Ingenuity and its fickle heart

On this week’s challenge at terrible minds, it’s mash-up time! I rolled16 &17 for Dieselpunk zombies!

“C’mon Jas,” she begged. “We need to get that foil running.”

Jas rolled out from under the foil, goggles glinting up at her. “May, I can’t do this any faster. But do scream if you see the chompers.”

May cocked the pistol, her wavy dark hair reflected in the shiny barrel. The last thing her Daddy had given her before the girls had left the compound. She aimed her barrel over at the edge of a deserted building, tested the sight. She turned quickly focusing on another crumbling and greying building, and halted, heart hammering in her throat. Tentative exploratory steps began a shuffle shamble. They were coming.

“Uh Jas,” May said, taking a faltering step backwards into the foil, “I think you’re running out of time.”

Jas rolled out and adjusted the lever on her goggles, zooming on the street. “Bugger. One sec.”

With some thunderous clunking under the foil, shaking the mast, the light-weight solar sail undulating and snapping, Jas got to fixing. May watched with increasing trepidation as the hoard closed in on their position.

“Jas…” The drawn out note of fear was enough, she hoped to get her friend moving.

There was a gentle hum as the sails came back on line, a flash on neon blue as they activated. Jas rolled out and jumped up, swinging to pick up the dolly. “See? I knew I could do it!” The smudge of grease on her cheek above her broad smile was adorable.

“Boat now. Gloat later.” May swung her long lead over the side and with ungainly movements slid it.

Jas turned. “Right.” With an elegant bound, she threw her light frame over the side of the foil.

With a flourish Jas stepped in behind the wheel. With a small lurch, the foil slid away from the sidewalk, sliding down the city streak, uneven where plants had forced themselves up through the bitumen, cracking it like a scab.

Only meters away, their shuffling and stumbling footsteps audible, the Lost followed them with glazed eyes in ravaged bodies, torn and the grey-green colour of a gangrene they didn’t feel, the slack-jawed gnawing of their incessantly hungry maws.  It was always the rusty blood on them that chilled May’s blood, or the red flag of a recent feed.

Once, the Lost had been people too; they had felt and laughed and danced. But all the evidence suggested a pruning off in the higher brain areas, reducing the Lost to base instinct. Their bodies sought to repair what was being lost, so they turned cannibal to ingest the easiest source. None of them lasted beyond a year; the flesh at the end became too decrepit.

They rose as one, a great swelling wave of hunger and desperation, gaining on the foil. Others trickled out, joining the surging mass, their pursuit the drumbeat that underscored the fearful beating of the girls’ hearts. The Lost were gaining.

Levelling her pistol, May swallowed her guilt, knowing that they no longer could feel, and started to pick off the leaders with potshots. They went down, rolled right under the feet of the crowd, but others surged forward.

“Don’t mean to hurry you or anything Jas, but they’ll be on top of us in seconds if we don’t HURRY THE HELL UP.”

Jas turned, her long honey brown hair trailing in the wind. “This just turned into a fun outing!”

With a wide swing around the corner, Jas turned the boat down a side street, the foil rolling faster as gravity pushed her with ardour. May could see the shining mass they were barrelling towards.

“Jas.” Her tone was wary, her hand gripped a hand hold, her gun waving at the end of her outstretched arm as she took out another few of their pursuers. “Jas!”

Cackling loudly at the wheel, Jas steered them directly at it. Any moment now they would crash into the water.


They flew in the air for a moment, before slamming into the surface of the water, a green wave washing over them and the deck. A family of ducks, disturbed, buffeted them with the air from their wings, quacking angrily at being disturbed.

As May removed herself from being moulded about the central cabin area, she looked up to see Jas’ triumphant expression as she flicked a switch. Behind the foil came a little burble as an engine somewhere rumbled to life with a little puff of smoke, and they began to move forward.

May picked a piece of stinking weed from her hair and flung it over the side in disgust. “You couldn’t have just told me?”

“More fun this way.” Jas set her goggled eyes at the centre of the lake.

The girls lazed in the sun, their undead friends watching ravenously from the lakeside. Some tried to swim, but between their lack of coordination and lack of buoyancy, none got further than the shallows. Spread out, the rays warming and drying their young bodies, they rested quietly and contently with their shades on.

May sat up, and looked at her friend. Even with the sun on them, her friend’s skin had distinctly gotten paler.

“You feeling alright?” May stroked the silky waves Jas was drying on the deck.

Jas propped herself up. “Just fine, no problems.” The smug look returned. “Want to see what I’ve saved for the grand finale?”

May sat back, preparing to be amazed. It would have to be pretty special. Their hungry friends waited on most areas of the lake bank now. Jas unfolded a handle from the side of the wheelhouse, and as she cranked, the sails retracted and a spoked overhead propellor appeared. With a couple of hard and fast cranks, the engine growled into life, and the blades began to spin. They started to move forward on the water, and Jas pressed a button, allowing their wheel more freedom of movement for steering.

“Hold on.” Her eyes sparkled as May was relegated to a seat with a jerk. She circled around the lake, gaining momentum. On the last lap, staring down the Lost, she gunned it, pulling the wheel towards her. Slowly, ever so slowly, they gained altitude, passing close enough to knock over several of the waiting.

May laughed with joy as they rose up; the freedom, the ingenuity. In the clear and crisp air, they were soaring with the birds. This hadn’t happened since the Blood Years, when the Lost had first appeared. Flying was an art thought lost.

As May looked out, she noticed the foil listing slightly. She turned to Jas, slumped unmoving over the wheel.

“Darling!” Pulling her up, May set Jas on a seat, and pulled the foil to a wavering level.

“I think our day is done,” Jas shouted weakly over the rush of air. “This little clockwork heart has had just too much excitement.”

“Daddy can fix you!” May shouted, fumbling for the throttle. “Just hold on.”

With a small chuckle in the back of her throat, Jas watched her love take the wheel, always level headed in a crisis, even though she wasn’t sure where she was going.

“Second star on the right and straight on ’til morning.”

Jas’ eyes closed, her happiness all around her as together they touched the sky.

3 thoughts on “Ingenuity and its fickle heart

    1. Smoph Post author

      Thank you Fatma for coming to the blog and commenting! Glad you enjoyed their banter. I could see the Lost but I was hoping someone else could too. Thank you. 🙂

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