Monthly Archives: December 2010

When the Wind is in the Trees

Written and illustrated by Honoria Tox
The moon flickers like a gaslight behind the torn, torrid clouds as I watch out the upper window, straining my ears for the sound of horse-hooves. The earth falls away from my home and down to the river, only one thin horse-trail separating its wildness from mine; and the darkness courses above us.
I sigh at the silence, leaving the window to move about the room: first to the stack of thick azure paper that sits on my work-bench. I cut the paper into cottony slices with my knife in strong, swooping gestures, like a factory-woman tossing the shuttle-cock back and forth across a loom. I fold the paper with quick, skilled strokes, my dainty fingers darting them into points and curves. Then I fit them with their mechanisms, small gears and springs thrust into their wings, and set them free: a hundred tiny blue-birds, my automata, winding their way through the air and into the night, flapping all their pretty wings against the moonlight as they go.

Clockwork Heart

by Lyra Ayres
“Boy! Clean up this rotten mess and close the blasted shop. I don’t pay you to play with toys,” roared Mr. Rochfort.
     “Yes, right away Mr Rochfort,” sighed Anson as he pushed his spectacles up his nose. Without another word, his employer slammed the shop door, making the bells shake in fear.
     Brushing off Mr. Rochfort’s vehement demands, Anson returned to his workstation to tinker with the necklace he’d been previously focusing on. His latest creation, and, in his mind, his best, was a neatly crafted heart on a silver chain. Black stones stalked the outer edge of the pendant and a multitude of tiny bronze gears ticked under a glass plate. Locking the final catch, Anson gently clicked the glass plate in place with a pair of miniature pliers.

Edward Lane’s Argosy Chapter Seven: The Suddenly Appearing Thief

Edward considered just walking up to the front gate of the yard and sending his calling card to Gideon via the carbine-carrying Red Indian guards, but he dismissed the thought almost immediately.  Such a re-introduction to his friend after so long an absence would seem so . . . mundane, and worse, unstylish.  Edward had always been a bit intimidated by his chum’s affluence and social position, and even more so by his indifference and disdain for it.  Gideon’s indefatigable self-confidence and boldness was infectious and alluring, but it could also be overwhelming.  Edward could not match it in volume, so he had always sought to complement it with his own, more subtle accomplishments.  A common handshake at the gate just would not do for the occasion of their reunion.

The Watchmaker

by Wendy Quallsham
She stepped through the doorway skittishly, as if the room contained all manners of mechanical horrors lying in wait for her. The watchmaker brushed his hand gently across the small of her back, a tiny caress, and urged her forward.
     “Come and see, my dear.” He closed the door, the lock clicking shut behind them.
     She stood docilely while her eyes adjusted to the dim light of the single gas lantern burning quietly in the corner. The shadows resolved themselves into blobs, and then into shapes, those of the watchmaker bustling around his newest invention in the semi-darkness. There was a click, a whirr, and something in the device started to move.
     “I promised you would like it, did I not?” he asked. “Two years I’ve been building it, in between my other projects, and you will be the one to help me put it through its paces. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
     “Yes,” she whispered.

The Lion and the Lamb: Part 1

by Lho Brockhoff
There was a brief break from the continuous howls of the storm. Through the momentary silence you could hear careful scribbles of the tiny scientist echoed slightly against the bare, metallic walls of the small cabin.
     The two men were in a comfortable silence, ignoring the rocking movements of the ship, as rain whipped against the single porthole. Vincent was stooped lightly over his paper filled with orderly chaotic calculations and numbers. Raoul absorbed by his book.
The comfortable silence was brought to an end as the ship made a sudden turn, and Vincent’s inkpot knocked over, soaking the fine papers in sticky, black liquid.
     Vincent cursed under his breath.
     “This is impossible,” he grumbled, trying to save the work he had spent most of the evening with.