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Chapter 1 Scene 1


Chapter 1 Scene 2


The inner gloomen af’ The Gastion Corp ClockTower ... a devilliously, suspinicious place for a meeting.

Master Einslow Barbierre n’ his Vaxon, Eliza Motif, were instructed on arrival at the Gastion Corporation, t’ take the ‘piston’tracken’elevator’ t’ the 21first floor.

The very top.

T’where the workings af’ The Gastion Corp’s haughted showpiece, clicked n’ ticked n’ chime coggened like an all’thorough heart pulsance.

The meeting was t’ take place on hi’ raftered glandenway.

Ms. Embley .Z. Gastion wore large bifeculars, tho’ was smallen’ af’ stature.

The 2two sharvenly attired figures silhouette’d the denk.

Eliza Motif, on Einslow’s arm, muttered t’ her genfar as they approached,

‘Built like a lettle ‘Munchner’cricket’ is she not, Barbierre?’

‘Only a foolen’ measures a clinket’s worth by their phesical make, Motif,’ Einslow said n’ added,
‘I hear she is a clindacteurre’ like none other in Hellsmoor.’

The darkt’ haired Ms. Embley lowered her bifeculars upon greeting, the voice was predictably lettle, tho’ authoritative,

‘I was expecting 1one. I have2two?’

‘My betrothed, Eliza Motif,’ said Einslow gesturing t’ his Vaxon. ‘We are twence.’

She nodded,
‘So I see. Hm ... a bold choice in a wymfar, I will say. A Vaxon comes with a Herricane af’ ill’temperance.’

Eliza grinned darkly tho’ said nothing.

Einslow raised brow,
‘I am intrigued as t’ what in all’bledden’ you could want with me? We have never crossed paths ... or have we?’

The smallen’ wymfar stepped t’ the edge af’ the glandenway n’ peered down momentarily.
She then turned,
‘No, Einslow Barbierre, you are correct. We have not. Tho’ you are known well in conspiratational circles as a deft’ hunter n’ soughter af’ the opportune.’

‘Hm. I am when it is a thing af’ interest ...” Einslow kept a chelted eye on the clindacteurre.

‘Let me cut t’ the quick, Master Einslow,’ she stepped in close, arms folded.
‘His name is Stamanuel Sourglassen. He was under our employ. He is no longer. We need him found.’

Einslow furrowed brow, ‘sorry, what?’

‘He quit his position?’ said Eliza. ‘You seriously called on my genfar t’ convince someone t’ return t’ work?’

‘Vaxon, you were not listening ... we need him found.’ Ms. Embley scaded.

Einslow cut in,
‘He disappeared?’

‘He left us. N’ has not returned. Is not at his place af’ residence ... we have checked. He is not in Ecliption City at all.’
Ms. Embley had a look af’ the pale grimmen.

‘Relations?’ Einslow queried, as he saw his Vaxon fold her arms - she was ready t’ turn n’ leave.

‘He has none. Stamanuel’s history is af’ the mysterre’macabra I am afraid.’

Sensing she was losing their curiose she stepped in closer again n’ spoke fast,

‘He owns a mind af’ utmost intrinklacy. Integral t’ The Gastion Corporation. A gadgeter like no other. His work with gazmanelectrelogy is unequalled. An unfathomable loss. Has caused hi’sterics among the board.
‘No one ever leaves The Gastion Corporation - s’is so hard t’ get in ...’ she shut her eyes. ‘Not ever. He has vanished phantasmagorically!’

‘I am not af’ detectuerre, Ms. Embley. I do not chase down missing clinkets!’

‘O, I think you are far more than a detectuerre, Einslow Barbierre!’
She held his gaze as if her very existence would cease if she didn’t.
‘You are what we need.’

Eliza phesically shifted the wymfar away from Einslow with an intentive left arm n’ relled,
‘This seems like absolute hotchcance, wymfar! What af’ payment for such a mission, eh?’

Ms. Embley spoke, only t’ Einslow,
‘I have done my research, Einslow, I know you are af’ wealth. N’ anyone af’ wealth needs things af’ aetherworthiness t’ prompt them ...’

Einslow grinned, ‘Hm, I like where this is headed, do go on.’

‘Payment af’ the first ever Gastion Clock - handmade by none other than the Great Lordnan .T. Gastionbury.’

Einslow beamed, ‘O!’

Ms. Embley was not done.
She gestured t’ the hi’surrounds,
‘N’ a 45th percent’ sharen’ in The Gastion Corporation ... I have the other 55th.’

Eliza inhaled sharply; eyes darting between her betrothed n’ Ms. Embley .Z. Gastion.

Einslow seemed hard af’ speech.

So she spoke for him -
‘Do not mind Barbierre - his mind coggin is ticking away incessantly like it always does ...
‘Wymfar, if this ‘missing conglorified configular’ means that much t’ you - we bledden accept!’


Chapter 1 Scene 3


Cresp night.

The Arvery Warehousen - Nor’Nor’East Ecliption City.

Mr. Ordan Orville Arvery - on’seller af’ penched or seized, after’marketed’
Had been about t’ travel on his grey, twence wheeled beasten’ the
‘McKellener ’Gremlin 500’. He was ready kitted in his fliteleathers, ridecapen n’ Amplin 7seven buckle boots.
It wasn’t t’ be tho.
At least not straight unst.
He spotted the whiten hi’beam af’ the Limford’Hydron’ Auto on’turn into his deaden’ended railen’road.

The auto was a rare one, n’ had one owner.
The tall’broaded genfar’ stepped out drivers side. As did his wymfar - statuesque n’ sharpe en’feminitte’.

He had heard he was now betrothed.

‘Don’t you ever sleep, Einslow?’ He called ather as they approached.

‘When I need it, Ordan.’ Einslow stepped t’ n’ reached for his betrothed’s hand. She gave her left. In her right, a yelling’redden glow crackled.
A cigarestte’.
Ordan trusted a smoker. The crutch calmed the manner.

‘Ordan, meet Eliza Motif. My investule hi significant.’

said Eliza as she propped 1one hand on hip n’ blew long fan af’ smoke,
‘Strong mane af’ silver you have there. Strong name s’well. Nothing whimsical about that. Do so despise when birther n’ birthee name a baben with whimsy. What was your genfatheren’s name, Orden?’

‘Grogan,’ Orden crossed his arms n’ smiled on’wry.

‘O’. Okay. Not as strong ...’ said The Vaxon.

Orden liked her well n’ plenty - a gloved fit for a hi’genfar af’ an Einslow Barbierre.

‘Yes, well,’ Einslow kept on, ‘Ordan,’
He gestured t’ the parked McKellener, ‘you look t’ be about t’ head off. Let us not stall you too long, genfar.’

‘N’ what can I do for you, Einslow? At this time. S’ been a long while since you have been by for a hand af’ ‘McKiffeney’ n’ spirits with the worke’lads, by the way ...’

‘Yes. We shall have t’catch up-’ Einslow nodded.

‘Ho! McKiffeney!’ Eliza exclaimed, ‘ you shall be dealing your Vaxon in s’well when that takes place , Barbierre.’

‘Be happy t’ have you along,’ Ordan affirmed with a wink.

‘Ooo. I like him, Einslow!’ Eliza took a final drag n’ butted on the concrete.

‘Let us know af’ the next game, Ordan ...’ Einslow said.

Ordan could see Einslow needed t’ get back t’ business. He glanced at his wrist’gastion’clocken’, - 3:237 apm - late.
‘Will do, Einslow.
S’ What is it?
Would like t’ ride soon.’

‘We have need af’ finding a certain genfar. A ‘Stamanuel Sourglassen’. Do you know af’ him? He has a mind af’ hi’gazmanelectrelogic n’ works in The Gastion Corporation.’

Ordan rubbed his chin n’ stalled with momentarialis’deflectism.

‘Do you, Ordan?’
Eliza said with look un’curiose, ‘I like you presently. Do not have me change my mind. You will appreciate my ‘for’ much more than my ‘against’...’

Einslow gave his Vaxon a siden’glance. ‘Er - she is quite right, Ordan. You will ...’

His Vaxon was obviously not a clinket t’ be trifled with. Would be best not t’ withhold.

‘Stamanuel. Yes, I have had dealings ... has bought parts from me. Mechania’wynchen gears, fleschen’bolts mainly ... lectric screpulin’globes. Some other harder t’ come by connectuals.’

‘All normal for a gazmanelectrelogicalist?’ Einslow queried.

Ordan nodded slow,
‘Mainly. N’ he is af’ brelliante’ mind. If he has disappeared - as I am guessing from your line af’ regulance - from The Gastion Corp, he would be nighnt’ on irreplaceable.’
Tho he had changed his ways it seemed af’ recent ...’

‘How so?’ Einslow said stepping in a smedge closer.

‘There is a new group af’ Left’Way’Mechanismics’, Ordan darkened n’ lowered his tone,
‘The Coven af’ The Metalia’Fatalitary’. All sorts af’ trouble there. Links with Staunchian en’Flux n’ others.
‘The last I saw Stamanuel Sourglassen, seemed t’ have taken up with them.’

‘N’ you sell t’ them, Ordan?’ Einslow said accusingly.

‘I sell t’ stay afloat, Einslow.’

‘Hm. Fair.’

The Vaxon geeged hungrily, ‘Where would we find this coven, Ordan?’

‘Back’Stappin’Rue - you know af’ it?’

‘Ha! Interesting. Yes, we know it well,’ said The Vaxon.

‘Thank you Ordan. Has been af’ worth,’ Einslow said.

‘S’fine, Einslow. Do not mention my name t’ the Fatalitary’ will you,’ he finished.

‘Will not,’ said Einslow n’ his voice echoed as the couple headed back down’rails t’ the awaiting Limford Hydron.

Ordan kicked his ‘McKellener ’Gremlin’ t’ life n’ let it rumble. Steam fezz’d the cement as it warmed up.
He watched the headlights come t’ life on the Limford as Einslow backed it out.

The on’seller opened throttle, jump’d the curb - n’ tore thru what was left af’ nighttime Ecliption City.


Chapter 2 Scene 1


Earlier ...

‘Bataskerville Rowe, Motif? Where’n bledden is it?’
A naked Einslow Barbierre said as his Vaxon, Eliza Motif, traced his lip with her foren’finger.

Hi’sex n’ rell had come upon wakening.

she rolled herself on him once again;
‘Genfar, given the bedding I just gave you, why is this at the top af’ your noggin?’

She pushed her naked weight on his belly then moved down sloew, kissing his chest.

‘I find it odd that we both have never heard af’ such a place that, is all.’

He sighed,
‘I do hope that beasten’ wymfar, Ms. Dirge, did not guide me errant, Motif ... she took enough af’ my currency for her minuscule trouble.’

Eliza sat up in gazed inst’ his eyes n’ grinned hungrily.

He cleared his throat as he found himself stirring 1once again upon his Vaxon’s willingness.

‘Well you did give her the money tho ... hmm ... my genfar ... mmm ...’
Shutting her eyes Eliza breathed heavily as she found his ultimate n’ began a smooth writhe.

‘Mmmm ... ‘ she bit her bottom lip ‘... your currency can buy your Vaxon a troupe’ breakfast once we are done.
Kiss me Barbierre.’

Later on ...

At the Miston’MaryCrombies Caffe’ on ‘Plights’Lighting’Way’ - the main street af’ Slow’KirkWitchen’Wood.

Einslow pushed on the belldoor n’ guided Eliza in an t’ a table. Was quiet.
They were served with deservant immediancy.
The couple were af’ hi’localage after all.

Slickened wait staff by twence - genfarren n’ wymfarren attended each af’ them.

Eliza lit Fiddlers Trumpitt as she ordered;

‘Shall have a slab af’ Fat Charred’Dough,
Sower with the gebblin on, Shell’Googen on fry - let the googen run af’ course, Potate n’ Burner’Onienne on the side, n’ your steaming choc’cohesional’caffenite.’

‘The Mary’House special for me,’ said Einslow, a mite vasted by his Vaxon’s order,
‘N’ a hi’mug af’ black’caffenite with side mallowenbiscuits, thank you.’

‘For you,’
the wymfarren handed Einslow cresp copy af’ the mornings
He nodded his thank you, fanned paper out, n ‘flicked.

‘So, Barbierre, as much as your Vaxon is glad that you dropped your careering train af’ mood’ruining thought when we were on ‘skin’ - have you a sconce af’ where we find this Stamanuel Sourglassen?’

‘Hmm?’ said Einslow.


He frowned,
‘O, accept my humblest, Motif. This newsprint is such trash.’ He kept flicking.

‘S’why I do not waste my screbbulin’ or my braun’gren iris’s on such pursuits,’ she said in spupped more cigar.

Steaming drinks were served. Eliza butted cigar n’ quezzed the server.

‘Thank you for your work with prompt beverage service. I, however am wildly hungry n’ would chew the hands from your wrists if they were sauced n’ plocksalted.’
She peered directly inst’ the wymfarren’s eyes,
‘Please, hurry. For your own safety.’

The wymfarren headed straight for the kitchen.

‘Ho! Motif! We have caught tropp luck!’ Einslow said n’ slapped the newspaper.

‘Divulge genfar!’ Eliza said eyes alight.

‘Listen!’ He sat up wick’t straight, elbows on table.
‘Is in ‘The OddBodge’ column - known for unrelated news away from Ecliption City, a little sad tho’, still ...’ he raced n’ read the title-

‘Sester’s Dead in New Mountain Town.’

Tragedy has struck in new pefedgeling mountain township af’ ‘Bataskerville Rowe’.

Wymfarren, Ms. Karrion’Lee Maroomenei n’ sester Meheifenel Maroomenei, have both been found emansatantly slaughtered in brutalle’.
The twence murders happened on days apart. Kin n’ any related clinkets have been ruled out. Motive is unclear at time af’ writing.
S’is a setback for the new township already struggling for acceptance among surrounding border towns af’ firmer establishe - ‘Potentamire’ n’ ‘Wahaverly Flats.’

Proof that nothing good happens in the mountains.

This reporter says, stay in the city.
Ecliption City.

‘Jaesus in his Chrestian Ice Charriot, Barbierre!’ Eliza exclaimed,
‘Who af’ cheek wrote that?’

‘O, that eld’screbbler, Hammerstein Flasken,’ Einslow said folding the paper n’ sliding it t’ his side.
He took a sip af’ his black’caffenite, n’ dunked a mallowenbiscuit.

‘Tho’ who would care, Motif. We have our break. I know af’ Potentamire.’

Meals were served.

Einslow watched his Vaxon as she finally sated her hunger n’ smiled. He lifted his knife n’ fork,

‘Tomorrow, we fly, Motif.’


Chapter 2 Scene 3


Aptly dubbed by its drivers ‘The VellHellion’.

The powerhousen-
No.416655 Dorgson Engine - stormed in t’ Bataskerville Rowe Station in hi’lit witchetter’hour.

A hevvlin’coated, pyre’hatted figure, strode down platform n’ waited for the drumble af’ the carriage t’ cease.

Stamanuel Sourglassen bided time feverent’- tapped laung fingers af’ chromen’ metalia round iron cane. He straightened his coat, smoothed left trouserre’ leg. S’was the most he had ever delt his wardrobe. Ever.

His eyes lit hi’.

A lone occupant,
the Dorgson’s only passenger, heft’d twin door open n’ stepped t’ platform.

She stood statuesque; af’ hi’ darkness. Wore hi’ n’ black vampling collar, leatheleurre streng’d boots Blinding white irises blinked thru’ black lash n’ beauticiously’incursive sculpted eyeholes. A look af’ fetching eville.

Her hi’harkness-
Ms. Perteshia Erstwell.

She was af’ rare Vaxon breed, from Hellsmoor’s Illian’East’Castle’region - the gemmed town af’ ‘Wollfe’.

Stamanuel leered eager.
Would be a joining.
Af’ twence purpose. Af’ twence minds.
He opened his maw in a too hungry smile, showing screw n’ bolted ‘t gum chromen’ teeth.

She watched him curiose.

Up front’ the driver pulled harsh whestle. The platform shuddered harsh’calamitous n’ the Dorgson’s pulsonic rumble drowned all sound.

Then ...

‘Perteshia Erstwell?’ said Stamanuel in the sudden still.

She pursed lips. Artherly gorgeous lips.
First word’s - a question t’ a question,
‘Why would you ask?’


She bent down n’ peered unst’ his teeth.
Then thrust her fingers violently n’ searched his metal gabble.
‘Hm.’ She grabbed his arm. They strolled.

‘I do not respond t’ obvious questions,’ she said.

‘Very well. How was your trip?’ said Stamanuel. He shut his eyes - ruing his mundanity.
He wanted her t’ be af’ mesmerisial’enchant with’ his very presence.
She wasn’t.

‘I will not respond t’ that either. You are a short genfar. That hat beinst’ the tallest thing about you ...’

Stamanuel breathed her fragrance. A warm wonder.

He didn’t like the comment on his metetric measure. Height no measure af’ his greatness.

She gazed out inst’ the towns heavy dark.

‘I have been lured here by your missive t’ me af’ promise af’ new clinket’machinia’metalia, Stamanuel Sourglassen.’ she reached down n’ rubbed his chromen digits,
‘I love your hands. I like your teeth ... I see small signs.’ She grinned mehevisciously.

He patted her hand. Encouraging.

‘Be sure that I will show you living gadgetry af’ the most herrific n’ wynormal. Robotetric abomination t’ the enth’. Miasmical n’ biotreppic’gasketry t’ all steam coggin.’
He lowered his tone,
‘N’ be aware. There will be death. Is inevitiblist. Has been already.’

She squeezed his arm,
‘Stamanuel. A thing t’ learn af’ a Vaxon. Death is never a problem.’

The two squantered in t’ Bataskerville Rowe.


Chapter 2 Scene 5



S’what it was called.
Merely bits now.
It sat ... disingadgeted.
Head off -depistioned, straung hands in stifled clawed remonstretion; scratched up copperen’ torso afloat inst’ bath af’ ‘Wetentersley’Branded engine oil.

S’was in back store room af’
‘COGGIN n’ CLOCK’ - Bataskerville Rowe’s only gastion’watch’n’clock’n’
lectrical repair shop.
Stamanuel Sourglassen’s ruse n’ shadow af’ a local business venture.

A 1st bot’ af’ Gastion build. Af’ mind coggin’cohesion.
It walked, he had it immobiled, was unst’ his control, well ... for the most part.

It did kill the sesters, Maroomenei.

Would have killed more s’well.

So he sneffled it away, unst the cover af’ doomenlight upon witchetter hour, twence eves’ back. Decommissioned.

Bataskerville Rowe was big for a smaul town - tho’ a smaul town, nonther.

As a 1first berth, the bot’ had done enough.

Next stage :
Fleshed gamadgetric n’ machinia alliance.

Af’ deadly twinst existence.

In Bataskerville Rowe, Stamanuel was the quiet n’ gifted fixer af’ a youthan’s ‘MickTicky Gastion’ alarm clocken’ n’ the hi’ brands af’ hi’priced Gastion’s ‘Cheswick’ n’ ‘SilverPigeantte’ wristpieces.

Just a clockenfixer.

The town had no idea.


Chapter 3 Scene 1


‘Mr. Oompappa Marklevvial’s Instrumented Orchestrata’ played a windfilled n’ tinny version af’ ‘Cleimhals Rhapsodesia in D’major’.

The lettle’lectrical act had a spot af’ permanence at the groun’floor cafe af’
‘Hotel Gavellier’Renown’, midtownen - Potentamire.

Master Einslow Barbierre, his betrothed, Eliza Motif n’ 1one ‘Ms. Medesteny Van Clary’, sat at polished charl’wood dining table on politely designed charcoal stained chairs.

Einslow sipped from mug af’ dark caffenite, contemplated a nebble on toast. Was still a smeet hungover.

Eliza had gotten exactly what she felt like - tho’ s’wasn’t on the menu - sow’fry, fried runny googen n’ butter’oniennes.
The Vaxon’s liver was quite the robuste’seeper n’ she was coming good fast from her nights bingeing.

S’was apparent Ms. Medesteny had already eaten.
On removal af’ 3/4 top hat, she fidgeted n’ ran fingers thru’ her breiren’sandy locks n’
smiled as she blabbulated with speed n’ length;

‘Have acquired you both a plethorante suite above. Widely best idea for you if you return t’ Potentamire most eves if you can. Is a spedful cab ride back down Hights’Mountain out af’ Bataskerville Rowe. I, myself, have done the ride many times per’ surveyance af’ the area. S’is fast. Af’ course there may be times when you think you cannot tho’ I would advise that you do given the trant’trouble brewing up in that town.I know you are more than capable clinkets or Ms.Embley. Z. Gastion would naren’t af bothered with you t’ take on such a mission-’

‘Wymfar! Take a bleddin breath will you!’ Einslow exclaimed. ‘My fecking head is pounding. That bledden lectric’puppeter’orchestra over there makes every classicalist piece sound like airy’whistling vomitus n’ I feel rather awry. So please!’

‘Ho!’ Eliza giggled n’ slapped the table as she lit a cigar,
‘Einslow Barbierre, you do so make your Vaxon happy when you lose your pliance!’
She turned t’ Medesteny n’ gave her a mocken hungdoggen expression,
‘Apologies for my betrothed wymfar, tho you were waffling away like a snezzed looner just then ...’

Medesteny looked on at them both glumly. ‘O.’

Einslow was af’ pale concrete statuette.

Eliza patted Medesteny’s hand,

‘S’okay. You are just an excitablist type n’ my genfar is under the weather ... he will make it up t’ you.’

Eliza then grabbed her hand sharp,
‘Tho can I just tell you - that kiss you stole on my mouth before at the dock? That was your very first n’ your forever last. Other than Barbierre, no one ever kisses these lips.’ Eliza ran her finger over them t’ show Medesteny exactly what she meant.
‘If it happens again I will bite yours off. Have you heard me right?’

‘I have,’ Medesteny peered straight into Eliza’s eyes. ‘Is out af’ my system.’

‘Yes. Let us not speak af’ it again,’ Eliza said n’ dragged Fiddlers Trumpitt.

‘Please, do move on,’ Einslow said.

Medesteny brightened, sat back with folded arms,
‘So, the murders af’ the Maroomenei sesters is quite the leacherbug in Batskerville Rowe’s assen, let me say.’

‘As it should be, twex,’ Eliza said n’ blew a slew af’ smoke roofward. ‘A sester’s murderance even in the vast Ecliption City is a bligh thing.’

Einslow took a sip af’ caffenite n’ gulped, rested chin on palm,
‘Have they a suspect? I would have thought Hellsmoor’s law af’ familiar n’ kinful justice would turn up a killer quickly.’

‘S’none more powerful,’ Eliza agreed.

Medesteny pondered,
‘No. Nothing apparent. I did hear a detail af’ ghoulin’ tho. The Maroomenei sesters cuts t’ the skin were made with great pressure with a blunt metal edge that made n’ Orror’ af a mess af’ butchery seration!’

Eliza raised eye tho’ said nothing.

‘N’ Stamanuel Sourglassen?’ Einslow said straightening in his seat. ‘Is he known?’

Medesteny nodded slowly,
‘S’is strange. The few that I spoke with have met him once. Just once. N’ have never seen him again. Was recurring with each af’ them.’

‘O? ... Hm.’
Einslow finally felt sober.



Chapter 3 Scene 3


Still hi’fal in Gastion Corporation facility ... riding down’inter on piston’tracken’elevator.

‘Ms. Mindy Seblimminer
is a wymfar af’ interest, Motif.
According t’ Ms. Embley, she is, or was, this ‘Stamanuel Sourglassen’s’ assiste in the Gazmanelectrelogical Department on floor 17th.’

Einslow Barbierre, was still reeling from news af’ gargantuant pay for what seemed a minimlisque task.

‘You do realise you are spouting’en’volumous like a feckling loon, Barbierre?’ said Eliza Motif as she pulled out a ‘Fiddlers Trumpitt cigar - lit up n’ spupp’d. ‘I wonder if I have ever seen you so behevelent! Find yourself genfar will you, eh?’

‘Ahem. Af’ course, Motif. S’is fair af’ you t’ say,’ Einslow agreed with a nod n’ bite on bottom lip. ‘Tho’ you have t’ admit my wymfar - this is a gift!’

Einslow pulled the gunnen’metal’elevator door open t’ the 17th.

Eliza raised brow, ‘On the surface it is a gift ... first let us see the hue n’ thrummel af’ this gift, Barbierre.
It could just be another hexen’assen’brande on both our shapenly derrants!’

‘Hm. We will see, Motif.’

The 17th floor was af’ all shadow n’ brown slep’linoleum.

Af’ messiness n’ a state af’ upheave.

Solid oaken’block desks covered in small pegadgetry coggin n’ bound manuals af’ hi’theorem.
Open cans af’ Citamex’branded disperserent n’ Brexxleys’grut oil sat on workbenches alongside lectric’ transentesterers n’ millitremetrical guagion meters.

‘Mindy? Er, Mindy Seblimminer?’ Einslow spouted un’officiously t’ the echo af’ the room.

‘Yes? Hello!’ The fairen’light voice was from well above. Both Einslow n’ Eliza peered up.
A caramel n’ white bockered backside n’ two legs poked out af’ masse af’ great coggenwork n’ crank’clockwheel.

‘O’ my Lorden Ovis - wymfar!’ Eliza gasped, ‘what in hellier are you on about up there?’

‘Wait. I will come down ...’ Mindy said n’ her tenk’hammer fell from her grasp as she stepped back on trodder’ladder, ‘Watch it! Shet! - Apologies!’

It fell at Einslow’s boot tip.

With a gasp she made it t’ ground. ‘Phew!’ She offered her hand n’ aspirated, ‘Mindy Seblimminer s’the name, welcome t’ the 17th.’

Eliza spoke first,
‘I would be Eliza Motif n’ this is Einslow Barbierre ... n’ what were you doing up in all that iron’gadgetry?’

‘O, all Gastion staff are required t’ maintain their elementalle piece af’ the Clocktower gear,’ Mindy gestured un’hi.
‘S’is a bitchingly hi’driven coggen
af’ a thing t’ power as I am sure you can imagine ...’ She added wistfully,
‘A dodente’ garguant wonder.’

‘Yes,’ Einslow said n’ got t’ the point, ‘so, Ms. Mindy, we are here t’ scond into the possible where’n af’ Stamanuel Sourglassen. Have you any mindin’enflux you could lend t’ aide our search?’

Her mood darkened somewhat. She folded her arms n’ fixed gaze low’n’down,

‘Af’ his desertion af’ The Gastion Corp? Af’ his desertion af’ his hardworking ‘shod’off’- yours truly?’
She wiped her eye.

Einslow nodded. Said nothing.

She wailed un,
‘He can feck off t’ the Quartzan Iron’gates af’ far off ‘Shet’Villa’Assen’Wipe’ for all I care!’

‘Ha!’ The Vaxon geeged n’ coughed on her Trumpitt’ tobacco.
‘O’ Mindy Seblimminer! I shall be using that! Shet’Villa’Assen’Wipe indeed!’

Einslow kept on track as his betrothed was the only one amused,
‘I take it you miss him?’

Mindy’s eyes hazard’d round the mess that was the ‘Gazmanelectrelogical Department’.

‘I only miss his mind, Einslow - the rest is about as appealing as a cup af’ whiter’doughwater.’

Einslow sighed - s’was not going at all well. The more Mindy Seblimminer spoke af’ the apparent genius, the angrier she got.

‘Well, had he been any different af’ nigher? Any strange behaviour?’ Einslow tried.

She touched her lip. ‘In general, Stamanuel is as rigid n’ bore’horren as the twenk af’ a ‘lectrollic swaung arm’.
Just a few days ago tho, I caught him on strange mimickness.’

She displayed the movements - scissor’arming n’ stiff’jointing legs.

‘He would twaust his neck like this as well-’

She jegged her head in short taut jaggeds.

‘I laughed at the time ...
‘Then he would sit at his desk in’folio n’ draught things ... that was odd.’

Eliza wondered aloud, ‘like mechanismic movement.’

Mindy nodded. ‘Yes. It was.’

‘Hm. I agree ...’
For the first time, Einslow raised a brow af’ curiose’.

A clue.


Chapter 1 Scene 4


Ms. Meheifenel Maroomenei.

A sleepwalker from a youthan’.

S’was dark,
2:396 in the pitch af’ a.m. -


She fell awoke on De’Havelin’Devillier Reserve in the little Hellsmoor’ town af’ ‘Bataskerville Rowe’.

Meheifenel peered roun’ reserve, herizoitial.
She had no bearings, n’ had lost her way like always on a sleepwalk.
She would find it again tho’ - like always.

S’was so very dark tho’.

The limp saggin’ branches af’ covernous ‘Elkener’ trees hung like wet’wetch’mops.
Air was so still. Hateful still.
As still as her new’n dead sester, Karrion’Lee Maroomenei.
S’was sad af’ her sester. S’was sad how they found her.

She furrowed her brow; s’was a sudden ‘phwizzing’ sound t’ her left.
The sound af’ boil n’ phistion.

Af’ curiose, she wandered a short way across the dewen’grass.

A figurant appeared by the stump af’ an Elkener - appeared feint at first.

A ghoulam?
‘Puh!’ Meheifenel geeged at her silliness n’ squinted n’ stepped closer.

‘Hey n’ you there ...’
she whespered.

She stepped closer again ...

The wet copperen’ head shone in dark’umbrance, glinting, even in the gloomen af’ the reserve. Bright silver glowing eyeholes af’ intrigue. A mouth, straight line perfectionate. Was it grinning?

It raised an arm af’ intricate metalias, all gear n’ gamadgetric rod n’ pulley. Fingers af’ crecking chromen.

A wave hello?

Another, ‘phwizz!’
Fresh steam piped from atop its head n’ ran’down’treckle its wet metal face.

She started as it stepped sideways out from the Elken.

S’was much larger. S’was af’ hi’wedth at the shoulders as well.

The mouth tipped up n’ howled all hellstrawn, full af’ rell n’ broil. Its eyeholes glowered all lectrical’enscence.

It spet wet heat her way.

‘No!’ She cried.
Af’ panic - too late.

The gamadgetric arm swaung af’ lightning quick pistion n’ cracked Meheifenel’s left cheek.

She fell t’ the dewen’grass with a winded cough’n’splut.

It launched from pinioned haunches n’ landed on Meheifenel Maroomenei, crashed her ribs n’ stopped her bauste from beating.

It howled at her with its metallic maw.
It pounded n’ tore her with its metallic fists.


Chapter 1 Scene 5

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Af’ slobbin township. A toe’step’east away from Einslow Barbierre’s own, far abeler town - Slow’KirkWitchen’Wood.

On sought for ‘The Coven af’ The Metalia’Fatalitary’.

Einslow’s Limford Hydron auto parked on cobblin’road;
couplin’ were on foot, trudging thru’bogg n’ fetid blonk.

‘Af’ strangen, Barbierre? Back’Stappin’Rue ... such a doggens’ assen’ af’ a spot t’ set up a gatherance’ af’ anything really,’ said Eliza Motif as she tepptoed stiletto boot thru the boggin.

Einslow slipped n’ had t’ steady, arms flung wide - ‘Ugh!’
He gestured hotly t’ the aether’-
‘Would be quite the planted idea if Hellsmoor’s central powers would get off their collective sloven assen’s n’ do something with this damnable town! A bleddin’ train runs thru this bog af’ a berg! Why, Motif? I ask you, wymfar! Why bother?’

‘O, Barbierre, you do make your Vaxon smile when you show exasperance!’ Eliza geeged.

Horded’ in between a 4foursome af’ ‘Witchetter Elms’, an unrooved n’ vacated property presented; grim n’ burnt out n’ vagriated.

‘O, af’ deplore, Barbierre ...’ rued Eliza.

A rusted emblem af’ a Gamadgetric Coggin hung over the yawning doorless thru’way.

‘This must be it, Motif,’ said Einslow with a nod.

Eliza lit Fiddlers Trumpitt cigar, ‘Barbierre, this is hardly an ‘it’ af’ anything. S’is af’ ceptus n’ ruin. Would truly prefer not t’ walk my hind int’ such a ‘Orror dwelling, frankly.’

‘Very well, Motif. Pass me your pistol. More than happy t’ delve alone if you would like t’ smoke your carcina’roller in peace.’ Einslow held out his hand.

Eliza gave the pistol over,
‘barrel has just been cleaned my sweet genfar ...’

Einslow left his Vaxon n’ entered ‘The Coven af’ The Metalia’Fatalitary’.


Einslow stood inside the shell af’ what was left af’ the above grounen.
He cocked ear.
Ticking n’ clicking n’ all’hellion af’ gruntnen’formistude could be heard n’ felt from well under the floorboards.

‘Hmm ...’

A single remaining wall held
a broken brickn’d doorway. He turned handle.
Inside s’was a broken brickn’d stairwell t’ an arslom’attic af’ dim’litten.

Pistol tense in hand he traveled down.

‘O’ af’ all the fecking’absolom!’ he prelled under breath.

The attic undergroun’en was af’all experimentalist ’machinian’peculiar - wymfar n’ genfar alike stood in various states af’ partial nudity bledden out from odd incisions. Turn’screwen handles, gamadgetric gasket n’ coggin, protruded from various junctions af’ bodies. Arms were twausted’ n’ contorted; muscularin tissue infused with coil n’wire in part mechanation humanishe.
Lathes turn’d chromulan’metalia n’ zapping lectric’ clock’gearen thrum’d.

From behind a rust metal desk filled with coggin parriferie n’ pellen jars af’pain relief; she turned on heavy iron’swivel stool, fingers t’ temple n’ hi’caustion.
S’was a voice af’ a certain smooth hiss n’ orror,
‘Ahh hello! A statlier! A walker from above.’

‘Yes,’ Einslow said stiffly.

She cocked brow,
‘You do not just stumble t’ The Coven af’ The Metalia’Fatalitary’. What brings you here?’

Einslow was not about t’ comment on the repelliant goings on - instead he got right t’ the point.
‘I am in need af’ the wheren’ af’ one Stamanuel Sourglassen. You know him yes?’

‘Your name?’

‘Einslow. If that matters ...’

‘Yes.’ She smiled then didn’t, ‘No. It doesn’t. I am Dirge. Tho’ that is not my real name ... ‘

‘That is fine, wymfar, l will never need t’ know your real name.’
He lowered his gaze n’ prodded,
‘Stamanuel Sourglassen?’

She clasped her hands together n’ eyed his coat;
‘You are af’ wealth.’ She licked her lips, ‘Mmm ... information from our coven does not come cheaply.’

Einslow rolled eyes n’ reached for billfold, ‘5five thou will suffice I would think?’ He counted the bills n’ handed them over.

She placed bills under bodice, between cleavage n’ eyed him,
‘Indeed .. Stamanuel was a member. Af’ hi’genius. He is missed ... eveloquently so.’

She peered wistfully over at the mechanical’gorgery,
‘A lot af’ what we practice at the Metalia’Fatalitary is af’ resultant af’ his willdenwork.’

Einslow, beginning t’ feel ill with all the fleshen’aparati on display, wanted out with haste.

He pressed,
‘Ms. Dirge. I have need t’ find him. Did he leave you with information on where he was headed?’

Nodding slowly as she continued t’ watch on at the savagery af’ her coven, she sighed,
‘Yes he did. He is continuing his practices...’

‘Where’n ?’

‘10ten thou’ ...’ she held out slim fingers expectantly, ‘... For such an invasion af’ an ex-coveners privacy.’

‘Thievener ...’ Einslow said n’ dug deep for more billfold.
‘I have 9nine thou’ - that will do you.’
He slammed it down n’ grumbled, ‘Where is he wymfar?’

Ms. Dirge slid the notes greedily, grinning all yellowenteeth, n’ stuffed her breasts fuller with the lucre.

‘Ha! Bataskerville Rowe, genfar.’


‘Bataskerville Rowe!
You should leave now. We are about t’ cleanse n’ oil’vein.’
She turned in her chair.

The exchange was over.

Einslow stood in the ‘orrorfull’ a moment longer, perplexed.

He had never heard af’ such a town.


Chapter 2 Scene 2


Vast airen’transetter dirigible, ‘The Ancellar’Alsla’ berthed from Geigers’Airfield at 7.983 pmnm in the dauntlight.


S’was on charter by 1one Einslow Barbierre n’ his Vaxon, Eliza Motif. Enroute t’ Potentamire, t’ a docking port, nearby t’ Bataskerville Rowe.


Hi’up over the Northern Devendener District; in metisculously appointed cabbiner viewing room, Eliza sipped from a glass af’ ‘Charles Spiffidica’ branded black port n’ spupp’d on ‘Fiddlers Trumpitt ‘ cigar. She recrossed her legs n’ shifted on the plush af’ the svelte leather couch. Slender fingers adjusted fly’dial on the mounted sky’croptical binocular,

‘Quite the bunched up bitchener af’ a metropol’ down there, my genfar. S’not a petch on Ecliption.’


‘Ahh... you are enjoying our lettle trip, Motif,’ Einslow grinned at his Vaxon.


‘Indeed, my genfar, this is quite the fitting transetter,’ she continued t’ goggel as she slewed more cigar smoke.


Einslow sipped from his own Vintneren’Savignon tho’ was not partaking in the scenia af’ outercolden’westernernen Hellsmoor.’ He instead listened t’ the subtle windy prell from the motors af’ ‘The Ancellar’Alsla’ n’ let his many thoughts drift.

1one af’ which he shared with his Vaxon.


‘Tell me your opinion af’ the deaths af’ the sesters, Motif?’


‘Genfar, I have paid them no mind. You know af’ my way ...’ said Eliza pulling back from sky’croptical binocular, turning it away on swivel.

‘We are hunting Stamanuel Sourglassen, are we not? N’ your Vaxon will never dwell on deadended’carcassens, Barbierre. You know that af’ me s’well.’


‘Hm. Yes I know, Motif,’ he swigged more Vintneren n’ shifted assen’ on parallel couch cushionerre.

‘Tho’ you know how my mind’coggin works, wymfar. Given what I have seen thus; at that bledden ‘Coven af’ The Metalia’Fatalitary’, they were the shadow’spect af’ company Stamanuel seemed t’ keep.’


Eliza interjected, ‘N’ he is an apparent shet’ n’ a derif’moodiner af’ a genfar, if his rather twelling assistant Ms. Mindy Seblimminer is t’ be believed ... n’ she should.’ ‘


I would have thought so as well ...’ Einslow said then darkened. ‘Motif, what those clinkets were doing there in that coven was af’ hi’visciousness n’ bizarre’machania’ perversion. Not fit for the iris af’ many. It was apparent that Stamanuel Sourglassen was af’ someone af’ hi’influence there,’ he rubbed his hands down cheek, ‘Coggin n’ gearing work cutting into flesh, their very practice af’ a result af’ his derrent mind.’


Eliza downed the balance af’ her black port n’ smacked her ebony stained lips together in appreciation, ‘S’wonderful drop af’ stonk that was ... I shall be having another.’


She reached for his hand n’ he gave it.


‘Are we in for more intrepidous’imperil, Barbierre? Do you think we are?’ She gave him a wink.

‘It is not just my slovvy state af’ intox’ when I say this...’


He peered in her eyes,

‘When you say what? Make me feel like we are not going t’ regret this latest owlenfurler af’ a mission I have slapped us with.’


‘Einslow Barbierre,’ she squeezed his strong mit, ‘Together, twence. We are af’ a force’unimpenatralle.’


She kissed him n’ sat back n’ poured another port.


‘The Ancellar’Alsla’ continued thru darken’ skies t’ward intrepidous’imperil.


Chapter 2 Scene 4


S’was af’ early misten amnm.
The dockport af’ the town af’ Potentamire’.

Einslow Barbierre n’ his Vaxon, Eliza Motif, stumbled from airen’transetter, ‘The Ancellar’Alsla’, with liquored’swirlen heads n’ meagre sleep.
Both had drunk the distillery’s barrow unst the journey.

‘O’ my mether fecklin’jaesus’on his cross’af’orror, Barbierre ...’ Eliza uttered n’ held her temples.
‘Is it hot or cold out? I cannot tell. That ‘Charles Spiffidica’ port was the acid af’ the devvlin. You should have stopped me after my 6sixth.’

Einslow shut his eyes n’ breathed deeply, swallowed dry,
‘Halting your liquor, Motif, once you are in full sweggin, is af’ nigh impossiblist. Would have popped me an elbow had I insisted.’

‘Ah you know my slosh well, Barbierre ... tho’ you now need t’ take your betrothed t’ be breakfast fed af’ ‘sow’fry, googen n’ butter’oniennes.’ Need greasen ... then caffeinate.’

The dock was quiet for the time af’ the morning; the only sound, the scuttle n’ ferriture af’ the crew preparing ‘The Ancellar’Alsla’, for its return t’ Ecliption City.

‘S’is ‘Potentamire’ town seems a mite sloew, Barbierre. Are we t’ find this much needed cafe at all? ‘An adequate lodge for this eve?’ Eliza stopped on the dock walk. Placed hands on hips n’ blew hard airen,
‘O’ that Charles Spiffidica ... a wicked port potion it was.’

Einslow thought he was faring a lettle better.
‘Let’s just get t’ the main road n’ hale down a Hanson. Will you make it, Motif?’

Eliza gave him a look,
‘Einslow Barbierre do not -’ She began, only t’ be well drowned by thunderous motor n’ clapped exhaust. Noxious smoke n’ steam invaded the air, as thru the mist a motorcycling ‘3/4 top’hatted wymfar brought her copper n’ gold plated beasten t’ a halt at their boot tips.

She pulled up goggles, took out telescroppin’ lens n’ peered westerly, n’ began a solo commentary,

‘Hm. No. Alls fine over there ... if there was anything I would have spotted it surely. Af’ course they would have seen the ship ... hard t’ miss ... hmm. I shall keep an eye on tho’.’

She lowered the lens n’ turned t’ take in a mystified n’ gaping Einslow n’ Eliza.

‘Well hello!’
She chirped. ‘Don’t you twence look both very well dressed n’ very bedraggled at the same time!’

Eliza took a step toward the wymfar,
‘Quite the smoker’bomber you have there, wymfar. Tho’ my genfar n’ I do not care for it at present - or its bombaste n’ hi’ carcin’smoggin - as we both feel quite ill.’

‘Who are you?’ said an irritated Einslow.
(Tho’ he did like the bike - a modified Vogler ‘IrronHawken’ if he wasn’t mistaken.)

The wymfar grinned n’ saluted them with a hat’tip,
‘Ms. Medesteny Van Clary at your service. I am here t’ greet you, n’ protect you.’ She lifted the lens once again n’ canvassed the port,
‘Er. All clear for umm ... no, yes ... yes, all clear!’ She lowered it.

Eliza shook her head, ‘Sorry, what? At our service?’

‘What is this all about, Ms. Medesteny!’ Einslow snapped.
His bonce now pounding. ‘How in all af’ Hellsmoor’ do you know af’ us? Who sent you! I demand t’ know!’

‘O’ I’d have thought you would have guessed that,’ she geeged.
‘Why, none other than Ms. Embley. Z. Gastion af’ The Gastion Corporation, Ecliption City!’

Eliza gave Einslow a look af’ incredule,
‘Barbierre, how?’

He looked t’ Medesteny,
‘Indeed how, wymfar? How would she know we were here?’

Medesteny stepped from her bike,
‘Einslow Barbierre, ‘The Gastion Corp’ have eyes everywhere ... you n’ Eliza are wildly important t’ those eyes.’

Surprising both af’ them she pulled Eliza by the lapels n’ kissed her mouth for a long length.

Shocked, Eliza fell back on heel,
‘O! What? Goodness- Einslow!’

Medesteny’s smile was warm n’ satisfied,
‘Apologies, Eliza Motif. I have always wanted t’ kiss a true Vaxon. Needed t’ get that out af’ the way.’

She walked back t’ her bike n’ kicked the stand.
‘You will need food n’ lodgings - I have chosen a hotel. A safe hotel. They serve a breakfast. Let us walk t’ the main road n’ hail a Hanson’Cabbin.’

A stunned, somewhat soberer Eliza Motif looked t’ her betrothed. ‘Barbierre?’

Einslow shrugged, ‘I have no idea what t’ say Motif. Not a clue.’

Medesteny Van Clary walked her bike.
They followed.


Chapter 3 Scene 2


In 1/2halflight.

In back store room af’
‘COGGIN n’ CLOCK’ - Bataskerville Rowe’s only gastion’watch’n’clock’n’
lectrical repair shop.

‘Fleshed Gamadgetria.’

S’was new bot, ‘Heathener’Auspere.’

Stamanuel Sourglassen’s latest bot’ af’ hi’ Gastion
was in its final stage.

from lessons learnt from the initial test bot’ ‘Grazelder’ channeled vast improvement in the new model, the next.

The bot’s sawcut’ clinket’cranium housed scopuling glass eyes af’ misted hi’end lenses.
A bronzed’buglephonic for mouth t’ lend touch af’ the bizarre when on predatory move.
Its torso’chamberen held rib n’ cartilage n’ an actual beating, clinket baulst.
Tendonation infused with rod n’ steam’pistioned pefedgelentry, operated straung arms thru’ shoulders into neck.
Legs af’ pinion mount metalia we’re still n’ need af’ fleshing, fattening n’ footing.

S’was all that was left t’ do.

The monicker, ‘Heathener’Auspere’, was chosen by visiting Vaxon - Ms. Perteshia Erstwell.
T’ keep n’ her favour,
Stamanuel had given Perteshia the honour.

S’was a cumbersome name ...
So he chose t’ know his new bot’ as, ‘HA’.

‘O! Thes is a great ghoulan, Stamanuel Sourglassen!’
Perteshia vehemexed, as she ran 1one long, black polished fingernail down the bots would-be enner’thigh.

With other hand she playfully twirled her long locks af’ silken umberance.

Stamanuel sat in practicalist chair watching her, biting down on bottom lip. Her straung beauty was a wonder t’ take in.

She peered his way n’ gave a look af’ hi’curiose,

‘Sourglassen? Where do you find this flesh n’ sinew? This cranium? N’ where do you keep such anatomic’ clinketry fresh?’

He watched her eyes.
S’was not disgust he saw in them. On the contrary, s’was a co’empellitary’toil that he could read.
He found it compelling.
Was this Vaxon warming t’ him further? He grinned wide, showing his teeth af’ shining metalia,

‘All parts were collected from ‘The Coven af’ The Metalia’Fatalitary’ - the very foundation af’ this research ... from the carcass’s af’ fellow dead researchers.
Hi’ experimentension can bring casualties ... it often does.’
He paused as The Vaxon moved up unst’ t’ him n’ shifted bosom close at his shoulder,

‘Do go on, Stamanuel Sourglassen.’

She rubbed his upper arm.

‘Err ... on death they were put on ice. I paid a sum for a mednighter’icetrucken t’ bring the corpses t’ Bataskerville Rowe.’

She sat down in his lap. He breathed her in.

‘Mmm, such death ...’ she cooed n’ lifted his chin with 2two fingers.
‘Your brilliance has this Vaxon all a’twetter, Sourglassen.
Bite my lips ... then kiss me.’

Stamanuel did.