Monday, 1 July 2013

A Failure to Repent

(A writing prompt from Write on Edge)

The tattlesheets of the city of Oldenrot no longer mentioned the crimes of the Whisper.   The Clockmaster who ruled Oldenrot was no fool (or he would have been a dead fool, for he was feared but not much loved by his people) and had soon realised that far from being outraged by the accounts of each audacious theft or act of mischievous vandalism the citizens of the twelve wards of the city were amused and perhaps a little impressed by the antics of the damnable rebel.

The Clockmaster knew the importance of order and commanded his grim senior lawkeeper  Commissar Graves to leave no bone unbroken in their pursuit of the Whisper.   The Ratchets, Grave’s clockwork Peace Automata,  prowled the streets and alleys tirelessly in search of any clue, ticking and clanking and keeping the city (or the city’s rulers) safe from the rule breaking devil.  

One unwritten and unspoken rule that the Whisper had decided  to break was Thou shalt not seduce the Clockmaster’s daughter.  

Lady Clef hadn’t needed much seducing.    The Whisper had simply smiled, murmured  a couple of words in Clef’s ear and been rewarded with a hoarse “hell, yes,”.  Other rewards followed in short order, and as often as the Whisper could risk the ascent through the Clockmaster’s tower.   The risk was considerable but worth taking for not only did Clef prove to be an eager wriggler, breather, moaner and clutcher between the silk sheets (or upon the luxurious deep carpets, or clinging to the gilded brass fittings of the shower cubicle) she was also happy to hand over to the Whisper the thin wafers of hole-punched gold that were the override codes for the city’s Peace Engine – the great clockwork brain that made sure every pendulum swung just as it should.

“Break everything,” Clef had urged as she pressed them into the Whisper’s hands.

The Whisper kissed her passionately, eagerly, gratefully but that was not  enough for Clef, not then, and it was an exhausting couple of hours later that the Whisper blew Clef a last kiss from the windowsill, and then slipped down a dream-thin rope and into the night.   Thankfully the Ratchets were all busy in the Slumberynth that night and the Whisper was able to return home in relative safety, still clutching the precious codes.

The golden wafers whose carefully punched holes would be the downfall of the Clockmaster, and of Oldenrot, and of every rule and regulation and restriction were slipped into a well concealed hiding place behind the face of an impressive mahogany grandfather clock.   Tomorrow the Whisper would retrieve them and take them and bring things to an end.

But first, sleep.    The Whisper undressed in the dark, stretched the aches out of every muscle and slipped into bed quietly beside her slumbering husband.  Commissar Graves murmured once, but did not wake.   The Whisper snuggled up beside him, loving his warmth, and slept.

(and continued Here)