Posts Tagged ‘Steampunk’

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Cast of Wonders 429: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 5


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 – Part 5

Once he was out of the hotel, Simms decided to make his walk a long one. The night air was pleasantly cool, and the parks in this section of the city were quite well maintained. It was nice to, for once, be able to take a stroll on a level path and without having to carry a machete as a precaution besides. The streetlights had come on and the streets were beginning to surge with people headed to supper appointments as he finally turned back toward the hotel, Chippy still eagerly bouncing ahead of him. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 428: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 4


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

“…and I’ve written it all down here,” Simms said, offering a tattered notebook to the Captain. “After a while, all the speculation got so wild I couldn’t keep track of it all. There wasn’t a single name that showed up on the list more than twice, I checked.”

“Mmm.”

Simms waggled the notebook at her, trying to draw attention away from her gently steaming coffee cup. They’d met up in one of the many coffee shops they routinely used for that purpose. Captain Ramos had entered with an exhausted, panting Chippy tucked under her arm like a purse and set him in her lap as soon as she’d sat. The little dog had proceeded to fall into boneless sleep, the Captain’s hand idly tracing figures on his pale little forehead. It was all very odd, disquieting almost. In Simms’s years of knowing her, Captain Ramos had never showed any sort of interest in animals, let alone affection—and hadn’t she been all set to shoot the poor thing before?

Though far more disturbing was the fact that she didn’t seem to be listening to him, in a real sense, rather than that studied nonchalance with which she normally took reports, indicating her mind was working furiously.

“Captain?” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 427: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 3


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1Part 2 – Part 3

Simms had greeted his change of costume with relief, finding himself far more comfortable in the clothes of a lower-class laborer than those of a gentleman. He felt nearly buoyant after ridding himself of the hated collar and turned his energy fully to the task of finding out more about Clementine Nimowitz’s missing maid. Or as the Captain often put it, “Turning over all of the obvious and boring stones.” This was fine with Simms; boring was his loudly proclaimed preference. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 426: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 2


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1 – Part 2

They met Elijah among the warehouses not too far from Union Station. He’d brought one of the more innocent looking railcars down from the mountains and thus was able to berth it along the public tracks. Elijah Masterson was a man of medium height and untidy habits, though today he seemed particularly untidy, perhaps because he’d been called down so abruptly. His brown hair stuck out in untamed curls and a shadow of stubble decorated his chin. He wore a rumpled brown-checked shirt, one sleeve half rolled-up, and a vest he hadn’t bothered to button, no jacket in sight.

Or, Simms thought upon a closer look at the younger man’s rather red eyes, today he wasn’t so much untidy as quite hung over. This really only served to affirm Simms’s decision to give him this task. It’d certainly keep him out of trouble.

Elijah still offered the Captain a snappy salute, after first glancing around to confirm that they were alone. “Sir, I was told you had an important task for me.”

Captain Ramos waved a hand dismissively. “Oh indeed, Mister Masterson. Simms?”

Obligingly, he held Chippy out toward Elijah. The tiny dog began to squirm, yipping excitedly at the prospect of making a new friend. “Here you go.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 425: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 1


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

It was a perfectly ordinary parlor, nicely decorated, pale lace doilies sitting atop furniture done in heavy brown and gold brocade. The general color scheme was maroon and brown, with enough pink and yellow accents to keep it all from seeming too heavy or dark. While many such parlors were given to clutter as the wealthy owners attempted to display both their taste and overflow of cash with countless bits of frilly golden bric-a-brac, this one was neat and carefully tended, enough empty space around objects to draw the eye and invite inspection without being overwhelming. It was austere and quietly dignified.

The careful effect of the decorating was, quite unfortunately, spoiled by the body majestically putrefying in the center of the rich carpet, a petite pistol with a mother-of-pearl grip still sitting in its lax hand. Even more disturbing to the serenity of the parlor was the shockingly tiny dog that stood next to the body, the white fur of its muzzle rusty with old blood. The little animal growled in what was presumably a threatening manner, though it sounded more like a teakettle burbling than anything else. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 398: Staff Picks 2019 – Take Heart


Take Heart

by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Magdalena perched on the edge of a flimsy folding chair, fingers knotted. The overseer’s office reverberated with the movement of the factory: a steady, pounding rhythm that made up the heartbeat of the city of Tammin. She focused on the way the inkwell trembled, rather than on the overseer behind the desk. The woman who held Magdalena’s past—and immediate future—in her hands.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 374: Take Heart (Part 2 of 2)


Take Heart (continued)

by Claire Eliza Bartlett

The break had been clean and would heal up nicely. That was the good news. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 373: Take Heart (Part 1 of 2)


Take Heart

by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Magdalena perched on the edge of a flimsy folding chair, fingers knotted. The overseer’s office reverberated with the movement of the factory: a steady, pounding rhythm that made up the heartbeat of the city of Tammin. She focused on the way the inkwell trembled, rather than on the overseer behind the desk. The woman who held Magdalena’s past—and immediate future—in her hands.

The overseer wore a severe blonde bun, a high-collared dress, and a frown. She leaned over and lit a gas lamp on the desk with a flash of spark magic from her fingers, pushed aside the little sign that said Mrs. Vorona, and held Magdalena’s papers up to the light.

“I see why Mrs. Uchenka recommended you,” Mrs. Vorona said at last. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 337: Silkstrand, A Minute Of


Silkstrand, A Minute Of

by Anton Stark

Imperial Majesty, Lord-for-Countless-Years, Son of Heaven, Ruler of Industry and Wisdom; this your servant Cai Jing of the Ministry of Works greets you. As per your Imperial Decree, I have compiled the following report on the matter of Master Su’s Clock and its abnormal behaviour. The facts of the case, as far as truth has presented itself, are as follows: (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 260: Contractual Obligations

Show Notes

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Contractual Obligations

by Jaime O. Mayer

Jiasi gripped the heavy skate, her eyes flicking first to the rust-spotted blade attached to the sole, then back to Emmaline, who watched her with a mischievous smile. “Maybe this is a bad idea.”

Emmaline rolled her eyes, a chuckle escaping her lips.

They sat on a lakeside bench while dozens of Valorie City’s citizens enjoyed the wintry morning. Children raced each other across the frozen surface, giving a wide berth to a pair of young men working on a broken down steamhorse midway through a sleigh ride. Jiasi recognized the Drayden coach by sound rather than sight; there was no mistaking the shrill, nasal whine of Lady Drayden as she barked orders at the men and criticized her daughter in the same breath. “Work faster! Allianne, stop waving your arms like a drunkard.”

Allianne’s response, voice light as her straw-colored hair, was inaudible as she wobbled around in a circle, arms held out for balance.

Emmaline’s lips quirked up in a smile. “A dance routine on ice? It’s an excellent idea.” She plucked the skate from Jiasi’s hands. “We just shouldn’t have said it where the Drayden Dragon could hear.”

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 188: Above Decks (Staff Pick 2015)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge our batteries, plan the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes. As part of joining the Escape Artists family, this year we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re running 10 staff pick episodes over the month, each one hosted by a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew.

We hope you enjoy slush reader and community manager Dani Daly’s favorite story from 2015, Above Decks by Terry Ibele and narrated by Phil Lunt. The story originally aired August 23, 2015 as Cast of Wonders 175.


Above Decks

by Tery Ibele

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

It felt like I had been here forever. A punishment for a crime I didn’t commit. Still, it was necessary just to save a few coins to buy a measly meal. Every day was grueling and today was worse. The muscles in my arms felt like they were going to snap. My shovel dropped to the floor with a clang. Sweat dripped into my eyes as I dared a quick break. The other boys kept shovelling. The huge furnace bulged as it was fed. Hot red steam billowed out of its pipes and clouded the air. Pulling off my shoes, I sat in a lump of coal and rubbed my aching feet.

“What are you doing?” whispered the boy next to me. “You’ll get us-“ The door burst open with a violent bang that sent a shiver up my spine. A large figure filled the doorway, blurred by the steamy air. It was the Coal Master. He was a black silhouette against the light pouring in from the deck. The dirty wooden floorboards shook as he stomped in. My heart beat so fast it nearly flew out of my chest.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 185: Marley and Cratchit

Show Notes

Thanks for listening, and from all of us we wish you the merriest of holidays and a happy new year!


Marley and Cratchit

by David Steffen

STAVE 1: THE MARVELOUS MACHINE

In those days Jacob Marley was full of life and vigor.  His smile shone so that anyone who saw him soon smiled widely in return.  A moment in his presence would make one’s worst burdens seem lighter. His optimism and generosity brought out the best in others, catching easily as a torch in dry straw.

(Continue Reading…)