After Halloween and before Thanksgiving there is a kind of seasonal lull. Stores start pumping Christmas music out too soon. We had a great first snow. So what is the perfect cross between paranormal and Dickens? Victorian sci-fi.
THE DARK GLASS by James Wymore
In the dimly lit basement decorated with spirit photographs from Victorian cameras, Harold Beasley was like a mole in a mad-scientist’s laboratory. Beads of sweat left clean dots on his dirty, balding scalp. He scuttled back and forth between shelves of parts and tools to the table holding his newest invention. A brass ring surrounded a mirror-sized disc of glass. Various wires and tubes, fastened to the frame, ran off in every direction like a junk-art sunburst.
Harold flipped the switch on a small steam engine mounted to one side. As it puttered, a large cog with wire brushes on the teeth began to turn. Soon the hair above Harold’s ears began to stand as the air charged with static. He pushed a button and a small reservoir of ether drained into the space between the two gray panes of glass. Electricity arced through the ether, causing metal flakes trapped there to phosphoresce.