The water had been warm. The water had been shockingly warm and it took Macy a few moments to figure out how to stop the water from scolding her. For a while, she thought that she would have to settle for icy, cold water, but figured the glass knob and the water came to a tolerable temperature. She wouldn’t have showered if the woman hadn’t been there, the man’s woman it seemed. The man had been nice, but men had a way of getting nasty if a girl was careless enough. But the woman had been there, smelling vaguely of flowers and tending to the small cuts and scratches on her hands and face. Her breath smelt like mints and Macy thought that she was such a lovely looking woman. She was old compared to Macy, possibly up into her forties, but Macy couldn’t help but admire the woman’s clean black hair streaked with brown strands. The woman had gorgeous blue eyes like Clod’s eyes and Macy bore the sting of the rubbing alcohol because Macy knew she was trying to help and because the woman smelt so nice.
She ended the water and pulled away the white water curtains. She stood nude in the small, steamy bathroom, her arms curled up over her chest. She was suddenly nervous about where she was and was eyeing the small bathroom window. She had done the same in the man’s vehicle. She kept staring as the world rolled by, rumbling dully. Her hands had been cold, but she was trying to hide it from the man. She didn’t know exactly why, but she hid her shivers anyway. It hadn’t been enough because the man had looked over to her and cranked a knob, causing more hot air to flood into the cabin.
“Put your hands on the vents. You’ll feel better.” The man had told her and she did feel better. He actually took off his gloves and offered them to her when her hands still shook and took them as well.
“Thank you.” Macy had said softly. The man had been nice. She didn’t get the dangerous feeling from this man that she had gotten from other men. She still believed that she was in her time, her homespun, gun-toting time. When she had fallen with Toby, she was in a cold place and she was in a cold place now. She was in a high place and now she was in a low place and she reasoned that she had fallen from that high place. Had she given it any real thought, she would have known that was nonsensical. Had she fallen from the mountain the compound sat upon, Toby and her would have been torn up, broken apart and dead. She had also seen the water on one side of the river and a field on the other. There were no mountains for her to have fallen from. She’d figure it out later on, but there was too much to consider. There were lights everywhere, scattered freely like they were trying to shoo away the night. Along with the lights, there was so much noise, honking, puttering and music wafting down from windows and out from storefronts. So loud and so bright and it was all nonsensical. There were so many people and all of them just scrunched together. Everything was so close and there were so many people.
We’ll call social services…
She heard that there the door of the bathroom door and it sounded vaguely sinister in her ear. She couldn’t think of what ‘social services’ was or why the man and his wife would call them. Social services. Services for society. Something deliberately vague. There wasn't enough context for her to define what she had heard, but she thought that social services took people away. She thought of the Slavers and the Pester Gang. Pester hadn’t been nice by any stretch of the imagination, but he had taken care that she wasn’t spoiled by anyone. Pester had wanted her health for the Slavers. Maybe the Slavers were called social services in this part of the world. If so, she needed to get out, run away and quick. The Slavers being social services didn’t quite sound right, but she still felt nervous. Macy snaked a fluffy, white towel off a hook mounted on the wall. She rubbed the towel through her hair and then wrapped the towel around her body. There was a gentle knock on the door.
“Yes?” Macy called through the door.
“I have a pair of pants. A blouse as well.” It was the woman and Macy opened the door a crack. The woman smiled to Macy and passed clothes through the crack. Macy’s eyes and the woman’s eyes met for a lingering moment and Macy returned the smile, but she still felt unnerved.
“Thank you.” Macy said, taking the clothes and then softly closing the door again. The pants were slightly loose on her hips, but had fit better than the pair she had before. She realized that the pants had been cut for a woman. It wasn’t an absolutely ridiculous concept, but she hadn’t ever owned a pair of pants like that. Her last pair had been stole off from a gut-shot man. Her dress had been torn up by the man’s brother. The white blouse was slightly baggy, but she hadn’t minded that at all. She wiped the fog off the mirror and looked at herself. She looked like a different person on this side. Why would see think that? She looked like a cleaner person, yes. That wasn’t the part she was thinking about. On this side? This side of the mountain, maybe? Macy looked out the window and didn’t see mountains like black triangles against a purple backdrop. There were towers all around and so much light, but no mountains. On this side?
She had a cut under her left eye, looking like a deep, dark pink teardrop. She had another cut on her cheekbone and another on her chin. The cut on her cheekbone was surrounded by a purple bruise and she supposed that the cut had come from being hit by a knuckle. All of it was a blur. Her knuckles had been bad, swollen and red. A few of them had been cut open and she supposed that had happened when she was hitting Toby. There was a shallow cut on her palm. She had gotten that from a piece of stone she had pulled out of a wall because she didn’t have any other weapon. There was another knock on the door and Macy went to it.
“I’ve got meatloaf, if you’re hungry? Some leftover mashed potatoes as well.” The woman had offered and Macy smiled at the thought. It took someone saying it for her to realize how hungry she actually was. She stepped out from the bathroom and followed the woman back into the kitchen where a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes awaited.