Thursday, 24 July 2014

New Iron Quill

So, as you might have guess from the title of the blog post, a new Iron Quill has begun! This is a monthly Malifaux fan fiction competition on the Wyrd website. This month is slightly different in that there is also a challenge you can get involved in. You can find the challenge here and the main topic here. Anyway, here is what I have written:

Brookes took his battered flask from inside his dusty trencher and took a swig of the fire whiskey inside. Meticulously, he took out a small silver box from another pocket and slipped out a cigarette and a match from another compartment, his cold grey eyes never leaving the body. As the whisps of smokes swirled around his gaunt weather beaten features, he thought about how he had always done this. At the start it was to try and burn the stench of death from his nostrils. He didn’t even notice it anymore. He’d been at this so long maybe he stank of death.

It was a few minutes until Brookes finally responded to his partner, by that time he had already filled a few pages of notes in his scruffy pocket book. There was so many torn out pieces of paper in that book now that you would never be able to find anything reading back on it. They had stopped asking him to fill out reports long ago, but Brookes was nothing if not a man of habit. Besides, he felt like it helped him think.

“Humans do monsterous things”, Brookes barely opened his lips to let the coarse whisper escape. Mal clearly had thought about what to say to this inevitable response.

“Don’ play stupid with me, ya know no ‘uman could’ve done ‘dis.” It was hard to argue with him. Brookes crouched down and looked closely at what was left at the woman’s face. Bloody, empty sockets store accusingly back at him. A twisted scream would now be forever moulded onto her face, dislocated and horrifying. Blood soaked her hair as it had poured from her ears and a crusted river showed where the torrent had ran from her nostrils. Though nauseating, these injuries were just the syptom of the true cause of death. Her brain had been liquefied whilst her skull was still intact. If Brookes had been a younger man he would he would have probably wretched.

“I’m an investigator, I catch murderers” Brookes growled.

“Ya know 'dat’s not ‘ow it works. I’m writing a report tonight and then it’s up to those half-mad Ortega’s to handle.” After the rant Mal relaxed a little. He undid a button on his sweat stained shirt and loosened his tie. “Listen, I know what ‘dis about. Pauline wouldn’t wanna’ see ya’ ‘dis way. Ya haven’t slept in days. Ya look a state. Listen, me an’ ‘da lads are ‘ittin da town an’ I t’ink ya should come. Ya should see the girl’s at the Qi and Gong…”

“That’s illegal and you know it Mal”

“Don’ ya go throwing ya' 'ate at me! Listen, if ya was gonna’ find dis t’ing and ya did kill it or arrest it like da mad basta’d ya is, what’s gonna’ ‘appen den? Nuffin’. Pauline still be dead. If ya god a deff’ wish, sow be it, but don’ ‘spect me ta’ help!” Mal stormed out and slammed the door, leaving Brookes with the corpse and his thoughts. Carefully and methodically Brookes reviewed every inch of the corpse. Then he saw it, just a tiny thing caught between her fingers which somehow hadn’t been drowned by the gore of what her fingers had torn out. A tiny tuft of candy floss. No-one had sold Candy floss in Malifaux in years and this stuff was clearly old.  He store at it a while wondering what it meant. Sure, he knew of the old abandoned circus, but how did the corpse get hold of it? The killer could have had it on them but it seemed too much of a coincidence, besides Pauline’s body had nothing on her. He knew, he’d checked over a hundred times. Someone was trying to tell him something.


Brookes lift his collar and pulled his hat down to protect for the freezing midnight wind. He stood in the open expanse of the carnival, the garish bright colours worn to grey age and silver moonlight. Large teddies turned to monsters in the shadows, it was as if he was merely 5 years old again, apart from the fact that he felt bone tired.

“Curiosity killed the cat, you know” The silken voice taunted from the darkness. A woman emerged, coalescing from shadow, silken hair glimmering in the moonlight and a seductive lilt to her step. “Normally men like you love showing me their weapon at this point.”

“I have come, tell me why?” The woman giggled, but the sound was chilling. She circled him, like a beast stalking their prey.

“You know, silly. You chase what you always chase. What you have been hunting all your life.”

“The truth.” He whispered. She tapped her nose and smiled capriciously.

“Why was your darling wife so far from home when she died? Where had she been? She had no reason to go where she did.” Step by step she approached him. As she got close he realised she was taller than him by at least a head. Her eyes were nought but darkness.

“What you really want to know is whether you had lost her already. You fought. You try to drown the memory in whiskey but your last words to her were sheathed in anger. The answers are all here, you just need to reach up and take it.” She stroked the box in her hands.

He store at the box. He had no idea how he had not seen it before, but now he could not take his eyes off it. It was as if his vision was trapped in the complex grooves of the ruins that scarred its surface. Completely entranced he had not noticed the woman place the box on the ground and slink away once again into darkness.

He could not help himself. One step at a time he approached the box. When he picked it up, the cold burned his hands but he could not release it. It was time to stop running from his loss, time to embrace the truth.


Mal stumbled into his apartment stinking of alcohol. It was several moments before he saw what the open door had illuminated. Framed in cold hard light, Brookes sat with a hat shadowing his face and a revolver pointed at Brookes. “Weren’ ‘specting ta see ya’ ‘ere, Fancy a drink?” His smiled was strained and painful and his grasping hand knocked the glass bottle to the floor and smashed it.

“Wasn’t expecting to be here”

The Following silence grew heavier as the seconds piled on. As minutes built up Mal’s breathing became heavier. Eventually Brookes lifted his left hand and placed some of Pauline’s underwear on the table. When he saw them Mal started to physically shake.

“Listen, I, I, I, wanted ta’ tell ya’. She came ta’ me. It weren’t my fault!”

“She was out late that night because of you. You killed her” Brookes’ rasp was drowned in sadness and hate. When Mal heard that his shaking turned into a bristle.

“No! Do not lay ‘dat at ma’ feet! Ya’ drove ‘er away! Ya’ always workin’, livin’ death. I gave ‘er somefin ya’ couldn’. Ya’ made her come ta’ my place and get killed on da’ way. Ya’ killed ‘er!”

Brookes lowered his pistol and bought his hand to his face. Mal almost collapsed in relief as Brookes began to sob. Brookes felt as if his chest was going to explode, his face felt like a cracking damn that could not let the water out quick enough. All of his strength, all of the barriers he had erected to shield himself came crumbling down. He needed air. He needed to scream. He needed someway out. As the truth struck him his sobbing stopped, clarity providing strength. The bark of the gunshot seemed dull to his ears, like an echo, something that had already happened. Mal died quietly, there was no begging or screaming or pain, mocking Brookes’ present torment. He lost his wife and his best friend, he only had one more thing left to lose.

Brookes could have sworn he had heard a young girl giggling just as he pulled the trigger for the last time.

No comments:

Post a Comment