- There is an argument
- Someone might fall in love
Nobody knew why he was called Lefty. He was right-handed, or appeared to be so; still, the moniker hung on him comfortably, like an old shirt. He blinked slowly as Zahn raged, "I told you it was the wrong road. You never, ever listen to me!" Zahn wasn't even sure why he still hung around with Lefty, what it was that made Zahn even like him.
"Deal, buddy," drawled Lefty. "We'll get there. See? There's a town right ahead."
Zahn cranked the car another time, letting steam fill the engine to shoot them forward another mile, past a sign that read "Welcome to Renaissance." The second "s" in Renaissance was backward, lending a odd, childish quality to the otherwise official-looking sign. It was the first glimpse of civilization he'd seen in the days it had taken to cross the Schiavona.
"Where are we?" Emily sat up in the back, her sandy-blonde hair tousled with sleep. She rubbed her eyes and yawned.
"Someplace called Renaissance," Lefty replied, cracking his knuckles. "Looks like a trading post more'n a town. A whole three hundred and thirty folks."
Zahn gave a final crank to the engine. "We're out of water. I hope there's someplace we can refill." He glanced around before turning his glare back to Lefty. "And then maybe find us a map, so we know where we are and how to get to the Roundeli."
Lefty yawned, refusing to argue with Zahn, who was quite honestly spoiling for a fight. Still, he simmered in silence because Emily had leaned over his shoulder, peering through the isinglass windshield at the town ahead of them. "It isn't much, that's for sure," she said, already awake enough to regain her normal perkiness. Zahn's fighting side calmed at her nearness, the sound of her voice, the scent of her hair.
"But there surely is a pump," said Lefty, pointing to a ramshackle building which had a sign banging against the wall in the rising wind which read, "Autos serviced, Water, Bicycle Repairs, Tires."
"I guess that's where we have to stop first," Zahn replied with some amount of resignation. He cranked and turned, hoping there was enough steam to get them to the garage.
"And then some food," said Emily, pulling her hair back into some semblance of order, piling it loosely on her head and jamming in several pins.
Zahn felt the car under him shudder, then heard the thud as it died completely. He started to swear. Emily pressed a hand to his shoulder as Lefty started to chuckle. "Push 'er in, buddy. I'll go see about the lay of the land." He shoved open the door and eased his lanky frame out. Dust billowed around his boot heels with each step. Emily slid out after him, stretching, refastening her vest, and shaking out her skirts.
"Come on, handsome," she called to Zahn with a smile. "Let's get pushing!"
Sighing, Zahn heaved himself out of the driver's seat. "Let's go."