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The Voyage of the Demeter - Steampunk Horror Short Story

The decades old wooden wheel felt good under her hands. The Skyship began its steady ascent into the skies of the Northern Wasteland. Kate tilted her head towards the murky grey of the sky and anticipated the storm to come. Invading the steel toned sky was the tell-tale inky blackness of a swarm of Vampire bats. These were the advance scouting party, harbingers of the carnage to come.

A brown leather gloved hand was placed on her shoulder, it was Aerith, an able gunnery sergeant and a recent lover. Aerith’s presence brought a sense of reassurance to the crew, she had help fend of one of Dracula’s mutated creations during their last supply run. Kate shuddered at the memory of it, a flying beast with tentacles in place of arms and a gash filled with spikes in lieu of a mouth. It was rumored among the crew that these beasts had once been human until Dracula began his foul experiments. Kate wasn’t sure how much of that was true but as they defeated similar formed beasts, she avoided their eyes as the crew delivered their killing strokes.

“That is promising to be quite the battle ahead. Should we try to go above them? I’m not sure we want to tangle with such a horde so early in our voyage.”

Aerith, as always, was a practical strategist. It was this strong contrast to Kate’s adventurous impulses which had first intrigued her. In truth, the time between intrigue and the bedroom had been a period of a few days. It was there where Aerith had unleashed her playful side.

Kate’s resolve was firm however. She had seen the devastation to the townlands which had taken place once the bats had torn through them. A few hundred would destroy crops and homes, a horde such as this would tear the villagers apart.

“No, we have taken the councils shilling and have an obligation to protect the people that they represent. Make sure the crew is ready. Load the shot into the cannons, maximum spray and remind all on board to personally arm themselves.”

Aerith nodded and set about her duties.