The Cellar City Chronicles

By Oru Manna All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Other

Chapter 17: Concerned

Renee had not slept a wink all night. She had been too worried about Lenora to sleep.

Before heading to bed, David had tried to give her the speech about trust, and how they should trust Lenora’s judgment. Renee wasn’t buying it. It was one thing to trust your friends, but strangers were different.

Renee had told her that she would be back. Granted, she had mentioned something about after work, but Renee couldn’t wait.

As she drove down the still thin streets, she had thought about David. He was a smart kid, getting smarter every day, but still a kid. He was still an optimist too, which was always a surprise to Renee.

Maybe that was because she was such a pessimist.

Leave it to him to try and find the good in people, regardless of situation or circumstance. With a scoff, Renee shook her head. Hell, even if this stranger had been the one killing and shooting people, she was convinced David would still try to hold Renee back and say something like, ‘give the guy a chance.’

The short ride was finished through Renee’s morning haze, although this time it was accompanied by the morning grogginess of not having slept yet.

The lights were off in Lenora’s apartment. Renee turned off, got out of and locked up her car before approaching the complex’ door. She rang them bell once and waited alone in the streets.

It was quiet this morning. Still too early for school kids to be stirring, and most people didn’t get up to go to work for at least another hour. Renee knew that Lenora would be miffed by the intrusion, but it was Saturday. It wasn’t as if Lenora worked later.

The door buzzed and Renee slipped inside. She took the stairs quickly and without pause, but Lenora was at the door before she got there.

“Isn’t it a bit early for you?” Lenora inquired, hugging a blanket around herself. Her hair had the slightly ruffled look of the newly awake, and her eyes were narrowed sleepily.

“Just checking up on you before I get to work.” Renee stated. Glancing behind her friend, she noticed Lenora had the door shut behind her.

“I’m okay.” Lenora covered her mouth as a yawn slipped out.

Renee looked her over skeptically. “And your patient?”

Lenora gave her a quizzical look and then sighed. “He’s fine.”

Renee grilled her until she was given more information.

“He’s still sleeping. I stitched him up just fine, and I bandaged him. He’s on the futon.” Lenora hesitated, the plea in her eyes falling on Renee’s steely face. “If it makes you feel better I lock the door to my bedroom when I sleep.”

Renee tried to give her a small smile. It only made her feel better to a point. “Yeah, that does actually.”

Lenora giggled sleepily. “I suppose I could cuff him to the bed frame, too?”

Renee snorted, the grin widening slightly. “YOU have handcuffs?”

“No. But I could use the straps from my purse, I guess.”

“That’s…. very resourceful.” Renee looked down at her feet.

They stood there a moment in awkward silence.

“Hey…” Renee started. “I’m sorry that I –“

“Don’t worry about it.” Lenora cut her off, shaking her head. One of her hands touched Renee’s elbow comfortingly. “I know you’re just concerned. Thank you. It means a lot, it really does.” She smiled. “It’s nice to know that you have my back.”

Renee shrugged like it was no thing. “You know I do.”

They shared another grin before Renee sighed, shaking her head.

Maybe she was just being ridiculous. If it was just some poor asshole that got caught in the crossfire, he was more likely to be thankful to Lenora than anything else. Not everyone in the world was a cold-blooded freak, and not all of them delighted in making people miserable.

No. Those people only lived in Renee’s version of Cellar City.

“I should get going.”

“Thanks for coming over.”

Renee nodded. “Go back to sleep.”

“I plan on it, thanks.” Lenora stuck her tongue out at her friend and they said their goodbyes.

As Renee made it back down the stairs and to her car, she heard Lenora slip back into her apartment. She made sure to hear the click of the lock on the complex door as she returned to her car.

She was glad to see that no one had tried to steal it – it was so old, who would want it anyway? It wasn’t even in good enough condition to be a collector’s piece. Renee resisted the urge to kick the thing before she got in and buckled herself up.

Movement caught her eye and she glanced up to Lenora’s window. Seeing the light switch off, she dismissed the illusion.

She could have sworn she saw someone standing and watching her.

But Renee chalked it up to being sleep deprived and moved along feeling better about Lenora’s safety. Now at least she could focus on her job.

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