Danielle’s Writing: Steampunk Nightmare

Sometimes I wished my parents were poor.  Public school ended at grade five.  But no, I had to be born into a wealthy family, a family that could afford private schools.  Private schools went on to grade twelve, which meant I had another three years to go.  Well, at least I wasn’t a boy.  If I were, they’d probably demand I go to university, as well.  Not bloody likely.

I came to a crossing and waited, readjusting my bodice and tipping my top hat just so.  You never knew when a cute boy might be watching.  I waited until the last car went by, puffing its cloud of smoke into the London air, and dashed across, my heels clicking loudly among the chatter of horses’ hooves, steam engines, and socialite busybodies, my father’s pocket watch bouncing off my inadequate bosom with each step.

On the other side, I took a deep breath, and continued on.  I turned a corner, and heard a paper boy yelling, “Disappearances total to fifteen,” at the top of his lungs as he stood on his wood carton.  This sidewalk was busy, and I was jostled from all sides, assaulted by a hundred voices.  I shoved onward, plowing through the hapless crowds just as much as they were plowing around me.

I took another corner, and could just see Big Ben over the tops of the buildings.  Crap, I’m late.  I reached to pick up my shirts, and caught nothing but air.  Right, stopped wearing skirts because it pisses my mum off.  Shaking my head, I grabbed my pocket watch in my first, and plowed into the nearest alley.  Better take a shortcut, then.

Mum would freak at seeing me taking these shortcuts, too.  She had these ideas of me becoming a “proper” lady.  Yeah, like that’s going to happen.  I’d rather eat my spleen.  But Mum was determined to have me come out soon.  I started wearing pants the day after she mentioned it the first time.  The second time?  Top hat.  Third time?  I started exploring the city, especially the seedier sections.  Which was why I knew every single route between the school and home.

I took another corner at a run, slammed into something solid, and landed on my bum.  “Ow.”  I stood, rubbing my bum and checking for dirt.  “Sorry, mister.”  I looked up into the barrel of a gun.

“Night, night.”


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Photo credit: Thaddäus Zoltkowski / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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