flash fiction, mechanical tenacles, steampunk, the sparrow's leg, thief, Werewolf, writer-opoly, writing challenge, writing prompt
This month for Writer-opoly, I got this for a writing prompt:
How do they meet?
And this is what I came up with, accompanied by an inspirational photo and a vlog of me completing all of my challenges this month:
“The Sparrow’s Leg”
The other guests had a normal mixture of reactions to her steam-powered tentacles. They were the perfect guise for her limp, the perfect distraction for her sleight of hand, the perfect ploy to get close to the baron and his master set of keys.
Jasmine adjusted her bodice, the thin boning not as flexible as she liked, but it did wonderful things to her cleavage, accentuated by the copper chains dangling between her breasts. It was stop two on the way to her face, where her charcoal-lined eyes with enhanced lashes and red-painted lips could be used as tools for persuasion.
And tonight, her satin gloves reached past her elbow to cover the mechanics of her fake arm.
No one here needed to know that Jury-Rig Jasmine crashed the exclusive party meant to charm foreign powers and businessmen, all of which held prized purses and trinkets to take. Many that have come close have lost them already, thanks to her third tentacle on the right.
Baron Brodsky, however, was her way to the private rooms in the back of the giant house and the sparrow’s leg that she meant to retrieve. Sure, while she was there, Jasmine would nab a few other objects that had high demand on the black market—the hog’s knuckle, the camel’s tail, and the rhino’s horn topping that list. All of which Brodsky had in house.
A tall, black gentleman in stark white took hold of her elbow, her left one, and smiled politely down at the copper ropes disappearing into her bodice. “Miss, the baron would like an audience with you.”
“Would he? Right this second?” Those enhanced lashes batted, and she let heat fill her cheeks.
“Yes. Right this second.” The man’s grip tightened but didn’t hurt as he ushered her forward, past the dancing couples and the tables of appetizers and spirits to a room shrouded in flowing cloth, hard woods, and copper accents. Sandalwood and patchouli transported her to a faraway place, mixed with magic and promises.
Jasmine blinked away the darkness and the expectation of seeing guards and women and others milling around the room, but Brodsky sat alone on a sleek white couch. It made the silky black of his suit pop against it. His dark hair and eyes catching the light enough to show their shine as she stopped before him, the steam from her tentacles lifting her skirts enough to be tantalizing. Her boots kept anyone from seeing her skin, but most didn’t peer beyond the steam-powered appendages.
Brodsky’s gaze moved like a physical touch, catching on every little distraction she’d employed before he waved away the tall man.
“Miss Gusev, you’ve created quite an uproar in my little circle of friends.”
Jasmine smoothed the boning of her bodice with both palms, glad when his gaze dipped to enjoy her deep breath. How did he know her real last name? “Have I? I suppose my little darlings disturbed more than a few of them.”
“Indeed.” Brodsky stood, showing her how imposing of a man he could be, bigger than the man who’d escorted her to him. “Do they part for dancing?”
She smiled at him, looking up through those lashes instead of tilting her head back. Fingers traced the copper chain to straighten a phantom kink, and pheromones dropped a more earthy scent between them. “I’m afraid they don’t. Sorry to disappoint.”
Her tentacles lifted in their own dance, showing him the way they moved and lacked accommodation for an intimate affair, but they did touch him enough to extract what she’d come for.
“That is disappointing.” Somehow, his long arms reached beyond her mechanical barriers and drew her closer to him than Jasmine expected possible.
Her gloved hands pressed against his chest as if she could force more distance between them, but his touch sashayed up the laces along her spine, finding flesh beneath her ironed curls. The room seemed to shrink from the heat of it, and Jasmine struggled to catch her breath.
“You, however, are not.” The darkness in his eyes parted as she finally craned her neck to examine them. The copper flashed behind them, and she realized her mistake.
Baron Brodsky was not a normal spoiled elite. He lived by the moon. The one full in the sky tonight. And she’d put herself on his alter for sacrifice.
“Now, tell me you cannot make those things dance.” He lifted the keys from her tentacles slippery grip and held her fast by the back of the neck.
“Can you blame a girl for trying?”