Once again, there were some really great responses, and I had a really hard time picking out the winners. BUT! I came across a few that I honestly couldn't not list as the winners, and there they are!
Rachel wrote ...
Rachel wrote ...
Gionove was, simply put, a theater junkie. His latest venture journeyed into the world of steam punkery, complete with gold-adorned everything. The theater was usually generous enough to provide their moderately sized casts with costumes, although the actors were always persuaded to construct their own, if they had the means to.dorksandjerks wrote ...
The actor in question was discovering how potentially hazardous his own creation was while pedaling at 15 miles an hour on busy downtown streets. The backpack he fashioned to be some sort of energy source for his elaborate gizmos was huge and hulking and with the slightest turn threatened to throw him off the bike. Alas, as he hopped onto a sidewalk and slipped off the bike, it was of his own accord to make sure it was locked tight for the afternoon.
Eager to show off his handmade wares, Gionove rushed around the corner and ran smack into half of the cast. The immediate thought that came to mind was not an apology, but rather on how fantastic their costumes were. As soon as his jaw slipped open in awe and wonder, he found himself at the end of four weapons raised in one simultaneous motion.
“Very nice,” he murmured, the actor’s eye flashing to the glittering gold of the sword that was held closest to his neck. It took a minute longer for Gionove’s eye to follow the arm of its holder, where he found a man decked in military ware and whose face he did not recognize.
Taking a half step back, Gionove realized he did not recognize any of these people. Not the girl in the red peering at him curiously, not the short-fuse of a military man, nor the man in the suit holding a gun to his chest, not even the final woman whose dress he admired most, holding what appeared to be a small cannon at his face.
“Surely I’m not being…mugged,” Gionove choked out after a minute of staring silently. “This stuff isn’t worth anything, I made it myself…I’ve got very little in my wallet…” He started to reach for it, and the man in the suit fired just shy of his wrist when he made a move for his pocket.
Gionove loved theater, the limelight and the act, but as his face twisted into a pained grimace, he began to realize he had no idea how to act in the real world. Frozen into place, he looked between the four again.
The military man lowered his blade in the slightest. The others followed suit. Who was obviously the leader stepped a few paces closer, threw a narrow glare at the man wielding a smoking gun, and then cleared his throat. “Giovone, we are not from this time. However, we would greatly appreciate it if you were to join us in our return home.”
Giovone uttered a laugh simply out of reaction. In reality, the adrenaline pouring into his blood was screaming for him to run the other way. His muscles began to ache when panic suddenly flashed to life in his eyes. Not only were these people muggers, they were positively insane. He began to wonder why no one had stopped to help him, when he then realized the passers-by might think it just an act. They were only standing feet away from the theater entrance after all.
Then there was a bang and a flash and a whole hell of a lot of smoke, and Gionove’s senses were lost behind a veil of blackness. The woman closest to him knelt to catch his unconscious figure before he completely crumpled. She barked a cry of, “What? Did you want to tell him he’s the leader of the free world as we know it and he’s got no choice?” and tossed her used weapon aside.
The men exchanged skeptical glances while the woman behind them shrugged. In a high voice she concluded, “At least we found him alive. Now getting him home and explaining ourselves to the officials…that’s going to be a whole ‘nother thing.”
Just laugh at the the fools that killed you, they're the punch-line of your life. Because the joke they made on you shows that you don't take life seriously. Let your death bring upon joy and not mourning. To die with humor is die with style, a grand exit.nofoolwiser wrote ...
The Artificer smiled at them. "And what will you do if I say yes, Admiral? Stick me like a pig? That sword's a pretty thing. You wouldn't want to get it discolored." He glanced at the Scarlet Lady. "Et tu, dear sister? And what will you do? You always preferred a softer weapon, I recall..."
"I'd count it an even prettier thing," said the Admiral, "with your blood smeared on it." His haughty sneer lengthened. "And my lady wife is uninterested in your words, I think."And that's it for this week! As you can tell, I was feeling a bit... lengthy today, but I absolutely loved their submissions. Good job, guys!
The Artificer guffawed. "Your lady wife? She's slept with more of the Navy than you've commanded, Admiral. Or can you not see that, even with your ever-so-special eye?" His own eye shifted to the Mercenary and the Maid. "And why did you bring your dogs to the fight?" He snapped the fingers of his left hand, and the Mercenary's pipe exploded. His eyes widened for a moment, and then he burst into flame.
The Maid released her pressure gun reflexively, and as the wall of steam rushed forward, the Artificer raised one finger. The steam vanished.
The Mercenary had run already, screaming like a demon, and the Maid took off as well, screeching something about witches and monsters.
The Artificer leveled his stare at the Admiral and the Scarlet Lady. "So much better."
The Admiral's face contorted, and the red gleam of his eyescope brightened and swirled. His sword began to glow red.
"This would be somewhat more impressive if you knew how to use your tool, Admiral," said the Artificer, as he pinched the blade between two fingers. The red glow disappeared, and the pretty blade cracked, then split in two. "Practice does make perfect, I'm told." He turned his eyescope to look directly in the Admiral's eye, and smiled. The other man's knees shook, then buckled, as he fell to the ground.
He turned and began to walk away, his eerie smile widening as he felt his sister's gun at the small of his back.
"Oh, do pull the trigger, little sister," he said. "Can you? You never did enjoy blood. Remember the first time you killed a man? Oh...that's right. You couldn't. You'd rather warm them than shoot them. I seem to remember that being the reason the Artisans never wanted you. Not to study, anyway..."
"Things can change," the Scarlet Lady said, but her gun didn't fire. "I don't need anything marked with the Stars to kill you."
"You're quite right. You'd need much more. Your dear husband had the mark on his sword and his eyescope, and you see how much that was worth." He took off his hat and stared at the golden badge on the rim. "Yes, much more than the Stars. Much more than a gun. You'd need to be more than human, I think."
The Scarlet Lady twisted the tube, and a ball of superheated plasma rushed through. It punched past the Artificer's bone, and skin, and muscle, and came buzzing out the other side. Her brother turned.
"Do you see? You'll need more than that." He pulled the energizer box off his back, and set down the plasma rifle. "Bullets, steel, heat, light...the Artisans were more than you could have imagined, dear sister. I am much more than a man. Much more than even one of the Angels, I think. Perhaps I have beaten death."
He looked her in the eye. "Or perhaps I simply don't remember it anymore. I suspect it amounts to the same thing."
His eyescope gleamed, and his little sister fell backwards against the wall. Her eyes turned black as coal, and she screamed. When she opened her mouth, everything inside was black. The Artificer looked into the blackness, and the blackness looked back.
"Ah. I see." And he killed her.
And the Artificer walked away.