I recorded this short story and it's up as a podcast right now! If you'd rather have it piped into your ears, click here!
I was putting the finishing touches to my invention when my guest arrived, accompanied by a wisp of cold air. He didn’t ring the doorbell, or knock on the workshop door. Nothing so practical. He was just suddenly behind me. Looming. Death has a habit of doing that, I suppose.
I lurched upright and yowled in pain as my head made contact with the brassy underside of my latest work. It echoed dully, like a bell. Gritting my teeth against the pain, I turned to face Death, wrench firmly in my grip.
“Who the bloody hell are you?”
I’M DEATH, Death said. His gaze roamed around the garage, gaslight shining off the polished skull. I’M SORRY, YOUR NAME WAS...?Read More
Merry Christmas! Here's part 3 of steampunk horror story 'Cog519', which is now available as a podcast!
The weeks that followed seemed to go in a blur. 519 learned everything that Nef put before him, quickly turning his hand to just about any skill that was needed and producing works that a contemporary master might have wept to see.
Without fail, every morning, 519 asked Nef if he had a name for him. Nef always replied with “Not today, 519; ask me tomorrow,” though more and more of late he had been wondering what impulse prevented him from giving 519 the name he desired.
Was it that Nef had long since given up self-correcting ‘him’ to ‘it’? Even Lot, on his twice-weekly tours of the research facilities, had occasionally slipped up. Choice of pronoun made 519 seem somehow human in a way that was still alien, and the two jarred. As if calling it ‘him’ was enough, and to give it a name would be too much, too close, too human.Read More
Merry Christmas! Here's part 2 of steampunk horror story 'Cog519', which is now available as a podcast!
Back in the lab, Nef walked slowly around the table on which was sat Cog 519. It was much shinier now; even as it had been walking back to the workshop with him, its joints had eased as it self-lubricated. About halfway there, it had quietly announced “Self-cleaning system initiated. Do not be alarmed.” Nef had almost stumbled in sudden panic, but then he had heard a strange amberic crackling from behind him and, when he turned to look, the fine layer of dust and grime on the armour was simply being burned away. Lightning crackled over it, apparently generated from the shard of amber at its heart, and then the blue light effect died away. While not completely clean, it had definitely come down from needing ‘full clean’ to merely a ‘light buff’.
It had followed every command perfectly, including the one to deactivate, and now it was slumped to one side. Nef fingered the amber shard still held firmly in the cog’s chest; should he remove it?
“Another long-range recon unit in the making,” a low voice said behind him. He turned to see Supervisor Lot entering the room, his long white coat stuffed with tools of every sort. He came up to Nef and clapped one meaty hand onto his shoulder. “I heard you’d found a good one, but this… this is exceptional.”Read More
Merry Christmas! Here's part 1 of steampunk horror story 'Cog519', which is now available as a podcast!
The amber light glinted off the exposed metal, the strange yellowish glow giving it a dull sheen. It was curved, definitely; Nef brushed a little more of the loose soil off of it and tried to assess his find.
Just an hour ago everything had been going full speed; the tunnels were needed for the incoming refugees, the Matron had said, and needed soon. Nef looked around at the earth-moving equipment, and the worried faces of his team. The site was going to have to be cordoned off, he realised. This was too dangerous to simply leave, or go around. The cog - what else could it be? - would have to be exhumed, examined, learned from and then probably recycled. And the workers… they’d have to be memory-modified. More time. More effort. More expense.
He turned around. “It’s a shield,” he said, “probably a few decades old, no more.” He smiled and shrugged. “I’ll bring it out; go have a cup of something hot and I’ll tell you when you can continue.”Read More
Turns out my flatmate and very awesome friend Chippy is also doing NaNo. She needs some cheering on :D
With a thump that shook the Belle and dented the deck, the tree-demon landed between Victor and Trip. It roared, crouching, leaves bristling on its back like fur on a trapped animal.
When he looked back on it later that day, Trip wondered how the thing was able to move. Clearly seen in the daylight were the squat legs, like logs, obviously built for powerful leaps; its arms hung all the way down to the ground, ending in claws as long as Trip’s own forearms; by comparison, its boy was tiny, stick-thin. Its head was the strangest, looking like nothing more than a huge round walnut seed that had split; instead of a delicious nut, the mouth contained only teeth and a ridiculously long tongue.Read More
Chapter 11! Short post today as we've got a lot on. I'm back at work and generally things are motoring but I still found time to do this, so that bodes well for future updates.
“Get this crate loaded on, lad. Chip chop.”
Trip shook his head, levering himself up from the crate he was sat on. The sun was high in the air and they had been moving heavy objects for hours. Wearily, he turned and picked up the unwieldy wooden box. It had ‘Fragile: arbarometers’ stencilled on to the top with some sort of paint.Read More
Still ill. However, Chris is down this weekend. An awesome friend, he was my best man at our wedding and he is ALSO doing NaNoWriMo! Wish us both luck ^^
His eyes took some time to accustom themselves to the low light in the workshop. Trip moved further in, stepping carefully around the piles of brass workings and leather sheets.
“Hello?” he said, his voice swallowed by the huge jumbled space. He cleared his throat. “Anyone in here?”Read More
I have the flu. Blegh. Proper stuff; joints aching, temperatures, loss of appetite, upset stomach, the works.
Anyway, next chapter of Poisonroot.
“Hold this,” Victor rumbled. Trip looked up from the campfire where he had been staring into the soup pot, lost in memory. The man was holding a short sword out, hilt first.
Trip took it, holding it gingerly. “Right?”Read More