  He fluttered around the eyesore of a room before perching on a shoe-box.  Absinthe looked at me and gave a derisive snort, clearly an opinion about the state of the bedroom.  I laughed.  For once I understood the little fairy.

Then Aubrieta, his mate, flew into the room.  Her purple wings missed a beat when she beheld the mess.  Aubrieta gave a little scream before recovering herself.  I had to agree.

I felt a moment of comradery with the two fairies.  They seemed to understand everything I said, but I could not interpret their snorts, grunts, and snuffles at all.  However, emboldened by that friendly feeling, I told them my thoughts about the alchemist of the amethyst world and Calvin Hixon being together somewhere.  I opened the portfolio of Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical design drawings, and said that I felt one of the designs might also be involved.

When I added that I thought there might be a clue somewhere in the disarray of the bedroom, the fairies went quickly to work.  They busily looked through every pile and opened every box, cupboard, and drawer.

While they looked through the room, I turned to the closet.  When I opened the door I almost shrieked like Aubrieta.  Boxes and all manner of other things toppled out of the closet as soon as I opened the door.  Cases and trinkets continued to tumble for what seemed like an unnaturally long time.  A purple feather boa draped across my shoulders as it fell.  Aubrieta snuffled appreciatively.  Apparently the little skunk-looking fairy thought it looked good on me.

Aerial Screw drawing

da Vinci drawing of aerial screw, Wikimedia

“So you like this?” I asked Aubrieta of the boa and she chirped enthusiastically.  “Well, it is your color,” I conceded with a smile.

As I held out the purple feather boa, Aubrieta wriggled the single eyebrow that was between her one eye and her golden unicorn-like horn.  Static ran through the feathers, and with a spark the boa was transformed to a much smaller size — just the right length for the Purple Fairy.

By the way, I never mentioned that the Purple Fairy is a title for Aubrieta, just as Absinthe is the Green Fairy.  Though I had yet to meet them, there were other purple and green fairies, but our tiny companions held some particular distinction among their kind.

I bent down to pick up a full sized feather that was dislodged from the boa.  That’s when I saw the corner of a book.  Its cover was made of tooled lavender leather.  In the center, elaborate script spelled the word diary.  It should be the journal of the Cornelis Drebbel doppelgänger.  Shouldn’t it?  Although, the Dutchman was a wily fellow.  It might belong to someone else.

Though it didn’t really help, I took a deep breath to steady my nerves.  Cautiously, I opened the lavender tome.  The handwriting inside was a match for that of the alchemist of my world.  I surreptitiously looked over my shoulder.  I bit my lower lip, as with a bit of apprehension I began to read the diary.

However, the journal didn’t seem to be terribly personal.  (I admit I was a little disappointed.)  There were a lot of what I supposed were alchemy related notes, and symbols I didn’t understand.  Then I found a section of spells.  At least I could understand the language with those.

Lady writing lettersTurning the pages faster, I focused my search.  I hoped to find some mention of Cal Hicks, or even better, Calvin Hixon.  Unfortunately I hadn’t found either name.  However, I was skimming the pages awfully quickly.  I could easily have missed something.  I began to notice repeated references to “Cu” but that made no more sense than the rest of the text.  It seemed to be more of a name than initials.  I shrugged.  The inhabitants of the amethyst world did seem to be fond of very short names, like Cal and Von.

As I turned pages I also saw drawings and diagrams.  Some of the sketches reminded me of the da Vinci drawings.  I slowed down, paying closer attention.

My focus was broken by a commotion elsewhere in the laboratory.  It sounded like an argument.  Yes, there was some sort of disagreement.  Aubrieta made an impatient snuffling sound and winged away in a blur.  I figured the situation was safe in the Purple Fairy’s capable hands — or should I say wings?  Paws?  Whatever, I had no doubt that the one-eyed, erstwhile dragon could use that pointy horn to good effect.

I could hear the raised voice of Cornelis Drebbel, though I couldn’t make out his words.  I stood, placing my finger in the diary to hold my place.  I knew I’d best go see what the trouble might be before things got out of hand.  Then I heard Absinthe shriek an irritated noise.

As I walked quickly down the hallway I tried to determine where the commotion had come from.  Beyond the long workroom, the laboratory was a warren of hallways and alcoves.  I hesitated when I came to an intersection of corridors.

Jamie Murray as Felicity

A teeth jarring screech of unused metal was followed by a crash.  The noise came from the kitchen.  The shouting was louder, but not coherent until I heard clearly the voice of Cal Hicks. 

“Lord of Alchemy!” the amethyst ape cried.  “No!  Please wait!”

I broke into a run.

The “kitchen” of the laboratory was a combination food preparation area, dining room, and relaxation area, with several chaise lounges.  Above the wide open room was a clear crystal dome which let in the sunlight.  The dome was divided into sections, much like one would cut an orange.  The sections were held in place by brass strips.

Earlier, after a meal, I had stretched out on a chaise and gazed up at the pastel clouds drifting in the sky beyond the dome.  It was tranquil.  However, the sounds coming from the kitchen were anything but calming.

When I reached the kitchen I found Copper and Aubrieta perched on an open wooden packing crate.  Another metallic screech caused me to look upward.  The sections of the crystal dome slowly spread, opening to the sky.  It was a fanciful idea, but it made me imagine a clear flower bud with petals opening to the sun.

Directly beneath the dome I saw Cornelis and Absinthe.  They argued.  Cal Hicks stood between the two, urging them to be reasonable.  I got the feeling that the tableau might go on for a while.  There was nothing I could do to improve the situation, and no need for me to be agitated.  I leaned against the crate and turned to Copper who dangled her feet from the top of the wooden box.

Copper

“What was inside?” I asked her as I stuck my head into the empty container.

“That top thing Cornelis has.  I think Absinthe wants to play with it,” Copper said knowingly.  “Cornelis is too big for it.  He really ought to give it to Absinthe.”

Aubrieta snorted in a derisive tone and shook her purple head.  She didn’t seem to think Absinthe should have anything to do with it either.  I noticed the purple feather boa had returned to full size and was draped across Copper’s shoulders.  The little fairy must have wanted the boa so she could give it to the girl.  I was fascinated by the way both of the fae took to Copper.

“What top thing?” I wondered aloud and stretched in attempt to see around Cornelis and Cal Hicks.

The ape and the alchemist finally moved and I saw a working model of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw.  It stood about waist high.  The “threads” of the screw were made of linen, and it rotated slowly.

“It’s only a model,” Cornelis told Absinthe.  “I need firsthand experience of it before we make a full-sized machine,” he said as the Green Fairy snorted and chirped.

Abruptly, Cornelis snapped his fingers.  A yellowish green glow surrounded the aerial screw and it gently rose from the floor.  With a last whine of metal, the dome finished opening.  The aerial screw continued to rise.  The alchemist schooled his face to a bland expression and he looked from Cal to Absinthe as the rotating machine rose above their heads.

“If the tiny fae thinks the device is unsafe,” Cal Hicks began, apparently understanding the sounds Absinthe made — was I the only one who didn’t understand fairy-speak?  “Don’t you think it would be wise to listen?  It needn’t be a long delay,” the ape offered in a reasonable tone.

With a mischievous glint in his eyes, Corenlis grinned.  He leaped up and grabbed onto the bottom of the aerial screw.  A green glow surrounded the contraption and the alchemist.  The device quickly moved up into the opening of the crystal dome.  Absinthe gave an angry scream.  He fluttered up to Cornelis and pointed his bantam backside at the alchemist’s face in a very threatening posture.  A poot of super-concentrated absinthe vapors would surely cause Cornelis to fall, and he was many feet above the floor.

Green fairy skunk

Absinthe the Green Fairy, by Teagan R. Geneviene

“Well, climb on, old boy!” Cornelis told the Green Fairy.  “There’s room for one more,” Cornelis invited as he dangled high in the air.

However, 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.

***

Real World Notes

***

Now what has Cornelis Drebbel gotten himself into?  Be here next week to catch the… well dash my wig — who knows what mode of transportation we’ll use to get to the Victorian Era next time, but I hope you’ll be there!

I’m finally in my little cottage in the southwest, and have Internet again.  However, I have my hands full with setting up my household, cleaning, and eventually painting.  So please bear with me if I’m slow to answer comments.  Meanwhile, I hope you’ll talk among yourselves in the comments.

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

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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 © 2015 and 2019 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. 

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 35

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Copper Cover

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  I’m off-line, but didn’t want to leave you hanging from any cliffs with the serial.  Collecting the recap for this episode reminded me of some fabulous animated videos created by Chris Graham. 

Let’s get over to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

From Episode 5.  (And an other animation from Chris Graham the Story Reading Ape)  When I upended the owl-shaped lamp, I found an opening.  Some very old documents were tightly rolled and inserted into the lamp…

From Episode 7 .  “Oh!  What have we here?” Cornelis Drebbel exclaimed excitedly over the ancient papers.  “Don’t tell me this is what was hidden in the lamp!” he cried and Copper and I both nodded, taken aback by his enthusiasm.  “Really?  The audacity!  To hide such treasures that way.  Don’t you know what these are?”…

… “My dear, these are the work of Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci!  They are valuable beyond belief,” Cornelis exclaimed.

The Leonardo da Vinci?” I couldn’t help asking.  “Then they must be at the core of whatever is going on here,” I said with certainty.

From last time, Chapter 34   The chimpanzee looked contrite, as if there was something he did not want to disclose.  “Viola’s son Von had that family ring he stole from your son.  There was a man who seemed to recognize the ring.  He tricked Von into giving it to him and then ran off.  Von slipped off to track him.  We found them at a fine home that looked a lot like yours.  But when we got there they were both dead,” the chimp explained.

“We took both bodies and hid them,” the chimpanzee added.  “We were afraid of what might happen if the residents of that world noticed the two were doubles.”

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

35 — Herbs, Kitchen, Texan

submarine breaching surface

Pixaby, image altered by Teagan

Through an accident of alchemy, the submarine in which we traveled crashed on the shores of the amethyst world. The Green Fairy and Cornelis Drebbel had an animated conversation about the submarine Cornelis invented, and whether it could be repaired quickly enough.  After a moment they rejected using the submarine as a means of departure.  However, if we didn’t leave the peculiar purple place soon, we might be trapped forever.

When the missing “chapel chimps” were returned to the amethyst world, a few of them hung back to talk to us.  Cal Hicks sent those chimpanzees back to submarine to retrieve our belongings.  The two fairies, Absinthe and Aubrieta, fluttered ahead of the apes, leading the way.  Copper watched from the laboratory window as they disappeared from view.

Copper with FlowersThe girl stood at a table in the far corner of the long building, tying string around a small bundle of herbs.  I noticed a number of varieties hanging to dry.  Unexpectedly, Copper seemed to know what she was doing.  When I commented on the fact, she told me that she used to help her governess dry herbs.

“Is Viola coming back?” she asked Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape.

“I’m sure you’ll see her again,” Hicks answered.  “You two became friends very quickly,” he prompted.

Copper nodded as she tied the string into a bow.  “She reminds me of Violet, my governess.  I didn’t want her to go away, but Daddy said she was going back to live with her son Vaughner,” Copper told him with a sad look in her eyes.  “Daddy shouldn’t have let Violet go.  I heard him say her son was a criminal.”

“He did?” I was surprised into saying.  I felt like my brain was pulling threads together that I couldn’t quite grasp.

“Yes.  I heard him tell your boyfriend,” Copper answered with a distasteful twist of her mouth and the glimmer of a dare in her eyes.

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

“My what?” I exclaimed with a strangled chuckle, but then I remembered her distrust of Ignatius Belle.

There had not been more between Ignatius and me than some light flirting.  In fact, when I saw how focused he had become on Copper, and apparently wanted to lure her away, I felt he had tried to use me.  I had developed my own mistrust of the tall handsome innkeeper, and learning that he was really Copper’s half-brother did nothing to allay my concern.  However, considering that father and son were somewhat estranged, I was surprised to learn Calvin Hixon had confided that information in Ignatius Belle.

“Daddy shouldn’t have made her go live with Vaughner.  I don’t think she wanted to,” the girl said of her governess.  “Anyway, I think Viola looks like her,” Copper added with a sudden grin.  “Or she would if she had been a chimpanzee.”

Another idea clicked into place when Copper spoke.  I looked around for Cornelis Drebbel, but he had popped off somewhere.  Where was the alchemist?  He’d finish my sentences for me and this would go a lot faster.

“He asked me if the laboratory had a kitchen,” Cal answered my question.  “I think the Lord of Alchemy was feeling a bit peckish.”

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel, Wikimedia

“Trust Cornelis Drebbel to go looking for a snack at a time like this,” I complained.

Without the alchemist to be my sounding board I spoke my thoughts aloud as I sorted them.  

“So… Copper’s father dismissed the governess she loved because he could no longer pay her wages,” I remembered Cornelis figuring out that in the past.  “That woman’s son was a reputed criminal, as Copper told us…” my words trailed away as I continued to assemble jumbled bits and pieces.

“Meanwhile, here in this amethyst world, Voila is the double of that governess.  Viola’s son was a ‘scoundrel’ as you commented,” I added turning to Cal Hicks.  “And the son of the governess a criminal,” I repeated and Copper nodded.

I paced as I untangled the mess. 

“So Viola’s son Von met his doppelgänger in our world… and that doppelgänger was the dead man in Calvin Hixon’s study — and he was Vaughner, the son of the governess!”Reading Ape purple

What a moment of crystal clarity!  If I’d worn suspenders on my trousers I would have given them a snap of satisfaction.  Copper had a wide-eyed expression on her face, but she seemed to have kept up with my summation.  Cal Hicks nodded every step of the way, an intelligent man for certain — or rather ape.

“Vaughner was surely up to some duplicity, since Copper heard her father calling him a criminal.  He stole the signet ring from Von so he could pass himself off as a member of the Hixon family.  He was in the house, sitting at Calvin Hixon’s desk when he died.  So he must have been looking for something.  But did he find whatever it was he wanted?” I questioned.

“I don’t think so.  You’ll see when the chimps get back,” Cornelis Drebbel said as he materialized at my side with a sharp pop.

I jumped, startled.  The Dutchman grinned, as it was his intention to disconcert me.

“Cornelis Drebbel!  Will you please cease doing that,” I insisted for the thousandth time.  “Where have you been?”

1920 Choctaw Bill, Mora, NM cowboy

Choctaw Bill, Mora, NM 1920s

The alchemist, originally from the 1600’s, was attired in knee britches with his favorite doublet, which had broad velvet sleeves, slashed with satin.  The broad brimmed hat that matched his ensemble was exchanged for a Stetson, and he wore tooled leather cowboy boots on his feet — both hat and boots were purple, of course.  Seeing me stare at his apparel Cornelis twisted his pointed blonde beard and wriggled his bushy eyebrows, clearly pleased with himself.

“I found my doppelgänger’s closet,” the Dutchman said with a twirl to show off his borrowed accessories.  “He has the most marvelously eccentric taste, don’t you think?”

I tried not to laugh, but I failed.  “Cornelis, you look like a Texan who fell into a Shakespearean fair,” I said and he pursed his lips, deciding how to react.

“I think they’re rather smart,” Cornelis replied, sticking out his lower lip.  “Copper, don’t you agree?”

Copper answered by giggling and hugging the alchemist.  I decided that was probably the safest response.  Besides, I was rather envious of those cowboy boots, just not with that outfit.

There was a commotion at the front door of the laboratory.  The coverall clad chimpanzees brought in our belongings.

“Ah, good!” Cornelis said.  “You’ll see what I mean.”

He went directly to the large carpet bag Copper had packed with all manner of things.  Cornelis retrieved the owl-shaped lamp.  I gasped.  Inside that lamp, were hidden valuable drawings made by Leonardo da Vinci.

da Vinci drawing of aerial screw, Wikimedia

da Vinci drawing of aerial screw, Wikimedia

Cornelis upended the owl lamp and removed the priceless da Vinci papers.  He smoothed out one in particular.

“Is that some sort of children’s toy?  A top of some sort?” I speculated as I looked at the drawing.

“Oh no,” Cornelis corrected me.  “It’s an aerial screw.  I think it is the key to finding Copper’s daddy.  It might also be how we get back to our world.”

***

Real World Notes

Aerial screw.  Sometimes it’s called a helicopter — you’re right if you think the first helicopter (as we think of them) wasn’t built until the 1940s.  However, it is thought that Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches from the late fifteenth century were the predecessor to the modern day whirlybird.  The invention was meant to compress air in order to obtain flight.  It had a platform mounted by a helical screw, with a system similar to rubber band-powered model airplanes.

***

Will the combination of da Vinci’s aerial screw and the alchemy of Cornelis lead our trio to Copper’s daddy? Or will it lead to a disastrous accident of alchemy?  To find out, be at the port to catch the steampunk submarine again next time, my chuckaboos!

***

I expect to be away from Internet service for some time.  However, I’ll try to have a few posts scheduled and waiting for you.  I hope you’ll talk among yourselves in the comments, although I probably won’t be able to join the conversation.

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

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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 © 2015 and 2019 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. 

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 34

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Cover Copper Alchemist Woman n Trousers

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  I’m off-line, but didn’t want to leave you hanging from any cliffs with the serial.

Let’s get straight to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

A Rewind from Chapter 3  First things first, I told myself as I turned my attention back to the dead body slumped over Calvin Hixon’s desk.  I had expected to see a pool of blood, but the top of the desk was clean.  The dead man’s left hand rested on the desktop.  Something seemed wrong about the position of the hand.  It had been moved.

Hadn’t Cornelis said he wore a signet ring?  Without looking I could feel the cool metal of the ring the alchemist placed on my finger.  “You’ll need this,” he’d said.  My eyes went back to the naked hand of the dead man.

“You moved a ring from the finger of a cadaver and put it on my hand?” I exclaimed, but Cornelis was nowhere to be seen.

“Cornelis Drebble!”

From last time, Chapter 33    We had a measuring device.  It looked like a silver toothpick holder.  It was shaped like a little gazebo with a domed roof supported by columns.  Within was a crystal bird with wings outstretched.  Tiny holes in the rounded roof held toothpicks.  If the toothpicks started to turn lavender, it was a warning that we had been in the amethyst world too long.  If all the toothpicks turned purple we were in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple, it would be too late.

I quickly took the detector out of the Dutchman’s bag so I could examine it.  The toothpicks were lavender.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

34 — Cornbread, Champagne Glasses, Astrolabe

ape eyes purple

Image by Teagan

The amethyst ape looked to the direction in which his violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper had ridden away on an aubergine coated horse.  Viola went back to his grand house to make sure the doppelgängers of Copper and myself did not come any closer.  Their proximity had made us quite ill, but Cornelis alchemically altered some green Chartreuse, which set us back to rights.  I wondered if the ape versions had also felt ill.

Cal Hicks shook his head regretfully.  “Poor Viola,” the ape murmured, causing me to ask what he meant.

“She showed you the locket containing a bit of her dead son’s hair,” he said as a reminder, so I nodded.  “He was lost in the battle with the one-eyed-one-horned flying-purple-people-eater; the dragon.  Though I cannot reconcile that in my mind with the tiny Purple Fairy, Aubrieta.  Whatever changed her form to the dragon must have also held uncontrollable sway over her personality as well.  We should feel pity for her, not resentment,” Cal added as if to himself, then cleared his throat.Hair brooch

“Forgive me, I digress.  Viola’s son was not in the chapel with the apes that disappeared that day,” Cal said, going back to his point.  “Nor was he among those returned by Aubrieta’s magic.  Viola said she felt his death a short time after the chapel apes disappeared.  I hoped she was wrong, but she must have been correct,” Cal told me.

“More’s the pity,” the amethyst ape commented, again shaking his head.  “Viola’s son was a scoundrel, though I liked to believe he had a good heart.  He never got the chance to correct the path on which he’d put himself.  He never reached his potential,” Cal spoke sadly.

Cornelis Drebbel got that look on his face.  Though his skull was safely ensconced my hatbox, I knew the expression on his face meant the gears in his mind were turning.  Abruptly he held an ancient looking leather portfolio.  That was where he kept his drawings.  He opened the folio and handed two sketches to Cal Hicks.  One drawing was of a chimpanzee and the other of a man.

First I recognized the man in the drawing as the person we found in the study at the Hixon estate.  The man had been dead when we arrived.  The rogue chimpanzees carried away his corpse.  The second thing I noticed was a strong resemblance in the drawings of the dead man and the chimp.

“Is this, by any chance, Viola’s son?” the alchemist asked Cal Hicks of the sketch of the chimpanzee.

Cal gasped. 

“Why yes!  As always, Lord of Alchemy, your talents astound me,” Cal replied.  “Do you have news of him?”

“We found his doppelgänger dead, but that’s as much as I can say,” Cornelis told him.

Empress Little Rock twilight

The Empress of Little Rock, Wikimedia

A few of the returned apes moved uneasily, but they were reluctant to leave.  They stayed nearby, hiding their nakedness as best they could.  Their coloring had fully reverted to various shades of purple, as was natural for them.  Cal Hicks stepped into the laboratory and quickly returned with several pairs of coveralls for them.

Hicks invited them to go to his house for a hot meal.  However they refused, saying they couldn’t take advantage of his hospitality.  They watched Cornelis Drebbel closely, almost as if mesmerized.

“At least have some bread and wine then,” Cal Hicks told them.

The amethyst ape uncovered a basket containing all manner of loaves, muffins, and cornbread.  Hicks insisted that the returned simians at least eat some bread.  He told them that being translocated had surely depleted their reserves.  Since Hicks wouldn’t take no for an answer, they drank and ate a little, but they looked much more interested in Cornelis and the two fairies.Absinthe tail up

Aubrieta and Absinthe cuddled near the laboratory building.  The Purple Fairy and the Green Fairy were both tiny now.  The alchemy that imploded the dome of fire also allowed Aubrieta to remain in her natural winged skunk-looking form.

Absinthe stretched and touched his green nose to the golden unicorn-like horn that was above Aubrieta’s single amber eye.  They both made muttering noises that sounded remarkably like giggles.  The erstwhile purple-people-eater she-dragon and Absinthe entwined their fluffy tails as they muttered and snorted softly to one another.

Cal Hicks looked at them wonderingly. 

“It’s a pity Viola isn’t here to witness that,” he murmured.

Cornelis gave a wicked grin.  He reached into nothingness and produced a tray with etched champagne glasses.  His arm disappeared up to his elbow as he reached into that magic space again and came back with a bottle of champagne.

“I wouldn’t pop the cork on that just yet,” I told him.

To remind them, I held out the measuring device Absinthe had insisted we take with us when we left the submarine.  It looked like a silver toothpick holder fashioned to have a gazebo with a crystal bird inside.  Tiny rods that resembled toothpicks protruded from the roof of the gazebo.  It measured how much we were being influenced by the amethyst world.  If we stayed too long, we might not be able to return home.

The words of the alchemist echoed in my mind.

“Many of the effects can be mitigated,” Cornelis had said, dismissing my concern.  “For instance, a little lavender hue is of no real concern.  But if all the toothpicks turn purple we are in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple,” he added pointing to the crystal ornament in the center of the gazebo.  “Well, then it is too late,” he’d finished with a wry twist of his mouth, which suggested that was a real possibility.

Victorian silver toothpick holder shaped as a gazebo with a bird inside

Wikimedia

The metering toothpicks had turned to a saturated lavender, and not a pastel lavender like they were the last time I looked.  Cal Hicks gasped, his face painted with concern.  Absinthe and Aubrieta fluttered over to me and inspected the device closely, muttering the while.  Cornelis puckered his lips in an expression that made me think he was about to sidestep something.

“As I’ve said, the lavender hue is of no real concern.  It could be from your doppelgängers being too near, or even from what we consumed at tea,” the alchemist said in an unconcerned tone, but he cast a sidelong glance at the device.

Several feet away, the small group of coverall clad apes conversed quietly but animatedly among themselves.  I got the feeling that the group had come to a decision.  A very large dark purple chimpanzee came forward.  I thought there was something reluctant in the way he moved.

“Begging your pardon, Mr. Hicks.  We heard the Lord of Alchemy mention doppelgängers.  When we—,” the chimpanzee began haltingly.  “Well, it’s Von, sir — Viola’s son.  When we were in that strange world Von met his double.  They both ended up dead, although none of us saw exactly how it happened,” the chimp said and hung his head.

“You saw nothing at all?” Hicks questioned, pushing for information.

The chimpanzee looked contrite, as if there was something he did not want to disclose. 

“Von had that family ring he stole from your son.  There was a man who seemed to recognize the ring.  He tricked Von into giving it to him and then ran off.  Von slipped off to track him.  We found them at a fine home that looked a lot like yours.  But when we got there they were both dead,” the chimp explained.

Signet ring, blue stone coat of arms

Lethia at Pixabay

“We took both bodies and hid them,” the chimpanzee added.  “We were afraid of what might happen if the residents of that world noticed the two were doubles.”

Cal Hicks made a tut-tut sound and slowly shook his head.  

“Von was a scoundrel and a petty thief,” Hicks commented.  “But he was Viola’s son.  Even after he stole the signet ring from my son Nate, I wouldn’t have wished him dead.”

I still wore the signet ring Cornelis removed from the hand of the cadaver we found in Calvin Hixon’s study.  Cornelis gave it to me so I could pass myself off as Copper’s aunt, and prevent the people from the orphanage taking her away.

The ring was much too big for my finger, but I had taken to wearing it on a ribbon hung around my neck.  I pulled it out from inside my shirt.  Removing the ribbon I handed the ring to Cal Hicks.  “Is this the ring?” I asked.

“Lady Felicity!  Why yes.  That’s the ring I had made for Nate.  How did you come to have it?” Hicks asked.

He tried to give the ring back to me.  I took the amethyst ape’s large hand in both of mine and closed his thick fingers around the ring.

“It clearly belongs to you, or your son.  I only borrowed it as a way of helping Copper.  We don’t need it anymore,” I said.

Excited chirping and snorting came from the two fairies.  Suddenly Aubrieta popped out of sight.  I heard an agitated screech from inside the laboratory.  Absinthe snorted and then disappeared.  An instant later both tiny fairies reappeared.  Between them they supported an intricately designed astrolabe.  Aubrieta chirped excitedly.  They flew over to Cornelis, and the alchemist gingerly took the apparatus from them.

“What is that thing?” Copper wanted to know.

“It’s an astrolabe,” Cornelis told her.  “They’re used by astronomers, navigators, and astrologers.  Its many uses include locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, determining local time given local latitude and vice versa, surveying, and triangulation,” he explained.

Copper looked blankly at Cornelis and blinked.  Absinthe gave an exasperated snort at the Dutchman, clearly dissatisfied with the appropriateness of his definition.  Absinthe fluttered onto Copper’s shoulder and nuzzled into her hair.

A very old Astrolabe

Astrolabe, Wikimedia

With a longsuffering sigh, the Dutchman revised his explanation.  “They’re used for solving problems relating to time and the position of the Sun and stars in the sky,” the alchemist clarified and Absinthe seemed satisfied that that explanation was suitable for Copper.

The girl looked at the Green Fairy in hopeful astonishment. 

“We can use this to find my Daddy?  Is that what you mean, Absinthe?” she asked the little fairy.

Aubrieta flew to them and hovered near her newly reconciled mate.  Both of the fairies chirped happily to Copper in what seemed to be affirming noises.

“Hopefully the astrolabe can help us get home as well,” I said wryly.

Then I held out the measuring device.  A third of the toothpicks had darkened from a saturated lavender to royal purple.

***

Real World Notes

Astrolabe.  Let’s look at related long-ago-tech.  Astrolabes, inclinometers, and sextants were all used in navigation.

A sextant is a tool for measuring the angular altitude of a star above the horizon.  The astrolabe predates the sextant.

An inclinometer, or clinometer, is an instrument used for measuring angles of slope (or tilt), elevation, or depression of an object with respect to gravity’s direction.

Astrolabes are elaborate, more capable relatives of inclinometers, which were used for navigation and for locating astronomical objects.  Historically, astrolabes were used by astronomers and navigators to measure the altitude above the horizon of a celestial body, day or night.  They were used from ancient times to the Renaissance.

***

So… the dead man in the study had an ape doppelgänger — and both seem to be a tad dishonest. The fairies may have found a device to find Copper’s daddy, but in which world is Calvin Hickson?  The amethyst world or our own — and how much time do they have to find him if he’s in the purple world?  Meanwhile the metering “toothpicks” deepen in purple hues.

What about those awful people from the orphanage?  What about the woman with a chimp — she lead one of the groups chasing our trio? And the ape who gestured “Daddy” in sign language?

There are many questions yet to be answered. So be at the port for the steampunk submarine next time.

Unfortunately, I had to close comments since I can’t be here.  Please don’t give up on me.  I love your comments.  I’ll open comments as soon as I’m able. 

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

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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 © 2015 and 2019 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. 

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 33

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Steampunk woman Noel Nichols Unsplash.png

Noel Nichols, Unsplash

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  Unfortunately I still haven’t gotten my agoraphobic self on the road.  Even without my “messed-up-ness,” a cross country relocation is a lot for one person, physically and mentally… and I’m no spring chicken… So, please forgive me for being scarce.  I miss visiting other blogs, and apologize that I haven’t been to see you.

The quite romantically random “things” that drove this chapter were from author Mary J McCoy-Dressel

Now, let’s get straight to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

A Rewind from Chapter 8 back when our trio escaped from fierce marauding chimpanzees. 

The chimp must have seen me looking back at him.  It started wreaking havoc in the branches of the tree, jumping up and down and screeching bloody murder.  His fellows in the distance screamed back excitedly.  It sounded like there were a lot of them.  I remembered nervously how strong they were.  I hoisted the carpet bag, putting its strap over my shoulder so I could take Copper’s hand.  I had to make sure we weren’t separated.

An earsplitting screech made me look over my shoulder.  However, the noise was not simian, rather it was a metallic sound.  Then I heard the shrill whistle of escaping steam.  The doors of the outbuilding where Cornelis was working burst open.  The road locomotive moved toward us with a loud clickity-clack clickity-clack.  As it increased speed, the clicks and clacks blurred together into a continuous roar.

Copper squeezed my hand.  I followed her gaze.  The chimpanzees had amassed at the shade tree.  They milled curiously as they watched the road locomotive.  One and then another would chatter to the others.  I had a bad feeling that they were working themselves up for an attack.

eyes forest aqua fantasy-pixabay

Pixabay

Chapter 31Viola, Cal’s housekeeper, echoed the amethyst ape’s sudden inhalation, putting a hand to her mouth.  “No.  You can’t mean that very small green creature is going out to confront the giant one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!” the violet chimpanzee housekeeper exclaimed.  “Why the poor little thing won’t last a minute.  Please! Can’t you call him back?”

Chapter 33.  Tiny Absinthe, the Green Fairy confronted the gigantic flying purple people eater.  The fire was so bright that it dazzled their eyes.  Felicity could only see glowing spots.  As she stood there blinking she felt someone rush past her.

“Lord of Alchemy!” Cal Hicks yelled as Cornelis used one of his tricks to run right through the door without opening it.

“Cornelis, no!” Felicity screamed.  “You’ll be burned to a crisp!”

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

33 — Courtship, Well-bred Man, Horseback Riding

Queen Anne Style House

Queen Anne Style House, Wikimedia altered image by Teagan

Cal Hicks yelled at me that it wasn’t safe.  His expression immediately became rueful and he apologized profusely for his tone.  Hicks truly was a well-bred man — or rather ape.  However, my feet had taken me to the door before my common sense caught up with them.

When I opened the door I saw Absinthe and the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater hurtling toward the ground.  The vast dome of fire continued to descend.

The tiny green skunk-looking fairy shrieked something at the purple people eater and grabbed onto the tip of her tail as they fell.  Absinthe used a trick like the one Cornelis sometimes used to send his voice.  Though I didn’t understand him, I clearly heard him snuffle and grunt to the Alchemist.

Both Cornelis and the dragon looked at Absinthe doubtfully.  Cornelis shrugged, and then held up the harmonic tuner and gave it one sharp ring.  Absinthe echoed the tone and the pitch of his voice merged with the harmonic sound. 

I could see a emerald aura stretching up from Cornelis to the Green Fairy.  Absinthe glowed verdantly and the intensity of the aura doubled.  I was sure they had somehow combined their powers.

Purple one horned dragon

Racheal Marie, Pixaby

The she-dragon looked at Absinthe as he clung to the tip of her tail.  She snorted a puff of purple smoke that briefly circled her one-eyed one-horned head.  Then she flicked her tail, launching the tiny Green Fairy even closer to the flames above.

Absinthe summersaulted as he soared pointing his bantam backside toward the dome of fire.  He lifted his fluffy tail and proceeded to produce one of his powerfully potent poots.  The forceful fairy fart flew against the flaming dome.

I had first-hand knowledge of the fairy’s formidable flatulence.  When startled or threatened, the Green Fairy produced a spray that was essentially a very highly concentrated form of the liquor, absinthe.  I was fearful to see him aim that fart at the flames.  I was certain it would only make the fire worse.

Cringing, I looked over at Cornelis.  The Alchemist drew a deep breath and then blew upward.  I couldn’t see his breath, but I remembered Cornelis telling me that his alchemy sometimes worked to exchange or transform one thing into another. 

Albert Maignan's "Green Muse" 1895

Albert Maignan’s “Green Muse” 1895

As I watched, the cloud of green vapor from Absinthe’s bottom expanded to the width of the flaming dome.  My arm went up reflexively to cover my face when the green vapor met the flames. 

A blinding flash and a loud crack of thunder shattered the air.  I braced myself for the blast of a huge explosion, but the opposite happened.  The alchemically charged green vapor caused the dome of flames to implode.

The immense Purple Fairy and the tiny Green Fairy settled to the ground, singed but unharmed.  I heard a long sustained grumble.  After a moment I realized that the sound was a low growl from the dragon.  Absinthe snorted and snuffled and the Purple Fairy continued to growl.  I gathered they had not yet settled their differences.

Glimmering green powder slowly drifted to the ground.  It settled on the two fairies, though they didn’t seem to realize it.  I stretched out my hand, watching as it dusted my palm.  Unexpectedly I felt content and happy.

“What is this shimmering powder?” I wanted to know.

Green LIghts Drew Collins_1466939721550-ad3ef4b9eeec

Drew Collins, Unsplash

“It’s residue,” Cornelis said with a shrug.  “It’s what was left of Absinthe’s defensive spray after it caused the flames to implode.  Have a care not to inhale the powder.  It’s not as potent as the concentrated absinthe vapors that Absinthe sprays, but it’s still intoxicating,” he cautioned.

Copper ran to the doorway, with Viola right behind.  The violet complected chimpanzee tried to grab the girl’s arm, but Copper was too quick.  Happily she stopped well away from the one horned cyclops Purple Fairy.

The sharp point of the dragon’s fat curved black onyx horn gleamed in the sunlight as the two fairies continued to make odd noises at one another.  However, they did seem calmer.  I thought I could see a bit of greenish dust on the black onyx horn.  I wondered if the powder had the same comforting effect on the fairies as it had on me.

“Don’t they like each other?” Copper asked.

“She’s his mate,” Cornelis said of the gigantic purple fae.  “They had a disagreement and both stormed off their separate ways.  Each was too stubborn to seek out the other.”

“You mean Absinthe was married to that big dragon?” Copper asked incredulously.

Copper - Victorian young girl

Copper

“Well, that would have been quite an unusual courtship, wouldn’t it?” Cornelis began.  “However, Aubrieta — that’s the Purple Fairy’s name — she wasn’t always a dragon.  I’m not sure how Aubrieta wandered into this place.  However, something about the combination of her particular magic and the nature of this amethyst world transformed her.  Of course, that situation made it even less likely for them to patch up their differences,” the Dutchman added.

Cal Hicks cautiously stepped out of the laboratory building.  Cornelis assured him that all was well.  He sketched a bow toward the two fairies, but did not approach them.

“Lord of Alchemy, you named the Purple Fairy Aubrieta?” the amethyst ape asked and his mouth twitched and puckered.  “Aubrieta is a tiny purple flower,” he whispered but failed to completely suppress a soft chuckle.  “No offense.  It’s just that I enjoy the irony of a one eyed one horned gigantic fairy being named for a tiny flower,” Cal said.

The mannerly ape composed himself and became businesslike. 

“My family surely heard the commotion down at the main house.  That fireball was probably visible for quite some distance as well,” Cal reminded us.  “Since the effects of being too near their doppelgängers made young Copper and Lady Felicity so ill, I’m sure there is great merit to your assertion that bringing any of the two together would be dangerous indeed.”

Victorian Ape Couple

“I’ll take care of that,” Viola called out as she came around the corner of the building leading an aubergine coated horse.  “Swift and I might be long in the tooth,” Viola began and patted the horse.  “If Nate and his wife and Penny are faster than us, we’ll still meet them on the trail.  I can turn them back, or prevent them trying to come in the first place, whichever the case may be,” she said as Cal helped her onto the horse.

We watched as Viola left on horseback.  However, our attention quickly transferred to the fairies.  Absinthe made a series of consolatory sounding chirps.  Then he fluttered up and perched on the curve of the dragon’s black onyx horn.  Aubrieta rolled her single eye upward at the tiny green fae.

I thought she was coughing.  A puff of smoke came from her snout.  Absinthe started chirping happily and flew backward several feet from Aubrieta’s face so she could see him better.  The dragon’s mouth curved and I realized she was not coughing, but laughing.

With an awkward pucker, Aubrieta spat out what looked like a purple grape.  She breathed lavender smoke onto the grape.  Absinthe chittered encouragingly.  The grape grew and grew to the size of a house.  It continued to expand until it finally exploded into a purple mist.

Aubrieta was suddenly transformed into a winged purple skunk-looking fae as tiny as Absinthe.  She still had only one amber eye.  In her dragon form she had a fat curved black horn, but it was changed to a golden unicorn-like horn.

As the purple fog settled, dozens of big chimpanzees could be seen.  They had the coloring of our home, not the hues of the amethyst world.

First one or two, then most of the chimps realized their nakedness.  Clearly embarrassed, they tried to cover themselves and hide.  However, a few stood boldly and cheered that they had returned home.  When they saw the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater, they too scattered and ran away.

“Are those…?” I began but the power of speech left me.

“Those naughty chimps!” Copper exclaimed.

Cornelis Drebbel folded his arms across his chest in a self-satisfied posture.  “Aubrieta, the purple people eater, didn’t devour the chimps, or rather the folk of this place who were lost at the abandoned chapel we saw on the way here,” Cornelis explained.  “However, she was angry at the way she had been treated here, and she used her power to banish them.  They of course ended up in our world.”

“So the chimp who was gesticulating what looked like sign language for Daddy—” I started to ask a question but the Dutchman finished my sentence.

“That clever chimp had figured out that Calvin Hixon, Copper’s father in our world, was the doppelgänger of Cal Hicks here,” Cornelis said with a nod.

Copper moved to the amethyst ape and took his hand.  “Can you help us find my Daddy?” she asked him with wide imploring eyes.

Portuguese Silver Toothpick HolderI thought Cal would melt on the spot.  He doubtless would do anything possible to help the girl who was so much like his own daughter.  The only question was — could he.

As the chimps fled into the distance I saw that their fur was already turning various shades of purple.  That reminded me of the device that looked like a silver toothpick holder.  It was shaped like a little gazebo with a domed roof supported by columns.  Within was a crystal bird with wings outstretched.  Tiny holes in the rounded roof held toothpicks.

It was a measuring device; if the toothpicks started to turn lavender, it was a warning that we had been in the amethyst world too long.  If all the toothpicks turned purple we were in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple, it would be too late.

I quickly took the detector out of the Dutchman’s bag so I could examine it. 

The toothpicks were lavender!

***

Now that the army of naughty chimps has returned to their amethyst world, how does that effect the search for Copper’s missing father?  However, the meter device that detects the danger level of their exposure to that world has begun to turn lavender — a warning sign.  Will our trio be trapped forever in the strange land where everything is purple?

Please forgive me if I am not able to get to comments.  I love hearing from you.  It’s just that it’s a difficult time for me.  I value your support more than you can imagine. Between my back and my brain, I don’t know which is the most messed-up.  My back claims to be the winner of that contest, each time I carry something heavy (for me) up or down all these stairs!

I know it’s impossible to understand my problem.  I hoped that I could be not just on the road, but already there, long before now

Imagine sitting down in the driver’s seat of your car. Your sinuses are stuffy, but after a moment you can hardly breathe at all. Then your vision starts to blur, worse and worse until you cannot see at all.

Imagine the strong memory of falling on ice and being injured in a relatively new city, needing surgery, but not finding anyone who would agree to be the “responsible adult” that the hospital required before doing that surgery. 

Imagine being in your car, and a turn takes you somewhere you didn’t quite expect.  Your breathing gets shallow — and you remember all those things things above. Even though you know the way home, you wonder if you will get there before the blurred vision comes back.

Alone. Hurt. Panicked. Blind.  That’s what I face.  And that is why your encouragement is so valued. 🙂  

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

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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 © 2015 and 2019 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. 

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 32

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Steampunk eye unsplasy CAWT

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  Right now, I’m sitting in the floor, surrounded by boxes, trying to lasso all the phone calls I need to make, and accounts that need address changes, and… I can see that it is more than I can do in the next three days, when I combine it with the other details of moving house. 

Of course Murphy’s Law is in full force and the insurance agent screwed up something, getting my insurance cancelled and so getting me in trouble with the mortgage company for my long awaited home.

I thought I would hit the 2,000 mile highway this weekend, but there is snow in my weather forecast again.  My agoraphobic self is teetering on the edge of the very tall cliff of a big freak-out.  That said, as much as my spirit needs your comments, I had to close them today, because I can’t answer them and handle the mountain of moving tasks that is about to tumble down onto my head.  

So, let’s get straight to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 30.  Cal Hicks, the ape version of Calvin Hixon, showed our heroes to the laboratory of the purple world’s Cornelis Drebbel.  Just before they went inside, the bloodcurdling hunting call of the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater was heard.  They ran to the laboratory to hide.

Chapter 31Viola, Cal’s housekeeper, echoed the amethyst ape’s sudden inhalation, putting a hand to her mouth.  “No.  You can’t mean that very small green creature is going out to confront the giant one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!” the violet chimpanzee housekeeper exclaimed.  “Why the poor little thing won’t last a minute.  Please! Can’t you call him back?”

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

32 — Silver Locket, Green Chartreuse, Salmon Coulibiac

purple Steampunk woman drawing_Pixabay

Pixabay (image altered)

Cornelis Drebbel wore a grave expression as Absinthe popped off to confront the Purple Fairy — also known as the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater.  Our ape host and his housekeeper continued to murmur worriedly about the safety of the tiny Green Fairy.

I looked at the Dutchman.  His mouth twitched.  Then he smirked.  As I drew a breath to ask him what the devil he was thinking, Cornelis burst out laughing.  What preposterous behavior!  I was speechless, my question utterly forgotten.

Viola clutched a silver locket suspended from a chain around her neck.  A tear from her good eye trickled down her cheek.  She looked like she might swoon again.  Cal Hicks patted her shoulder, trying to comfort the violet chimpanzee.

She was so distraught that I said the first thing that came to my mind, meaning to distract her. 

“What’s that pretty thing you have there?” I asked, meaning the locket she held tightly.

Viola sniffled and nodded as if she acknowledged the fact that she should compose herself.  Then she opened the locket.  Within was a narrow plait of reddish purple hair.

Hair brooch

Example of Victorian hair art

“It belonged to my son.  He perished that day,” she explained softly and touched the corner of her glass eye.  “I wasn’t able to protect him!” she added on a wail.  “Oh that lovely fluffy green fae, so unique and beautiful.  And he’s so noble too,” she said with a glare at Cornelis who was still chuckling.

I was stunned that the alchemist would laugh when Absinthe had left in such a state.  Could the Green Fairy really mean to sacrifice himself, as Viola and Cal assumed?

Cal Hicks cleared his throat.  A parade of expressions marched across the amethyst ape’s face.  He looked confused, then appalled, and then scandalized before his features turned again to a perplexed expression.

“Lord of Alchemy,” the ape began but stopped to clear his throat again.  “Is the Green Fae so powerful that you have no concern for his safety?” Cal asked sincerely.  “Even against the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater?”

Green fairy skunk

Absinthe the Green Fairy, by Teagan R. Geneviene

“The little fellow’s poots are perniciously powerful!” Cornelis exclaimed with delight, but no one laughed.  “Absinthe is—” Cornelis paused as if he chose his words carefully.  “Absinthe has encountered the Purple Fairy before.  He’s well aware of the creature’s capabilities.”

“That would explain why the poor little thing seemed so sad!” Viola exclaimed in a sarcastic and irate tone before sinking back into her usually reserved manner.

The Dutchman laughed again, but he finally seemed to grasp how truly dismayed Cal and Viola were.  His mouth twisted any number of ways as he fought unsuccessfully to contain his mirth.  I thought he was about to explain his incomprehensible attitude.  However, he became serious immediately when he turned to see the reason for a loud behhh from the lavender alpine goat.

Copper had said she wasn’t feeling well, and neither was I.  Cornelis said it was the physical effect of our doppelgängers being too close.  In the scant moment since the girl sat down on the floor, she had completely lost consciousness.  The lavender goat made a sound that was very similar to a baby’s cry as she nuzzled Copper’s bright new-penny colored hair.

I sank to the floor beside Copper.  The truth is I meant to kneel beside the girl, but I was in a poor state myself.  Once my body started downward, I had little control over it.  I put my hand to Copper’s forehead.  However, she seemed neither warm nor cold.  Abruptly I realized that we both had the same condition, and perhaps we also had the same temperature, whatever that was.  My thinking was foggy and I found it irritating to try and reason out the situation.Copper pensive

I put my fingers to Copper’s wrist, feeling her pulse.  It was very slow.  Cornelis deduced something with a single glance.  The alchemist vanished with a sharp pop, but he reappeared almost immediately.

He knelt down beside Copper.  Cornelis produced several crystal shot glasses and a bottle of liquor.  He poured green liquid into three of the shot glasses, handing two of them to Cal Hicks and Viola.

“Go ahead,” the Dutchman encouraged them.  “Drink up.  It will set you straight — fortify your nerves,” he added and they obediently drank.

He offered me the third glass.  I felt woozier by the minute.  Adding the effects of alcohol seemed like a bad idea. 

“What is it?” I inquired.

Green Chartreuse,” he supplied the name of the liquor.  “Um, maybe you’re right,” Cornelis muttered as if he knew what was on my mind, and then he upended the shot glass of green spirits himself.

Green Chartreuse“Ah yes…” Cornelis sighed.  “That’s better.”

The alchemist asked Cal Hicks for the ape’s harmonic tuner.  It was similar to the one Copper cherished as a gift from her father, except Cal’s tuner didn’t have three mystic monkeys postured to see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.  Rather it had three mystic humans in the poses.

Cal Hicks wore a worried but excited expression as he handed the alchemist the mystic humans tuner.  Cornelis examined the ape’s tuner and a bemused expression briefly came to his face.  He poured another glass of the Green Chartreuse.  Then he held the device over the liquor and delicately flicked the harmonic tuner with his fingernail.

The tuner produced a very quiet sound that steadily grew in volume and resonance.  The glass of Chartreuse vibrated until the tone from the crystal shifted to match the tone from the harmonic tuner.  I saw a green aura surround the glass.

Giving my head a sharp shake to clear it, I nearly fell over.  Cornelis glanced at me briefly, still intent on the glass of green liquor.  The vibration stopped as the tone dissipated.  Cornelis took a spoon from his jacket pocket.

I blinked hard, thinking something was wrong with my vision — after all, the effects of my amethyst world double being nearby wreaked havoc with all my senses.  I started to think the green aura was actually the color of the sound produced by the tuner!  It seems strange to say, but I could also taste the sound.  It was like coarsely ground raw sugar.

Felicity feeling the effect of her double being nearby

Jamie Murray as Felicity

The alchemist started to speak to me but twisted his mouth in a derisive expression. 

“Never mind,” he commented though he hadn’t said anything else to me.  “Your hands won’t be steady.  Cal, could you get Copper sitting up and help me get two spoonsful of this into her?” he asked, meaning the alchemically treated Chartreuse.

“I’ll do it,” Voila insisted, following Cal Hicks to the girl.  “Sometimes a small medicinal dose of spirits can benefit a child.”

The alchemist’s eyes were still on the green liquid when he replied to Viola. 

“It is liquor no longer.  The vibrations from the harmonic tuner have transformed the green Chartreuse,” Cornelis informed us.

In a moment Copper was resting unconscious in Viola’s lap as Cal held her mouth open.  Faster than humanly possible, Cornelis had two spoons of the green liquid in her mouth.  Viola pushed the girl’s mouth close, and gently stroked Copper’s throat, easing the liquid down and into her system.

“Felicity, drink the rest of it,” Cornelis instructed, handing me the shot glass of special Chartreuse.

I’ve described the effect of my doppelgänger being too near as a combination of lightheadedness and an odd hollow feeling at my heart.  My hands really were shaking, that hadn’t just been Cornelis taking a jab at me.  I tried not to spill the green liquid down my chest — I had only packed one other shirt.

Splashing green liquid

Pixabay

I downed the contents of the crystal shot glass.  At first I felt nothing from it.  I looked at Copper.  She was still unmoving in Viola’s care.  After a moment I saw the girl’s hand move.  However, I looked away when something suddenly surged up inside me.  The hollow feeling at my heart seemed to stretch, becoming bigger and longer until it was pulled outside of me.  I staggered and found myself prostrate on the floor.

Yet within seconds my head felt clear.  The hollowness was gone and I felt solid, complete inside.  I turned to see Copper.  The girl was sitting up petting the lavender goat.

“Copper, thank goodness,” I murmured.  “How are you feeling?” I asked.

She looked at me as if she was about to say something that surprised her. 

“I know it hasn’t been long since we had that very nice tea, but I’m hungry,” she said emphatically.

My stomach growled as if in answer and I realized that I was famished too.  Cornelis smirked and raised one bushy blonde eyebrow at the sound from my tummy. 

“It’s a side effect of that particular alchemy.  Everything you’ve eaten today was consumed by the spell,” he informed.

Viola smiled broadly.  She may have been helpless to cure our condition a moment before, but she knew how to remedy an empty stomach.

“I have a lovely salmon coulibiac waiting.  We can have dinner early,” the violet chimpanzee said, sounding very pleased with herself.

Everyone smiled and laughed.  However, the moment of relief was cut short.

A thundering roar split the air.  The sound was so loud that the laboratory building shook.  Dust motes rained down from the high dome.  Whatever made that sound had to be tremendous.

Magic Flame unsplash

Unsplash

A broad gout of flames shot past the long row of windows, scorching the ground in front of the laboratory.  I knew it wasn’t safe, but I couldn’t stop myself from running to the windows.  Where the sky had previously been dotted with pastel lavender clouds, now the beast that made that resounding roar took up my field of vision.

For just an instant I thought I saw a sun, but the sun had a black slit in the center.  A purple cover blinked down and I gasped.  It was a golden eye — a single eye.  Its proximity to the window was so close that when the great beast snorted the window shook.  It gave another contemptuous snort as it backed up enough for me to see the face of the cyclops-looking creature.  On its forehead, above that eye was a fat curved onyx horn.

Flapping broad wings, the creature rose heavenward.  The entire sky seemed to be occupied by an immense one eyed one horned purple dragon.

“A dragon?” I gasped.

“It’s the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater,” Viola said with a shudder.

A tiny green blur shot up thirty feet from the ground.  Absinthe.  The Green Fairy looked too small to even be a snack for the titanic purple dragon.

 

baby skunk 2

WikiMedia Commons

Although I couldn’t explain what it was about Absinthe that made me believe it was so, he still seemed to be resigned to his fate.  The tiny fairy was fatalistically unafraid.

I couldn’t imagine what good it would do for little Absinthe to confront the giant purple fairy.  I knew he was able, along with Cornelis, to power the submarine.  I had seen him do small magic, like levitating things and making a shield around Copper when the submarine spun out of control.  However, I couldn’t imagine how he could hope to fight a huge dragon.

Absinthe must have used some kind of magic to boost his volume, because the little sounds he typically made were easily audible to us inside the laboratory.  He shrieked at the dragon in a forceful tone.  The beast roared, and its breath blew the Green Fairy back quite a distance.

In a green streak, Absinthe zipped back closer than before to the purple dragon.  The chirping from Absinthe took on a consolatory tone.  For a moment I thought he was negotiating.  A contained rumble came from inside the dragon and I feared it was about to produce another gout of flame.  Then I realized it was more of a low growl of anger.

Something in the tones of the two fairies made me believe they knew one another quite well, despite one being tiny and green and the other being huge and purple — and that there was some sort of bad blood between the two.  That was even worse.  The Green Fairy facing the gigantic purple people eater was horrible, but for the tiny skunk-looking fae to contend with a tremendous creature that was angry with him — that was much worse.

Purple one horned dragon

Racheal Marie, Pixaby

“They know each other!” I exclaimed.

Cornelis nodded his head. I was aghast to see that the Dutchman was once again holding back his laughter. 

“Oh yes,” Cornelis said, drawing out the words.  “He knows her alright.”

To my consternation, the alchemist even snorted. 

“Cornelis Drebbel!” I yelled despite myself.  “How can you be so callous?  Absinthe has been your friend for centuries!” I cried, but my volume dwindled when I realized there was more to what Cornelis said.

“Wait, wait,” I said, backtracking.  “You said she?  She!  Do you mean to say that is a… a she-purple people eater?” I demanded astounded.

Cornelis twisted his mouth to one side and raised both of his bushy eyebrows. 

Heav’n has no rage, like love to hatred turn’d.  Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorn’d,” he quoted Shakespeare.

The purple people eater flapped her broad wings and arched her back, fiercely roaring heavenward.  Then she belched an enormous ball of fire that spread out above her and Absinthe like a lethal flaming dome.  Suddenly, both Absinthe and the purple fairy dropped from the sky, the burning dome hurtling downward, ever closer to them.

The fire was so bright that it dazzled my eyes.  I could only see glowing spots.  As I stood there blinking I felt someone rush past me.

“Lord of Alchemy!” Call Hicks yelled as Cornelis used one of his tricks to run right through the door without opening it.

“Cornelis, no!” I screamed.  “You’ll be burned to a crisp!”

Fires Bi-Colored jacob-kiesow-349451

Jacob Kiesow, Unsplash

***

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q_olybarxU

Video:  Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls Of Fire.AVI

***

Real World Notes

Green Chartreuse.  This yellow-green liqueur was made by the Carthusian Monks beginning in 1737.  Legend says that only three monks know the recipe at any given time.

Research indicates that the monks made it according to the instructions set out in a manuscript given to them by François Annibal d’Estrées, all the way back in 1605.  The liqueur was named for the monks’ Grande Chartreuse monastery, which is located in the Chartreuse Mountains near Grenoble in France.

Chartreuse gets its distinct taste from flowery herbs and roots.  Mix it with champagne to give your bubbles a green glow and earthy undertones.

Victorian Vernacular

CHANGE Dash my wig Exclamation of dismay.  “Dash my wig!  Nothing good will come of that.”

One and a peppermint drop:  When a person has only one eye.

Orf chump:  No appetite.

***

Will Cornelis perish along with tiny Absinthe and the one eyed purple dragon?  Be at the port when the steampunk submarine docks next time, and find out! 

Mega hugs!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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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 © 2015 and 2019 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.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 31

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Copper promo USS Razorback Torpedo rm Pixabay

Welcome to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!

When I wrote this episode back in 2015, I was working on a novel called The Guitar Mancer.  Later I even tried to serialize it here as a means of finishing it. The feedback of readers back then brought an unexpected change to the story.  It was almost complete, but with my job, I still wasn’t able to write “the end.” 

Special thanks to Lavinia Ross, who I think loves that story more than anyone else does. “Time keeps rolling on,” as she sings in one of her songs, yet she continues to encourage me to finish that novel.  Hopefully, once I get moved and settled into my new digs, I will do that soon.  Here’s a beautiful sample of Lavinia’s music.

Yes indeed, time keeps rolling on, and yes, I said I’m finally moving.  Can one woman, alone, except for a cat, and with severe agoraphobia manage to relocate across 2,000 miles?  It sounds like a comedy to some.  However, I assure you that for me, it’s a horror story.

Onward…   The three things that propelled the #steampunk submarine in this episode are from an author who is a wonderful supporter of this blog and of my writing — Olga Núñez Miret.  She’s multi-talented, and one of those talents is picking terrific “things.”

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 29.   Felicity figured out at least part of the mystery of the “trained” chimpanzees, but we still don’t know who was using them. 

Chapter 30Cal Hicks, the ape version of Calvin Hixon, showed our heroes to the laboratory of the purple world’s Cornelis Drebbel.  Just before they went inside, the bloodcurdling hunting call of the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater was heard.  They ran to the laboratory to hide.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

31 — Glass Eye, Silver Vinaigrette, Sextant

Copper pensive

Copper

Her usually rosy cheeks were pale.

“I feel orf chump,” Copper said softly. 

She must have gotten that ridiculous phrase from Cornelis.  I gave the Dutchman a threatening look for teaching the child slang.

The one eyed one horned flying purple people eater roared a terrible screech a moment before, though the creature was not within our sight.  I thought all the excitement must be too much for the girl.  Copper, Corneils, Cal Hicks, and I hurriedly hid from the beast in the huge laboratory that belonged to the amethyst world’s duplicate of Cornelis Drebbel.

Copper got down from the lavender alpine goat that had playfully carried her into the building.  She really did seem unsteady.  Absinthe had been concerned about us consuming the water of this strange place.  I wondered if something she ate or drank at tea disagreed with her.

Frantic cries from outside caused Cal Hicks to dash to the door.  When he opened the door, the violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper rushed inside.  She was in a terrible state, having heard the roar of the flying beast.  She sank to a stool that was nearby.

“Viola!  Whatever brings you out here?  Were you hurt?  Did you see the beast?” Cal Hicks asked in a single breath.

The housekeeper shook violently.  I stooped down to see if she was hurt or unwell.  Cornelis looked over my shoulder at her.  The alchemist seemed to think she was unharmed.  He made a flirtatious comment and wriggled his bushy eyebrows.  She gave a tittering laugh, seeming to recover herself.

Well dash my wig,” Cornelis murmured so that only I could hear.  “She’s got one and a peppermint drop.”

“What?” I began, annoyed by the Dutchman’s excessive use of slang.

Violet purple eye

Originally “My Blue Heaven” by Rob Goldstein. (I couldn’t resist making it purple for this story.)

Then I noticed that she had a glass eye.  Of course, the eye was purple.  It was also the first time I realized that she must be elderly.  There were broad strands of pale lavender in her reddish-purple hair.  It was not until that moment that it occurred to me that those pastel streaks would be the same as gray hair in our world.

Cal Hicks turned to us and described how the purple people eater had attacked the village where Viola grew up.  She had been among the casualties.  He discretely indicated that her eye had been one of her wounds.  It was no wonder just hearing the creature frightened her to such an extent.

The amethyst ape seemed to know his way around the laboratory quite well.  I thought he must have worked closely with the purple version of Cornelis Drebbel.  He went directly to a table that held many intriguing devices.  Cal opened a drawer and removed an intricately designed silver vinaigrette.  An invigorating scent drifted over to me when he took the vinaigrette to Viola.  The aroma seemed to revive her.

Smelling salts?” I inquired.  

“No, not precisely.  Rather than ammonium, it’s a restorative herb,” Cal explained.

Assured that Viola was only over-excited and not injured, I stood up again.  As I moved, I felt suddenly lightheaded.  There was also an odd hollow feeling at my heart.  My ears were ringing.  I closed my eyes, placed my hand to my solar plexus and took deep breaths.  When I looked up, I noticed Copper sitting on the floor, the lavender goat nuzzling at her hair affectionately.

silver vinaigrette

A silver vinaigrette

I tottered a little as I stood.  Viola handed me the vinaigrette and patted my arm in a grandmotherly way, but I wasn’t experiencing the vapors as she had.  Whatever I was experiencing, it was not from the emotional response that upset the housekeeper.  She nodded, encouraging me to inhale the scent.  I found that it actually did help.  I took it over to Copper, suspecting that whatever had overcome me was also the cause of her discomfort.  

“Viola, you must have run to catch up with us,” Cal said.  “Whatever was so important?”

“It’s the family.  They’ve returned.  I wanted to make sure they got to meet your extraordinary guests, but I wanted it to be a surprise for them.  So, I hurried here, only telling them that I was going to fetch you,” Viola explained.  “Then I heard that horrid beast.  I’ll never forget that awful day!” she cried, tears leaking from her good eye.  “I ran the rest of the way, fearing for your safety — for all of you.”

When Viola uttered the word “family” Cornelis paled.  He looked from me to Copper. 

“You’re not feeling well,” he said and it was a statement not a question.  “They are too close,” he muttered worriedly.

“Who do you mean?” I asked unsteadily.

The dizziness was making it hard for me to think.

“Your doppelgängers!  They are too close.  That’s why you feel ill.  A hollow feeling?  Dizzy, ears ringing?  Am I right?” Cornelis demanded and I nodded apprehensively.  “You must not get any closer to your doubles from this world!” he said, including both Copper and me.

green skunk palm

At the excitable tones from Cornelis, Absinthe poked his head up from the alchemist’s jacket pocket.  The tiny fairy stretched his wings and then fluttered to a long worktable that was covered with charts, maps and scientific looking implements.  The Green Fairy inspected the maps, and drawings carefully.  He was just as thorough when he began to examine the contrivances scattered across the table.

He was also remarkably silent.  Though I’d never heard him utter an actual word, the tiny skunk-looking fairy usually muttered, chirped, or grunted most of the time — especially if he was intrigued by something.  However, Absinthe seemed quite serious as he investigated the strange implements on the long table.

He stopped abruptly when he came to a gleaming brass sextant.  It was beautifully decorated with amethyst cabochons.  The navigation instrument was supported by two exquisitely formed gold mermen.  The apparatus sat on a wooden base of purple streaked mahogany. 

Absinthe checked the sextant closely, finally muttering very quietly.  However, he still didn’t seem to be himself.  For a moment I wondered if he had a doppelgänger nearby as well.  Then the Green Fairy sighed resignedly.  He looked up at Cornelis and chirped something that the alchemist appeared to understand.  They exchanged a sad look.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

The Dutchman moved to examine the sextant.  He muttered in much the same manner as Absinthe.  Finally he nodded. 

“Yes.  This should do the trick,” Cornelis said with a decisive nod.

“Can you take care of the err… the Purple Fairy?” Cornelis asked the tiny Green Fairy, and Absinthe nodded, again with that sad resigned attitude.

The grave tone in the alchemist’s voice puzzled me.  I wondered what the skunk-looking creature would do.  Then with a sharp pop Absinthe disappeared.

“What Purple Fairy?” I wanted to know. 

The amethyst ape seemed to grasp the fact that was eluding my dizzy noggin.  I struggled to catch up to their thinking, but I felt so woozy.  I vaguely remembered the amethyst ape calling the purple people eater a fae — a fairy.

“Oh, you don’t mean?” Cal Hicks gasped with a horrified expression.

Viola echoed Cal’s sudden inhalation, putting a hand to her mouth.  “No.  You can’t mean that very small green creature is going out to confront the giant one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!” the violet chimpanzee housekeeper exclaimed.  “Why the poor little thing won’t last a minute.  Please! Can’t you call him back?”

Purple one horned dragon

Racheal Marie, Pixaby

***

Real World Notes

Vinaigrette.  If one wasn’t paying attention, a kind of salad dressing might have been expected.  No, this is vinaigrette.  That is a small container used for holding various aromatic substances, usually dissolved in vinegar.  Think of it as a decorative holder for smelling salts.  A vinaigrette often took the form of a tiny hinged silver box.  A little piece of sponge, soaked in the vinegar mixture, was contained beneath a grill or perforated cover.

Victorian Vernacular

Dash my wig Exclamation of dismay.  “Dash my wig!  Nothing good will come of that.”

One and a peppermint drop:  When a person has only one eye.

Orf chump:  No appetite.

***

 So, the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater is actually a fairy!  Could tiny Absinthe really intend to confront the gigantic beast?  Be at the steampunk submarine port next time, to find out what happens when Chartreuse, and Salmon Koulibiac drive the chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!  

My chuckaboos, it’s sure to be an adventure, and I’m not trying to sell you a dog! 

***

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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 © 2015 and 2018 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.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 30

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Saturday Evening Post, 1937. Delivery boy ringing doorbell, waits with man in formal attire (and top hat) who has his head through a cut out in a big Valentine card

Saturday Evening Post, 1937

Happy Valentine’s Day, my chuckaboos!

I know this image is not from the right era, but the dashing man looking all afternoonified, made me think of something Cornelis might do.  I think Valentine’s Day around him would be positively naty narking.

Back in 2015, Christoph Fischer sent the “things” for this chapter.  Christoph is a blogger, reviewer, and the author of many compelling novels.   I’m currently reading “The Body in the Snow,” and I’m having a great time.  If you asked Christoph to let you see a photo of his Valentine, he might show you something like this…

4 Labradoodle puppies

Christoph’s Labradoodle Puppies

It’s time for Hidebound Hump Day!  If there are Valentines where our heroes are, then they are surely in shades of violet and lavender.  

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 28  Our bricky friends met a very gentlemanly, large, chimpanzee. He also happened to be dressed in a suit and hat.  Oh, and he was undeniably purple.  

Chapter 29   Felicity figured out at least part of the mystery of the “trained” chimpanzees, but we still don’t know who was using them.  Can Cal Hicks, the ape version of Calvin Hixon, somehow help our trio reach Copper’s real daddy?  Felicity also saw a portrait of primate doubles of herself and Ignatius Belle, and it caused her to ponder her capricious feelings about the handsome innkeeper.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

30 — Babylon, Toothpick, Alpine

Harper's Bazar, March 1896, Victorian woman riding bicycle with red heart design background

Harper’s Bazar, March 1896

Cornelis Drebbel had that look in his eyes — the twinkle-eyed look that never failed to worry me.  That expression would make you think he came from ancient Babylon — powerful, affluent, and downright sinful.  However, he actually wasn’t born until 1572.  I knew that expression meant he thought he was being clever.

Young Copper was a regular church bell.  While the amethyst ape, Cal Hicks, was distracted by Copper’s animated conversation, the alchemist cast a considering gaze his way.

“What are you up to Cornelis Drebbel?” I narrowed my eyes and whispered in a warning tone.

“It’s important that we get back to our own world, don’t you think?” he asked drolly.  “If there was a version of myself here, then that me would have had a laboratory or a workshop of some sort.  I suspect this ape knows where it is.  But how to get him to disclose the information…” the Dutchman pondered.

“Why not just ask him?” I sputtered in exasperation.  “There needn’t be any subterfuge.  He already believes you are, well… you.”

Cornelus Drebble With Eclipse and Sundown rev

Rob Goldsteins vision of Cornelis Drebbel inside his submarine

The Dutchman’s mouth twisted to one side.

“Oh, I suppose you’re right.  You do have a way of taking the fun out of things, Felicity,” he said drolly.

“Mr. Hicks,” I began.

“Dear one, please do call me Cal,” he said in a fatherly tone and added a little bow.

That felt a little too much like something a gal-sneaker would say, but I smiled and nodded agreeably, determined to give our host the benefit of the doubt.

“Would it be possible for you to show us to the Lord of Alchemy’s laboratory?  Cornelis doesn’t like to admit to having lost so much of his memory — temporary though it may be.  I think being amongst his things would help him remember.  Besides, he dotes on this submarine and would love to repair it,” I said.

The amethyst ape was eager to comply.  I gave Cornelis a sidelong look.

“See,” I told the Dutchman.  “Simple as that.”

Surprisingly, Absinthe seemed to object.  He fluttered around the alchemist’s head, chirping excitedly.  Remembering how impossibly potent one of his poots could be, it made me nervous to see the Green Fairy so agitated.

“Calm down old boy,” Cornelis said soothingly to Absinthe.  “Everything will be fine.  If I so much as sense something a hair out of the ordinary, I’ll come back here straight away.”

Green fairy skunk

Absinthe, the Green Fairy, by Teagan

At the words “out of the ordinary” the tiny skunk-like fairy shrieked.  I had to agree.  Everything in this world was out of the ordinary.

As we exited the submarine, Absinthe followed.  He seemed torn between flying protectively around Copper and Cornelis.  The girl turned back and gasped delightedly.

“Look at the submarine!” Copper cried.  “Isn’t it beginning to turn purple?”

Absinthe zipped through the air and quickly circled the submarine.  He came back, with nervous sounding chirping.  He hovered six inches away from the alchemist’s nose, looking quite excitable.  Cornelis looked from Absinthe to the submarine.

“It’s becoming part of the amethyst world,” Copper said in awe.  “If we stay will we turn purple too?” she asked in a way that made it clear she found the prospect of such a transformation delightful.

“We might at that,” Cornelis answered in a wry voice.

Finding the Lost De Milo (2)

Finding the Lost De Milo, by Rob Goldstein

I thought he had gone to hide when Absinthe darted back into the submarine.  However, a moment later he emerged with a seabag floating behind him.  The tiny fairy seemed to be handier with levitation than Cornelis.  Absinthe continued to levitate the bag until he reached me.  Then he unceremoniously dropped the bag at my feet.

The seabag came open and out rolled a frightful looking head.  I gasped and nearly screamed, but closer inspection showed it to be some kind of hideous mask.  It had two big round goggle eyes and a long snout that ended at a flat circle and a leather strap to hold it to the wearer’s head.

Absinthe levitated the mask over to Copper.  She was quick to understand that he meant her to wear it if needed.  When I saw that the bag also contained several bottles, I thought the Green Fairy was still concerned about this strange environment.  When we first arrived, he had given us bottled water; fearing things of this world would be harmful to us if consumed.

gas mask

As I returned the bottles to the bag, I discovered a charming silver toothpick holder.  It was shaped like a little gazebo with a domed roof supported by columns.  Within was a crystal bird with wings outstretched.  Tiny holes in the rounded roof held toothpicks.

“Why ever would he think we’d need toothpicks?” I murmured, bemused.

Cornelis suddenly appeared at my elbow.  He knew it annoyed me when he did that.  It never failed to be disquieting, and it always entertained him to startle me.  He smirked.

“Absinthe isn’t far off the mark,” Cornelis whispered.  “There is a very real danger that we could become trapped here.  However, we would have to be here for a very long time before that potential became a reality.  This is a measuring device,” he explained, pointing at the toothpick holder.  “If the toothpicks begin to turn purple, it is a warning.”

Seeing my widening eyes, he was quick to elaborate.

“Many of the effects can be mitigated,” he waived away my concern.  “For instance, a little lavender hue is of no real concern.  But if all the toothpicks turn purple, then we are in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple,” he added pointing to the crystal ornament in the center of the gazebo.  “Well, then it is too late,” he finished with a wry twist of his mouth, which suggested that was a real possibility.

The Green Fairy was still agitated, but the purplish color of the undersea vessel seemed to have changed the cause of his worry.  Absinthe fluttered over to Cal Hicks and chirped once.  The ape chuckled, still marveling at the tiny fairy.

 

Reading Ape purple

Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape

“You are the most delightful shade of green,” he said in a mystified tone.

“He wants you to lead us,” Copper translated.

“Ah, so he does!  This way then,” directed the purple primate as he adjusted his bowler hat and pointed with his amethyst topped walking stick.

After about fifteen minutes of walking we reached a clearing.  In its center was a sprawling building.  It was only one story tall, except for a broad, towering dome in the center.  Cornelis gazed at the facility in childlike wonder.

The sound of clamoring hooves and the clanking of a bell made everyone turn.  A lavender Alpine goat ran out of the building and barreled into Cornelis.  The Dutchman landed on his back with a thud.  The goat sniffed happily at his face.  She made the oddest warbling behh sound.

I had become accustomed to the amethyst ape’s warmhearted chuckle.  So, I was surprised to hear him laugh uproariously.  He recovered himself somewhat and turned to me to explain.

“The Lord of Alchemy allowed us to keep a herd of milk goats behind his laboratory.  There was something about the grass there that improved their milk greatly.  I’ve always pondered if that was because this grass has a greenish tone,” Cal Hicks told me, but then shook his head.

“But I digress again,” he apologized.  “Cornelis Drebbel made a pet of this particular goat.  However, I always told him that it was she who thought he was the pet.  She’s quite possessive of him.”

1920s man w-goats

Wikimedia commons, circa 1920. (Altered by Teagan)

Cornelis clamored to his feet.  The lavender goat gently head-butted the Dutchman and nearly knocked him over again.  She nibbled at his coat sleeve and pant legs, ignoring his attempts to brush her away.  From time to time she uttered that strange warbling behh sound.  It really was funny, and I couldn’t help laughing.

Copper had no compunction about offending anyone.  She wrapped her arms around the goat’s neck, hugging the animal.  The girl laughed so hard she toppled over.  Fortunately, the goat seemed to take to her.  The next thing I knew, the large goat had maneuvered Copper onto her back.  Copper sat astride the goat as if she was about to take the animal for a gallop.  The oddest part was that it looked perfectly natural.

All the laughter was abruptly cut short by a trumpeting screech.  I looked to the amethyst sky from which the sound came, but saw nothing.  Cornelis looked apprehensive.  The ape, Cal Hicks, trembled fearfully.

“Quickly!  Get inside,” Cornelis ordered pointing toward the building that was the laboratory of the version of him that inhabited this world. “Quickly,” he added with a sharp pat to the goat’s rump.  “Hang on tight, Copper!” he called.

The lavender goat bolted toward the laboratory, carrying Copper on her back.

“What was that?” I exclaimed.

Cal Hicks came to himself as we all ran behind the goat.

“I was so sure it was dead,” the amethyst ape said.  “That was the hunting call of the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!”

Purple one horned dragon

Racheal Marie, Pixaby

***

Real World Notes

Duffle bag.  The term dates back to 1677, when it was used to describe a coarse woolen cloth having a thick nap or frieze.  The name comes from Duffel, a town in Flanders, Belgium, where the thick duffel cloth used to make the bag originated in the 1600s.  During most of the 1900s, a duffel bag typically referred to a specific style of cylindrical, top-entry bag.

Victorian Vernacular

Church-bell A talkative woman.

Gal-sneaker:  A man devoted to seducing women.

Make a stuffed bird laugh:  When something is utterly preposterous.”

Mind the grease:  When you need people to let you pass, use this phrase as you would “Excuse me.”

***

I hope our heores find something in the laboratory to help get back to their own world.  Yet with the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater out, and apparently on the hunt, will they be able to reach the laboratory?

Next time when the “three random things” are from Olga Núñez Miret.  Be at the steampunk submarine port to find out where Glass Eye, Silver Vinaigrette, and Sextant take Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!  

My chuckaboos, I’ll be looking for you when the steampunk submarine comes into port next week.  Mega hugs! 

***

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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 © 2015 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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