(Books by Authors Who Never Existed: A Steampunk Hybrid story)
By the author of BARD: Owner of the Gemstone
Chief Shabuni blinks but his vision remains too blurred to see clearly. He realizes he’s sitting up with his wrists tied to the armrests of a chair. After a few moments his other senses kick in. He can smell cinnamon and peppermint. Every so often he hears the dampened sound of a steam powered vehicle going by. Keeping his eyes open he starts to see images clearly but his peripheral vision is still blurry. He realizes he’s sitting in front of the China cabinet at Lady Evelyn Oolong’s Tea Store. First, he sees Lady Marina Steamsail. She’s sipping from a China cup. A little behind, to the right of Lady Steamsail, he sees Lady Evelyn Oolong, with a six-string lute in her hands.
“A very special individual will be dropping by soon, Chief Shabuni,” Lady Steamsail tells him. She picks up a separate cup of steaming tea and lifts it to his lips. “First though, my sister asked me to brew this wonderful tonic for you.”
The taste of the tea is soothing, similar to the valerian tea Lady Oolong gave him only a day ago. But this tea has something piney, and even hotter than the tea itself. He glances at the two ladies as he drinks down the rest of the tea.
From somewhere behind him he hears a door open followed by heeled steps coming towards him. The one person he never wants to meet is just visible to his right. Her long, shiny raven hair falls around her heart shaped face, accentuating her thick succulent lips and ends in strands that highlight her glistening ebony bosom, pressed out by a midnight blue corset with a laced top. The fangs that press against her lower lip as she smiles, terrify him. But once he looks up into her almond shaped eyes; he forgets everything else.
In the distance he hears the two ladies say in unison, “Mother.”
“Play and sing Eve. Mar, tap your crystal bell. The frequency must be perfect,” Lady Raven Elsewhere says in a voice that is both enchanting and ethereal.
He feels the coolness of her fingers against his skin as she places a thin strand gold necklace with a single bronze skeleton key around his neck. In the centre of the skeleton key’s head is an onyx gemstone that glows. He looks towards the China cabinet as he hears Lady Oolong strum the lute while Lady Steamsail dings a crystal bell. The tiny gemstones in their skeleton key earrings are also radiating. One green, the other blue.
Lady Raven unties his wrists. “Come with me,” she says.
As he stands up to follow, he hears Lady Oolong sing:
I hear you’ve met my sisters
And you’re wondering
What are the key earrings for…
Do they have anything to…
Do with the slab of ice…
That never melts?
Have you ever heard of…
The Other Place?
Taylor Norris, RMT (Lady Evelyn Oolong): email@example.com
Joanne Gosling (as Lady Marina Steamsail): Jgosling@calclosets.com
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