I was tagged on Crackbook by a couple of authory pals, in something called the “Lucky 7”. Rules state that I am to go to page 7 of a work-in-progress and post two paragraphs and then tag 7 fellow authors to do the same. So here are my two paragraphs, I’ll do the tagging on FB. This is from the Keys to Steam and Salvation novella (maybe novel) to fit in with Bob Vardeman and Nathan Long’s EMPIRES OF STEAM & RUST series, which features some amazing stories by Master Vardeman, as well as David Lee Summers, Stephen D. Sullivan and Sarah Bartsch. These tales cover various times and spaces around the world in what starts as an alternate history 1915, full of sci-fi and steampunkery. Rick Overwater is also working on one full of deep-sea diving and military espionage. Mine own tale mixes the factual history of my own great-grandfather into the alternate universe version of Empirical India, WWI and a far-flung post-apocalypse. Here’s your first taste:
Arthur set the crate next to the man in the alley, noting that the doctor had obviously put his tools to work, a series of syringes lined up neatly next to the leather bag.
“Do we really have to do this here, Davey? Maybe it would be better to get him back to the clinic…”
“No. Thanks to the Sergeant, he may already be useless to me. Time is of the essence now. Prepare the box Arthur.”
Arthur opened the hinged lid of the small crate and carefully removed a strange glass box, of about three feet square, framed in a dull metal, and enclosing a smaller version of the same. Small coils of coppery wire ran in the corners between the inner box and the outer, and a small canister was attached to the outside with a pipe running through a rubber seal into the inner workings. Arthur set the contraption next to the man’s head.
“Quick and clean this time, Davey? Please?”
“It takes what it takes, Arthur. This is science.” David removed a roll of canvas and spread it out to reveal a series of gleaming metal instruments. He carefully extracted a large scalpel and turned the man’s head to one side, slicing neatly through the skin of his neck, a thin line of blood following the track of the blade. As fast as it appeared, the blood was washed away in rivers of pink and mixed into the flood at their damp knees.
“Jesus.” Arthur whispered, swiping at the tangle of wet hair hanging in his face and turning his eyes to the end of the alley where Robert had disappeared.
“He has no place here, Captain Lettington. Science is the true God.”
The hand that shot up and grasped Arthur’s shirttail was accompanied by an unearthly scream. Arthur jumped and fell away, landing with his back in a cold pool of watery mud.
© 2014 Axel Howerton