Rather pleased with how all of this turned out. There are still some things which might need addressing but real life is like that, too: loose ends are a way of life.
Was seriously “in the groove” yesterday and got down about 2500 words of “Culture Shock,” my next short. Hoping to wrap that one up today.
Having slept in a cot in his office – going home with family in the hospital would not happen – Doctor Hartmann awoke to Aurie telling him at 0600 she was already showered and dressed and getting something to eat in the café. He sighed, combed his hair, and walked down the two flights to meet her. For once, unlike his sister when she first came into notoriety, she was alone at a small table along the wall. He sat opposite her.
“Status?” he asked the family’s trademark question.
“Nominal,” she replied, pausing the fork-full of egg before her mouth. “Question.”
He nodded to her.
“What happens to the two who attacked my Sister?” she asked, pushing the food on in.
Look and see, he thought to her. Local news.
The father watched his daughter’s eyes flare just a little as she picked information out of the Void.
Already convicted of kidnapping, assault, attempted rape. To be hanged at sunset today. MacRae can move fast when he wants to. I guess the empress is involved?
Absolutely. This is not just a matter of disturbing the peace of our city-state. They attacked a member of the imperial family. He looked away and Aurelia sensed his disgust at politics. Either you or I must be there for the execution.
“I’ll do it,” she said aloud, picking up crispy bacon. “My actions, my responsibility.”
“Not going to plead for mercy for them. Aurie! Stop that!” Her lips drew back in a snarl and a hiss escaped between her teeth.
“They tried to hurt my friend,” she said in deadly quiet. “There are times we are wrong and great-grandpa right!”
“Your aunt has avoided that temptation,” he replied, coolly. “I suggest you apply yourself to the same restraint, my daughter.”
“I shall, Daddy,” she said, dipping her head nearly to the plate before raising it and wiping her mouth with a napkin. “We go?”
They stood and made their way up to the ground floor and main entrance, he telling her they would go home and with her mother try to think of something to tell her Sisterhood…
“Too late,” Aurelia replied, looking out the hospital’s main doors. Not just her eleven Sisters, but a smattering of adults, likely of the youngest, to drive them there. “Perhaps I am to be expelled now. Give me a moment.”
At that, fully in view of them, she shucked her jacket for the black tee shirt underneath then sat on the floor to pull her boots and socks off. Don’t start on about my leg, Daddy, this won’t take long. Aurie stood and limped on her inch-shorter left leg out the main doors to halt about ten feet away from the group.
Eleven looked at one. Some nervous. Some sad. One looked back.
“If it is my resignation you want…” but once again, she heard Tracy in a struggle.
“…let… me… go!” the girl cried, tearing away from her mother and running into Aurelia’s startled arms. Still crying, she kept on, “I love you! We love you! You saved me, saved me…!”
Holding her friend close, she didn’t see the looks between the others, who first clapped then closed about the two, thanking and praising Hartmann for what she had done. Still inside, the older Hartmann noted some of the parents were not pleased with this sudden development.
“A-HEM!” Sydnie said in a loud, fake voice. The Sisterhood fell back into two ranks of five, the younger in the front, with Barbara just to their left. They looked at her as she counted down with her fingers: three, two, one.
“Hey, hey, hey, when I need to be saved, You’re making me strong, You’re making me stand. Never will fall, never will end… I’m Your rocket shot into Your sky, nothing can stop me tonight,” the ten sang.
“God makes us feel invincible, earthquake powerful. Without You we are nothing, just sorrowful,” Barbara chorused. “Just like a tidal wave or legions on parade, You make us brave. You’re our light in the dark, keep us safe in the park – ”
Aurie caught that and flinched.
“– like the roar of lions in the darkness!”
“Who can touch us?” the ten again. “We’re on fire! Who can stop us? We won’t tire! God makes us feel… INVINCIBLE!”
In the sudden silence, Princess Aurelia burst out crying.
“Geez, you guys…!”