Quantum Steam Theory - Part 4 of 5

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

A handful of prostitutes drowned their sorrows with cheap gin at the bar. Toothless men in filthy clothes huddled around battered tables, nursing pints of pale beer. Selina half expected to see Enrique behind the bar; the pub smelled just like Enrique's basement dive. Instead, a rotund bald man stood polishing chipped glasses.

“Excuse me, could you tell me where I am?” asked Selina.

“Ain't from round 'ere, eh?” asked the barkeeper.

“No, no I'm not. I'm not familiar with this part of the city at all and I was wondering if you could tell me what it's called,” said Selina.

“This is Whitechapel, love,” replied the barkeeper.

“Whitechapel? I never heard of it. In what part of Vertigo is that?”

“Vertigo? What do ya mean, Vertigo? You're in London, love.”

Selina stared at the barkeeper. The unfamiliar place names buzzed in her ears.

“What's that ya got there? Is that a Bible?” asked the barkeeper.

He gestured to the black book she still clutched to her chest.

“What's a Bible?” she asked.

“Exactly who are ya, and what are ya doin' in my pub?”

“Um...sorry to have wasted your time...I just remembered, I have somewhere else I need to be...”

Selina backed away from the bar. She threaded her way between the tables and burst out of the cramped pub.

Twilight skulked outside. Selina looked around, still desperate for a familiar sight. She watched a thin boy in faded tweed help an older man light the gas lamps lining the street. Drunkards made impromptu beds on benches in the yard outside the grand white building.

Selina noticed movement out of the corner of her eye. A gang of four young men loitered by the door to the pub. Their overalls looked like those worn by the dockworkers in Vertigo City. Streaks of dirt clung to their gaunt faces. They stared at her, a predatory look in their eyes. These were not men from whom Selina would get directions.

“Who's a pretty bird, then?” said one of them.

Selina said nothing.

“Not gonna talk to us, darlin’?” asked one of the men.

“I'm sorry, gentlemen, but I'm late for an appointment,” said Selina.

“Gentlemen? Lord preserve us, she calls us gentlemen!” said another of the men. They hooted with derision.

Selina hurried down the street away from them. She wove her way among gaggles of people heading back to their dosshouses after a day's casual labour. Selina threw glances over her shoulder. The four young men followed her. She looked around, hoping to find a friendly shop or tavern where she could find shelter.

“You not gonna stop and play with us, chicky?” called one of the men.

“If you don’t stop, we’ll have to make you play,” shouted another.

Part 1 : Part 2 : Part 3


Adam Byatt said...

I want to know how this is going to end, knowing that there is only 1 episode to go. And I want to know more about that book.
Have really enjoyed getting a glimpse into the depth of thought behind Vertigo City.
Adam B @revhappiness

Harry said...

How can there be only one more episode? I don't want it to end!

Icy Sedgwick said...

Don't worry, boys - there will be plenty more Tales from Vertigo City!

Jason Coggins said...

Hope this doesn't turn nasty for Selina. I am concerned she's no Liss but maybe she's gonna get Quantum on their asses.

Sam said...

Rats! I thought I'd missed an episode. Another great installment. I don't like the look of those four lads and have a nasty feeling about where this is going for Selina.

Post a Comment