Here’s a vignette from my current steampunk WIP for you. Enjoy and have a great weekend.
The Streets of San Francisco
© 2009 Suzanne Lazear
Kevighn walked the dark, foggy streets of San Francisco feeling defeated. Another girl had slipped right though his fingers. Again. Desperation filled him. The time of the sacrifice was quickly approaching and if he did not find a suitable girl…
It would be devastating.
The land had still not recovered from Annabelle’s suicide. Even though another girl had been found, the replacement sacrifice had not been enough. This cycle the girl had to be extraordinarily special, not just to satisfy the land, but to make up for the shame he still suffered for Annabelle. He was running out of time. Some of the lesser creatures were beginning to lose their magic; some parts of the Otherworld were growing unstable.
It was entirely his fault.
As the high queen’s huntsman it was his job to find one special girl every seven years. She did not have to be pretty, she just needed to possess the Spark. Being a virgin helped but was not necessary. Not that even the virgins were virginal when their time came.
Chosen girls lived a charmed life in the Otherworld, spoiled and cosseted by all. When the appointed time came, her blood was spilled to feed the land, the very magic that made the Otherworld. Without the magic, the Otherworld would fade away—as would all the magic creatures that called it home. It would affect the mortal realm as well. Mortals had no idea that the magic that escaped from the Otherworld fueled their creativity. If the magic of the Otherworld disappeared, their creativity would too.
He entered an older part of San Francisco. He liked it much better than the rebuilt sections with their technology and gadgets. No one was out and all he was alone with his troubled thoughts. It used to be so easy to find a girl with the Spark, convince her to run away with him, and dazzle her with unearthly delights until the magic bound her.
Already he had searched from Alaska to Fresno this cycle. Perhaps he needed to expand his search grounds. San Francisco itself now held a dangerously high amount of aether for those with the spark—and it was his fault. The earthquake that had destroyed most of the city six years before was caused by the Otherworld mourning for her lost sacrifice.
Tomorrow he would figure out where to head next. Tonight he would drown his sorrows in opium. Humans did have the vices down to, as they would say, a science.
Ah, opium and soft women. Yes.
That was exactly what he needed right now, and he knew just the place to go.