Thursday, June 23, 2011

Steampunk Scene

Here is a recent steampunk scene I wrote for a writing challenge:

The ocean swelled and coughed up a small figure onto a rocky beach. At first, he just laid there, seemingly as dead as the beached man o’ wars nearby. A few hours later, however, a quiet low cough, and a twitch of the limbs, startled a tropical finch, which had briefly landed on his head to peck on a few strands of his golden, sun-bleached hair.

The boy’s freckled visage, covered in sand, squinted at the sun as he turned over. Eyes burned and watered at the brightness, reflecting a sea-like combination of blue and green. Carefully, he stood up, and became aware of a weight around his neck.

Placing a hand inside his torn shirt, and feeling the cool, hard object suspended against his salt stretched skin, he remembered the submarine. The captain was humoring him by showing him the different functions of the levers on the control panel. Then there were shouts, and chaos consumed them all.

Shaking his head, it was all too much for him to consider, tired and sore as he was. Even now his mouth felt not unlike the time he’d tried his first sour lemon drop the sailors had shared with him. His tongue was swollen, and cracked lips begged for relief. The boy looked up and down the shore for the captain, and for any of the crew, but he was alone.

The volcano weighed over the jungle as the heat weighed on the boy's chest. The greenery wrapped a cool blanket of oxygen around him as he crossed the threshold of the trees. He took in all the familiar sights, smells, and sounds. The sweetness of the air told him plumerias were nearby, and the rattling songs of the birds reminded him of home. This means we cant’ve gotten very far, he surmised. The youth shuddered, remembering that ominous silhouette in the ocean’s depths.

After navigating through gnarled roots and tangled undergrowth, the boy plucked a coconut from the ground, wincing as he bent his sunburned legs. Then he saw it. At first, the lad thought it was a trick of the mind, thinking the sun’s light was perhaps reflecting oddly from the lagoon beyond the trees. But as the boy looked, he realized it to be brass. The coconut fell, and the pain, which shot up his leg after it struck his foot, elicited no response.

It was docked in the shallow water. A single eye made of brass and glass looked at him, cold and empty. Before, when he had seen it, he had thought of the volcano goddess Pele’s fiery mouth. It’s a porthole! he realized. Its body was a bloated cylindrical steel shell, and metallic legs, as unruly as Medusa’s hair, splayed out in all directions. The boy stared at the mechanized monster, which had attacked the submarine: a giant squid of gears and pipes.

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