I finished the rough draft for a steampunk story I was asked to write and sent it off for critique. Here’s a bit of it. The men have bought a clockwork dog at a second-hand shop, and he turns out to be pretty heavily pre-used.
Three Men in a Blimp, To Say Nothing of the Automaton – excerpt
by Marian Allen
We didn’t have the heart to leave Rex alone, and we didn’t have the nerve to be seen with him, so we switched him off, put him back in the box, and took him with us.
Naturally, everybody in the pub wanted to know what we had in the box.
Isn’t it always the way? If you have something in a box that you just ache for people to ask you about – a spelling medal, say, or a newly published slim volume of one’s own verses – nobody ever will. But just put a severed head in a hatbox or something, and people will stop you on the street to beg for a peek.
Minor, of course, got rather testy about it. Here’s a typical interchange:
Stranger: Eh, what’s in the box, an’ all?
Minor: It’s a dog.
Stranger: A dog? Devil it is! A dog?
Minor: Yes. No doubt even you have heard of them.
Stranger: Alive, is it? Or dead?
Minor: Look in the box and find out.
Sometimes they would, and sometimes they wouldn’t. Of course, even then, they didn’t know.
Conkers had another of his rare strokes of intelligence and began betting people a pint that they couldn’t guess what was in there.
A very successful evening, all in all.
I’ve never had as much writing anything as I had writing this. I hope it gets accepted.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Send three of your characters up in a balloon.