When I was younger, I spent a lot of time with my dollhouse. It was this cute little pink thing I had received for Christmas one year, made from a combination of plastic and wood. As a child, I would sit in front of it for hours at a time, rearranging tiny pieces of furniture and moving my dolls around within it. I guess it came as no surprise to anybody that when I got the chance to renovate my own real, adult house, I became slightly obsessive. I looked through the best kitchen renovations and design companies Melbourne had to offer, and ended up choosing one whose portfolio aligned with my own vision.
Since I know I’m not planning on selling my house any time soon, I’ve decided to really lean into my aesthetic when working with the designers on my new kitchen. People have called me unique in the past, and I’m sure they often mean it as an insult, but I’m proud of the things I like. Rainbows? Vintage art? Eccentric plush couches? It all makes a room appear so much more interesting. None of this ‘minimalist’ stuff. I want my home to have its own personality. I wouldn’t want it to become sentient or anything. All I want is for someone to look at it and say, “Hey, that reminds me of you.”
Once my kitchen renovation is complete, I’ll need to get started on the laundry renovations. Melbourne houses like mine have two laundries — one upstairs, and the other in the basement — so there’s a lot to think about. However, that’s not for a little while. Until then, I’ll be working with the designers to establish all the little details for my new kitchen. We’ll have to plan things like cabinet and countertop materials, where to put the new stainless steel sink and appliances, and all the new pantry space I’ll need to hold ingredients for my baking.
Charlie had been back in New Hobart for two weeks now, but she still hadn’t seen Fred. She’d spent most of that time in bed, because apparently, she had been badly concussed after the attack at Cambridge. It must have been a delayed concussion, though, because she’d managed to get through two whole conversations on the radio just fine.
Then again, Charlie didn’t really know that much about concussions.
It was hard not to feel down about how much the Ivory Skull had lost in the attacks by the Little Men. The old car mechanic near Brighton was in ruins, so far beyond repair that it wasn’t funny. They’d lost so many numbers. People, too. They’d lost a lot of numbers and a lot of people.
It made Charlie want to head out and start hunting these Little Men, or Little Devils as she’d started thinking of them as. She knew it would be foolish to do so – there was no chance she’d survive. Regardless, something had to be done. It kind of felt like they were just waiting for the Little Devils to finish the job. They were sitting ducks.
Charlie gazed out the window, watching the twinkling lights of New Hobart. It really was a beautiful little bastion of humanity. Maybe the Little Devils would recognise that and leave them alone.
She sighed. Oh, how she’d miss that old Brighton auto repair shop. She would have vengeance for what those Little Devils had done, one way or another. Charlie simply hoped that the rest of the Ivory Skull would join her in hunting them down.
Perhaps it was time she took matters into her own hands. Fred Bentleigh had been busy since her return – that was fine – but if he wasn’t going to take the time to see her, she’d have to get proactive. She’d waited patiently long enough. It was time to storm into his office and demand to know what he thought about this business.
No more pretending to be mechanics working in Hobart between them. Things were serious now, and she needed to start treating it that way.
By the time Rylee reached the other end of the glass manufacturing room, there was enough scattered glass along the production line that you could swim through it. You’d end up with hundreds of cuts and then probably bleed out, but you could technically do it.
It reminded her of the time she’d helped Mai move, many years earlier. Her older sister had bought a beautiful tabletop of frosted glass. They’d grabbed the glass from the truck and began carrying it to her new apartment. Maphira had slipped a little, so they had gently put the tabletop down. What happened next was something Rylee would never forget.
The glass tabletop had shattered into thousands of pieces right before their eyes. They hadn’t dropped it with any sort of force. No, the corner had simply touched the ground and the whole thing had exploded. She supposed that the glass had become unstable in the truck, and once some of the particles got shifted again, the whole thing had collapsed. It had been so broken that even a business offering commercial glazing wouldn’t have been able to fix it.
Rylee had never thought she’d see that much shattered glass again. And yet, this was so much more.
Thankfully, the turrets had stopped firing once she’d crossed the factory’s main room. However, the sirens and red lights continued to give her the world’s mightiest headache. Rylee had nothing on her to get rid of the pain, so perhaps she’d be best off looking for some water.
To get out of the production room, Rylee climbed one last glass balustrade. Near Melbourne, people were bound to be pretty annoyed about the delay to glass production they were about to face, Rylee supposed, landing on the steel walkway.
Many challenges likely lay ahead, if she wanted to find the owner of this glass and steel production business. But first, she had to take a little detour to get a drink.