Slowly her vision swims as her captor and his lab comes into terrifying focus. The woman discovers she can no longer move her arms and a sound of horror escapes her mouth as she struggles against her unwilling limbs.

The man turns, “Ah, you’re awake. This time I’ve disconnected the control of your limbs, just long enough for us to have a conversation, then if you want to run you are more than welcome to. First however I would like to install your heart.”

He presents a small device that ticks slowly back and forth.

“It’s a perpetual motion gyroscope, it should help regulate your power surges, and should get rid of that balance problem you seem to have.”

As his hand moves towards her chest with a scalpel and she screams causing him to fall backwards out of surprise, the gyroscope flies from his hand before he cushions it from the stone ground with his palm.

“Please let me go, I’ll do anything just please don’t kill me.”

The man slowly stands, sighs painfully before eventually beginning to talk in a depressed manner. “I’m not going to hurt you, I’m pretty sure you were not even going to feel what I was about to do. But you clearly have no memory at all, so I shall have to give you one. I am Edward Ker Duke of Roxburgh, and I found you. Your creator was an unlicensed scientist who seems to have been obsessed with creating a companion; however he seemed to be unable to complete the task. My men and I were raiding his laboratory, when we found you; you were in pieces with hundreds of pages of notes surrounding the area. So I took you to my laboratory and I attempted to complete the task. However, I am not good with people and so I have not thought to deal with your trauma.”

Her eyes change from pure horror to deep sadness, and at last she speaks with a voice hoarse from screaming, “Do I have a family?”

“You seem to be made from quite a few girls, and so in some senses yes, but in practical thinking no. It was dreadful what your creator did, and possibly what I have now done. I could not be sure of whether or not you were mentally aware when we found you. In theory you could have been, and so fearing that you were aware and imprisoned I tried to set you free. Possibly I should have left you there to never know the world at all.”

“I remember a clear fluid seeping from my leg, and I remember my arm bending these thick steel restraints. But that cannot be a real memory.

The man is surprised and relieved at her calm manner and so answers in kind, “The clear fluid is kerosene, it is what you run on since your body can no longer use a conventional power source. You had a split line at one point and were leaking, I’ve fixed that already. You did damage some of my steel restraints, you were able to because of a power surge; you have a strong metal skeleton and a strong power source to carry it all. The perpetual motion machine will allow small amounts of power out, versus a never ending stream which would allow you great strength but would also eventually destroy the more delicate parts of you.”

“You can fix that, with that contraption?”

“Yes, well I believe it will work. It might need adjustments, but none should be overly invasive. You will probably feel better after I have put it in, may I?

Girl soberly nods, and the Duke using his scalpel undoes a long row of stitching across her chest. She is surprised how little she feels it and how quickly it is over. Once stitched back up the Duke asks her to rise from the board she’s been lying on, gingerly she swings her legs over feeling initially very dizzy from the new position. As the dizziness subsides she stands, the Duke offers her an arm to allow her to lean on him. They promenade across his lab at first she has a deal of energy and leans on the Duke very little, but eventually she leans more and more. Due to her weight eventually the Duke has to start leaning on his equipment. At first it is copper piping and things of strength, but slowly they near his delicate clockwork machinery and his face pains. He quickly produces a chair and sits her on it before they reach his gas lamps.

“If you would like, I can arrange to have a bag full of clothes packed and a car to take you wherever you would like to go. I am not your keeper; I simply would like to do the right thing.”

“Sir, I do not know kindness other than yours and so I would like to impose upon it further and ask you to allow me to stay with you in your castle. I also would like to point out, that you are the only man that I will ever trust with my heart.”

About the Author

“Hi, I’m Tessa and mostly what I like about steampunk is the concept of taking old world technology and taking it to nth degree.”