Serial Saturday: Nightmare Engine of Doom Part 19 – Saskatoon

I won’t bore the reader with the details of escape from the flaming train as it hurtled toward certain derailment on a sharp bend in the tracks that overlooked the colorfully-named Shrieking Gorge. The particulars of our escape, and of course the details of many of the events directly following it, such as my doomed romance with the daughter of a struggling Québécois oilman, or Enzo’s winning of the all-Saskatchewan lumberjackery competition, simply distract unnecessarily from the main thrust of my tale.

Best, I think, to skip ahead a bit and resume the telling of my story at the arrival of Enzo and myself in Saskatoon. Madame Zarlakov’s Traveling Circus of Steam-Driven Wonders had dropped us off in the little village of Edzell, and we had to walk all the way from there to Saskatoon, thanks to the fact that Enzo was continually admiring his bronze-plated axe, constantly polishing the part where his name was engraved and holding it up to examine the way it glinted in the sun, which caused any passers-by with vehicles to speed up and veer around us when they approached. This had put me in a rather foul mood.

“Are you still mooning over that Genevieve woman?” Enzo asked as we finally neared the outskirts of the city.

“No,” I snapped, stuffing the picture-locket I’d been holding into my pocket. “I am tired and footsore, that’s all.”

“The walk will do you good,” Enzo replied cheerfully. “Get you back in fighting trim before we go up against the Countess.”

“If she’s even here,” I said glumly. “We’ve taken a rather long time in the coming.”

“Oh, I doubt she’d leave Saskatoon,” Enzo said. “Saskatoon is just the sort of place she’d like to settle in. Saskatoon. Besides, she’s staying at Rollo Bernard’s manor house. If I got an invite to that place it would take a team of draft horses to drag me out–acres of quim and lakes of whiskey, or so I hear.”

“Perhaps we’ll be lucky, and she’ll be as sotted as you would there,” I said sourly. “She’d be easy to overcome then.”

Enzo shook his head, a grim expression on his face. “We won’t be so lucky, I don’t think. That woman can hold her liquor better than an alcoholic rhino with three spare livers. We once sent a three-man team to assassinate her in the middle of a drunken orgy. She killed all of them without missing a beat.”

“Delightful,” I muttered.

Enzo elbowed me in the thigh. “Still, ought to be fun taking a shot at her, eh?”

“Don’t you get distracted,” I said. “Where is this manor, anyway?”

“Oh, you know, in the better part of town, or what passes for that in Saskatoon.”

“Is it going to be hard to gain access?”

Enzo eyed me as we walked along. “Not for me, but you’ll never make it in dressed like that.”

He was right enough that my outfit was a bit the worse for wear. “Well, they are the only ones I have left, after that business with those roaming gypsies.”

“Hmm, yes. Well, we’ll just have to buy you some new ones. Then I suggest we check into a hotel and reconnoiter.”


After another hour of walking and wandering to downtown Saskatoon, we located a tailor. Enzo lounged about the place, leaning on his bronze axe and making the old tailor and his assistant nervous while I was fitted for a new suit. We arranged to pick up the clothing the following day, and continued on to a hotel. I managed to convince Enzo to hide his trophy under his jacket as we checked in, and I made my way wearily to my room, looking forward to a bath and a night’s sleep in a proper bed.

I had just undressed, and was standing near my tub as it filled with water when there came a loud thud on the wall of the bath. It had just registered that the wall was the one I shared with Enzo’s room when the thud was followed by loud, if muffled, shouting and the crackling sound of a radium pistol.


Copyright © 2012 SM Williams


~ by smwilliams on February 25, 2012.