The steam-carriage halted in a muddy rut, clacking and chuffing. He eased himself down, precariously balanced upon the stones so as not to dirty his shoes and turned to his driver, who seemed nonplussed to come to such a place. “Keep the boiler hot my man, I shan’t be long.”
The driver nodded beneath his oilskin and hauled back on the brake, holding the carriage in place while Jaggers attended to his business.
Jaggers tugged his hat down to shield his face from the fine, misty, rain and pushed his way distastefully through the rusting gates. His feet crunched the patchy gravel as he picked his way fastidiously up to the paint-peeling doors of the once great house. It was pointless pulling the chain, so he prodded open the rotting wood of the door with one gloved finger and stepped, damply, inside.
It was dingy and reeked of mould, the floor was littered with scraps of paper and the ‘leavings’ of many cats. Covering his face with his handkerchief he headed inward, towards the lamplight glow.
There she was, squatting on the floor in bloomers and bodice like he didn’t know what. He turned his head away, as common decency demanded. “For God’s sake Aurelia, it’s worse than last time!”
“Jaggers. Do you have it?” She said, turning towards him and peering through her goggles. She was pale as a dove these days, hadn’t seen the sun in years. Her figure had become lean and tight and he was uncomfortably aware of that right now. Her hair was stringy and wild and, disgustingly, she was always dirty with oil and soot.
“You were ruined, before this madness Aurelia, I beg you, stop.” He held out the package despite himself and she clawed it eagerly from his hands.
“That’s quite enough Jaggers. You may show yourself out.” She might look like the gutter trash of the East End, but her clipped and perfect tones still showed her to be a lady.
Nose wrinkled, wiping his fingers with another ‘kerchief he did as he was told.
Aurelia barely noticed him leave, her attention was upon the package. She lifted it to her face, her pale and dirtied lips pressing to the brown paper as she inhaled. A hint of spice, the tang of hot metal, a hint of a lady’s perfume. With trembling hands she untied the string and opened it.
Within was a box, and a note. ‘May this give you what you need, love, L.A.B.’ The note barely warranted a glance. The box’s hinges creaked slightly as she opened it and gazed within.
Simply finding someone to cast such an improper image had been an adventure. She had been forced to enter into correspondence with disreputable men until she found what she needed. There, cast in brass and wrapped in oilcloth was the fruit of her labours. A priapic ‘lingham’, made in distant Hindoostan where the stifling clutch of Christian morality had not yet reached.
She could not ship it directly to herself, people had come to know of her obsessions. So it came via Lady B and from her also came the other half of the box. A sleek case, full of hole-punched cards.
She tucked the case under her arm and reverently lifted the golden phallus from its case. Smooth, shining, discoloured in an instant by the heat and the oil of her fingertips. She didn’t mind. She held it close, seeing how it gleamed in the warm light, the breath from her budded mouth misting its perfect surface.
She carried both, down into her workshop. There, amongst the detritus of years of experimentation, was her masterpiece, complete save for the things she now held in her hands. Her Adonis of brass and iron. A man of fire, wrought from science, who would endure. A man who could not help but love her and would never leave.
She set the last piece before him and languorously arched her arms back to unlace her bodice. It fell from her light-starved flesh. Dainty breasts, tipped the palest coral pink, lean legs ending at the tufted shadow of her belly and the rounded curve of her muscular rump. She pushed her goggles up and stepped to the god she had made, bending to her work, completing him with a kiss that left the print of her lips upon his unflagging length.
She climbed him, pressing her body against the cool metal of his form and slotted the case into his back. Her hips rocked against the sculpted shape of him leaving the imprint of her body stained against his polished surface. Her arms came around him as she found and turned the valve that would stir him to life. “Awaken my Compuson.” She murmured as he began to tremble.
The brass Adonis shuddered and gave a hiss, golden skin warming, a dull glow appearing in his eyes. The hiss was a sound of passion. She felt his heat against her and kissed his mask. His hands clutched her, grasped her, pulled her to him and she gasped as their bodies met with a watchmaker’s precision and the heat of a forge.
He was cool within her, atop her, but she was aflame. She writhed beneath her self-made man with the eagerness that only years of desire and imagination could bring about. She oiled him with the slickness of her need, she moved with him like fine engineering. The fire within his boiler paled into insignificance next to the fire in her belly.
They were made for each other.
Her nails clutched and broke against his metal skin, her legs wrapped about his waist and crushed to his unyielding form as he pistoned and she arched, a reciprocating engine of lust. He never tired, never flagged, never paused. She screamed and shuddered in unalloyed joy, hysterical paroxysms of bliss rendering her senseless.
Faster and deeper he moved in his rolling, liquid gait. Papers, gears, tools, all of it fell to the floor. His body moved so eagerly, with such passionate force that a coal, glowing hot, fell from his boiler, scorching Aurelia’s leg before it tumbled to the ground. She cared not, he was all she’d hoped for, tears streaked the soot upon her cheeks and she didn’t see the papers began to burn.
They were consumed by the fire of their passion.
Havisham Manor was to be their pyre.
She did not care.
This was heaven.