By Adella Chatellaine
10/10- In the hall outside, I heard voices and the sound of rapid footsteps. I knew I had to act fast. I ran to one of the tables, picked up a chair without stopping, and slammed it into the window that the Rommsbachian had shot. The glass shattered and fell, most of it outside. A piece hit my right arm and scratched my wrist. All better to sell the illusion, really.
I fell to the floor and held my wrist, trying to staunch the flow. A couple seconds later, several armed brigands ran into the library, flintlocks drawn and charged. They saw the open window and ran over, cursing. Then they saw me.
One of them picked me up by the arm, shoved his weapon in my face and demanded to know where the Rommsbachian had gone. My eyes cut toward the window. It should have been obvious. I told him the man had smashed the window and escaped into the alley beyond. That was not a satisfactory answer apparently, and the man made to strike me with the grip of his gun, but was stopped by another, a tall man with a curling mustache and a monocle, leaning on a cane in the center of the room. I recognized him immediately as Doctor Argyle Von Grimm.
He chastised his man for his rude manners, and apologized on his behalf. I scanned the faces of the others. They were stern and scarred men, all of them missing arms and legs and hands, all replaced with mechanical facsimiles.
Von Grimm asked me my name and I told him who I was. Once I told him, a look of recognition came over his face.
“You’re that reporter for the Blackwood Gazette,” he said, and I nodded. “Fine publication, that. That article about my exploits a few months back did wonders for my reputation. I never really had problems fighting with townspeople before, but now they just roll over and let us right in. Ha ha! As good an advertisement as a man could ask. I feel I should pay the Gazette for their service.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out three gold coins, which he placed in my hand. He then excused himself and told his men to follow ‘Mister Klaudhopper’. The men climbed through the window. Von Grimm left the way he came.
When they were gone, I let go a deep sigh of relief. It’s not every day you find you have a fan in a complete psychopath. I looked at the gold coins in my hand. I did not keep them, but placed them in the empty donations jar the librarian had set up on the front desk. I waited a moment before heading outside. There was a trough for watering horses by the front door, along with a water pump. I felt the need to wash my hands, and the wound. I did so, and headed toward the water front, back to the steam boat. I’d had my fill of Docryville.