“I live just down here.” Mayris said, leading him down a deserted street with a single gaslit street lamp. It was eerily silent, and it made Hamilton uncomfortable. Mayris seemed to pay no mind to it, so he ignored the discomfort.
“Here we are.” She unlocked the door and let them inside to a run down, wood built building. It was empty. All of her possessions, everything was gone.
“I don’t.. I don’t understand. Everything was here, it was here this morning!” She exclaimed, looking around the empty building.
“Mayris, are you sure?” He asked, gingerly setting a hand on her arm.
“I’m sure, everything was here! I.. At least, I think it was.. I-I don’t remember. Oh god, I don’t remember!” She slid down to the floor, holding her head in her hands. “Hamilton, I don’t remember.” She whispered. Hamilton knelt down beside her, taking her hands in his.
“Look at me.” He said, and she looked up at him. “I need you to focus, alright? Just listen to me. Think carefully. When was the last time you were home?” He asked her in a soft voice. She thought for a moment and blinked up at him.
“I-I was here two days ago. Something happened and I had to leave, but I.. I can’t recall exactly what it was. Something to do with w-work, I believe?” Mayris shook her head, eyebrows creasing together. “I can’t remember.” Hamilton smiled gently.
“That’s good, that’s much more than before.” He said, helping her to her feet. “If it’s not too forward of me, I think it would be best for you to remain with me at my house.” Hamilton said, clearing his throat. Mayris nodded slowly.
“Yes, I think that would be acceptable, given the circumstances.” She said, trying to act as though her cheeks were not burning with an uncomfortable blush.
“Right. Well. We’d better be off then, before it gets too dark.” Hamilton said, boldly offering his arm to her. Mayris looped her arm through his, following him out of the house and out onto the darkened cobblestone street. Shadows appeared darker and more menacing at this hour.
“So, Mr. Miller, what is it exactly that you do? You’re a mechanic, I presume?” She asked, and Hamilton was relieved to hear a question so generic.
“I suppose you could say I’m a mechanic. I’m more of a sword for hire, minus the sword, of course.” He smiled.
“A wrench for hire.” Mayris laughed. He nodded, chuckling lightly.
“Yes, a wrench for hire. I work where I’m needed. I used to work as a watchmaker’s apprentice, but that didn’t work out the greatest.” He shrugged. Mayris raised an eyebrow.
“Dare I ask why, Hamilton?” She asked. Hamilton rubbed the back of his neck, giving an uncomfortable laugh.
“Uh, there was an incident involving some clocks and hidden explosives.” He said quickly. Mayris bit back the laughter that bubbled inside of her throat.
“Well, it appears your record isn’t as spotless as I believed it to be.” She teased, watching as he brought her back to the workshop and unlocked the door, driving his shoulder into it. Mayris followed him inside and perched on the edge of the table like she had before.
“I can show you to your room, if you’d like. I’d imagine you’re rather tired.” Hamilton smiled.
“I am, actually. I haven’t slept in quite some time.” She said sheepishly. Hamilton nodded and led her to a room just off of the corner of the workshop. “Here you are. I’ll be out here if you require my assistance.” He said, smiling. “Goodnight, Miss Mayris.” Hamilton closed the door, returning to the workshop and examining the gear that he had removed from Mayris’ face piece. He lost track of time, and once he finally glanced up again, it was well after midnight. He hadn’t slept in a while either. He rubbed his bloodshot eyes and set down the gear, preparing to go to bed, and he heard her scream. Hamilton wasn’t sure what brought him into that room, whether it was the scream, or knowing that it came from her, but he was there in an instant. The noise she was making was almost heart breaking.
“Miss Arkham!” He gently shook her awake. “Mayris, look at me!” Hamilton watched her as she opened her eyes, the noise ceasing.
“Hamilton.” She said quietly, sitting up. She reached out for the pillow beside her with a shaking hand, hugging it against her chest. “My apologies.” Mayris cleared her throat. Hamilton sat down on the bed beside her, keeping his distance so as not to seem improper.
“No apologies needed, Miss. Are you quite alright?” He asked, and she nodded.
“Yes, yes I believe so. Just a little nightmare, nothing I can’t handle.” She forced a smile. Hamilton gave a tight lipped smile, patting her hand.
“Alright.” He stood up, and had his hand on the door handle before Mayris spoke again.
“H-Hamilton, if it’s not too forward, I have something to ask of you.” She said, just loud enough for him to hear. Hamilton turned.
“Yes? Go ahead.” He said, dropping his hand from the doorknob. There were a few beats of silence before she said anything.
“Stay with me. Just for the night, please. I’d rather not be alone.” She said softly. Hamilton was momentarily taken aback. Most often, this never happened. Not to anyone, it was indecent. But it didn’t take much thought for him to reply.
“Alright. If it will make you feel better, then of course I will.” He said, sitting on the bed beside her. It was a bit uncomfortable at first, but he remained seated there until she did something first. Mayris slowly lay back down, staying to her own side of the bed. He smiled softly, turning to face her.
“Goodnight.” He said as he closed his eyes. There were a few beats of silence, then he felt slender arms slide around his midsection. His eyes shot open, and Mayris removed her arms.
“My apologies. That was uncalled for.” She bit her lip, turning away and facing the other wall. Hamilton gently slid his arms around her, and he didn’t have to look at her to know she was smiling.
“Thank you, Hamilton.” Came her quiet response as she curled herself further into him.
“Of course, Miss Arkham. Anything to help you sleep.” Though he wouldn’t admit it, he was more comfortable and content than he’d been in months. And he wouldn’t trade that for the world.
YOU ARE READING
War MachineScience Fiction
The year is 1887. War rages in England between the Warhammer Drones and the humans who have vowed to protect the Cyborgs. Twenty three year old Mayris Arkham runs one of the military organizations that protects these Cyborgs, and things aren't easy...