First off a little announcement: This is my last Flash Fiction before and during NaNoWriMo, since while November is raging, I’ll concentrate on padding word-counts instead of writing these alluring flash fiction challenges.
We now return to the regular programming:
This week’s Chuck Wendig challenge was another subgenre mix and match. I went to trusty old Random.org and it spat out 14 and 16: Technothriller and Dielselpunk.
I’ve read my share of technothrillers, and got an idea of how that works. Dieselpunk on the other hand… yeah not so much. So I researched a little and found out that Dieselpunks are set in settings much like the 1920-1930’s.
I don’t think I’ve managed either of the genre’s, especially not the technothriller, which is non-existent in my story, I was too engrossed in the setting and the characters.
Feedback would be greatly appreciated.
By Trine Toft Schmidt
Mr. Bligh heard the unmistable sound of Miss Halliwell’s steps just before the door opened. Without lowering his paper he reached into his vest pocket and pulled out his watch.
Just the perfect time for a cup of tea.
“Tell me, Miss Halliwell, have you read the paper this morning. How utterly absurd. They claim the Eastern Regime is successful in the use of spies. Against the Empire!” He flapped the paper and snickered at the thought.
“I am sorry to disturb Mr. Bligh, but there is a Miss Fortune here to see you. She has no appointment, but she is rather insistent.”
Mr Bligh looked at her over the edge of his pince-nez.
“Miss Halliwell, you know full well that I take no unscheduled meetings.” He gave his watch another glance. “She can schedule an appoint…”
A young woman stepped around Miss Halliwell and Mr. Bligh lost his train of thought. She was young, dressed in a black pencil skirt and a figure hugging red suit jacket, and his eyes traveled her curves until they landed upon the emphasized swell of her bosom.
“I am sorry to be of inconvenience Mr. Bligh, but I am in dire straits and you are the only one who can help me.” Her fingers were white ghosts against the red leather of her handbag.
“No no, not at all Miss… ?” He hastily leapt from his chair and half ran around the desk to shake her hand.
“Fortune. Miss Portia Fortune.” She gave him a quavering little smile and his heart trembled. Her hand was small and cold in his.
“Please, have a seat.”
She nodded and sat down stiffly on the edge of the chair he held out for her. It was a long time since such a beautiful young thing had needed his help.
“Now, tell me, what I can do for you Miss Fortune?”
She leaned in closer and he saw her big blue eyes brimming with tears.
“I need to get into the vault.”
“Yes, I need something in the boxes.”
Mr. Bligh felt the surety of his heroic purpose falter. He leaned back in his chair and folded his hands across his stomach.
“But Miss Fortune, I do not understand, if you wish the use a safe deposit box, you need only see one of the clerks.” He waved his hand at the window overlooking the bank from within.
“No, I am sorry, I have not made myself clear at all.” She paused and slipped a handkerchief from the sleeve of her jacket and dabbed her eyes.
“I need something in a box that is not mine to access.” Her lips trembled, but she looked him straight in the eye.
“But, Ms Fortune, as I am sure you know, that is impossible.”
A sob escaped her and she pressed the handkerchief to her mouth, smearing her red lipstick slightly.
“I received a letter this morning.” She reached into her bag and handed him a crumpled piece of paper, which he skimmed briefly. He sat up straight and leaned in closer.
“But this is preposterous. An outrage. Who sent you this?”
“I do not know, I only know that they are holding my brother hostage. If I do not do what they say, they will kill him.” A tear breached and fell.
He re-read the demand for the contents of safety box number 841 and the threat of death to Mr. Timothy Fortune then remembered the article he had been reading.
“This is the work of spies!” Miss Fortune gasped and he immediately regretted his outburst. He reached over the desk and patted her hand.
“Don’t you worry Miss Fortune, I know just what to do.” He rose from his chair and Miss Fortune stood as well, her fingers shaking against her handbag, clutched to her stomach.
“Come with me, I will do as the letter demands.” He smiled at her and gave her a little wink. “And a little more. Don’t you worry, we will get your brother back in one piece.”
He led her down to the vaults, where row after row of bronze cubicles filled the room. He stopped in the middle, by the viewing booths.
“Wait here. I will bring you the box.”
Mr. Bligh was feeling all jittery, both apprehensive and excited at the same time. For all the excitement and heroics, there was more at stake than Mr Fortune’s life.
“Empire National Trust is the most well-reputed bank in the empire. If it ever became public knowledge that I am able to do this…” he said over his shoulder as he pulled out the bank master-key and the smaller second master he had hidden on his personal key ring.
“I assure you Mr. Bligh, I will never tell anyone.”
He nodded and went to box 841 and using both keys, he opened the door, pulled out the box inside and turned around.
Miss Fortune was right behind him, pointing a gun at him. Her tear soaked smile was gone, replaced by something ugly that made Mr. Bligh’s heroic heart shrivel up like a prune.
“Put it down.” Out of the corner of his eye he saw her handbag lying on the floor.
“PUT IT DOWN.” Her voice pinged off the walls and the box dropped from his hands and crashed to the floor. It bounced open, spilling worn leather-bound notebooks, rolled up blueprints and with a last echoing clang, a metal object, tarnished black, with what looked like colored gems set down the length of it. Keeping the gun trained on him she bent her knees and picked up the object.
“This, my dear Mr. Bligh, this will end the war, before it has even begun. Though maybe not in favor of your precious Empire” She sneered and waved the thing at him.
“Plasma-wave technology. So unbelievable that not even a hundred years from now they believe it.” She smiled at the object and for a second Mr. Bligh contemplated a new attempt at heroics, but then she looked up and pointed the gun at his heart.
“The Regime and it’s spies, sends their sincerest gratitude.” She blew him a kiss, grinned and pulled the trigger.