THE St. Louis Speakeasy
It is currently Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:51 am GMT

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 152 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11  Next
Author Message

is a spider-child
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:33 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:08 am GMT
Posts: 69741
Location: Northern parts of Sweden
Custom Title: is a spider-child
Veronika looked over again at the offer of the cigarette, taking it with a soft nod of thanks even if she hadn't been very interested in having another drag. This time she did better as she inhaled, actually managing to hold the cigarette itself with some semblance of grace as she passed it back to him, exhaling the smoke away from him. It tasted bitter, but it still felt rather good to be allowed in on this; smoking wasn't exactly an intimate thing, but it made her feel accepted.

The silence was nice, filled as it was with the sounds of nature. It didn't feel like the strained silence of inside a house when a conversation lulled in to an awkward pause that everyone desperately scrambled to fill with talk of weather and other things like that. Veronika had just had time to settle in to it when Akku suddenly spoke again and she started a little, looking up at his face but then away again when she saw he wasn't looking at her. When he wasn't wearing his shirt it felt a little bit awkward to stand around looking at him without the possibility of eye-contact. It wasn't as though she hadn't seen men dressed in their under-shirt, or less than that for that matter, but it was rare for her to stand around smoking and talking to one while they were.

The story he told, his own, was quite sad to her. She could of course never really understand it all based on what little he had said, but especially because try as she might she wouldn't be able to understand his situation. She had grown up in a completely different world than he had, on completely different terms. She imagined that pity wouldn't really be appreciated by the young man however, and that perhaps he was really trying to fish out some longer explanation on her end about why she had actually come. Either way, even if she had decided to try and offer comfort she wasn't sure what she would say that could actually make a difference. She could try to defend them of course, say that perhaps they did consider him family but weren't allowed to bring him, but how did you defend leaving someone behind? She couldn't, especially not when it had been in the search of a wife for their son; she still felt a bit sensitive over the topic of parents interfering in their children's love-life.

"Perhaps I'm just a bit more crazy then you are, then," she settled on, in a diplomatic voice, smiling briefly at the darkening garden before shrugging. In her shirt Winston stirred and came climbing out by the neckline of her sweater, peering out at nature with slightly more alert eyes. "I don't even know where Abyssinia is... But I imagine it's easier to jump on a train bound for the continent with a ticket paid for by your father rather than go alone to wherever it is. Besides, as I said, I thought I could get away from some other things if I went here. I don't know you that well, but you seem more the kind to fight rather than flee."

She occupied herself with fishing Winston out, setting him on her shoulder and letting him grasp at her hair again. If she was to make an uneducated guess it would be that the little animal was nocturnal, given how much more awake he seemed now. But she was distracted from her thoughts on Winston by the faint twinkling lights of the fireflies that had started up. Like in a dog catching a scent her eyes sharpened and she walked a few steps closer, trying to spot the beetle responsible for the faint light. She had never seen one in real life before, but had them described to her in books.

"Are these fireflies?" She asked, though she rather doubted it could be anything else, even if she couldn't quite make out much else but their brief glow in the darkness; just a brief light and then it was gone, not enough time to actually see how that light came about, not even enough for her to really see at what distance they were. "We don't have them in Sweden. I've never seen them before, I thought they would be bigger. It's not them making that noise, is it?" she continued asking, referring to the sound of the cicadas that she wasn't quite sure she cared for.

_________________
Image
What were their names again...?


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:58 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
At first, he made no reply. Instead, he rose to his feet without bothering to stretch, though his limbs were a little stiff. Sticking the cigarette into his mouth, he stalked past her and straight into the bushes, apparently undeterred by the fact that he was still barefoot in amidst the darkness of the trees and the underbrush. Then he stopped, seeming to freeze. All around him, the flashes went dark. Gradually, though, they resumed and began to blink again. Akku was still. He had yet to make a sound, save for the occasional crack of a branch beneath his foot, or the faint rustle of leaves.

Then he snapped into motion, and it was so sudden, so fast, that it was over almost before she'd have a chance to realize what was happening and he was tramping back out of the bushes towards her. He extended a closed hand, motioning wordlessly for her to look. Carefully, he unfurled his fingers to reveal the small, dark beetle in his palm, and the faint glow of bioluminescence across its abdomen.

"Lightning bugs, we always called 'em," he said, speaking around the cigarette. After a moment, he flicked the beetle gently back in the direction of the trees. "They're not the ones you're hearing, though. That's the cicadas. And the frogs, if you listen carefully enough."

He tapped ash off the end of the cigarette, then stuck his hands in his pockets. The experience of anyone, parent or otherwise, interfering in Akku's life was utterly foreign to him. Most of his experience in that quarter came second-hand, seeing the various lengths the Vanderbergs went to in their attempts to keep Ansel in check. There was a time in his life when he would have welcomed meddling, or indeed any kind of guidance. These days, though, having gone so long without it, he could only imagine chafing under the restraint. He'd become accustomed to a degree of independence so extreme it bordered on isolation.

"Abyssinia," he said at last, breaking the silence. "It's in East Africa. I'll show you on a map sometime, if I don't forget."

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

is a spider-child
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:46 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:08 am GMT
Posts: 69741
Location: Northern parts of Sweden
Custom Title: is a spider-child
Veronika was a little surprised to see him suddenly step right in to the bushes, and she couldn't help but glance down to make sure there weren't anything that looked like a snake lurking nearby. She imagined there were poisonous snakes here worse than just the occasional adder you encountered in Sweden. The question of what he was doing never made it out of her mouth as she watched him stand there, until suddenly he lashed out, making her wince a little. It was a touch warily and but with equal amousnt curiosity she stepped up, peeking in to his hand. There it was.

"Would you look at that," she said a bit distantly. "I thought it was all of them that glowed. Lightning bugs... Hm. 'Eldfluga' is the Swedish word, which is literally 'firefly'."

When the beetle was released she stepped back, and while she wasn't too worried about insects and the like in general she wasn't exactly exalted at the idea of one settling on her. It was easier to think them beautiful with a bit of distance.

"Cicadas... Don't think I've heard of those. Or heard them for that matter, they are quite loud."

As the silence settled again she stood still again, watching the slow flashes of light while idly petting Winston who yet again had begun to fiddle with her earring. Then she carefully reached out and took the cigarette from between his lips with a smile on hers as she took a drag from it and then handed it back. Again she was slightly startled by his voice and looked over before smiling again at the offer. It seemed he might be warming up to her a little bit; it wasn't as though he was overly friendly, but the rather more prickly air around him had settled in to a slightly calmer hold-on-arm's-length-distance which she was more than fine with. She didn't mind keeping that distance to people either.

"Thank you. I'll remind you, don't worry."

_________________
Image
What were their names again...?


Top
 Profile  
 

is a spider-child
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:32 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:08 am GMT
Posts: 69741
Location: Northern parts of Sweden
Custom Title: is a spider-child
When Veronika had gone to bed that evening the room had felt strange. It was not as though she had spent an astounding amount of time in it since arriving, but still it felt a bit unfamiliar now without all the knick-knacks, even the little wolf was slightly missed. Before heading upstairs she had made a detour past the sitting room, finding Louise with Ansel still firmly in her clutches, the older woman’s mind remaining firmly set on trying to figure the man out enough to be able to manipulate him a little. It was with a certain amount of reluctance that Veronika returned Winston to his owner, and then said her swift good nights to not be roped in to further conversation. The matter was of course that she had been able to smell a bit of cigarette smoke still clinging to her, even if she had done her best to delay going inside to try and rid herself of the smell, and she wasn’t keen on letting it be noticed. That didn’t stop Louise’s keen eyes from scanning her over though, and the following morning she was at the younger woman’s door, knocking lightly.
“<Good morning,>” she greeted politely after being let inside, remaining by the door as Veronika moved back to her trunk to continue picking out her clothes for the day.

“<Good morning, aunt.>”

“<You were in a bit of a hurry to go to bed last night. Mr. Vanderberg told this fascinating story about—“

“<I was very tired. I’m very sorry I missed it.>”

There was a brief silence, and then Louise took the opportunity to step forward and begin bringing out a pair of shoes and stockings from the trunk as Veronika held up a dress in front of herself and looked in to a mirror that had been discovered under an exotic tapestry the previous evening.

“<I was going to wear the flats…>”

“<Nonsense, you’re not a little girl and you’re not playing tennis. A grown woman of your standing should wear proper shoes.>”

Veronika thought a bit sourly that this grown woman wouldn’t be standing at all if she was going to be forced to keep wearing the too small shoes just because they made her feet look dainty, but didn’t argue. She’d go up and change them after breakfast.

“<Speaking of which,>” Louise added, as she was about to turn back to the door. “<Last night you looked positively wild when you came back in to the sitting room. You can’t have your hair in such disarray, not to mention that the sweater was hardly appropriate with that dress. I don’t know what you had been up to, but you need to put in more of an effort to keep up some sort of appearance.>”

Veronika thought back to the evening before, helping the staff clear the room, going unaccompanied with Akku in to the garden, smoking… There were so many things there that were not in keeping with her duties that Veronika would never even dare to breathe at the same time as thinking of it, lest the woman should somehow pick it up from here mere breath.

“<I will keep it in mind, aunt, my apologies. I will see you at breakfast.>”

The end of this encounter was perhaps a bit abrupt to Louise’s tastes, but she found it in herself to forgive Veronika when the girl came down to breakfast looking immaculate enough to make up for the state of her the night before. During the meal Veronika didn’t say much, and at the first best chance she excused herself, seeking refuge up in her room again. She was itching to go in to the city, but knew that such an excursion needed to wait. First her relatives needed to be lulled in to a false sense of security so that they would start thinking that she wasn't up to no good. Then they would let their guard down and it would be possible for her to slip away unnoticed to begin her investigations. Until such a time, all that she really needed to do was to evade their host as much as was possible, and find some way to occupy her mind so as to not go crazy. Her first thought was to head out in to the garden again, but the previous day’s trek to the camel’s pen had rather proven Akku’s point; she would get lost if she went any further than the neat lawns. A brief glance around the room proved its uselessness for entertainment. With all the things out of it, it really was just a plain bedroom.

Peeking out through the door in to the corridor she listened for any sounds of steps. None. Louise had mentioned going out to enjoy the sun, so perhaps she and Harald was out on the veranda, and God only knew where Mr. Vanderberg was. Good. A quick change of shoes were all that was needed and then she soundlessly picked her way across the floor, taking a brief tour downstairs in the hopes of running in to Akku. When this proved unsuccessful she headed back to the upper floor, pausing by the stairs and pursing her lips as she tried to settle for going left or right. Her room was the surest place where she could be left alone, but the thought of re-reading books that she had already finished thrice over during her travels was not very appealing.

This house was full of curiosities and this and that surprise, and still it somehow managed to make her feel trapped within hours on her second day there. It was a lot quieter than most houses of this size she had been to. Not that any of the large houses she had been to had been exceptionally lively, but there was usually enough staff around that, despite their considerable skill in being there when you needed them but otherwise carefully out of view, they helped keep the house from feeling empty. Now she was left with silent, empty corridors, and only the wall-hangings for company. It felt a little bit like sneaking around in a museum after hours.

The morning was so far not feeling like a very successful one, until something occurred to her: Winston.

Swiftly her quiet steps carried her towards the studio where the little animal had been retrieved before; it seemed a logical place to start looking since there was apparently no cage to keep it in one place. Ansel had not seemed terribly worried when he allowed her to care for the loris, so surely this counted as permission to at least go and see it again, Veronika told herself as she tried to remember the slightly winding way to the study. It didn’t take long for her to find the unassuming door, and with her hand on the door handle she hesitated, looking up and down the corridor. Perhaps not just stepping in was a wise idea, after all their host might be busy on putting eyes on that poor eye-less bear or somesuch, and it would be a bit hard to explain just barging in. Quickly she raised a hand to knock on the door before trying the door handle, only to immediately regret it. What if he actually was in there? Already the excuses were forming in her head as she cautiously looked in to the room.

_________________
Image
What were their names again...?


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:22 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
The door, which had not been fully closed, swung open easily beneath her hand. The hinges were well-oiled and silent. As scarce as the staff was, the house hardly seemed to suffer from neglect. The room within would appear, at first glance, to be empty, although for some reason a bright light had been left on over the drawing board.

At the sound of the quiet knock Ansel, who had just ducked beneath his desk to retrieve a lost pencil, started up sharply and cracked his head against the underside of the table. He spat out the first curse which came to mind--a filthy and particularly horrible epithet which, thankfully, happened to be Tamasheq, and therefore incomprehensible to the casual listener. Which in this case happened to be his distant cousin.

He got hurriedly to his feet, unable to keep from wincing a bit and pressing one hand to the back of his head. Veronika Falck was the last person he'd expected to say, and he was less than thrilled that she should encounter him in such a state. It didn't take him long to recover his composure, although he was still running his hand gingerly over his skull where he'd hit it.

"Miss Falck," he said, attempting to mask his grimace with a polite smile. He looked something like a schoolboy who'd been caught red-handed nosing in the teacher's desk, possibly with the intent of depositing a frog in there while he was at it. He'd shed the previous evening's formalwear, and even the suit he'd worn at breakfast, for a simple waistcoat and shirtsleeves. His rolled-up sleeves and loosely knotted tie were a strange compromise between his usual choice of at-home clothing and the need to keep up appearances. Ink stained his fingers, alluding to whatever it was he'd been doing at the drawing board, and he was wearing pince-nez which, on closer inspection, were badly smudged with fingerprints. His hair, though impeccably combed, had suffered a bit from its collision with the desk. A few stray strands, dislodged by the impact, now spilled over his forehead.

"I didn't expect to see you here," he added, unnecessarily. "How can I be of assistance?"

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

is a spider-child
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:21 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:08 am GMT
Posts: 69741
Location: Northern parts of Sweden
Custom Title: is a spider-child
Veronika felt the thrill of success begin to well in her chest only to instantly be crushed the moment she heard the crash and the exclamation that made her shy back behind the door in surprise. Unladylike phrases of a similar vein to the one Ansel uttered passed through Veronika's head, but gladly not out of her mouth as she made slightly wide-eyed eye contact with their host. He was here, and she thought he really shouldn't be, which meant that she had to take a moment to compose herself, a moment that she was painfully aware was long enough to show she was caught off guard; hopefully he would think she was just startled from the sudden crash.

"I..."

Her face threatened to redden at her pause, but instead she managed her most disarming smiles, though still not stepping out fully from behind the door.

"... just came to see if Winston was here."

Once the excuse, the perfectly good excuse, came out Veronika felt a little bit relieved, because it gave her a way to get out too, all she would need to say was "oh no don't bother, I see you're really busy I should be going, good day" and swiftly make her exit. This relief calmed her mind enough to start taking things in, and she quickly noted the details of the older man's appearance; the undone vest, missing jacket, loose tie... Adding it all up, she finished with the simple sum that Ansel had not really thought that she ought to show up, in fact, he probably didn't want her to. For some reason that made her feel even more at ease, and that quieted her mind further, and her now slightly less wide eyes wandered briefly to the illuminated desk before settling on him again.

"I didn't mean to intrude."

_________________
Image
What were their names again...?


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:44 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
"Oh... oh, well, you didn't. Intrude, that is." He forced himself to drop his hand, although his head still throbbed in the aftermath of the collision. Only once his hands were hanging loosely at his sides did he seem to notice the inkstains all over his fingertips. He rubbed his thumb and forefinger together in an unsuccessful attempt to clean them off. Then he withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket and attempted the same thing. Equally unsuccessful.

Giving up, he folded the handkerchief and stuck it back in his pocket with a barely audible sigh of resignation. "As for the infamous Winston, I haven't seen him today. He may be in the care of Nurul, or it's possible Akku's taken him somewhere. Then again, he might have crawled into some out-of-the-way corner, which has happened on occasion in the past. I wouldn't concern yourself too much; sooner or later he'll get hungry and reemerge. Unless you'd like to search for him yourself, in which case--be my guest. Barring that," he added, as though sensing her boredom, "you are, of course, welcome to anything you can find in my library. It's not particularly well organized, but most of my staff reads no English, and even less French. I've been meaning to set it in order, but haven't yet found the time."

Pulling his spectacles off his nose, he polished them ineffectively against his trousers. They left small reddish indentations on either side of his pointed nose. As he did so, he studied Veronika with a curiously analytical glance. "Are you by any chance skilled with pen and ink, Miss Falck?"

He gestured to the drawing board, and stepped aside so she would have a clear line of sight to inspect it. Some photographs were clipped to the edge, showing a particular variety of antelope grazing, or standing in small herds on what appeared to be the African savanna. The photographs were small, and not of particularly good quality; they had all been taken from fairly far away. The only close-up was a picture of Ansel and an unknown dark-skinned man kneeling on either side of a dead antelope they appeared to have just shot.

The paper itself was covered in drawings of this gazelle in all manner of poses: standing, leaping, lowering its head to graze. The art was not bad, but it was not particularly great, either. The animal, while proportionate, had a certain stiffness about it in all the drawings. In life, judging by the photographs, it held its neck and spine with a delicate curvature, accentuated by the lovely slope of its antlers. In Ansel's drawings, however, this quality was lost, and the end results--clumsy and robotic-looking antelope--covered the page with their glum likenesses.

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

is a spider-child
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:18 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:08 am GMT
Posts: 69741
Location: Northern parts of Sweden
Custom Title: is a spider-child
"Well, I didn't mean to startle you, either way," Veronika corrected herself, holding back the question if his head was alright; it wouldn't really do to start embarrassing him, which was why she chose not to look too long at his inky fingers as he struggled to try and clean them off. It reminded her a little bit of how the workers in her father's employ would hurry to try and wipe their hands whenever she or her family approached them. While they sometimes would use a handkerchief, mostly they just unceremoniously wiped their hands on their trousers, but then, they never wore as nice trousers as Ansel Vanderberg, or peer at her through ink stained glasses in a way that made her want to squirm a little bit. It was as though he had suddenly noticed her properly for the first time when he looked at her this time, but that was likely just her imagination being ushered along by the realization of them being alone.

Not even Veronika could mask all off the disappointment she felt at hearing Winston was missing, and his smile faded some at the suggestion she could go read. She imagined that most of the books available were either heavy tomes on biology or geography or somesuch, and while she didn't doubt her ability to read them it was a far less attractive prospect than getting to play with a loris. Already her mind had begun to turn, making up a scheme to take another stab at finding Akku, when Ansel spoke again. At first the frown deepened a little bit in confusion and apprehension before she managed to coax herself out from behind the door. A glance was cast to him before she stepped in to the room, approaching the drawing board and turning her focus to what was laid out there.

It was her mother who has insisted that she learn how to draw. She had insisted on her daughter learning a lot of things, art, sewing, music... all those things that a young lady ought to learn, and as long as Veronika did them she found that she was given a leash that grew longer and longer. This had meant that she had been free to go riding if she wanted, she had gotten the skis she had insisted on having so she could go out in winter, she had grudgingly been allowed to play around the saw mill... All of it was a matter of give and take, and usually she had managed to take more than she gave. The end result of it in this precise moment was that she could recognize what it was Ansel was after in the drawings, and what was missing for those drawings to strike a better likeness to the blurry photographs. It made her a bit insecure that he asked however, because it came with the air that he was asking for her help with the drawings. It was always a bit daunting to be asked your opinion, or even worse, to be asked to demonstrate a talent, especially one you hadn't made use of for ages, but there was also something about him trying to involve her in his work that made her feel fidgety.

"... I've mostly drawn with pencils before," she admitted, feeling somehow obligated to not simply lie straight to his face and excuse herself. Gingerly she touched at the corner of the photograph of the hunters and their felled prey. She didn't like that one, the animal lost all its grace without the spark of life. Carefully she picked up one of the slightly blurrier ones instead, looking at what to her might as well have been a cross between a deer and a goat, though she recognized it as an antelope from her many visits to zoos. To give a more specific name than that would be impossible for her however.

She looked up at him again, still holding the photograph delicately in her fingers, trying to somehow be able to tell what he was thinking, if he was just being polite or actually trying to catch her interest. He had after all rather clearly distanced himself from his guests with the simple act of leaving them to their own devices, but who really knew what was going on in someone's head. Perhaps he was just showing off.

"Why do you ask?"

_________________
Image
What were their names again...?


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:37 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
She didn't compliment him on the drawings. He was glad of this, for several reasons. First: her eye was refined enough to see the errors in his work, and as such her input might actually be valuable to him. Second: it meant she wasn't a sycophant. He'd been paid his share of fawning compliments by well-bred eligible ladies, and it never failed to unnerve him. Ansel didn't like to be fawned over. He preferred to be left alone.

"This is for my next project," he explained, waving a hand in the direction of the stand currently occupied by the almost-completed stuffed bear. "But the first step, which is invariably the hardest, involves drawing up designs for the piece. Once I have finished sketches and dimensions for the maquette, I'll send them off to a colleague of mine in New York. He'll have the frame drawn up and ship it back, at which point I'll stretch the skin over it, fix the eyes and whatever other detail it lacks, sew it all up and set it in place. Then it will be packaged and sent out to the museum, where it will open minds, educate the populace, inspire a future generation of wildlife biologists, et cetera."

He fell silent then. Sensing instinctively that her unease was magnified by his gaze, he returned his eyes to the work table. He traced the spine of one misshapen gazelle with a forlorn, affectionate look. Ansel was not a bad artist. Most of the diagrams on the walls were his handiwork. But there was some nuance to the gazelle which simply escaped him.

"If you see any errors, I'd be grateful if you could point them out. Or, if you wouldn't mind, you're welcome to try correcting it yourself. I had hoped to have these finished and posted to New York by the end of the day."

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

is a spider-child
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:16 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:08 am GMT
Posts: 69741
Location: Northern parts of Sweden
Custom Title: is a spider-child
At first Veronika started to fear that Ansel was going to go in to a rant about the wealth of knowledge he supplied the world with his taxidermy, about how incredibly grateful people ought to be, how important it all was. While she wasn't entirely convinced that he didn't actually think all these things, she decided to give him the benefit of the doubt; based on his tone and from what she had gathered so far about him Ansel was more interested in all the stages that came prior to the animal being placed behind glass in a museum than exhibiting his work.

"They're not bad," she said, the sort of instinctive, knee-jerk phrase that you supplied when someone asked you to critique their work, or when they were overly-critical of themselves; or indeed when someone didn't see how far off the mark they actually were. It was polite, and it was safe, and it was exactly what she was supposed to say. She was supposed to say they looked lovely, the little sweethearts, what kind were they, this and that and this again. But he had asked, and she wasn't about to give in to the strange frame Louise had set for her niece the previous night. A question like this, honest or not, would get an honest answer; if perhaps phrased in a less blunt manner that a slightly more daring person would have made use off.

"I haven't drawn animals in a long time." A safe opening, placing out a cushion of 'oh I wouldn't know, I'm just a girl, surely you know better', which meant that whatever what was said next could be disregarded by the arrogant or taken in to consideration by being suggested rather than force fed to the genuinely interested. "I just think they need a bit more... weight. They're very light animals, but I just... Hm." Suddenly she found herself a bit lacking in the terminology that while it had been imprinted in her memory had only been taught in Swedish. Her lips tensed as she searched for the words, creating a rather displeased line before she gave in and simply pointed to one of the drawings. "Here. Perhaps you need to... collapse it? I mean, make it look a bit less... even. Now it seems to put its weight on all four legs. See, in this picture I think," she paused, squinting a bit at the photograph she was holding and then holding it out to him so she could pick up another one. "The right front leg is bearing the weight. It looks almost the same like the other one there because the photograph isn't as focused as he drawing."

Looking at the new picture she was holding she compared it to the drawing, and for a moment forgot a little bit about reigning in her opinion as she traced the same line across the animal's back as Ansel, following the neck and the spine of the drawing. "I think the neck has more of an arch to it. A bit like a deer, it dips down a little bit more near the base. If you softened the line of the spine perhaps it would... add some of that weight to it." The moment where she realized she had let her mouth go a bit too much arrived, and Veronika set the photograph down and took a discreet step back, as though she was encroaching on his space. This was a problem with English, she found. While she could speak it well, it was harder to reign herself in, simply because she was never sure at what point she had managed to make herself fully understood. She felt a little bit less precise when she spoke English.

"But I haven't drawn wildlife much, I admit, and I cannot be sure it is the same kind as the one I saw in a zoo. As I said, there isn't really anything wrong with them. Just... perhaps a bit too poised."

_________________
Image
What were their names again...?


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:03 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
For a fleeting moment he was transported back thirty-odd years or so, back to the times when--as a fat, grubby second-grader--he'd first begun carrying pictures of his bug collection. He'd found, or been given, a sketchbook, and had taken it everywhere. It had quickly become a tattered wreck, its pages smeared with excess graphite and heavily indented by the hard pressure of his pencil. He had quickly filled it with crookedly drawn bugs, most of which turned out looking pretty much exactly alike.

This one's a leaf beetle, he would patiently explain to the occasional adult or classmate who paid any attention. Pointing with a chubby finger, This one here is a tortoise beetle. This one's a fourteen-spotted lady beetle. This one has twenty spots.

At school he'd been the same. Eventually he'd been paddled by the headmaster for returning one too many English compositions with members of the insect kingdom meticulously scrawled across the margins. He'd lost count of the subsequent scoldings, lectures, and physical punishments he'd suffered over the torturous course of his education. Meanwhile, he'd saved newspaper clippings about Fawcett and Shackleton. The live specimens had continued to multiply and thrive in shoe boxes under his bed. He'd bided his time.

The problem was not, as his old teachers had asserted, that his mind was vacant. Rather, his problem was, if anything, the opposite: that he had, and still did, live too much of his life inside his own head, caught up in plans and dreams and general flights of fancy.

He heard Veronika trying to soften her criticism, and suddenly felt like making some excuse for the inadequacy of his gazelle. But he couldn't exactly tell her it was because his best subject was bugs. He'd scared away girls before with that line of talk. So instead he merely jotted some notes and nodded. He would correct it later, or try to. But he had never really succeeded in working while he had an audience and, having invited Veronika in, he now couldn't ask her to go away, either.

"I think I will go into town today, in any case. Are you interested, Miss Falck? Perhaps you and your relatives would like to see something of the city. I'm given to understand you've seen nothing beyond the train station."

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

is a spider-child
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:11 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:08 am GMT
Posts: 69741
Location: Northern parts of Sweden
Custom Title: is a spider-child
Veronika wasn't sure what to make of the notes being taken, but it didn't set the wheels of her mind turning like the offer of going in to town did. She was quick to reign herself in, remind herself that it was too soon, that this would present no chance whatsoever to actually search for her brother. At best she might be able to get a bit of a grip on the city itself, but that was about it, not to mention that if an outing was to be had it would be under the watchful eye of her relatives and in the presence of Ansel. In the end, it didn't leave her feeling very excited.

"That sounds lovely, Mr. Vanderberg. But perhaps you would need to ask my aunt and uncle," she responded, leaving herself out of the equation. Suddenly she really felt as though she needed to get out as a creeping sense of claustrophobia was setting in. She didn't want to be invited along, not when it felt like it was her specifically that he was trying to invite along. She also became painfully aware of the fact that her aunt would have felt a rather substantial amount of glee at her niece was spending time alone with Mr. Vanderberg, as improper as it was for them to be meeting without a chaperone. This was reason enough to want to leave, just to spite the other woman.

"I shouldn't keep you from you work further, Mr. Vanderberg." Turning around she stepped back towards the door, again taking shelter behind it. She didn't really care if she was thought strange when she mixed her calm and centred behaviour with this, the slightly skittish, obedient girl who wanted to have the permission of her relatives before going anywhere. It wasn't a role she particularly enjoyed playing, but it came in handy when you wanted to keep people at a distance; either it annoyed them, threw them for a loop, or it made them a bit wary of scaring her which meant they left her alone. "Sorry I interrupted you."

Quickly she slipped out of the door and scurried down the corridor, not really sure where, but somewhere else at least. There was a slight flush to her cheeks for some reason, and she put the back of her hand to one of them to cool it down a little bit. This really wasn't turning out to be a great morning.

_________________
Image
What were their names again...?


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:27 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
It was almost noon by the time Ansel had concluded his sketches, braced himself with a few discrete shots of alcohol, rinsed out his mouth to disguise the boozy smell, and sat down for lunch with his guests. Over the simple midday meal, he proposed a trip into the city. In truth, he was almost pleased when they accepted with enthusiasm. Showing them the city would shift focus away from Ansel himself, and give them something else to talk about. In furtherance of those goals, he opted for once to forego his chauffeur and drive the car himself. It was a bit informal, but after all--he thought with a glum smile--they were family.

This time of year, the St. Louis Zoo was not so bleak as it might otherwise have been, with its sprawling acres of concrete and iron bars. The first time he’d come was when his whole family had traveled from New York to see the 1904 World's Fair. He'd been 22 years old at the time, just returned from his first long sojourn abroad. At the time, he had been horrified to discover that, in addition to the towering Ferris wheel, the technological marvels, the ice cream served for the first time in a bizarre edible wafer cone, the glimmering lagoons and the pavilions dedicated to engineering and architecture, the exhibition had included a strong anthropological component. Namely, alongside the animals, there had been people here on display, tribal peoples from various corners of the earth, many of whom had recently come under American control in its latest bouts of colonial expansion. He had watched his family as they stared with hungry disgust at the Congolese pygmies, the Igorot villagers, the downcast Apache and Eskimo arrayed in purportedly faithful recreations of their traditional camps. He'd had the curious sensation that, despite having returned home, despite standing beside his parents and siblings amidst the noise and color of the fair, he might as well have been thousands of miles away. To this day, the memory unnerved him.

Today, the weather was warm and sunny, although huge masses of cloud--some of them dark--loomed along the horizon and occasionally blocked out the sun as they drifted across the sky. Leading his guests under the main archway of the zoo, Ansel felt a vague sense of unease, magnified by the company he was now escorting. For a summer afternoon, the zoo was surprisingly uncrowded. The usual throngs of schoolchildren were running around with hands sticky from cotton candy, clutching lollipops and bags of peanuts and popcorn which the horrible little monsters would probably proceed to throw at the elephants. Still, it was easy to stand close to the bars and take one's time contemplating the animals caged within. Having seen most of these animals in their natural habitats, having tracked and sketched and photographed, hunted and observed them over the course of long weeks in the splendor of nature, Ansel found the experience depressing. He couldn’t help but identify with them; he also felt like a wild creature who'd been trapped here against his will.

Nonetheless he had a significant personal stake in the zoo here, not only because he had occasionally provided the zoo with animals, but as a financial benefactor of the institution. Over the sparse few months he'd been forced to spend in St Louis, he had nevertheless managed to accumulate tidbits of information about many of its more notorious animal inhabitants--the age and nickname of the large male gorilla, the subspecies of the elephants, the health condition of the aging leopard. And quite apart from the animals of which he had no personal knowledge, he could still provide bits of information he’d accumulated as an amateur naturalist over the years. So as they wandered through the exhibits, he found himself--quite contrary to his intention--remarking on the dietary habits of the giraffe, or the weight of the big cats, which he could estimate by looking at them.

But they hadn’t come only to gawk at the tigers. Their visit followed a special occasion, the recent opening of the new Reptile House—not a few of whose inhabitants had been furnished by Ansel himself. He had also been consulted for the design, and his name appeared on a discrete plaque near the front entrance, along with that of the architect and other sponsors. He had no intention of pointing it out. It stood out among the basic industrial-looking cages as a rare thing of beauty, its high glass roof gleaming in the afternoon light.

"Ah, here we are. The Reptile House. After you," he said, holding open the front door and indicating that his guests should proceed.

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

is a spider-child
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:12 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:08 am GMT
Posts: 69741
Location: Northern parts of Sweden
Custom Title: is a spider-child
The suggestion that they should go to the zoo felt a little bit out of place, and Veronika wasn't sure what to make of it. While some might say that it was logical for someone like Ansel to suggest it, it seemed to Veronika that he would have thought himself above going to a zoo; that he was too experienced with wildlife and the like to deign to visit a place where it was all tidied up, safely and securely caged, and put on easy display. As they walked along the paths, passing the animals in their enclosures, she realized however that perhaps it was simply a place where he could feel he had the upper-hand in a sense, since he apparently knew the animals, not to mention the information he had about this species and that. It was almost a sort of extension of the menagerie of trophies and slightly more animated specimens he kept at his house.

Throughout the walk Veronika kept a few steps ahead of Ansel and her relatives, idly listening to what he told them and skilfully evading all of her aunt and uncle's attempts to try and manoeuvre her in to direct contact with Ansel. It wasn't turning out to be a terrible day though, and the young woman found herself in that sort of pleasant daze you might fall in to when meandering along, letting your thoughts be distracted by what your eyes were taking in. This daze was broken when they ended up on the steps of the new building, and Veronika had then ended up a little bit behind the other party, her path cut off by a group of children. She looked up, just in time to hear the name of the building. She paused, but not long enough to actually stop, her step only slowing a fraction to not give away her moment of hesitance; it wasn't enough to stop her passing Louise and Harald who had stopped to look back at her, springing a trap that she had not had time to see before it was too late. Suddenly she was standing next to Ansel and when she glanced back she realized a bit bitterly that they would not be joined by her aunt and uncle.

"Oh I... I have to admit that I am terribly afraid of snakes," Louise said, setting a hand on Harald's arm. The man nodded slowly, expertly closing the cage door behind their niece.

"Indeed... I cannot say I am partial to them myself. Perhaps Mr. Vanderberg, you would be kind enough to show Veronika around and excuse us from this part of the tour? I would hate to leave my wife to wait outside alone."

_________________
Image
What were their names again...?


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Columbus [dvorak]
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:43 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
Actually, Ansel's motives in choosing the zoo were not nearly so complex as Veronika imagined. As the sort of man who avoided the city whenever possible, he knew of very few other places he would even take his guests, aside from some kind of opera or play or concert, all of which he personally detested. Whatever complaints he might have about the conditions of their captivity, at the very least he found animals interesting--and therefore, it seemed natural to assume that his guests would find them interesting as well.

He had been trapped before, in a very literal sense: once he'd stumbled into a pit trap in India, and a few years later in the Amazon he'd walked into a net snare probably intended for monkeys. Well, probably for monkeys. It was a region known to harbor head-hunters. He preferred to think of it as a monkey trap. In any case, on both occasions he'd suffered a moment of painful clarity between feeling the firsts shifting of the ground beneath his feet, and the moment in which the trap was actually sprung. And in both cases, this had made the inevitable outcome worse, because he'd had the chance to anticipate what was about to hit him.

He'd had the same sensation here, and it rolled over him like a horrible wave of déjà vu: that split-second when he realized neither Harald nor Louise was following him towards the entrance. And then they spoke and his suspicions were confirmed. There was a sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach. Had he been thinking clearly, he might have found a delicate way to weasel out of his obligation, but his reaction was more akin to that of a deer in headlights--inwardly, in any case. Outwardly, the only indication that he was flustered was a slight stammer as he arched his brows.

"O-oh? Really? Well, I had thought it might be of interest to you. But Miss Falck, if you're also afraid of snakes, we needn't go in at all."

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 152 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11  Next

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group