Steampunk Short Story: Dark Days in Bright City

In celebration of Short Story Month 2011, today I bring you “Dark Days in Bright City” by Matt Delman. Featured in Stories in the Ether by Nevermet Press

Raindrops explode on ground in front of me while cold wind blows through my oilcloth trenchcoat. “Sukkin sin.” I clap hand over mouth and pray no one hears me. This would not be good thing. I huddle in alleyway across from well-lit bar, coat buttoned tight while I spy on entrance to building.

I flick switch on goggles taken from shop. Tiny gears click into place. Front door of bar focuses through rainstorm; door flies open. Singing spills out. I change attention to several men clumped outside bar. Even with better focus on door, men are still unclear through rain. I flick second switch and am able to see men clearly.

Every man is sailor on shore leave. Or ruffians dressed in pea coats common to sailors. Either one is possible in this section of Callarion. One turns toward me as I see flash of flame at mouth. Must be match lighting cigarette. My mouth dries at thought of smooth tobacco. I lick my lips and clench my fists to hold still. Nyet. I stopped smoking because Sonya asked. It would be wrong of me to start again, though she lay dead these past three years.

Bar door opens and sea shanty spills out. Tune sounds familiar, but wind obscures clear hearing. Bells of Saint Michael’s church toll the hour seconds later. Those I can hear fine. I pull fobwatch from pocket. Caleb said last night that Butcher was to meet associate outside this bar one hour ago. Perhaps Caleb’s information was wrong.  But these are dark days in Bright City. I cannot afford to abandon post on hunch…

Read the rest of the story at Nevermet Press.

About Matt Delman

Matthew Delman is a writer, editor, and independent Steampunk academic based in Eastern Massachusetts. He is the Chief Editor of Doctor Fantastique’s Show of Wonders; Founding Blogger of Free the Princess, a practical literary guide to Steampunk; and the Managing Editor of Steampunk & Company, an imprint of Flying Pen Press, LLC. Matthew also writes travel articles for, focusing on destinations in the New England region


What are your thoughts on “Dark Days in Bright City”? Let’s chat.

~ by omgrey on May 27, 2011.

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