#VignetteSeries – Dark / Darker / Darkest

This a dummy scene involving a fog that won’t lift and a population that turn to Albion’s brightest mind, Mortimer Headlock, for reassurance. He cannot give it.

“When snow tumbles through morning fog, it falls as feathers white and pure. There is nothing so beautiful in life as standing in the limbo of a moist morning and believing yourself a finger’s breadth from heaven.”

“And in darkness?”

“Ah, I hoped you would not ask. When snow slides through the night to mix and congeal with a falling veil of fog it…”

“What, Mortimer?”

“It falls black, my friend. This snow is likened to ash. Imagine death as a gateway for the darkest of the dark to slip through Hell to that realm beneath where there and only there the contents of the damned overflow. Fog in the darkness is just that, Hell’s embers made real.”

“And today?”

“Today it grows dark.”

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#VignetteSeries – The Inventor

Author’s note: Robert Swift is a man ahead of his time, an inventor, recluse and opium addict. However, beneath the brilliance and despair, he is innocent. I think that makes him an interesting character to explore and I do so each day. His daughter, Luna, is something altogether more unusual, but I’ll leave that to your imaginations.

“Loneliness happened upon me in stages I’d care not to share, one counts the shades in black for madness comes in no other. I confuse the two, I see it in your eyes. No, my dear, I do not. Insanity and sorrow are not the same. For me, the two are inextricably linked. Once I’d outgrown my superiors, their response bitterness and shared resentments, I turned inward. I shunned all, welcomed night and hard work. How I worked! I expelled those of skin and bone in favour of something better, more solid. Namely, my dear, you.”

“But I am metal, father. I am not real.”

“You’re worth a hundred of any of them. You are perfect. You are complete. You are my child, Luna, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

#VignetteSeries – The Small Ones

Author’s Note: This is a first attempt at describing an array of tiny automatons who appear in two upcoming novels. I like the little things as they have an innocence that is good for a writer to work with.

They tinkled and clunked, tottered and chugged such an array of metallic creatures as to make one think they’d dropped a bucket of ironmongery, the nuts, bolts and screws leaping back to life of their own volition. An army of the tiny, the minuscule and the smaller, automata of every conceivable kind skittered their way through Londinium’s streets. No one saw them, of course, the fog so deep as to dive in. It was almost like they’d planned their microscopic expedition. Almost?

#VignetteSeries – Perkins Angers

Author's Note: Perkin Perkins is a man renowned and treasured for his calm. That does not mean he is always so. After all, there are times when everyone meets a complete ****. Still, there's certain ways to express it.

"I have seen things I should rather not, things one should never have had to see, terrible things. Life has weathered me, one might say. Therefore, I can say this with a degree of certainty others could not. In fact, I can say this with the assuredness that only experience can qualify."
"Really, Plopkins?"
"Perkins. And yes, Sir Magnus Monk, he who thinks himself the better of everyone and everything merely through a three-lettered extension to his name, one of birth, not earning."
"Then thrall me with this thus far unprecedented display of backbone. If you can, Perkster? If you can?"
"For the last time, it's Perkins."
"My apologies, you're just so forgettable."
"Ironic, for my revelation is this and I never forget it. You, Sir Magnus, are an arse!"

#VignetteSeries – Revenge

This is a working sample from a piece that I’ve written about forty-thousand words of. I’m undecided whether to call it Dark Tides or The Repaired. It’s annoying me.

The tides sucked and pulled, pulled and sucked, the disparate occupants of the boat left to shield worried faces from the sea spray. If ever a scene was further from that of the Homelands, Kara found it hard to imagine.

Lord Caw and Squab appeared even less enamoured than Kara, Kyle and the professor. Lord Caw had turned his back to them, his great black feathers flicking up in the wind like black eels to peck at his neck. Squab remained impassive. The larger of the Crows stared into the chopping waters with a face like thunder and mood to match. Kara pitied any Shark Man that returned; storms crackled behind Squab’s eyes, he wreaked of revenge.

#VignetteSeries – Perkin Perkins 2

Perkin Perkins’ nemesis, one Sir Magnus Monk, is in the palace grounds and making a mess. Perkins is displeased.

“Marbles, sir.”

“What, Porkling?”

“Perkins, sir, and it’s your marbles.”

“What about my marbles?”

“You’re losing them, sir.”

“How dare…”

“From your pocket, sir. I do believe you have a hole.”

“Oh, well you could have told me earlier, Perplet.”

“Perkins, sir, and I couldn’t, I’ve only just traced them to you.”

Sir Magnus Monk turned his aquiline features to see a trail of glass marbles marking his perambulation across the palace grounds.

“They’re there in case I get lost.”

“We are in open grassland, sir.”

“I couldn’t be certain.”

“And Buckingham Palace is never out of sight for a half mile or more.”

“I have poor eyesight.”

“I see.”

“And what the hell do you mean by that!” The stooped Monk’s heckles rose.

“I mean, I see, sir.”

“Your insolence is beginning to rile, Porkins.”

“Perkins, sir, and I say I see because I do see that you cannot see. Sir.”

“Your blathering balderdash is going to get you into serious trouble, Pocklet.”

“As are your swastika underpants. They’re hanging out, sir. It’s why I set out in pursuit.”

“Oh! Ah! Um!”

“Exactly my thought’s, Sir. Don’t worry, though, your clothing faux pas is safe with me.”

“It better be.”

“It is, sir. I put it down to you losing your marbles.”

#VignetteSeries – Unwanted Visions

Author’s note: This is something I’ve been jiggling. The object may still change, but the reaction won’t. I want it short and sharp.

“I hated it with a passion reserved only for the worst of things.”

“It must have been terrible to behold.”

“It was. I couldn’t bear to look upon it. No light did it justice, no darkness hid its truths. There was no escaping the inescapable.”

“But what was this demon, this monstrosity?”

“It was a mirror, Charles. It was me.”

#VignetteSeries – Miss Grace Grace

Grace is a character in two upcoming Steampunk novels. I like her, she has beauty and brains. At a time when women were often seen as secondary, Grace refuses to be. This is an early version of a finalised airship scene.

“Look at him, Rochester, stood their like he owns the bloody place.”

“I see him and revile him. Too strong, Cobblethwaite?”

“Not strong enough, my friend. I think we, as members of the gentry, should set him straight.”

“Here, here! After you.”

“After whom, gentlemen?”

“Ah, Miss Grace.”

“Grace shall suffice.”

“Grace, then.”

“Might enquire what has riled you both so?”

“Him,” said Lord Cobblethwaite.

“Yes,” him agreed, Lord Rochester.

“Stood there like he’s king of the world. You’d think this infernal Zep… Zep…”

“Zeppelin.”

“Thank you, Grace. You’d think this Zeppelin was his the way he flaunts himself on the observation deck. If anyone should have first view of the Himalayas, it should be us.”

“Or you, dear girl,” drooled Rochester.

“Why, thank you.”

“Our pleasure,” said the two walruses as one.

“But…”

“But what, Grace?”

“It is of no consequence.”

“If something troubles you, you must say. You wouldn’t want us to have to do a Headlock on you.”

“A Headlock?”

“Private joke. We sometimes pretend to be the great English investigator Mortimer Headlock with the power to smite our enemies by brains or brute strength as the situation demands.”

“Alas, I fear not, My Lords. Not on this occasion, anyway.”

“Bah!” Rochester blustered.

“Yes, we’re as good as he.”

“Really.”

“Indeed.”

“Then allow me a moment,” Grace purred.

“To do what?”

“To ask him.”

“What!” gasped Cobblethwaite.

“That is Mortimer Headlock.”

“Oh.”

“And, gentlemen.”

“Yes, Grace.”

“We’ve been flying over the Himalayas since yesterday. Goodbye.”

#VignetteSeries – Back to Reality

Author’s note: A brief interchange between the great mind of Mortimer Headlock and his housekeeper Mrs C.”

“Excluding the moon, which no longer hangs in the sky, vanished into some celestial magician’s hat, a fog more akin to limbo and my every sense screaming madness, I’m well.”

“I only asked what you wanted for lunch, sir.”

“Oh, my apologies. What are my choices, Mrs C.”

“Just chicken. I thought it might distract you.”

“In that case, chicken. And it did.”

#VignetteSeries – The Game of Death

Author's Note: In matters of life and death experience always trumps youth. Just another ditched scene, but as my knees are aching it seemed apt.

Objects 365

He sat at his desk oblivious, tap-tapping away on the typewriter, the words flowing from his fingertips. A lukewarm cup of coffee stood still steaming in the cold study, the old man too tired to set a fire when there was work to be done. He shivered, but not because the door had clicked open.
The assassin smiled. An easy job made easier. His target, the once much vaunted Sam 'the man' Witty, creaked even louder than the leather seat he sat in. A sneer escaped his lips as he raised his gun and levelled it at the back of the old man's head.
The shot came. A body fell to the floor.
A final tap of the keyboard and Sam stretched, his right arm still holding his trusted revolver as though it belonged there. He cracked his stiff neck, the sound louder than the silenced gunshot, and cast a second look to his reading glasses; the assassin was as dead in the left lens as he'd been alive in the right. Another dead body in a life full of them, Sam thought. Sixty years old he might have been, but experience counted in the game of death.