Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Release: Fancy and the Mechanical Man

I am notoriously good at missing deadlines. Almost all of the short stories I've self published are the result of finishing a story sometimes months after I've missed it.  This release, "Fancy and the Mechanical Man", is such a story.

I've been toying with a steampunk idea for years. There are so many versions of this universe floating around. I finally nailed down a few key elements of this world with this story. Decisions were made. I'm currently working on a m/m novella length story set in this universe, the city of Karstenhaven.  I'd also like to eventually put out a collection of stories from this universe, but until that happens, here you go.

This is a very short story, only 2,500 words, and I understand that it might be a little too pricey at 99 cents, which is why I've been putting off publishing it for a while. But I figure, its up to you guys to decide if you want to pay that much for it, not me.

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Karstenhaven. The city of science, of wonder. The engineers of Karstenhaven could work miracles. But there were no miracles in Storyville, where the shine of the city turned to filth and the streets were populated with opium addicts and whores.

Fancy is a prostitute in Storyville.  When she opens her door one day to a young, attractive, rich man, she knows there's been some mistake. Men like that didn't visit women like her. But this man was different. He has a problem with the ladies, but his problem is Fancy's miraculous gain. He has a mechanical hand, and that hand can do amazing things.

Fancy sat on a chair in the middle of her flat, legs spread wide, an electric fan blowing warm air up her raised skirts. “If it gets any hotter my make-up is going to drip off,” she complained to the empty room. She had already stripped off her shoes, stockings, and pantaloons. “This heat,” she moaned. “I would do anything to get out of these clothes—”

A knock at the door interrupted her train of thought. “Like a customer,” she said, jumping up and quickly arranging her wine red skirts.

Her face fell a little as she opened the door, but she tried to hide her disappointment. “Are you even old enough to be here?” she asked her visitor.

The young man at her door scowled. “I could take my business elsewhere—”

“No,” she said, pulling him inside. “Wait.” She shut the door and studied the figure in front of her. His light brown linen jacket matched his hair and eyes. He wore a vest, top hat, and white gloves even in this scorching heat. A ton, on her doorstep? It wasn’t unheard of, no, but they normally were not so young, or good looking. The youth was slight, but obviously well-built even beneath the layers of clothes. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-two,” he said. Does he even need to shave?

“Yeah? When is your birthday?”

“August tenth. 1871,” he answered correctly.

“And you want my services? Can’t find a pretty young thing easily impressed by a bit of flash?”
“I am, Madam, at a disadvantage when it comes to wooing young ladies.” He unbuttoned one of his gloves and pulled it off. Fancy saw exactly what he meant. His right hand was smooth polished brass and steel instead of skin, muscle and bone.

“I understand,” she said, her voice softening. She reached out, taking the mechanical hand in both of her own. It was warm and buzzing with the whir of cogs and gears. The city of Karstenhaven was notorious for its mechanical abilities—far beyond the technical innovations of the rest of the world. This young man was not human or machine—he was somewhere in between.

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