Ivan's soot blackened face appeared through the torso hatch, his grin seemed whiter than ever and his oily glove served only to smear the sweat-slick black across his chocolate skin, "she's holding this time, yer majesty."
"Very good!" Edward pored over the schematics, looking up occasionally at the hulk before him, "looks like the pressure's a bit high on the right bicep."
He strode over to the machine with a wrench as large as his arm and loosened a copper tap. There was a subtle shift in the hiss of steam surrounding the goliath and the right arm relaxed a little, "there, that's better."
"OK, Ivan," their eyes met, they both knew how important this was, "let's take her up." He nodded gravely at the mechanic and stepped back.
The hatch swung shut and for a short while there was nothing. Then the sibilance mounted and the shroud of white mist about the machine thickened. With a great groaning of stressed metal and grinding of gears the Victorian monstrosity rose from its haunches and stood tall, dwarfing the King.
He looked up in awe and determination, "we'll bloody teach those bastards not to mess with England."
A Children's Poem
Xero's insomnia RemiX
Only sheer necessity compels these paled people from their doors. Outside, they move too quickly, glancing always about themselves, stricken with fear's awkward puppetry. And when the light slides from the rooftops, they slink indoors. They lock themselves firmly within and anyone that steps outdoors after dark doesn't step inside again; but some slice of the night in their skin might.
Even the wind barely dares to blow here, timidly herding dry rubbish down streets empty of all but the fearful hush of anticipation. Then suddenly scattering and skittering away into cracks and corners as it comes all against a presence unexpected: the puppeteer's patron.
It seems a man, but in this place where men are afraid, he walks alone, calmly and comfortably. He wears his scuffed sable suit with ease, although it hangs a little loose from his long thin frame. He could carry a cane, and carry it well, yet he keeps company with nothing but his clothes and the clustering shadows.
If you weren't cramped in your bed with cold fear, you could watch him walk by; you could watch him trail his talon-like fingers teasingly along the walls, see the shadows of lost men curl about his touch and unfurl in his wake.