Tag Archives: Dieselpunk

Dirty Goggles: Too Much Torque

This is for the Dirty Goggles Bloghop 2014 put together by JennRuth and Steven…This is my Dieselpunk story…war, romance and lipstick!

Title: Too Much Torque
Word Count: 793 Words
Name: Lisa Shambrook @LastKrystallos
Category: Dieselpunk


Tools and Wrench © Lisa Shambrook

Too Much Torque

Heavy boots clumped and Ruby’s spanner bounced, clattering onto the dirty floor as she glanced up at the intrusion. She skidded backwards, ducking behind a Spitfire’s propeller shaft as grey-uniformed soldiers swarmed inside the hangar. They’d arrived sooner than expected.

“What have we here?” murmured a voice thick with accent. She jumped as hands rested on her stiff shoulders and began to knead, as if her back was soft, yielding dough – it was not.

She yanked off her goggles just as her oil-smeared fist met with the soldier’s jaw, “Take that as a warning shot!” she cautioned still brandishing her torque wrench like a gladiator’s weapon.

The soldier landed in a puddle of oil releasing a string of vulgar German whilst nursing his chin and wounded pride. He scrambled to his feet, grabbed her hair and yanked her arm up behind her back, roughly frogmarching her across the hangar into the small airfield office. He threw her into the wooden chair by the table then hurried to the door to watch the parade of captured mechanics.

On her feet she spanned the room in only two steps. The soldier whirled around seizing the wrench as she threatened to bury it in his skull. He caught her hands, snatched cables from the shelf and thrust her back onto the seat. His knee pushed up hard against her stomach as he bound her to the chair, and her feral growl was lost amid the hiss of steam and piston thud.

Ruby snarled, and he spat then struck her across the cheek with the back of his hand. “That’s for this!” He pointed at his bloody split lip.

Minutes later the general and soldiers ignored her as they ransacked the office. Papers fluttered everywhere and tools clattered off shelves.

“You won’t find anything here!” Her words earned another cuff across her face.

Angry, exasperated words flew about the room and Ruby grinned. The men left and she strained her eyes past her guard to watch them through the murky window, as the general forced the mechanics across the hangar, towards the Zeppelins and Spitfires out on the airstrip.

“Leaving you behind then?” She sneered as the soldier threw her a dirty look. As he turned back Ruby’s discarded torque wrench crushed his windpipe. An oil-smudged man pushed the limp soldier aside and grinned at Ruby.

“Don’t just stand there, Steve, untie me!”

“I’m surprised you didn’t clock him with the torque wrench the first time!” He smirked, waving wire cutters. “I would have if I was a lady,” he added.

“If I were a lady, he’d still be waiting for it – thankfully, I’m not a lady!” Ruby glowered beneath a layer of engine grease.

“Offering thanks?” he asked, as the cables fell to the floor. “I’ve never seen you as the damsel in distress type…”

“And you won’t again.” Ruby jerked a tool box open and rummaged, retrieving a small black cylinder. “This is what they were looking for,” she said slipping the film canister into her pocket.

Steve grinned again. “I knew there was more to you!”

She peered out of the grimy window and reapplied Scarlet Dawn to her lips. The soldier at her foot moaned and she thrust her steel capped boot into his head. “We have to get out of here, you coming?” She slid past the door and eased behind the water pumps pulling grenades out of an empty barrel. “Take these and throw them when I say.” His fingers brushed hers as he took them, she caught his eye and for a moment energy crackled and Ruby’s defences caved.

She pulled her leather jacket tight across her breast watching his face as she shook out her dark hair. His Adam’s apple bobbed unconsciously in his dry throat as he zipped up his own jacket. She threw him a pair of goggles and slid hers over her head.

The setting sun threw orange blazes across the hangar and he squinted, blinded by the sudden light shining through broken windows. She swung her shapely leg over the customised Indian Bobber she’d spent the last few months working on, and beckoned him, curling her finger in black leather clad hands.

The bike came to life between her thighs, its voice snarling through the empty hangar. Out on the airfield soldiers turned, shouts rang out and gunfire echoed.

Steve leaped onto the back of the rumbling bike tightly gripping her rear with his legs. She squeezed the throttle. Tyres squealed and the low-slung bike screeched through the hangar and out onto the runway. “Now!” she screamed.

Steve pulled out the pins and threw the grenades and as the explosion resonated they were gone, flames licking at their heels, speeding out into the gilded twilight.


Photo Source: wikipedia.org Detail of Indian Larry’s Wild Child bike by Mike Arther. Cropped and customised by Lisa Shambrook with Instagram and Streamzoo

Blues Buster: Torque

I liked my Five Sentence Fiction: Goggles piece so much I thought I’d continue it for Jeff Tsuruoka’s Blues-Buster. The song prompt for this week is Kira Skov’s Riders of the Freeway.

Cropped and altered by Lisa Shambrook with Instagram and Streamzoo

“I’m surprised you didn’t clock him with the torque wrench!” murmured Steven, standing at a safe distance behind the bike. Thalia tried not to grin, but couldn’t stop her lip from curling into a smile. “If I were a lady, I’d have punched him a while back,” he added.
“If I were a lady, he’d still be waiting for it…thankfully, I’m not a lady!” Thalia raised a wry eyebrow. “You don’t need to wait around, I’m almost done.” She flashed him a glance and tightened up a nut.
He shrugged. “Actually that’s not true, when Danny gave you your marching orders this afternoon and you refused to go…he left it to me to see you off site.”
Thalia glowered beneath a layer of engine grease, her cheeks reddening despite the smears of oil. “I said I’d go when I was ready, he doesn’t get to order me about!”
Steven shrugged again. “He’s the boss’s son, and he did fire you…”
“Small detail,” she seethed. “Okay if you’re waiting, slide the tool box closer will you?”
The metal box grated across the concrete floor, echoing throughout the hangar as Steven pushed it with the toe of his boot. Thalia glanced up, her eyes flitting about, but he was right, everyone had gone.
Thalia stood and arched her back, stretching and working out the crick in her neck.
“I won’t offer to help,” Steven grinned remembering the crack Danny had received as he’d touched Thalia’s shoulders unbidden. She shook her arms and caught his eye, for a moment energy crackled and Thalia’s defences caved. She laughed.
Steven reached down for an oily rag and searched for a clean edge. He began to rub the motorbike’s engine, polishing it, rubbing in circles and Thalia looked on with feelings brewing inside she wasn’t entirely sure of.
She picked up her chamois, and watched him polish, his eyes intent on the metal and his tongue poking out of the corner of his mouth as he concentrated. The setting sun threw orange blazes across the hangar and set his thick blonde hair on fire. He glanced up, and squinted, blinded by the sudden sun. She blocked the light and cast her shapely shadow across the bike.
“It’s okay, I’m not going to hit you for polishing my bike,” she spoke softly and handed him her chamois. His fingers brushed hers as he took it and she inhaled deeply, unconsciously allowing his grimy, gritty sweat to permeate her mind.
“You’ve turned this heap of junk into something quite spectacular,” he said as the soft leather stroked the customised Indian Bobber.
She watched again as the engine began to shine beneath his deft fingers.
“You know we could take it out…” she began.
“It’s not yours…” He grinned as her eyes sparkled even in the gloom of shadow.
“I know, but I’m sacked and I’m not coming back, are you coming back tomorrow?”
His heart raced. If she left, there’d be nothing left to come back for.
She grabbed her leather jacket and pulled it tight across her breast, buckling it up and watching his face as she shook out her dark hair. His Adam’s apple bobbled unconsciously in his dry throat and then he was zipping up his own jacket. She threw him a pair of goggles and slid hers over her head and over her eyes.  Her boots clipped on the concrete and she swung her leg over the low-slung bike.
It came to life between her thighs and growled, its voice snarling through the empty hangar.
Thalia glanced at Steven and pulled on her soft, fitted gloves as it purred beneath her. She curled a finger at him and smiled.
Her teeth shone in the evening glare and Steven knew he’s been snared.
He climbed upon the back of the rumbling bike and closed his legs around her rear. His arms, hesitated for a moment, then stretched around her waist and she squeezed the throttle.
Moments later they were gone, headed up the vast, open freeway, with only memories left behind.

(676 Words)

Five Sentence Fiction: Goggles

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook, using Instagram and Streamzoo (Please do not use without permission)

Thalia’s spanner bounced and clattered across the hangar’s dirty floor as she wiped the back of her greasy hand across her brow; she emitted an exasperated growl which was immediately lost amid the hiss of steam and piston thud. She closed her eyes, leaned over the grimy engine, and rotated her shoulders trying to release the afternoon’s pent up tension.
She tensed all the more as unannounced hands rested on her stiff shoulders and began to knead, as if her back was soft, yielding dough – it was not.
She yanked off her goggles and slung them across the room, just as her oil smeared fist met with the obsequious Danny’s jaw, “Take that as a warning shot!” she cautioned still brandishing her torque wrench like a gladiator’s weapon.
Nursing his chin and wounded pride, Danny slinked away, and Steven, on the other side of the hangar, offered Thalia a grin that she couldn’t refuse to return…

After the Dirty Goggles Blog Hop I was more than ready for some more Dieselpunk…
Take a look at the other Five Sentence Fictions…

Dirty Goggles: A Blue Heart

This is my second entry into the Dirty Goggles Blog Hop, run by Ruth, Jen, and Steven. this time it’s an attempt at Dieselpunk.

A Blue Heart
691 Words
Lisa Shambrook
Safe Content

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. 
She searched.
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!

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!