Nov 30 2010
Callie re-entered her place and shut the door. As she locked it, she started the breathing pattern that she knew would slow down her heart rate, which was still quite elevated from her outdoor activities. She closed her eyes and leaned back against the door as she waited for more equilibrium.
When her pulse was back within normal range, she moved to the dressform and added the final few stitches to the sundress she’d made. A careful examination for flaws turned up none, so she removed it from the stand and took it over to the mirror to try on. Not her usual choice for personal wear, but since the muse had struck she presumed she would find some appropriate occasion to take it out and about. She ran her hands over the fabric front and back, tingling with the memories of the evening. It had been quite a while since she’d had such a pleasant time.
She removed the dress with a regretful caress and took it and her discarded outfit back to her closet. She put the used clothes with the other laundry and carefully hung the sundress, gently making room for it on the rack with the other inspired designs. Then she selected a more utilitarian outfit for what she hoped was to come, pants and shirt that fit closely and allowed for maximum freedom of movement. She was not planning to sleep tonight as she did not want to lose her advantage, so she left the bedroom.
In the kitchen, Callie retrieved a bowl that was a dark enough brown to not stain too obviously if her next trick left a mess. She took the colorful feather from where she had clipped it to her hair and placed it in the middle of the bowl, then removed a lighter from one of the drawers and set fire to the feather. She watched it burn to make sure that all of it was reduced to ash, lighting a stubborn piece a second time to finish it.
Callie touched both hands to the ash. She smeared the soot across both hands, ignoring the unpleasant sensations that arose from having her hands dirty. Next she took the metallic feather from her belt and dipped both edges into the ash before replacing it at her waist. She brushed some from her hands across the door handle and mail slot, and finally brought one grimy finger to her mouth to touch it to her tongue. Grimacing, she swallowed several times to clear the taste as she cleaned up the bowl and washed her hands.
She then went to her bathroom and brought out scissors. It took her only about a quarter of an hour to trim her hair short, but another ten minutes to properly clean up the resulting stray hairs that spread everywhere. Callie didn’t want to take the time for a full shower but washed her head and neck clean, towel-drying her hair and taking the damp towel to the laundry so the bathroom could return to its regular pristine state.
Back in the main room, she chose a mindless computer game to keep away boredom without distracting her from monitoring her surroundings. Callie noticed she had to keep reminding herself to return to calm breathing patterns; it wouldn’t do to let her excitement override her reason. With all her senses on high alert, she heard the faint sounds of the door handle moving just as it started to turn. Callie stood at the ready, hitting the hibernate button as she did so to eliminate the computer from her awareness.
She faced a woman who didn’t look much like her at all, which eliminated that worry. The other was dressed in a flowing shirt and pants that matched the colors of the feather Callie had just burned. Her hair was dark brown with hints of auburn, green eyes large and slightly slanted upward at the edges. Her face held a furious expression.
“What have you done?”
“Merely ensured we have some nice, uninterrupted time for chatting. Please, come in and sit down.”
Callie indicated the couch, but the guest chose the upholstered red chair next to it instead. Callie moved to lock the door, held up the key to show her guest, and then shoved the key out through the mail slot.
“I know you can get in, but I suspect I’ve managed to arrange it so that you’ll have a harder time getting out again.”
“You know you have. So what now?”
Callie took the matching chair to her guest’s and arranged it so that they were facing each other.
“Now, we talk.”