A gust of wind blew in from the mouth of the courtyard and turned Clara’s skin turn to gooseflesh. Her training in life taught her how to ignore extremes of heat or cold, all to achieve success. Clara thought back to that time when she was stark naked in the freshly fallen snow. That had been a cold and brutal night, but she nonetheless managed to approach, entice, and dispatch one of them in the process. That dumb bastard was too busy focusing on her tits to wonder why a woman was out in the middle of a battlefield.
This situation was different, ninety-years spent in paradise brought about some skills fade. Clara responded by biting the inside of her cheek and was pleasantly surprised by the taste of her iron-rich blood.
“At least some things haven’t changed,” Clara muttered.
From out of the corner of her eye, Clara caught something unexpected. She turned to investigate, and noticed that one of those boarded up doors from earlier, was not anymore.
As a precaution she stopped, closed her eyes and opened her mouth. While sound carried well at night, doing this honed her senses. Despite her caution, there were no sounds that gave her cause for concern.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” Clara said under her breath.
She headed towards the door, to examine the heavy steel frame, and broken lock before she let herself in. Since her eyes were already adjusted to low light conditions, it was a trivial matter to figure out this store was empty.
This place did have rows of empty racks and shelves that would have been home to garments, shoes, and accessories. Surely a real treasure trove, if it were still open to the public.
“What a shame,” Clara said and paused to see if those words got some attention.
“Size twelve?” Edith asked. “How… possibly be a size twelve… two of me.”
Clara blinked several times in rapid order, all in some misguided attempt to refresh her view. Alas, the place remained deserted, and as judged by a thick layer of dust, it had been for years.
From the opposing corner of the disturbance, a hanger struck the floor, which resounded throughout the room. She focused all of her senses on that spot, but there were no hangers to be found. There were no other sounds, visual cues, changes in temperature, nor did a chill run down her spine.
“Edith?” Clara called out.
Moments later, the sound of foot stomps traversed the room until they came up to the skeleton of an empty change room. Clara then caught the sound of a curtain being drawn, despite there being nothing to move. By now, Clara knew that something was up, although she had to admit the nuances surrounding this situation were entirely new.
This was not the case of an apparition, and the voice was unmistakably Edith’s, at least that much was certain. Along with her witnessing a friend drop to the mortal realm, a theory coalesced within the depths of her mind.
By that time, the sounds were gone, and heard nothing more than her breathing. While Clara was not aware of the mechanics that made this possible, she nonetheless accepted this moment as being grounded in reality.
Of course, that did little to resolve her most pressing problem. A shame there were no curtains left, at least those could have been fashioned into some sort of makeshift robe.
“No rest for the wicked,” Clara said with a sigh.
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!