Act I: Scene II
Chantelle opened her eyes, this time to bright daylight. Had that really been a dream? It felt so real. She glanced at the clock by her bed 1:00. Her mother would have finished her morning visits and have gone into town.
Chantelle sighed, curling up tighter. The girl had been rather creepy. But oh how she wanted a friend.
“Chantelle!” Her mother’s shrill cry pulled her violently from her peaceful doze. She rolled over to face the door but didn’t sit up.
“I have a guest coming at three this evening. She’s bringing her daughter and I would like you to meet her.”
“Of course, Mother!” Inwardly she sighed, burying herself in the blankets. It was rare indeed for her mother to make such a proposal, even if the visitors brought their children. Most mothers were none too keen on allowing their daughters to meet a Cyborg. Perhaps this one didn’t know? Chantelle doubted it. Even if the woman hadn’t known her mother would have immediately mentioned it.
Chantelle hauled herself up from the bed, going over to her closet. She wasn’t looking forward to wearing any of her formal gowns. They were all suffocating. Perhaps she could wear a sundress instead? She pursed her lips, thinking it over. Her mother would surely disapprove, but why try and impress their guest? She could look as lovely as a magazine girl and that wouldn’t change the fact that she was a Cyborg. And anyone willing to look past that fact would be willing to overlook a sundress.
She pulled a soft blue sundress from her closet. She pulled off her nightgown, pulled on a slip, and then a pair of white knee high socks. The dress fit loosely, but snuggly at the waist. The bodice should have been tight as well, but the cousin who had gifted it to her second hand was more endowed that herself, though it wasn’t awkwardly loose my any means. The dress was easy to move about and breathe in as well. She slipped on black flats with white rose detailing before plopping on her bed.
Should she go down for lunch?
No. She would have lunch brought up. That way Mother would not have time to question her appearance. She had egg salad sandwiches and a bowl of fresh fruit brought up. Mother would surely serve tea to their guests, or she could have some brought to her and the daughter, so there was little reason to eat too much.
Once she had eaten she moved over to her dresser, pulling open a drawer containing a few mechanical supplies. She slipped a scanner from the drawer, plugging it into her wrist. She watched the numbers roll across the screen, checking for any abnormalities that would require attention. Now and again a wire or circuit would malfunction, but she preferred to find it before it caused a problem. Next, she did the same to her leg. She should have checked the wiring in her spine and head, but having the machine plugged into the back of her neck always left her feeling uneasy. One could have a mechanical arm and still be considered entirely human, but synthetic nerves? That made you a Cyborg.
She moved to the corner of her room which she devoted to painting, pulling one of her father’s old shirts on, which the maid had been kind enough to snag for her. It was already covered in paint, but that didn’t matter much.
However, when she moved to continue the landscape she had been working on, nothing came to mind. She didn’t know what colors went where as usual, instead all she could remember was the girl from her dream. Sighing she picked up her sketchbook and a pencil, roughly sketching out the girl. Maybe if she cleared her head she could go back to painting.
Instead, though, she found herself refining the details until it was a nearly lifelike image of the girl, complete with the beauty mark just below her left eye. She glanced over at the clock 2:45. Time to go downstairs.
Her mother greeted her at the base of the stairs, having come to fetch her. She glanced at Chantelle’s dress, frowning slightly, but said nothing on it. “I almost thought you had gone back to sleep.” She led the way to the green room, holding her head high and walking stiffly.
Chantelle preferred the green room to most of her mother’s tea rooms. The chairs were comfortable enough and none of the furnishings were incredibly gaudy. She slipped into the room behind her mother, bowing slightly as her mother introduced her.
“Chantelle, this is Lady Eliza Harris.” Her mother motioned to a thin woman with strikingly pale skin, deep gray eyes, and long curling black locks. She was a few years younger than her own mother. She was dressed fashionably, but also simply in a pale violet gown. She smiled warmly at Chantelle, nodding.
“And this is her daughter Marceline.” Marceline was just as pale as her mother however, she was not dressed in a fashion Chantelle’s mother would not have found suitable. She wore fitted black trousers, a white button up, a vest a few shades darker than her mother’s gown, and a jacket was resting on the arm of her chair. She smiled at Chantelle who almost gasped. Her thin lips, violet eyes, and red curls were exactly the same as the girl from her dream.
Chantelle was brought back to earth as her mother jabbed her in the side with her elbow. “It’s nice to make your acquaintance.”
“The same to you, my dear,” Lady Eliza replied, still wearing her soft smile, “why don’t you go with Marceline to get some fresh air?”
Chantelle could tell that her mother wanted to protest. She treated Chantelle as though she were frail, just like everyone else, so she hurried to agree. “That would be lovely.”