Iron Behind the Velvet ~ Chapter 68

~ Who Trembles Before the Flame and the Flood 1


Possibly a neck injury. Steady the cervical spine. Father’s voice. Father’s teaching. With hands spread from jaw to temple, gently he held firm while Stuart rolled Mouse to his back and a dry blanket. More important than any physical injury, most important – check for breathing. Stuart snapped open his Case knife, sliced through ruined insulation – the sodden leather vest and woolen sweater too heavy, too cold – but Vincent's cheek turned to the quiet breast, he couldn’t hear. Couldn’t hear! He bared his teeth in a roar of denial. Mouse, his friend, nearly a brother – more than that –  was suddenly so very small.

He knew to turn a victim’s head to the side and back to center, to sweep the mouth with a crooked finger, knew to arch the neck and pinch closed the nose, to seal slack lips with his own, to offer a reminder of purpose to confused lungs, but Stuart knelt ready at Mouse’s shoulder. Now! Father instructed. Quick compressions! The heel of one hand lodged at Mouse’s sternum, the other atop it, Vincent interlaced his fingers and pumped, pumped hard and fast, ploughing a path home in the stillness,  demanding return – ten demands, twenty, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven ... At thirty, Stuart cleared the airway and delivered a rescue breath and Mouse’s chest rose and fell. Good. No blockage, Father praised in a distant but crisp articulation. Another breath! Another round of compressions! Hurry! Each couplet would be a desperate marker on a terrifyingly short road. One, two ... and from Mouse’s throat water burbled up. He coughed and gagged, spluttered and gasped. Lived.


His left shoulder throbbed from the slam into the grate. One arm cramped, fingers to bicep, in memory of his determined hold on a slack body; the skin of the other burned from the wrap of the rope and the drag up from the depths. On his knees, braced on his forearms, his face only inches from the muddy ground, he was sick with spent panic and exhaustion and relief. With recollection. His sight dimming, no sense of life other than his own ... the undertow had offered profane solace. I can’t go up without him. The declaration was nearly a goodbye spoken into the downward spiral of water. But something fierce and needy contradicted, and hoarding that last sweet bubble of oxygen in his lungs, he fought both the wretched gravity and the enticement of torchlight flickering above the surface, necessity driving him, steering him, reaching out, reaching beyond, searching, finding, taking back.

Someone stroked back his hair, gathering it to two hands at the nape of his neck; someone rested a warm palm between his shoulder blades. “We got ya,” he heard Noah say. Then Stuart, “It’s all good. All good.”


Chunks of limestone were nudged to a ring, the fire within it stoked to a blaze with the splintered remnants of an old oak office desk he didn’t remember anyone rounding up or feeding in. Its cupped, brass drawer pulls glowed in the mounded embers; the metal hardware popped and tinged in the heat. The draw was strong, the chamber clear-aired. The service doors – all of them, secret and unconcealed, he surmised – between this level Below and the final exit Above must be ajar. A chimney shaft. Smoke, thin though it might be, would drift out into the world, calling attention to the very entrance they’d intended to better safeguard. He lowered the blanket he’d cowled about his head and gathered it at his neck, reaching to scoop his hair – still clammy and plastered to his back – free. Across the flickering pit, Mouse huddled under a hooded capote coat fashioned from a cream-wool blanket striped green, red, yellow, blue ... and coughed – wracking, croupy barks they would necessarily monitor. Pneumonia, Father forewarned from a dream-like afar.  But, a hand maneuvered free from the heavy folds, Mouse signaled a shaky thumbs-up. Vincent closed his eyes. Damp at the roots? Devin asked him. His skin, perhaps his mindfulness, still prickled with cold. The heat was an irresistible seduction.

A rich, brown aroma woke him the second time. He blinked away grit and the murk of an upright sleep, and by the light of the fire and an array of blazing torchieres, earth-colors bloomed, solid-gray shapes revealed their textures. A dull drone divided into blurry tones, the soft edges of words, but his company of friends circled in slow-motion, trailing echoes of themselves. Coffee fixes things faster than tea, Catherine pointed out, gentle on his mind, so nestled in his heart he smiled and turned his cheek to her hair shining in the sun. Someone wrapped a towel around the metal handle of the sputtering billy can suspended over the flames. Someone held a blue-speckled mug beneath the steaming spout.

 “Here,” someone said. “Drink this.” Kanin.

“Oh, my God.” Jamie broke from the mouth of the corridor at a sprint. “There were waves in the Putnam Trail roundabout! We had to backtrack and come in from–” Skidded to the fire ring, breathless, with her darting glance she made, Vincent knew, a quick head-count. “Oh, my God!” she cried again. She dropped to the ground beside Mouse and he raised his head and she pushed back the stitch-trimmed hood. His pale face in her hands, she inspected him ... this way ... that ... from farther and nearer. When she whispered in his ear, his cheeks blotched with welcome color. She sat back on her heels and ruffled his dry-wisping hair. Tiny sparks of electricity arced from the touch.

A few steps behind, stopped in his tracks, Cullen surveyed the racing watercourse. Where the grate was submerged, a whirlpool tunneled. Shattered bricks and clots of mortar swirled at the surface and were sucked down, only to bob up, to be swallowed again. Then, as if a faucet were turned off, the surge abated. In the space of a moment, the current slowed from a white-capped torrent to a tired churn; the tide receded, leaving a grooved beach. Cullen snatched off his watch cap and raked his graying hair to spikes, backing his way fireside. Hunkered down, his elbows on his knees, he dropped his gaze, silent for a prayerful moment as he kneaded his woolen hat. “Oh, man. What happened?”

Mouse held Jamie’s hand and played with her fingers, touching each one in a hoppy game, but at Cullen’s question he looked up. “Gullywasher,” he croaked out, and everyone laughed, weakly at first, then gratefully, then longly.


As though the flood never happened, the stream was content now, barely rippling in the catch basin, gliding away through the drain at its depths. The clouded waters cleared to reveal again the mosholu, the small smooth stones carried from a creek bed the Algonquins once camped by. On the far side of the chamber, water poured, then trickled over the lips of the several culverts leading to points west and levels down. The shallowly submerged iron bridge – the foot-crossing the flap gate was to have replaced, to have made easier, drier, quicker – reappeared, broken loose from its moorings along one side, but still traversable in a tranquil flow. They’d need to scavenge old cablings, old iron staples and bolts, to disguise the new repair until an alternative was devised.

If one were devised.


Runners had been sent out to the nearest pipe convergences and reported the tapped news: all accounted for, no injuries, minimal issues within the relatively barren, utilitarian passages at this level – mud and the expectation of rusted hatches and gateways, which time and applications of naval jelly would address. The stream coursed south through this territory, fed along the way by smaller springs, and its waters had risen under the stone bow bridge Catherine, Eimear and Wren had taken, and would have trapped them on the arch had they not earlier and safely crossed. But a sentry had seen them in the service corridor beyond it, deep in conversation, and, now, whoever returned by that route would encounter no difficulties.

Still, anxious, on guard, the crew members were unable to concentrate assigned even a simple task, the fire scuffed out haphazardly, the gathering of tools and equipment interrupted by frozen stances, narrow-lidded stares, cocked ears. A perimeter vulnerable to encroachment, and now to the whim of nature ... They were rattled by the threat of threat. Only Damien rallied to cross over to the rocky point where Mouse and Miriam had been marooned and retrieve the crimping tool lodged overhead, lassoing it on the third try. At the capture, the crowd cheered, but dully, distractedly.

Plan A had failed more spectacularly than he had theorized. Plans B and C he and his friends had formulated on the walk from the laundry were scrapped. No plan D magically manifested. Mouse needed rest and observation and dosing with Liz's medicinal teas. The others needed the restorative effect of a change of clothes, a hot meal, a reconnoitering – a do-over as Mouse put it. And he ... he needed a moment alone and a sheet ripped to lengths to wrap what he refused to admit were more than merely bruised ribs. Return to base was a given.


Their trek was mostly solemn, mostly swift, Mouse only a little stumbly. Enjoying, Vincent supposed, the brush-up against Jamie’s shoulder, her steadying arm about his waist. He kept to the rear of the column, eventually falling out of step, lagging farther and farther behind. Dust kicked up from the heels of his friends. He lost sight of his companions in the narrow switchbacks halfway to camp.

The memory closed over him. The water had gripped him with a hundred hands, a desperate stasis. I can’t go up without him, he’d either vowed or considered. The ambiguity conjured a fresh wave of guilt. Could he have lived with the decision to surface without Mouse in his arms, admitted he’d given up? How could he face Catherine with such news? Father? Jamie? But at the instant of choice, his life, the future, everything seemed so dear, so precious. A translucent image of Kristopher’s prophetic painting had wavered before him – Catherine, three children ... and me. Mine.2  Oh, how desperately he’d wanted to live.

He stopped, but off-balance at the recollection, he steadied himself against the rough-chiseled wall. Not separate from him, but twined and woven in the threads of his being ... Catherine, her voice, her spirit, denying the advent of the dark. But as well, but more, the Other’s voice had been a murmuration, neither bitter nor goading nor confounding. Surprising, yet welcome, even ... yes, in that underwater moment, even sought. And ... not dark. A charged single word – black iron glowing from within, wrought in an unearthly forge – had fixed in his mind. Prevail. He’d understood. He could. And for whatever allowed him perception on molecules of oxygen, whatever endowed him heightened vision, the phenomenon of strength, the faculty to sense, perceive, distinguish, divine ... he’d been glad.

Somewhere within his psyche – or his soul – he’d long ago erected a door, jammed and locked and chained it against his darkness, dreading its inevitable escapes and the shamed frog-march back to its windowless hold. Dream after dream he’d tossed inside with it, food, he believed, for the black-heart’s feast. When the first fissuring of that vault came – three years, ten days and now nearly eleven hours before – what seeped out wasn’t base or foul, but light. Light! How had he turned from it? How had he so deceived himself? A Rumpelstiltskin in reverse – not straw into gold, no. Possibility into never.  And in the years afterward, the locks jimmied, the chains patiently hacksawed, the breach levered ever wider, he’d demurred, dodged and shrank, denied and refused to fully accept what he saw within. What was. The dreams not sullied, not devoured ... but guarded. Saved for him. And he’d never, never once

What’d I tell you. You thought it was a joke, huh. Winslow’s voice, its effect a rap upside the head, such as the man once regularly offered others.

Years ago. Like yesterday. He ran his hand along a dull promontory of rock. Was it here, he wondered, on the trek he’d made with Winslow and Kanin to close the access under Levon’s cottage? Close enough.

____


The hairpin curves on the route home proved awkward for Winslow. Unable to establish the steady, heads-down gait Kanin led with, he bashed and smacked through the stone mazeway until he grumped to a stand-still. Vincent, behind, around a sharp bend, lost in thought and innate rhythm, thumped into him, hard.

Winslow dropped the canteen he’d uncorked, and when he bent to retrieve it, bumped his forehead on the opposing wall. Ow! Most of the water glugged out while he rubbed his hairline and checked for blood. Dammitall!

Kanin had doubled back and stood with his hands hooked in the shoulder straps of his pack. He carried an even heavier sadness – the loss of Levon’s companionship – but seemed about to smile. Starry, starry night? he mumbled instead.3

What you talkin’ about? Winslow scowled and winced. He lowered himself to retrieve his canteen, a clumsy plié in the narrow passage that, luckily, pitched the man sideways and not forward. Oooomph.

They sank to the ground beside a righted Winslow, resting cradled in scooped niches, their knees drawn up, the fullest canteen passing over and back. Between swallows, Kanin hummed a few bars of a tune Vincent didn’t know, but recognized as one that often accompanied his friend’s most concentrated work efforts. A sign, he believed, that Kanin was thinking things through, nearing, he hoped, the edge of the dark, lonely woods.

Got an apple? Winslow asked, and Kanin nodded, fishing in his knapsack for one. Winslow held the cool fruit to the scrape above his eye. You hear the one about the guy on his roof in the flood, praying for rescue? he began, and went on, as always, without waiting for an answer. Refusing the help of a man paddled up in a canoe, a police motorboat idling close, and a rope ladder dropped to him from a hovering helicopter, the man was eventually swept away. At the pearly gates, he was stompin’ mad. I kept the faith, he yelled, so why didn’t God save me’s what I wanna know. And the angel replied, He sent you a canoe, a motorboat, and a helicopter. What more were you looking for?

He’d not heard Winslow tell the joke before, and he laughed, as much in surprise as appreciation. Even Kanin chuckled. Only Winslow kept a serious expression, his brows raised and his lips turned down. What more you looking for, he repeated. What?

____

Catherine. Catherine, Catherine, and again and again, Catherine. Catherine for every wonder since and yet. Catherine, for the gentle, patient breeze that rekindled his embered hopes. Catherine, that he was even alive.

Catherine ... and someone – something – else.

The door scraped open another blessed inch, the ground before it too craggy to allow for a free sweep, the hinges stiff from rusted wait, but behind it, a glow. The issuing beam strengthened to a brilliance of luminescent smoke and glittering crystal flakes, opening a corridor, laying down a path before him through the stone, pointing the way. A place of miracles, it promised, somehow both source and destination, if he would reach it, stand in it and be changed.

Miriam had returned his dry cloak and now he touched the page of poems folded into its breast pocket. It is possible I am pushing through solid rock ... I am such a long way in I see no way through and no space. Everything is close to my face and everything close to my face is stone.4  He threw back his head, let free an exultant, natural cry. You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in: then your great transforming will happen to me …5  Spurred on, his spirit eager and intent, his stride loose and long, he wished the distance and hours until Catherine be magically bridged. He knew himself well enough – the way might never be easy. There would be rough going, interruptions, drawbacks, shortcomings – tears – but there was a way. A way through.

Everything close to my face is stone ... no more.

Like two turns of a single-dial lock – right ... left – the cams aligned. One more would release it.

Only days ago, he’d proclaimed, If I give this darkness some freedom, it will lose power. He knew now – that was not what it wanted, now or all along, and not what would happen.

Oh, Catherine. I have so much to tell you.

_________


A single, small, cinnamon-brown bird eyed her from its perch in a shrubby, pink-blooming tree between the porch and her car. Its song ranged from scolding to sweet. Martin held out his arms and Eimear moved into them. Neal was half-way down the steps, having taken Eimear’s hands in his, brought them first to his chest, then to his lips. She wasn’t sure just where to stand or what to do.  She followed Neal to his car.

“Does Flynn need a lawyer?” Catherine asked, the open cruiser door between them. “A private lawyer?”

“We’ve got good counsel. He’ll be all right. Well ... legally, anyway.” Neal rolled his shoulders. The tension that traveled his arms, he shook away through his hands and fingers, though afterward, he hid his fists in his pockets. She turned in the direction of his gaze, and over her shoulder saw Eimear and Martin had stepped from their embrace, a low conversation started up, their foreheads almost touching. “He needs to talk to somebody, though,” Neal went on. “I guess we all do. It’s just ...”

“Hard,” Catherine finished and Neal nodded. “He has you,” she said.

Neal sighed. “Yeah, but ...we’re almost ... too close. His problems become mine and vice-versa, and that gets in the way of the job. Best if he finds somebody with a few more degrees of separation.” He held his hands up before him and drew them apart in illustration, then thumped a fist into his palm, three short taps. “Problem is, the department shrink has to file a report, so you’re careful what you say. You go outside, they find out, it’s a mark. Not officially, but ...”

“That relationship is supposed to be private,” Catherine protested. “You shouldn’t have to worry.”

“Yeah, well, New York’s a big city, but our world is really small.” He offered her a one-sided smile of goodbye. One hand splayed on the roof of the cruiser; one boot rested on the running board. Until today, she’d not seen him in daylight. His eyes were a warm brown, and deeply lined at their corners. “You know, sometimes I ask myself, what kind of man does this job.” Neal settled into the bucket seat and pulled the door closed. For a moment, impassive, he stared at his reflection in the rear-view mirror. His shoulder dipped; the engine roared to life. She stepped back from the curb.

The cruiser’s window came down. A blue-clad elbow appeared.

With a look he called her closer and she complied. He glanced past her, checked his mirrors side and rear. Vigilant. Aware. The motor revved and gentled to its growling potential. He began without preamble. “I got the impression Eimear had no idea about what went down last night until we pulled up, and that you’d been here for a while. Don’t get me wrong, Catherine, I’m glad you were, but you were here for another reason.” He didn’t question her, nor did he accuse. “Look,” he went on, “you don’t know me from Mutt’s old goat, but any friend of these two is a friend of mine, and I don’t leave my friends in the lurch, regardless of ...” He waved a vague hand toward the porch. “... all this. I’m not gonna bug you, except to ask if everything’s okay. Either with Eimear or with you.”

By habit, training ... or character, Catherine thought, he held her gaze unwaveringly. She didn’t want to lie to him. “We went to visit some friends last night. It got late. I had some business in the Bronx today ...” It was all true, but her pulse jumped at the base of her throat. She shrugged to hide it.

“Okay.” He rubbed his ear, put both hands on the wheel. “Okay,” he repeated. From the console between the seats he rummaged out a dog-eared business card and dashed a note on the back.

Speedy Windshield Repair she read from one side, a telephone number on the reverse. She might have frowned at a lesser man.

“That’s the direct line to the desk for our unit,” he said, the rebuff she’d necessarily offered him the night of the céilidh a nothingness between them. “If you hear anything about those kids ...”

“I will. I’ll find out, and I’ll get back to you.”

“Thanks,” he said, cranking the wheel. “Eimear knows to call me, but remind her, okay? For whatever. Whenever.”

Neal engaged the gearshift and nosed out into the street. Behind him, a black cadillac rolled up, the sun flaring off the polished chrome and long, waxed hood. Catherine blinked at the familiarity – the repeated trip through, the slow pass by. The gray-haired man in a plaid driving cap and his passenger, his wife, his sweetheart, Catherine surmised, from the smile she saw turned on him, surely posed no threat, but she remembered – had never forgotten – why she was here.

She turned from the street and for a moment ... watched. Martin had both Eimear’s hands in his, and the little shake he gave them and his determined grip spoke of faith and abiding love. You have the courage. To follow Flynn upstairs. To turn his face from the wall with the whisper of his name. To step up close, so the chasm is not so fearful and he doesn’t stand alone.6

How could she mount the steps, intrude on their necessary privacy, even to gather her bag and jacket and car keys. She shouldn’t stay, but how could she leave?

Eimear, Flynn, Martin, Rosie ... a fortress of family, a family she wanted.

Against a cry of longing, she pressed her knuckles to her lips.



Click HERE for Chapter 69

_____________

1. William Butler Yeats. To His Heart, Bidding It Have No Fear.
2. The Only Gift. Chapter 4.
3. Don McLean. Vincent. 1972.
4. Rainer Maria Rilke. Pushing Through.
5. Ibid.
6. I Carry Your Heart. Chapter 7: Love-Throb in the Heart. Eimear's advice to Catherine.



15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Carole, so MUCH to savor here! Especially: "When the first fissuring of that vault came – three years, ten days and now nearly eleven hours before – what seeped out wasn’t base or foul, but light. Light! How had he turned from it? How had he so deceived himself?"

What an incredible discovery for Vincent! In his supposed "Darkness" there is LIGHT! Strength to defy and prevail. Dreams safeguarded rather than devoured. Amazing!

Now Vincent needs to bring this discovery not only to Catherine, but also to Flynn -- who just used his Dark side to do the near impossible, to PREVAIL and save those children.

Just wonderful!

Regards, Lindariel

Carole W said...

Ah, Lindariel, thank you. You've found the crux of Vincent's matter. :-) How he comes to a further understanding and lets that knowledge change him will be a challenge - but a strong lesson in happiness. I'm looking very forward to how he and Flynn discuss these similarities and what comes of it. Also, what comes for and with Catherine.

How things seemed, how a lifetime was expected to play out … not necessarily so … and like Dorothy and her friends in Oz, one already has inside them the power and the glory. :-)

Thank you so much, and always, for your generous, kind and thoughtful comments. I'm lucky and very grateful.

C

Anonymous said...

Carole - I am so excited to find this chapter. I am stuck in the car repair waiting room with bad television as the only entertainment. I have read it through once already and just had to tell you I love it! I promise to come back once I am home and more comfortably typing. Your friend, A'bella.

Carole W said...

Oh, no, Annabella! More car trouble? That's not fun, and on a holiday weekend too.

Thanks for the kind note, and thanks for liking the chapter. Be well out there. :-)

C

NYC Utopia said...

Oh my, I'd been lagging two chapters behind. Poor me! Well, sort of ;) Of course I had enough appetite for a double portion!
I'll try and be back later with sensible feedback...
Much love,
Claire

Carole W said...

Claire, I'm very glad you're lagging, given the givens. :-)

Thanks for coming by to catch up. Love you much,
C

Brenda K said...

Carole,

The bright clarity of Vincent's near-death revelation is reminding me of the lesson of an old Star Trek episode -- "The Enemy Within," in which Captain Kirk goes through a Jekyll-Hyde split only to discover that his dark side is the essential source of his strength.

Vincent's history (Chapter 39) has always set him up to believe in the malice of his dark side, and his disappointment and resentment have breathed separate life into those parts of his nature. His very differences have stoked the fires of his belief that it is evil, and that it is responsible for his inner sorrows. To come now to such a powerful revelation -- that its power is what makes him a protector of all he loves -- must be like receiving a pardon from a sentence of execution.

Carole W said...

Right in one, Brenda! It is a revelation, one he'd approached before, only not fully, and from the negative POV (the reverse Rumple*). Once he said to Father - paraphrased from The Outsiders – the very part of him he struggled to repress gave him the ability to protect those he loved. He just didn't quite give it its due!

Again, you're exactly right. He's receiving a pardon, and from himself. Like his surprise at the necessary reassessment of Rosie and the moon, he'll find he needs to look at other moments and perceptions in his younger life in a different light. There's been one element missing, something he'd never offered the Other before. That recognition and offering is the pivot point.

Which is soon to be revealed if you haven't named it already! :-D

Thank you, always, for your very thoughtful posts. I appreciate you so much.

C

Mamacrow said...

Isn't it amazing when something, maybe a few words, or an single or experience, has the ability to change our perception of ourselves. The change was coming but sometimes a catalyst and poof, we are a new person.

I love how things are changing for Vincent, how his sense of self is changing, morphing into a more self-assured, whole man. I'm a firm believer that real love doesn't create two halves, but two wholes together. He is starting to find his whole and Catherine is beginning to see her whole as well. She is an orphan who needs family, not just her husband's but her own, at least I believe so.

A wonderful chapter that makes me ache for more. Thank you Carole...:)

Brenda K said...

Carole,

You know, I can't help thinking that when Vincent brings these profound and disturbing revelations to Catherine, her first reaction would be bone-deep terror. To be told that the man for whom you've reshaped your entire life was only hours -- or perhaps minutes - away from suicide when he found you -- that your advent into his life was the hair-thin margin that tipped the scales and let him continue to live ---well, I can't think of any heavier burden to bear, or any knowledge that would frighten me more thoroughly than that. Even for a connection as deep as theirs, this is an awful responsibility to bear.

Mamacrow said...

Seriously...I can't comment with five other people in my house. Leads to many embarrassing typos, but I think you get the idea...:) I can't wait to re-re-reread this whole thing again...maybe with a highlighter...

Karen :)

Carole W said...

Karen, you are absolutely right about Catherine. She's had to acknowledge, in a way she'd shied from before, that Jenny will not be *that family* (though I don't discount the possibility of a great-enough change one day). She's taking her own place in the community of below, making choices she'll stand up for when it's necessary to explain them. But someone from her side of the river would make such a difference. A witness, nearly, who stands with her, and most firmly *hers*.

More to come on that - why and how and what ...

I totally agree with you - two wholes, making an even more glorious One. Something that has never been. Their journey isn't over, but the way is clearer and Vincent is coming to truly trust the immense possibilities.

More to come on that, too! :-)

You're right. Sometimes the smallest thing can be that last 'Necessary', and then the window is unstuck. It doesn't have to be all that significant to provide impetus for huge change. Vincent is due for some forgiving self-revisiting. I have a few more ideas along that line.

Thank you for reading and for encouraging me to keep after it. You're a gem.

C

Carole W said...

Brenda, I appreciate your thoughts. You're right, such a revelation will create intense moments. Soul-baring isn't always pretty, but the result can be beautiful.

The "dark night of the soul" occurred that April 12th night ... for both of them. Catherine has realized it wasn't just her dark night, and I think she's ready to hear Vincent's part of the story. Without the two pains and the two emptinesses, their glorious bond could not be forged. He's kept something from her that isn't beautiful, but it is the truth. How she hears it will be the subject of a soon to come chapter.

I can't really comment more on your concerns without revealing the plot of the coming final scenes. My hope is that I can make my vision clear and convincing, even if it's a position you can't fully accept. Your comments have actually cemented a couple of still-amorphous ideas swirling about in my mind, and sparked light into a couple of dimly-lit avenues. Thank you!

Carole

RedNightBird said...

OK....the burning desk....just another facet of the magical world that hides beneath NYC. Does it mean something....or is a burning desk just a burning desk? (Curious someone of THE community hadn't salvaged the brass.)

Are there other groups funneling the water erratically? Is this oddity or sabotage?

All the while V is one step closer to having 'that' conversion...good for him!

Carole W said...

LOL, Rusty! In this instance, a burning desk is only that. And they will sift the brass from the ashes. Where the desk came from will be revealed, but it means little, other than it was handy and already busted-up, as we say around here.

However, you are delightfully nearly on-target about what's happening with the water. Not sabotage - not purposeful - I will say that much for now, and promise to reveal the cause very soon. :-)

Yes, thank goodness, V's a step closer to meeting with Flynn. You can imagine how anxious I am to get there, although I'm also a little panicked about writing it. I can envision the tweaks and retweaks. Argh, already!

Thank you so much for reading. That you do makes me happy, and makes me want to keep after it even harder.

C