Chapter One

Chapter One

A Chapter by Searching4aMuse
"

Chime goes against her father's wishes and seeks help from the man in the castle who is rumored to be cursed. When this turns out to be true, can Chime and her sisters find a way to break it?

"

Chapter One:


When Chime woke up that morning, she knew something wasn't right. The tall, dark haired girl rolled over in bed, grabbed her hat and goggles, throwing both items on her head. Grabbing her leather vest, she pulled it over her nightgown.


"You still sleeping?" she asked, as she walked around the room, looking down at each of her sisters. Different colored eyes looked up at her, everyone awake and shaken.


"The man was here again," Cecily said. The red-haired girl set up, pulling her covers around her slender frame. The youngest who shared her bed, Chloe clung to the redhead as if she were her mother.


"The bill collector?" Chime questioned, though she knew the answer already. Checking that all her sisters were well, Chime, the eldest and most responsible left their room and went to find their father.


Charles Clockwork was in his workshop buried in a pile of blueprints for his clockwork creations. Most of them looked like normal clocks, though they were far fancier than usual. He wasn't an old man, though he felt tired and worn out most days. Raising seven daughters on his small salary took a lot out of him. Most of the time, he went without food or the things he needed so that his beloved girls could be spared the hardships of being poor.


When Chime walked into his study, he pushed aside his work and smiled at her. "Something wrong? Strange outfit you have there." She had on her long white nightgown, leather vest over it and her hat and goggles perched on her head. Not exactly proper clothing to wear anywhere but at home.


Looking down at herself, she couldn't help a small chuckle. "I wasn't thinking when I woke. It just felt like something was amiss. I knew that I had to get dressed and come see you. I should perhaps change out of the gown and into real clothing."


"That would be wise if you plan on going outside today." He tilted his head to the side. "But you didn't come here to talk about your choice of wear, did you? You look troubled, daughter. Turn your frown upside down or risk getting wrinkles at such a young age."


"Oh father, don't be so silly. Besides, things like that can be fixed."


"For the rich, maybe, but not for us." He lowered his glasses, before removing them. "Chime, as you're the oldest, I think it’s about time I told you the truth about our current situation." He stood up and walked to the window that overlooked the city. Steam-powered gadgets could be seen everywhere. Vehicles, machines, even animals that were made out of gears and programed to act like real animals could be seen. Only a trained eye would be able to tell the difference.


"You mean the thing about being poor? We know that. Even Chloe knows that and she's only ten." She walked over to her father and wrapped her arms around him. "But what can we do if you're not getting enough work to pay the bills?"


"I have thought about talking to your grandfather, but ever since your mother died-" He trailed off, though he didn't need to finish. Chime lowered her head and backed away from him.


"Grandfather won't do anything for us. He made it clear even when mama was alive that he only put up with us for her sake. Then the airship crashed-" She shivered at the memory.


What saddened her the most had to be that her younger sisters barely remembered anything to do with their tender mother.


Eyes misty with un-shed tears, his shoulders sank in defeat. "If not your grandfather, then whom?"


"I could-"


"No! I will not have my daughters working like slaves," he said, cutting her off before she could even finish her sentence.


"But father, I'm eighteen. That's quite old enough to work for a living." She had been insisting he let her get a job ever since she turned fifteen, though her father wouldn't hear of it. Her younger sisters were too naive to see the seriousness of the situation, though she knew something had to be done soon, or else he would be put in detention with the others who couldn't afford to pay their bills, and her younger sisters would be sent off to work for some rich upperclassman and his family.


They would be nothing more than slaves if that happened.


"I don't want that kind of life for my daughters. Every day I see little children on the streets, dirty and starving, doing hard labor for men who barely pay them enough to eat." The dark haired man shook his head. "So no, I will not have it."


"But I could get a proper post. I could help Mr. Flouer in the flower shop, or I could assist Mrs. Elena with mending clothing. It doesn't have to be hard labor at all!" She pursed her lips and stared her father in the eye, daring him to say no again. Of course, she was disappointed when he pushed her out of his study with another firm negative reply.


----


The man who lived in the highest standing among the poor city, stood at his bedroom window. He was a rich man, and also a selfish and hard man. He didn't know kindness and he didn't know love, unless the love he had for himself counted. All love he had for himself was gone, ever since he changed from his enchanting self, to the disgusting scarred and disfigured man he was today. The man only known now by Wild was a man cursed.


"Having any fun in being so rich when you're so alone?"


He gave his young servant an annoyed frown and with a growl, he sent the child away. He wasn't alone. He had everything he needed. He had money and the comfort of his large dwelling. He had servants to look after him, to pamper him. What more could he possibly need or want?


There was freedom, though why would he want to leave his castle, his home? Damn the curse; not allowing him to leave his property like some little child grounded to his bed chambers for not finishing his supper.


With a fierce shout, he swung his arms around his body, knocking over books he had stacked on his desk. He ignored the mess, leaving his room to find something more fulfilling to do. Perhaps, a bite to eat? He cursed under his breath, though not out of respect for those in his home; he just seemed to enjoy muttering to himself when he thought he was alone.


He was stopped in the hallway by his butler, Frances.


"This was slipped under the gates, sir," the butler said, handing a letter to the disfigured man. Frances avoided eye contact, as did most of the servants.


Wild unfolded the note, eyebrows rising as he read the sloppy print. The person behind this didn't have proper schooling.


"Dear master of the castle-"


He read the rest of the letter to himself, before tucking it in his breast pocket. He made his way back to his study, going to his enchanted clock on the wall.


"Show me this Chime Clockwork," he said to the clock. The hands on the clock started to spin around, until he started to feel dizzy. The face of the clock shimmered like clear water, before like a mirror; it showed an image of a beautiful girl with dark black hair.


"Who is she master?" The young maid from before named Alice asked. She set a plate of food on his desk and then stared at the watery image of Chime. "She is so beautiful, yet her eyes are so full of sorrow."


"She will be the new mistress of this castle," he said, his voice loud and terrifying. The maid jumped, scooting away from the enchanted clock. "Send the horses for her, miss, and have a room made ready and make sure it will be to her liking!" He spun around, his jacket flowing around him like a cape.


"Right away, sir," she said with a meek smile and with a bow, Alice ran toward the stables.


With a satisfied nod, Wild watched the young girl run away. He couldn't stop thinking about Chime Clockwork. Why should he let her come to his castle?


Maybe all he wanted was a companion. His servants were good for only so much and they were expected to act the way he wanted them to act and most of them were mindless anyway.


----


A fancy stage coach pulled by four magnificent horses, the likes that nobody had seen for some time, could be seen trotting up the cobblestone street of Calm. It stopped at the poor clockmaker's little cabin. A tall, lanky man got out of the coach and walked up to the door. With a knock, he waited until a middle aged man answered.


Charles gave the man at the door a confused look. "Can I help you, sir?" he asked. He looked over the man's shoulders, his eyes widening at the sight of the expensive carriage and horses. Not anyone, even the rich could afford something like that. The only person who could live up on the hill in the mysterious castle. Though, nobody ever saw the master within it. Rumors went around that the man inside was cursed somehow.


"I am here for Miss Chime Clockwork. Is she ready?" the driver asked. He tilted his hat in salute, and then stepped inside the run down cabin without being invited.


"What do you mean?" Charles asked. "My daughter isn't going anywhere with a stranger like you." He rubbed a hand over his eyes, backing away from the strange man. "I shall ask for you to leave."


"I'm on orders from the master of the castle," the tall man said. "She requested his help and it would be rather rude for her to change her mind at this time."


Charles frowned. "My daughter would never request that man's help. If he even is a man," he muttered. There were also rumors that the man was some kind of animal and not human at all. He had been at one point, but the curse- He shook his head, shaking away the thoughts. No, without a doubt his daughter wouldn't do such a thing. Why would she?


Chime walked into the room, her eyes widening when she saw the strange skinny man in front of her father. She rushed to the door and looked outside at the carriage and four shiny black horses. A smile fluttered to her lips.


"He's accepted?" She twirled around in circles, hugging both her father and then the stranger. "I have been packed ever since I wrote him the letter." She straightens up to her full height and gave her father a meek look.


"I'm sorry father. You wouldn't see reason, so I did the only thing I could think to do. The master of the castle is rich. The richest man in the city. I had to see if he would help us and it looks like he's agreed."


Flabbergasted, Charles could only watch as she and the driver rounded up her things, and then they went outside and got into the carriage.


"Please, don't be angry father. I love you and my sisters far too much to let you suffer. Please, understand why I did this. It won't be forever."


Of course, she had no way of knowing how long the master would want to keep her. She knew this wasn't her best idea, but she had to do something. Her family needed her to take care of them. She was the oldest and a mother to her sisters ever since their mother died. Chelsy would have done the same thing for her daughters. She was sure of it.


Her sisters were roused from their bedroom when they heard all the noise. They came outside and watched in silence as a stranger took their sister away. Charles snapped out of his state of shock and started to run after the carriage. He wasn't fast enough and before knowing it, horse, carriage and his eldest daughter were gone and in their place were riches like he had never seen before in his life. Gold and fancy clothing and gadgets and things for the house. He forgot what had to be paid for the riches, so overcome by the shining gold.


"Chime sold herself to a fearful man," Cecily whispered to her father, careful not to scare her sisters. Tears ran down her pale cheeks. "Father, we have to honor what she did, or the man could punish her." She may have only been sixteen, but she was smart enough to believe some of the rumors were true about the mysterious man on the hill. He wasn't kind without good reason. Why could he possibly want Chime? She was most beautiful and the man was alone and without a companion.


Cecily shivered at the thought of him only taking her so that he could have a lover. "She's only eighteen," she whispered to herself. "She's still a child herself."


The six remaining Clockwork sisters gathered the items given to them and took them inside their cabin. Charles followed them around, looking like a stupid man, with a blank expression on his face. He knew Cecily was right, but he just couldn't believe his beloved Chime was gone. Chime who most looked like her mother. She was special. Maybe the man saw that too?


Oh, how I pray he takes care of her, He thought. He looked heavenward and sighed.


Chelsy, please look over your daughter. She's stubborn just like you were. Look at the mess she's in now-


He looked at the gold and fancy things the man had given them and shook his head, and look at the riches she got for us.


He knew his daughter was beautiful. She had many young and even older men come to request her for courting, though she refused them all. She would rather be at home taking care of her family. Now she finally left them, though still taking care of them it seemed. Leave it to her to figure things out in their time of need.



© 2013 Searching4aMuse


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Searching4aMuse
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Added on April 22, 2013
Last Updated on April 22, 2013
Tags: chime, steampunk, fantasy, beauty and the beast, fairy tale, retold, twisted fairy tale, clockwork, clock, wild, castle, sister, sisters, mild romance, romance, adventure


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Searching4aMuse
Searching4aMuse

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My name's Mae. I'm a 20 something house wife. I write a large variety of things. I have all kinds of characters from young to old, gay to straight, female to male. Please be aware of this. My .. more..

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