I'm planning to keep this piece of writing for later, when I revisit my Steampunk plot line 'The Perfectionists'.
For now, though, I thought I'd share it with you 'as is': a scene from a larger story...
THE MECHANICAL MAN
There it is again: a soft click and wheeze, like a door catch released, and the reluctant movement of oil deprived hinges.
In the dark, her breath seizes, her imagination filling in the blanks, with images of horror. A shadowy figure, stooped and cloaked, sidling into the room.
She keeps her eyes closed, unwilling to accept the confirmation of sight. If she doesn’t look, he isn’t there.
A shuffling step, catching against bare floorboards: click, shush, tap; click, shush, tap.
Now she can hear him breathing, the mechanics of his chest overwhelming the silence. Bellows inflate where lungs should be, the tick of clockwork in place of a pulse.
Fear stills her body, limbs heavy and unresponsive, as she suffers that first touch: cold, lifeless, inhuman.
“I am here,” he whispers. “Give me the blessing only you can bestow; the touch of someone more alive than I.”
Her eyes snap open, wide and staring, as she pulls in a ragged breath and prepares to scream.
But now his hand is across her lips. The hinges of his fingers curl inwards, nipping flesh between them.
“No, no,” he says, in that same, rough whisper. “No need for speech. I require only touch.”