Chapter 22: One Month Later
David coasted down the street, beat-bopping his head to the music in his ear buds. The dull world around him blurred in a swirl of gray and the wisps of ChiMera energy that trailed behind his FloatBoard.
He had had a short shift today, dinner hours only. It was a busy six hours though, so the tips made up for any lack of scheduling. He had to have been to every street in Sector 7 today, whizzing back and forth like a comet down the streets, hitching rides on the back of cars, swinging around lamp-posts.
It had been a pretty good day.
Renee was working late tonight, so with no one else to socialize with in this good mood, he decided halfway through his trip home that he was going to go visit Lenora. She usually stayed up to at least midnight on her days off. (The process of turning around had ticked off several wheel-drivers, but he was much faster than them, and his music had blocked any obscenities he may have been called.)
The roads by Lenora’s house were never very busy. This part of her sector was pretty close to the walls, and not a lot of Cellar people wanted to be reminded of the great box they were stuck in. Most of the buildings were either offices, storage facilities or low income housing. The rest of it was usually condemned or quarantine leftovers no one had cared to clean out.
Except looters, of course.
David sped down the streets, a smile still playing on his lips. It wasn’t just his busy work day that had put him in such high spirits. Most of his mood had to do with the call he received after work.
Her name was Cindeline and she was feeling much better, and she thanked him for getting her out of that cage and away from that horrible place. She was glad he had given her his number, because she really liked the idea of getting to know him. She thought his green hair was cute.
David, admittedly, had been horrified at first. He actually hadn’t intended on using the incident a Crank to get a date. In truth, she had seemed really shaken up and he had given her his number and told her to call him if she ever needed anything.
Apparently she needed a date.
He remembered how scared she was, clinging to those bars. She’d been wearing barely anything except for some sort of shiny little nighty and a pair of high heels. As soon as he had managed to work the latch free she had leapt to his arms and he had half carried her to the other people by the door, trying to calm her down. The last thing he had done was fish in his pocket for the paper with his number on it.
David remembered he was saving it for someone he was going to get the nerve up to dance with, but that had never happened. So instead, he had pressed it into Cindeline’s hand and told her that if she ever needed anything…
David started singing along with the words, off-key and uncaring. Once Lenora’s street started whizzing under the FloatBoard, David slowed down and hopped off.
He kicked up the front and caught the nose of the board. With the other hand he reached down the underbelly of the board and pulled a palm-wide lever up, hearing the calm whine of the ChiMera energy powering off and being stored back in its cells.
He hoisted the FloatBoard over his shoulder and trotted up to Lenora’s door, jovially poking at the buzzer.
After a minute, David checked his cell-pod. The digital screen read 11:14pm, and it was a Saturday so there was no way Lenora was at work. David shifted his weight once or twice before he pushed the buzzer a few more times.
He looked at the door in suspicion before trotting back out to the street and staring up into Lenora’s window.
It was dark.
David gazed at it mournfully, suddenly afraid he had woken her up – she had been feeling a bit under the weather lately – coughing into the phone, saying she couldn’t hang out and that she wasn’t up to it. David was convinced that there was something at her job that kept getting her sick. He told her she should have someone come in and fumigate the place. The comment had at least made her laugh.
David had no desire to get sick… but he had just wanted to drop off his good news. He would have done it through the door if Lenora wanted him to.
Sighing, David pulled the FloatBoard off of his shoulder and pulled the lever down to coax the ChiMera energy out of its cells again.
He could always tell her tomorrow. He could stop in before work and bring breakfast. He couldn’t remember the last time they had some fresh bagels… he could swing by the bakery just as it opens and maybe snag some of their really nice bagels, the ones they get from upstairs. If he got there early enough they should have a few left!
Ideas for David’s visit popped in and out of his head as he sped away from the dark figure watching in the alley behind him. The figure went completely unnoticed, and made no move to stop him as the wisps of ChiMera streamed in ribbons out behind David.
As David wondered with a chuckle if he still had those little paper masks they made for Halloween years ago, the figure looked up at the window with a furrowed brow. Finding no answers that it preferred the figure then turned and strode quickly back into the un-lit side-street and disappeared.