Hidebound Hump Day — Fiona Fights Back

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Fiona Finch Thief costume full length

Fiona Finch as imagined by Rob Goldstein

Rob and I are together again!

Last year I was kicking around a serial idea with Rob Goldstein,  Who did the beautiful illustrations for Hullaba Lulu.  I envisioned a steampunk satire of The Scarlet Pimpernel.  My heroine is Fiona Finch, the Pink Pimpernel.  Her story is one of foppish frivolity, sarcasm, and a load of alliteration.  She’s a cutie with curls and dresses all and only in pink.  Secretly she’s still all pink, but she’s also so much more, just as was the Scarlet Pimpernel, but with steampunk gadgets galore — and still more pink.  Now you know Fiona.  That’s part of the background for this bit of nonsense. 

Recently, Staci Troilo was saying how life could be too bizarre for fiction.  I hope her trip to Bizarro World wasn’t as bad as mine — but she’s right.  Staci had the common sense to keep her personal strangeness out of her stories. Me on the other hand, I have about as much common sense as Lulu. 

Burgers Lulu Recline

Lulu in the train’s automat… with cheeseburgers that were used as cash

I swear I’m getting to the point. Bear with me.

I’ve had my own Bizarro World with an unbelievable comic book villain, Creepy Crying Guy, across the street. When I said “No,” he stood on my porch bawling. I’ll save you descriptions of his admission of trying to manipulate me and the disgusting leer that accompanied those words before he went back to bawling half a second later.  Oh, sorry… I guess I told you after all.  Yes, yes, I’m getting to the point.

Well thank heavens for good friends who could make me laugh about it.  This vignette was inspired by whimsical remarks from Renita and Rob.  Renita remarked that in her experience old ladies with machetes are enough to scare anybody.  Then Rob took her joke a step farther…  So I made characters from the Fiona-verse into alter egos for Rob and me.  Now, to the “point.”

Fiona Fights Back

The Pink Pimpernel Sees Red

Fiona Finch Test Shot 1

Fiona Finch as imagined by Rob Goldstein

A hansom cab clattered down a lane in Victorian Era San Francisco.  Fiona Finch sat in the light of her window.  The noise distracted her.  The pink ruffled sleeve of her gown fell against the machete as she fingered the hilt.  She went back to her task, intently turning the pages of Darwin’s The Origin of the Species.

“He’s not in here,” Fiona grumbled.

Straight black hair fell to cover his face as a man in black tailed tuxedo placed the tea tray on the table beside the single pink lace glove.  He silently raised an eyebrow, as any attentive butler might.

The “butler” was Fiona’s adopted brother, Steele.  However, he was no servant.  He simply enjoyed wearing the costume and the excuse it gave him to make snide remarks.  He also seemed to think buttling allowed him to boss her around.  A fact of which he openly reminded Fiona whenever she complained that he shouldn’t act like a butler.

“Really, Steele, don’t be such a prude.  Wearing gloves inside, in the summer, with no guests in the house?  Why no matter how darling they are, it’s absurd.  Besides, I couldn’t turn the pages,” Fiona defended.

Fiona picked up the teacup with her delicately gloved hand and used the silver spoon to stir it with the brazenly bare hand.

Steele, by Rob Goldstein

Steele, by Rob Goldstein

“I told you that I would thrash him the next time he comes to the door,” Steele reminded his sister.

“I don’t want you to batty-fang anyone, Steele.  Imagine the trouble that thrashing could cause.  Besides, he only comes when you are away.  Plus, he stands there blubbering like a baby when I reject him.  He’s sure to use that trick if the police inspectors come, and he’d make you the villain,” Fiona added, returning to Darwin’s controversial tome.

“I suppose your souvenir from our voyage to Madrid would cause less of a collie shangle?  I believe his species is human.  I doubt you’ll find anything useful in that book,” Steele told her.  “Although I do have an idea.”

She glanced at the ghoul who watched her from his own window on the other side of the street.

scary Joker face in window_Pasja Pixabay

Pasja at Pixaby

“What good does leering from his window do him?  Is he hoping for a glimpse of my cupid’s kettledrums?” Fiona complained.

Damfino,” Steele replied.

Steele picked up the crystal pot of red currant jam and moved toward the parlor door.

“What, pray tell, are you doing brother dear?” Fiona queried.  “Where are you going with the jam?  I wasn’t finished!”

A moment later Steele returned, carrying a long white nightgown.  It was covered with the crimson contents of the jam jar.

“At least you didn’t ruin my pink nightdress,” Fiona muttered.  “What are you on about now?”

“I know you favor pink, but white is so much more dramatic,” Steele began.  “Maybe our neighbor’s diligence in watching you should be rewarded with a good look at you in your nightie.”

“What?  Don’t be absurd!” Fiona replied aghast.

“Red currant jam, red as blood and running down the front of this prim white gown.  Imagine the ghoul’s face if you answered wearing this, and holding the machete!” Steele explained with a purely wicked grin.

The Machete_Fiona-Teagan 0

Fiona pranking the creep, as imagined by Rob Goldstein

“I’ve been waiting for you…” 

The end.

***

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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 © 2019 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 39 Conclusion

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Copper conclusion image

It’s time for Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  I’m grateful to everyone who started this wild ride on the #steampunk train, and then the submarine.  What mode of transportation will we take next? 

As you know, the serials on this blog are pantser stories. They are completely unplanned. I let the “three things” readers send drive the plot of each episode.  This conclusion is the exception. It was not driven by three things — rather it was formed by the “things” from each of the previous episodes — so that’s 99 things!  I warn you that it’s a long chapter, but like I said —  99 things!   

Hang on tight.  The story concludes today!

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

Chapter 38.  Cal Hicks held Felicity’s arm.  “Quickly,” he hissed into her ear.  “Get into the gondola.”

When Felicity turned she saw that Copper was already climbing into the aerial screw.  Absinthe and Aubrieta fluttered around it, touching various apparatus with their tiny paws.  Felicity looked back at the interlopers from her own world.  They were looking right at her.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

39 — Conclusion

Featured Image -- 23594

Dreamstime

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

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

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

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

“What the devil?” I began.

Cornelis cast an impatient gaze on me and I didn’t finish my sentence. 

“Do you really mean to tell me that you didn’t know?” he asked with a sardonic twist of his mouth.

“Know what?” I sputtered. 

Reading Ape purple

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

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

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

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

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

The Dutchman of course, only gave a self-satisfied smirk. 

“I know what they were after too,” he added with a wriggle of his bushy blonde eyebrows at the foes who chased us all the way into the amethyst world.

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

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

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

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

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

Copper looked preoccupied with her surroundings.  The alchemist moved closer to me and spoke in a faint whisper. 

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

 

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

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

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

A horrified expression came to Copper’s blue eyes. 

“Absinthe hurry — come here!  Aubrieta!” Copper yelled to the little fairies.

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

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

Purple one horned dragon

Racheal Marie, Pixaby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copper shook her head sadly, but then brightened. 

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

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

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

“No child,” Cornelis told her looking genuinely regretful as the flying machine began to enter the gateway.  “Do you remember when I said this portal was not expertly made?  Things and beings can only use this particular portal once.  If we tried to go back now, we’d be lost between.”

“Between what?” I had to ask.

Jamie Murray as Felicity

Jamie Murray as Felicity

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

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

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

“Oh no…” Cornelis muttered.

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

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

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

The hydrofoil entered the portal and immediately the view was dimmed by a foggy veil.  The craft lurched violently.  Then it rocked as if in slow motion. 

The mist became so thick we could no longer see inside the portal.  The fog bulged out from the gateway and then drew back.  I heard the hydrofoil’s engine cough and muffled yelling from the people manning the craft.  After a moment there was silence.

Forlanini hydrofoil

Alexander Graham Bell’s HD-4 hydrofoil, 1919

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

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

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

Aerial view of the English countryside

Aerial view of the English countryside, Wikimedia

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

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

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

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

Windsor Castle seen from above

Windsor Castle, Wikipedia

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

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

Naturally, the Dutchman paid no attention whatsoever to my protest.  The aerial screw hovered above a green area within the castle walls.  They seemed to be holding a small faire on the lawn.  I thought it must be to showcase inventions, as several large and unusual things were on display on each side of the lawn.

Sm Steamboat

A Paddle Steamer

I saw a boat dry docked that looked a lot like the paddle steamer that belonged to Ignatius Belle, as well as a dirigible tethered by a rope so that it floated twenty feet above the ground.  There was something made of gleaming metal that I supposed was a steam powered motor car.  Then I saw what I could have sworn was our road locomotive!

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

640px-Road_locomotive__John_boy__(5605531950)

Road Locomotive, Wikimedia Commons

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

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

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

Sessue_Hayakawa

Sessu Hayakawa as Alastair Wong

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

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

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

Copper with Flowers

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

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

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

Ethel Farthing

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

I gasped. 

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

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

 

Abruptly Copper gave a shrill cry, “Daddy!”

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

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

Drebbel stamp

Cornelis Drebbel stamp, Wikimedia Commons

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

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

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

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

The threads of the screw began to rotate rapidly. 

“Alastair! The brass lever behind you,” Cornelis cried.

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

However, Cornelis Drebble fell from the gondola when the craft lurched.  I saw his body falling rapidly toward the ground.  At the last instant he popped out of sight. 

Sometimes when he popped away like that it was a while before the alchemist could return.  I never understood how the pop works.

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

anna-may-wong

Anna May Wong

The diminutive Victoria Wong rushed to join us, delighted to see Copper again.  Not to mention the fact that she was quietly pleased with Alastair’s theatrical rescue of the air machine from being snared on the tower.  She gazed at her older cousin with an expression that bespoke hero worship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Her eyes widened as she looked at the alchemist. 

“We are not amused,” she said evenly.

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

The end

***

silhouette of Victorian woman, flower designs

Pixabay

***

Well dash my wig!  That’s all, isn’t it, my chuckaboos…   Everyone was so enthuzimuzzy that I’ve truly enjoyed rerunning this serial.  It’s been absolutely hanging having you along for the ride.

Cornelis Drebbel gets another adventure — eventually…  I started the novel a couple of years ago.  I had outlined a very detailed plot and story-line, in the planning for National Novel Writing Month.  That’s right — for once I was not going full on pantser

Then, days before I was to start writing it, I saw a delightful animated movie.  The blasted thing had all the details of my intended plot. I do mean details too, from smoke belching steampunk machines,  to a missing father (I deliberately echoed that aspect of this serial), to a mother’s betrayal, to an evil scientist!  It was April and the Extraordinary World.

Skull of the Alchemist Cover 1

The Skull of the Alchemist — coming… someday

Some people call that kind of thing “the Creative One-mind.”  Whatever spin you want to put on it, I was completely derailed.  I endeavored to create a new plot for Cornelis and a grown-up Copper, but I was thoroughly undermined.  I’ve never gone back to the story I tried so hard to produce that November.  However, it’s high on my list of novels to finish writing!

The next serial you will see from me is the collaboration with blogger extraordinaire, Dan Antion of No Facilities.

See you next time!

***

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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. 

 

End of the #Steampunk Line

Monday, April 15, 2019 

Cover Copper Alchemist Woman n Trousers

I hear the conductor shout.

Next stop — end of the line!

My chuckaboos, I’ve had 38 weeks of enthuzimuzzy, rerunning this serial with all of you aboard the steampunk train (and submarine).

However, this Wednesday Hidebound Hump Day will reveal the conclusion of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. 

Click this link to go to a recap post.

I’ll be looking for you at the steampunk submarine port on Wednesday.

***

 

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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 ©  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.

 

Straightlaced Saturday — The Jewel of Seven Stars

Saturday, April 13, 2019 

victorian novels

Composite altered image by Teagan R. Geneviene

It’s Straightlaced Saturday, my chuckaboos!  It’s been awhile since I shared a Victorian Novels post.  Since my steampunk serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. will conclude with the next chapter, I wanted to do one more of these features.

A few years ago I read a Project Gutenberg copy of The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker, and I enjoyed it tremendously.  I only knew Stoker for horror, so I was delighted to find the novel was (at least to me) more of a suspense/detective story.  I was in equal parts fascinated by the innocence and chivalry of the barrister hero and uncertain about the lead female character.

Egyptian temple com Goddes statue

Image created by Teagan Geneviene

It was exciting to realize that Stoker brought touches of the rise of feminism to the story.  I’m sure his portrayal of Margaret raised a few eyebrows in the day.  Another beguiling Victorian element of the story is the era’s fascination with Egypt, or Egyptomania. 

If you want to know more about the story-line, Wikipedia has a great summary of The Jewel of Seven Stars.

At Amazon (an annotated version)

The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

Project Gutenberg Link to The Jewel of Seven Stars

You can go to the main Gutenberg site to get various formats of the novel.  The link above goes directly to a text version.  If you want the book and have trouble accessing it, let me know and I’ll send you a file.

Patty at Campbell’s World wished for an Audible copy. I don’t know if they have one, but there are a couple of free audio book versions at Youtube.

 

 ***

Leave a comment to join of begin a conversation.  I love hearing from you.

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers concludes on Hidebound Hump Day.  My chuckaboos, I’ll be looking for you at the steampunk submarine port.

***

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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 ©  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 38

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Copper promo USS Razorback Torpedo rm Pixabay

It’s time for Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  I’m grateful to everyone who started this wild ride on the #steampunk train, and then the submarine.  What mode of transportation will we take next? 

Hang on tight.  This is the penultimate episode of the serial!

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

Chapter 36.  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 air machine ripped loudly.  The aerial screw lurched.  Cornelis struggled to keep his grip as the machine darted wildly.

Chapter 37.   Ced the very large chimpanzee was the one who tracked our heroes, commanded by the unidentified woman.  He turned back with a new expression of worry on his face. 

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

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

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

38 — Toddlers, Queen, Superior

Billie Berk circa 1900

Billie Berk circa 1900

Cornelis Drebbel levitated above a much bigger version of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw.  It was attached to a large gondola that contained all manner of fantastical contraptions.  Brightly polished brass and crystals glittered in the sunlight that streamed through tall windows from the cloudless lavender sky.

One device looked just like the multi-armed thingamajig from the submarine.  I mean that term literally.  The device was the original thingamajig and such was its proper name.  This one looked newer, it didn’t show any wear and tear.  Conversely, the thingamajig on the submarine went through some rough treatment.  A malfunction in the contrivance was at least partly responsible for landing us in this purple place.   (Episode 22) 

Cornelis waved down to a pair of mauveine complected chimpanzee twin toddlers who observed him in amazement.  A young female ape watched them from the corner of her eye as she delivered a basket of food to Cal Hicks.  She seemed remarkably unaffected by the floating alchemist.

“Why thank you Itsy,” Hicks told the woman as he took the heavy basket.  “This is enough for everyone.  Thank you so much, my dear.”

She quickly took each toddler by a hand and moved to meet one of the coverall clad chimps.  He seemed smitten by her.  Although she didn’t seem to return his romantic interest, something in her manner told me the chimp was a masher.

Itsy glanced surreptitiously over her shoulder as the chimpanzee handed her something that disappeared into the folds of her skirts.  Some token of his affections, I supposed.  It was hard to tell with the purple coloring but I thought both might be blushing.

Victorian Ape Couple

Tsk, tsk,” Cal said with a shake of his head.  “That boy will never win Itsy’s heart.”

“Itsy?” I had to ask.

“Why yes,” Cal began. “She’s taken on the extra work of looking after the twins during the day. Both parents were injured in a carriage accident, and aren’t able to chase toddlers terrible well. Itsy was maid to my son Nate’s grandparents. When they passed on, she came to work for me,” Cal said and then cast an astute glance at me. “I take it Itsy has a counterpart in your colorful world.”

“I believe so,” I said, nodding.  “Bitsy is a maid in the inn that belongs to Ignatius Belle.  Their voices are rather similar.  And Itsy is just as unimpressed as Bitsy,” I added with a chuckle.  (Episode 2)

My own words bothered me in some indefinable way.  I suddenly felt uneasy.  It seemed like there was something I should remember.  However, I was distracted by Cal Hicks.  He was looking at me in a most curious way.  It made me think something was amiss.  I felt all-overish.

“What is it?” I asked worriedly.

His eyes quickly scanned the worktable.  The amethyst ape picked up a mirror and handed it to me.  There was a smudge of soot on my cheek, and for a moment I thought that was what the straight-laced ape meant.  However, with one of his thick fingers he pointed to my hair.  A broad ultraviolet streak ran from the crown of my head down the length of my otherwise dark brown locks.  The irises of my eyes had taken on a violet hue.

Violet purple eye

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

Before I could stop my surprised reaction, I inhaled sharply.  I glanced at Copper.  I didn’t want the girl to notice my concern.  Fortunately she ran over to Cornelis, and tossed some tool up toward him.  The alchemist caught it with a glowing yellow-green thread of magic.

I was afraid to look at the measuring device that looked like a toothpick holder.  It already showed warning shades of violet.  However, I forced myself.  I removed the device from the flowered carpet bag.  The thin rods had darkened to various shades of violet and purple.  Only one was still lavender.  None at all were colorless.  At least the crystal bird at the center was still clear.  Cornelis said it might be too late for us to leave the amethyst world if the bird turned purple.

Cal Hicks cleared his throat nervously and broke eye contact with me.  He called everyone to the basket of food, but hardly ate anything himself.  He turned back to work fervently on the improved aerial screw.  Though he couldn’t levitate like the alchemist he seemed to work almost as quickly.

Coverall clad chimpanzees ran back and forth, fetching all manner of things that Cal requested.  Copper returned to stand at his elbow, handing him various small tools.  I suspected that sometimes Cal pretended to need something, just to let the girl think she was helping.

Earlier Cornelis was utterly intense as he poured over an assortment of papers he’d gotten from Cal.  There were maps, magazines, playbills, and newspapers.  I couldn’t figure out what he could be looking for in such an assortment.

Flying man w umbrella

However, the alchemist saw links from one thing to another that I would never see without it being pointed out to me.  He seemed to make some alchemical sense of the stack of papers and abruptly levitated up above the flying machine.  Suffused by that yellowish green aura he began making enhancements to the aerial screw.

As I looked at magazines bearing images of well-dressed simians, all in assorted shades of purple, I was struck anew by how much like our own world this place populated by apes really was.  I couldn’t help smiling when I saw a magazine cover bearing the image of an elegant female ape wearing an intricate lace gown, jewelry including a tiara, and holding a scepter.

“Is this your queen?” I asked Cal Hicks in delighted surprise.

“Why of course,” Cal replied, as if I had questioned the obvious.  “That is Queen Triumphia,” he said, immediately recovering his perfect manners.  “Haven’t you a similar monarch in your world?”

I grinned at the name Triumphia. 

“Yes, although it isn’t exactly my queen, the English queen is called Victoria,” I told the amethyst ape.

Queen Victoria 1859

Queen Victoria 1859

Cal grinned back at me as he compared the name Victoria to his queen’s name.

Above us, Cornelis gave a whoop of success. 

“This is far superior to the first model!” he cried.

With a sharp pop he disappeared from his spot in the air above us.  An instant later he popped into the gondola of the aerial screw.

Itsy wandered closer.  She didn’t look excited or surprised like everyone else.  Rather, the maid looked worried.  “There’s no more time,” Itsy murmured.

She darted to the gondola and grabbed the multi-armed thingamajig. 

Earlier, that infatuated chimp covertly handed her something, which she quickly hid in her skirt.  When she ran, I got a look at the secret-something.  It was a harmonic tuner!

Cal Hicks had showed it to me previously.  Instead of the mystic monkeys tuner that belonged to Copper, this one had people in the poses of see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.  (Episode 24)  

Three Wise Monkeys at the Tosho-gu Shrine, Wikipedia

Three Wise Monkeys at the Tosho-gu Shrine, Wikipedia

Itsy’s actions were so sudden and so unexpected that everyone was too surprised to try and stop her.  She ran from the laboratory and out to the area that had been scorched and depressed by the confrontation-reunion between Absinthe and Aubrieta.  (Episode 28)  

Itsy held out the thingamajig and clanged the harmonic tuner against the contrivance.

The air in a large area before Itsy shimmered to a glowing hot pink aura.  The center of the aura took on a wavy mirror like appearance.  Then a wall of water rushed from the aura and poured into the burned out depression.  Itsy was swept away by the water but managed to grab hold of a fence post.

With a whoosh sound a hydrofoil sped through the opening created by the magical devices.  The moment I saw the craft I knew what had bothered me when I told Cal that Itsy and Bitsy had similar voices.

We had never gotten a good look at the woman leading the group on the hydrofoil.  I said her voice was familiar, but I just couldn’t place it, no matter how hard I tried.  The tone of the woman leader was commanding and harsh.  It had been different enough that I couldn’t connect it to the gentle tones I previously heard from that same voice.  At that moment I knew the voice belonged to Bitsy, the maid at the Belle Inn!

1900 Maid with tray

The hydrofoil rushed, out of control, down the length of the water that spilled from our world.  It crashed into a stand of tall bushes.  When the woman stood up, there was no doubt that she was Bisy.  She bent over and vomited.  The nearness of her doppelgänger already affected her.

“Get her away from me!” Bitsy shouted to the men who accompanied her.

The men waded out to Itsy, the simian.  She seemed to think they were helping her and let them take her arms from the post to which she held.  However, when they helped her to dry ground one held a knife to her throat.  They spoke threateningly to her and she ran away as fast as she could, disappearing into the woods.

The hydrofoil held more passengers than I had realized.  There must have been ten heavily armed men, along with Bitsy.  They all moved toward us.

Cal Hicks had my arm. 

“Quickly,” he hissed into my ear.  “Get into the gondola.”

When I turned I saw that Copper was already climbing into the aerial screw.  Absinthe and Aubrieta fluttered around her, touching various apparatus with their tiny paws.  I looked back at the interlopers from my own world.  They were looking right at me.

***

silhouette of Victorian woman, flower designs

Pixabay

Victorian Vernacular

Mash.  A sweetheart, or a crush.  To court or ogle a woman.  Courting someone would be mashing them.  To attract sexually.  Possibly from Romany masherava, “allure.”

Masher.  A dandy.  A man who makes unwelcome sexual advances to women.

Quail pipe.  A woman’s tongue.  “We kissed, but there wasn’t any quail-pipe.”

Quatch.  An American term, circa 1925, meaning “to betray secrets.” Similar to quack, a verb meaning “to inform to the police,” and quag, “unsafe, not reliable; not to be trusted.”

Queen’s weather.  A beautiful sunny day.

Real World Notes

Postage stamps.  In 1840 the “penny black was the first postage stamp introduced to the United Kingdom.  Today we find postage stamps in various different sizes, costs and designs being used to send mail in virtually every country in the world.

***

What will happen to Felicity, the “Woman in Trousers” of the serial title?  Her hair is already streaked with purple, suggesting she has stayed too long in the amethyst world.  One group of foes has caught up with our trio.  Will they grab Felicity before she can reach the gondola?  And will the aerial screw fly off without her?  

See you next time, for the conclusion of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers! 

***

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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. 

 

Character Recap – Cornelis Drebbel

Monday, April 8, 2019

Steampunk eye unsplasy CAWT

Hello my chuckaboos!  I knew we were close to the end of this rerun of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  However, I’ve had so much going on that it only just now registered with me how very close the conclusion is.

As the story-line drew close to an end, the spontaneous nature of the serials actually creates a challenge for me.  By that point there are a lot of things — clues, and loose ends waiting to be tied up by me… 

I know that it’s been a long ride for you, whether we were on the steampunk train or the submarine. So I’m posting this character recap before the next episode on Hidebound Hump Day.  You see, Wednesday will be the penultimate chapter of the serial.

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

Recent Characters

Absinthe, the Green Fairy

Absinthe

Absinthe.  Since I wrote the first character recap, the “three things” you send have brought a few new characters into this story.  The first of those became popular immediately. That would be the Green Fairy, Absinthe.  He is a tiny, winged, green fae, who farts a highly concentrated form of absinthe vapors.  Absinthe’s intoxicating poots are powerfully potent!

The Amethyst World

The amethyst (or purple) world is where the submarine belonging to Cornelis Drebbel ran aground. There, almost everything is one shade of purple or another.  As you know, our heroes are running out of time. If they stay too long in that purple place, they may be trapped there forever.

Reading Ape purple

Cal Hicks

Cal Hicks.  In the amethyst world there is a doppelgänger for nearly everyone in our world. The first person they met there was the amethyst ape, Cal Hicks.  He is the double of Copper’s daddy, and a colleague of the Lord of Alchemy in that purple place.

Viola.  We also met Cal Hicks’ house keeper.  She is a warmhearted violet complected chimpanzee named Viola.

Penny Hicks.  When the doppelgängers for Felicity, who is the titular woman in trousers, and Copper got too close our friends became very ill.  Copper’s double is Penny, daughter of Cal Hicks.

Monkey as girl purple

Penny Hicks

Aubrieta.  Initially she was the One-eyed-one-horned-purple-people-eater,  a giant purple dragon.  However, a volatile reunion with her mate, Absinthe, transformed Aubrieta to her natural form. Now she is her true self, the Purple Fairy.  Aubrieta is tiny like Absinthe, but she has one amber eye, and a unicorn-like horn above her eye. I wish I were talented enough to give you a picture of Aubrieta.

Steampunk Transportation

Most recently, from one of the “da Vinci papers” discovered in an early episode, you’ve seen the aerial screw. Although most of these contraptions are enhanced by the alchemy of my fictional Cornelis Drebbel, they originated in real-world history.

Aerial Screw Model

Aerial Screw Model

We’ve had unusual contraptions as well as characters. You’ll read about the road locomotive and the hydrofoil below. There was of course the submarine, built by the real life Cornelis Drebbel. There was also Ignatius Belle’s paddle steamer

Burrell Road Locomotive

The road locomotive has always been a crowd favorite.

Original Characters

Jamie Murray as Felicity 3

Felicity Deringer

First we met the narrator of this serial, Felicity Deringer aka The Woman in Trousers.  Some readers say they imagine her as a young Katharine Hepburn, but when I started writing this serial I heard the voice and saw the face of Jamie Murray, as she was in her part as H.G. Wells on the Warehouse 13 television show. No matter what face your imagination gives her, she’s still Felicity.

Basil Gill 2

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

Ignatius Belle.  The Woman in Trousers met dashing innkeeper, Ignatius Belle when she arrived in the out-of-the-way little town and took a suite at his hotel, the Belle Inn.

Felicity also met shopkeeper, Mrs. Billie Best, who along with her customer were downright mean to an interesting young girl.

Copper curious w-green

Copper.  That girl was Copper Hixon.  At Best’s General store Felicity first saw Copper, and intuitively realized the girl was the reason she’d been drawn to the far-flung town.

Cornelis Drebbel

Terrence Mann as Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel.  Then we were introduced to the third titular character, Cornelis Drebbel, the alchemist.  I took him right out of the history books… but altered him with an accident of alchemy.  When I thought of the Cornelis character I could hear the voice of American actor, Terrence Mann, and the wonderfully droll tone he could use to such great effect.

Drebbel stamp

1900 Maid with trayBitsy.  Working at the Belle Inn was Bitsy the maid.  Felicity was pleased to meet anyone who paid no attention to her unusual attire, like Bitsy. You’d have almost thought the maid already knew about Felicity’s odd way of dressing, that’s how little attention she paid to it.   

Belle Inn

The Belle Inn

Cookie_Belle Inn

Cookie

At the inn there was also Cookie, who of course was the cook.  The Woman in Trousers and Cornelis both were delighted with Cookie’s culinary creations.

Big Mustache Unsplash

Sheriff Bullard

 

Sheriff Alvin Bullard.  When Felicity found Copper at home alone, with an unknown dead man and her father missing, some of the townsfolk were uncannily quick to know that Calvin Hixon was in parts unknown. Those people included Ignatius Belle and Sheriff Alvin Bullard.  I saw the sheriff with a bushy mustache, and Timothy David Olyphant seemed to fit the part nicely.

Victorian Man Collar Gertrude HobbsEthel Farthing

 

With the sheriff were a trio of officials from the place Copper feared most — Merciful Haven Orphanage.  There was the county truant officer, Claude Dinkley, and orphanage owner and all round obnoxious Ethel Farthing, and her long necked sycophant  Gertrude Hobbs.  They all gave of us an unsavory impression, but particularly Ether Farthing.

(Did you notice how I amused myself in naming the people from the orphanage?)

Though she tried, Felicity couldn’t prevent the people from the orphanage (and the sheriff) from finding the unknown dead man in (Copper’s father) Calvin Hixon’s study.  

The sheriff arranged for the undertaker to pickup the corpse later — and the wagon driver turned out to be Ignatius Belle who inherited the wagon and that small portion of the undertaker’s duties.  However, when Sheriff Bullard and Ignatius arrived that evening, they found Felicity injured, and the corpse vanished.  However, Copper, the alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers saw who took it away.

Ignatius Bell wasn’t the only resident of the town to have a dual occupation.  Sheriff Bullard was also part owner in the local mill.

Ignatius Belle is overtly interested in Felicity, but Copper can’t stand him.  Ignatius gave full credit to Cookie and Bitsy for insisting on packing a basket full of wonderful food for him to take to Felicity and Copper.

Naughty ChimpsChimps.  The culprits who took the body were of course the Naughty Chimps.  Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape is responsible for their spontaneous addition to this serial.

Our trio also found a letter from Alexander Graham Bell who was interested in Calvin Hixon’s design for a hydrofoil.  Then they found priceless documents written by Leonardo da Vinci secreted inside an owl-shaped lamp.

 

When three separate groups of villains converged on the Hixon estate (including one with an army of lethal, trained chimpanzees, and a group that seemed to be coming from the direction of the sheriff’s mill), Cornelis was able to fix one of  Hixon’s inventions and they escaped on that Road Locomotive.  The road locomotive was such a hit it was practically a character in its own right.  As the trio made their escape one of the chimps kept repeating the same sequence of gestures.  Copper thought the chimp was using sign language to say “Daddy.”

Ape Eyes 2

Image by Teagan

They hid out at an abandoned church complex with a big building converted to storage and at sometime abandoned.  Within that building they found many interesting and long forgotten items, including a stack of letters that reminded Cornelis of a friend who might be in the general area.

Sessue_Hayakawa

Sessu Hayakawa as Alastair Wong

Alastair Wong.  As they eluded the bad guys, they met up with that friend of the alchemist.  He was the grandson of a man who once possessed the skull of Cornelis Drebbel.  

While Felicity and Cornelis recovered from head colds at the abandoned place, Ignatius Belle showed up, and his interest seemed to have switched from Felicity to Copper.  The Woman in Trousers wondered if he had been using her to get closer to the girl, but she dismissed the thought.  However, as the day progressed Ignatius was just too interested in Copper for comfort. Why was Ignatius so interested in Copper, and how was it that he found them?

Then one group of villains caught up with them. Ignatius insisted on using his paddle steamer to lead the bag guys (and their fierce trained chimpanzee) away.  Meanwhile, Cornelis used one of this “tricks” to hide the trio, but Felicity heard a familiar voice from the leader of that group, and it was a woman. Felicity mentally reviewed all the women she met from Copper’s home town, but wasn’t sure to whom the voice belonged.

anna-may-wong

Anna May Wong as Victoria Wong

Victoria Wong. The trio makes their way to Alastair Wong.  At the Wong family’s pavilion home we met the tiny woman, Victoria, one of Alastair’s relatives.  The pictured, more mature version of Chinese American movie star Anna May Wong could be Victoria.

While at the pavilion, Cornelis revealed to Felicity that Ignatius Belle is Copper’s half-brother. This may explain his interest in the girl, but why is Copper so distrustful of Ignatius?

Now, thanks to an accident of alchemy when Copper’s harmonic tuner got too close to Cornelis, who was actively using his harmonic tuner, magic produced the word “Daddy,” and emblazoned it on a map.  But did the map show the location of Calvin Hixon, or perhaps the location of their foes?  Was Copper’s daddy even abducted? Perhaps he ran away for reasons of his own…

Why are those three nefarious groups after Copper? Do they mean to use her to force Calvin Hixon to invent an amazing contraption for them? Do they want the priceless da Vinci documents?  The group led by a woman already had a hydrofoil… Was she connected to Hixon, perhaps a partner?

 See you soon, 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 37

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Copper Cover 3-25-2015

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  Our heroes are still in the purple world. Will they return home this time?  The steampunk submarine is coming into port.  Let’s not waste any time.

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

Chapter 29   When the loud harmonic noise of the misused tuner dissipated, I realized there were no sounds whatsoever coming from the church.  To my horror, I found it empty.  Everyone inside had vanished along with the purple people eater,” Cal Hicks described the disappearance of the simians from the purple world.

“Cornelis!” Felicity whispered to the alchemist.  “That army of chimpanzees back at the Hixon estate.  What if they weren’t trained,” Felicity said but paused, looking for the right word.  “What if instead, they were actually translocated?”

Chapter 33.  With an awkward pucker, Aubrieta spat out what looked like a purple grape.  She breathed lavender smoke onto the grape.  It grew and grew to the size of a house.  It continued to expand until it finally exploded into a purple mist.  

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.  A few stood boldly and cheered that they had returned home. 

Purple Stone chapel ruin stairs Pixabay

Pixabay altered image, Teagan

“Are those…?” Felicity began but the power of speech left her.

“Those naughty chimps!” Copper exclaimed.

From last time, Chapter 36.  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.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

37 — Tumble, Revealing, Description

Steampunk woman Noel Nichols Unsplash.png

Noel Nichols, Unsplash

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

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

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

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

All tuned to me in astonishment when I put my fists on my hips and yelled up to the alchemist. 

“Cornelis Drebbel!  Don’t shilly shally!  We have too much work to do!”

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

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

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

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

Wikimedia

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

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

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

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

Cornelis was abruptly in the middle of a concerned crowd of simian devotees.  The alchemist loved attention, so there was no point in me chastising him.  I stalked away.Vintage Girl GoatThe two fairies, Absinthe and Aubrieta, chirped to one another quietly as they sat atop the model based on Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the aerial screw.  I looked skeptically at the device that caused all the commotion.  However, when I looked up at the two fairies, their chirps and grunts had a serious tone.

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

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

I jumped.

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

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

Copper turned puzzled blue eyes up to me.  

green skunk palm

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

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

The girl shook her head negatively.  

“I don’t think so,” Copper replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forlanini hydrofoil

Alexander Graham Bell’s HD-4 hydrofoil, 1919

 

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

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

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

However, Ced turned back with a new expression of worry on his face. 

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

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

 

***

silhouette of Victorian woman, flower designs

Pixabay

Victorian Vernacular

Shilly shally.  Victorian vernacular is not as well known as the slang of the Roaring Twenties.  However, a few terms pop up now and then.  If someone is shilly shallying, they are acting irresolutely.   In other words, those who shilly shally can’t be pinned down one way or another to an action or a decision leaving others with no idea where that person stands.

Knock into a cocked hat.  To surprise, as in “It knocked me into a cocked hat when I heard he had gotten married.”

Pshaw, or shaw.  A polite exclamation that was used in place of almost any other expletive.

***

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

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.

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