The Bunker is a short story that was originally published in the very first volume of the immensely popular Dreams of Steam anthology series of steampunk fiction, published by Kerlak/Dark Oak Press. When the rights reverted back to me, I decided to pursue getting it published as a standalone ebook short, through Chromosphere Press. I also have it available on CD as an audiobook, and plan to get it up on Audible as an audio download. Here's the promo blurb:
We all know that, in the Victorian era, Earth was invaded by aliens from another world. We have details on what happened in Europe, especially Great Britain.
But what happened in the Western Hemisphere? What happened in the United States?
An elderly inventor tells his young apprentice this tale, the tale of what happened in The Bunker.
“What’s that you have there, Henry?” the man asked, turning as his apprentice trundled in a large wooden crate on a hand truck.
“Delivery for you, sir,” Henry, a tall, lank youth, noted, easing the hand truck to
the floor of the room. “This came with it.” He proffered a letter.
His master took the letter and opened it, scanning down through it. “Oh. My, my,
my. Sooner than I would have thought. I’d forgotten all about this thing. Get a prybar,
Henry ran for the prybar on the tool rack, and came back. His teacher held out his
hand, and Henry placed the bar into it, then watched as his senior eased the lid off the
crate. The apprentice helped remove the kapok packing, then stared down at a wonder of
brass, metal, and wood. “What is it?” he whispered, awed.
His mentor laughed. “No, you wouldn’t know about it,” he said. “Sit down by the
fire, Henry, and let me tell you a little tale…”
They moved to the fireplace in the far corner of the room. There, a rocking chair
sat on one side of the fire, a short three-legged stool on the other side. Henry took the
stool as the teacher settled into the rocker. A light tap of the master’s toes set the chair in
motion, and as he began his story, his voice was in counterpoint to the soft creak of
“Some years back,” the man said, “when I was a few years older than you are
now, I was a telegrapher. A damn fine one, if I do say so. I was working in the Midwest
that summer when an urgent message came in – for me. I was called immediately to…
well, it wasn’t Washington, D.C. precisely. It was a town nearby in Virginia called White
Sulphur Springs, and I was told to approach the front desk of The Grand Central Hotel
and speak with the man who would be waiting there. Not only that, but my rail fare
would be taken care of by the mere mention of my name.”
“Exactly,” his teacher chuckled. “I daresay my expression was much the same at
the time. At any rate, I ran home, gathered my things, and set off, for the message came
from a VERY high and reliable source, and brooked no delay.
“It was a long journey, and I can tell you, I was damned tired of the train by the
time I reached my destination. I got directions and found my way from the station to the
hotel, where I approached the desk clark and gave him my name. His eyes widened. ‘Yes
sir,’ he said, ‘we’ve been waiting for you. Follow me, please sir.’ Sir. To me. A young
whippersnapper of… mm, I think I might have been all of nineteen, if memory serves.
And you’ll never guess what happened next.”
“I’m sure I shan’t,” Henry avowed.
“He led me into a back room and opened… a secret door, Henry! I followed him
in, and we went down a set of spiral stairs. Down, and down, and down. At the bottom
was a cave, for the hotel was built on the site of a sulphur spring, where people would
take the waters. And in that cave was a fair beehive of people. I couldn’t begin to tell you
everything that was going on there, even if I were permitted, which I am not… as yet. But
this much I CAN say: I was brought there to coordinate, collate, send and receive the
most urgent of telegraphy messages – for we were being invaded.”
“INVADED?! Sir!” Henry exclaimed, eyes wide.
“Yes, Henry, invaded. And not from Europe or Mexico or the like. No, these
invaders… were from another planet.”
So, it seems that the carnage might not have been limited to Great Britain. Interested in what happens next? Find out by reading The Bunker!
Audio CD (bottom of page)