Kiss Me, Kill Me - 2nd draft completed

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is a Steampunk adventure story set during the Victorian era. In an age when steam technology is improving leaps and bounds, agent Sven has to retrieve a dosier. - Edited 12/10/2013.

 

 

***

1899

Sven's buckles clinked on his leather boots and long leather coat, as he ran the length of the train. Reaching the last carriage, he opened his coat and released his pistol from its holster. He paused for a split second to remind himself he was doing this for his homeland. He aimed his weapon, and spoke in a strong Scandinavian accent, “Stop right there you big brute.”

With his massive hands Pierre grabbed the nearest passenger roughly. Wrapping one hairy arm round her shoulders, his free hand pulled a gun from his belt. He held it to the hostage’s head, and spoke with a French accent, “Do you really want to be responsible for the death of this innocent young lady? Why not just let me go, again?”

The brunette begged, “Please sir, I am but a young lady with child. You would not wish to kill an unborn child, surely?”

A gun sounded, crimson spurted all over the hostage. Pierre dropped his gun and dropped to the floor.

The girl almost in tears, uttered, “Oh, it is not ladylike to be seen in public wearing bloody clothes. You have positively ruined my reputation.”

“If I hadn't shot him, you wouldn't be alive to worry about your reputation,” Sven said angrily, then muttered under his breath 'Doesn't sound like you have much of a reputation to worry about!'

“I am so embarrassed, I could die right now.” She said dramatically.

“Well...” He was saved from saying what he was really thinking.

“Well? A gentleman, under these circumstances, would offer to buy me new garments when we reach Paris. I am expecting that is what you will do?” she huffed.

Sven quietly brushed past her to look at Pierre’s lifeless body. He searched for the dossier hoping it might be concealed in one of his pockets.

 

The final stretch of the journey to Paris was painfully slow. Taking a seat next to Sven, Pierre’s hostage introduced herself as Nicole. She was flirtatious in her approach. It was Normal for hostages to take a fancy to Sven when he’d saved their life. But, experience told Sven that all Nicole was after was new clothes.

Nicole gently held his jaw in her hand, and palmed his face round to met hers.

“Thank you for preventing that man from taking my life.” Pouting, she lent in to kiss him. As her glossy red lips met his, she brushed a hand through his hair. Her other hand gently lifted the pistol out from its holster.

Pulling away, Sven laughed, “What do you think you're doing?”.

“Let me have it," she bit her bottom lip seductivly, "the documents I mean,” she pointed the weapon at him.

Sven obliged and punched Nicole in the jaw knocking her out. Breathing a sigh of relief he was confident she would remain unconscious till they reached Paris.

 

Sven looked out the window. He noticed ice had begun to collect around the edges of the window, and snow was settling outside. In the sky a number of steamships swam through the clouds. At first glance he thought that they were passenger ships, but a second look suggested they were military. Sven had heard rumours of France increasing its armed forces to protect their latest project in Paris. They had recently gained the worlds attention when Lebanon informed its citizens that France had made a major breakthrough in its steam travel research. Though no evidence could be provided.

 

 

 

***

Disembarking the train, Sven’s large frame caught the eyes of the Station Master. The Station Master was a small man and was able to weave through the crowds of commuters almost unnoticed. He crept up on Sven and croaked in a heavy smokers voice, “Passport please?”

Sven obliged hesitantly.

Swiping the ID from Sven's hand the Station Master flicked through it, and introduced himself “Mr Olsen, I am your contact, Mr Moreau. Please follow me.”

Moreau led Sven to the Station Master’s hut. There was barely room for both of them to sit inside. Moreau was keen to get back to work he gave Sven a satchel, and a map. Folded inside the map was a piece of paper with the address of the accommodation that had been booked for him. He said goodbye to the Mr Moreau, and walked from the station.

 

Stopping off at Le Chapeaux de France. Sven bought a leather Stetson, and a bandanna to mask his face. He wasn't cold, but thought with the brisk weather he could use this to his advantage and hide his identity. As he walked, map in hand, he worked out the route to his accommodation. Memorising the way, he folded the map away before the damp snow could wreck it.

The final stretch saw him turning a corner onto a long quiet road. It reached into a valley and climbed out the other side. As he recalled the house number of the bedsit, he saw a horse and cart pull up to a property at the bottom of the dip. He watched with interest, as the driver deliver a large suitcase, but no passenger. This raised more questions than it answered.

Having made his delivery, the horse drawn cart then made his way towards Sven. He noticed a passenger on the back seat in the vehicle - it was Nicole. She smiled at him through fake red lips. Not long after the taxi had gone, a loud hiss emitted from the bedsit as it filled with steam. A massive boom shook the ground, and the house exploded sending rubble over neighbouring properties. Sven wanted to pick through the remains of the house, and look at the new steam technology used in the bomb. But unable to risk being identified at the scene of a crime by onlookers, he turned round and headed back to the high street. Sven was suddenly filled with dread as he thought the Moreau may be a double agent, and could have given his whereabouts away to Nicole.

When he thought about it, Sven didn't know what was in the satchel. Not wanting to risk opening it, he decided to ditch the bag and look for somewhere else to spend the night.

 

 

***

Death was near now, Sven was seconds away from hitting the ground. He had fallen from a French steamship without a parachute. Closing his eyes, he could visualise the ground racing towards him and his body crumpling under the impact of slamming into the surface. He let out a gasp as he sat upright in bed. Sven hated these night terrors - they visited him during times of stress ever since he saw the first working steamship. As his heart slowed, he contemplated the day ahead but soon drifted to sleep again.

First thing in the morning, Sven had walked under one of the giant chalk archways to the public garden. If his memory served him correctly this was the emergency contact point. As a signal he had to roll up his left sleeve to his elbow, tricky in his leather coat. There was no seat for Sven, which didn’t help his mood. He stood around waiting until mid afternoon before anyone approached him.

A silver haired lady hailed him, “A couple of love birds should not be caged”.

“For the winter weather will not kill their romance,” Sven laughed to himself at the ridiculousness of what they were having to say.

“Rank and name, please?” the lady gave him a disapproving look.

“Double '0', Sven,” The smirk had removed itself from his face.

“You missed your rendezvous last night?”

“I went to the house as directed by the Station Master, only to arrive a minute too late to be blown up,” Sven said, “a girl going by the name of Nicole was responsible for that”.

“What! The house in the valley?” Her eyes studied him carefully.

“Yes. Probably one of many house's that blew up last night,” Sven said flippantly.

“Don't joke about it. Three innocent civilians died in that explosion,” she stared at him as if gauging him for physical responses, “this Nicole, we have heard her name used before. And, you say that Mr Moreau sent you to the wrong property? Describe him?”

“Short and slight in build, his hair was dyed jet black.”

“Mr Moreau has blonde hair, it's safe to assume you've been compromised.”

“So glad you're here to work that out for me,” Sven said sarcastically.

She gave him an evil look.

“Take this envelope. Inside are the details of your new contact and how to find them.”

Sven slipped the letter in his pocket and walked away.

 

 

***

Inside the café was an overwhelming smell of filter coffee with the subtle scent of sweet pastries. Sven approached a young lady (with a blue bow in her hair) sat on her own reading a book.

“May I keep you company?”

She looked up and smiled kindly at him, “Of course, I very much think I would enjoy a conversation right now.”

Pushing the empty seat opposite her, away from the table with her foot and gesturing him to sit. She placed her book on the table and wedged it open with a photo. Sven noticed it was a photo of him taken by the Scandinavian Intelligence Agency before his trip to France. Then memories flooded back into Sven's head.

 

1874

For a six-year-old Sven was settling in well at the new school. His father had accepted a managerial position that required a move to France. It was at this school that Sven met Penny for the first time, and in next to no time they became inseparable. Over the next seven years the pair grew closer, and eventually started dating. Three months into their romance Sven's father moved the family back to Scandinavia due to work commitments. It was on the travel back to his motherland, that he made the decision not to connect emotionally with people ever again. As he accepted this new life he dwelled in anger, and self-pity.

This was the last time Sven cried.

 

1899

Sven observed as Penny tucked some loose hair behind her ear. He noticed when she wasn't playing with her hair, she grabbed her drink of hot chocolate in both hands and stroked her thumbs up and down the sides of the mug. She invited him back to hers for dinner so they could discuss details of her work that were not for the ears of the casual customers sat in the café.

Sven was not going to turn down a dinner invitation from a Penny. He just needed to visit the gentlemens room, and suggested while he was gone Penny go and reserve a horse and cart. While he was gone the café emptied suddenly. When Sven joined everyone outside on the pavement, he found women crying, and men angrily shouting. Pushing his way through the crowd, Sven saw Penny strewn lifeless across the road in a pool of blood.

“What happened?” He asked of anyone that would listen.

He fought back a tear, suspecting he knew what happened.

A stranger from the café put his arm round Sven's shoulders and consoled him. The man explained a horse and cart raced past hitting Penny. He saved Sven the details.

Sven still thinking like an agent, collected some eyewitness accounts of the event. A common description of the driver was a small man with black hair, a brunette wearing red lipstick sat beside him. He was filled with anger now, and knew he needed to disappear before the police turned up. So Sven walked away from the murder scene. Halfway down the road he saw a white cart with a red cross painted on both sides being pulled along by two horses. He hung his head in sorrow and kept walking.

 

A tear found its way down Sven's cheek, for the first time since his childhood.

 

***

His desire to exact revenge on Nicole was so intense, he was considering dropping the mission and going rogue. However, Sven knew he couldn't find Nicole on his own, and to enlist the help of the agency he would have to appear still on mission – so that’s what he’d do.

 

The next morning, again standing in the cold under the chalk archway at the public garden, Sven waited.

Today a tall solid looking agent approached him. The protocol greetings were adhered to, and a plan was formulated to capture Nicole. Sven couldn't shake the feeling that Nicole wouldn't be able to shed any light on the steam advancements France was making. She appeared to be after the same dossier as Sven. Though to his advantage she assumed that he had retrieved it from Pierre's corpse.

So Sven was to make his way to a very public rendezvous, to meet a guy who isn't aware the agency know he is a double agent working for the French Government. Sven racked his brain for a way to improvise the meeting, so if Nicole turned up he could keep track of her afterwards.

 

Sven walked up to his contact sat at a small table in the middle of the square. His bandanna pulled up high on his cheeks, and his Stetson hat tilted a little downwards. Would Pascal work out what was going on?

Pascal sat drinking a shot of espresso “Don't you want a drink?”

Sven shook his head and remained standing.

“So?” He looked puzzled, “what's with the secret meeting?”

Sven placed an envelope on the table then walked off.

 

Pascal noticed someone in a dark blue coat with their hood up leave a tip on the table. What he didn't notice was how they disappeared into the crowd of shoppers, and tailed Sven undetected from a safe distance.

 

***

Holding back, the figure in the blue coat watched as Sven stood at the roads edge waiting to cross. A cart pulled by two grande stallions stopped infront of him, and a long staff whipped out of the cart window hitting Sven hard in the temple. He convulsed in sheer pain. The blue coat moved in closer as Sven lay flat on the ground twitching. Nicole stepped out of the cart and lent over Sven placing a hand on his bandanna ready to reveal his face.

Aware of movement next to her, she turned her head to see a blur of movement as a leather boot kicked her hard in the ribs. She buckled under the pain, and the person in the blue coat picked her up and threw her back into the cart. Shutting the door behind them, he sat next to Nicole and knocked on the roof indicating for the driver to move them on. Unbuckling the blue coat, he pulled back his hood and Nicole recognised Sven instantly.

She spoke first wheezing, “I fear I may have offended you with my actions. It was nothing personal you understand?”

"It never entered my mind that it was personal when you tried to kill me." He jabbed a finger into Nicole's broken rib angrily. “Now tell me who's paying your wages.”

Nicole curled in pain and laughed, “You do not know?”

Sven pushed harder on her broken rib.

“STOP, please. I work for the French Government,” Nicole sobbed as she held her side, “I was ordered to recover the blueprints or destroy them, using whatever measures necessary.”

“What are the blueprints for?” Sven asked aggressively.

“So you are not in possession of the blueprints?” Nicole looked puzzled.

Sven looked annoyed. Losing his temper he pushed his palm against her ribcage. “Tell me about the blueprints.” A globual of spit hit Nicole across the eye.

Nicole passed out from the pain. It came to Sven’s attention that the cart had stopped. The door swung open and a small figure rushed in shoulder first. Sven barely had time to put his hands up in protection. The shoulder breached his defence, and connected with his nose, it knocked him out.

 

***

Sven woke to a stinging sensation from his face, and noticed blood dripping across his cheek. He was laid on his side. He was far too drowsy to feel anything other than the piercing pain in his eyes and the bridge of his nose.

A pair of hands grabbed his shoulder to roll him onto his back. Then a distant voice commanded, “I will take over from here.” A hand held the back of his head forcing Sven to sit up. As his eyes began to focus he could make out the blurred figure of Nicole, as she leaned in close and pressed her forehead against his.

“I was falling for you,” she said wincing, “until you put your boot my ribs.”

Pulling Sven close kissing him on the lips, her mood change and she bit down on his lower lip drawing blood. Pulling away she mocked, “Shame you will never get to use the blueprints to build a steam driven time machine.”

She reached for her sidearm only to find it missing, and that was when she felt the cold barrel of her own gun pressed against her skull.

Sven looked across to see the dead girl lying next to him, and felt relieved. As he looked up a man offered his hand to assist him in getting up. As Sven checked to see who was offering their hand, he saw it was himself.?

His other self said, “You do get to use the blueprints”.


Submitted: October 09, 2013

© Copyright 2022 Todd Marvell. All rights reserved.

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Comments

ashcon94

Wow. that was really good. I love how he jaw jacked her. Sad about his childhood though. Sometimes its a good thing not to connect with people. You totally got me with the spy thing. Really cool and then in the end she dies! Wow. really great read. I usually don't read stuff like this but I loved it!-Ashley

Wed, October 9th, 2013 11:30pm

Author
Reply

Thankyou Ashley, Sven is bit of a flawed hero. I don't approve of him hitting her, but it seemed to work in the story for me. Thankyou for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.

Wed, October 9th, 2013 4:36pm

Felix Fossi

I like the plotline and time period. Steam punk is actually hard to write,as most writers get bogged down in the details of the machines, clothing, etc. and skimp on the plot but you concentrated more on the plot and rightfully setting up the quirky environment in the background. I did like the line: "In the sky a number of steamships swam through the air." A simple and effective description to the background around the main character. As to your presentation you should show more and tell less. You started off good, with great descriptions of the crimson blood on Nicole's dress but later on the "action scenes" were written as mechanically as some of the steamships. For example: "A long staff poked out of the cart window and was swung wildly at Sven, catching him hard in the temple." This action scene comes across as boring. Maybe re-write it like this: "As the damp snow filtered down around him, Sven noticed a horse drawn cart quickly approach. Suddenly, a long wooden staff extended from the car's side window and swung wildly, catching Sven not only by surprise but by the side of his head. The sharp throbbing pain snaked its way all the way down Sven's body, sending him down to the ground twitching." Now, I'm not trying to re-write your story, its just an example how you can put real feeling into an action scene to give the reader a more vivid image. Also the dialogue tone changes in the story. At first, when Sven first encounters Nicole and Pierre, they speak in proper late 19th century syntax. The dialogue was actually amusing and I thought your story was going to be a humorous parody on steam punk, but later the characters reverted back to 21st century tone. Suggest you stick with the language style one way or another. You were worried about indenting and I know Booksie makes it difficult to do so. That didn't bother me but I suggest you break up some of your paragraphs, which would make it much easier to read. Overall an interesting character in an interesting world with a great time travelling cliffhanger.

Thu, October 10th, 2013 3:25am

Author
Reply

Thankyou Felix for reading and constructively commentating on my story. I am really enjoying learning how to improve my writing and value your points. I want to rework my story so that I stick with the more amusing tone, for me it's important to inject a bit of humor where you can. And to be honest I hadn't realised how mechanical the scene was that included the staff. I will break up my paragraphs more aswell. Thankyou again.

Thu, October 10th, 2013 12:07am

Felix Fossi

Also I forgot to mention the flashback scene regarding his friend Penny. She invites him back to her place, the next scene there is commotion outside and Sven goes out to discover her dead. What happened. A rip in time? When did she leave? Why wasn't Sven with her? Did they decide to leave separately so they wouldn't be seen together. But they were together at the table. You've left out a connecting sentence to explain this error in continuity.

Thu, October 10th, 2013 3:31am

Author
Reply

Sorry, sounds like I edited something and in my tired stupor failed to check my edit thoroughly. I better fix that quick.

Thankyou for pointing it out.

Thu, October 10th, 2013 12:08am

The Coyote

Great story! Puts me to shame, lol. If this was adapted as a graphic novel I would buy it!

Sat, October 26th, 2013 3:30am

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