Internal Conflict Blogfest – Steam Palace
Thanks to Jessica Bell at the Alliterative Allomorph for hosting The Internal Conflict Blogfest. Click to see the other entries! She says, “I want to know what's going on in your characters' minds.” Well, maybe we really didn’t want to know this much, as you shall see:
In this scene, Thomas is suffering from a hangover, opium withdrawal, and a gunshot wounded knee. All this suffering has awoken his baser desires, which must be fought…
The last thing Thomas wanted was to speak of was flying, but he demurred to her wishes. “It was more work than thrill, and dirigibles have this unhealthy habit of dropping out of the sky or exploding. Frankly, I should have explored the Cavalry where I could have ridden mechohorses for a living.”
“And then this,” she said, nodding to his knee. “Well then, we both are in similar straits. We are starting our lives over. Isn’t it thrilling, Thomas?”
She turned around in the saddle. Her lips inadvertently touched his as he slumped. Her face turned red, her eyes went wide, and she whipped back around. A hand covered her mouth.
“Oh! I am so sorry Thomas! I had no intent—I didn’t mean—I could never kiss—”
He thrilled to see her squirm. Her small, lithe body caressed him with each step of the horse. In his mind, he grabbed her and covered her face and neck with hot kisses, plunged himself into her essence, and drank from her depths. But his broken body stayed. “You could never kiss a cripple?”
“What? No! I mean—yes, I—” She balled a fist and then relaxed it. “I fear you play with me, Mr. Putnam.” She rubbed her brow. “Which I am most grateful for, I confess. You strike me as a man with intellect balanced with humor, rare qualities in these times. I am eternally thankful it was you who came to my aide.”
She relaxed just a trifle against him. If she only knew the battle raging inside him. Her manner quieted his urges. Perhaps that had been his baser motive in trailing her—to capture her. She had always been so haughty, so distant and mean. A prize to be taken, not lured. Something to distract him from his pain, from the termination of his career and life, a quick moment of escape from hard reality.
Something about her soothed his raw desires. She was strong, and had set out alone into hostile country. She battled the wolves, unafraid, then challenged the airfleet. Sophia was no longer this thing, this creature. Yes, he desired her, to push her from the horse and have his way with her like a brute, but more than that, he wanted to protect her. Strong as she was, she was woefully unprepared to face the world. He opened his mouth to offer his support.
“Look,” she cried, “the Ferry! It departs!” The forest cleared to provide a view down to the wide Connecticut River, where a long white paddleboat waiting against a dock. She forced the animal into a gallop. Pain knifed from his wound as it banged against the horse’s flanks. Sophia waved. Fortunately, the ferry had barely begun to untie. She directed the horse over a plank and into the hold of the ship.
I hope that didn’t cast too bad a light on Thomas. He’s going through a really hard time right now…