Dirty Goggles: The Apothecary’s Art

This is probably the most difficult contest I’ve been part of…Steampunk and Dieselpunk…I’m a huge steampunk fan, but writing it’s another matter altogether. It has, though, been lots of fun!
This is for the Dirty Goggles Blog Hop, put together by Ruth, Jenn, and Steven.

The Apothecary’s Art
698 Words
Lisa Shambrook
Safe Content

The Apothecary’s Art

Razor-sharp claws hung just shy of his eye and a bead of sweat slipped down his cheek as his brass-topped cane clattered to the floor. The dragon hovered, its leather wings beating a rhythm of their own and armoured spines glinting down its shimmering, metal back. It clicked and whirred and glanced at the watching girl.

“Could you call it off…please?” Anxiety rippled in the stranger’s voice and Elspeth smiled.

“Why are you in my shop?” she asked.

“Looking for you…” he replied as the clockwork dragon flapped its wings and dipped closer.

“After closing?” Elspeth stared at his long, dark hair, and the top hat now lying abandoned on the dusty floor. He struggled to maintain his awkward position, pressed against the medicine cabinet, and she knew beneath his floor-length coat lurked fear. “Who are you?”


This is a preview to the story that can be found within A Symphony of Dragons. You can find this enchanting book of short stories in many outlets in both paperback and eBook or at my publisher BHC Press.

(This is possibly the hardest piece I’ve removed from my blog, as I love it so much, but you can now read it in my short story book: A Symphony of Dragons)

I also won First Place with this piece in the Steampunk genre of Dirty Goggles!


27 thoughts on “Dirty Goggles: The Apothecary’s Art

  1. Rowanwolf

    I'm floored! Wow.. and you were having problems??!! Bah, humbug this was an absolutely sheer shimmering delightful dance of love and deceit. I never saw the true end coming. Just wow, let me get off the floor and close my gaping mouth. LOVED IT! Brilliant, Lisa.

  2. Jo-Anne Teal

    Have you been waiting to overwhelm us with your steampunk writing talent?! Really, Lisa, this is a wow! You nailed the atmosphere, the storyline, the structure. This piece is beautifully written.Really loved it!

  3. Sophie Moss

    Lisa, this might have been a challenge for you to write, but I think it's one of your very best pieces! It is beautifully written. Really, really beautifully written. The story is solid, strong, and fascinating. There's a plotline here that I'd love to see you explore in a longer story. The character development is fantastic. And the imagery…ahhhh your imagery is AMAZING!! I would have happy read a piece by you where nothing happened but these strings of beautiful words. But you succeeded in creating a piece where a lot happened in very few words. I want more. I don't often feel this from reading a flash piece, but I was seriously pulled into this piece and want more. Congratulations!!

  4. Laura James

    Can't believe you struggled with this, it's soooo good. The imagery is brilliant and it flows so well. Could practically smell the concoction she brewed, and the ending – brilliant.

  5. Lisa Shambrook

    That's a gorgeous comment Sophie, I have a predisposition toward imagery, and really enjoyed researching the flowers and herbs for her love potion, she chose each one for a reason!

  6. Lisa Shambrook

    Thanks Laura, I'm so glad you got a story in too. I didn't think it was my comfort zone, but once Stacy mentioned a clockwork dragon, I felt much more comfortable!

  7. lizzie loodles

    This is stunning! There is absolutely no sign of struggle. You have such a natural ability for any genre you choose to write about. This is such a flowing, descriptive piece and the ending is jaw dropping. Well done chicken. xxx

  8. Jeffrey Hollar

    Very nicely done with the combination of steampunk and fantasy elements swirled together. It made for a very captivating read with a most unexpected ending. I've read enough of your flash pieces to know you were quite capable of knocking this one out of the park. You certainly proved me right on that account. Bravo!

  9. Pingback: The Extraordinary Art of Writing Short Stories | The Last Krystallos

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