The sequel to Doll Eyes. There’s another vignette coming (focused on Rowan) and a short story I need to finish writing. And I need to edit Doll Eyes to reflect me changing Roland to Rowan. But anyway, enjoy.
The screwdriver slipped from my fingers. This wasn’t working.
“Rowan!” I yelled toward my sister’s flat.
A shouted reply from the other flat. “Oy! Some of us are trying to sleep!”
I ground my teeth. The new tenant. A physician. Moved in two days ago. Kept mostly diurnal hours. I wasn’t sure why Ms. Harris thought he would work out. Bother. What time was it?
I glanced at the clock set to this time zone. Nearly eleven. The doctor would have gotten in an hour and a half ago, most likely and Rowan wouldn’t return to her flat until one. I’d just have to make do until then.
Ten till one. The smell of curry from the hallway – Rowan’s usual takeaway. I opened my door slightly. “Would you come in?” Her mouth twisted. “Please?”
She huffed slightly. She hated eating anywhere but home, but I wouldn’t ask unless it was important. She pushed the door open with her foot, her expression growing darker as she gazed around my flat. I found cleaning a distraction and rarely bothered.
“What is it?” she said irritably. She caught sight of my left arm and her tone changed. “Oh.”
I’d already laid out the tools on the kitchen table and she gingerly set her bag on the cleaned counters as I sat down. I’d scrubbed the kitchen, as well as I could considering. It’d given me something to do while I waited, as boring as the process was.
“What happened?” she asked as she leaned in to inspect. My arm hung limply, the shoulder slumped.
“I must have jarred it harder than I thought during the fight last night. The rotor’s frozen.”
She frowned, peering over her glasses. “The socket is corroded.”
“I’ll have it looked at.” She glanced up, eyebrows raised. Admittedly, I had the habit of forgetting things, but I’d filed this one as important. “Tomorrow. I’ve no desire to have it fail again.”
It took her only a minute to adjust. The time wasted waiting for her was irritating, but there just wasn’t a way for me to get to the back of my own frozen shoulder.
“I’m reconnecting the terminals now.” She closed the access panel and the skin melded, once again seamless. I bit my lip hard as sensation rushed back down my arm. It was nearly overwhelming but I allowed myself only a hissed breath as Rowan washed her hands.
I rose, flexing my hand to chase away the last of the pins and needles. “Thank you. Enjoy your dinner.”