Chapter Seven: A Bonding Struggle
Samantha took up the writing pad and began to scribble out her response.
Now, we get to the important things! she flashed a mischievous smile and beckoned to Bella to come closer. As the new comer approached hesitantly, Samantha dropped down beside her bed and drew out an old box.
Awkwardly fumbling for the writing pad, Samantha scribbled out a short explanation.
This is my collection! she wrote proudly, I swiped everything here without being caught!
"'Ow very fascinating!" Bella remarked, fingering a screw from the box.
No one knows these things have gone missing. Samantha boasted, Not even my father!
Just as Bella read these words, the door to Samantha's room was opened sharply. Quick as a flash, Samantha kicked the box back under her bed and leaped into the air, landing as straight as a measuring stick. Bella stiffened in a similar fashion next to the silent girl, her right hand still clutching the screw.
The sturdy frame of Autofficer Greensong loomed in the doorway, sending a mild shiver down Samantha's spine.
The mask! she remembered suddenly.
For approximately three seconds, she broke formation and dove into the mountain of decorative pillows behind her to retrieve the mask. Once in her possession, Samantha strapped it on and stepped forward to be addressed by her father.
"Have you given Miss Brassclock the tour?" he asked coldly, a thin, jet-black eyebrow arching.
"I have, sir," Samantha replied through the mask.
"I see everything is in order then," her father replied stiffly.
Before the Autofficer could leave, Bella nervously stepped forward.
"S-sir?" she began.
Autofficer Greensong turned his cold gaze to Bella. "What is it?" he asked sharply.
"I-I'm sorry to botha you, sir, but I 'ave to wonder, w'ere am I suppose' t'stay 'nd wot's my work t'be?" she asked nervously.
Autofficer Greensong stared at her in a frozen state, his thin eyebrow raising slowly in confusion. Bella's face flushed profusely in shame.
"Miss Brassclock is wondering where you will have her live in Greensong Manor and what she will be doing to serve you." Samantha translated for the newcomer in her light, electronic voice.
"Seeing as your quarters are large enough, Bella shall be staying with you." Autofficer Greensong replied sharply, "As for her work, those details shall be discussed at 10:30 tomorrow morning."
With that, the Autofficer turned sharply on his heels and strode out of the room, stiffly shutting the door behind him. Seconds after her father's departure, Samantha stripped off the mask and returned it to it's resting place atop Mount Decorative Cushions and snatched up the writing pad.
It's very strange that he would come to us in person instead of sending an automaton to fetch me. she scribbled to Bella, I don't believe he's ever set foot in my room before!
Samantha turned the writing pad to Bella, who merely glanced at it through bleary eyes. The silent little girl watched worriedly as the newcomer swiped at her eyes. Samantha tapped the girl's shoulder twice, causing her to look up. Having regained her attention, the silent girl flashed a concerned, yet curious expression.
"'E couldn't understand a word!" Bella lamented, "Oh my horrid mess of speech!"
Samantha watched helplessly as Bella's eyes brimmed over from the embarrassment. As the newcomer mourned, Samantha flipped a page of the writing pad and carefully wrote out a response, pausing many a time to read over her message. Once she was satisfied with her words, she presented the writing pad to Bella.
I don't believe Father will hold it against you. He may be very cold, but he is rarely angry... It's strange to see someone else go through what I've felt before. However, strange is a good thing here, because I'm strange too. We both feel hurt from our voices, but now, we can feel hurt together, and not be alone anymore... Do you want to be my friend? I think we would be good friends, because we have the same struggle, and in our struggling, we can help each other be brave. Let's be brave together, through the automatons, judgments, and fog. Let's hold each other up when we fall. That way, we won't fall so many times, and when we do fall, it won't hurt anymore.
Samantha stared distractedly as Bella read the writing pad, her greenish-blue eyes focused on the name engraved on the silver cover, Elizabeth Greensong. The silent little girl never knew her mother's name, only her raven hair and sapphire eyes framing a healthy, glowing complexion. However, even a child as young as Samantha could solve that simple a mystery.
"Let's be brave together, my dear," Samantha recalled her mother's gentle voice, "through automatons, judgments, and fog. Let us secure one another when we slip away. We have a difficult journey ahead, dear loved one. May the Great Engineer be with us."
As the memory faded, Samantha returned to reality to see Bella continue to study the message. After a moment, she looked up from the notepad. Samantha shifted anxiously in her seat on the bed covers, hoping, yet fearing Bella's response.