I’m trying to decide should this stay Fictional Fridays or morph into Friday Fiction? *sips coffee decided not to do anything rash and leaves it**
Today’s segment was inspired by my first published steampunk story, Opals From Sydney that was published in Steampunk’d. Here the relic that led to the ultimate attack is now put in storage, but as the lab assistant does that he discovers something about it. I thought I might continue these characters in a novel but honestly a full plot plan never developed, only scenes like this one that nattered at my mind until I put them down. Where it would go from here I was never really sure. Still to this day I’ll admit I like the scene. I hope you do too.
Johnny entered the lab to find Rocco sitting at the counter drinking a large glass of iced tea and reading the Sunday Morning Post. “You know better than to have food or beverages in the lab.”
Rocco looked up and grinned. “But I cleaned this myself and no I’m getting no contamination into my beverage.” He indicated the white enamel counter top with a wave of his hands. “See perfectly clean, so clean even Lady Espear could eat from it, so I can drink here.” He raised his glass and took a deep quaff.
“Well finish it off before we start back on that mold. You don’t want to glow so much you keep yourself awake at night.” Johnny put on his glasses and started making notes in his lab journal. “Oh, Syd asked for you to put up the item she was inspecting. She left it out but won’t be back for sometime.” Johnny looked up from his books his hair had fallen forward again in the two long pieces on each side of his face framing it as he peered over his glasses. “I assured her you wouldn’t mind taking care of it.”
Rocco smiled again but this one had a more forced edge to it. His white teeth gleamed against his olive skin. “But of course anything for a lady.” He picked up his tea and sauntered into the lab storage area.
Once into the storage room his smile dropped. “I am a servant after all, not an experienced lab assistant to her.” He made a disgusted look at the Claw of Destiny. “Women, especially women who want to be men are as perplexing as this thing.” Sitting his tea down roughly some sloshed out onto the wrist of the claw. “Oh damn.” He snatched up the claw and started rubbing it dry with his sleeve but that was when it happened.
Rocco felt peculiar as if he was being pulled down a tunnel by his navel while standing there. He looked about and the shelves in the storage room were blurring to a long passageway. Then the increased weight of the claw caught his notice. It was now vivifying in his hands. As he stared it as it became the large fleshy hand of a gorilla. He started to shout for Mr. Johnny but found he couldn’t speak, couldn’t tear his eyes from the hand as it began to animate and twirl the ball of clocks within its now thickset palm.
Soon the clocks themselves began running at different rates. The sound was overwhelming. Tick and tocks of all speeds and pitches rang through his body not just in his ears. He could feel them vibrating his heart against his rib cage. His brain was pounding wanting to be freed from the cranial cavity that imprisoned it. Rocco was euphoric. Suddenly he could see time, he understood it. It wasn’t an arrow, it didn’t flow one way, instead he was immersed in it. It was like being in water – he was swimming in time, everyone was they just didn’t see it.
He looked into the pulling passageway he’d first felt. There, there, he could view events. A portal seeing things happening, something had made each molecule of the watery time visible. There, there in each droplet was a scene. Some were of his past, some held fantastic machines that had to be of the future. He gawked as each droplet of time formed a ball and floated about the room. Here was one where Johnny assured Lady Espear she was a partner not an assistant. It was in Johnny’s office. He and Rocco were preparing to leave on an excursion. The woman wanted to accompany them. Johnny was trying to assure her that she would go, but on a more appropriate one.
Then suddenly there was a shove, a push in Rocco’s expanded mind. He felt slammed into his body. His brain no longer rapped to get out. The viewing portal retreated back to being storage shelves. The feel of being in liquid time melted away to the fringes of his mind like a dream that lingers but is no longer definable. The noise of the clocks resumed then slowed and silenced. The claw, the ape hand, was desiccated once again.
Rocco was slammed back into normality. It had happened so fast it wasn’t sure the whole experience had really happened at all. He shook his head and looked at the tea. “There’s got to more in that than just dargling.” He checked the object over again to assure he’d dried it and quickly put it in it’s box, the box into the case, and case number 458-25-243 back into it’s place on the shelf. Grabbing his glass he entered the lab.
“There it is done.” He announced before dropping his glass and rushing to the aid of his employer. Johnny had collapsed and fallen off of his high stool. His head had struck the umber tiles and was pooling blood. “Oh Mr. Johnny, Mr. Johnny what happened?” Rocco pulled the red emergency cord by the desk as he dove to help.