The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

Thomas Bishop
  • Male
  • Las Cruces, NM
  • United States
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Silver Falls







Silver Falls



T.S. Bishop














We manage to close the door without attracting attention. Ms. Penshot moves to the back of the small one room cottage, leans against the wall and slides to the floor holding her right arm to her chest. There is a lot of blood staining her simple blue dress. More blood on her face turning her pretty charms into a horror show.


I whisper to Mr. Willowby to securely bar the door and to be sure not to make too much noise doing it. We don't want to attract the wrong attention just yet. He looks almost as bad as Ms. Penshot. Blood thickening in his hair and soaking his shirt. Mr. Willowby's young face has an almost vacant look as if his mind has retreated from the horrors we had just escaped from. He nods once and moves listlessly to move a table over by the door to block it better.


I leave him to his task and kneel by Ms. Penshot. I whisper to her softly, “Ms. Penshot? Ms. Penshot, are you alright?” She looks up at me slowly still cradling her right arm. “Ms. Penshot, may I take a look at your arm? If you are injured we need to get it looked at lest an infection sets in.”


Taking her arm gently I push the sleeve up exposing what I feared. There on her forearm was the tell tale crescents of a bite. It did not look like a vicious bite, there was no deep gash, no missing chunk of flesh, so there was a possibility that Ms. Penshot would be alright and that it was just the shock of what she had been through that took the light out of her eyes. With a little water from my canteen I wash the drying blood from the bite. Once the bite was cleaned my fears were confirmed. The skin had been broken.


I reach inside the breast pocket of my coat, pulling out a vial, I look at it and seeing that it was not the correct one, place it back in the pocket and rummage for another. Producing a small vial filled with a cloudy mixture with no label I remove the cap and hand it to Ms. Penshot. “Here, drink this, it will take care of the infection”. I lie to her. I have to help her drink the contents of the vial as she is in no real condition to do anything. She looks at me with that thankful expression I know I will see over and over again in my nightmares. Unable to bear it for too long I stand and move over to Mr. Willowby to check on his progress on barring the door.


Marcus had finished his task and was sitting facing the door in one of the two chairs in the cottage. I take a .45 caliber pistol from the holster on my belt and hand it to him saying, “You're going to need this. This pistol is special. The copper tubing on both sides of the barrel running back to just behind the cylinder use the gas to push the hammer back. If you hold the trigger down it will continue to fire. I recommend one or two rounds per target.” He numbly takes the pistol and lays it in his lap. I hand him an oil-paper wrapped package of cartridges for the gun. I take one out and place it in the breast pocket of his shirt I saying, “Shoot all the ones in the package at anything that moves outside, but save this one for last. I'm sure you can determine it's use.”


Looking up at me I see the hopelessness in his eyes. I see that he has already given up. “We're not dead yet Mr. Willowby. Not while I still got this”, I say as I pat the Mule, an exceptionally large bolt-action fire-arm strapped to my left hip.


“What was it that you gave to her?” He asks glancing over at Ms. Penshot.


“Mercy”, I reply looking him in the eye.


“What do you mean, mercy?”


I say nothing, knowing that he will figure it out on his own.


“You monster! You poisoned her? You might as well have let those, those creatures take her.”


“Mr. Willowby, even now she is turning into one of those creatures. Even with the poison in her system she will die and rise up as one of those beings with a hunger for the flesh of the living. I have merely eased her suffering.” I look over at Ms. Penshot and see a pained look come over her face. With a nod to myself I stand and step over by her drawing the Mule as I move.


She coughs twice with blood frothing upon her lip and then she is still. A calm serene look descends over her face. With my left hand I cycle the bolt and chamber a round. “What are you doing now?” Marcus said with a look of concern on his face.


“Finishing the job.” As her eyes snap open I get a glimpse of the hunger within before I draw my weapon and fire making a ruin of her once fine features.


With the sound of my cannon still ringing in my ears, and possibly still echoing through Silver Falls, I stand on a chair and open the trap door to the roof. Marcus was still staring at the remains of Ms. Penshot, replaying in his mind the scene that just transpired. “Marcus, they will be coming for us. I'm going up on the roof to lead them away. Remember what I told you to do. Shoot anything that tries to get in.”


He takes the pistol in hand and moves back to the door nodding silently as I make my way out onto the roof. Closing the trap door I look around and see roughly twenty five of the undead making their way towards the little cottage.


Walking carefully across the roof towards the next building in the little boom town of Silver Falls I eye the distance and determine that I can make the jump. With two quick steps I leap across the narrow gap and land on my feet. I continue down the row of buildings and houses until I get to the end. Here I chamber another round and with a resounding boom I send the nearest sailing off his feet to land in the dust to remain still.


While I carry on chambering rounds and picking them off as they head towards me now I hear the whispering put-put of the .45 as Marcus fires at those who pass the cottage.


They gather around the little building where I am making my stand and begin to climb as I pull a clip of bullets from my coat pocket and load them into the top of the weapon pocketing the clip as I finish. Out of the corner of my eye I spot one of the miners as he stands erect on the roof. I smash in his teeth and lower jaw with the small butt of my weapon as I turn to shoot another in its face, the round going through the decaying flesh and into the undead thing behind her.


Quickly chambering another round I turn to the next one that has gained purchase on the roof. I hesitate a mere moment as I confront a child, a boy who couldn't have been maybe ten summers old. A part of me was locked away then as I pointed my gun at him and blasted him off the roof.


Sensing movement behind me I turn and see that my old friend the toothless miner is back. Chambering another round I say, “You've tried to eat the butt end of my gun how about trying the business end this time.” Shoving the barrel of the gun into his ruined mouth I pull the trigger and watch his head burst like a soap bubble.


Taking stock of my surroundings I am surprised that there are no more undead about. I also notice that there are a number of spent casings about me letting me know that I had to have reloaded several times. With the joy of the living I climb down off the blood slick roof and begin making my way back to the little cottage where I left Marcus holed up. I stop dead in the street as I hear the whisper of the .45 from within the cottage and then the small town of Silver Falls becomes as silent as a tomb.

My weapon falls to lie in the dust of the road as I hang my head. With a whisper that echoes through the dead town, I say two words, the last two words ever uttered in Silver Falls. “I failed.”






Three days later sunburned, blistered, dehydrated, and smelling of smoke I board a train heading to Sydney where there awaits a steamship to take me back to Tokyo where I shall deliver a few vials of blood and saliva to the two eager scientists there to study. I leave behind me the smoldering ruins of the silver mining town of Silver Falls and the charred remains of the poor folk who dug in the wrong spot and were punished for it.

Thomas Bishop's Blog

DIY Gun II: Post the Second.

Posted on October 7, 2010 at 9:30am 2 Comments

OK, I have just a couple more pictures of me second firearm project. It is coming along nicely and all that is required now is assembly of the finished components.

This is the handle fully assembled minus the onyx stained grips. The trigger does move, though not as well as it did in the mock up and in the pre-assembly stages of the handle. That's a design I'll have to refine for…


Here is my second DYI Gun

Posted on September 23, 2010 at 5:20pm 2 Comments

OK, I'm relatively new to costuming and prop making so give me the benefit of the doubt when looking at these. I am predominantly working with wood as it is the medium I am most familiar with. I know Steampunk purists out there will grind their teeth as I should be working with metals especially for a firearm. Well I say NI to you good sir or madame! NI! NI, I say!

OK, on to the photos that I have thus far.…


Check this out

Posted on July 8, 2010 at 1:30pm 0 Comments

OK, I know I'm behind the times and lagging further each and every day, but Here are two links that need to be checked out.

The first is for Radio Riel, an eclectic blend of many genres of music that make the station a wonderful collage of sound, taste, and moods. Give them a listen and I'm sure like me you'll be hooked. They stream both in the web and in Second Life so… Continue

RinCon 09

Posted on October 8, 2009 at 2:30pm 0 Comments

A bit short notice but I'll be attending RinCon 09 this weekend. So if you're in the Tuscon, AZ area this weekend I'll be the guy with the brown Bowler looking sad without his guns.

Comment Wall (21 comments)

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At 1:55pm on May 7, 2013, Wendrell Obazs-Wickstrellian said…

Thanks for the request.  We're all friends in SP, aren't we?  I've moved to the East Coast.

At 2:08pm on June 10, 2011, Tonia Brown said…
Nice to meethcha as well!
At 11:44pm on March 30, 2011, Lady Thriller said…
Hey thanks for the add! I have been taking a hiatus from SE but its nice to be back...Cheers!
At 2:20pm on March 24, 2011, Captain Blackheart Louis said…

We will be having a steampunk halloween party in oct. you and your friends are more than welcome to come. If we could meet up before then that would also be great.

Cpt. Blackheart Louis

At 7:13pm on February 22, 2011, George 'Dubael' Woodruff U.E. said…
Sorry about that, I don't know why I didn't see the notice earlier. I only found it today when I got another request sent.  How are you my friend?
At 5:22pm on January 28, 2011, AnthonyStevens said…
Thank you, Sir! Well met and all that.
At 11:55pm on January 26, 2011, Lady Nelly Nightshade said…
You calling card was recieved with much pleasure and I am delighted to accept your invitation.
At 6:39pm on January 26, 2011, McGrews said…
Mr. Bishop! Hello! Love yer guns! Beautiful work! Make sure to come see us when you're in the area! All the best, Jen McGrew
At 7:51am on January 26, 2011, Victor Sierra said…
Welcome aboard!
At 9:23pm on January 25, 2011, Jon Magnificent said…

Profile Information

I was born in London to a banker and his loving wife. My childhood was rather uneventful. It was filled with the usual sort of fare; trips out to the country to see relatives distant and unknown, schools and lessons about various subjects I thought I would never need, and the days whiled away in daydream and imaginary adventure. I suppose I never truly grew out of the daydreaming and yearning for adventures.

I did as every young man does after finishing up with his education, I sought employ as a shop clerk. This disappointed my already disappointed father further. I was terminated after a years labor due to my over zealousness for the Penny-Dreadfuls, those trashy novels about adventurers in Africa and the American West. They all read the same, they all had the same tired cliches and plots, the same tired characters with different names, and they all had the same endings. However, I was addicted to them like an opiate to his pipes. The novels of Alan Quatermain was like a sirens call to me. I felt the pull of a life less ordinary.

As I had stated I was terminated due to having my nose buried in some Penny-Dreadful instead of minding the store and its customers. This was the last disappointment my poor father could stand and promptly tossed me and my collection of the worst of those dreadful publications into the streets. The last I saw of my family was my mother's tear streaked face in the window as I collected my abused belongings and made way to finding temporary lodgings.

Perhaps I hit my head as I was evicted from my former lodgings. Perhaps the siren call of adventure escalated in pitch and volume until I could no longer resist its call. Not having nearly enough money to book passage to anywhere but East Essex I sought to start my adventures by stowing away on a steamer bound for Africa. Little did I know what dark road I had set my feet upon and how it would wind all over the world.

Not many stow aways actually make it to their destinations undiscovered. I was no exception. I believe it was around the coast of Spain when overly hungry I risked discovery attempting to sneak some food from the larder. I was halfway through a pasty when the first mate nearly startled me out of my skin when he placed a forceful hald upon my shoulder. The Captain was a kind man and instead of dumping me overboard or at the first port he made me work for my passage. And work I did.

While adventuring in Western Africa my fate was sealed and my vocation chosen when one night as I lay awake in my tent listening to the night sounds. I was startled by a scream. It was a scream of such terror that it seemed as if it was coming from a child and not a grown man.

Grabbing my rifle I dashed from the tent in the direction of the scream. Reaching the place where the scream emanated I found a large pool slowly soaking into the sands. However, there was no victim to be found. One of the Ashanti men can up with a lantern revealing the pool to be blood. Kwadwo held the light high and pointed to the tree by the scene of the attack. Illuminated by the harsh glare of the light white gashes could be seen still seeping the trees blood upon the bark in a limb stretching out over the bloody sand. Kwadwo kept saying Sasabonsam over and over as he attempted to bring me back to the camp.

How I wish he had succeeded. For my life might have been utterly different had I returned to camp instead of investigating the darkness of the jungles further. No matter how hard Kwadwo tugged at my sleeve, and no matter how insistently he pleaded to turn back, still deeper we went following the trail of blood in the sand. Soon we came to the end of the trail at a very large and very old baobab tree. The tree had been scared it seemed by a creature with very large claws. Immediately I thought we were up against a leopard, or possibly a lion, but Kwadwo said this was no animal. I asked him if he thought a man could do this and he replied that this was no man. Not an animal nor a man, what manner of creature could leave those gouges and drag off a full grown man like a child's toy?

Kwadwo described a creature having iron fangs and hooks for feet that was neither dead nor alive. He said that it fed on the blood of the living to sustain it's life. Immediately I thought of a vampire from the Bram Stoker novel. Vampires in Africa, how absurd. However, he was adamant that a Sasabonsam was what had killed the man.

Taking the lantern from Kwadwo I began climbing the tree realizing then that I was bare of foot. Disregarding my lack of footwear I continued to climb the tree using the deep gouges as foot and hand holds. Higher and higher I climbed with the lantern hissing and banging against my thigh singeing my leg though the fabric of my pants while my rifle clattered and bumped against my back.

Reaching the top of the tree I was unprepared for the sight that greeted me there. For there hanging from part of the crown was a creature of indescribable countenance and visage that I feared for my mind. The creature, ashen gray of skin and gaping maw filled with pointed bloody fang was supping on the fresh corpse of one of the Ashanti tribesmen employed as guide for my expedition. Blood coursed down its face and dripped from its tangled and matted hair.

I shouted, more in fear than in rage, and tried to get my rifle to bear on the creature. With inhuman reaction it hurled its dinner towards me. It was either luck or providence that I managed to dodge most of the corpse as it flew at me. Had it struck me full on I most likely would have plummeted to me doom, whereas I was only clipped and knocked down into the bowl of the tree trunk. Righting myself I drew a bead on the creature with my rifle noting that it's feet were disfigured into two toed claws which it was using to hang from the tree. I hardly heard the retort of the rifle or felt the mighty kick of the 50 caliber weapon as my attention was on the bullet striking the creature in the chest.

I dropped the rifle as I stood with elation watching the Sasabonsam drop from the limb in a crumpled heap. Yet my exuberance was to be short lived as I witnessed in horror as the creature began clambering back up into the limbs of the tree as if it had never been shot at all. All I had at hand was the lantern as I watched the creature launch itself at me to finish this pathetic game we were playing. I wrenched the lantern free from my belt and hurled it at the now airborne horror. With a shattering crash and an inhuman wail the lantern broke upon the face of the devil, releasing the flames and oil contained inside.

I know not weather I destroyed the creature as I flew down the tree fleeing in raw terror as the crown of the baobab burst into flames. I could hear the creatures screams as I descended the tree. Of Kwadwo, there was no sign. I think the terror of being near the creatures lair was too much for him and he fled. I never saw him again.

Around midday I garnered the courage to venture back to the tree to determine the fate of the Sasabonsam. The top of the tree was blackened and barren. Climbing it was easier in the daylight than it had been in the dark of the night. Once at the top I began the task of searching through the burned limbs of the tree that had fallen into the bowl made by the limbs of the trees crown. I found no body nor blackened bones up in that tree. Curiously I did find several bits of metal that resembled small fangs. These I kept showing them to no one. Not daring to hope that they would believe my tale.

I traveled further in Africa. However, I was not to be done with my adventure with the Sasabonsam, the vampire of Africa. I would constantly find myself fingering the teeth I kept in my pocket, that I keep there still.

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