This is my entry into the Picture it and Write creative writing challenge hosted by the authors of Ermiliablog.
The Telling of Tales
The voices are calling, whispering in her mind, eager to tell their tales. Her fingers hover over the line of pens. She’s hesitant to touch, knowing the enthrallment to come, but she can’t resist their lure for long. Her fingertips trace the labyrinthine patterns of the first pen. They’re close. I’m sure they’re close. Them automaton-things ‘ave hunted me fer days. I’ve scrabbled through all the boss’s puzzles, knowing ‘e’s watching an’ enjoyin’ my strugglin’. There’s another one of ‘is bloody seeing things. I smash it as I run past. I ain’t cooperatin’ with ‘is games no more… She draws her hand away, quieting the boy before shifting to the second pen. The cogs and wheels bring the inventor’s voice to the fore. I blink at the blueprints strewn across the worktop. Someone has been looking at my designs! How dare they? I dash to the machine and carefully examine the intricate mechanism. Everything appears to be in working order, ruling out sabotage. That suggests espionage… The next pen calls to her and she runs her fingers down the elegantly interlacing pattern, reminiscent of the stays of a ladies undergarments. A female voice speaks. The bustle of the revels is enough to set my nerves on edge but I remember Ilya’s teaching and force myself into calmness. I have three stiletto blades concealed in my petticoats and enough of the Professor’s gadgets to cause as much mayhem as necessary for a clean escape. My target is in sight… The golden map of the fourth pen draws her then. As her fingers caress the design the exited words of a young adventurer fill her mind. The view from the dirigible’s deck is the best I’ve ever seen. I can hardly believe I’m working on an airship. And not just any airship but McMaster’s own! This is the life I’ve dreamt of. A sudden crash sounds from the stern and we lurch earthwards. Panicked voices summon me to my station… Silencing the now fear filled voice, her touch trails to the fifth pen with its cage-like framework. The whispers of a trapped spirit grow louder. I pace the cage, turning before I reach the bars. I know only too well how they burn. It has been over sixty years since I was caught, imprisoned, but time has not dampened my ire. I continue to plot my escape. Someday I will be free and they’ll rue the day they meddled with me… Her fingers move on to the final pen in line. Caressing the spider-web summons the voice of an ancient being, slumbering beneath city streets. I dream of creatures running: scared, screaming. Their cries excite me. I want to rend and tear. Before they can escape I am on them, my teeth sinking through soft flesh. Hunger gnaws and I begin to awaken. Centuries have passed as I’ve slept and the settlement above has grown. I need to sate my appetite… Her hand hovers. She makes her choice and begins to write. Word Count: 500 This story is rather longer than I’d originally planned. Whilst the challenge hosts at Emiliablog don’t give an actual word limit they do suggest you write ‘a paragraph of fiction’. This is definitely more than a paragraph of fiction. As it is, I’m hoping the story makes sense at this length. Any less and I’m sure it wouldn’t have made sense at all! I find Steampunk a fascinating genre and loved this prompt as soon as I saw it. In case you don’t know much about Steampunk, here’s a link to a page that explains the basics. I’d love to know what everyone thinks. Which pen would you have chosen?