Easing into the light: Gathering of the Tribes pt. 2

DSC06521The day before Swan’s second surgery, a messenger arrived with news for Shiloh.  He was dusty from the road, clearly not from Strip City, and Ivy recognized a patch on his too-warm-for-the-weather leather jacket.  The desert dust caking it and his hair were the same color.  “Benzer?” she asked.

He nodded politely.

“Ivy Aniram,” she introduced herself.  Holly followed suit.  Shiloh stood in the kitchen doorway, curious but didn’t introduce herself.

“Bastion,” he replied.

“Forgive me if I sound challenging,” Holly said, “but why do you think she’s here?”

“We have our ways.”

“They do,” Ivy agreed.  “What’s the message?”

Bastion turned to Shiloh, though he’d given no indication that he’d even seen her.  “You’re her.  I’ve got word from Spiker.  He was injured in Detroit a month back, burned his lungs fighting a fire.  He died,” he said, with a slight pause and a bow to let this information sink in, then handed her a small token.  “He named you caretaker of his 300D.”  

She crossed the room, stepped forward to take it; it was a small chrome ring with a three-pointed star in the middle.  “Caretaker?”

“His rig belongs to you now,” Ivy said.  “Isn’t that unusual?” she asked Bastion.  “Thought the rule was you left your rigs to each other.”

“Not always,” he replied.  She got the sense he was politely masking disapproval.  “A body’s last desire is what it is.  Spiker met lots of girls.  Always made the latest pretty one his caretaker.”

“Aw,” Shiloh said softly, looking at the Mercedes logo in her hand. “But I don’t know how to drive.”

This didn’t seem to encourage Bastion; Ivy said, “I do.  Spiker’s rig runs on diesel, right?”

Mollified, the Benzer nodded.

“We’ll take care of it.”

He nodded again.  “The car is in Detroit, cached.  I’m heading west tomorrow, if you’d like passage across the worst of the desert to Tulsa.”

“That would be appreciated,” she said.  “Do you have room for two?”