An Unexpected Ride

Author’s Note: I was recently treated to an app that makes scripts from your notes. I have found this a real joy to use as I can pour myself into dialogue whenever I like and the whole thing comes out clean for later use. In fact, I can’t stop. Here is a little scene from my WIP. The great Victorian investigator Mortimer Headlock, and his associate Miss Grace Grace, are inspecting Albion’s latest aeronautical device. The aeronaut, Clarence Periwinkle, is their host. 

PS: If it’s any help to you, the app is called Untitled. My copy is on iOS and is currently half price. (Don’t laugh, I’m skint!)

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Little Bird

Author’s Note: This is a scene I have decided not to use from my latest Steampunk Fantasy. The beautiful Miss Grace Grace has fallen foul of the evil Sir Magnus Monk, or so he thinks.

“I prefer the subtle prod, the suggestive wink, the perfect persuasion. Life is too short to wallow in misery when a bird has but to loose its wings and fly. I am a bird, Magnus and my wings refuse to be pinioned.”

“You are nothing!”

“Correction, sir, I was nothing. However, my father and late mother gifted me that most precious commodity.”

“Life?”

“Promise. This little bird, this canary, as some have said, has so much world to see, so many friends to smile with, so much love to find and lose and find again, that I shall never allow a petty, hawklike predator such as you to quell it.”

“And yet here you are tied to a chair before this… what did you call me… petty, hawklike man. Who’d have thought it other than I, after all, brains always trumps beauty.”

Sir Magnus Monk sneered the sneer of a lecherous old goat and ran one dirty, chipped fingernail along his prize’s cheek.

When the ropes Monk bound Miss Grace Grace with slipped to the floor with a gentle hush, her knee making contact with parts he’d rather have not shared, doubling the hunchback over so his nose brushed the mouldering carpet, she returned his sneer with a rather more elegant contempt.

“Yes, Sir Magnus Monk, slave to a fallen angel, a man some have said already damned, you are quite correct, brains always triumphs. Such a pity you have none.”

With that, Miss Grace Grace rose to her feet like the lithe beauty she was resplendent in her always canary-yellow garb and exited the room. She did not look back. The little bird had flown.

#VignetteSeries – Perkins Has a New Master

Author’s Note: I wrote this really quickly because I was feeling that way out. Perkins always cheers me up.

Poor old Perkin Perkins, he of the forgettable name, has found a new employer. The gentlemen asks far too many questions, however, and Perkins just isn’t in the mood.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Plopkins?”

“Mopping up, Sir.”

“Why?”

“Because the floor requires cleaning.”

“And don’t I employ a housecleaner to do that?”

“No, Sir.”

“Why not?”

“You’re economical with your wallet, Sir.”

“That might be termed slanderous, Porkins.”

“It might, Sir.”

“And that!”

“No, Sir, that would be termed indecisive. It’s not the same thing.”

“I ought to tan your backside!”

“That would require copious amounts of energy, Sir.”

“And?”

“You haven’t got it.”

“You’re only here.”

“Only at the moment, Sir, as I would run if you tried.”

“And where should you run to that I would not find you?”

“The cafe down the road, Sir.”

“Goddamn your insolence! Why the hell there of all places?”

“They sell breakfasts, Sir.”

“Your point being?”

“Mine’s on the floor.”

#VignetteSeries – A Queen Angers

Author's Note: This is a snippet from the Steampunk Novel I am currently editing. Here, two particularly slimy scientists are confronted by a — let's say altered — Queen Victoria. She is not a happy monarch.
Objects 177

“What is it you wish of us, Your Majesty?” Monk’s words shot from his mouth like a trigger-happy soldier.
They were met by an ominous silence. The quiet extended from a pause, to a thought, to a comatose sleep.
Monk wrung his hands together as the silence lengthened, his finger ends apparently not up to the job on their own. Somerset fiddled with something deep inside his jacket pockets before reemerging to pick remnants of Monk’s masonry from his shoulders. Each piece fell to the floor with a plink.
“I hate littering!”
“Sorry, Your Majesty,” Somerset’s hasty response as he shoved both hands back inside his pockets.
“I hear you have taken issue with my eyes.”
“No… no, not at all. I just mentioned it to…”
“To whom?”
“Just Sir Magnus, Ma’am, I was concerned nothing more.”
“It concerns me that you are concerned enough to concern yourself with a verbal distribution of facts that do not concern you.”
“Ma’am?”
“KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!
The words echoed around the throne room like the bells of Westminster Abbey. Sir Magnus covered his ears, Somerset, too. The warning grew louder than ever until the two pitiful figures quaked on the floor like rabbits before the hounds.
Only when the two men wept without care for who or what saw them, mucus pouring from their noses like Cumbrian tarns, did the echoing stop. Not even a ghost of a whisper remained.

#VignetteSeries – Yellow: of Wars and Flowers

Author’s Note: This first draft section has been cut from my upcoming Steampunk anthology. I hope it gives a taste of the characters involved. I don’t think it needs explaining.

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“Yellow is such a pretty colour.”

Grace eyed the daffodil that protruded from Sir Belvedere’s buttonhole.

“Yellow is the colour of cowardice.”

“No, sir, it is not.”

“I have seen many things on many battlefields most too terrible to recount. However, one thing I can say with assuredness, is the colour yellow is associated with the worst in each.”

Sir Belvedere’s eyes blazed from beneath bushy eyebrows. He stared into a cold nowhere, one his beautiful companion could only imagine in nightmares.

If it bothered Grace, she did not show it. Instead, she poured a cup of Earl Grey and placed it before the giant of a man.

“Thank you,” said he through gritted teeth.

“My pleasure,” the angel returned.

“How much longer will your father be?” Belvedere enquired. “Her Majesty was most specific.”

“Not long.”

“You are certain? If ever this infernal war is to end, we need him.”

Grace took a sip from her cup and set it back down with a chink of China on China.

“My father lays flowers on my mother’s grave. He shall return shortly.”

“So you say, but there are no roses to lay in April.”

“Yes, so I say!”

Grace stood so suddenly that Belvedere almost fell out of his chair.

“My father lays daffodils on the anniversary of her death. He has done so every April of every year since the day she died in childbirth, my birth. This is how I shall remember yellow, not as some act of wartime desertion.”

Belvedere was quick to his feet, his hand slipping to the flower at his chest. “War taints a man, Grace and for this I apologise. I see war in everything these days. Everything. Please, accept this flower and my condolences.”

Belvedere passed Grace his buttonhole and turned to leave.

“You said it was most important that you wait?”

“There are more important things.”

“But, Her Majesty?”

Belvedere hung his head and whispered, “I wear the daffodil for her as your father lays his for your mother.”

“But, Her Majesty is not dead?”

“Isn’t she, Grace? Isn’t she?”

VignetteSeries – Perspectives

The heron flew overhead as dusk drew in like a giant, leathered bat, pterodactyl or stretched-necked vampire. Silent in flight, it lurched into the treetops with the ungainly elegance of a drunk ballerina. Once settled, the darkness drawing in, it blended into the night like a collection of twigs. Nestled in the trees between the park and the townhouses, you might never have known it there.

“Wow,” I said to the wife. “You don’t see that every day.”

“No,” she replied. “Those boots did nothing for her.”

#VignetteSeries – Lost

Author’s Note: This is a snippet I’m working on, where the investigator, Mortimer Headlock, begins to lose his cool. Headlock is a man who never loses his cool!

Lost in the space between dreams and insanity, I tremble with the frustrations of another damn dawn. The world reshapes before my eyes, twisting, contorting, stretching beyond the realms of reality, administering lies. These vehicles for ocular perception see what he wishes me to see, what everybody sees, what the universe sees, yet I am Mortimer Headlock, so my eyes must see more. And they do. I see it all. Everything! I’m coming for you, Black. I’m coming.

#VignetteSeries – Merryweather

Author’s Note: Here we find Sir Walter Merryweather charming the ladies — sort of. I liked the idea of this but ditched it from the beginning of The Eternals as unnecessary. I’ve added the names here so you know who’s talking. Still makes me laugh though.

THE ETERNALS

Merryweather: “Ah, Jean, the blackhole to these ladies’ lovely planets. Are they trapped in your gravity or lost?”

Jean: “Oh, God. What are you doing here, Merryweather?”

Merryweather: “I came to join the party, sourpuss. I thought I might take one of these lovely ladies off your hands.”

Jean: “Please do, I’ve tried depositing Portia on everyone else.”

Portia: “Why must you feign insouciance, Jean. You know you want me, my dark raven. Why not admit it.”

Merryweather: “Yes, Jean, why not admit it.”

Jean: “Button it, Merryweather.”

Merryweather: “Why? Because I appreciate Portia’s charms when you don’t? Honestly, I don’t know why you treat her so badly. She’s everything a man could want: educated, stylish, voluptuous, knows all the right people, has eaten the rest, likes you — I can’t understand that one — and provides excellent ballast in a balloon. Who else could offer so much as a singular individual? Eh, riddle me that? So what do say, Portia, shall we take a roll? I mean stroll! My apologies, your merangueness. I mean, your thighness! Oh, my!”

Jean: “Might be for the best if you shut up.”

Merryweather: “I agree. I’m quite tired with all this chatting the girls up malarkey. Best leave it to an expert.”

Jean: “Yes, please do.”

Merryweather: “Jean?”

Jean: “What.”

Merryweather: “Where can I find one?”

Thanks for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers

Author of The Eternals Series

The Eternals

Hunter Hunted

#VignetteSeries – Luna

Author’s Note: A first draft clip from the latest fantasy I’m working on. Here we find the mysterious gentleman Cornelius Black preaching to a very frightened little girl called Luna.

Full moon rising copy

“There are few views ones might accept as the truth of all things, fewer still an exactitude. The universe in all its alternate dimensions has many beauties, many baubles and trinkets, many curtains of colours to draw across imperial night. They all falter before she. You see, my dear, my sweet young thing, to reign in heaven as one does on earth one must weave subtlety into one’s shades, not venture to outshine nor outdo. Those with the bravado to boast such things become a target for those inferior higher percentile who smudge the cosmos with tainted greys and dirty shades. The majority hate the minority unless that minority compliment them, ease their worries, become as essential as she to me. You see, Luna, like your namesake, you are a child of subtlety. If you stood out too far you would be persecuted. I shall not allow it.”

Thanks for reading

Richard

#VignetteSeries – This Dancer / This Monster

Author’s Note: I was playing around with twisting paragraphs. Just when you were to think ‘ooh, that’s lovely’ it wouldn’t be. This is one of them.

She pirouetted like a dandelion seed caught in a breeze exuding freedom from her every fibre. She danced across meadows and twirled over sidewalks, skipped through puddles and sashayed between bluebells, a gentle summer sprite without a care in the world. Unbothered by those who saw her, those who desired her, her dance would never end. A goddess, she drifted through life as I mired in it.

I was less receptive to those idling imbeciles than she. I watched them, the anger building, rage expanding. Every wide eye, every drooling mouth, frustrated me beyond all reasoning. A volcano ready to burst, my blood boiled and fingers grasped for throats. She’d made me. Because of her I was a monster. And she didn’t even know my name!