I groaned. What now? Wasn’t I allowed to get any sleep?
“Margot!” A knocking sound came from my bedroom door. “Margot, wake up, the water’s working!”
The what is what? I rolled over, covering my ears.
“Margot, we have running water!”
Finally the meaning of the words penetrated my brain. Water. Running water, after two days of undead strangers coming in and out of the house at all hours and a seemingly constant banging and clanging that had given me a splitting headache.
I dragged myself out of bed and staggered over to the door in time to nearly get hit by it as Norene lost patience and decided to come in.
She grinned, oblivious to the fact that I was still about half-asleep and not in the greatest of moods. “You are awake! Did you hear me? The water’s—”
“—working, yes, I heard you. And no, I wasn’t awake, not until your shouting woke me up.”
“Sorry.” Norene looked sheepish for only a moment. “But the water’s working!”
“Isn’t it exciting?”
I smiled in spite of myself. “Shall we go test it out, then?”
“Oh! That’s a good idea. Why didn’t I think of that?” Norene continued to chatter away as she preceded me down the stairs. “You know, there are almost no other places on the dead side that have running water like this. As far as I know, anyway. The banshee compound, obviously, and the Distribution Office I bet, and probably some of the really old ones, but otherwise it’s just us! That makes us pretty special!”
“Only because you’re the renegade banshee with secret information to trade.”
“Oh, I’m not that special.” Norene pushed through the door into the kitchen and pointed at the sink, almost bouncing in excitement. “Look, look, look! They cleaned it too, it’s all shiny.”
“I should hope so.” I walk over to the sink to have a look. They’d done a good job. If the rest of the kitchen was still covered in a thick layer of dust, dirt, and who knows what else, the sink had been scrubbed until the stainless steel looked almost new. “Running water wouldn’t do us much good if it wasn’t clean.”
Norene frowned. “But it’s the sink that’s clean. The sink doesn’t make the water clean, does it?”
I looked at Norene in surprise. She talked so much about entirely random things it was easy to forget she was actually quite an intelligent and observant person. “I should have thought of that. Did that spriggan say anything about where the water comes from?” Having spent most of my life on the living side where access to clean water was a matter of course, it hadn’t occurred to me to ask.
“No.” She paused. “I don’t think he knows.”
“Hmm. I guess we’d better go pay another visit to the draugr’s house.”
“Ooh! This’ll be fun, he’s interesting.”
Well, observant about some things.