I am sharing with you a teaser of my upcoming story, Thursday Morrow, The Self-Winding, Mechanical Man, from the upcoming Dark Oak Press anthology Capes and Clockwork, editing by Alan Lewis.  

  Here it is, in all its enticing glory.  :)

Thursday Morrow: The Self-Winding, Mechanical Man

            Professor Bartimus Morue sat at his workbench, tinkering by the glow of a gas lamp.  He worked on replacement parts for the Self-Winding, Mechanical Man, because there would never be time to make another such device complete.  It had been the work of a lifetime.  He would not live so long, but, ah, the man would surely come back when something broke, surely.  It was well made, but intricate, and designed to be built of materials man had not yet discovered or invented.  Morue had been forced to make do with metals and alloys already in existence.  But one day, somewhere, there would be made a fabulous discovery of materials that would not wear down so under friction, and the Self-Winding Man’s parts would be replaced a final time.  Until then, however much it did not want to return, it must return to its maker, Bartimus Morue, for spare parts. 

            The old man sighed and tinkered and waited.

             It was past midnight in Brooklyn, on into the wee hours.  The hands on the clock were falling second by second back down the dial toward the hour of dawn, and Morue’s head of white hair was on his arms atop the workbench.  He snored a bit in his sleep and heard nothing as the door to his shop opened with a slight creak.  Brass feet clanked and clumped, stumbling once, though their owner walked as carefully as it could.  It had timed it well, waiting until the periodic turn its internal battery cranks were given came and went before it entered.  It had time to pick up its spare parts and leave before they turned, whirring and whining, again.  At the bench, it paused, looking down with its telescopic, camera eyes at its maker, then picked up the spare knee on the table and turned to go.  Halfway to the door, though, it paused and turned back.  It clanked with less care over to the table and took its old seat upon the stool.  The intentional noise awakened the old man who pushed himself up with a groan and gave his invention a bemused smile.  It sat there, brassy, naked, sexless, but warm from the batteries inside it, almost faceless except for those wide eyes, grill for a mouth, and funnel shaped ears.

            “How did you make me?” it asked him.  It’s voice, coming from the phonogram cylinders deep in its chest and issuing from its mouth, was sing song and had been recorded and remixed earlier in the day from the voice of a school teacher as it had stood outside the schoolroom window. 

            He stretched, groaning some more before replying, “I think you know that, Thursday.  Where have you been, and were you careful?  The police are after you.”

            “I was careful, and I do not think they are here.  I know some, Sir, but not all.  I know the superficial aspects of gears and movement, batteries and springs, but not the integral part of thoughts.  How did you make me, Bartimus Morue?”  It tapped a brass finger against its brass head.  Its voice, made up of recorded words from so many people, hardly any of them chosen now from samples recorded by Morue, was disconcerting to him.  “You have seen the diagrams,” he protested, “I have kept nothing from you.”

            “Something you did was not in the diagrams, Professor.  There is something you have never explained.”

            “Thursday, my boy, I have explained all.  Tell me where you have been.”

            It paused for some time, the thousands and thousands of tiny gears and connections in its head clicking away

before it responded.  It said, “If I tell you where I have been, will you tell me how I was made?”