Monday, 1 July 2013

Contrition

CRUDE : marked by the primitive, gross, or elemental or by uncultivated simplicity or vulgarity 
(A writing prompt from Trifecta, continuing from here)



The Clockmaster of Oldenrot was not built for speed.  A crude tyrant, years of self indulgence had taken their toll.  Panting and red faced  he stumbled down the winding spiral stair that led into the vaults deep beneath the Spire of Freedom.

He was running for his life.

The chaos had begun that morning as each clock tower in Oldenrot began to chime and had still not stopped.      Reports flooded in, not encouraging.   Every system was failing.   Every camera and microphone, every clockwork sentinel.  Everything.   

An hour after the chimes began,  the citizens rose and began to destroy every chain, physical or virtual,  that held them in place.  

The Clockmaster had planned for this.    Deep beneath his palatial spire was a route to freedom.   Panting and perspiring he reached the deepest level and staggered to the burnished iron door and turned the handle.  It did not move, and he sobbed.

“My husband was a good man,”

The voice startled him and he felt his heart pound so very fast.   He recognised the speaker, there in the shadow.

“Lady Graves… yes… a good man.   A loyal servant to my court.”

“I meant before,” she said, her face entirely calm.  “Before you.  Before all this.  He was a good man, but he died a bad one. ”

“Died… oh my…   we must flee, Lady Graves, this door…”

“Is locked.”  Something in her voice gave him pause.  She went on.   “The key is inside the clock on your desk.  In your office.”   She raised her eyes upward.  “Up there.”

He made a move toward her, and only then saw the six barrelled pistol in her hand.

“But the people… they’re storming the Spire”

“Fetch it,”

He clutched his chest and fought to catch his breath.

Lady Graves smiled warmly.

“Go on,” she said, “You’ve got time.”


She watched him stagger up the first turn of the spiral and once he was out of sight she removed the key from her pocket and left without another word.