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June 3, 2014

“I will be a real gnome,” she said, hoping no one remembered her vehement protestations to the contrary for, well, her whole life. Bimkink Thistlebang muttered sotto voce, not that regular speech could be heard over the creaking and groaning gears filling the body of The Swiftwing. Her stomach roiled queasily as they hit another pocket of turbulence. “Gnomes belong in the ground, not the air!” She griped, clenching her teeth against the urge to vomit.

The ornithopter limped through the sky, bird wings beating a jagged rhythm. “More coal!” Captain Nitfinkle Twistguage shouted. “We’ve got to keep the pressure up!” The steam engine wheezed asthmatically. Pistons groaned in protest as the cycled endlessly around the crank shaft. Streaks of soot and grease covered the face and clothing of her best friend. Pithkyfonk Trinkspring smiled widely, flashing white teeth through the grime. “Isn’t this wonderful?” She screamed happily.

“Super!” Bimkink yelled sarcastically.

“You’re starting to impress the Lieutenant.”


“I can tell by the way he looks at you.” Pithyfonk assured her.

Dibvizz Fastmaster was the reason for her current predicament. The things a female would do to get the attention of a male she was interested in romantically, she thought in disgust. Stupid hormones. He was tall for a gnome, with black hair, penetrating dark eyes and roughly chiseled features. Her heartbeat quickened just thinking of him.

The sudden screech of metal giving away accompanied by the whistle of escaping steam interrupted their conversation. “Get that leak plugged or we’re all dead!” Captain Twistgauge ordered.

The hot moistness seeped through Bimkink’s protective clothing, scalding her. Thick fog filled the compartment, blurring her vision. The hissing pipe dangled from the ceiling just to the left of her location. She stumbled forward and grabbed it. Ouch! It was too hot to handle even through the thick gloves she wore. Frantically she peered at her surroundings, searching for something, anything useful. She caught a glimpse of the coal shovel and a large barrel of oil. An idea blossomed in her mind. She tumbled the barrel onto its side and rolled it into position. She ripped of her gloves, using them to wedge it into place. If she could just lift the pipe back into position. She grabbed the shovel’s handle, laying it over the barrel and slid the scoop beneath the pipe. Muscles straining she heaved desperately upwards, with a screech the pipe clanged back where it belonged. “I need some help here!”

“I’ve got it!” Dibvizz loomed out of the murk. Pressing his front to her back, he stretched out his long arms. Bimkink’s spine tingled at the embrace. Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang! He drove the bolts through their holes. Grunting, he screwed the nuts tight. “Good job Crewwoman Thistlebang! Would you care to join me for a meal after we land?” He asked in his gravely voice.

“I’d be delighted Mr. Fastmaster.” Bimkink responded coyly. Sometimes all you need is a little leverage she thought complacently.


496 Words in response to Finish That Thought #48, Special Challenge: Include a flying, steam-powered contraption.


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