Time Diva [TFWC]

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posted on Sep, 20 2013 @ 05:52 PM
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Time Diva


The One and Only Lorena Lake Silverstone, still in her performance finery, headed back through the gear-works, shifting her skirt and hitching it scandalously high to protect the fine lace that flounced at the hem. Her custom made Madame Maycock’s Nightingale Sharp-Shooter, named after a certain Lady Silverstone’s signature bird and done sleekly in silver and mother-of-pearl, was tucked in snugly next to her ornate Medicinal Flask on her right thigh. She dropped the skirts and reached down under the layers of lace, hauling out the dainty flagon to take a fiery swig of gin.

The usual stench of grease and burning coal snaked through the gloomy Laboratory. The gaslights flared and flickered ominously. She pulled up her fine, lace-trimmed petticoats again, which bunched around her knees, and tucked the flask away. Red high-heeled boots hid her ankles but if anyone save a lover had seen her thus it would have been to her everlasting shame. It was no matter to her, however; who could worry about petticoats and knees when your best friend was caught in his own machinery?

Her steps clicked on the damp stone tiles of the floor. Steam hissed from pipes, turning the air hot and damp, and putting a curl into the fringes of her upswept hair. Though locked into place with many mysterious combs and gadgets, her waist-long locks threatened to mutiny and spill out of the elaborate coiffure. How dreadfully embarrassing it would be should she be caught publicly in such dishevelment; but again, she thought, brushing her vanity aside, it really didn’t matter.

She saw the monstrosity ahead, lurking like a troll in the high-ceilinged dark. Her eyes narrowed. No mere contraption, however massive, would thwart her – it would go down just like all the so-called golden-throated poseurs that had ever dared challenge her, and be left shattered and impotent in her wake. Miss Silverstone smiled the same sweet smile at the lumpish metal troll in the dark that had spelled immanent doom to her rivals. “Die,” said her eyes, from the face of an angel.

Her steps quickened to a lilting jog, and she cursed the boots for holding back her pace. She knew how to run, and she flashed back to the grubby-faced urchin she had been, lifting a young man’s wallet and flying away down the alley with the devil on her ragged heels. The man who owned that wallet, His Lordship, Barrington Harrisford-Woldsforth the Third, Duke of Merlington and First Cousin to the Queen Herself, was faster than she, and had caught her in strong, fierce arms.

After he’d shaken her thin frame a bit, his anger had turned to recognition and a light came into his eyes, softened them, and he’d said, “You are the girl who sings on the corner.”

She knew what would come next for a girl like her on the streets. He had saved her then from that life, and she owed him her own. Through her education, provided by her Lord, she expanded the vast musical and magical potential that naturally resided within her. She took every advantage of the opportunity, and earned every single wall-rumbling low and crystal-shattering high note, mastered every audition, through thousands of hours of practice – she owned the power of the Diva as no other woman ever had.

He was a brilliant eccentric, and part of the highest inner circles that his family had bought into for centuries, and, she had one day discovered, preferred the young men who visited his mansions and halls to any woman, however fair.

She had married him when it became awkward for her to be his ‘ward’ any longer, mildly scandalous given her origins, but it kept him from the greater consequences of permanent Bachelorhood, which his family would not allow. The marriage had never been consummated, and she was free to do as she willed. He kept his fortune, his young men, and she was able to repay a bit of the debt she owed him. She adored him, truly, and he would always be, simply, her closest and dearest friend.

Memories faded as she slowed down her run, brow knit with concern, when she saw the state of him. The odd purple and blue-white of the electric static in the luminiferous aether generated by the machine held him aloft in the Oval Portal, his body frozen, limbs askew, lab coat floating.

His beautiful face was locked in horror as if his last thought had been his awareness that Something Had Gone Wrong. He’d wanted to find a way to stay young, and now this! She cursed his vanity fluently, using the salt of the streets to fully express her absolute, uncompromising anger. Soot in his pretty eyes! All it had taken was a few grey hairs, a tiny glimpse of mortality, and he had rushed obsessively to cure himself of Time and aging. With an exasperated sigh she headed to the controls of The Time Troll, as she had nicknamed it.




She thanked whatever gods there be that she was also his Laboratory Assistant and Co-Inventor in the lab, though no one would ever believe it, thinking her head too full of Art to busy itself with Science. It had been her idea to put the warning system in, the little light that would come on if the machine froze or did something it wasn’t supposed to.

She had just finished the second encore, come flushed-faced into her dressing room from the triumph of the evening’s performance of Grimmauld’s ‘Clock-Work Fantastique,’ an aria so demanding that she alone had mastered the circular breathing technique that allowed her to complete it without passing out. Then the light, blinking red on her marble vanity, had seized her attention, her expression frozen in mirror of his current visage. What had he done?

Down she rushed through the secret passageway that her Diva’s dressing room supplied, through the elaborate and very private boudoir she used to entertain the occasional dalliance, and through to the street into the rainy evening, feet pounding, to where her white and silver steam-car and driver waited to carry her off. They had flown through the streets, across the bridge and to Wold Hall, where the massive underground Laboratory resided. Still, it had taken hours. Time, however, wasn’t the problem for Barrie at the moment. He had an infinity of it right in front of him. He just couldn’t move to enjoy it.


edit on 20-9-2013 by AboveBoard because: (no reason given)
edit on 20-9-2013 by AboveBoard because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 20 2013 @ 05:58 PM
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She pulled a pair of her very own Doctor Nightingale’s Particle Deflection & Re-Magnification Examination Goggles off their hook and wrestled them over her coiffure, cursing as it stuck on a jeweled comb which she ended up ripping out of her hair and shoving down between her breasts for safekeeping.

The frothy dress would be ruined, too, no doubt. The gorgeous yet subtle signature embroidery of a Nightingale on the front of the bodice did not deserve such treatment. He would owe her five new and better dresses in repayment for this, this travesty of reason.

Shifting her tightly drawn corset a bit so she could draw a bigger breath, Miss Silverstone continued steamily, pushing the button on the Goggles that popped out a complex series of See-Through-It lenses. It was her own design, hence Barrie had started a company with her as “Doctor Nightingale,” and she’d made a fair bit of coin from the invention, too. It was unique among such devices, and took into account all kinds of things, including magic and beasties and all manner of ectoplasmic and aetheric Creatures.

“Oh.” she said quietly into the hissing echoes of the Lab as she used the lenses to peer through layers of metal skin into the guts of the Time Troll. She swore. “Judy beggar of a Ladybird Dollymop, Barrie, what have you done?” She shook her head in disbelief.

It was bad. The Troll seemed to be watching her, which made it all the worse. Then it shifted slightly, confirming her fears. He’d brought the Troll to life, the silly, vain daisy of a man!

“Daft perfidious pointy-punk flower-headed soot of a soft Nickey!” she mumbled angrily, pulling a De-Riveter from the tool shelf and plunking glowing coals into its receptacle, glaring hotly at the monstrous machine. She filled the De-Riveter’s canister with near-boiling water from the gas stove and then, as the red coals heated the water to steam and the pressure gauge ticked up, she braced it against her shoulder and set it around the first rivet locking in the clicking heart of the Troll.

She could swear she felt a tiny shift again, as it tried to move away from her. Thank whatever gods there be it didn’t have legs! The De-Riveter whistled, and Lady Lorena Lake Silverstone attacked with the hellish fierceness of a deadly and determined Diva.

The voice that could put silk to shame lowered into a primal growl. The Troll groaned and wailed in reply. Sparks flew, as did rivets, popping off one after the other in succession until she had ripped into the heart of the metal monster, her chest heaving and shoulder bruised from the effort. The dress was singed, blast it all, and would never recover. For that, she gave the Troll a very unnecessary kick.

Hauling back the heavy sheet metal, she looked within, goggles down and readjusted for straight-on-spectroabnormal viewing. Yes, there it was, the ghostly Life in the Machine that had caused the trouble. Two vile, glowing eyes stared at her malevolently, burning from the inner casing of the Time Troll. She shook her head, dumbfounded.



Barrie was a fool to listen to spirits at séances, to the whispered gibbering of his wicked mad Uncle, to the strange and arcane books from his father’s library, and here was the result: a conscious, living machine – not a simple clock-work like the valets and maids, no, a demon-dark conjured from those curséd sooty books! It was his Lord father’s fault, blast him to the furnace and the whole loony lot of them, too!

The hissing steam in the pipes became interfused into a sibilant voice that sent a creeping shiver down her corseted back. A slit-like mouth creaked open; metal made malleable as flesh.

“I live…,” it wheezed darkly,”…or he dies.” A chortling laugh bubbled up as if from the depths of the making of the world, to hack and spit gleefully into the night.

Lady Lorena Lake Silverstone narrowed her emerald-green eyes, squared her fine pale shoulders, cocked her hip and addressed the monstrosity firmly, using her fullest, most authoritative ringing round-toned voice that could carry to the balcony of Hell and back, dripping with Diva Power. “Oh, really? Tell me, monster, why did he bring you here?”

The hissing voice coalesced into the grind of metallic words. “He wanted…,” it gathered steam for itself like an old man taking breath, “…to be young…,” dark, cruel laughter jittered out its lips before its final words, “…Forever.” It burst into a flaming roar of laughter, clanging and bending the walls of the Time Troll like a strongman flexing his muscles. The Troll, too massive to lurch around the lab, managed only to rattle like a room full of kettledrums.

She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Yes, that sounds like Barrie.” She muttered curses and imprecations that would have turned even Barrie’s ears red to hear, even from her lips. Then an idea, a risky one, came to her with a flash of inspired brilliance, which, of course, for a Diva, is as normal as tea and toast. She stole a glance at her Barrie, still dangling in the infinite.

“Well,” she sniffed, “That’s all well and good, Troll, but you have no limbs, and if you detach yourself from the pipes you’ll have no voice and no steam to fire your life along. You are as trapped as he is, I’m afraid.” The creature stopped its twisted giggling to fix its two glaring eyes upon her.

“Yes Trollikins,” she purred, “You heard me right. I know you are trying to throw your considerable weight around down here, but I’ll have none of this, mind you – I’ve made no infernal deals with you. I’ll leave you two to it. My dear husband’s vanity is his own undoing. And yours.” She gathered her skirts, gave her deadliest smile, then performed a dramatic and practiced turn filled with arctic winds and steel so cold it could break bones – a turn only a true Diva of highest caliber could successfully enact.

The temperature in the room dropped rapidly, causing frost to move along the pipes, wild clouds of steaming air to billow around her, and her breath to puff visibly out of her satisfied lips. ‘Beat that, hell-spawn’ she thought at the Troll.





posted on Sep, 20 2013 @ 06:02 PM
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Then slowly, with a dignity that our gracious Queen might envy, she began her stately walk away from the metal monster and from Barrie. The Troll began to groan and wail in distress as it saw she was, indeed, telling the truth that it, too, was trapped. Her frosty display of pure Diva-ness had brought an Understanding to its wicked hulking brain. The voice spoke again.

“Wait…,” it wheezed after her retreating back. “Wait!” Desperation tinged the tone and she steeled herself to keep moving forward. Timing is everything in theatre.

“I RELENT!”

She stopped, while tiny icicles formed on her petticoats and tinkled from the ends of her jewelry. She waited.

“FREE ME! I WILL GIVE YOU ANYTHING YOU DESIRE!” At this she raised her eyebrows.

“Really?” she asked with a chilly yawn, as if someone had just been droning on about the intricacies of pleasant weather. “Well, then, Troll, what exactly can you do for me?”

She could feel it thinking, trying to trick, to trap, to gain advantage. “I can…,” it was barely a whisper now after its great effort, “…take you anywhere…,” a dreadful gasping pause, “…in Time…,” a heaving sigh “…you wish to go…”

She scoffed at the idea, wondering what good it would do to travel in Time. What could Time Travel have to tempt her? She was utterly comfortable as she was, wasn’t she? Her life was quite wonderful, if oddly lonely in ways that neither Barrie nor her string of discreet Beaus nor her burgeoning masses of fans ever could salve. It was obviously a fool’s choice, in her case. Why bother? Something nagged at her still, all the same. She brushed it aside.

“I want you to do the following…” a light snow began to drift around her as her tone dropped, deepened and gathered quiet command. Her voice, her weapon, rolled out and stood as its own presence in the room, a voice even the Queen would take notice of, with both ears and a concentrated mind. “Listen very carefully, Creature, as I am not wont to repeat myself.” The silence that followed was definitely listening with whatever the Troll had for ears.

“First, I want you to free Barrie, keeping him completely unharmed. Second, I want you to take your ghastly self back to whatever dark pit you came from, never to return to this machine or so help me I’ll freeze your blasted sooty self into oblivion. Do you understand?”

It understood, clearly, but even The One and Only Lorena Lake Silverstone could make mistakes. It was right after the words came out of her mouth that she realized what her fatal error was. Her eyes flew open and mouth gaped to amend her speech, but the Trickster Troll had pounced too quickly on the opportunity. A white flash popped over the Oval as the groaning metal turned still, quiet and un-possessed. The Troll was gone.

So was Barrie.




She let out a shriek. Beakers shattered on shelves, metal curled. She wailed his name into the deep echoing dark, running, cursing and stumbling to the Portal as Barrie winked out of existence into some other Time and possibly Place. He could be anywhere, anytime, infinitely so, because she had failed to specify where and when he should be delivered.

She would not admit to it, for a long moment, that he was really gone. The horror that idea put upon her was too intense, too irrevocable. No! She Would Not Be Defeated! And then she knew she utterly was.

She did not know how long she lay at the foot of the now dead Oval Portal. Despair caused her to ignore the grease on the floor, her dishevelment, the cold tiles numbing her as the boilers slowly reheated the Laboratory’s hydraulic systems. Her mind had been stripped of ideas with the sheer overwhelming weight of infinite choice. Even if she could find him, or follow him, even if she could…

She sat up, slowly, her hair spilling down, dripping combs and baubles, and tiny geared clock-work ornaments bearing gems and pearls. Her dress was torn in so many places, utterly ruined, but for the nightingale on the front, which remained miraculously unstained and intact. She stood, carefully, thoughts forming, ideas churning. Tripping over her shredded lace, she made her way to the hooks with the starched white lab coats and the cabinet with Barrie’s heavy work gloves and her delicate ones. She needed to get to work.

Not bothering to properly undo what was left of her gown, she tore it off, sparing only the embroidered bird. She stripped down the petticoats, layer after layer, until she was in bloomers, Ladies’ Sharpshooter, and Medicine Flask. Touching a button on the side of the corset and giving a gear-ring a twist, the corset popped open latch by latch up her back until she was free.




She tossed it carelessly to the floor, her lace-trimmed sleeveless undershirt sticking to her skin unpleasantly. She grabbed a lab coat and slung it on, doing the buttons quickly and then tore handfuls of various hair adornments from her long, golden locks; precious objects every one of them.

The baubles were thrown hastily into the cabinet and she pulled out a serviceable hair-clamp. She twisted up her tresses into a severe style that no one outside the Laboratory had ever seen her wear. Grim determination altered her expression, a grayness coming into the sparkling green of her eyes, like thunderheads reflected in a pond. She donned the gloves.

With goggles resting jauntily on her forehead (she was a Diva, after all); pencil, torch and tongs in her hand; and a spindle of copper wire and lead for soldering heavy in her pocket, she went to their Blueprints, looking through his most recent “modifications” with disgust. She had warned him, the fool. She would go back and do what they had originally planned. It would have to be enough. She huffed a dry, humorless laugh. She had all the time in the world.


It took a month’s worth of work.

She kept tabs on the world through the papers that were automatically delivered to the Laboratory through the Gentleman’s Vacuum Tube Delivery-Reciprocator Device that Barrie had installed. Newspaper articles told of her absence from packed performance houses and near-riots of angry fans tearing up the theatres.

Editorials and gossip columnists speculated about what could have happened to her husband, the good young Duke. Then stories of tearful young men fighting each other on the front steps of his house appeared; Barrie had been very naughty in telling each one they were ‘singularly special to him,’ which, while completely true, did not have the meaning that the young men thought it had.

Tabloids trumpeted the falseness of the Duke’s marriage and unmasked his scandalous behavior with such relish as to eat him alive. Rumors that they were both dead soon surfaced. According to the favorite rag of housewives, the Daily Hartford-Dunderton Prognosticator, a jealous lover had murdered Barrie, violently and in cold blood. Lady Lorena Lake Silverstone had died clutching her breast from heartbreak at the horror of the scene. The Diva read them grimly for amusement over Breakfast Tea she’d made in a beaker on the lab stove.



posted on Sep, 20 2013 @ 06:05 PM
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The stories didn’t matter. The pounding on the Laboratory door did not bother her, nor the incessant calls from her agent through the Speak-o-Scope, nor the battering-ram brought by the Inspectors, which did nothing more than mildly shake the twelve layers of intricate locks, three-foot thick metal-and-wood doors and massive steel bars.

If they’d known about the secret entrance from the garage they would have by-passed all that, but that’s what secret entrances are for – secrets. She ignored them. The Lab was a fortress – no one could get in and there was food and water enough in the stores she had resourcefully put in place to last her a year if she needed it. Still she worked, day and night, collapsing onto the overstuffed couch Barrie had insisted they have in the Laboratory for their comfort.

When the work was (she hoped) done, she looked at the monstrous machine, her Time Troll, with satisfaction. She adjusted the brand new device she’d created for her wrist, the Time-Disambiguator, and rested her hand on her hip over the once-white lab coat.

“Well, old thing, I guess we’d better get on with it.” She heaved on the Primary Lever with all her might and then jogged over to push the Secondary Lever into position.

After a clunking of gears whirred into precise motion, the room began to hum and thrum to life. Steam whistled and shook the pipes. The Oval Portal sparked and buzzed and sizzled mysteriously with its odd purple and blue-white lightning, spilling the strange luminiferous aether into the Portal entrance. She adjusted the dials and moved more levers, and pushed the final triumphant button, her hair seeming to transform into molten gold in the warm flash of light. The Oval Portal opened.

The air felt turned to syrup, with an odd metallic scent of electrified aether as she fought her way to the final set of keys to type in the precise moment the portal would take her to, then she adjusted her Time-Disambiguator to match. She could die. Perhaps she was already dead, she thought, a ghost in the Lab, who had died of heartbreak. She grimaced, not liking that thought at all. Once the sequence for the Oval Portal was done, without another thought, she walked straight in.


The Infinite Void opened up and she felt as if she were falling, spinning, tumbling helplessly from a great height. Lightning, purple and blue and white, dazzled and raged in a tremendous, constant crackle over her as she tumbled, nearly mindless with fear.

Then she screamed with no sound and flailed with no limbs – realizing that only her mind was intact, the rest of her had been stretched and split into a trillion coded vibrations that suddenly, and without warning came together in a disorienting affray of senses.

She had but a moment to see his contorted figure. She reached out with re-formed arms and grabbed his dangling, frozen body from behind as he began to be sucked away towards his original Fate, wrapping arms and legs about him in a fierce tackle. There was a massive snapping sound and physical jolt, and they fell back the way she had come in, then sprawled and tumbled onto the stone floor of the Laboratory.


She had won.

Dizzy and exhausted, that realization penetrated her being. She had caught Barrie at the precise moment the evil Troll had sought to steal him away into whatever one of the infinite possible directions and times it had chosen.

All the Tabloids, all the teary-eyed and desperate young men at the door, the destroyed theatres her distraught fans had desecrated were moot; it had never happened – it was only a split second after he had first gone through. She smiled.

Then she saw a ghost of herself, panicked and distraught, enter the Laboratory, as what had been played out on another, barely visible layer of time. She ignored it.


She had fixed her mistake, the careless phrasing that had allowed Barrie to be taken elsewhere. She heaved her breath in relief and lay against him for a moment, just breathing, before his eyes began to flutter and she sat up to call his name, and rub his frozen hands.

“Barrie,” she called softly, “it’s all done now. We won, Barrie. We won.”

He looked at her with a grimace finally, taking in the mess of her. “Good gods above,” his voice croaked dryly, “What in sooty blazes happened to you? You’re a fright!” She sat stunned for a moment, staring at him, then shook her head and laughed, full bellied and gasping like a street wench. Only Barrie would care how she looked at a moment like this. She gave him a weak punch to the arm. He began to laugh too, his rich baritone turned raspy, realizing his own utterly sincere ridiculousness. She laughed until she coughed, and he rolled with teary-eyed mirth, barely able to breathe.

Hauling herself to her feet, she looked down at him, her smile fading and expression suddenly serious. She lifted her stained lab coat along her thigh, pulled out the silver flask and opened it, took a swig then handed it to him. He looked at it gratefully and swallowed with a grimace, then handed it back.

“Barrie, darling,” she said without warning, “I’m leaving you.” A crystal tear hung in the corner of her eye, then trailed down an otherwise somber but composed face.

“What?” He groped for his thoughts and came out lashing, still askew on the floor, “But we are Forever, Lonnie My Lake, My Life! You are my best, and really, my only true friend in the world!” He shifted up to his knees, angry and wheedling, his arms outstretched and imploring. “How could you leave me after all I’ve done for you? It blasted well will destroy me!”

“Not for good, you silly man,” she sniffed, “But for a while. You won’t even know I’m gone. With this gorgeous, beautiful, wondrous machine, I can go anywhere in Time I want – I don’t need a blasted Demon for it either,” she said pointedly. Then she continued in a gentler tone, “I could have a second life, Barrie. Where someone loves me just for me, like I know you do, but who can also fully appreciate All of me.”

His mouth hung open. No words came out, but realization hit his eyes, and his jaw shut, clamping down on whatever he would have said.

She continued, “I want to find a new Adventure. I want to be worshiped by fans, adored by you, and loved by a man I love in return; I want it all. Should that surprise you?” she cocked her hip and her eyebrow for emphasis. “I’ve made a way to get back whenever I want.” She showed him the device she’d strapped to her wrist.

“Can I go with you, then?” He gave her a look of deepest sadness. A lost little boy in a man’s body hung in the back of his gaze, and for a moment she saw how utterly unfulfilled he was, too.

After a long pause, a searching of his aching eyes, she relented. “Yes, darling. We should pack money, and jewels, and things that would be of value. You can be my… my brother, and I your sister, and we will take the world by storm in some other time where you are free to be who you are without hiding, and I can sing my way around that world in whatever new-fangled contraptions they use, hopefully something more efficient than our current sooty dirigibles, and we can be free, Barrie. Free of all of it. I may never wish to come back.”

Barrington smiled a bit then and took her hand, and he awkwardly stood, using her for balance. “If anyone can literally take the world by storm, my Lonnie-Lake, it would have to be you.”




posted on Sep, 20 2013 @ 06:06 PM
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POSTLUDE


It took some doing, but they quietly got affairs in order. She sang her last, triumphant concert in the cities finest hall, he doled out gifts to his favorite young men and set up trusts and such so that if they chose not to return, or could not return, things would flow smoothly. So, holding hands, they stepped into the Oval Portal and the Void and to a far distant future (and possibly another universe), with all the wealth and comforts they could carry.

Somewhere in the strange stretching pull of the Void, the moment before landing in some other When and Where, she saw them – two eyes glaring hotly, boring into her with fierce hatred. She would have gasped had she been able to breathe at all. But then she was flying past it, coalescing, constricting back into herself and the dizzying disorientation of the journey. She did not notice if the thing had followed her or not, but she knew it would be there, lurking, with every leap in to the Void.




posted on Sep, 21 2013 @ 11:49 AM
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reply to post by AboveBoard
 


Sumptuous, cunning, hyper stylistic, a steam punk oddity of a most pleasing sort. My sincerest congratulations on a job well done!



posted on Sep, 21 2013 @ 11:54 AM
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reply to post by TrueBrit
 


Thank you, TrueBrit!! I appreciate you reading it and replying - it was great fun to write and I'm hoping great fun to read. My first steampunk adventure!

- AB
edit on 21-9-2013 by AboveBoard because: an e



posted on Sep, 21 2013 @ 11:55 AM
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Epic has a new name, AboveBoard. Awesome story. Had me enthralled on every word. The effort you put into this story is amazing! So descriptive, entertaining, and easy to read that I'm left to realize your talents are blossoming into fruition.

SnF!

However, (yes, there's always one of those) when you are loading a story with graphics, you should wrap the text around them rather than leaving gaps between. It helps with the continuity. For example:





She pulled a pair of her very own Doctor Nightingale’s Particle Deflection & Re-Magnification Examination Goggles off their hook and wrestled them over her coiffure, cursing as it stuck on a jeweled comb which she ended up ripping out of her hair and shoving down between her breasts for safekeeping.

The frothy dress would be ruined, too, no doubt. The gorgeous yet subtle signature embroidery of a Nightingale on the front of the bodice did not deserve such treatment. He would owe her five new and better dresses in repayment for this, this travesty of reason.

Shifting her tightly drawn corset a bit so she could draw a bigger breath, Miss Silverstone continued steamily, pushing the button on the Goggles that popped out a complex series of See-Through-It lenses. It was her own design, hence Barrie had started a company with her as “Doctor Nightingale,” and she’d made a fair bit of coin from the invention, too. It was unique among such devices, and took into account all kinds of things, including magic and beasties and all manner of ectoplasmic and aetheric Creatures.

“Oh.” she said quietly into the hissing echoes of the Lab as she used the lenses to peer through layers of metal skin into the guts of the Time Troll. She swore. “Judy beggar of a Ladybird Dollymop, Barrie, what have you done?” She shook her head in disbelief.

It was bad. The Troll seemed to be watching her, which made it all the worse. Then it shifted slightly, confirming her fears. He’d brought the Troll to life, the silly, vain daisy of a man!

“Daft perfidious pointy-punk flower-headed soot of a soft Nickey!” she mumbled angrily, pulling a De-Riveter from the tool shelf and plunking glowing coals into its receptacle, glaring hotly at the monstrous machine. She filled the De-Riveter’s canister with near-boiling water from the gas stove and then, as the red coals heated the water to steam and the pressure gauge ticked up, she braced it against her shoulder and set it around the first rivet locking in the clicking heart of the Troll.

She could swear she felt a tiny shift again, as it tried to move away from her. Thank whatever gods there be it didn’t have legs! The De-Riveter whistled, and Lady Lorena Lake Silverstone attacked with the hellish fierceness of a deadly and determined Diva.

The voice that could put silk to shame lowered into a primal growl. The Troll groaned and wailed in reply. Sparks flew, as did rivets, popping off one after the other in succession until she had ripped into the heart of the metal monster, her chest heaving and shoulder bruised from the effort. The dress was singed, blast it all, and would never recover. For that, she gave the Troll a very unnecessary kick.

Hauling back the heavy sheet metal, she looked within, goggles down and readjusted for straight-on-spectroabnormal viewing. Yes, there it was, the ghostly Life in the Machine that had caused the trouble. Two vile, glowing eyes stared at her malevolently, burning from the inner casing of the Time Troll. She shook her head, dumbfounded.


Barrie was a fool to listen to spirits at séances, to the whispered gibbering of his wicked mad Uncle, to the strange and arcane books from his father’s library, and here was the result: a conscious, living machine – not a simple clock-work like the valets and maids, no, a demon-dark conjured from those curséd sooty books! It was his Lord father’s fault, blast him to the furnace and the whole loony lot of them, too!

The hissing steam in the pipes became interfused into a sibilant voice that sent a creeping shiver down her corseted back. A slit-like mouth creaked open; metal made malleable as flesh.

“I live…,” it wheezed darkly,”…or he dies.” A chortling laugh bubbled up as if from the depths of the making of the world, to hack and spit gleefully into the night.

Lady Lorena Lake Silverstone narrowed her emerald-green eyes, squared her fine pale shoulders, cocked her hip and addressed the monstrosity firmly, using her fullest, most authoritative ringing round-toned voice that could carry to the balcony of Hell and back, dripping with Diva Power. “Oh, really? Tell me, monster, why did he bring you here?”

The hissing voice coalesced into the grind of metallic words. “He wanted…,” it gathered steam for itself like an old man taking breath, “…to be young…,” dark, cruel laughter jittered out its lips before its final words, “…Forever.” It burst into a flaming roar of laughter, clanging and bending the walls of the Time Troll like a strongman flexing his muscles. The Troll, too massive to lurch around the lab, managed only to rattle like a room full of kettledrums.

She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Yes, that sounds like Barrie.” She muttered curses and imprecations that would have turned even Barrie’s ears red to hear, even from her lips. Then an idea, a risky one, came to her with a flash of inspired brilliance, which, of course, for a Diva, is as normal as tea and toast. She stole a glance at her Barrie, still dangling in the infinite.

“Well,” she sniffed, “That’s all well and good, Troll, but you have no limbs, and if you detach yourself from the pipes you’ll have no voice and no steam to fire your life along. You are as trapped as he is, I’m afraid.” The creature stopped its twisted giggling to fix its two glaring eyes upon her.

“Yes Trollikins,” she purred, “You heard me right. I know you are trying to throw your considerable weight around down here, but I’ll have none of this, mind you – I’ve made no infernal deals with you. I’ll leave you two to it. My dear husband’s vanity is his own undoing. And yours.” She gathered her skirts, gave her deadliest smile, then performed a dramatic and practiced turn filled with arctic winds and steel so cold it could break bones – a turn only a true Diva of highest caliber could successfully enact.


The temperature in the room dropped rapidly, causing frost to move along the pipes, wild clouds of steaming air to billow around her, and her breath to puff visibly out of her satisfied lips. ‘Beat that, hell-spawn’ she thought at the Troll.



How is that done? Simply change the tags you use when posting. You can "quote" this post and look at the formatting, I've used, but instead of using the default [ pic] [/ pic] tags, you can use [ imgl] [/ img] and [ imgr] [/ img], using the full url, to place pics left and right, respectively. That technique also comes in useful for normal posting as well.

Yep, that's the ONLY thing wrong with the story and a minor thing at that, but hey, if you are going to be writing excellent stories such as this, it stands to reason you should also learn to format them so they look as awesome as they read.



posted on Sep, 21 2013 @ 12:30 PM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


Hey Druid!
Excellent advice on the graphics. I was utterly clueless about how to improve the placement and I will refer to your instructions for any future postings where I need it. Thank you!!

I most appreciate you taking the time to read the Diva's opening adventure, and your very positive review!

peace to you,
AB

ps - it wouldn't be you without a "However!" lol!
edit on 21-9-2013 by AboveBoard because: ps



posted on Sep, 21 2013 @ 12:44 PM
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reply to post by AboveBoard
 


Opening adventure?

You are such a tease.

Of course, I'll be waiting to read......



posted on Sep, 21 2013 @ 05:38 PM
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As I live and breath....
THIS is the one to raise the bar.
Well done!



posted on Sep, 21 2013 @ 05:55 PM
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reply to post by AccessDenied
 


Thank you so much, AccessDenied!

I appreciate you reading it and taking the time to reply!! So glad you enjoyed it...

peace to you,
AB



posted on Sep, 22 2013 @ 02:19 AM
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I just finished reading your story,and I would be able to speak more about it if it didnt leave me speechless... Besides your original approach and poetic use of language, ideas, subtleties, metaphors, imagery, wisdom and depth and many more positive qualities which speak for themselves as the work you have written, I dont see much that separates you from any other great and masterful writer I have ever read. I really dont know what to say, you know I already thought you were brilliant and this story only re insures. Have a lovely Sunday!
edit on 22-9-2013 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 22 2013 @ 10:29 AM
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reply to post by ImaFungi
 


Hey there, ImaFungi!
Thank you so much for the awesome response!!

I am very flattered. Hopefully I will measure up to your opinion!

peace to you,

AB



posted on Sep, 23 2013 @ 10:20 AM
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reply to post by AboveBoard
 


Wow!...That was a great story indeed. As good as any i have read on here to
. That would grace any bookstore or library!..Much better than some short book stories i have read. Well done. And i loved the pictures that went with it



posted on Sep, 23 2013 @ 10:46 AM
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reply to post by TheDoctor46
 
Thank you so much!!!

I really appreciate you taking the time to come and read it. Your comments are very encouraging and kind!
Who knows where the Diva will end up next?

peace to you, and thanks again,

AB



posted on Sep, 30 2013 @ 04:30 PM
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reply to post by AboveBoard
 


You have created a great character in the Diva and I certainly look forward to future stories. I am sure she will have plenty of them with you giving her life. Peace and great success!



posted on Sep, 30 2013 @ 08:39 PM
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Oh man! Someone un-flagged me! I had 11 and now I have 10.


I guess that's it then...

Dang.




posted on Sep, 30 2013 @ 10:48 PM
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reply to post by AboveBoard
 


Oh my. What in the world are you doing posting stories to ATS? I should, and will, be buying your books online in the near future! You, my Dear, are a Professional Writer in every sense of the word.

Thank you for the mind candy...I truly enjoyed it! I look forward to more of your most excellent writings.

Des



posted on Sep, 30 2013 @ 11:08 PM
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reply to post by Destinyone
 


My sincere thanks, Des. I most appreciate you dropping by to read it! And I also appreciate your encouragement on the writing - I hope someday that you will be able to see the Diva in a book!


peace to you,

AB






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