A Blue Heart
Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
A Blue Heart
Nell was fed up with waiting. She watched the indigo skies night after night, but he failed to return.
She smoothed down her combat trousers, and buckled up her boots.
He’d told her to be patient that he’d seen her future and it was good.
She sighed as the building vibrated with the closeness of the dirigible flying low overhead, and she imagined the vibration and hum, desperately trying to change it to fit…
She expertly ran her fingers up her weathered, leather jacket, tightening buckles. She was ready, even if he wasn’t.
She grabbed her Derringer, and checked its barrel before closing the breach and engaging the safety. Nell cast a glance out of the window one last time before she flicked the ugly generator’s switch, extinguishing the light, and strode out of the door. “Damn you,” she muttered as she clattered down the iron stairs and out into the street.
Mist shrouded the road and gas lamps were halos of light amid the haze. Nell wandered, her fingers reaching up to her neck, stroking the blue heart at her throat. Its silver cogs and contorted wires reminded her of the complicated man who’d given it to her and she smiled. She walked, restless, her eyes flickering over the glistening pavements and her ears listening over the sound of the train on the track behind her.
He’d caressed his bow tie, bowed low and told her to watch her heart, her blue heart, but wouldn’t give her another word, didn’t want to spoil anything. Then he’d gone.
Was one adventure all a girl got?
A scream echoed through the night and Nell ran. The chill night air tore down her throat and stung her eyes but she ran all the same. The scream rang out again and Nell ducked. She stared, watching a dark figure dragging a young woman across the tracks. She reached for her gun, and chased after the shadows.
The girl lie limp in his arms and Nell swung into action. She brandished her pistol and marched forward. “Let her go!” she ordered stepping over the rails. Fear was a thing of the past, she been through too much, seen too much to waste time on fear.
He turned and grinned, and Nell steeled herself. She only had two shots and they were only any good at close range. She closed in, still clasping the pistol in outstretched hands. “Let her go,” she repeated.
The man silently cast his hostage aside and in one quick, unexpected movement had Nell in a head-lock, one hand twisted up behind her back and the other still clutching her useless weapon.
Fear came flooding back.
Her pendant tightened against her skin, its chain choked her and began to cut into her throat. She dropped the pistol and grabbed at her necklace, but it was too tight and she began to lose consciousness.
Her eyes bulged and her breath caught and her ears drummed.
The throbbing sound built, humming, hissing, throbbing…until a hefty motorbike roared up the gravel and squealed to a stop, spitting grit. Exhaust smoke filled the air and shouts rang out, followed by shots.
Nell dropped to the ground, clutching at her throat. She stared behind at the mound that had been her assailant and watched the goggled man in the grey, military greatcoat as he helped the first victim up off the ground. A small crowd gathered and Nell gathered her senses. Army Officers arrived and removed the body as her saviour approached, his hand extended.
“Jack…”he offered, “…and you are?”
“Nell,” she murmured gazing up at him.
“And this must be yours…” He opened his fist and revealed her pendant. He smoothed his short, oiled, black hair as he roughly pushed his goggles up onto his head.
She nodded, and accepted her blue heart from the man with eyes that matched the stone precisely. He glanced at his leather wrist strap, and pressed a blue button, and smiled at Nell expectantly as he revved his bike. She grinned and stared up into the indigo skies. Maybe a girl really was allowed just one more adventure!