Our final submission of the month comes from fellow UB author and almost neighbor, Alicia Willette-Cook. This is the first page of her steampunk wip, THE MACHINATIONS OF DR JEKYLL. My comments will be in purple and do go see what Dianne Salerni had to say about this first page - here.
Chapter One -
“She’s got quite the nerve, I must say. Five invitations to tea in one month.” There was, of course, no response from the battered hulk of useless Clockwork taking up room on the divan next to Henry. (I might start a new paragraph here even tho it’s the same person speaking) “I said. She’s got...oh never mind. Incompetent pile of dreg.” He heaved himself up from the couch and made his way through the cluttered room to his desk to read the embossed letter again.
Your Presence is Requested at
the Grand Palace
by Her Majesty Queen Victoria
for High Tea
Please RSVP via AutoBalloon.
Then in her tidy scroll (I like this telling little detail) underneath, she had taken the time to write out: “No games this time, Jekyll. N&B ~Vicki.”
He crushed the thick stationary in his hands, tossing it in the incinerator along with the other trash. He absently picked up a scarred crystal snifter and poured a splash of whiskey. “Tea. As though that would fix anything. Infuriating woman.” His eyes stared blankly out the small porthole window directly behind his desk. Just as he was about to turn away, the sun glinted off a small machine darting behind the clouds. Henry growled in frustration, dropping his glass heedlessly to the floor.
“Really, Victoria! StealthWings? Do you really think I can’t out fly them?” Reaching above his head, he grabbed for a dangling pair of binoculars and squinted through them. Seconds later, the small machine broke through the cloud cover for a few moments before diving back in, clearly trying to follow the great airship without being seen. Spinning from the window, Henry raced to the door, barking his shin against a pile of loosely piled rattan and wood baskets. Goddamn crap everywhere! Useless USELESS clockwork brassmen. God I miss my lab!
Just as he was about to holler for his automated butler, the small two way (should it be two-way?) ariel on his desk squelched to life. He froze as a distinctly female voice cried out over the aether, obviously in distress.
“Mayday! Mayday! Harbringer5 to W Class Airship! Do you copy? Mayday!”
Henry ground his teeth and frustration knowing this to be yet another ploy of Vicky’s. Maybe if he waited for another minute he wouldn’t have to respond. She would just...go.
“W Class! Do you read! Level One Mayday! Please Respond!”
Just another minute....
There was a horrible staticy squelchy noise over the radio. Silence.
Henry smiled tightly to himself. Well. That was...
"...Jekyll. Please. I've been shot."
Well, I rather like this first page, I have to say, in fact, I liked the whole first chapter. I just wish there had been more when my writing buddy Alicia (who actually lives in Maine, nearby!) sent the first chapter because I would've kept on reading. I like all the details that describe this place like the rattan and wood baskets (makes you wonder what sort of ship this is that would have such things) and I love the voice (Useless USELESS clockwork brassmen), Jekyll's, which is obviously disgusted with how things work, or rather don't work. And then of course there's the name, Jekyll. Just knowing that the infamous Dr. Jekyll will be taking center stage in this tale intrigues me to no end. I just wish this one was on the shelves.