Outside the sky had turned black and crackled with the threat of lightning and China Miéville pulled up the hood of his coat against the oncoming storm. As he walked down the street, largely abandoned to the lateness of the hour and the aforementioned threat of inclemency, the wind became more disturbed, whipping around a locus of increasing size in the centre of the road. China Miéville, now almost inured to the daily intrusion of the bizarre and the bafflingly violent, looked around for something he could wield convincingly, settling on pulling a loose bar of cast iron off a nearby railing
The movement of air around the disturbance became more frenzied as the hum and tick of electricity and clockwork operating at extremes began to sound. China Miéville hefted his iron bar like a club as an iridescent flash of pale blue light forced him to look away. Once the light had faded he looked to the road, only to see a figure clambering out of a ruin of machinery that had, before its apparently violent arrival, mixed the arcane and the futuristic in a highly ramshackle manner. It’s occupant, a man in a dapper, if dated, suit ran towards him, limping painfully.
“Mister Miéville! Mister Miéville!” He did not seem to seek or wait for confirmation. “My name is Herbert Wells, and I need… Oh.” H.G. Wells groaned in a just-realised pain, and touched a hand to his back. It came away dark with blood. “Oh dear…They stole from me, Mr. Miéville, and now I fear they have followed me… I needed to find the man who could use this…” From the pocket of his waistcoat he withdrew a small cube, inlaid with crystals. He forced it into China Miéville’s palm, where it began to shine with an impossible internal lustre. H.G. Wells smiled and sat heavily, nearly spent. The sounds and disturbances that had marked his arrival began to start again. “You need to collapse the waveform…” Specks of blood came with his words. “You need to… need to… destroy the future…” H.G. Wells closed his eyes.
As he turned towards the new disturbances that seemed to be building all over the street China Miéville could see the faces of the Morlocks in ghostly premonition, half-there already. The crystals in the cube began to sing, and in the wreck of Wells’ machine the fiercest of them began to materialise, his brute club readied for slaughter. Unthinking, China Miéville threw, the crystal cube hitting its mark in the not-yet chest of the lead Morlock. A burst of the promised lightning exploded from the sky in crimson majesty and struck the cube in the air. As the Morlock howled, a net of electricity threaded from the cube and snaked through every nascent disturbance. The shockwave that threw China Miéville back, that shattered every window on the street, felt oddly triumphalist along with its finality.
WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE