This post has the following content warnings:
Jul 21, 2019 5:12 PM
Factor 5 Nova gets scooped by a slightly older mutant runaway
Permalink

It should have been a good day.

Some high school way out in the suburbs was renovating and finally getting rid of its machine shop and no one else wanted a bunch of lathes and bandsaws that had been gathering dust for thirty years and might or might not even work, so Cassie had been able to pick them up for barely more than the cost of charging the van to drive to the auction, and they'd just barely all fit in the back of the van.

But then she got back to her warehouse and there was a gently smoking pickup truck and an inexplicable sofa blocking the good loading dock.  She'd have to park the van, and go almost all the way around the block to get to the people door from the other side, and wrestle the door on the other dock open far enough to get the van in...

And partway there, the on-again off-again drizzle finally got its act together and started coming down in earnest.  Of course.

Total: 475
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

The alley she has to go through is notorious. Prostitutes use it for quick tricks, knowing that it's close enough to other people that the chances of things going horrendously badly are slim.

There's a young girl in it, soaked through from the rain, and in clothes that are far too thin for the weather anyway. She's kneeling, trying to shelter against the wall, shoulders shaking slightly with sobs. Her lip has been split at some point, and is only just starting to scab over, and her cheek looks like it might bruise.

(At the other end of the alley, there's someone's back, disappearing rapidly.)

Permalink

She was halfway expecting to get propositioned.  This is... not that.

She rolls a little closer and stops just out of arm's reach.  "Hey- hey, are you-"  'okay' is stupid, she's clearly not okay- "are you hurt?"

Permalink

The girl glances up, her entire body flinching away. "I-I'm f-fine," she doesn't sound it. "I, um. I'm sorry. I-" She scrambles to her feet, unsteady. The movement shows just how painfully thin she is, although she's also just starting to show as pregnant.

Permalink

Cassie scoots backward a foot or two, realizing too late she probably shouldn't move suddenly.  "It's all right, you- you don't need to be sorry."  She wipes some rain out of her eyes, which is promptly replaced.  "Do you, uh- d'you have someplace- do you wanna come in out of the rain?"

Permalink

The girl bites at her lip, looks over at Cassie from under her eyelashes. "I- you- um. What do you- want me to- do?"

Permalink

"I, uh-  nothing, I don't-"  Shouldn't push her but she can't just leave her here.  "You don't have to if you don't want to, I just- my place is literally around the corner, 's not much but I've got a roof and cocoa, or if you're not comfortable going someplace with a stranger there's an overhang over the loading dock, 'd be at least a little drier?"

Permalink

The girl is silent for a moment. "I. Um." Pause, obviously confused, obviously not used to people acting like this. After a moment, voice completely lost: "Whatever you think best, ma'am?"

Permalink

"Okay.  Okay, um."  Cassie chews on her lip for a moment.  "Why don't you come in, at least, and I can loan you a towel or I might have an umbrella somewhere-"  one that was due to become part of an illegal satellite hookup, but broken umbrellas are easy to come by-  "and you can see from there?"

Permalink

She nods, a little wary, a little hesitant, but also almost relieved in a way? "Yes, ma'am," she agrees.

Permalink

"Um.  Okay.  'S just this way."  She starts down the alley, keeping an eye out for broken glass (it's usually pretty clear, but not always, and tire punctures are a pain) and glances back over her shoulder.  "My name's Cassie, what's yours?"

Permalink

The girl follows her, just out of arm's reach. "I, um, Blaze? Ma'am?"

Permalink

"Nice t' meet you-" she says it almost automatically, pulling out a set of keys as she rolls up to a metal door just around the corner of the building.  "Here we are."

Inside is one large concrete-floored space, dimly lit by a set of skylights in the high ceiling.  Near the door there's a handful of mismatched tables covered in what looks like half the contents of a junkyard and a thrift shop- stained coffeepots, televisions with holes in the screen, one rickety card table covered in jam jars filled with screws and bolts and washers.  Farther away the objects get larger- a doorless fridge, most of the engine block of a truck- and in the opposite corner of the room is a forklift wrapped in caution tape.

Immediately next to the door, there is something that is not a wheelchair, because instead of wheels it has eight gleaming brass legs.  Cassie transfers into it with a quiet sigh and swings around a battered plasterboard partition.  "Be just a sec!"

Permalink

Blaze stays exactly where she was left, winding her fingers together awkwardly.

Permalink

Cassie returns with a clicking noise and two towels, one of which she hands to Blaze.  It's got an assortment of greyish stains on it, but looks like it's been washed since it acquired them.  "Here you go.  It'll take me a bit to find the umbrella but I promised cocoa, do you have any allergies or stuff?"

Permalink

There's a moment before she takes the towel, and even then, she doesn't quite seem to know what she's supposed to do.

She shakes her head at the question. "I- at least- I don't- think so?"

Permalink

Cassie doesn't immediately notice this, because as soon as Blaze takes it she buries her face in her own, rubbing vigorously at her hair.  "Mmkay, that's good- I don't have guests over usually, I've just got the kind with marshmallows and the kind without marshmallows and I think some kind of weird tea somewhere."  She emerges from the towel and glances at Blaze cautiously.

Permalink

With Cassie's 'example', she's started towelling off herself, although little can be done for the fact her clothes are soaked through.

"I, uh, whatever's easiest?" Flinch. "Y-you don't- have to?"

Permalink

"Hey, hey, s'okay."  She remembers to keep her tone gentle this time.  "I've got plenty, an' it's no trouble to make twice as much.  Let's get you settled and then I'll find you that umbrella, is that all right?"

Permalink

"I- as you say, ma'am?" she agrees tiredly.

Permalink

This is slightly concerning- okay, more than slightly- but Cassie's best plan right now is to just take this one step at a time.  She gestures for Blaze to follow her around the partition: the other side was evidently the warehouse office before something took out most of the front wall.  Currently it's set up as a fairly cozy living space:  mattress up on cinderblocks with a tangle of pink bedding, mustard-colored sofa, wide expanse of countertop with only a few random bits of scrap metal and a fridge with an actual door.

"Here, you can wrap up in this," she yanks a fleece blanket off the bed and offers it to Blaze, "and I'll get the milk started heating up."  She tugs a little end table around in front of the sofa (wire-mesh trash can with an irregular slate top, trailing an extension cord).

Permalink

She's hesitant to take it again, but does, and after a moment where she's still, wraps it around her shoulders. "Th-thank you, ma'am," she murmurs.

Permalink

"No problem."  She looks like she wants to say something more, or reach out, but after a moment she just clicks off toward the fridge instead.

There's definitely something going on with the chair- the legs telescope out to let her get mugs off a high shelf, crouch as she pulls a saucepan off a low one, scuttle backwards away from the opening fridge door, all without her hands being anywhere near the few visible controls.

Permalink

She watches out of the corner of her eyes, she's curious underneath her wariness, but that's well hidden.

Permalink

The end table starts radiating a gentle warmth.

Cassie sets the saucepan of milk on a hot plate and heads over to one of the farther tables, where she pulls a collapsible umbrella out of a box and does something to it that involves tape and wire.  (She doesn't actually seem to have any trouble finding it.)

"Here we go," she says, coming back over to Blaze,  "I'll leave this over here so you'll have it if you wanna leave whenever, okay?"

Permalink

"I-um. You don't- I don't need--I mean, thank you, ma'am, but-"

Total: 475
Posts Per Page: