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Edition 27: The Wrangler by Austin Hackney

Those on top have always used their big, fancy boots to stamp downwards. No change to the status quo is bloodless and the Bollingers have landed right in the middle of the trouble. Austin Hackney’s bloody steampunk will have anyone looking over their shoulder. SY

The noise of galvanized horses and the stink of engine oil had stuffed Sam Garrick’s ears and nostrils since as long as he could remember. His uncle had taught him wrangling. But his uncle was bone-rot now and the work was his.

He grinned. Saliva glistened on his rotting teeth. He spat tar-black tobacco spit onto the engine, watching it sizzle.

“A bit o’ flesh-slicing an’ death-dealing,” he said, relishing the words. “That’s what it’s time for. Engine’s good, horses are hot and it’s time.”

Sam’s calloused hands hovered over a rack of blades. The pain in his swollen knuckles bothered him and he cursed to make a whore blush. He selected a thin blade, testing it on his tongue, lightly, and tasting blood. Satisfied, he slipped the blade into its sheath.

He opened the steam valve, cranked back the release lever and let out a manic cry. The fly-wheel screamed into action. The horses clanked and clattered into mechanical life, hot steam spurting from their nostrils. Read the rest of this entry