I just posted the first story from the Patreon campaign over there as well as mailing it out. It’s a story set in Altered America, a steampunk version of 19th century America that I’ve been working in recently. If you read Raapacini’s Crow, which appeared on Beneath Ceaseless Skies this month, it’s the same world.
19th century America is one of my favorite historical periods, and I’m looking forward to bringing in some of my favorite figures as characters, such as Lucy Stone, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Victoria Woodhull. You’ll find a somewhat altered Abraham Lincoln as well, who has made a terrifying choice in order to win the Civil War, one that will affect the country for decades, possibly centuries, to come.
The story is inspired by the television show, Wild Wild West, which was steampunk back before anyone knew the term. The pair of Pinkerton agents in the story have already appeared in one other story, and I suspect there’s plenty more of their adventures lurking in the wings.
Here’s the first few paragraphs:
Frenzies of gingerbread adorned the houseâ€™s facade, but it was splintery, paint peeling in long shaggy spirals that fuzzed the fretworkâ€™s outlines. The left side of the house drooped like the face of a stroke victim, windows staring blindly out, cataracted with the dusty remnants of curtains.
Agent Artemus West thought that it would have given a human man the chills. He glanced back at Elspeth to see how she was taking it, but her face was chiseled and resolute as a firemanâ€™s axe.
â€œYou all right?â€
She swabbed at her forehead with a bare forearm, leaving streaks of dark wet dirt. â€œThank your lucky stars youâ€™re mechanical and donâ€™t feel the heat,â€ she rasped.
Hot indeed if enough to irritate her into mentioning that. He chose to ignore it.
The house sagged amid slumping cottonwoods, clusters of low-lying trees, their leaves ovals of green and pale brown. Three stories, and above that, two cupolas thrust upward into the sky, imploring, the left one tilted at an angle. The wind whistled through the fretwork, a shifting, hollow sound, like a jugâ€™s mouth being blown across. There had once been a flower garden towards the back. Weeds had claimed most of it, but the papery red heads of poppies blazed among the tangle. The sky stretched high and blue and hollow overhead.
If you’d like to read the rest, you can! Make a pledge as small as $1 per story, and you’ll get two original, unpublished stories each month from me, along with commentary. The next story, appearing in two weeks, will be contemporary horror.