Iron Behind the Velvet ~ Chapter 31

~ Secrets Everywhere, and Everywhere Revelations 1



There was a moment – before he winced and turned toward her blinking, before the furrow deepened between his dark brows – when she saw his face alight with the peculiar weave of amusement and reverence and stubbornness that never failed to crowd the breath beneath her ribs, to set her pulse rabbiting. She wanted to run to him, wanted to capture his expression between her two hands, entice him to stay with a fervent kiss, but Mab circled her feet, slowing her course down the steps ... and by the time she reached the grass, his mouth was set in an wary, colorless line.

“I left a message,” Flynn said, crossing his arms over his chest. One knee jittered and he stared past her with such hunger ...

As if he might bolt, she imagined. Just take off running who knows where. If she thought it would help, she’d tell him to go. Just go. Run it off. Run until you weep with relief. Just come back. Come back.

Eimear made her way along the garden path, glad for the light behind her that cast her face in shadow, that hid her telling blush. She groped for something plausible to say, something besides the truth: that the machine had proclaimed seven messages with its rude red flash, that she’d switched it off, having listened to none, that she’d considered yanking the cord from the wall and pitching the contraption in the bin for the morning’s pickup. How could she explain that she’d awakened at one and at two and again at three in the morning to find Flynn’s pillow empty, that she’d run downstairs to push Play after all, that after the first three messages – none from Flynn – she’d swiped the recorder off its ledge in the hallway, that it would likely never work again.

From some strange distance, she heard … no, felt ... a reverberation like the clang of metal, a closing off. A bead of panic formed on her skin; a clammy dizzyness washed over her. Might they go on and on like this – dodging, inarticulate, desperately careful? They’d never withheld the truth from each other, never shunned the bridge between them no matter their differences, always willing to step out together, even from opposite sides. But now he struggled on a steep and stony penance doggedly alone, an ominous privacy about him.

And she kept her own privacies. I won’t tell him yet. I ... can’t.

“The machine isn’t blinking,” he said. “So you got it, right? My message?”

“Oh ...” she managed. “I ... ummmm ... something must be wrong with it.” Close enough to touch him, she reached out to soothe the raised marks on his ribcage, dropping her hand when he shifted away.

Over Flynn’s shoulder, Eimear met Martin’s gaze. Having inched backward toward the archway, he’d seemed relieved at her approach and eager himself for retreat, but now his brows were raised in question, his eyes wide, his lips pursed. He made a garbled, choking noise and stepped forward.

Flynn turned from Eimear to Martin and back. “Sorry, Eim. I tried.”

“Tell me now.”

“I took Albie’s shift at his security job. Maricel went into labor. Too late to call in and he can’t lose the extra work. They’re gonna need the money with the baby’s problems and all.” He fell silent and peered toward the house. “The guys on the truck ... we’re covering his hours until he can get back to it. The other guard there’s from the 6th and he’s fine with it ... with us helping out ... you know ... on the quiet.”

“How does he do it, work two jobs day after day?”

Flynn shrugged and stared at his feet.

“She wasn’t due for weeks. Is Maricel all right? The baby?”

“Haven’t heard.” His weary sigh became a yawn, one he tried to rub away. "Where'd you park the car?"


“McGinnis’s, out front with a flat. Don’t worry about it,” she whispered. She stroked his forearm. At her touch, his muscles jumped. “You’re exhausted. Go on to bed now.”

“Yes, We’ll have Harold on it first thing.” Martin said. “Maricel’s in what hospital? Queens, is it? I’ll visit tomorrow ... today ... I mean. And you should be going on to bed, Flynn. You look–”



“No worse than you.” Flynn said, jutting out his chin. “Up all night?”

“Only Behan’s till hardly midnight,” Martin asserted. “The both of us.”

He was rumpled, Eimear thought, and seemed oddly agitated, beating a bodhrán’s rhythm on his leg with ... what? A spatula?

“So what’s with the washer this time?”

“Just the belt. I went to Wash and Fold. No problem.” A memory teased her to follow to a magical place. The shirt in Catherine’s hands, their moment of understanding, the sweet feeling of clan. The secret in the middle. 2 A secret beautiful, not dark.

No problem. If only ...

I’ll call Harold. And I'll fix the machine,” he said. “Again.”

“Not now, surely,” she said to his back, but he took the porch steps two at a time, past a watchful Mab who offered silent commentary from her perch on the newel post. The door closed; the light snapped off. Across the street, Mrs. Coen’s dogs burst yowling from their night’s confinement. A bus prowled by.

Eimear met Martin’s probing gaze. The best defense ... she’d always heard. Here goes. “Later, I suppose you’ll tell me why you’re in the garden at daybreak wearing the very clothes I last saw you in as if you never went to bed at all.” She fished for his hand. “And you’ll explain carrying a turner around in the dark, now won’t you, Martin Geraghty. Father ...”

“And you’ll be regretting that hissing tone, íníon mo chroí,3 when you’re compelled to tell me why you fibbed to your husband, as that machine was blinking like the Gun Rock beacon of Inishbofin. And furthermore, I saw that look on your face at Behan’s and at the tea yesterday ... ummm ... Saturday.”

“What look?”

That look. The look that takes your eyes to the ground and says you’re hiding something. You were always a poor, poor liar. I remember the time you were desperate to wear Rosie’s–”

“Such a seanchaí4 you are, but please, Martin, not–”

“No, you’d be right. No old stories. Not this morning.” He opened his arms, inviting her close. “Here now. Here.”

The ridged pattern of his sweater was familiar to her ... reassuring. She scrubbed her cheek across the knitted plaits and diamonds, breathing in the long-ago scent of sheep’s wool and sun ... and of oak and spice, a syrup of peach, honey and almond. “I smell the Green Spot on you,” she mumbled. “The Green Spot you went to your knees before me promising to share. Have you spoiled your next confession with selfishness?”

“Oh, but I did share it.” Martin stepped back and, taking her face in his hands, bestowed a kiss to her forehead. “And speaking of confessions, about you and yours specifically. What was it you said? The answerer’s on the fritz?”

“Well, it is ... now.”

"A leanbh na páirte. A Thaisce. What’s the matter? ‘Tis Flynn, I know, and more than that. And whatever the more is, you’re the worse for it.”

“I’m all right.” Eimear linked her arm with Martin’s and heard his resigned but skeptical hmmm.

Light bloomed in the narrow, rectangular windows of her basement and through the single square pane of the cellar door. A looming shadow darkened the glass and Flynn appeared, wearing a tee shirt now and shoes. He climbed the stone risers to the yard where he snagged the coil of garden hose off its hook and slung it over his shoulder. Without a glance their way, he retraced his steps, and moments later, he was at the kitchen table bent over a battered red toolbox.

“Would you bet he’s the man taking Albie’s shift again tonight?”

“Of course he is.” Eimear sighed as Flynn vanished once more from view. How long had it been since they’d lain awake together, forehead to forehead, his hands in her hair, pillowed murmurings easing their parting for the day. How long since he had truly smiled, the wide stretch that brought the lone dimple to his cheek and the laugh lines to his bright, blue eyes. I miss him.

“If you can’t tell Flynn and you won’t let on to me or Rosie or Will, you must find someone who understands ... whatever it is. The weight of this on you ... ‘tis breaking my heart.”

“I should help him get a siphon going.” She knew Martin watched her. “Tell me,” she said with a grin and a teasing tone. An attempt to dislodge his focus, but more than that ... “The turner in your hand. ‘Tis the one you save for grilling fish. Is there an odd party this morning?”

“Oh, this,” Martin chuffed. Back-stepping away, he waved the spatula in goodbye. “My desk drawer was stuck. I only wanted in.”

“But you’re outside with it, why? And who was it having the Green Spot with you? Martin? Martin!”

__________


Martin hurried through the archway and ducked into the ambulatory, pressing himself against the wall, waiting to hear the whoosh of the rubber sweep across Eimear’s porch, for the thunk of her closing door. He counted a slow ten, then another, and was satisfied he was alone.

The evidence was there, the remains he needed to bus from Eimear’s sure interrogation. Two open chairs barely ten feet apart, but angled from each other, Vincent’s even now positioned in darkness. The tulip-shaped pint glasses, two plates scraped clean, cross-laid with mismatched sterling forks. A decorated metal box holding half a tart. Two crystal tumblers. The bottle of rare whiskey, well gone. He tucked the spatula into his back pocket and set to work, upending the china over the tart, the silverware deposited after, the tumblers stuffed in the corners of the tin. A beer glass in each sweater pocket. The Green Spot clamped to his ribs. One trip, he crowed to himself, though he rattled a bit. Once inside, he washed and dried and stacked and tidied away every proof of his company ... save the memory.

He trotted to his office, threw off his sweater and at his desk, kneeling on the rag rug, worked the flat steel blade between the frame and the drawer’s face, wiggled and shimmied it. Urged it. Cursed it. “Blast, what is in there?” He shushed himself, then bent again, levering the metal probe side to side against the resistance. A tentative tug on the handle produced another inch of gap; an enthusiastic shake settled the contents. “I win!”

He began to clear the overstuffed drawer, stopping once to pull his inhaler from his shirt pocket, to lean on his hands flat on the desk while his breathing evened. The obstinate culprit was a parish directory nearly ten years old, thicker by far than the current one underneath his tea cup and saucer. Next came a sheaf of loose papers – rejected homilies, crumpled essays, half-remembered melodies – a bashed carton of After Eight mints, a creased Mets pennant, a single fleece-lined slipper, then an even older, even thicker, leather-bound directory and finally, from the deepest recesses of the bin, the old priest’s bequest.

tramp art cigar box, carved wooden overlay
It was only a cedar wood cigar box covered with the knife-work and knick carving of the tramp artist, wrapped with four bands of knotted rawhide string. Gingerly, he rose to his feet and placed the chest on his desktop, pulled the lamp closer, adjusted the shade, groped for the arm of his chair to bring it beneath him.



***


The box had been packed decades ago, left for him in the back corner of the lowest drawer in the stubborn old dresser, in the room Seamus Barry had called his own until that last day. A beautiful day, clear and crisp, the lawn patchworked with a scattering of orange and yellow leaves.

A wizened, wrinkled gnome of a man, Seamus watched from the sidewalk as two young nuns wrestled his trunk down the church steps into their waiting van. “Left you something,” he said, jabbing at Martin’s foot with his cane. “Something special. Won’t be needing it at the Residence, but one day you just might.” Seamus swore to all who would listen he’d live out his retirement in contemplation of the game of poker.

Martin helped him into the seat and tucked a thin cushion behind his shoulders. Before he could straightened to smile or wave goodbye, the old priest clutched at his coat sleeve. “Guard the doorways I showed you,” he’d whispered, “Guard them well and wait.”

bronze Sculpture, Chinese dog
Later that afternoon, Martin emptied his last black case into the dresser and found the box. He untied the strings, opened it to a tightly packed collection. An odd assortment of trinkets, he sorted through and kept out only one, an uncomely thing – a small bronze dog, tailless, pug-nosed and big-headed with a lined face and a puckered expression – but heavy, grand as a paperweight. He repacked the curiosities, rewound the fasteners with little thought for Seamus’s last cryptic words or the secreted gift, eager instead to claim the place as his own, eager to wander the garden, to listen for Lily’s voice, and over the coming months, he shifted the chest from dresser top to bookcase to cabinet to closet.

He’d lost an argument with the parish council – his first loss, but not his last. The sanctuary doors would close, they decreed at their monthly meeting, at nine o’clock at night, though he’d lobbied for never, extolling the symbolism of always and open to a nay-saying assemblage. The next morning, he stood at the kitchen window with his mug of tea, grousing to himself. At least he could unbar the old dormitories – someone might need a bed for the night – and remove the padlocks from the archway doors. After all, one attracted the nests of tiny, vicious wasps. Twice he’d been stung while playing his flute. One entire Saturday morning was spent in sweating futility, bent over the lock, hacksaw in hand. He was at the sink, drinking a second glass of water and inspecting a blister on his thumb when he remembered ...

He found the case on the closet shelf behind a stack of shoeboxes, opened it. Rummaged through ...


***

Once again, Martin removed the cords. One for each Mystery ... the joyful ... the sorrowful ... the glorious ... the luminous. The lid was heavy with the layered carvings; the paper hinge was fragile, but held. The object he sought was there, wedged in at the front where he’d replaced it, folded in its scrap of black wool. He pried it out with a culling finger and lay the bundle aside.

Ah, Seamus. Not so daft, were ye? I apologize. I’ll see your treasures now ... and in a different light.

rosewood side-angle scope
Save one, the meanings of the curios escaped him still. He cradled each in his hand, arranged them in a line as he had years before – a cobalt blue eye-bath glass, two small silver Kiddush cups engraved round and round in letters he recognized as Russian, a rosewood side-angle scope which he held once again to his eye. A traveling chess set folded to a palm-sized square, it’s miniature pieces pewter and gold. Next a pair of thick-lensed glasses, rose-colored, a delicate, stemmed pedometer, a kaleidoscope the size of a child’s top. Salt and pepper shakers in the form of praying hands, at which he grimaced and set aside. Perhaps another man’s eyes ... Perhaps he might explain.

He placed the final, wrapped parcel under the light and peeled away the layers of cloth. A snip of the Father’s vestments, Martin decided, pushing back his chair.

From his private rooms, he entered the new church office. New. Funny I still call it so, he thought, crossing the paneled room he’d never warmed to in the twenty years since its remodel.

sacristy secret door, chifferobe moved from in front of the passage
He’d fought then to save the oldest rooms and had prevailed. Unused, forgotten but still there – the old vesting sacristy, high-ceilinged, unheated, windowless, its  floor uneven, the heavy plaster walls cracked. The room was empty now except for the stone sacrarium, a threadbare kneeler, an oak chifferobe he leaned to and pushed aside. Hidden behind was a narrow, open closet, in it a wooden door – a door hasped and fitted with the same heavy padlock that once secured the doors in the wall ‘round his garden.

That long-ago day he’d enjoyed a taste of defiance. Using the keys from Seamus’s box, he’d removed the locke from the two dormitories, had aired them and refurnished them, repaired the plumbing himself ... and from both archway doors. One swung free, revealing the small alcove and bench, but the second, the door Seamus had dragged him to see, begged him to guard, was immovable. Chin in hand, he studied it, then hurried inside, determined to finish this mission. But as he stood in the sacristy, before the last entrance with a key in his fist, Seamus’s final word seemed to echo within the walls of the room. Wait. And he conceded to it and dropped his hand.

Night after night, year after year, he sat in the archway with his flute or the box, with company and without. Never before had he felt the presence of anyone behind the church-wall door. Never before had he felt compelled to remove this last barrier to passage through. Until now.

It was time. He fitted the lock with Seamus’s one unused key and the shackle separated from the body.
When he tested the handle’s thumb latch, though it levered easily, the door remained fast, barred mysteriously from within. But it was enough, the unbolting. Someone might need to get through from the other side – from Below – one way or another, today or tomorrow. Someday.

He expected a second wrangling, but the wardrobe’s top drawer slid smoothly open. In it, alongside four identical locks and four rusted keys, he lay the fifth of the set.

Ready.

________


“It’s not Mitch. Damien told me you thought– I never meant– ” Kanin looked away. “It’s not good, but it’s not Mitch.”

As if he’d broken the surface of water after a deep dive, Vincent pulled the words into his lungs like air, sweet, necessary air. Not Mitch Not Mitch. He tipped his head back. Relief. A cool hand to fevered skin. So welcome.

Wasn’t it?

Kanin was speaking; though not the words, he could hear him – the regret in his voice, the explanation and apology. It was a sad music with a stammering rhythm. He should acknowledge him, ask his opinion. Listen. Breathe. But a heat like the opening of an oven door swept him.

Months ago, he’d chosen and left Mitch ... a possibility. And now he’d not have this chance to finish it.

It began in his belly. Anger smoldered there, then blazed with licking tongues. He could feel its ... becoming ... as if an apparition unfurled inside him, writhing to the reaches of his limbs, clawing his skin from within.

no no no I will not ... I am not …

Denial is the only fact … 6

But I am. I am that angry. I could ...

I want to finish it.

Anger’s not the worst thing. ‘Tis only human to feel it, Vincent. Only human ...

Heed its instruction ...

“Vincent? Vincent!” Kanin’s touch brought him home.

________


A few hours of sleep were necessary and deliciously possible. Free from morning duties, he toed off his shoes and lay down on top of the covers, pulling the hem of the chenille spread up and over him, grateful he no longer had the services of a rectory housekeeper who might well barge in with her hands on her hips, aghast he was wasting away the day and in such a sorry, sorry state. He settled into memory, the evening playing past ... leaving Behan’s, leaving Eimear’s for the archway, finding the door ajar, finding mystery ...

Finding Vincent.

Ah, Lily. Remember the fall afternoon when we begged a ride to Limerick with your uncle? ‘Twas true, the once-every-seven-years story. Lough Gur had gone dry and the entrance to the Sidhe palace might be seen if only we’d stay on into twilight ...

Image of Rosie, b/w photograph
A gentle voice beckoned ... Martin ... and he followed down a winding, chiseled pathway. Music filled air – symphonies of water sounds, a whistled chorale of wind, the distant percussion of feet and drums. Rosie was there! With her wild hair whipping about her shoulders and her long black coat swirling at her knees. Already across a strange bridge, waving him on. And Eimear, too, at his side on a rocky bluff, her hand in his, pointing overhead to no blue sky above, instead to one of brown and gray and ochre ... and to stars! Constellations of flickering silvery stars ...

And there was darkness and there were shadows ... and in a burst of light there appeared a circle of friends, their glasses raised with shouted toast. Failte! Ciad mile failte! 7 And there were shadows ... and there was darkness ...


_________


“So with all that, what do you think we should do?”

Vincent shook his head; he’d heard not a word. “What we should do ...” he repeated and Kanin looked up at him. “What you should do,” Vincent said, “is get word to Cullen and Jamie. Have them come to camp. You have the information we need. The expertise. You, more than anyone, Kanin, know what we should do.”

“But I’ve–”

“Reorganize the crews to finish in this section today. I’ll join you in an hour.”

“What? You ... you’re ...” Kanin stumbled on his words, his breath coming fast. “What d’ya mean, an hour?”

“I’m tired. I’m going to lay down.”

“Where?” Kanin’s eyes narrowed.

“Here.” Vincent bent to retrieve the bedroll he’d borrowed from Martin. “You take charge. And take the pizza. Mouse might want it for breakfast.”

“Aren’t you hungry?”

Vincent shrugged, rubbing his neck. “I ate ... with a friend.”

“A friend.” Kanin’s eyebrows arched, disappearing under the fall of his unkempt hair. “Is that all you’re going to say?”

“For now, yes.”

narrow tunnel passage out
Kanin picked up the box, held it flat on his palms. He stared at it with bewilderment, then tucked it under his arm and started down the corridor.

“Kanin?” Vincent called out, listening for the halt of footsteps. “Have us work together later today. Just us. Alone.”

The iron barricade clanged as Kanin hurried through, slammed too hard for safety’s sake, but the city was waking up. Already the vibration and rumble Above grew stronger, masking their mistakes.

He released the straps that bound the bedding and snapped it out. The pad flattened against the stone and was thin, but, like the one he used in camp, kept the cold from seeping through. Before he closed the worlds away, he imagined Catherine nestled against him, imagined her warmth, the scent of her skin sweet from the shower. Haply, I think on thee. 8

_______


Underwater, buoyed and weightless. Warm, so warm. Softness like eiderdown against her back. Turning on her pillow, she opened her eyes to the glowing green dashes and a stuttering insistence.

Damn it!

Before the hot water had time to rise in the pipes, she ducked beneath the spray.

____________________


See the Contents of Martin's Treasure Box HERE



Click HERE for Chapter 32.

____________________

1. George Leonard. The Silent Pulse. EP Dutton. 1978.
2. Robert Frost. The Secret Sits. 1942.
3. Iníon, mo chroí. Gaelic. Translation: my darling daughter
4. seanchaí. Gaelic. Translation: storyteller
5. A leanbh na páirte. A Thaisce. Gaelic. Translation: My dear child. My treasure
6. Emily Dickinson. Denial is the Only Fact.
7. Failte! Ciad mile failte! Gaelic. Translation: Welcome! A hundred-thousand welcomes!
8. William Shakespeare. Sonnet 29.

35 comments:

Krista said...

Oh, Carole. Now that I've had a chance to read this again (and I'll probably read it once or twice more) this is truly lovely. (I keep saying that and it's still true.)

I love the box of the old priest's treasures (though, like Martin, I'm a little perplexed at what he chose to keep and why. The praying hands salt and pepper shakers have never been my favorite either. :-P) I love the layers you've interwoven here---Eimear and Flynn; Catherine and Vincent; Vincent and Kanin, Martin and his own catch of secrets.

Good job. Can't wait for the next chapter,

Krista :)

Carole W said...

OH good (heaving a sigh). Thank you.

For an other-character-ful chapter, it does advance the story, even if it's still somewhat mysterious.

V/C will have their hands full soon. :-P

Remember the question we discussed ... where did Vincent learn Russian? And an angle-scope allows you to see around corners. A pedometer might aid in walking journeys in strange new worlds ... chess, rose-colored glasses ... Hmmmm. though the shakers might be just plain tacky. :-) Lots of things yet to be revealed.

Thanks again, Krista, for your review and for your friendship.

~ Carole

Krista said...

It's very mysterious. And very good. So there. :-)

Yeah, I had speculations about some of those objects---the pedometer particularly interested me. I vote that the shakers are just plain tacky. :)

But how fascinating the convergence---the old priest and his box of (what looks like) junk. And Martin, meeting Vincent. This is...oh, it looks to be very, very good. :)

New York City Utopia said...

Lovely!
Of course I feel as hungry as ever after each of these little servings ;-)
I could almost see this going on forever, and I'd enjoy it... except that I can't wait for some walls to crumble...

Kemara said...

I agree with Utopia...I'm still hungry for more after each new chapter. I want to sit down when I have the time to savor and re-read this chapter. I think there are so many small treasures here beside what the old priest kept in his box.

The salt and pepper shakers recall to me the passage about, "You are the salt of the earth. If salt shall loose it's flavor with what shall it be seasoned?" Pepper, perhaps?

Love the pictures, Carole! Where do you find them all? Can't wait to read more! Anxious for everyone to meet, but at the same time I don't want this wonderful story to end yet.

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree. There are layers and layers just to this CHAPTER.

I want to read it again too. I have so many thoughts about this chapter, you may get an email instead of a comment. Is that okay?

One thing to mention that is so subtle but hit me hard. How instead of jumping on Kanin or issuing orders, Vincent gives Kanin his trust. Very powerful, and as I said, subtle.

Great job.

LW

Sonia Who? said...

Nice chapter. I agree with everyone else's comments. I too am hungry for more and can't wait for everyone to meet, but I enjoy reading this story so much I wish it never to end, but I so want to know what happens next. Like all the pictures you use, how they add to and make the story real for us.

Carole W said...

Krista, I promise the contents of Seamus's box will reappear in the story. I picked through dozens of antique sites, waiting for the muse to hop up and down and point at the screen. And the box is only so big ... she said.

The threads are pulling together ... !

Carole W said...

NYCU- Thank you! You know sometimes I'm afraid I'll not find a stopping spot, that is might go on forever, and I've carved away several tangents because of that fear - I'll save them for future stories.

I'm really glad to know I've been able to create a world here that holds your interest. Hopefully, the next 'course' will be served soon. I was pleased that my gap time was shorter this posting.

~ Carole

Carole W said...

Kemara - wow, thanks! I love the salt of the earth idea. I'd been treating the shakers lightly and now I think I'll rethink them!

Oh, I am sooo glad you like the story - that you enjoy the layers and symbolism. I'm encouraged and pleased. Words like yours make me want to type all night, every night.

I had several people email wanting the pdf version we will collaborate on - I'm still smiling about that.

~ Carole

Carole W said...

PS, Kemara - the picture hunt has reached the levels of an addiction. It's become a kind of game almost - what keywords can I use to find appropriate illustrations? It's taken me on some fascinating journeys. Sometimes I'll just type in 'antique locks' and all sorts of doors will be listed - some set in stone walls that are just right.

What did I do before Google?

When I feel writer's block looming, I'll take a break for visual inspiration. Something will strike me as just right and then I can type again.

I'm glad you're enjoying them. I plan on going back through and illustrating all the stories. And organizing the reference pages too.

~ Carole

Carole W said...

Anon ... is that you, Leann W? :-) I always enjoy your emails and it's been too long. Send away.

I'm thrilled you noticed Vincent's response to Kanin. He's having that dual reaction - glad it's not Mitch, wishing in a way it was. The Other unfurls within him and he accepts ...

His response to Kanin was almost therapeutic, for Kanin for sure, but also for himself. He was able to be angry, accept his feelings and choose how to act in the midst of them.

Now that I think on it, I may expand that scene - V's awfully tired, plus he's giving Kanin time to run things himself, so maybe some musing on his internal reaction in #33.

See what you've started! It's good to hear from you again.

~ Carole

Carole W said...

Oh, Sonia, you may get your wish! I've been saying there were a dozen chapters left for the last 6. Every time I outline one, it becomes two when it is finally written. Now, trying to be honest with myself, I think there are a dozen chapters left! LOL!

I'm glad you liked it. I know it's way past time for a V/C together chapter. I'm grateful you've stuck with me even though I'm slow and even though this is a story with unfamiliar characters and setting.

Your montages and drawings have added so much. And the Flynn to come??? Ooohh, yeah!

~ Carole

Kemara said...

Carole,
I'm so excited about laying out the .pdf version...I can see it in my head all prettied up with the illustrations, a table of contents, footnotes and such...like a real book! Hmm...I think I'll take one of the (shorter!)completed stories and play around with formatting it this weekend just to see what works and what doesn't. Maybe "Marriage Morning"?

Carole W said...

Kemara, I'm getting chills. This will be fun.

I'll be editing I/V of course, and I'm planning to edit all the stories again eventually. Every time I go back into one, I find either typos or sentences that I want to change or scenes that are too short or something. But, please, take any story you want. I hope it isn't too time consuming or difficult, because I'm really stoked.

!!! Carole

Sonia Who? said...

Carole, I sometimes spend a lot of time looking for images on Google (images are great for inspiration), a few times spent all day and/or night searching and getting images. Isn't Google great? Almost as addictive as eBay, but better 'cause it's free.

So glad you like the drawing of Flynn. Thanks for using/posting it.

Brandy said...

Huzzah! I'm all caught up! But I'll need to go back and savor the words, now that I've gulped them down and consumed them. Reading is a bit like cow digestion - you intake so much, and must bring it back up again for rumination and reflection. Sorry, maybe not the prettiest of images...

Your bit about the bodhran (pronounced "BORE-ahn" for the confused) made me laugh: my favorite singing group at Fest has a spoof on "If I had a Million Dollars" called "If I had a Million Chickens," just so it's time-period appropriate. Anyway, one of the lines is
"If I had a Million Chickens/
I'd buy you a bodhran
But not a bodhran player, that's cruel."

This chapter by chapter is extending the time that Catherine has been from Vincent. We've been so much in his head; will we get back in hers again?

A poem for Flynn, our conflicted warrior.

Cuchulain Comforted by William Butler Yeats
A man that had six mortal wounds, a man
Violent and famous, strode among the dead;
Eyes stared out of the branches and were gone.

Then certain Shrouds that muttered head to head
Came and were gone. He leant upon a tree
As though to meditate on wounds and blood.

A Shroud that seemed to have authority
Among those bird-like things came, and let fall
A bundle of linen. Shrouds by two and thrice

Came creeping up because the man was still.
And thereupon that linen-carrier said:
'Your life can grow much sweeter if you will

'Obey our ancient rule and make a shroud;
Mainly because of what we only know
The rattle of those arms makes us afraid.

'We thread the needles' eyes, and all we do
All must together do.' That done, the man
Took up the nearest and began to sew.

'Now must we sing and sing the best we can,
But first you must be told our character:
Convicted cowards all, by kindred slain

'Or driven from home and left to die in fear.'
They sang, but had nor human tunes nor words,
Though all was done in common as before;

They had changed their throats and had the throats of
birds.

Carole W said...

Hey Brandy! I live on a farm, sans farm animals now, but nevertheless ... I get the imagery and it's good.

It's just now Monday morning. Monday will be pretty much be an all-Catherine day. Stuff will happen, stuff that will get V and C back in the same physical space again. We'll be well in her head here soon.

I have a lot to do in the next "twelve hours". ;-)

Great poems - I'm glad you're back!

~ C

New York City Utopia said...

This chapter left me with the feeling that it was Eimear's turn to feel a little alone. I hope she'll get to talk to Catherine again soon
(only my own afterthought! not pushing!!)

Carole W said...

NYCU - you're reading ahead! LOL. And you're right on target. And I don't mind a gentle nudge. :-)

As I/V continues, Eimear will find a counterpart in Catherine. Next chapter, that connection enlarges and solidifies. They will have much in common. Shouldn't say more - don't want to give away the story.

I know it seems like months since C's been seen, but if the story were finished and one read it start to finish, it would seem more like 30 - 45 minutes (the time it takes to read 3 or 4 chapters). I hope my new trend continues - toward shortening the time between postings.

~ Carole

Anonymous said...

Hi Carole,
A wonderful chapter...I love the illustrations...a awhile back I listened to the music link..haven't had a chance to listen to the link on this chapter...I'm cheating and reading @ work...had to read twice since I fly thru each new chapter quickly the 1st time! It seems that Catherine is able to ease Vincent's (even w/his sojourns further down) burdens quicker than Flynn's can be by Eim...or I may be way off base. I'm so curious about the meaning of all the treasures in the box!! Again you keep me enrapt, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

YOU are the treasure in our box!

jitterbug

Carole W said...

Hi Jitterbug! I was hoping you'd enjoy the chapter. The box of treasures ... I had so much fun thinking about it and filling the box. Some items have stronger meanings that others, but I shouldn't say more - for fear I'll give away the story!

That's an interesting take on V/C and E/F - why Catherine is better at reaching Vincent than Eimear is right now, reaching Flynn. There's something Eimear is trying to keep from Flynn that's interfering, but I'd better not say more about that either!

Flynn is pretty stubborn and he's really shutting Eimear out. Vincent might should talk to Flynn about that ;-)

And it's such a time waster! Vincent did some of that himself - particularly after Outsiders.

Thanks so much for the kind words. It helps my feelings tremendously to read them.

~ Carole

Sonia Who? said...

Catherine might be better at reaching Vincent than Eimear is at reaching Flynn right now, but hasn't been the case for long. For the longest time Vincent used to push and shut Catherine out, just as much or more than Flynn is doing to Eimear. So both couples will understand each and the other perfectly.

I too can't wait to find out the meaning of all the treasures. You're good at building the mystery and anticipation, Carole. Hope the next chapter will be completed and posted as quickly as this one.

Vicky said...

Utterly... captivated, captured, intrigued... I am! I need more! It went by so quickly... Not another mystery to solve? Carole, you rock!

Love you,

Vicky

Carole W said...

Sonia, that's a good point about Vincent's history. I most certainly expect Eimear and Catherine to have a good heart-to-heart. :-)

Me too ... I hope I write and post quickly as well. If only my house would clean itself and meals would appear from magic hands!

Carole W said...

Thanks Vicky! I'll (mostly) unravel all the mysteries before story's end. Promise!

Sonia Who? said...

This poem made me think of both Vincent and Flynn. Hope you like it.


A thunderous silence
breaks through my thoughts.
What was once many great ideas
is now a triumph, lost.

Baffling words tumble through my mind.
Reflections of darkness hover.
A disturbing peacefulness beckons to me,
and inside myself, I take cover.

What would it be like to stay there forever?
To be lost in all my cares?
From the inside, looking out -
I cry silent tears.


Silent Tears by by Heather Loughton

Carole W said...

Perfect, Sonia!

New York City Utopia said...

Sometimes I need to go back to ICYH, just to remind myself of a few things. Oh my, more possible future connections I had forgotten about (Jamie-Flynn?). And I was already thinking you'd reach 50 chapters ;-)

Carole W said...

LOL, NYCU - Every time I revisit ICYH, I find comma issues!

50 chapters. You may be right - that's only 18 more. Maybe I should offer a prize to the one who guesses closest to the final number. Like an office pool, or something?!

Working on #33, I'm half-way to a reasonable chapter word-count and Catherine hasn't even left her apartment yet on Monday morning. She has a VERY full day ahead of her. Oh dear ...

And I may have to change #33 title - because the Worldless feeling has to commence and she's still in her (actually Vincent's) bathrobe.

~ Carole

New York City Utopia said...

I'm beginning to wonder whether writing shares some properties with fractals? ;-)

Carole W said...

NYCU ... I sheepishly admit I had to study up on fractals to be able to respond to your comment. I finally came to rest on a quote I found - am I any where near what you meant?

It turns out that fractals occur frequently in nature. This is often due to how nature performs its own iterations. For instance, as a tree grows, new branches grow from old branches. As these branches mature, they sprout new branches of their own

If I do understand, then I totally agree - the beginnings of a story branch and branch again until (hopefully) a fully arching tree stands lush with fruit. {{{right?}}}

Carole

New York City Utopia said...

Right! They tend to branch indefinitely ;-)
Fractal fern

Anonymous said...

Carole, again, this is just lovely. Martin's secret box is SOOOOoooooo tantalizing! Just who did Father Seamus encounter from "Below" that resulted in this little box of odd treasures. Must have MORE!

Best regards, Lindariel

Carole W said...

Lindariel, the box will, I promise, be explained! So much story to come, but in fact, there was a clue a chapter or so back, when Vincent, sitting with Martin, raised a silent toast to a past tunnel dweller. ;-) In a soon-to-post chapter, there'll be another clue or two.

I had a good time rereading this chapter - it's one that didn't change much at all from its original form, just a few tweaks.

Thanks so much for reading. ~ Carole