Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Celeste (part two)

This is my first response to Crystal's story opening. Enjoy.


The surrounding walls were becoming less smooth—more unfinished brick and wood. The road became bumpier, and the radio died. Celeste noticed the steering wheel becoming harder, thinner, padded only by her gloves. The windshield curve flattened out and her engine coughed. Celeste groaned, "Not my brand new Jag. Gawain, you Luddite asshole."

Cold air, flavored with coal smoke, leaked in at all sides.

Jacob slid closer to her across the now single bench seat, buried his face in her full layers of skirts and petticoats. He was shivering.

: What idiot designed a car with no heater?: A low, whiny growl leaked from the cat.

"Don't complain, Darling. At least we still have a motor vehicle."

: You're sure this is Gawain's doing?: Jacob burrowed into Celeste's petticoats.

Celeste dragged back the edge of her left cuff with her right forefinger. The touchscreen on her bracelet winked bluegreen in the morning light.

"Yeah. It's Gawain."

: Good. Remind me to scratch the bastard. Or punch him in the face, if...: The thought trailed off.
"Could be worse. Knowing Gawain's tastes, I'm surprised he left us with internal combustion." Celeste frowned. Jacob was adorable like this, but she couldn't imagine how frustrating it must be. She caressed the cat roughly, hoping to warm him a bit.

: I heard that.:

"Heard what? I didn't say anything."

: Pity.:

"You can hear pity?"

: Like a foghorn.:

"Wow. Maybe I underestimated the advantages of—"

The Model-T came to a teeth-jarring halt, both front wheels falling into deep ruts in the recently refrozen street mud. The engine coughed—sputtered—died.

Celeste rubbed her chest where the huge steering wheel had struck. Shaking her head, she looked down at the dashboard. No key. Just a choke knob. Then she saw the crank handle on the floorboard and groaned. Was it even possible to restart one of these things without help? Didn't someone have to operate the choke while she cranked—O screw this. Celeste pulled back her skirts and eyed her boots. Laced. Ankle high. Two-inch spiky heels. Really? Heels? In this weather?

She checked her wrist screen again, tapping up the last update of the GPS before the satellite signals had disappeared. The blue dot showed that Gawain should be just a few blocks away—well, had been a few blocks away. Celeste removed her shawl, gathered up the complaining cat, and kicked the door open. "Come on, Romeo. Looks like we're hoofing it."

Jacob growled within the bundle of shawl. : What kind of self-respecting witch walks in weather like this?:

"One who can't read early Twentieth-Century wards and would prefer avoiding death or dismemberment. Don't complain. At least you're warm."

: You have a point. Anyone watching?:

Celeste looked around, slowly, not wanting to look too furtive. "Not a soul in sight. It's early."

: Good.: Jacob began purring.

Celeste noticed the warmth before she noticed the weight. She glanced down at her shoulder and saw that she was now wearing a sable jacket. "Aw, aren't you a sweety."

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