Lora stood up and did a double-take.
The house–her house, though she hadn’t told Dean and Roger that–was covered in dust! Dust, everywhere, from the side table to the lamp to the couch. How could a couch get dusty‽ And the fireplace! It was a mess, charred logs still resting inside… and more dust! On the mantle, on the pokers, on the logs.
Lora couldn’t comprehend this atrocity. Her mind was panicked, her body dizzy, and she nearly fell over, saved by the fact that she fell into the wall and was able to stop herself. What could she do? There was nothing. Nothing, right? It was dust, it was a mess… messes could be cleaned, right…?
Softly, she moaned in despair, trying to think of a course of action; Dean and Roger couldn’t come in the house, not when it was like this. But they were waiting on her…
“Get a grip. You can do this. You can do this. Focus. Focus…” Okay. She knew what to do. The dust rags would be… in the closet. Yes. She could do this.
Shaking slightly, Lora steadied herself as best as she could and called through the window, “I’ll just be a moment.”
Hoping this would buy her enough time, she raced to the closet under the stairs and shuffled around in the dark–of course they turned off the electricity–for her dust rags. It took her only a moment to find them, and she closed the door, a triumphant smile on her face. She would do this.
She spent the next few minutes fervently cleaning, wiping the dust rags over every surface and cleaning, cleaning, until the dust was gone. No dust on the couch! None on the mantelpiece, none on the logs–there were no logs, not after she took them outside. She had done it; she had cleaned up the mess. Her house was hers once more, free of the trappings of age.
Lora afforded herself only a moment on the couch to rest before going to the door and unlocking, then opening it.
“What took so long?” asked Dean, a quizzical look on his face, as he entered the house.
“Nothing.” Lora waited for Roger to enter as well, then lead them to the living room.
“Now. What’s our next course of action?” she asked once they had all taken a seat. “Well, first of all, you two need to tell me exactly what happened. Right? I mean, we can’t really do anything if I don’t know the full story.”
“Oh. Um. Well. Yes. See, I work at a bank–” Roger began.
“Dean told me that.”
“My story, please.
“Anyway, I work at a bank, right? Dean lost his job recently, so he was actually there for an interview. I was keeping him company on my break, when this man just came up to us and handed me a bag. And then he took off running! Moments later, really just a second or two, the alarm went off–someone had stolen a bunch of diamonds! Well, it was easy to decipher that we had the diamonds, so what were we to do? We chased after the man, but he was gone and so we… well, I don’t remember exactly what happened. But next thing I knew we were racing down the road, a bunch of police cars in pursuit!”
Lora sat there for a moment, slightly stunned. Then, realizing Roger was done, she spoke:
“Then I reckon we should look for the man. Right? Maybe he’ll help.”
“Wouldn’t he want the diamonds back?” Dean said.
“Maybe… That’s really quite a story. I have nothing.” Lora collapsed back into her chair, looking defeated.
“We have to do something!” Roger exclaimed quite suddenly.
“I know, I know… We have to keep the diamonds, we can’t go to the police or they’ll arrest us, we can’t leave or we’ll be caught, we can’t stay or we’ll starve…” Lora groaned. “I should’ve just kicked you guys out of my car when I had the chance!”
“They don’t know we have your car, though, right?” Dean said.
“No, they don’t… and they don’t know you’re with us, either!” Roger smiled. “You can be our eyes and ears. But for now, we should probably find food; it’s getting towards lunch time, isn’t it?”
Lora glared. “Great. I’m the one that has to do everything, of course. Okay. I have a bit of money, I can get us some food. But it won’t last long; we’ll need to sell some of these diamonds or…” Lora trailed off as she noticed a patch of dust on a side table.
“Stupid house,” she muttered.
“What was that?” said Roger.
“Nothing, nothing… I’ll go now. Don’t go making a ruckus while I’m gone!”