Monday, 1 July 2013

Contrition

CRUDE : marked by the primitive, gross, or elemental or by uncultivated simplicity or vulgarity 
(A writing prompt from Trifecta, continuing from here)



The Clockmaster of Oldenrot was not built for speed.  A crude tyrant, years of self indulgence had taken their toll.  Panting and red faced  he stumbled down the winding spiral stair that led into the vaults deep beneath the Spire of Freedom.

He was running for his life.

The chaos had begun that morning as each clock tower in Oldenrot began to chime and had still not stopped.      Reports flooded in, not encouraging.   Every system was failing.   Every camera and microphone, every clockwork sentinel.  Everything.   

An hour after the chimes began,  the citizens rose and began to destroy every chain, physical or virtual,  that held them in place.  

The Clockmaster had planned for this.    Deep beneath his palatial spire was a route to freedom.   Panting and perspiring he reached the deepest level and staggered to the burnished iron door and turned the handle.  It did not move, and he sobbed.

“My husband was a good man,”

The voice startled him and he felt his heart pound so very fast.   He recognised the speaker, there in the shadow.

“Lady Graves… yes… a good man.   A loyal servant to my court.”

“I meant before,” she said, her face entirely calm.  “Before you.  Before all this.  He was a good man, but he died a bad one. ”

“Died… oh my…   we must flee, Lady Graves, this door…”

“Is locked.”  Something in her voice gave him pause.  She went on.   “The key is inside the clock on your desk.  In your office.”   She raised her eyes upward.  “Up there.”

He made a move toward her, and only then saw the six barrelled pistol in her hand.

“But the people… they’re storming the Spire”

“Fetch it,”

He clutched his chest and fought to catch his breath.

Lady Graves smiled warmly.

“Go on,” she said, “You’ve got time.”


She watched him stagger up the first turn of the spiral and once he was out of sight she removed the key from her pocket and left without another word.

46 comments:

  1. I like this one. It has a creepy nineteenth century feel to it with the names and the twist at the end, and the Lady's sense of vengeance was neatly handled.

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  2. I love this. The urgency of the situation transcends very well and there is a hint of fantasy that I really like.

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  3. I like the Gothic feel of this piece. Lady Graves certainly is a resilient character.

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    1. She's as tough as boots (but very elegant boots)

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  4. I agree with the above comments. The Gothic tone works very well, and I find myself wanting to know more.

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  5. Deliciously written! You hooked me right from that wonderful first sentence. A most excellent story :)))

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    1. Glad you liked it Jo-Anne, thanks for commenting

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  6. Being calm, cool and collected in the face of chaos conveys an enormous sense of power. Lady Graves certainly has the power. Well played. I like the cacophony that forms the backdrop to this story as it unfolds. All in all, a ripping yarn well told!

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    1. Much appreciated Tom, thanks for the feedback

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  7. The tone is absolutely perfect in this: the calculated, level destruction of Lady Graves and the fitting, sweaty demise of the Clockmaster.

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    1. Glad it worked for you Angela, and his sweaty demise would be sweaty indeed!

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  8. Ooh, she got her revenge. I like the pace of this story and it seems he will get what he deserves :)

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    1. He certainly will- thanks for the feedback

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  9. Excellent story! Could easily stand on its own or be part of something much larger. Really liked the various tropes strewn all about and the way they were put together.

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    1. Glad you liked it - and as for it being part of something larger, well-

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  10. Just noticed it is part of something bigger (duh - should have looked first ;) )

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  11. Very, very good. And different. I love it.

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  12. Very imaginative and a great story.

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  13. I love the opening paragraph here! It seems the Clockmaster has been contributing to his own demise for some time, and now will be finished off by Lady Graves. Poetic justice at its finest!

    I love this piece, Thomas!

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    1. Much appreciated Valerie - and yes the Clockmaster worked hard to become so despised.

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  14. Your opening line was enough to draw me in. Wonderful, as always!

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  15. Sharp and incisive - and serves him right! LM x

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    1. Quite right, odious fellow that he is *checks watch* was.

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  16. so intense in description and meaning - I think I was clutching my chest too

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  17. Great work! The setting is perfect and the characters so austere and frankly creepy. There is a corrupting darkness lurking about the place and I see it has found a home in both of these characters. Again, great work!

    Chuck
    Wordshaveteeht.wordpress.com

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  18. well played, my lady, well played. time was not on his side. haha

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  19. Oh this was fabulous! I know I should be touching on specific points, but after reading it, all I could think was how fun it was.

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    1. I can't ask for more than that, thank you

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  20. This just captures the reader. Brilliant writing!

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  21. I love this--the tension, the tone, the atmosphere. And how lovely to find that there's more. More! Delightful!

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    1. Glad you liked it - thanks for the feedback

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  22. This is an excellent tale of deceit and double crossing...

    Especially the repetition in the second paragraph creating an almost poetic urgency.

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  23. Loved this. I like the way she says "you have time." A subtle jab there. Brilliantly written, good sir.

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    1. Thank you - I liked the time jab for the clocksmith myself. Much appreciated.

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