Of Gilded Flesh
by Gordon Gravley
Publication date: June 22nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Clockmaker Josef Kronecker makes more than just clocks.
In his study in Salzburg, he crafts lifesaving clockwork appendages for clients, including a famous pianist, a count who loves to dance, and his very own assistant, Anna, who suffered a harrowing attack before coming to work at Kronecker’s Timepieces.
When Josef meets Klara, a beautiful party attendee, he’s entranced and soon becomes unknowingly entrapped in a web of lies. His infatuation positions him as the victim of a royal bully, who presents an impossible challenge and requests an unthinkable sacrifice should Josef run out of time.
While Josef falls for Klara and is held to a deadline he can’t possibly make, Anna keeps the shop afloat as she faces her past trauma, proving that the number of limbs does not make a person whole, but rather the will to live.
Sustaining life is Josef’s calling, but now it’s his life on the line. As the clock ticks down, he realizes that while infatuation is a powerful thing, love is deeper and sometimes goes unseen, and it seems adopting Anna’s unwavering will to live is the way to survive.
Honest, inventive, and both heartbreaking and heartwarming, OF GILDED FLESH is a captivating story about resilience and how much we have to live for.
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The clinking of tools and the orange light of candles trail from the workroom in the back of the shop. Anna enters the space through the open curtain. Expecting to see Josef hovering over Duke Brunner’s artificial heart, she’s surprised to find the clockmaker tinkering with the mechanical boy, Joop, instead. Josef inserts the Rainbow Moonstone-and-marble balls into its vacant eye sockets.
The clockmaker leans back and moves a burning candle from one side of Joop’s head to the other. “Come see,” he says.
Anna moves to Josef’s side—close to him, but not too close.
“They catch the light with such brilliance,” he says. “Thank you, Anna.”
He reaches for her hand, yet she finds herself pulling away. Piano music comes from the other side of the shop and hovers between the two of them. Josef gives a curious look.
“Pascal is here already?”
“He came by last night…and never left.”
Josef turns to her, taking in the warmth she emits like a gently burning hearth. “I see.” He turns away and disappears into the darkness of the shop.
Anna moves closer to Joop and rests her left hand beside him. She lowers herself to a stool.
“Oh, Joop. What have I done?”
The boy stares vacantly back as a tear rolls down her cheek.
“I killed a man. He was so very horrible—a demon—but who am I to pass judgement and execution? My vengeance has made me no better.”
Another tear falls.
“I’m worse, even. For I’ve gone and lain myself with a man I do not love.”
Joop’s hands slips from his lap and rests upon hers. The comforting, humanlike gesture from the unhuman boy sparks a faint grin to her lips and then a flood of tears.
“And worse still…I want to again.”
Gordon Gravley has been making up stories all his life. As a child, they would take the shape of rudimentary comic books, and Super-8 movies. As he was drawn to stage-acting in high school his stories became one-act plays, and then feature-length screenplays – none of which ever saw the light of the big screen.
It wasn’t until his thirties that he finally decided to take the plunge, and like a real writer he made his stories into, well…stories. And just like a real writer, his efforts garnished multiple rejection letters. Twenty years later, those efforts would culminate into his first self-published novel, Gospel for the Damned.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Gordon moved around – California; Colorado; Alaska; Northern Arizona – before eventually settling in Seattle, Washington. Having called the Northwest his home since 1998, he doesn’t expect to be moving elsewhere anytime soon. There, he continues to make up stories, write novels, and live with his wife and son.
Subscribe to the author’s monthly newsletter, “from…Another Writer”, via his website www.gordongravley.com.
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