This is a revision of a previous story, as The Red Dress Club prompt this week is about revision. There’s a little explanation at the end.

Model Ophelia Overdose, a great inspiration for my Steampunk Heroine "Honeysuckle"

Keeping Up With the Joneses

Honeysuckle ground her teeth. She had always refused to wear one of the clunky waist-to-wrist harnesses meant to make public transportation so much more convenient, but as her escape was about to be foiled, she wished she hadn’t been so independent-minded.

Her partners, Nigel and Lucy, teased her endlessly about her stubborn refusal to conform. Lucy had just bought the trendiest new harness to go with her designer jodhpurs and skin tight breeches. Nigel had chosen a harness that fit under his suit, making him appear to be one of those who, like Honeysuckle, eschewed the so-called-necessary technology. But when he approached one of the massive machines, all it took was a dapper flip of the wrist and he would be flying along with the rest of the crowd.

Honeysuckle watched hook after hook go by, and not a single one held a seat. Back in the day, every hook would have had a seat or even a bench. But as personal, customizable harnesses became more and more popular, seats had become less necessary.

She glanced behind her. Any moment now, they’d be after her.

She glanced down. Much too far to jump, and they’d confiscated her parachute.

She glanced up. Still no seats in sight.

Assessing her options, she grabbed her tools and ripped open the coin-operated horsie ride that looked so out of place on the Come-N-Go platform. Just as she suspected, it was actually a cleverly disguised… well, it certainly wasn’t just a horsie ride, but what it was, she had no time to discern.

She ripped a length of roller chain out of the machine’s guts and cobbled it together with the horsie’s harness. She muttered “It’ll have to do…” and tossed the chain above her head, catching the nearest hook.

She was swept off the platform not a moment too soon. Several henchmen burst onto the platform, getting off several crossbow shots before the track took her swinging around a curve and out of range.

Honeysuckle held on for dear life, even though her arms felt like they would give way at any moment.

Lucy and Nigel were waiting at street level, as planned.

“Mrs. Jones, Mr. Jones…” Honeysuckle nodded to her partners.

The next day, she broke down and finally bought a harness for herself.

It was the only way to keep up with the Joneses.

This Red Dress Club prompt was to take an old story and revise it down to 400 words. This story was my experiment with Steampunk, which is like Victorian England’s version of Science Fiction. It was fun, inspired by both the old stories where the bad guy leaves the good guy in a hopeless death trap (But of course the hero escapes) and also by my frustration with modern technology assuming that everyone will buy it. Those of us who choose not the buy it sometimes end up left behind!

Another reason I wanted to redo this story was that I found this incredible photo of model Ophelia Overdose. I try to be very conscientious about only using photos with permission, and I didn’t get her permission till a week or two after the story was posted and The Red Dress Club had all visited. I hope they can all enjoy this story a little more this time, as the image really gives you the “Steampunk” feel, and I inserted that link to the Wikipedia definition as well.

As always, con-crit is eagerly accepted!

The shortlink for this post is