Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Work In Progress Wednesday: The Sweet Science of Bruising

In an effort to add content, Work in Progress Wednesday will resume.

Seven paragraphs from the steampunk boxing rewrite:

Lillian swallowed hard and closed the door of her house soundlessly behind her. She made her way across the backyard, heart thudding and froze when the dog down the block barked once.

Silliness, pure silliness. She wasn't a skulking runaway to startle at every shadow. She was off on an adventure, a dangerous one, but still an adventure. Besides, she decided as she set her hand on the gate and let herself out of the yard, a man wouldn't sneak. He'd be quiet but he'd walk as if he had every right to be out and about.

And tonight, she was a man. She had cut off a good foot of her long black hair and burned it in the stove. The pants and shirt she wore, bought cheaply from a passing trader, made her feel immodest and half-dressed, as if she was going about in her underthings. The band that compressed her breasts chafed her ribs and the serape that concealed the rest of her shape made the night almost too warm. A trickle of sweat ran down the back of the band and itched abominably. The money pouch felt too heavy and she wondered if she should have brought less than five dollars.

But her driver, Eliot, had said the entry bribe was three dollars, a hefty price. The fight was illegal, bare-knuckle boxing being a violent affair, so they had to pay off the proper officials to even hold it. She had given Eliot his own three dollar entry fee, and another dollar to place a wager for her on whomever he thought likeliest to win.

She stepped carefully, the fat orange moon lighting her way. It would be easy enough to step in a prairie dog hole and break her leg. That would be a fine way to be found in the morning, A lantern would have been a wise idea, but it also would have given her away.

In her long life of odd behavior, this would certainly set tongues wagging if word got out. It was no secret in Abilene, that the late Artemus Shaw had wanted a son and that he had raised his daughter to be as eccentric as he had been. He was a man ahead of his time, and because of him, her house was the most modern in town, with gaslights, indoor plumbing, including hot water and even a telephone.

She'd heard the saying that curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back. In Lillian's world, that proverbial feline was nine times dead, despite reviving, and she was working on the rest of the cat colony.  And tonight, she would have a world of her curiosity satisfied.

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