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The Cellar City Chronicles

By Oru Manna All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Scifi

Chapter 12: David & Renee

It wasn’t fair.

When Renee had met Lenora for the first time, David had brought her home for some coffee and old-world board games. She had just walked in the door to notice that he and some strange girl were at their kitchen island chatting away over some of Renee’s hard earned brew.

Renee remembered how she had reacted; striding over and helping herself to the coffee left in the pot. She had noticed her brother’s ‘I’m-in-trouble’ face without a word. Once the coffee was how she liked it she had taken a seat at the island with them and stared at the girl.

Even then, Lenora had been fidgety. David had stammered a bit in his attempt to introduce them, but in the end it had been Lenora who stuck out her hand with a determined clench of her jaw.

Much to her credit, Lenora had thanked her for the coffee in the second sentence she had ever spoken to Renee.

Ever since then, they had been friends. Somehow it grew to be something closer then Lenora’s relationship with David – perhaps it was the ‘girl talks’ and the shopping trips, or maybe it was just the concept of having someone else to talk to that wouldn’t judge.

Renee cursed herself as she steered the trudging ancient vehicle down the streets. She shouldn’t have been so coddling. She should have just agreed. She knew better than anyone that Lenora was stronger then she looked – Hell, after what she had been through Renee was surprised that she left her apartment at all. But she had, and Lenora went to work, came over for dinner and was rebuilding her life all over again.

The thought had crossed Renee’s mind that if the same had happened to her – she didn’t think she would be so well adjusted.

They pulled up outside of Lenora’s complex and the vehicle idled noisily.

To call it a ‘car’ would be incorrect. Old-world cars used combustion engines and secreted a lot of gasses into the air. In 2030, Ford had crossed over into the realm of ChiMera energy, a fume-less, rechargeable energy source the likes of which the world had never before seen. Renee had found this car for cheap at a junkyard, and with David’s help and a couple shavings from their paychecks, they were able to rebuild most of it.

The heat and the A/C didn’t work, the upholstery was a shambles of holes and duct tape, the trunk only opened with a crowbar, but it ran and had working brakes and seat belts. That was all Renee needed.

David got out, and he and Lenora dragged the now unconscious man out of the car.

“Lenora.” Renee called out of her half-cranked window.

Lenora looked up, eyes shining. She half smiled at Renee as David took the man’s other arm over his shoulder to heave him away.

“…I’m going to check on you after work tomorrow.”

Renee hardened her eyes, but her eyebrows furrowed in a plea.

I am so worried about you. She thought hard and wished that Lenora could hear it.

Whether she did or not, Lenora’s smile softened. “Thanks, Renee. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Renee nodded and turned her attention forward. She watched from her peripherals as they both disappeared into Lenora’s complex. She turned back to the building from her seat and soon the light to her apartment turned on. Shadows played against the parts of the wall she could see, and in another minute, David was sprinting back to the car.

“Man, he was really bleeding.” David muttered, getting into the passenger seat.

“Now it’s all over my back seat.” Renee grumbled, pulling away from the curb to start the trip home.

They were both quiet for a minute, and then Renee burst. “Why didn’t you back me up back there?”

David furrowed his brow at her, replicating Renee’s earlier arms-crossed stance as he twisted in the seat to face her. “Excuse me?”

Renee spared him an angry glare. “You don’t think this is incredibly stupid?”

David shrugged, the baleful fire in his sister’s gaze melting the steely composure he imitated. He shifted in the seat, opting instead to stare out the window.

“David?” Renee prodded.

“Yeah I do, it’s just…” A hand went through his hair. It was his nervous habit. The hair went only to about his eyebrows, and the shock green was his favored color, so he played with it when he was nervous or thinking.

“Just what?”

“You know when … when we went to see Lenora at the hospital?”

Renee sighed. “Yeah.”

“And… you know what the doctor had said; about someone must have left her there, right at the emergency care entrance?”

Renee looked over at him again. “What are you getting at, David?”

David sighed. “Lenora said something when we were inside the club…” He struggled with his words. Renee glanced at him again, seeing a familiar screwed-up expression on her brother’s face.

It meant he was faced with something really distressing – or he was hiding something. Which usually distressed him. So did lying. But David never lied to Renee.

“What did she say?” Renee prompted.

David looked out the window again. “She said that he was the guy who had brought her to the hospital that night. That he was the guy who saved her.”

Renee was silent for a moment. “I see.”

David shrugged.

“What else did she say?” Renee asked, quirking an eyebrow at him.

Without looking at his sister, he responded, “She said she owed him one.”

Renee stared at him for a moment. She turned her eyes back to the cramped roads ahead in silence.

David was hiding something from her.

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