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Clockwork Angels

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Reading about the passage of the Motor Law in school had always bothered Shiori: RoseCo Buses and Trains littered the landscape, ensuring travel was still feasible for the masses, but the outlawing of cars never sat right with her. Why she thought of this while flying down the backroads of what had used to be Ohtori City in a 1948 Ferrari, she wasn’t quite sure.

She remembered the day her uncle had brought her into the abandoned garage out in the middle of the woods, being careful to stay out of sight of the electric eyes that now littered the countryside following the War of the Bride; an incident that had left most of the world scarred.

Despite the age of the garage, she remembered that instead of the smell of rust that should accompany a garage of its age, her nostrils were instead pleasantly relaxed by the scent of lavender and oil.

“Shiori, I have something for you” the old man said to her, as he stripped away the debris used to conceal his most prized possession: a vehicle far removed from its own time, kept in near-perfect condition. “I know it’s a little early for your birthday, but you’re turning sixteen, and I wanted you to have this as thanks for all you’ve done for me since you came to live here. I’m just sorry that I couldn’t do more to save your....”

She cut him short. She wrapped her arms around the man’s lanky frame, tears staining his jacket; “Will you teach me?” she mumbled, violet eyes downcast. The old man smiled, doing his best to hold himself together.

 “Anything for you, Shiori.”

That training would prove useful, as the ringing of air-car sirens in the distance snapped Shiori back to her present predicament: Her weekly crime had been discovered, and while it was far from the first time, the ever-present threat of danger still lingered. I’m too far out to go home, but, if I can make it back, to…. her.

Her course was set, as gravel ground round and round under shrieking tires.

Juri. Beautiful, perfect Juri:

Through everything, they had found light and love in each other, though they lived many miles apart. While it would have taken days to travel by the well-regulated busses and trains, with their strict limits on speed (presumably, to prevent exactly what she was doing now), Shiori could make the trip in a matter of hours. She would leave early on Sunday morning, when the men who oversaw surveillance were lax, and return late in the evening, before more watchful eyes were upon her.

Her Clockwork Angel awaited.

The deadly race had begun, and Shiori’s pride would not allow for anything but the utter defeat of her pursuers. She shifted recklessly, damned if she knew whether the vehicle could handle the stress. They followed, the Eagle that had become the symbol of RoseCo’s rule glimmering in the moonlight.

Shiori’s knowledge of the area became her advantage, as she navigated the officers towards the one lane bridge that connected pedestrians to the farms that stretched for miles and miles outside the city limits. Laughing loudly, she drifted sharply as soon as her machine had passed, nearly overturning the vehicle in the process.

Her avarice was rewarded, as the duo who attempted to follow her, underestimated the size of their vehicles, and collided violently.

“Shiori? You’re back so soon,” Juri said softly before she was swept nearly off her feet, as Shiori stole a kiss by the fireside they had shared hours ago, still stoked by Juri’s steady hand.

“It’s a long story, dear.”

Juri smiled.