Master Lamberts third automaton runs errands and comes home to a devastating shock.
Master Lambert had been working on a new automaton for several months now, ever since Delly told him that he had to give her space. This one was coming on a lot faster than Delly had, probably because her creation was still fresh in his mind. Gam hoped it would be another male. He couldn't understand why the master had changed to making females in the first place; they were a lot more troublesome to make, all those curves and details. The master should have stuck to making male automatons, but no, he was all about making far more superior creations than the other scientists’ automatons.
Gam watched the people coming out of the only brothel in town. Self-centred money wasters, they could be putting their minds to use making this town a better place, yet they waste their talents and money on drinking and whoring. He saw a large bosomed woman half hanging out of a window on the second floor, waving at the men and blowing kisses. All the men saw was a busty lady waving goodbye, but Gam could see beneath her beauty.
The woman was average height, with long black hair and bright blue eyes. Underneath her pale skin was another creature. This creature was taller; it was bent almost double to fit inside its glamour. It had black and red shining scales and large blue talons and eyes. Gam couldn't see much else from outside but he imagined she would have a tail. Most of them do.
The creature was probably there because, for a demon, it is a good place to feast on the souls of men. All the demon had to do was throw on their glamour and take up residence in the local whorehouse and you have a constant stream of food and sustenance, as well as pleasure.
The creature looked down at Gam as he walked past and called out to him, inviting him inside for comfort and pleasure.
“I’m afraid I do not own a soul for you to feast on.” He called back. The demon gaped at him as he continued down the street to the address on the envelope.
Gam wondered why the master was sending a letter to the back streets of their little town. Did he have an illegitimate child? It was possible, the man was certainly too proud to claim the child as his own so perhaps the envelope was full of money to shut the woman up. This scenario would explain why he made Delly to be his daughter. He had needed something to fill the gap where his illegitimate child was supposed to be.
Gam reached the front door of the house address. Raising his hand, he knocked on the door, imagining all kinds of different people and scenarios that could unfold when the door was opened. Was it some woman with a swollen stomach expecting the master to contribute to the child’s upkeep in some way? Or was it a gambling debt? Or was it one of the scientists who had laughed at him and he was sending a letter full of bragging over the fact that his creation had been a success and he was about to complete a second?
Gam’s theories were stopped short when a small balding man opened the door. It certainly wasn’t an illegitimate child problem, perhaps a gambling debt?
“I bring a letter from Sir James Lambert.” Gam said extending the envelope towards the man. Without a word the man took the letter and slammed the door in Gam’s face.
No consideration for the work Gam had done in finding his house and delivering the letter, that self-centred low-life. No thank you, no payment, not even a mumble!
Gam continued back towards the marketplace. What a rude man.
The streets steadily became more crowded, carriages becoming plentiful in number and people crowding around stalls of fruit and scarves and hats, the streets crowded with life. A small boy stared as Gam walked past. He had been walking for a while so his movements would be becoming jerkier by the minute. The boy pointed at him and said something to his mother, who looked up and frowned at Gam, pulling her child away and telling him not to stare.
Most of the people in town recognized Gam as one of Master Lambert’s creations. They were thankful of Master Lambert’s genius in creating much of the automatic machinery that helped the clothing stores and bakeries with their trade, but for some reason whenever one of his automatons was walking around town they tried to ignore them as best they could. No one other than the house staff and the neighbourhood children had seen Delly, and the neighbourhood children didn’t know she was an automaton, so she would be safe from the hurt being ignored by everyone would surely bring her.
The strange people of their town, such curious behaviour they exhibit. Why did they shy away from Master Lamberts automatons but accept his dress making machinery with open arms and big smiles? Gam thought that perhaps they were afraid of him and his brothers but they never acted this way around the other automatons. They gushed over the efficiency of their tea serving abilities and their metallic appearance, they congratulated the inventors on their success in creating such handy workers, but as soon as Master Lambert had presented Alf to them, they had stared in shock and avoided him in public as much as possible. They had calmed somewhat by the time he presented Gam to them but they still tried their best to ignore him.
Gam wondered when the master would present Delly, or if he ever would. He treasured her and seemed reluctant to show her to anyone, even his fellow scientists. Perhaps he was just waiting for the perfect moment to show her off, for example when another scientist presents their automaton, he will bring out Delly and blow the other scientists into the wind. That would certainly be satisfactory to the master after they had laughed at him.
Gam walked through the marketplace, heading up the hill to where their house was located. The master had liked the view from the hill and had his house built there.
A young woman went running past, nearly tripping and falling as she sped down the hill. Gam vaguely recognized her but he could not think of where he had seen her before. He thought he heard her calling for the constables and a doctor.
The house itself was quite large and made of light sand stone, with pillars and a wide set of stairs up to the oak double doors with their brass knocker in the shape of an owl. The roof was tiled in dark brown slates and the window frames were a similar brown. There were white and pink roses growing on either side of the stairs and a stone fence extended from the left side of the house marking the boundary of the gardens. On the opposite side of the house were the staffs quarters which was made of a similar stone and the colouring was similar to the main house. There was a small gate leading from the street to the staff quarters and back gardens. Beyond that the outer wall of the maze could be seen from the street but the rest of the backyard was hidden from view. There were no other house surrounding the house, the nearest being fifty metres down the hill.
Gam trudged up to the gate and entered the back gardens. He walked up to the rear entrance to the house and was about to turn the knob when he noticed the door was ajar. He carefully pushed it open and stepped into the kitchen. Something wasn’t right. The cook was usually making dinner by now and the rest of the kitchen staff would be helping with the preparations.
Putting his basket of groceries on the table in the centre of the room he walked to the door that led to the dining room. That room was empty as well. Walking past the long table with the high backed chairs he opened the door to the hallway. As he approached the front entrance hall he saw one of the maids crying into the footman’s shoulder and a few other staff members standing around with shocked expressions. When he reached the large entrance room he saw what was so upsetting and if he could have he would have cried too.
Delly was sitting on the stairs that led to the bedrooms, her pale blue dress splattered with dark red stains. Master Lambert was lying with his head in her lap, red liquid trailing from his mouth, the front of his coat wet with blood.
Blood. Master Lambert was bleeding heavily on Delly and himself. He seemed to be struggling to say something.
“Father, just try to relax, help is on the way.” Delly said as she stroked his head, leaving blood from her hands through his grey streaked hair.
Gam stayed silent. He knew that by the time the doctors got there, the master would be dead.