short story, story promptArabella has boarded a skyship for the first time and is eagerly looking forward to seeing the world outside her steampunk city. However, not long into the trip, her journey is cut short…


Arabella held her hair out of her face with one hand. With the other hand, she gripped the iron railing that ran the length of the ship’s hull. She hadn’t realised how high up it would be. They had already cleared the small scatterings of cloud that obscured the top-most towers of the city behind them. She looked to the front of the flying ship and grinned. I’m out! For the first time ever, I’m outside the city!

She let out a whoop, drawing funny looks from the sky sailors and the few other passengers on board. She didn’t care. She’d waited too long for this moment. Her father had finally agreed to let her go on a trading mission to one of the other distant cities. Sure, he only gave up in the end because he fell ill with that stomach bug. She smiled. This is my chance to show him I’m ready to be a Splicer in my own right. I can’t mess up on this trip.

“First time on a flying ship?”

Arabella spared a quick glance for the young man who came up alongside her. Well-dressed, so not one of the sailors. Probably a merchant, off to trade with the other cities.

“Yes,” she answered his question. “Though I suppose my excited yelling would have told everyone on board that particular detail.”

He conceded that with a nod. “Where are you headed?”


“Are you alone? Is someone travelling with you?”

She turned and gave him a hard stare. “Why are you so interested in me and my travel details?” What are you after?

He held his hands up and backed off a little. “Sorry. I was simply trying to make friendly conversation.” He gave her a slight bow of his head. “Enjoy your journey.”

She felt a twinge of guilt as he walked away. “Was I too hard on him?” she wondered to herself. Perhaps he was just making idle conversation… She shrugged and turned back to the breath-taking view. Better be safe than sorry. A young woman travelling alone couldn’t be too careful.

short story, story prompt

She peered over the edge of the ship, fighting the sense of vertigo. They were well away from the city now. Below, all she could see was the savage forested area that was home to the violent, mutant beast-men. Many people in the cities hated them, but Arabella and her father were trying to unravel the mysteries of how they came to be mutated. Her father’s hypothesis was that if they could discover that secret, they might be able to reverse-engineer a cure for their condition. She’d been helping him for several years now.

The ship jolted slightly and began to descend. She grabbed the railing tighter. “Why are we going down?” she asked a nearby sailor.

He pointed to a dark cloud that spread across the horizon. “We’re not eager to run into that, miss. Lightning causes havoc on these ships. We’re going to try and skate underneath it.”

The wind had already picked up, she noticed. Her hair was whipping about her face. The ship shuddered and tilted slightly to the right as massive gusts pummelled it.

“You should probably get below deck, miss,” the sailor shouted at her.

She nodded at him and made her way towards the hatch that led to the bowels of the mechanical ship. A violent gust of wind sprinkled with rain sent her stumbling back to the railing. She gripped it tightly. The forest below seemed too close to the hull of the ship now. The propellers were causing the treetops to sway energetically.

Freezing rain began to hit her skin. More wind had her fighting to keep her feet on the deck as the ship tilted. She was suddenly looking straight down at the forest below, her toes barely touching the wood. Panic rose in her chest.

A second later, she felt hands on her back. Thank goodness, someone’s come to help me!

She screamed as she was tilted overboard. She supposed she should consider it a blessing that the ground was so close now. It still hurt when she hit the trees. Her breath rushed out of her lungs as she snapped branches on her way down. Twigs tore at her arms and clothes. It felt like a very long time before she finally hit the solid ground, landing on her back. She groaned.

Rain splattered against her face. She stared up at the dark sky as unconsciousness began to take her. She welcomed it. Hopefully it would take the pain away. The sky ship was nowhere to be seen. The blackness started to drag her under. A few thoughts floated in her mind.

Someone pushed me overboard. Someone tried to kill me!

What’s going to happen to Arabella when – if she wakes up? 😉

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