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Short Story

2009-10-05 17:13:52 by Some-Stupid-Idiot
Updated

This is the revised work of my story Boiled Over. This time I changed some of the scenarios and told it from a different perspective.

Back in the 19th century there was this unremarkable man. Nothing about him was special, he had a wife, and was in the middle class. He wore an vest that was tan and made of cotton with had buttons that were made of brass. Under that he wore a white shirt which often got dirty in his line of work, there were soot stains all over it. His pants were also tan but made of a khaki material. Black leather shoes completed the attire, and one could easily see that they were well-worn.

His hair was short and brown, with knots here and there. He also had some serious stubble around his chin and a moustache that laid flat against his upper lip and curved down. Of course there were plenty of other gentlemen who could fit this description but our story isn't about them now is it. Our man's name is Arthur Nobles, and he is an engineer, specializing in steam.

Now Arthur's day started off like any other, he would sit behind his desk, read the paper, and on especially slow days he would take a nap. Most of the time his job consist of someone saying their car broke down, or they can't get their water heater to work. These jobs can be done fast and don't get as much pay.

One time Arthur tried to upgrade someone's vehicle and it ended up catching on fire and singing his left eyebrow clean off. He decided that maybe that isn't the best choice for his line of business.

This day though a curious man would walk through the door. He looked to be in his 30's, maybe his 40's. There was an air of urgency surrounding him.

"I need your help, one of my boiler's at the textile mill burst and now my men are refusing to work." He sounded as if he needed help. Arthur figured that there would be no one else coming in today so he agreed to go check it out.

"Oh thank you so much, my name is Jean Pierrot. You will be paid handsomely for you work. Now I'm going to be busy all day so I was wondering if you could come by tomorrow instead." This didn't bother Arthur, what also didn't bother him was the crooked smile that Jean Pierrot gave him.

Jean Pierrot left and Arthur decided now was a good time to close up. On his way home he spotted a young man riding a curious instrument. It ran on two wheels and beneath the seat. Arthur asked if he could check it out.

The young man didn't see anything wrong with it and let our protagonist check it out. He paid close attention to the engine, it was very small and didn't have a water tank. "What do you use as a fuel source?" asked Arthur.

"Petroleum," replied the young man, "it's a brand new source of fuel. It'll probably beat out steam and coal power." The young man picked up his motor vehicle and pulled a cord which started the engine up. A grey smoke came out of an exhaust pipe and the vehicle took off.

"Hey, what do you call that thing?" yelled Arthur.

"A motor bike. Unfortunately I can't get a patent for it until I prove that this thing will run properly." With that said the young man lost balance and fell. "Still got a few kinks to work out."

"Good luck with that." said Arthur who now left to go home.

***

On the outskirts of the city sparks could be seen in the second story. Inside you could see Jean Pierrot moving around like a madman. "Finally, after all this time, I am prepared to exact my revenge on that bastard for stealing my woman." Sparks flew again and quickly died.

"It's finished, after months of sleepless nights it's finished. There's no way he'll survive this. Aha aha bwahahahahahahaa!" He continued to laugh later into the night, for he has created a great monstrosity, it was shaped exactly as a human body. It was manufactured in a way so that it's user's strength could be increased 10 fold.

Elsewhere at Arthur's place of residence, his wife, named Catherine, was preparing a meal for him. She was pregnant, about 6 months is a good guess, and she had gorgeous red hair. It's easy to see why someone would get upset about losing this.

"So how was work?" asked Catherine. She was now setting the table for their meal.

"Average, I do have work for tomorrow though, a strange gentlemen wants me to check out the boilers in his factory." No one had any real interest in this conversation and the meal was silent. After that the two resided to the bed room where they together and talked about the child.

"I hope it's a girl," said Catherine. "I can teach her how to cook and sew."

"Well I want a boy, that way I can teach him the trade and one day he'll surpass me." the two went on into the night, until one of them could no longer hold their eyes open. The two drifted off and prepared for the day tomorrow.

***

Arthur arrived at the factory, well on the outside it looked like a factory. He opened the door and it was dark on the inside. "Mr. Pierrot, I'm here to inspect the boilers." There was no answer. Arthur took a few steps forward when the door behind him closed. He was cast in darkness.

All around him he could hear noises, the sound of the steam coming out of the pipes, the metallic clank of the machines as they ran, and a strange scraping sound which was coming closer. Before he could register the sound he was knocked on the head by something solid and hard and was knocked out.

He awoke and couldn't move at all. He was also blindfolded. Arthur struggled but the rope binding him didn't budge.

"I see you've finally awoken Mr. Nobles. Not much work is going to get done I'm afraid." the man burst out in laughter.

"Is that you Mr. Pierrot, what the hell is going on?"

"You don't remember me that well do you. Well I wouldn't expect you to, the reason we are here today happened a year ago. That's about the time you and Catherine got married correct." He was laughing again.

"How do you know my wife? What have you done to her?" Arthur was starting to get frightened.

"All these questions, I guess that's all you can really do. Well I guess I'll tell you, before you met your beloved wife I was courting her. I brought her flowers and gifts but these never really caught her eye. But then YOU came along with all your gadgets and gizmos and she instantly became infatuated with you. It broke my heart. But then I decided that if I couldn't have her no one could. So I bought this factory and studied up on engineering. After all those months of hard work I was able to complete my true vision. The Steam Asylum. Bwahahahaha." After he said those words he ripped off Arthur's blindfold.

The entire area seemed to be alive, everything was moving in and out, up and down, and left and right. The factory seemed to be a spawn of the devil if he had any interest in this kind of stuff. Above Arthur was a pendulum. It began to swing left and right, lowering with each swing.

"Well this is where I make my grand exit. Adieu Monsieur Nobles." With that Mr. Pierrot went through a door that was behind Arthur. A tumbling sound was heard and the door was locked. "I'd try and get out of those ropes if I were you." With that Jean Pierrot was gone.

Arthur was now alone, the only sounds other than those you would hear in a factory were his struggling and the pendulum swinging. With every pass it lowered about a cm, in about 10 minutes the blade will reach Arthur. He was pushing and pulling on the ropes. They didn't seem to loosen. He pulled and even tried to knock the chair over, but it was bolted to the ground.

He let out a scream of aggravation as pendulum was now about 4 minutes away. With one last bout of strength he was able to get his arm free. He used that to untie the other. It will only be a few minutes until the blade reaches the crown of his skull. He was struggling to with the knot behind his back. He could only guess now that any second the blade will reach him.

Luckily for him now was not his time and he was able to remove the knot just in time before the blade reached him. The chair, was a pressure switch and without him on it he could hear a passage open up.

Mr. Pierrot's voice came from one of the tube networks. Unfortunately for Arthur Nobles, the labels were removed. "I see you were able to escape the chair, well there is a lot more factory to cover. I don't want you to get the idea of alerting any authorities, you're oh so precious wife is with me now."

"Don't listen to him dear, get help."

"Leave my wife out of this," there was a tone of fear in his voice.

"I'm afraid I can't do that, this is the most fun I've had in such a long time. I also don't want lovely Catherine to miss this. You see, we can see you, but you can't see us." This was true, they were behind a new type of mirrored glass. "I hope you enjoy a good brawl since my men will be coming in few minutes. If not, I'd suggest you run. Farewell Mr. Nobles."

Voices could be heard approaching. They were far too many for Arthur to handle so against his pride he made a run for it. He went down the new passage that the chair opened. He came to a wide area with tall walls all around. The wall behind him closed and in front of him some men armed with wrenches and pipes walked into his veiw.

"The boss said the first one to kill you gets a bonus." said one of the men. They all appeared to be strong, and one could see that they were not afraid to kill someone.

"So, shall we do this," said the second armed man.

"Wait," it was Pierrot's voice, "Let's give the boy a fighting chance. A panel opened up next to the four men in the arena. There were a wide variety of weapons from blades to blunt objects, and everything in between. There were also some odd things too, one of them caught Arthur's eyes, it was a gun, but not just any old gun, this one fired metal rivets.

The others had chosen their weapons, going from left to right, a Japanese katana, a battle axe, and a morning star. They also had armor on, they were made of cast iron and covered their chest and back.

"Why do they get armor?" barked Arthur.

"There we go with the questions again, I said I'll give you a fighting chance, not an advantage. I see that everyone is ready let's get it on."

The three were trying to surround Arthur, he shot a rivet at the guy on the left and hit his leg. Some gas shot out the side of the rivet gun and he had to pull back a switch to chamber another round. The guy who was shot in the leg was limping. Now, still trying to surround him. Arthur shot some more rounds at him and was able to hit him in the forehead. He fell down dead. Unfortunately for him the gun overheated and he could no longer hold it.

The two men who were left now charged him, Arthur threw the gun at one of them and was able to trip the one on the right up. He fell onto the morning star and it embedded itself in his right arm. Arthur was able to reach the dead body and grabbed the katana. He had no idea how to use this but if he could them back he could have a chance.

The one with the morning star in his arm was now no longer worried about the bonus, he was concerned with the pieces of metal sticking in his arm. "He's all mine." said the last man standing, he was exited about all the carnage going on around him. His face showed symptoms of blood lust.

Arthur held a defensive stance trying to keep the last guy as far away from him as possible. This wouldn't prove to do much since that guy's axe was able to knock away the katana. Arthur was now running all over the arena trying to reach the panel that held the weapons. He arrived and pulled out a knife which he threw and was stuck in the thugs right arm. He was now off balance, Arthur grabbed a sledgehammer which he used to smash the guy's arm.

The man screamed and begged for mercy, "I'm sorry, it wasn't my idea, you know, it's just a job," the only honesty that came from his mouth was that it was a job. Arthur wasn't going to kill him, he still had some humanity.

Behind him the man with the morning star in his arm no longer had it in his arm, it was in his hand. Our protagonist heard him coming from behind and jumped out of the way. The weapon landed on the other's face killing him instantly. Arthur picked the sledgehammer and broke the last survivor's legs.

A door opened and Arthur went through. On the other side was a maze of pipework. He left the sledge back in the other room, it was way too heavy. Mr. Pierrot could be heard again. "I see that you were able to survive my men. I guess that just means that there will be more fun for me. You're at the labyrinth now, I hope you have fun. The tunnel goes every which way up down, left right, over and under. Have fun, but you better hurry, your wife can't keep herself off of me."

"Help me, he-" she was interrupted.

"Enough of that, have fun Mr. Nobles, that labyrinth will hot water running through it in about half an hour. I'd get going if I were you. I got the path idea from Mr. Konami."

Arthur had no idea what this meant but he crawled into the entranceway. There wasn't much room to move around in. At some points the path would get tight and at others there would be almost enough room to sit down. The path began to curve and Arthur met his first break in the path. He could go either left, up and over, or right. He decided to choose the right path but that quickly became a dead end.

"At least I can see," this was partly true, Arthur was near the exterior of the maze which allowed light to get in from the windows. He worked his way back and chose to go up instead. The It wasn't far until he had to choose another path, this time he went straight ahead. This seemed to be the right choice since it lead too another fork. It was down, left, and right.

Arthur chose to go left, but found that it quickly became too tight for him to move. He took the right path as well, but that led to a pit. He had no choice but to go back and down. It wasn't that far of a drop, he was able to right himself. Unfortunately it got almost too dark to see.

He felt as if he was in there for about 20 minutes, he had to pick up the pace or he would be severely scalded. He pushed forward coming to twist and turns but finally reached another fork, he went with his guts and chose to go down even though it was even darker still.

Now moving by feel alone Arthur was in total darkness. He couldn't afford to slow down so he continued on. He came to a fork and chose the left path. There was another fork a few seconds further and he went right. There was still another fork, he went right again but after a minute it was a dead end. He crawled backwards and chose left.

Now with only a few minutes left he had to chose the right path or else he'll be burned. Then he saw light, it came from the right path, he followed it and came out, more or less rolled out, into another open area. Only a few seconds later and the sound of water could be heard rushing through the pipes.

"Congratulations, you've made it so far, I'm sorry it will have to end here." it was Mr. Pierrot again.

"Where the hell are you, show yourself," he was frantic.

"I'm sure we'll be meeting real soon, but if you can bring your attention to your right. You'll see your lovely wife suspended above a water chamber. In about 10 or so minutes the chain she is suspended by will be lowered and she'll be boiled alive. I hope you enjoy stew." Mr. Pierrot walked out now from behind one of the machines. He was wearing some unusual armor. It covered his whole body and it was very noisy.

"What the hell is that?" asked Arthur.

"Oh this, this is my steam-powered body enhancement suit." He picked up a steel bar and bent it with a little effort. "Now imagine that was you." He was laughing again. "This lever behind me is the only way to save your lovely wife from taking a hot bath."

Arthur knew that he couldn't just charge at him and expect to get through. He had to come up with a plan. He saw some chains and came up with an idea. He grabbed them, but while he was doing that Jean Pierrot was coming toward him. Arthur was able to grab a chain and rolled under a conveyor.

Jean Pierrot smashed the conveyor. "Hiding won't help you Mr. Nobles. You're wife wouldn't like it if her husband was a coward." He was having to much fun with this.

Arthur saw an open spot in his armor, there were gears moving everywhere. He tied an end of the chain to a thick valve and waited for Mr. Pierrot to come closer.

Mr. Pierrot now had a steel bar in his hand, "Oh joy," He swung the bar around in an attempt to hit him. Arthur was fast on the other hand, the armor couldn't move fast enough to avoid Arthur shoving the chain into the opening on the armor.

The armor gave a great screech and began to buckle. The rider's scream couldn't be heard over all the gears grinding. The armor was twisting in ways the human body shouldn't, it could be inferred that the rider was now dead or pretty close. The machine came to a halt.

Arthur pulled the lever and the chain holding Catherine stopped lowering. Arthur found his way up to the platform close to her and pulled her over and untied her. She was unconscious, probably from shock. He carried her out the door to the factory.

"Looks like it was a job well done." Arthur was wrong unfortunately, as there really was a problem with the boilers which blew up soon after they left. The factory was burned to the ground with all the inhabitants inside.

***

Several months after the incident Catherine had her baby, a healthy daughter. Arthur was a little disappointed at that but they can always try for another. Business is as usual, it's good enough to keep his family fed and clothed but not really enough to get them ahead.

Luckily for Arthur no one else tried to court Catherine before they got married.


Comments

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JercurpacJercurpac

2009-10-06 10:08:03

I believe you mean "I had this fixation with steam" and not "asphyxiation. Unless, of course, he's constantly being strangled to death by steam. Otherwise it's a decent story. I like the idea of a madman twisting a massive steam driven factory into a place of torture, but it's not very believably done. It just sort of happens. I never got the sense that the guy was the kind of bat-shit insane one would have to be too pull something like that off. I think the tone is also pretty flat, it's in first person, but it feels distant, detached, and overall pretty flat. The near death tension is never heightened. You might want to toy with putting into third-person. Looking at the story from a different perspective might help you see it with the proper intensity.

Some-Stupid-Idiot responds:

Thanks, I think I'll try that.