Chapter TwoA Chapter by Church
James escorts Miss Nition back to her shop.
Pushing the gate open the duo immediately had to stop as a mechanized carriage blazed past, almost hitting them. Amy stared after the old fashion carriage billowing steam as it almost toppled trying to make a turn. Grumbling under his breath, James pulled the gate shut. Even on the outskirts of town, the streets were still dangerous.
They walked near the fence, careful of the streets. Every now and then, another mechanized carriage would ride past them, pillowing so much steam the streets became clouded. The only warning they had was the loud clanking noise that all the earlier models were known for.
Amy nudged James with her shoulder once the street was clear. “Why have you been so busy lately? I’ve barely gotten to see you at all.”
James shrugged, looking down at her small frame. “We’ve been getting more and more orders from the Royal Navy. I haven’t really had time. My dad’s needed all the help he could get. We’ve been working nonstop for the last few weeks.”
After a moment, she nodded. “That explains the circles under your eyes,” she said with a grin. She squeezed his hand. “But make sure you come and visit me when you have a chance, okay?”
He smiled. “Course.” He squeezed her hand back as he pulled her across the street. There was a honk from one of the mechanized carriages, but James ignored it. It blazed past them the second they were on the other side of the street, it’s horn still blasting.
As they moved through the city, the streets started to become more and more crowded. Carriages began to fill the streets completely as a layer of smog began to form high above the streets. The clanking sound from them began to echo off of the buildings as they began to climb in height. Shadows covered the ground, as airships began to drift lazily through the sky.
James pulled his scarf up and covered his mouth and nose. He looked up at the sky, barely able to see any blue between the ships. He then back at the streets at the multitude trying to cross when there was a rare break between all of the carriages. He shook his head. “Is it always this bad down here?”
Amy shrugged. “It depends on the day. But no, it’s not usually this bad. But there’s going to be an execution today and people are rushing to go and see it.” She rolled her eyes.
He looked at her for a moment. “What happened? Who are they executing?”
“There was a band of pirates attacking Navy ships. They finally got them, but suffered heavy casualties. They’re trying to make an example of him.”
James nodded. “That would explain why we’ve been working so hard...”
“But that helps a lot, doesn’t it? You’re father is part of the Navy after all. With all this, it has to help your father’s business out.” Amy said.
James laughed. “You’d be surprised.” He stopped for a moment and looked behind him as a clanking sound got closer. “Watch out!” He pushed her against one of the buildings.
One of the mechanized carriages flew past him and skidded to a stop right before it hit the building. James could feel the hiss of steam from the carriage on his back. Slowly, Amy slid out from between James and the building. She stared at the carriage as James slid out of the gap.
The driver jumped down from the carriage and ran over to the two of them. “Christ! You two, are you all right?” He grabbed his flat cap off his head and looked them up and down, biting his bottom lip.
“You could have killed us! What the hell were you thinking?” Amy yelled, walking up to the man and jabbing him in the chest with her finger.
The man raised his hands and started to back up. “I’m sorry miss! I don’t know what happened! It just wouldn’t stop!” He continued to back up until he was against his buggy.
Amy jabbed her finger into his chest again. “You couldn’t yell out? You couldn’t do anything? You were just going to crash and see what happened?” She shoved him against the buggy.
Sliding the goggles over his face, James slid under the carriage. There was a few clangs from underneath it. It stopped as steam surged from beneath the carriage. Coughing, James pulled himself out from under it.
“What did you do?” the man screamed, pushing Amy away from him. He grabbed James as he tried to stand. “What did you do!” he repeated, almost shaking.
James shrugged. “I didn’t do anything. I went under there to see what happened. Your brakes are shot. You’re lucky your steering held out as long as it did. The piping down there was seriously worn down. Even checking on it made them leak.” The man stared at him for a minute before letting go and staring at the street.
James ran a hand through his hair, sweeping it back. He pushed his goggles up onto his forehead and sighed. Wiping away some of the grime on his face from the steam, he said, “Look, my dad and I run a shop at the edge of town next to the junkyard. We could fix it up for you.”
The man stared at him for a moment before nodding. “I’ll.. I’ll bring it down. This just cost me a good chunk of my savings, you know? And to have it break down like this...” The man tugged on his vest, highlighting that it was just a little too small for him. “I’ll have my mate tow it down there.”
Nodding, James turned and shook his head. Amy brushed him off a bit before shaking her head. “Covered in grime again. And this time you can’t blame me.” She grinned. “You should be glad my father already approves of you.”
Pulling out his handkerchief, he began to clean off his face once again. “Oh he does now? That’s news to me.”
She shook her head as she straightened out her skirts. “Yeah, well, he likes to keep you on your toes.” She looked up at him and grinned. “As do I.”
Grabbing her hand, James continued on through the city. He began to have to weave his way through the sidewalks as more and more people began to crowd the streets. “Excuse me...” he muttered as he began to push his way through the crowd. Some of them looked on him indignantly, but most did not even notice due to the crowd pressing in from every side.
They made slow progress that way until they were near the inner ring of the city. Amy paused for a moment before tugging on his hand. He looked back at her and she gestured towards one of the shops. He grinned as she led the way towards it.
They reached the door after a few minutes of struggling against the crowd. Shaking her head, Amy pressed against the door and threw it open, almost falling into the shop.
“Welcome to...” the man at the counter started before looking up. Seeing who it was, he shrugged. “Oh. It’s you. Welcome back and all that.” He shut the book he had been leafing through. “Counter’s all yours. I’m going back to the smith’s.”
“Good to see you as well, Devon!” Amy shouted. “Prat...” she muttered.
“Oi, I heard that!” he shouted, slamming the book back into the shelf behind the counter. “I’ve got orders to work on. Watch the front, yeah? You’re getting paid to do that, not run off and find your boyfriend.” He shook his head and closed the door to the smith’s behind him.
Shrugging, Amy turned to James. “Guess we had customers while I was gone.”
“It’s the busiest day we’ve seen in six months out there, and you don’t think we’ll have customers?” A voice roared. Amy turned quickly and swallowed.
“No, don’t give me an excuse. I know all of them!” The man laughed, slapping his thigh. “Don’t worry about it m’dear. I know how it is.” He grinned widely at her before looking at James. “And Jim my boy! It’s been too long. How’s the junk yard keepin’ you and your dad?”
James smiled at the man. “It’s going well. We’ve been working on a lot of Navy ships, as well as being contracted to work on a new design the Navy is working on.”
Amy’s father’s face lit up. “That’s great! Your old man deserves it. Ol’ Jack was always working so hard. Good to see he’s finally getting what he deserves.” He tugged on his coat and looked back to Amy. “Now, I’d love to stay and chat m’dear, but I have business. Watch over the front now, okay?” He grinned at her again before walking out the front door.
“Wait... Dad!” Amy called out before chasing him out the door. James stood in the shop, looking at all the guns that decorated the walls. He started to follow her then stopped. Touching his forehead, he shrugged and walked behind the counter.
“Well... someone has to man it while they’re away...” he said with a sigh.
© 2011 Church
Added on July 24, 2011
Last Updated on July 24, 2011
The Children of Steam