Stranded (Flash! Friday)

mechanic-63201-public-domainSaying hello to Round 16 of Flash! Friday from Rebekah Postupak (@postupak). Check it.

***

Word limit200 – 300 word story based on the photo prompt.

How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count and Twitter handle if you’ve got one.

New Deadline11:59pm ET tonight

Winners: will post tomorrow (Saturday) morning

Prize: A blazing e-trophy badge, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and WORLDWIDE AMAZEMENT AND WONDER (or as close as we can take ya to it). NOTE: Non-winning stories remain eligible for inclusion in Monday’s Flash Points. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for the latest news/announcements/dragon scale cleaning tips (note: if you were a dragon, you’d be totally cracking up at that last bit).

Stranded

She was stranded. Among clouds and moisture and too much space, Zatarra was stranded on a airship that was slowly puttering its way to the ground.

The captain was dead. In fact, he had jumped overboard. It had been a bit of an over-dramatic response to the crumbling state of his flying apparatus and the ruining of his career (as all the Genteel Proper knew: there was no recovering from an interrupted course).

Most people stood at wide, rounded windows: some silently stared out into the endless sky; others bemoaned the failing ship. Still, there was those that carried on as if nothing was happening. But then there were those like her that had bustled around until they’d been brought to the root of the problem: the boiler room. There was some confounded trouble with pressure or the steam engine or something or other. Either way, the problem remained, the only people who could fix it more concerned with watching their bleeding hearts flop about across the wood boards.

And the first mate stood with her crewmen, all standing forlornly in the shadow of their captain’s hasty retreat. He had made this ship heavy, and the great beast felt the weight, dipping and trembling like an injured whale.

Well, Zatarra wouldn’t stand for it. She tugged up her kid gloves (ignoring both the growing heat and the deplorable origin of the gloves–for the status it represented) and marched right up to the first mate, her skirt frame making her quite a formidable size.

“Lady Machinists and Sir Engineers,” she started (she was careful, as she used their preferred titles), “I know that you’ve faced a tragedy here today, but the captain that you cared for…well, that man who left you today wasn’t him.” She didn’t know that, but she had their attention. “And the man who he was, who be truly was, would have wanted you fine people to carry on. To succeed in his wake. To bring his ship home.” At least she hoped so. She felt the shivering slide of a bead of sweat slip beneath her corset.

There was a stirring. A murmur that grew into a roar. The first mate began to bark orders. A strapping, young men stripped his shirt off and began to tighten the most gargantuan bolts on a chamber.

Zatarra had to fan herself. “A job well done,” she murmured.

*

Right in at 399. And you’ve got twenty minutes to crank one out, too. (Get it? Crank. Like in a way he’s cranking the bolts…kinda…)

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