Iron Behind the Velvet ~ Chapter 33

~ And These Poor Nerves 1

(a moment of adult content)
No matter how short, no matter how shallow, sleep usually brought him equilibrium, but he was agitated and subdued at once – and stiff and sore. As he rolled the pad and pillow together, as he wedged the package in a cleft of rock, as he lit the torch Mouse left behind, as he doused the lantern, his body complained. He was accustomed to sleeping on the ground and he couldn’t remember taking a slam from an errant beam or lifting a too-heavy stone, but there was no denying it – his back hurt when he bent and it hurt when he straightened and even after he drank more water, his tongue felt ... fuzzy.
He trod the narrows away from the stairs beneath the garden at a gingered pace. At each step, a thudding reminder pulsed behind his eyes, bumped against the base of his skull. He ground the heel of his hand against his forehead.

A wee taste of the good stuff, he heard in Martin’s beguiling accent.

A wee taste, my …

dawn over Brooklyn Bridge
Out into the passage and down a level, the walls were higher, the corridor wider, the air fresh and cool. He slowed, then stopped. Against a dense, gray brume, colors – like the dawn over Brooklyn Bridge – cavorted behind his eyelids. They were beautiful colors but danced with too much ... enthusiasm. And though he willed open the reach of their bond, the gladness, the transport, that serene place within he sought with her proved elusive, thwarted by the roll of timpani between his ears.

With a chuff of frustration, he opened his eyes. For a moment he thought himself on a swinging bridge, the floor beneath him in a slow, sinuous wave. He braced one hand to the wall. A faint sound drew his focus. On one of the few pipes connecting these tunnels he heard a ping and a pause, again a ping, ping, pause ... ping. It was code designed specifically for this mission, code unknown to those outside these two small crews. Breakfast ... ready. The imagined aroma made him frown.

This will not do.

He stabbed his torch into a crevice, dropped his cloak. He spread his feet, drew and loosed the cleansing breaths as he’d been taught, dropping his chin to his chest, rounding his shoulders. With a slow inhale, he reached high overhead, elongating the muscles of his arms, spreading his fingers wide, then lowered his arms and with them outstretched, palms up – encompassing, entreating – arched his back, bared his heart ... tipped his face toward the unseen sun.

Hold. Hold. Breathe ...

park in spring, a pink petal carpet on the ground
In time, the flickering lights, the thudding slowed and a treasured image seeped through the cotton wadding in his head – the park in spring, the trees in flower, the colors distinct in the morning light ... a breeze rippling the lake, sweeping away the haze. Through the arch, through the Ravine and into the North Woods, along the Harlem Meer to see the swans, his footfall cushioned by a carpet of petals, he ran – as if without constraint, if only in his fancy – into the coming day …


a stone circle, small spiral staircase
The spiral stairs would not allow a speedy descent, and by the time he neared camp, he’d prepared an apology for his impatience, for his absence; had made and discarded a list of questions for Kanin, replacing it with a vow to allow him the floor without interruption, without commentary. He remembered Catherine and Aniela had brought back a dark bread studded with pecans and raisins. Perhaps a single piece, toasted crisp, no butter ...

Even before he reached the entrance, he heard the buzz of anxious chatter, the ting of metal spoons against tin plates. By now, his crew would know of Kanin’s undertaking and would rightly question the decision to keep it from them. He’d need an answer for that choice as well.
He surveyed the assemblage from the top of the stairs. Cullen and Damien and Jamie huddled with Kanin around their makeshift workshop – a long refectory table they’d found tipped on its side in an abandoned chamber. Rather than with tools to repair or with ropes to check for fraying, its splintered surface was layered in maps and plans. Kanin thumbed the pages and whipped one out, smoothed it flat, anchored the corners with small stones. Here, here ... here, Vincent heard him say, as he traced his finger along a path of work to come.

But most were busy with breakfast.

Fresh from the farm! Catherine had announced, unzipping Aniela’s pack even while she wore it. One by one, she’d lifted out four precious cartons. Now on his knees by the fire, Mouse scrambled the eggs in a massive skillet, raking orange-yellow curds across and back, across again. A platter, warming on a fire-pit stone, was mounded with surely the entire five-pound bag of potatoes cubed and fried. Rounds of dark sausage sizzled in another pan. A kettle spluttered steam.

“Vincent!” Mouse called and every face turned his way. “Just in time. Sit.” Mouse spread his hands above his ready fare. “Good stuff, too. Aniela found. Look! Black pudding!”

With concerted effort, he managed not to wince. "I think," he began, when he reached the floor, "I'll clean up first. And then–"

“Sure, after. You go. There’s plenty.” Mouse shot a narrowed glance at Kanin. “Make sure, this time.”

Vincent clapped him – gently – on the shoulder. “Toast. Just toast.”

“Tea, though, right? Pot’s hot.”

He felt a 
yes, thank you forming on his lips when a craving, rich and dark, swept over him. “Is there coffee?”

Mouse blinked, but after a moment, he grinned. “Sure, Vincent. Make it for you. Have it ready. Strong, too. Like William’s for Catherine.”


A deep cavern pool
He tested the temperature with trailing fingers. Still warm. He’d not missed the strange cycle of the water, but in an hour, perhaps less, it would go ice-cold until evening. Wherever they would work next, wherever Kanin would direct them, the facilities would likely be more primitive. This might be his last dunking bath for days.

He’d scooped up the clean clothes left folded for him in the passage outside the bathing chamber. His shirt smelled of flowers, a sweet but counterfeit scent compared to Martin’s garden. 
Still ... an improvement, he acknowledged, as he peeled layers of leather and dusty flannel and corduroy away. His splayed toothbrush was in can with a dozen others just as worn, but on a ledge of rock, a stash of new toiletries was massed – deodorant, toothpaste and shampoo and – thank you, Catherine – detangling conditioner. Stuart had provided the china bowl and pitcher they used for a sink. At it, he scrubbed hard at his teeth. Better, he said, running his tongue across his incisors, his reflection fractured and repeated in the chips of mica – a thousand little mirrors in the stone.

Crouched by the pool, he watched the eddy and swirl, the mysterious flow of the water, and thought of home. He missed those mornings, those evenings and sometimes those afternoons, Below or Above, when they would bathe together, where he would reacquaint his eyes, his hands, with her beauty, her ... artistry. 
Still so new. When afterward – she on the sofa – he’d sit before her on the floor and idly, she’d comb her fingers through his damp hair until it dried. And she would read to him – or better, simply talk – recounting conversations held and overheard, the intricacies and ironies of her work, drama on the street. Or tell him of the smallest of things – an array of blackbirds on a fence, a bucket drummer in the subway, the lemony bite of Sam-the-street-vendor’s stuffed grape leaves. Though he listened – listened closely – there were times when he was carried on the sound of her voice to a place larger, more perfect than he’d ever dreamed possible. So free, so bright ...

Once she’d asked him, laughing, to repeat her words, and he was about to confess that he’d lost the thread ... but instead, surprising them both, he’d turned and on his knees, nuzzled beneath her breast, urged her back against the cushions, wandered ravenous over her ribs and belly with his lips and hands, tugged her hips to the edge ...

When he slipped in, the water was cooler than he’d expected, but the lapping waves fizzed in his ears as he sank below the surface and the minerals soothed away the deep ache in his bones and head, moderated his … thoughts. When he emerged, dried and dressed, he went from person to person, making amends. Mouse, last to clasp his proffered hand, had a stack of toast ready for him, crisp as he liked it and a pot of coffee for him alone. "
From Catherine," Mouse whispered, opening his fist as a magician might to reveal a tiny jar of golden raspberry jam. With his first cup and a plate in hand, he settled to a shadowed niche farthest from the fire. He believed he could hear her, just above the murmur of conversation, over the rustle of paper and the snap of flame ...

When this work is finished ... 


The washer was pulled out from the wall and lay on its side on an old quilt; the access panel removed, the no-longer-mysterious workings of the machine exposed. In a plastic tub, the clamps, the pump coupling and mounting bolts were lined up in the order of their removal. 
Always so careful, Eimear thought, watching him from the doorway. He was on his knees, bent over the metal abyss, braced on both arms. Under a waffle-knit shirt, beneath sweatpants soft with wear, muscles knotted and rippled with his efforts. And so beautiful ...

“Flynn,” she called, keeping her voice low. “I’m leaving now.”

He looked at her over his shoulder and, frowning, raked unruly hair out of his eyes. “I don’t think it’s the belt this time.”

Her gaze swept the countertops and table. “Where’s Mab? I’d figure her for your helper.”

“Had to put her in the guest room. She likes to hide the bolts.”

Eimear laughed as she crossed the floor. “You’ll not forget to let her out, will you? Or we’ll be truly sorry come this evening.” Behind him, she ran her hands through his curls. At her touch, he sank back on his heels. “Would you want a haircut tonight? I’ll wait up for you. Give you the treatment,” she said and held her breath.

“I told Albie I’d take another shift.”

Of course you did. “Before Saturday, then. Before Rosie’s ceremony. Catherine’s coming. Martin might be after Seamus from the Residence, if he’s up to it.”

“Saturday. Right. I remember.” He dragged the toolbox closer and searched its contents.

Do you? Come home, Flynn. Come back to me. 

“Leave this, won’t you, 
a chuisle2, and sleep. ‘Tis only a few hours and you’ll be back on the truck and then the night ahead of you for Albie’s and Maricel’s sakes. I’ll stay home with you, if you’ll come to bed now.”

She saw his hands grip the sides of the washer. His skin seemed flushed and she was tempted to lay the backs of her fingers to his forehead.

“I wanna try one more thing here, Eim. You go on.”

signpost in Woodlawn, 240th Street
She leaned out from the front porch railing. A soft day it is, she predicted, going back inside for her umbrella. She should take the car in case the day turned hard, should the wind blow and the rain lash, but it was only ten blocks to work and ‘tis only spattering, and the walk this morning would be therapy. At the corner, as she stepped off the curb to cross the street, a motor growled behind her. She pulled back, banging her elbow on the signpost. A car idled in the empty intersection, then sped away. 

Kids, she thought. 
Nothing. But she fingered the tiny cassette in her pocket, glad she’d remembered to unplug the phones before she left for work, sure, sure the fury reflected in the car’s side mirror was no more than a trick of the struggling sun through the gathering clouds.


“I have to meet Dominic at eleven o’clock.”

“I remember.”

“I could shine it on.” At Vincent’s raised brow, Kanin continued, running his fingers inside his collar. “Blow it off. You know. 

Vincent chuckled and tilted his head. “We’ll manage until you return.”

“I guess you’ve had some practice at that.”

“You’ve been worth that wait, Kanin.”

“Sounds like that comes with a time frame attached.” In the silence that followed, Kanin folded his arms and looked down at his shoes. With one foot he drew an arched line in the dust. “Sorry.”

“No more 
sorry. Tell us what we need to know.”

“Who’s this MD,” Cullen demanded. “It’s 
not Mitch Denton. Tell me it isn’t.”

“It’s not Mitch. These guys–”

“Did you get in a fight?” Jamie broke in. “Miriam said she heard it.”

“A fight? No. I wouldn’t call that a fight. It was a ... little disagreement over ... space. Like, they wouldn’t give me mine.”

“Miss my space,” Mouse mumbled, seated at Vincent’s feet. “Miss Arthur.” Vincent lay his hand on his shoulder.

“Go on, Kanin. Please,” Vincent said. “These men ...?”

ah, convinced them to take me to their camp. I said I needed another a place to stay, that I’d had some bad trouble with a bunch of ... um ... thugs and marauders.”

Us?” Mouse squealed. “Marauders!?” He squirmed and twitched, then settled into the imagined role with a happy sigh.

“Yeah,” Kanin said. “I thought it might be good to let them think it’s dangerous over here.”

Cullen glanced at Vincent and grinned. “It 
is.” Jamie stepped on his foot ... hard.

MD,” Vincent repeated. “And these men.”

“Right.” Kanin scuffed at his hair. “They’re not all men. MD’s a woman. Their leader, I guess. That’s who these guys took me to. She does most of the talking. Everybody seems to kind of bow and scrape to her. She asked me a lot of questions – where I came in, where I went out, how long I’d been down. There’s not that many of them camped there, but I got the impression the numbers are growing. They’ve been below for a while, I could tell, but it’s pretty miserable conditions. Disorganized. Basically a street life.”

How many? Where? How do they live? How do they eat? The questions began to pile one on top of another and Vincent held up his hand for silence. In reluctant agreement, a few floated free from the tightly-bunched group and sank to the stones still pulled into a semi-circle from their last meeting. The rest shuffled in close behind.

“They live off petty crimes. Shoplifting. Purse-snatching. A couple of 'em bragged about mugging people on McLean Avenue, about some break-ins around Park Hill.” Kanin jammed his hands into his pockets and stared into the distance. “Some of them though ... just seemed lost. There were guys like this in– Up at Lyon. Had some bad luck. Made a lot of stupid choices. Made it worse after that doing stupider stuff. But this group ... they’re scared. Desperate. Suspicious of each other. And that makes ‘em mean.”

“What do they want?”

“What we have. They’ve heard stories. Like there’s beds and lights and running water. Plenty to eat. Some crazy stuff too. Secret entrances under Wall Street. Rooms crammed with money.” He stared at Cullen. “Buried treasure.” Cullen tapped his fist to his heart.

“What did you tell them?” Damien asked.

“Yeah,” Jamie said, springing from her seat. “Miriam heard what you said ... about an entrance on Riverdale, about independence. We thought ... 
Mount St. Vincent’s, Independence Avenue. Vincent walked all the way to Levon’s old place to look for you.”

“You did?” A small smile and a melancholy warred for position on his face.

“What did all that 
mean, Kanin?” Jamie demanded. “And why? Why did you do this?”

Cullen edged from the crowd. “It was a pathetic clue, my friend. Had us scratching our heads. Not to mention we were all damn–”

“Kanin!” Mouse chimed in. “Gone all day yesterday; gone the day before. What?”

“Everyone, please,” Vincent said. “He told them 
nothing. I agree with Mouse. Kanin, if you would start at the beginning, we will listen. We are listening. All of us.”

Kanin leaned against the workshop table and pulled his glasses away. “You put a monitor at the rockfall. I knew you would.” After polishing the lenses on his shirttail, he folded them into his pocket. “So yeah,” he continued. “After I dropped the rocks, I walked our side of the perimeter line all the way east at the second level. The next morning I crossed over at Bullard Avenue and started back."

“Did you sleep?” Mouse asked.

“Not really.” Kanin turned to the worktable and pulled a map from the stack, flattening the curl with a sweep of his arm. “Levon had some maps, maps from before the perimeter was set. I wonder what happened to them.” For a long moment, he stared at the markings, the designations of metal and stone staircases, the footbridges, the dry stream beds and waterfalls. “That whole Wakefield area, under the train tracks ... it’s all breached at level one, but it’s just ... people ... needing a safer place, and we were already gonna block that off. So," he went on, "I’m walking the line on the other side and the crossings are all still sealed except for some trouble between Harding and Fenway, but I have an idea for that. I was headed toward Valentine. There’s an entrance there ... or there was.”

“How’d you know that?” Cullen asked.

“Levon showed me once.”

“You went over before?” Mouse’s eyes were wide. “Never told?”

“It was a long time ago,” Kanin said, “before I was sure ...”

He reached for his mug of tea, set it down without a swallow. “Anyway, those two goons caught me before I made it out. They were pretty insistent I show ‘em the way I came in. So I wandered around, pretended I was lost until one of them let it slip they knew the crossing at Euclid. I figured with some time, they might tell me more, so I walked that way to the rockfall. There was still dust in the air. I said it must have just happened, that I didn’t know another way across, but that we’d better move on before we got caught–”

“By the marauders!” Mouse said, leaning forward, his elbows on his knees.


“But what about the clue? Riverdale, Independence Avenue ... 
MD. Vincent about blew a gasket over the idea of Mitch,” Cullen persisted.

“Dix and Brenda live in Riverdale. I thought you might figure I’d go there. The independence thing ... I don’t even remember saying that. And I just kept asking who MD 
was. I never said– Miriam must have–” Kanin shook his head. “I know it doesn’t make any sense. It was a pathetic clue.”

“Well,” Cullen said, “maybe her hearing’s not as great as she thinks. Maybe her memory’s not either. Maybe I’ll play poker with her after all. Eidetic memory ... 

“Tell the story, Kanin,” Mouse pleaded. “How’d you get away?”

“Like I said, these guys marched me to see this MD. Told her they couldn’t find any open passages. She did some yelling, tried to bully me. I guess I don’t scare as easily as I used to.”

“You’ve got a black eye, Kanin,” Jamie pointed out.

“I do?” He brushed his fingertips across his cheekbone. “After that, I sort of dragged around camp a while, acted like I might stay, talked to some guys.” He laughed, a sour sound. “I guess last year’s paying off. It was like old home week – sitting around with these types. Eventually, somebody told me the crossings they knew about, even showed me a way out – a drainage tunnel off Rumsey. I found a 24-hour laundromat, called Dix. He brought me home.”

“Where is this camp?” Vincent asked. He drew back his shoulders, adding resonance to his next question. He would impart no worry, no possibility of defeat.  No hesitancy to hear the answer. “How far down have they penetrated?”

“Two levels down in this maze under Tibbetts Brook Park.”

Almost as one, the crew exhaled and Vincent knew a cautious relief. Even within their perimeter, a breach one level down was little threat to their security, the entrances easily sealed and new portals opened. It was almost routine to change them. At the second level, the passages and junctions were a complex puzzle more difficult to alter, but now they knew where the intruders lived, knew at which crossings they were searching for passage into their world. The situation was defensible with time and effort, but concern crept in, prodding at his tentative ease. The rockfalls they’d dropped had stopped exploration – so far. If the third level should be discovered before the work was finished ...

Kanin shifted from boot to boot. He rubbed his chin and his cheeks, coughed into his fist when the words caught in his throat. Finally, he raised his head.

“Look, you asked me another question, Jamie. I’ll answer you. I’ve been a– I 
am a jerk. That’s why. I’ve made bad choices. I guess this was just another one, but I needed to do something. I owe everyone. I lied to everyone from the beginning. I ... I don’t deserve– ”

Mouse cut him off. “Could’a got hurt. Could’a got lost. Scared us.” He scrambled to his feet and scurried over, gripped his shoulder. “Just got you back. From now on, stay close.”

Kanin turned from Mouse to Vincent, from Jamie to Cullen, to the solemn faces in the crowd. Each affirmed his silent question with a nod. He pressed his lips together.

“What must we do next?” Vincent prompted. “Tell us.”

Kanin's voice was rough at first. “We close off all of Wakefield like we planned. Nobody lives there anymore. And we need to bring the northern perimeter in, maybe to just past Dix’s place and under Van Cortlandt west all the way to the river. If we cut out most of Woodlawn and rethink the new entrance at Dom’s brother’s place, we can save ourselves a lot of time and worry.”

At that, the crew gathered to the work table. Kanin, with a blue pencil, marked in new lines, new boundaries ... and with a red, circled staircases to remove, seals to be made. Vincent stood apart, Kanin’s strategy already manifest in his mind. He remembered the feel of the crystal tumbler in his hand, the scent of the tulips. The music. 
The possibilities. Kanin’s plan would shrink their world ... raise new walls ... and Martin’s garden would be lost to him.


I hope he gets out soon. The neighbor ... What is his name anyway? Hal? Howard? ... see-sawed his arm and fanned his knees, pressing against her just a touch more than seemed necessary and excusable, but there was no scooting over.

Why was Bennie at her apartment? Did he deliver Father’s message? Did Kanin return? Was it Mitch? Maybe Vincent– 

Emergency Services Truck on NYC streetThey all pitched forward on a stomp of brakes and a race of cruisers and an Emergency Services truck hurtled through the intersection. 
Flynn, she thought, leaning forward to follow the sirens. Eimear. There were things she wanted to think about, questions that needed answers, but every now and then ... Harold? Hiram? ... would hum or sigh or make a noise just short of suggestive. It turned her stomach. The woman at her side was oblivious, engrossed in paperwork. At every furious red circle made with her pen, she grumbled and cursed under her breath. She was captive between them all the way downtown.

At her office ... 
finally ... the cab pulled to the curb, swerving from traffic so suddenly she was thrown against the man's shoulder. He uttered a soft, pleasured ummm.


Huey? Hugo? “I need to get out.” Catherine tried not to roll her eyes as he too-slowly closed his notebook, jamming it into his briefcase with his eyes on her knees. “Could you hurry. I’m late enough already.”

At least it’s quit raining. For now. On the sidewalk, she fished in her purse for her wallet, but he waved the bills away, taking a step toward her. “My treat, Cathy. But you could repay me ...”

Oh great. Here it comes. 

He rocked up on his toes and back. “By having dinner with me tomorrow night. Or better yet, Friday. No time clock the next morning. I’m a good cook.” A gust of wind swept the street and he raised a hand to his careful hair.

You’ve got to be kidding me. You think I’d come to your apartment? Even if ...
“Harcourt! Hurry up, will you?” The woman leaned out, her arms spread like a bird of prey. “The meter’s running on this idiot’s day. I gotta get to work and fire his sorry ...”

He smiled up at her as he backed into the cab. “Well?”

Harcourt.” She said, biting down on her thoughts. "I'm ..." I want to say it. I want to say the word. “I’m ... involved. Permanently.” His eyes moved to her left hand gripping the handle of her satchel. She considered swinging it at his head – accidentally – as she turned for the door.

“But you live alone,” Harcourt whined at her back. “I asked around.”

“Har, you’re 
such an–”

The car door slammed hard on the woman’s words, the reverberation becoming thunder, chasing her up the steps.

Click HERE for Chapter 34

1. Dylan Thomas. My Hero Bares His Nerves. 18 Poems. 1933.
2. a chuisle - Gaelic - my pulse, meaning pulse of my heart


Krista said...

Oh my, they ARE having a rough day, aren't they? LOL on Vincent and his hangover...but at least he's learned that coffee is the answer. :) I just hope he doesn't lose Martin's garden.

And poor Catherine..stuck in a cab with Harcourt the Lech. I think she should have thwacked him with her briefcase. Accidentally. :)

Once again, Carole---great chapter. :)


Sonia Who? said...

Ah, that was a fun chapter, even though poor Vincent started the day aching from a hangover, and the start of Catherine's day wasn't much better; her inner dialogue about Harcourt made me laugh.

Thanks for the long chapter and good read. Really looking forward to the next one and the rest of the story. You're doing a wonderful job, Carole; hope you can keep doing a chapter every 2 or so weeks.

Vicky said...

This chapters had such great moments... and what a hoot to read it with you waiting there in realtime chat! Yuo already know what I think then... Wow!

I don't want it to end!

Big hugs, Carole.

New York City Utopia said...

Argh! It's your readers' poor nerves you're playing with!
Sure, Vincent with a hangover was a funny, unexpected "sight" but, oh dear! more threats on their budding hopes? It instantly made me sick with impatience for the next five chapters! Their Saturday is so far into the future...


Carole W said...

Krista, yes, the Catherine/coffee bond is taking hold. Resistance is futile ... ;-)

As to the loss of the garden – I don't want to spoil the story but lets just say that our V might have learned a thing or two from his integrating self. We shall (soon, I hope, cause I'm anxious too) see.

Thanks for reading and always, thank you for your comments.

~ Carole

Carole W said...

Sonia! I'm glad I made you laugh. A bit of levity before the action ratchets up here at the end was necessary, I think. I've had - not the Green Spot – but a runner-up to it and it can, ummm, sort of stick with you a while.

Thank you for the kind words - I hope I can shorten the time between chapters. There's a lot still to happen.

~ Carole

Carole W said...

Vicky! that was fun AND nerve-wracking to have you read it in real time while we were in IM. I was reading along too and felt awfully nervous. I'm so glad to know you enjoyed it.

It may never end! That's what I afraid of! Didn't Edith Crowe say she just had to stop one story and start another under a different name because hers had no end? She always was a favorite and must have rubbed off on me.

Big hugs back,


Carole W said...

NUCY - five chapters! I fear it will be 10 at least. That 5-6 hour conversation with Martin took 3 chapters and three times as many weeks to write. Trying to pull in all the sub-plot lengthens it so.

But the title - I had to search and search for one, saving The Worldless Rose yet again. But when I hit on this one, I knew it was fitting.

I'm taking argh and impatient as good comments, right? I'll get on that next chapter today. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. It does mean so much.

~ Carole

Krista said...

Heh. I've even got my husband drinking coffee (occasionally. :)

This was a fun one, Carole (though they're all good.) I'm definitely (of course) looking forward to all the rest. :)


Carole W said...

I meant in that last comment - to address it to:


see. Typos.

New York City Utopia said...

Yes, mine were good comments... completely lacking detachment, in the heat of the moment.
I know you're in for many more chapters. I was only saying my greedy impatience already extended as far as the next five (as if we could have them all at once) as opposed to just the next chapter. Yes, I have it bad ;-)

Carole W said...

Oh, NYCU, to produce 5 chapters in one fell swoop. 20,000 words. Oh if I could.

The writing seminar I took suggested 'fast writing' - start to finish, no looking back til the rewrite stage. I guess I need remedial seminar - because I'm still so slow.

And when this is done, I'm going to miss the interaction here. I'll be lonely!


Sonia Who? said...

Carole you won't miss the interaction with your fans/readers if you keep on writing BatB stories, so I hope you continue. Please!

And thank you so much for not making us wait so many weeks between chapters!

SandyX said...

I just read the chapter again...I was a little sleepy the first time. It's even better on a second reading! You made me laugh with Vincent's hangover and smarmy Harcourt - thank you for that. And, the all too short couch scene...well..thank you for that, too. Another wonderful chapter. Hmmm, now I seem to be craving another cup of coffee....

Carole W said...

Sonia, I truly wish I were faster at this. But thank you for saying it's not THAT long between chapters. I know you're being kind. And thanks for wanting more stories. I hope to comply!

Sandy - thanks! Catherine's caffeine influence ... I could use a cup myself. Pretty soon she'll visit Philip and Iris's store, right after a roasting. She'll be in whole bean heaven and the bond will carry enough Caffeine across it to make V jittery!

The couch scene was too short. Maybe soon enough he'll have the chance for a reenactment. Yeah, I'm thinking that needs to happen ... and soon!

I'm glad the chapter made you laugh - a bit of levity every now and then to keep them human.


RomanticOne said...

Vincent with a hangover must be a sight indeed. I liked Kanin making Mouse feel a little "bad". I think Kanin comes in second only to Vincent in Mouses's mind. A real Vincent/Catherine scene is bound to come soon, she's so often on his mind. And this MD...I feel another mystery coming on! No way you will be lonely. Good stories never end. There will always be something to talk about!

Anonymous said...

Oh, this chapter! There is so much learned between the lines. You're good. You don't report so much as transport.

Firstly, Vincent's hangover. Precious, really. This line specifically made me laugh out loud AND want to pet him. I can imagine Father's reaction. Oh, but the liquor came from Father, Fr. Martin, that is.

'They were beautiful colors but danced with too much ... enthusiasm.'

And we learn that Vincent practices a form of Tai Chi or yoga. Generally, he runs off his frustrations, but not with that headache! He's needed this technique before. Why, I wonder?

There's new code for this mission, we learn more of the results of Catherine's and Aniela's shopping trip {You didn't give us the whole shopping list at the time, another subtlety}, furnishings had to be found-specifically the refectory table.

Refectory tables are found in monasteries. Didn't you say a few chapters back that in the old days, ascetics lived in these tunnels? And the old priest travelled below? This makes me even more curious of the keepsakes in Martin's box.

Black pudding! Oddly, it's not as foul as it sounds.

Kanin reveals a bit of his year in prison! He 'wouldn’t call that a fight. It was a ... little disagreement over ... space.' He sports a black eye. He uses his prison experience to ferret information.

He draws 'an arched line in the dust' and on his side of it he was 'sorry'. Poetry!

I like Cullen's tap to his heart. I like Jamie mashing his foot. Vincent seems to either accept of ignore the remark-interesting!

The couch scene. Yes. Too short, but in many ways, the visual of them sitting together talking was even more intimate.

Harcourt was a hoot! I actually know a man with that name. 'Careful hair'. LOLOL. He'll wonder why I laugh.

All the best to you, keep writing

Carole W said...

R-1! Mouse is coming into his own, isn't he. Jamie too. Hopefully Kanin will follow suit. He has a lot to live for.

The V/C scenes will occur, promise.

Thanks for reading and for your comments. It's wonderful to think the story bears up under discussion.


Carole W said...

Leanne, Thanks! It helps to know that certain lines stand out. The arched line in the dust and sorry -- I never thought about it being symbolic. I'm grateful you call it poetry. Humbled too.

This chapter is one of transition - figuratively and literally. I had to get the characters into a new position and this is the beginning of the final arc of action. (who knows how many chapters though). I was afraid it might be a little dull. I'm glad you liked some of the things I hoped would spice the narrative up a bit. And you did pinpoint a couple of hints to later goings-on in the story. I shouldn't say any more! :-)

I've had black pudding and you're right, the name is a put-off, but it tastes pretty good. Martin will have to make V a real Irish Fry, or offer it anyway. V may be suspicious of Martin now.

Your comments are so appreciated. Thanks for reading.


Kemara said...

I'm sorry I haven't posted sooner. I've had a migraine all weekend, so I sympathize with Vincent's hangover. Thankfully, I've never had one of those! I really liked this chapter... nothing major happens, but we get little, new glimpses of the characters. Love your Mouse. So often he's there just for comic relief. Glad to see him rounded out here.

Also wanted to comment on writing in general. I signed up to do NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, and I'm freaking out about it. You can only do planning ahead of actual writing on the story. You write from Nov 1-30 with the goal of 50,000 word novella. That's something like 1,665 words a day. I'm hoping that some of your determination (and great writing!) will rub off on me. Wish me luck!

Looking forward eagerly to the final arc of this story and ahead to the next one!

Carole W said...

Kemara, I hope you're feeling better. I expect you've had a miserable two or three days. Can you take tomorrow off and get your weekend back?

You're right - not a lot actually happens but a mood is set and the characters kind of turn. Some menace is invoked below and above. I'm excited to be in this part of the story. Hope it translates to fast writing.

I was thinking to use the event of Nanowrimo to finish this story. That's kind of not in line with the purpose, but ...1665 words a day would translate to about a chapter every 2 1/2 days - 12 chapters. That's what I keep threatening is left of this story.

That's great that you're going to do it - I want to know how it goes for you. Do you have your idea already? Do you have a story-map or outline, or is it all still aswirl in your imagination? Will this be your first novel?

I'm glad to see you here. As always, thank you so much for reading and for your comments.


Kemara said...

Yes, this will be my first attempt at a novel...I've only ever written short stories for fanfic. I know it will be a young-adult fantasy story, and I know the basic shape, but that's all. I'm using online "random generators" for names, and maybe for plot twists too if I get stuck. I have an evil internal editor, so I'm just going to write it without knowing what will come next. Should be crazy!

I know we all nag you for more chapters, but I think one of the reasons we love your stories is the time and detail you put into them. In my opinion if you finished it during NaNo, something of the magic might get lost in the rush. Of course, you could write during NaNo, edit everything and post the finished story as a wonderful Christmas present! That's certainly a thought.

Oh, speaking of finished stories, which ones are you done editing? I keep saying I'm going to make those .pdfs, and you keep changing things! Just kidding...I know I've been slacking off. Let me know which ones are really, really done with all the graphics and everything, and I promise I'll get to work.

Carole W said...

Kemara, my internal critic elbows me all the time, hissing edit edit edit in my ear. But I have to pick a stopping point. I believe - I truly do - that I Carry and MM are tweaked for the last time. I don't have any graphics in the chapters though and I want to put some in. I'm in the process of editing Great and Thorough Good and it has no graphics yet either.

SO! Let's say AFTER November and between now and then, don't give it a thought. I'm so appreciative of the offer - I'll get them all proofed and illustrated and then will promise to leave them alone and send you the files.

I'm dying to know your fanfic stories???

As for Nanowrimo leading me to finish the story in a fell swoop ... I have my doubts. I'm going to give it an extra push but I say that every Monday morning. And here it is 10:30 and I've not opened my chapter file yet.


Kemara said...

I haven't done any fic for BatB, but I have written for "The Young Riders" and "Touched by an Angel". As with all fanfic, if you don't know the shows, it won't make much sense. I can send you copies if you want.

Carole W said...

Touched by an Angel I know, but I'd love to read anything you've written. Please, send away or let me know where the stories are posted.

Do you have today off to recoup from the headache?


Ann B. said...

I just stumbled across this story. Have no idea how I found you. I have read your other stories on Tunneltales and loved them. Your writing is AMAZING. I really hope that Vincent finds a friend in Flynn. It sounds like each of them has needed the other for so long. There is a saying that a burden shared is a burden halved and surely Vincent and Flynn deserve that.

Carole W said...

Hi Ann! Thank you for finding, reading and taking the time to leave a comment. Your kind words are so encouraging.

I'm so glad you feel that way about Flynn. Writing other characters into a story like V & C's is an iffy thing. But to know you think he's an acceptable and believable friend for Vincent really makes me want to work even harder.

Thanks too for the comments on my TT stories. On this site, they are edited a bit, though they don't change storyline-wise. I'm glad to know you enjoyed them.

I hope you'll come back for the rest of I/V - I aim at posting a new chapter every two weeks (or so).


Anonymous said...

Dearest Carole!
I really enjoyed this chapter (as usual!). How funny that Vincent had too much to drink and felt it next morning - can just hear Father having a spell over that if he'd known!! The lighter moments were a real treat. I love C&V's bond - and now he wants coffee!!

Had been worried about Kanin's motives, but he is still loyal to the community. Can't wait to learn more about MD and that gang. Lot's of excitement coming up.

It will be sad if V loses his entry into Martin's garden, but I have faith in you that this will be handled as well as all other situations. Am most exited about the possible meeting and the unveiling of the statue.

I've often thought that many of your descriptive phrases are like reading poetry but was never quite sure how to tell you. This is a simple way, but sincere!

I know it will be a very happy day when C&V get to see each other again. I too wish she'd beaned that guy with her briefcase - accidentally of course!

Anxiously awaiting the next chapter but happy to be patient, because we are always rewarded for our patience!

What's black pudding?


Carole W said...

Thank you Jitterbug. I am so pleased you enjoyed the chapter. I worry that I try readers' patiences (plurals?) and I'm grateful that you put up with my lack of speed. I hope I can earn again and again your confidence - that the chapters will be a reward to read. That was a very kind thing to say about the poetry too. Thank you again.

Black pudding is a type of Irish/Scottish and probably British sausage (Leanne? Have you had it?) When I was in Galway, we went to visit Charlie's sister who was a nun. (Charlie is my priest friend who is the inspiration for Martin) We had the big Irish fry and that's when I had my first black - and white - pudding.

Black or white pudding is a type of sausage. The description is not for the squeamish or the vegetarian. Here's a good write-up and a photo

Irish Fry

The full fry (heart attack on a plate) consists of fried eggs, lacy at the edges, the two puddings (sausage rounds) link sausage, rashers of bacon (more like American ham) grilled tomatoes and toast. In books sometimes, I'll read it includes beans (like baked beans I guess) but we never had beans with breakfast.

I was a bit dismayed to see the black pudding on my plate and, to be polite, had to eat it. It was really very tasty, not at all what I expected from the description, though I've never purchased it since to make for myself.

Vincent is thinking over Kanin's suggestions for the tunnels. I don't want him to lose the garden entry either!

~ Carole

Brandy said...


I am apparently a noisy reader. I respond to what I'm reading, and my dear BF, who understands and accepts my fanfic habit, would keep asking me what was wrong.

I laughed at poor Vincent's hangover - surely a novel experience for the man! There's something oddly right about the idea of Vincent holding a sturdy mug of stout rather than a wineglass - I always imagine he must be afraid of breaking them. And perish the thought of crystal champagne flutes!

Catherine's gift of detangling conditioner made me nod in approval. As the proud caretaker of a full male head of hair (attached to my BF), detangling conditioner is a must. FYI, brushing the conditioner through with a brush reserved for only that purpose also helps. And why don't I have a magical hot to cold spring? Bathe in the morning, then chill drinks and hor d'oevres by night!

Leanne, I was assuming it was yoga Vincent was doing, what with the visualization and all. Why did you think Tai Chi? I know next to nothing about either, which is why I ask. I've seen videos of elderly Chinese practicing Tai Chi all together, silently, beautifully, and wondered if any in Chinatown wandered over to do the same in Central Park.

Vincent plus coffee made me goggle. I'm such a dork, I didn't even associate it with his hangover - thought he was jonesing off of Catherine!

Finally! Kanin's mystery explained! I remember when I first read the Mitch Denton line. I thought "Really? That's a stretch." This is so much better! And they're led by a woman; that's an interesting dynamic. I saw that line in the sand, too, and thought you a very clever writer. Now I knoe it was accidental, and think you're an even MORE brilliant writer. If little gems like that happen accidentally, imagine what will happen when you try!

I made a very sad face and noise at the thought of Vincent losing his newly found outlet. ("What happened?" "The story took a sad turn.") I hope this is something he won't have to sacrifice. I also hope it's not a device for him to get caught by the intruders. :)

Part 2 to follow, cut for length.

Brandy said...

I found you a really different poem this time. But it seemed to fit with the type of bad day everyone was having, especially the 1st stanza. I'm sorry I couldn't post in its entirety, but the comment board has a length meter! "No more than 4,096 characters."

Ode to Meditation
by Mary Darby Robinson

With folded arms, and pensive mien,
Who wand'ring near yon thorny wild,
So oft, my length'ning hours beguil'd;
Thou, who within thy peaceful call,
Canst laugh at LIFE'S tumultuous care,
While calm repose delights to dwell
On beds of fragrant roses there;
Where meek-ey'd PATIENCE waits to greet
The woe-worn Trav'ller's weary feet,
'Till by her blest and cheering ray
The clouds of sorrow fade away;
Where conscious RECTITUDE retires;
Instructive WISDOM; calm DESIRES;
Prolific SCIENCE,­lab'ring ART;
And GENIUS, with expanded heart.

Far from thy lone and pure domain,
Steals pallid GUILT, whose scowling eye
Marks the rack'd soul's convulsive pain,
Tho' hid beneath the mask of joy;
Madd'ning AMBITION'S dauntless band;
Lean AVARICE with iron hand;
HYPOCRISY with fawning tongue;
Soft FLATT'RY with persuasive song;
Appall'd in gloomy shadows fly,
From MEDITATION'S piercing eye.

Word verification: Chetuffi - sounds like a wonderful Italian dessert.

Brandy said...

How oft with thee I've stroll'd unseen
O'er the lone valley's velvet green;
And brush'd away the twilight dew
That stain'd the cowslip's golden hue;
Oft, as I ponder'd o'er the scene,
Would mem'ry picture to my heart,
How full of grief my days have been,
How swiftly rapt'rous hours depart;
Then would'st thou sweetly reas'ning say,
"TIME journeys thro' the roughest day."

THE HERMIT, from the world retir'd,
By calm Religion's voice inspir'd,
Tells how serenely time glides on,
From crimson morn, 'till setting sun;
How guiltless, pure, and free from strife,
He journeys thro' the vale of Life;
Within his breast nor sorrows mourn,
Nor cares perplex, nor passions burn;
No jealous fears, or boundless joys,
The tenor of his mind destroys;
And when revolving mem'ry shows
The thorny world's unnumber'd woes;
He blesses HEAV'N's benign decree,
That gave his days to PEACE and THEE.

The gentle MAID, whose roseate bloom
Fades fast within a cloyster's gloom;
Far by relentless FATE remov'd,
From all her youthful fancy lov'd;
When her warm heart no longer bleeds,
And cool Reflection's hour succeeds;
Led by THY downy hand, she strays
Along the green dell's tangled maze;
Where thro' dank leaves, the whisp'ring show'rs
Awake to life the fainting flow'rs;
Absorb'd by THEE, she hears no more
The distant torrent's fearful roar;
The well-known VESPER's silver tone;
The bleak wind's desolating moan;
No more she sees the nodding spires,
Where the dark bird of night retires;
While Echo chaunts her boding song
The cloyster's mould'ring walls among;
No more she weeps at Fate's decree,
But yields her pensive soul to THEE.

THE SAGE, whose palsy'd head bends low
'Midst scatter'd locks of silv'ry snow;
Still by his MIND's clear lustre tells,
What warmth within his bosom dwells;
How glows his heart with treasur'd lore,
How rich in Wisdom's boundless store;
In fading Life's protracted hour,
He smiles at Death's terrific pow'r;
He lifts his radiant eyes, which gleam
With Resignation's sainted beam:
And, as the weeping star of morn,
Sheds lustre on the wither'd thorn,
His tear benign, calm comfort throws,
O'er rugged Life's corroding woes;
His pious soul's enlighten'd rays
Dart forth, to gild his wint'ry days;
He smiles serene at Heav'n's decree,
And his last hour resigns to THEE.

When Learning, with Promethean art,
Unveils to light the youthful heart;
When on the richly-budding spray,
The glorious beams of Genius play;
When the expanded leaves proclaim
The promis'd fruits of rip'ning Fame;
O MEDITATION, maid divine!
Proud REASON owns the work is THINE.

Oft, have I known thy magic pow'r,
Irradiate sorrow's wint'ry hour;
Oft, my full heart to THEE hath flown,
And wept for mis'ries not its own;
When pinch'd with agonizing PAIN,
My restless bosom dar'd complain;
Oft have I sunk upon THY breast,
And lull'd my weary mind to rest;
'Till I have own'd the blest decree,
That gave my soul to PEACE and THEE.

Carole W said...

The poem, Brandy, is incredible. There's so much in it, I'll have to print it out and give it some hard study. I'm amazed with my quick read-through - and see dozens of images. Thanks!

When I wrote the visualization scene, I had in mind more of a Tai Chi (though I admit only rudimentary book learning on the subject) modified by necessity by V's peculiar needs. I envisioned Dr. Wong (Lin's grandfather) teaching him. Also (and it will appear in #35) I lucked up on some photos of Tai Chi being practiced in Foley Square near C's workplace (which is near Chinatown) and then with some googling found all sorts of Tai Chi in Central Park. I imagined him hidden, watching at dawn and learning that way too. I think of V needing all sorts of physical outlets, running (and achieving the runner's high), yoga, meditation, swimming, physical games adapted to being played below (volleyball, scatterbase) etc. to handle his physical and emotional energy.

V WAS jonesing off Catherine's coffee love!(does that make us both dorks?!? LOL) It probably did help the headache, but indeed, it was the bond.

Yeah, it would be a stretch to have Mitch actually back - and it would elongate an already overlong story if he was. The idea was more to highlight V's struggle with anger and revenge. I'll admit, however, that what all Kanin was doing "over there" was a mystery even to me for a while. LOL.

Awww, you're nice Brandy. Clever and brilliant, I wish. I have moments of thinking ... hey, that's not bad. But this scene was pure luck and I'm grateful you saw merit in it.

I don't want to give away the story re: losing the entrance, but it's good that you felt a sadness. The entrance and Martin, et. al, needs to matter. I'll say only that the answer to that is not far in the future. :-) With any luck I'll have that chapter up by next Friday.

Thanks again for the incredible poem. I see much to incorporate and find inspiration in it and thanks too for your comments which help me tremendously.

~ Carole

niami said...

Carole, it seems like you're preparing us for the final chapters!

I don't want this to end! Please, bring Mitch back, find a story for everyone, write the missing you like in your wonderful way of writing, but don't finish the ark!...not yet...

I've been reading these chapters since I've first found them in April and I'm on these pages everyday ever since. I know some lines by heart, even some of those that you have changed lately. I read a lot but, until April, I've never read anything in English (fragments of self-help/soft-skills books don't count), but now I even read poetry! I owe this to Catherine & Vincent, to you, to Nancy, to Michelle, to Brandy, to Chan, to SandyX's vids ...

This is magic, how you continue something that Ron Koslow started. You seem to understand his creation better than he did! We need much of that, so please don’t think of ending it too soon!

It took me a lot to write this, but I'm happy I did!


Carole W said...

Alexandra, you are so kind! Thank you. I can't adequately express how happy your comments made me, but please know that you've encouraged me with your words.

The final chapters ... I do keep threatening to finish! I still think there are at least a dozen more to come. I'm busy today on #35 and the scenes are not moving as quickly as I'd expected. There may be more than a dozen left. I'm glad to know you won't mind that so much.

Mitch ... I'm not entirely sure what to do about him just yet. He's not below ... today. I do have the Joe/Rosie story to write and just the other day, Rae gave me the most wonderful idea of a story twist to that. I have the Jenny/Ned story too to come. And always, more V and C stories occur to me as I go along. I've had a great time writing out these new characters and places. I may never, ever finish this story - or most likely, I'll just end this one and start up with another right after it.

I'm glad you didn't throw up your hands in frustration with me - with my comma issues and my forever-editing. I drive myself crazy.

The interaction and connection between us all here means everything to me and finding a comment like yours makes me want to work harder to keep that connection going. Thank you, again.

~ Carole

Carole W said...

Alexandra, I passed your compliments on to Sandy, Brandy, Nancy, Michelle and Chan. Everyone was truly touched by your words. Since we don't have an email for you, I want to tell you here that you made a difference in each person's day. Thanks again, from all of us.

Carole, for all

niami said...

You made a difference in my day, too! Now I can start working with more enthusiasm. I keep a permanently batb opened window ‘sent to back’ so that I could sneak from time to time when nobody can see me. I’m not telling more, because some of you might never hire me!

Ok, that is because I still don’t have internet access in my hotel room, and my colleagues here are trying to find a solution for the remaining 5 months of my staying in Germany… So I read your printed chapters (and others’ too) in my room, and it’s a lot of paper, believe me! The cleaning lady probably thinks I’m a sort of publisher…

But... I feel like in the old days and it’s quite wonderful to lie on a sofa with the pages in your hand and read like Vincent & Catherine surely did Above and Below. And then to fall asleep with such a bedtime story!

I’m allowed to stay overtime and read my mail and do whatever I want on the internet, so it’s then when I can read and see and print…I miss SandyX vids because there’s a restriction to some sites (incl. youtube) in our company, but I keep them in my mind & heart and I can hardly wait to watch them again!

I’ve mentioned all of you with much joy because of the beautiful moments you’ve created for Catherine & Vincent, for the dream they deserved to live…

Anonymous said...

There are so many beautiful sentiments expressed here. I can only say that I am in complete agreement with each and every one. Carole, I hope you never stop writing about Catherine and Vincent; we need for you to keep this dream alive for us. Yes, the way it should have been. And yes, I do believe you know C&V better than RK did; certainly a much better appreciation for this magical love story. As all devoted fans do! With your wonderful imagination and talent, you will always have a story to tell us!


Carole W said...

Alexandra, it is so good to hear from you again. I can just see it - printed pages strewn over the hotel room floor. I actually enjoy holding what I read in my two hands as well. It's more comforting than a computer screen, isn't it?

I hope you'll keep in touch. I'm interested in your thoughts and perspective on and dreams for V and C.

~ Carole

Carole W said...

Jitterbug, your confidence in me is humbling. I hope I never let you down.

This morning, I have a dozen little ideas and asides to add to the chapter I'm working on. The chapter grows in length and I really really want to make #35 The Worldless Rose chapter! And I haven't gotten to THAT part yet!

Thank you again for such kind words.
~ Carole

RomanticOne said...

Looks like Vincent and Catherine were starting their day with pains, but in different areas. Vincent's pain was in his head. Catherine's pain was, well, we all know where that particular pain was. :)

working together for the protection of the community is a concept we can all learn a lesson from. Great chapter.

Krista said...

Ah, the return of one of my favorite chapters (well, I love them all but there's something so...adorable about hung-over Vincent :-P) And that moment of You pack more into four or five sentences than most people pack into a four or five paragraphs :)

Great job, again and still. :)


Carole W said...

R-1, thanks for still sticking with me! when I reread this, I laughed at Harcourt myself. He is an ***! I kind of wish I'd had Catherine whack him a good one. Hey! I can always tweak again! :-)

Just to let you know - I do have a new chapter (what will be #47) finished. As I get more of #48 done, I'll know how to tweak it's ending. I might need to move something around … not sure just yet. Progress!!

Carole W said...

Awww, Krista! Thanks for this. You're awfully sweet about the gauze.

Hung-over Vincent is pretty cuddly. I wouldn't mind rubbing his shoulders or his hands or sitting with him in the dark. :-D

I'm grateful and so encouraged by your words. Hugs,

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, I've finally caught up with you. I love your story, the characterization is spot on but somehow you make them all 'more' solid and real, you give them dimension. Just keep doing it, please. Love hung over Vincent - coffee, coffee, coffee, must have coffee.

Cathy S

Carole W said...

Hi Cathy! I'm so glad to hear you've enjoyed the story so far. I was away from home when your comment came in - in Atlanta for a baseball game for our anniversary celebration. Your generous words were such a gift! Thank you.

I always panic a little having to explain how slow I am to write and tweak. For the next several weeks, chapters should appear weekly (34 - 47 are done, 48 is half-finished), but if I catch up with myself, I will likely have … gaps. I can only promise, barring unforeseen impediments, to keep plowing ahead - I've vowed to finish this story by my birthday in October.

Thank you again. Your encouragement is what keeps me going.


Ophelia said...

Far too slow I've been to catch up on the new edits. And, my, it's just not possible to say it all . . what an exquisite read this is, and how appreciative I am of your amazing story. Your writing is unequaled, Carole. I can't begin to imagine how much work must be involved in the crafting of even one chapter. We are so lucky that you choose to share your gift with us.

How could I possibly have forgotten Vincent's salutation to the sun? And then there's loving Eimear and her tormented Flynn . . . Kanin's darkness and Mouse's generosity . . . detail almost too rich to absorb, and yet perfect. At the moment, my heart's in my throat - lose Martin's garden? No! It can't be. I must move to the next chapter . . .

Thank you for this stunning creation.

Carole W said...

Opheila - you brought the shining sun to my day with your comments. How kind of you. How encouraged I feel. I'm blushing and can hardly believe you, but thank you. Thank you.