Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Silk and Steel

Happy Beltane! I hope this finds you all still safe and well 🙂

Well camp NaNo is over and instead of finishing this ‘short story’ … a-hem… I seem to have turned it into a novel, working in all manner of complex shit from my time on the streets as a teenager to my issues and hangups about love, religion and gods know what else! I should probably be shot or lynched or something but hey ho here I am still prattling on! 😉 So I’m well over 30k now ‘filling in the gaps’ I’ve split the book into three parts : A time for heroes / Stone the crows / The end of the world (no prizes for guessing what music I’m listening to right now.. a-hem…) and each has about three short chapters but they’ll be interspersed with those lil monologue reflections from Spyro and some from his nemesis the mysterious Man In The Moon.

So, all that’s gone so far has been chapter one and two now we move on to chapter 3… if you are still managing to cling on to this crazily careering ship full of monsters then thankyou from the bottom of my heart!

Chapter 3

“I’m having a problem with cats.” Colonel Gerrhard Hogarth didn’t look up from perusing the antiques on display. He picked up a closed umbrella and tried it in a thrusting motion back and forth a few times, finally giving it a rather swashbuckling flourish before frowning in dissatisfaction and returning it to its stand.

“Cats?” Ros asked perplexedly.

“Mm, cats,” Hogarth said, turning and fixing her with a rather hard stare. “Got anythin’ for ’em?”

“Um…” Ros spread her hands “…cats aren’t really our domain, Colonel?” she ventured, wondering what on earth was really going on behind this sham of senility. The colonel often played the fool, usually in order that he might delight himself and his ordinance with some fine joke he was building up to, but very occasionally he had a different motive, and then, Ros reflected, he could be a teensy bit dangerous. She hoped this time it was joke.

The colonel did another slow, tortuous circuit of the shop and then came to rest at the counter, his fists balled against the glass, arms locked straight, cold blue eyes fixed on Ros’s dark pools of innocence. ‘Oh dear’ she thought, and gave him her very sweetest smile.

“Funny thing,” the colonel said, “cats not being your domain. I was rather under the impression they constituted a large portion of your business..” Ros opened her mouth but shut it again quickly as the colonel ploughed on “…vermin, is what I call them. Oh, I know you ladies have a great love of the blighters, my wife is just the same, but the trouble is they get everywhere.” He raised his eyebrows as if Ros should now be completely aware of what he was talking about.

Ros’s sharp mind raced with possibilities but she came up blank – as far as she was aware, neither she, nor Sypro, had any connection to cats in any way shape or form and she was absolutely certain that neither of them had any active operations which might have rattled the colonel’s cage.
The colonel stared at her for a long time and Ros just stared helplessly back.

“Hmph. Don’t know what I’m talking about eh? That’s interesting. Fine, here’s the rub – a couple of your precious little kittens have been on my roof, and they didn’t stop there, understand? They made off with some of my wife’s favourite jewellery – for which you can give them my thanks and this to buy themselves a drink.” He handed the stunned looking Ros a couple of coins. “If they’d stopped there I’d have campaigned to have them knighted, old girl’s in an absolute fit over the thing and for my part it’s highly entertaining. But they didn’t stop there. Cats never do. Greedy is what cats are. And disloyal, m’dear, never forget it.”

“What exactly did they take?” Ros asked, aware the colonel had drawn a fine line between the humour and the gravity of the situation and uncertain on which side she was about to fall.
The colonel leant in and whispered in her ear “Four vials of demonsong.”
Ros’s eyes grew wide and then narrowed to dangerous slits. She drew herself up, smoothed the front of her black silk shirt, adjusted her hair slightly and smiled in a reassuringly professional manner. “Leave it with me colonel.” she said crisply “I will see that your goods are safely returned to you and the… cats in question never bother you again.”

The colonel stood frowning at her for an uncomfortably long moment before nodding and stepping back from the counter. “Appreciated.” he said “But, you must appreciate in turn that a line has been crossed. It is the role of the mother to teach her kits where the lines are and as I know that you are not a neglectful teacher, my dear, so I cannot help but wonder …” he raised his eyebrows again and this time Ros caught his meaning precisely as he turned and headed for the door. “Tell all your little kittens” he said gruffly “I’m buying a mastiff.”

 

 

So that is the colonel and we’ll meet his wife Agathri soon as well. Blessings on your new season, I hope it is filled with all the love and hope it possibly can be and that you feel able, despite the madness, to remain always utterly yourself! 🙂

3 responses

  1. I’m chuffed to bits that you’re still ‘prattling on’ as I want to ‘cling on to this crazily careering ship full of monsters’ for as long as you wish to write them! 🥰 I couldn’t be more tickled pink by the soundtrack to our travels; the Libertines being my favouritest band in all the world😁 How I love this story and every fabulous character in it ❤️Twas a delight to meet the conniving Colonel and watch his facade of foolery unfurl to unleash its underlying air of menace. Magnificent…as always.😻

    Liked by 1 person

    May 2, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    • Penny Blake

      Oh thankyou my lovely one I’m so happy you’re still enjoying the ride and most of all that it is still making sense! XD It’s awesome you love the libertines too – they are fabulous! 😀 I’m so glad you liked the colonel too – he was such a fun NPC to play in the RPG I had to sneak him in here, although I think this will be his only cameo and the rest of the time he’ll only be talked about as a background threat… we’ll see… I may squeeze him in one more time XD Hugest thankyous for all your fantastic words of encouragement my lovely, and for taking the time to still read and be here as I know you are busy it means the world so thankyou – hugest hugs xxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      May 4, 2020 at 8:00 am

      • Aw, you’re welcome, tis a privilege to be here ❤️Oh, I’m loving the ride, tis the bestest fun! 🥰Better than the Pleasure Beach🤗 The colonel made for a delightful cameo…twill make his threat seem all the more sinister whene’er he’s mentioned 😈 Aw…its a pleasure. I couldn’t be too busy to come.🌹Hugest hugs 🌹xxxxxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        May 4, 2020 at 1:54 pm

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