For those of you just tuning in, I'm running my recently published short story "Dark Days in Bright City" in five installments for your perusal. The story appears in the November issue of Fissure Magazine, along with a host of other fantastic Steampunk tales. Don't forget to read Parts One and Two before you read Part Three below:
“Y-yes sir.” Hands of bartender shake when he serves me bottle. I try for disarming smile, but he scurries away quicker than greased clock gears. He probably thought he hid gun better. It will be if he follows advice. I stare at Butcher while I sip beer. If intelligence correct, Butcher and associate should leave soon. Associate is unimportant. If he resists I kill. If he runs I let free. Butcher is only one I care about.
Hand claps onto shoulder as smell of cigarette smoke fills air. I slowly turn on stool, and look into face of man in black coat. He takes two puffs from cigarette before removing from mouth.
“Are you Dmitry Radimov?” man says. I sip from beer instead of replying. Inside I curse lack of foresight. Of course government would know my face; high-level clearance for ten years meant Premier had record of my appearance.
“Come with us, Commander.” Man brushes coat aside to reveal long-barreled pistol on hip. I grin. If man read file, he would know threat is big mistake.
“Then I am forced to arrest you by command of His Excellency the Lord Premier.” Man turns to comrades. “Take him.”
“I think not.” I slam bottle into man’s face. He stumbles into other soldier. I jump off stool and punch another man. He crashes onto table of dockworkers. Burly men leap to feet and throw man aside. I bound onto table of sailors in mid-song. Sailors reach for me, but I jump to next table in line. Men in longcoats follow as I stir up bar. By time I reach door angry shouts of sailors and dockworkers fill room.
I land at door and look back. Men in longcoats are behind crowd. One tries to explain he wants through, but line of sailors lunges. Burly sailor lifts nearest soldier by collar. Someone fires gun and bar patrons scatter. Bartender stands at back with repeating rifle pointed to ceiling. I tip hat to man, and step outside.
Fight got my blood flowing; cold night does not feel as bad anymore. I curse at loss of Butcher. Plan was so close to happening. Sinov'ya shlyooh soldiers had to interfere. I stride across street to alley. Butcher still prowls city without fear. This should not be so; not while Sonya exists as mechanical monster.
I creep through moonlit night. Rain still pours from sky, while thunder rolls overhead. Nearest sewer entrance is two streets over. From there I return to shop and await next chance at capture of Butcher. Chug of carriage engine on next street gives pause.
Steam flows from beneath high-mounted vehicle. Rubber wheels bounce slow along cobbles as carriage drives near. Is smart driver; streets not good in this section of city for many years. Black-lacquered body of vehicle gleams ebony in moonlight, while brass decorations burn gold under lightning. Clean lines and sleek body impress craftsman sensibility. Machine is gorgeous example of proper design.
Callarion eagle is emblazoned on carriage nose. I step back into deeper shadows. Eagle means government employee, which means trouble if I am seen. Carriage passes, and I glimpse Butcher’s face through window. I stare after carriage.
Monday: Part Four of "Dark Days in Bright City." Stay tuned!