Iron Behind the Velvet - Chapter 30

~ The Gentle Wind Doth Move Silently, Invisibly …  1




photo manipulation of Vincent in the giant crystal cave: by Sonia
Vincent sensed Martin’s restraint even as the distance between them sparked with energy. He envisioned leading him to the doorway, leading him through and far below, descending level by level by level, down a narrow spiral stair, through an inclined sliver of corridor, one glistening with black mica and pearly muscovite, with evening emerald and sky-blue celestine, at last to a giant’s cavern, the ceilings and walls, the floor dazzling, of crystal and amethyst, its tumbling waterfall nearly twenty stories high.

“Is it true?”

Martin’s tone bore a willingness. A ... readyness. Perhaps just the entry – through the trap door, down the rough-hewn stairs – perhaps just to the secret latch that slides open the stone. He shifted toward the archway, a single considering step.

There ... are ... rules, Vincent!

He deflected the reproach. More than one edict had been ignored this night – more than a dozen, if Father or the Council did the counting. The honed instruction, meant to awe and discipline, had long chafed, long galled. Had not the most wondrous things come to him from broken rules?

How much can you accept?

It was Rosaleen’s question of Catherine ... his, of Martin. He grasped the edges of his hood, fingering the satin binding, the blanket stitching ... pulled it low about his face.

“I’ve seen no pathways of solid amber,” he said and allowed a smile into the words.

“Then you’re saying–” Martin’s laugh bubbled out. “You’re joking, you are. But I’ll admit, I’m not remembering a time I was more curious ... except, well ... perhaps once.” He peered over his shoulder and seemingly satisfied, turned back. “When we first spoke, you said ... you said your home was at some distance and yet you’re–”

“Please, Martin. I cannot bear to deceive you, or to answer with silence. There are ... considerations. I need to …”

“Consider,” Martin finished. “Right then. Righty-O.” He stepped down onto the garden path. “But are you sure you wouldn’t like to–”

“It’s not a question of what I’d like, Martin. Please believe me. I must–”

Go. And I should let you without whinging.” Martin turned toward the rectory door, then back. “Vincent?”

“Yes?”

“Earlier you– A scrap of poetry. Divine that triumph ... was that Tennyson? No, no. Let me think ... Coleridge?”

Vincent chuckled at the artful delay. “Wordsworth.”

“Your education, Vincent, must have been spectacular. These days, ‘tis hard to interest the young ones in the fine old words. How? Where?”

“My father.”

Ah. He’s a teacher?”

“A doctor. A teacher as well.” Don’t tell her anything! he heard Father chide, though from very far away. “He is ... the leader of our community.”

“Is he, now? All that? I’d like to meet the man. But you know, Vincent,” Martin said, closing the topmost button of his sweater, smoothing the wide collar, “I’d have believed that last job to be yours.” In the street, a car slowed, its motor grumbly over a low throbbing bass beat until it screeched past. “Ahh, but I’d hoped that to be Flynn, home now.” He fell still and Vincent could just hear his breathing, in it a faint stridor of age and injury. “May I? One last question?”

Flynn. He’d expected this – a last entreaty, a final plea. Habit and necessity warred with need. Already his resistance wavered. Already he searched for a possibility ... a way through.

“Your love. Your ... another. The one who keeps you close.” Martin’s voice dropped into a deep, round register. “She keeps you close ... here.”

“Yes.” Surprised, the admission staggered from him, tripped by a sudden, consuming desire – desire to name her, to claim her as his.

“Does she live …”

“Below. We call our world ... Below.” He drew a steadying breath. “Yours we call Above. She is a woman of both worlds.”

“You told me your love was new and yet ... not. Where you’re from ... Below ... do you ... are you ... married?”

Fierce imperative rushed words onto his tongue – to declare, to profess, to acknowledge ... everything. “We are ... more than that.”

“More than that!” Rocking to his toes, Martin rubbed his chin. A smile spread across his face, brilliant, wide and white. “Dhá anam, croí amháin.” Martin sighed the words. “Glanchroíoch.”

The night had gone from pitch to charcoal ... was fading now to deep blue. With their whistling wings and somber call, mourning doves rose, scattered from their nests by the approach of dawn. A wave of exhaustion crested – another – beating against the shore of him with a steady cadence of warning. His thoughts swirled in cottony, pale-grey wisps, and worry – the weight of it laid aside these last hours – returned. The threat to their world, vague and ominous in anxious balance. The work awaiting him this day and the next and the next and the next …

Kanin.

And Catherine. Catherine. Their separation was torment enough, but a cold dread hissed – dreggy foam left to seep into the sand. Mitch. If he had returned, everything was changed.

“... and I’ll talk to him.”

“What?” Vincent probed the knotted tendons of his neck. A fog was gathering behind his eyes. “I’m sorry, Martin. I ... didn’t hear you. I was ... I am ...” He sagged to the wall. Sighed.

“I’d only said to bring your friend, ummm, up. I’m glad to speak with him, with Kanin. It helps sometimes, to have the uninvolved ear? Maybe even for yourself, sure, and that anger you believe you’re not allowed. Maybe for yourself and the responsibilities that have you so knackered.”

“Knackered?”

Flah’ed out. Melted.” Martin’s voice seemed very close. “Tired, Vincent. You could have a kip here – ‘twould be having a nap to you – in the old dormitory across the way. There’s a bed, a decent feather tick and pillow. A lavatory with running water, old as it is.”

“I ... must go.” Vincent’s head was bowed; his face averted and shrouded by his hood. Through the armor of his clothing, Martin’s sudden grip on his arm was firm and sure. Under it, he could not, would not retreat.

Hmmm. I understand, or rather I–” The pressure to his arm deepened ... released. “They’re never locked, Vincent,” Martin went on. “The cells, the old rooms. A hut to receive ye from the rains, should you find yourself forlorn on the hill of storms. 2 Night or day ...” Martin offered his hand, pale now in the ebbing darkness.

A simple handshake …

Stunned with frustration, Vincent shook his head, a slow, sad swing from side to side. Martin’s hand dropped.

“‘Tis all right, my friend. ‘Tis. ‘Tis only my habit to offer you a benediction.”

“I am sorry.”

Martin withdrew to a merciful distance. “Let me leave you with something. At least this. Listen now. Listen closely. Pian. Uaigneas. Trócair. Bráithre. Can you render it, Vincent? I’m thinking you’ll be good at the Gaelic.”

The words hovered almost tangible in the air. “Pian ... pain? Bráithre. Is that ... brother?”

“Very good. Good, indeed. Yes. Pian. Pain is the first lesson of a warrior ... the pain of training and selfless reflection. Uaigneas. Aloneness ... solitude ... the second lesson where the true identity is revealed, where the path becomes both a friend and a heavy burden. Your third lesson ... trócair. Compassion ... compassion for others, for those less able, less willing. These lessons all ... you’ve learned.

“But then ... Bráithre. Brothers. Brotherhood. You who dare to live as you believe, according to your most noble dreams, to understand and control the raging tides of your emotions, to follow the course dictated by your spirit. 3 You ... are ... not completely alone, Vincent. Bráithre. Know that it exists.”

Without a backward glance, leaving the evidence of their feast – proof – Martin strode along the stone walkway, past swaths of tulips and gillyflowers, past the silvery knots of thyme and rosemary and lavender, past the flat marble base gleaming in the last of the moonlight, giving a brush to the low hedges of melissa and hyssop, sending the scent of lemon and anise into the air. On the rectory stoop he paused only to tuck an errant branch of sweetbriar into its thorny arch. A loose board creaked. The screen door clapped. Martin crossed the curtainless kitchen. A door must have closed, for the room’s soft light winked out.

NYC sunrise
Vincent stepped down into the churchyard. Dewdrops glistened on every petal and leaf, and beyond the high wall, the sky was streaked purple and blue and orange. Over the subtle whisper of breeze ... a warbled trill, ethereal and pure. The morning song of the wood thrush.

Whenever a man hears it, he is young. Whenever he hears it, it is a new world ... and the gates of heaven are not shut against him. 4


He wheeled under the gleam of the daybreak star.

_________


In his study, Martin groped for the light switch, but froze when his thumb found the toggle. Instead, he threaded the dark to his desk, through the maze of books stacked on the floor, and fumbled for the pull-chain of the lamp. A buttery pool spread beneath the satin-glass shade. His hands planted flat on the surface, he leaned for a moment on shaking arms. Then drawing a deep breath, he pushed aside a clutter of papers and open volumes to clear a space on the worn wood. A volley of pencils racketed over the edge.

One hand to his heart, with the other he yanked at the bottommost drawer. Glaring at the result – a bare inch of gap – he shoved it in, and fitting eight fingers to the grip, planting his heels, pulled back again. He groaned as he straightened and kicked at the still-stuck drawer.

The dark no impediment to familiarity, he hustled to the kitchen.

The room was veiled in steel-blue, the streetlamp light filtered by the newly leafed-out trees, the glow from his study meager and from far down the hallway. He rummaged the contents of a drawer beside the stove, shoved it shut, darted to the sink, pitching utensils from the dish drainer one by one. Metal clanked against old porcelain. His own reflection ghostlike in the panes, beyond the window in the center of the garden a great figure rounded, wide wings black contrast to the lightening stones …

There you are. Rooted at the counter, the long, steel spatula in hand, he closed his eyes against a flash of ivory and feathered gold, against the sound of bells and flutes, ringing like old silver lightly dropped. 5


__________



dormitory door. A winged celestial watcher carved into the wood frame above it
Keeping to the indigo edges, Vincent circled the churchyard. In the far corner, no window between them, two doors were set into stone. The long, vertical planks were heavy, hinged and battened. Nailed above, etched into a slab of gray-weathered wood, a winged being kept eternal watch. The latch of old iron levered open without complaint.

Inside the narrow cell, his eyes adjusted to a gloom mitigated by a milky skylight set in the ceiling’s eastern slope. He sniffed the air, found it cool, freshened by a current through a grillwork vent. A table at the entry hosted an array of candles, a silver quiver of matches. He struck a light.

Rusted, hand-forged spikes, pounded head-high in a row along one wall, served as the closet. A striped umbrella hung there, oversized, red and yellow, the handle a duck’s bill and so out of place that he laughed out loud. Beneath it, rolled tight and secured with straps, a thin pallet wrapped in a mustard-brown army blanket stood on its end. A passage-like space connected the two rooms; as he explored, a knotted pull-string brushed his cheek. Lit by the single, bare bulb, the alcove housed an old-fashioned washroom with an elevated cistern and a long pull-chain, a yellowed china basin worn blue-black in spots. At the spin of the crosspoint handle, water stuttered out, then streamed. He drank from his hands, splashed his face and neck. The stiff towel was rough on his skin and smelled bright and sweet, like a candle Mary once gave him – the sun, she’d said, on new-mown hay. There was no mirror.

In the second room, the coil of bare bedsprings glimmered but in the first, an iron bedstead was fitted with a tufted, blue-striped mattress and a small feather pillow. Bedding was folded neat and square and piled at the foot – cotton sheets and quilts worn velvety with age. He sank down. Every muscle mellowed toward sleep.

Smoothing the old fabrics under his hand, he struggled with the need for rest, to forget his perimeters ... to dream. He studied the rock and mortar walls. Over the headboard hung a carved plaque, testament to a life’s purpose – om et labora – prayer and work.


_______________


drawing by MLA of dormitory door and angelic watcher above
When Martin dared to look, the figure had disappeared, but a pale light seeped from the dormitory’s door frame.

Aoi a bhfuil fáilte roimhe, dlúthchara. A welcome guest you are, my friend. Welcome.”

An arc of headlamps swept the adjoining yard. He blew out a long breath. “Ahh, ‘tis Flynn,” he murmured to the empty kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and by its light, checked the clock above the stove. Tut, he mouthed. Tut-tut-tut.

_______________


The last lock keyed, he eased the latch open, glad he’d finally oiled the squeaking hinges. Out of habit, he reached for the bank of switches by the door, but he curled his fingers in, chastised himself, shook his head. When he peered around the tapered column, he found the party neatened away, the blinds open to the streetlights, the livingroom cast in shadows of gray and violet ... the sofa empty.

So, he thought, stranded between relief and disappointment. She didn’t wait up.

The foyer’s bench was crowded with returns for the library, beside it, a black plastic bag knobby with clothes he’d promised to take to the mission a dozen times over. Fighting an urge to open the door and kick the bundle into the street, he sat down hard, shoving aside the books with his hip, grabbing for the top two before they slid to the floor. Frowning, he watched the stairwell, listened for footsteps overhead, then bent to unlace his boots. Trained for stealth, he padded to the kitchen.

Mab turned from the window at his approach, her eyes black, rimmed with only a thin circlet of brilliant copper. Unblinking, she stared at him as he crossed to the laundry room.

“What?” he mumbled, as he stripped off his tee shirt on the way.

The pool was a clammy surprise to his sock feet. “Yah!” He flipped up the washer’s lid and reached in. “Damn it.” He plowed wet fingers through his hair and cold water, slick with soap, dripped down his face.

Again at the window, Mab’s ears canted forward, her tail twitching as she bunted the glass with her forehead. Flynn stood ... watching her ... with his shirt and wet socks wadded together against his chest. The damp soaked through. With a snarl, he pitched them to the corner and opened the dryer, his pulse thumping in his ears, a sharp pain shooting temple to temple.

“Where’re my–” He threw the door shut, catching it in time to muffle the slam, mashing his fingers. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Get a-hold of yourselves! His mother’s voice rang in his memory. Funny, he thought, how she always referred to me in the plural. He jammed his throbbing hand under his armpit and trudged to the refrigerator.

Chattering, Mab rose to her feet, arching her body in a long, lazy, padding stretch. She leapt from the counter, greeting him midway across the room, stopping him, pricking at his pants and legs, reaching up for his knees.

Owww, Mabby.” Flynn wiggled his foot and side-stepped, but the kitten held on. He pried her claws loose, one at a time. Even in his arms, she was adamant ... needy ... noisy and vibrating against him. “What are you doing up anyway? Something out there? Wanna go outside?”


_________________


He didn’t want to leave, wanted time to ponder ... to reflect ... to appreciate ... but daylight scrabbled at the door, the flare of it fire to his feet. It wasn’t – had never been – a choice. He’d race it home.

Maybe ... just for a moment …

It was true, what he’d said – I need little sleep – and a half-hour's repose, even a few meditative minutes could renew him. Without that respite, images loosed in his mind, flashing and weaving, gathering force and speed, and he found it more difficult to concentrate, felt himself more sensitive, more ... irritable. Long without rest, he’d hear the rumbling approach of storm – the clash of cymbals, the throb of drums. Even his sight would dim.

But I can ... I will ... hold the center. 6

Concentrating on the sensation of his breath, he straightened his spine, expanded his lungs, allowed his gaze to soften.

Be, he bid himself. Witness. Exist. Nothing more. Nothing more

He called up the shimmering mists, the music of the falls ... imagined a dive into the water below, his eyes open to the swirl of diamonds around him, his skin teased by the sparkling froth. Descending …

Catherine ... bare-skinned on a bed of satin in a chamber behind the cascade ... droplets of pearl, of opal, beaded at her collarbone ... on her breasts …

... pushing off, rocketing to the surface, emerging from the pool, hair slicked back, a bellow in his throat …

To a clamor of voices. Where are you? Where?

His daydreams ... wondrous, exquisite ... could not be indulged.

Sadden’d and stunn’d the boding day coming. 7

He was ... required.

And the sun traveled on its inevitable path.


_____________


Crouched at his desk, Martin worked the spatula into the space at the top edge of the drawer, levering for the obstruction. In mid-jab, the drawer still stuck, he went rigid.

Flynn

Flynn home so late. Or so early. He’d be likely to walk the garden ... unwilling to wake Eimear from her last hour of sleep, unwilling to meet her questioning expression. The door in the wall ... was it open still? He race-walked from the room, skidded across the kitchen in a careening trot.

Hurry up after it, will ye? he heard in his mother’s voice.

_____________


The heavy bar again in place, he imagined Martin trying the entry first thing upon waking. As he threaded the chain through the iron brackets, he hesitated, then pulled the links free, letting them circle on the ground ... reached out to test the barricade. Enough. With his boot, he shoved the mound to the corner where the lock lay in pieces.

He closed the gates behind him – the trap door within the wall, the rusted fencing at the bottom of the stairs. At the secret sliding stone, he felt along the ridges for the hidden lever, hoisted the rolled mattress and blanket he’d ... borrowed ... from the dormitory room. He’d have – what had Martin called ita kip in the antechamber on the other side, some time alone before he cast himself into the long day and longer night. He’d meet the crew at the worksite ... later.

The wall opened to a surprise of lantern light. Groggy and blinking, their heads just raised from their folded arms and upraised knees, Mouse and Kanin waited.


______________


In the archway, wheezing, wobbly, he bent his forehead to the door, one hand flat to the rutted wood.

Closed tight. Might I be– Is it possible I’m–

“What’re you doing, Martin?”

He started and wheeled. Flynn advanced on him, arriving bare-chested and bare-footed with Mab draped over his arm. Her purr revved in the still-quiet hour.

“Doing?”

“Yeah, doing. Outside so early, armed with ... a spatula.”

“I ... ummmm ... was out for herbs, yes, herbs for my morning omelet.”

“You're a little out of breath for gardening, aren't you? And I thought you fasted on Mondays.”

Martin put his hands behind his back and smiled. ‘Tis my innocent look I’m giving, Flynn. Now go on with you. Take your surely freezing self to the house.

But light bloomed in the yard and Eimear appeared on the porch, where she leaned out gripping the railing. Mab scrabbled against Flynn’s chest, leapt to the ground and ran to her. He traced the reddening scratch, a tender gouge torn below his heart.

Eimear started down the steps. “You’re finally home. Where were you?”


____________


Vincent!" Mouse popped to his feet. "Went up! Didn’t come back down!”

Kanin groaned and lowered his head again to his arms. A pizza box lay at his feet.

Vincent crouched to nudge open the top. One piece was missing. He let the lid fall back. His head tilted in query, he felt the corners of his mouth twitch.

“Ate your supper,” Mouse said with a cutting glance for Kanin. “Made him get it for you. Up top.” He scuffled at the dirt. “Got a little hungry, waiting.”

“Go on back to camp,” Vincent said. “I’ll follow after a while. Don’t worry,” he whispered, when Mouse made no move for the narrow corridor. “We’re all right.” And Mouse scampered off, a last longing look cast at the red and white container.

With a grasp of forearms, he hauled Kanin upright.

“I’m sorry,” they said in unison.



Click HERE for Chapter 31


__________________


Photograph manipulation of Vincent in the giant crystal cave were created by Sonia
Dormitory drawing by MLA


1. William Blake. Love's Secret.
2. James Macpherson. Fragments of Ancient Poetry. X. 1761.
3. Lessons from the Karate-do, translated by the kind folks at www.irishgaelictranslator.com
4. Henry David Thoreau. From his Journals. Vol. IV. July 5, 1852.
5. Donald Culross Peattie. An Almanac for Moderns. 1937.
6. William Butler Yeats. The Second Coming. 1919.
7. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The Pains of Sleep. 1816.



34 comments:

Krista said...

Oh, Carole. I keep saying that and still it's true. Oh, this is lovely. Oh, I love it. And oh, I love how Mab knows exactly what's going on, and Mouse and Kanin and the pizza and...yeah.

I suppose I'll just have to be redundant and say I love this and I'm very much looking forward to the next chapter. :)

-Krista

Carole W said...

There's no redundancy here! You know how pleased and grateful I am to hear this. I hope I never disappoint you. Oh, how I hope that!

This was a bear to post - grrrrr- and I almost gave up.

Mab does know! Mab, the bringer of dreams.

I am the Fairy MAB: to me 'tis given
The wonders of the human world to keep ...


(Percy Shelley)

I'm on a new regimen - 700 words a day, no matter how rambly. I want to get back to a chapter every two weeks.

Thanks again, so very much.
~ C

Vicky said...

Oh, another bit of poetry! Well my friend, I've ran out of things to say to you... I just love this! (And thanks for labeling those pictures!)

Martin... Flyn... Vincent... I just love it, how you play with it!

Big hugs.

Carole W said...

Thank you, dear Vicky! I can only beg you not to think that way - that you've run out of things to say! I'll get panicked! Worried! Nervous!!!

I wish I could do the alt and title tags on the photos in the side bar, but the program won't let me get into the HTML there. I hope the captions work almost as well.

Catherine is (as Jitterbug put it) busted, isn't she? With Vincent's confirmation that they are more than that? Oh, oh, oh ... when Martin sees her next ... in the coming chapter!

Love and hugs,
~ Carole

Anonymous said...

Hi Carole!
I read the chapter again this afternoon and saw the illustrations - they are beautiful and make me feel even more "there". I race through reading the first time, then go back and read again and again. I need to buy a thesaurus to find more adjectives to tell you how much I love, love, love this story (and all of them). Cannot wait to see what happens next - it's very exciting!!

BTW - I had to call Verizon today to see why I kept getting kicked off line - they were have a systems problem...wish it hadn't been while we were having a nice chat!

Keep up the good work!!! We're all behind you cheering you on!! You are so special.

jitterbug

Kemara said...

So happy to see a new chapter up! I didn't get a chance to look at it last night so am enjoying it this morning with my coffee. Nice way to wake up...I squealed out loud when Vincent said, "More than that." You could see the wheels turning as Martin figured it out. ::hugs self::

Carole, each new chapter is better than the one before. You really should think of doing a nicely formatted .pdf when the whole thing is done (I'm going to cry when it's over!). With pictures, footnotes and all. You know I do graphic design...I'd be glad to do the layout/formatting if you want.

Carole W said...

Good morning, Jitterbug! I was sorry our chat was cut short too. But I'll be watching for you in YM.

Things will start to speed up - at least the story line will - as the threads weave together. I keep threatening that the end is in sight, but in truth, there are at least a dozen more chapters in my story map.

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm pleased and grateful to have it.

~ C

Carole W said...

Kemara - I'm thrilled that the chapter would elicit squeals and self-hugs! That is music to my ears. So very encouraging!

And your idea about the .pdf and your offer of layout?????????? I hollered out loud and waved my arms in the air ... scared the cats clean off my desk. THAT is so kind, so generous of you! I'm touched. Humbled. Very very grateful! When it's done and edited, let's do that. I'm so excited!

~ C

Vicky said...

Yes, yes, yes! And then we print a few copies... that's what I've been telling her! Thanks for that offer, Kemara!

"More than that"... Looks like we all squeeled at the same time, eh? I know I got that silly grin on my face...

Love you, Carole!

Anonymous said...

A dream come true; Carole in print!!!

jitterbug

Carole W said...

You guys ... ((blushing))

Now ... we need to encourage a few artistic types to take up pen or pencil or charcoal or ... because I've never grown past the stick figure basics.

(I should post the drawing I did when Nancy asked me to sketch out Eimear's yard, the church yard and the wall and archway. It was funny.)

Anonymous said...

When are we going to get a scene of Vincent and Catherine together again? It's like she's disappeared since she did the laundry.

Vicky said...

Awww... but it hasn't really been that long if you read it all at once. It seems a lot to us right now because we're going chapter by chapter... and waiting a little! But we have to consider the story as a whole. This being said, I'm sure we'll have our scene very soon!

Dear Carole, I hope you had a restful weekend to recharge those batteries. Big hugs!

Sonia Who? said...

I just re-read this chapter since the first time I was exhausted from lack of sleep and nodded off right on my chair in front of the computer when I was 2/3 to 3/4 done reading the chapter. When I woke up at least a half hour later I quickly finished reading the chapter before heading to bed at nearly 4am. But today I wanted to read it again and finally did, after staying up most of the night again. Hope to be in bed before 7am. My sleep cycle is so messed up I miss about a day of sleep every two or three I get.

Anyways, I really enjoyed reading this chapter. I keep getting more and more into the story, enjoying it more and wanting very much to read the rest of it soon. But it's worth the wait. I don't know how you do it. Your writing is so lyrical, the words dulcifluous, and though a few times I found a few things were too deep and beyond my limited comprehension, still it's a real pleasure to read. Because of my bad memory and the long wait between chapters, I sometimes forget things that happened in previous chapters and need a reminder so have to go back and re-read a paragraph or a chapter to get a better understanding. But I intend to re-read the entire story once it's completed.

I love Martin's character. He's hard not to like. Can't wait for Vincent to reveal himself to him and get Martin's reaction. Also itching to find out how his secret is reveal to Eimear, Flynn and Rosie. And even more to get Vincent's reaction to see Rosie's statue in the garden for the first time. So exciting!

It's so cool for Kemara to offer to help you with the layout of the completed story with pictures and references and save it to a formatted pdf file. That's so cool! Then we can re-read and enjoy the completed story even more.

Let me know if you'd like any more pictures. And I hope I can get started on the sketches soon and have an acceptable one for you that you can use for this story.

Take good care of yourself, have a wonderful time and a safe trip with your daughter.

Sonia

Carole W said...

Thanks for coming to my defense, Vicky! LOL - it does seem like a long time, chapter-receiving wise, yet, story-wise, it's been only about 12 hours. She's just waking up to Monday morning. And part of the story is their dealing with the separations and responsibilities that their two worlds will force upon them, particularly in the circumstance when destiny calls them so urgently to a common point.

And Catherine is a strong-willed woman!! :-D Her mind is always working and she will not be denied!

Hopefully when the story's all done, it won't seem so long. The timeline so far is a week and two days yet it's been a year in the writing.

I finished a book this morning - a wonderful story so rich in language (The Holding - Merilyn Simonds)- and found out that it had taken the author 4 years to write it. For a moment, anyway, I felt kinship and forgiveness. :-)

~ Carole

Carole W said...

Sonia, you're a gem. Thank you for your kind words about my writing style - I'll try to clean up the murky parts on edit. Thanks for the photos and for re-reading ... and for liking Martin. :-)

I know I try your and everyone else's patience being so slow, but while I love writing and spend a good deal of time on it, it's not easy work.

I'll be gone just a couple of days and I am already about 1/3 finished with #32. I really don't think I'll be a month this time, barring unforeseen circumstances. Got to hit the road now.

~ Carole

Anonymous said...

Hi Carole,
These illustrations are breath-taking; thank you Sonia!

Each new chapter is well worth the wait....because each one is magic!

jitterbug

Anonymous said...

Okay Vicky, I stand corrected. I'm just an impatient romantic. What can I say? The story is wonderful, Carole, and I'm so glad Vincent has made such a wonderful friend Above.

Carole W said...

Thanks, Jitterbug! Sonia did a great job, didn't she!

And Anon, I'm impatient too and I know what's coming (and when)! I'm glad you've stuck with me.

Thanks, both of you, for the compliments. These were wonderful coming-home presents!

~ Carole

Anonymous said...

Having been married to a fireman for almost 30 years, I can tell you that you won't find a braver soul. Their sense of brotherhood is like none other except policement. Since Flynn is a police officer, have you tried looking there? A lot of police are also of Irish descent. Also, a picture of a young Mel Gibson might work. You're right. The possibilities are endless!

Carole W said...

Anon, Tell your husband I'm awed by his courage and fortitude and grateful that he'd take on such a dangerous job.

Yes, indeed, Mel in Braveheart has the right demeanor and intensity. I have a photo of a young Hugh Jackman and the smile is perfect. Clive Owen has the right look in his eyes, except his are green instead of blue. (Photoshop!!) Gerard Butler has the proper broodiness.

I found a shot of some guy I don't recognize who has the perfect hair. And all the firefighters in the calendars had acceptable builds. LOL. I'm hoping Sonia can morph them into one broody, hunky man. Kind of a good looking, cleaned-up version of Vincent's Other ...!

~ Carole

New York City Utopia said...

At last I'm home (i.e. online)... and just as I was sure it would, this chapter made a beautiful bedtime story!

Carole W said...

NYCU - It's good to have you home again! I hope your holiday was wonderful.

Thank you for liking the chapter. I'm always interested in what you think and am always so happy when you think good things. Missed you.

~ Carole

Carole W said...

Flynn's scenes will figure in the next few chapters. I wanted to find some visual inspiration for him. Though I have a picture in my mind, it never hurts to have something solid in front of me to prod my descriptions, to help me visualize his expressions and movements.

I went on a hunt that took me through some very interesting internet pages. I ran a virus scan this afternoon! I had 83 tracking cookies! Delete,delete,delete.

And then, I remembered one of my favorite actors - and he is Flynn - or he was when he was younger. I originally envisioned Flynn without the actor in mind, but if you add some height and muscle and subtract a few years ...

Flynn's Lookalike

New York City Utopia said...

Good choice (IMHO)! :-D

New York City Utopia said...

another shot of a younger GB
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_pUHpZIZKZQ0/ScRtlJ3j0vI/AAAAAAAAA9o/DxruLkA0O2g/s400/film+byrne+excalibur.gif

Brandy said...

Whee! I'm back! Dashing through, gulping up the chapters I've missed while I've been Renaissance-ing.

Your little ascetic monk cell reminds me very much of my Lake cottage - very 1900s. I will have to send pictures.

And, since Shakespeare knew everything, this one's for you, Carole:

Sonnet 97: How like a winter hath my absence been by William Shakespeare
How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December's bareness everywhere!
And yet this time removed was summer's time,
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widowed wombs after their lords' decease:
Yet this abundant issue seemed to me
But hope of orphans, and unfathered fruit,
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And thou away, the very birds are mute.
Or, if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer,
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.

Krista said...

Here I am again. :-) Carole, what a wonderful surprise to find on my lunch break---I went to my site, saw the RSS feed had updated with your new (old) chapter and zoomed over here. :-D

This is still as marvelous as it was (gulp) almost two years ago, but it's somehow... more . The interaction between Vincent and Martin; Mab, the bringer of dreams--or in this case, a cat who knows full well something interesting is out there in that yard and she'd very much like to find out what it is. (If you're taking votes, I'm with the cat---I'd like to be in that yard too. ;)

Wonderful job, again and still.

-Krista :)

Carole W said...

Thanks, Krista! I like the kitten Mab too. She's a knowing thing.

This is a chapter that didn't change all that much. I remember how I agonized over the original and was still reasonably pleased with the conversation.

But I had fun with the Flynn POV, bringing him in. I keep thinking of him as a young Gabriel Byrne (and took the opportunity to repost the character look-alikes) and spent some time just sighing over one of his pics. And I still enjoyed Martin wrestling with his drawer and the spatula imagery. :-P

I'm grateful to you. Always. For reading and so many other things.
Carole

Anonymous said...

“Very good. Good, indeed. Yes. Pian. Pain is the first lesson of a warrior ... the pain of training and selfless reflection. Uaigneas. Aloneness ... solitude ... the second lesson where the true identity is revealed, where the path becomes both a friend and a heavy burden. Your third lesson ... trócair. Compassion ... compassion for others, for those less able, less willing. These lessons all ... you’ve learned.

“But then ... Bráithre. Brothers. Brotherhood. You who dare to live as you believe, according to your most noble dreams, to understand and control the raging tides of your emotions, to follow the course dictated by your spirit. You ... are ... not completely alone, Vincent. Bráithre. Know that it exists.”

Carole, Carole, Carole, again this is so very, very LOVELY! Pain, Aloneness, Compassion, Brotherhood. How perfectly right, and yes indeed, Vincent knows, understands, and has mastered the first three, but he has not known the fourth and probably most important facet of the warrior -- brotherhood with those who are like him and who UNDERSTAND.

I LOVE Martin to pieces! And I'm so glad to see Vincent finding new friends on his own. Vincent and Flynn will be so GOOD for each other, and won't Catherine -- and DEVIN -- be overjoyed to have Vincent find that special warrior BROTHERHOOD at last.

Best regards from YOUR greedy new friend who always wants MORE,

Lindariel

RomanticOne said...

Just finished reading your edit. I had forgotten that Vincent had allowed Martin close enough to grasp his arm. Wow! Big step for Vincent. Loved that whole exchange between them. I sense some exciting things blowing in the wind. Can't wait.

Carole W said...

Thank you so much, Lindariel! I'm very fond of Martin and I like to hear you like him too. He's created after a real life friend of mine - and I always want to do him justice.

And I'm so pleased you feel the necessity for Vincent to know Brotherhood. Flynn's just as lonely, separated even from his police force brothers by something within him that's just a little different.

I wish I didn't have to clean house, cook dinner or run errands or need to sleep so I could immerse myself in the writing of the rest of the story. Where's room service when you need it? LOL.

Seriously, thank you for wanting more. Your encouragement makes me want to work even harder.

Carole

Carole W said...

Hey R-!! I'm sorry it took me so long to reply. Our internet was out last night! I suffered serious withdrawal.

Martin touching Vincent was in the original chapter, but I did enhance that scene a little. It was a big step, and even though he was deep in thought, it surely wasn't an accident that he let Martin so close. He trusts him. He knows it's okay. He just has to realize that!

Thank you so much for sticking with me, reading the edits and for your interest and encouragement. It really makes a difference.

Carole

NYC Utopia said...

Hello, fellow fans who will get notified ;) I'm curious. Is everyone else also keeping the heavenly (celestial!) prize in mind? A zine! The best zine ever!