Monday, 28 December 2009

Gallow's Play

Huntress

Introduction

The boy pelted down the walkway, his boots pounding on the iron mesh and desperate for another avenue of escape. An intersection, or shadowy gap behind the rumbling tree thick pipes, a ladder going up into some dark hole of a hatch. But flying down this long narrow passageway, his fear grew at the realization that there was nowhere he could hide. And always the echo of his steps pursued him from out of the shadows far behind, undiminished by the feeble aethetric lights.

He ran from that sound, for this echo had weight and substance, a beast grown from out of the dark and foul air to chase him down. He could become lost down here in this twilit underworld filled with hissing grumbling machinery, but the creature that hunted would smell him through the hot pervasive stench of the burning coal.

The tears ran down his dirt streaked face. He knew the beast could hear his laboured breathing, the thing was supernatural, hellish. And it drove him on towards the infernal pit at the heart of this forgotten never where.

Ahead the shaft ended in a curving bulkhead rusted by rivulets of accumulated steam. There was a portal jutting into the passage, its heavy door closed and seemingly locked tight to the fear blinded boy. He reached it and tugged in desperate panic on the spokes of the wheel, deaf to its screeching grate as the mechanism turned easily, hearing only the crashing of the beast upon the walkway, feeling the tremendous vibrations of its loping strides shake the bones in his sockets and the heart in his thin chest. Then came the click of the lock, and he was hauling the metal door open, darting through and pulling it closed behind him. He spun the wheel’s twin as tight as he was able for a few seconds more of lead, and barrelled out of the doorway’s niche onto another walkway. And the boy was caught still in an instant by the sight.

It was not the infernal pit, but the dark and cavernous ovaline belly of a mechanical leviathan. The walkway was suspended more than a hundred feet above the sloping floor, and the boy could see as he peered over the railings the stokers small as insects round the great aethetrics machine. Between its gargantuan conical abacus and its pedestal of huge blackened furnaces rested the great sphere of glass, the pride of the Empire, outshining all others. Captured lightning crackled within, lancing out from the black globe on its column at the heart of the device to dance upon the convex curves of their crystalline cage. A cacophony of aethetric buzzing and men at work drifted up upon the stifling air. It stank with the toxic mix of metallic aether and acrid coal smoke, while far above in the domed ceiling four great turbines hummed with the pretence of ventilation.

Then the lock screeched again behind him. The boy shot off down the walkway and barrelled down the first set of stairs he came to, jumping the last few to land on a second walkway. He sprang up and raced round to another flight of stairs below the first, the increasing din of the men and machines flooding his ears so that he could not discern anything else. But he knew the beast was here with him, perhaps upon the walkway above, perhaps upon the stairs and catching him up. As he reached the third walkway with another desperate leap that jarred his body, an animal’s roar sounded out, momentarily drowning all else, and the boy looked far along the walkway to see the beast’s monstrous pet galloping to meet him with a mouthful of wickedly curved fangs.

He fled along the walkway, throwing himself down the last flight of stairs. Now he was among the dirt streaked stokers and their mountains of black glittering coal, weaving amongst them, small enough to dodge one after another of the huge bare-chested men with their heavy shovels and crude language. The heat was sweltering even here, and sweat broke out on the boy’s brow to drip into his eyes and blind him. Out of his mind with terror he took a fatal turn and a blast of Hell-heat scorched his face. He staggered back and tripped over a pipe half buried in the metal floor. For a few seconds he lay on the ground gasping for breathable air, until he felt a hard hand grab viciously at his shirt. The owner of the hand dragged him up, his feet leaving the ground behind, and the boy found himself staring into the glowering face of malevolence incarnate. Sweat glistened on the stoker’s fleshy bald head, forging clean streams in the banks of dirt caked on his leathery skin. His sneer showed a set of teeth completely cast in gold, blazing in the light of the fires, a mouthful of flame ready to cook the boy to ash.

“I’ve caught a little thief come to steal the Empress’ coal me lads!” The other stokers jeered, cruel men turned so by the hardships of their lives in the pit.

The bald stoker grinned horribly. “Down here boy we burn the thieving vermin along with the coal!”

Terrified the boy tried to free himself from the sledgehammer hand and its death grip on his clothes, pitching his feeble strength against the muscular stoker and losing hard, until a force far superior to either boy or man knocked both to the floor. Dropping to the floor and freed from the malicious stoker, the boy scrambled away from the fearsome predator before him, the animal from the walkway.

The tiger was a giant of his race, the black barred fur a freakish blue-grey where the rest of his kin were coloured with sunfire. Standing over the body of the bald stoker, one paw crushed the thick neck to the ground. But he looked at the boy with beautiful pale blue eyes, intelligent, and self-aware. So when the tiger opened his mouth, the boy knew what sounds would emerge from that fanged maw.

“Cub safe now.” The tiger’s voice was a deep rumble, a rich magnificent sound. But the words he spoke were not for him.

“His hide look scratched?” A female voice, resonant and deadly low.

The great tiger looked away from the boy, even the small movement of his head filled with grace. “I want eat my kill, Artemis.”

“You’ve been fed Saber. Check the boy.”

At the woman’s words the tiger stepped off the dead stoker, almost petulant, and padded right up to the boy as he lay quivering against a mound of coal. That fearsome face filled his vision, and the boy felt his bladder give way.

The tiger sniffed him. “Cub mark his territory. Not hurt.”

“Oh his daddy will be pleased.” The feline moved back, and the woman came into view from over its left shoulder.

The boy shook in the presence of the beast. She stood in the light of the furnaces with ruby fire in her eyes, bright red hair cascading over her left shoulder, a giant demoness risen from the belching flames of the fat furnaces. The right half of her skull glowed bronze down to the ridge of her eye socket. Her right arm was an abomination, gears, pistons and plates of metal that barely resembled a human limb. From the back of that mockery of a hand thrust a steel blade the length of the forearm, dormant by her side. In the other hand of flesh and bone she held a pistol at the ready to shoot any stoker that moved. The hard set of her face warned them against any argument.

The fierce woman closed in on him. “I told you not to run, Jackal.” She stuffed the pistol into one of the many belts around her waist so that she could fold the blade back in on itself, and pushed it back into its encasement. Her mechanical hand disarmed, she used it to haul him up, just a piece of flotsam tossed about on waves against his will.

He struggled now against her inhuman grip. “Please don’t take me back to him Mistress Gallow! I beg you please don’t!”

Her face remained impassive, a fire demon with a face of cold stone. “Its what I’m paid for, boy. You should understand that by now.” Brandishing her pistol the flesh and metal harridan took him away through the retreating crowd of stokers, the blue-grey tiger growling in her wake.

Copyright © 2009 LKG Frendo, All Rights Reserved

Festivites!

I shall be away during the New Year's celebrations, shivering oop int teh cold North. But I shall leave you with the first installment of my story, and hope rather foolishly to have the second up next weekend (it'll probably take two weeks).

I wish you all a very happy New Year, and much love to everyone. :-)

Lets all go and drink too much!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Tis Done

I have finished the second draft of the intro, and I shall put it up this Sunday, as you know, there's Christmas and all. Or I suppose I could put it up on Friday when I have a spare moment, which means I can start properly on the first chapter this weekend, get most of it down before I go galavanting off oop North. :)

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Aether Shanties!

Abney Park's new album came to me all nice and shiny and full of AWESOME! I gave it a prelimiary run through earlier and am now prepared to sit back and let myself be submerged while I doggedly work til the wee hours of the morn.

Its exactly what I've come to expect from Abney Park, a wide range of musical influences compressed into something that sounds completely new and made of win. I just wish that they could come over to merry old England to do a show *sigh*. Stupid geography!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Projectile Vomiting, Priest Baiting

I watched The Exorcist for the first time last night, and it appears to have become one of my firm favourites as I have to resist quoting dialogue (especially since I find myself wanting to quote possessed Reagan, and I work with children. Not good mixing, bad chef!)

It is an extremely effective movie which I feel has dated only slightly. I love the effects, Reagan's head rotating three sixty is up there in my book along with the American Werewolf in London transformation scene, the head on legs in The Thing and the final change from human to insect in The Fly.

It seems a pity that special effects rely so much on CGI these days, as for all their zazz and zing its still so, well so flat. It just does not have that substance that anamatronics have, plus its pretty obvious that the actors are performing to green screen.

This is not to say that I hate CGI, far from it. It is extremely useful for outrageous stunts and scenery, but its come to the stage where its being used too much, its being relied on to solve every problem of production rather than finding the right way to solve it. Its the Magician's hat, and we can't see the damage we're doing.

Adding The Exorcist to my Amazon wishlist, now.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Tis All Good In The World Of Nemmie

Finally I can sit back and say that I've done a good job, I've written an amount I feel proud of, whose quality is...shall we say 'can be worked with'? Good. If I hadn't treated myself to some cake earlier, I would do so now (I might sitll do actually because the cake in question was a Tesco's brownie that mostly ended up on the pavement for the birds. And even the bloody birds didn't want it!).

By the end of tonight, I hope to have the second draft for the introduction of the first story done, and it will wing its way by email to a hermitate of word worshippers for their approval. By which I mean the Bear. :-)

(I'm not sure hermitate is an actual word, but if Shakespeare got away with making up words, I don't see why I can't. Gishoggle! Fashoooney! Bumboom! And so forth...)

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Wednesday Will Be The Day/Rambling

As I still haven't written anything I feel I want to post for you lovely people.

Writers block is a horrid thing. For me my mind goes blank whenever I try to get it to crank out an idea, and I usually give myself a stress headache that starts around my eyes (or it might be the glasses, I'm sure I need a new pair). But when you find yourself in that creative void, its a truly crushing feeling that takes a lot to alleviate (and often sends me straight for the pain-killers and a darkened room). Many writers say that they get over their writer's blocks by going out for a stroll, reading books in cafes, listening to music, concentrating on all sorts of other activities apart from writing, so that when they come back to the page they feel refreshed, inspired.

But what do they do if the void is still there? The seed idea is too good to give up, but no spark brightens the blackness, no star to light the way. What then?

Why, procrastination of course. Also good for when you are too much of a perfectionist and fear ruining your story by setting it out in concrete form.

Procrastination and perfectionism. My two personal Hell Hounds, although, something tells me that they are also after you.

Friday, 11 December 2009

It Was Two Weeks Ago Now...

...since I said I would have my story up by next Sunday.

Today I had planned on catching up, but found myself being whored out to one of the deputy heads for my artistic talents. I was commisioned to draw a cow and a donkey for the Nativity next week, and I succeeded in drawing a donkey that looked like a horse, and a grumpy cow with a face like someone stuck a lighter under it and half melted the poor pre-beef-burger animal.

Mmmm, burger....

Anyhoo, at least I have the major character profile done. Yay! God she would not let me rest!

I wonder if I should reveal the title just yet...nah, you lot can wait. :-)

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Why You Should Never Let Your Boyfriend Pick The Scary Movie, or, Clarifying The Nightmare

Me and my man were at the cinema on Saturday, he having convinced me to watch Paranormal Activity, in which a woman is haunted by a supernatural being that, among other things, stands by her bed and whispers her name.

Later that night, I woke up in the dark hotel room to a voice that sounded like a satanic version of my little sister, currently in Lowestoft, WHISPERING MY FRICKIN NAME!!

Turns out it was the Bear breathing. *sigh*

So not content with freaking me out at the cinema, he then proceeds to scare me completely when I'm trying to sleep!! I am still not certain if I've quite forgiven him...though if he continues to give me pretty things I certainly won't find it difficult. :-)

Snowflaking It

I must confess I am a tad behind wit dat story I promised, although in my defense I am writing detailed character profiles so I don't fuck up right in the middle of it all.

These things must be planned to death.

Now as to the title of this post. I am using the Snowflake method of writing fiction, created by Randy Ingermanson, apparently the "mad professor of fiction writing", though I demand to see some sort of biomechanical reanimated inkwell bunny and or feather pen guinea pig before I accept this statement.

Course I ain't adhering to every step, for I am a rebel with a cause. And a leather jacket. And a pouty face. But no quiff, they just don't look right on me.

So, after much pencil chewing I hope to have the first chapter up by the weekend, and I will be buying a carrot and stick to get me there, but the carrot shall be replaced with chocolate for obvious reasons.

Smiley faaaaace!!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

My Upcoming Disappearance

I shall be away this weekend, so someone please water the plants and feed the snails.

Til Monday my darlings!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Eureka!

You know that point where you suddenly have the pieces fall together in a perfect fit? I got that just now, but no, I did not jump out of my bath and run naked down the street.

Perverts.

I did squee a little though...

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The Sound Of The Story...

I've just tried to order Abney Park's new album Aether Shanties, but have been thwarted by Paypal (grr! Argh! Nash nash!), so will have to wait until sometime in the future before I get that cd. In the meantime, I shall just have to make do with the other four I've got. Witness the pouty face of sulkdom...

The reason I am in this current state of ire is that I have chosen Abney Park to be the soundtrack against which I will write the aforementioned steampunk story, being a rather excellent steampunk band and a jolly crew of airborn pirates, and I need to hear their new stuff so that I can be inspired. I've also chosen Disturbed, but can't enthuse about them as much. Metal. Cool. Throwing the horns.

Music is usually the avenue I take when I need some inspiration. I got the core idea for my steampunk story by listening to a song by Disturbed, called Sons of Plunder, which immediately pulled from my soggy mass of neurons the image of my main character. Splendid! i thought. Now I just need a plot...perhaps this song will give me a plot...

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that music is my muse, and as muses go, its pretty reliable. Most of the time.

Oh, and Abney Park are cool. Climb aboard the airship and see for yourself.