Photo via Visual hunt
Sora pushed the plaster and wood out of the way. “This place is ancient,” she said.
“I told you,” Kapi said, heaving the large chunks of brick and mortar to the side.
“How did you find it?” Sora asked, slipping in through the gap.
“I was looking for fossils,” Kapi said. She adjusted her face mask and turned up her oxygen. “You’re going to want to kick up your O2. This place is kind of dusty.”
Sora did as her sister suggested. She pulled out her small hand light and activated it. Bright light flooded the room. An old table and chairs, made fragile by extreme age, sat in the middle of the room. “What is that?” Sora asked, pointing to a strange device made of metal. It had handles on the front and was divided into two pieces.
“Let me check,” Kapi said. Her eyes flickered from side to side as she accessed the compendium of ancient devices. “It’s a refrigerator and a freezer. They stored cold foods in it.”
“Interesting,” Sora said.
Kapi pointed. “That’s a stove. They cooked on it. The door below it is an oven. They made bread and cakes and cookies in that. That’s a sink. Those are cupboards. This must be a kitchen.”
They moved on. Kapi identified each room they entered, pointing out the different bits of furniture and appliances. They reached a room that was empty except for a set of shelves with strange looking objects on them. “What are those?” Sora asked.
Kapi frowned. “I’m not sure.”
They got closer and pulled one off the shelf. It was very brittle. The outside was made of some kind of a kind of composite material with ancient writing on it. It covered something and the girls carefully lifted it. Inside were sheets of something filled with pictures and more of the ancient writing.
“This is odd,” Sora said.
Kapi scanned it. “A book. This is a book.” She was excited. “It’s how they shared information and stories in the old days. Do you know how much collectors would pay for these things?”
“We need to get them out of here without the Antiquities Office learning about it,” Sora said.
Kapi pulled out the preservation bags. “That’s why I came prepared.” They loaded the fragile books into the bags and headed out. Sora smiled. The books would pay for the girls to finally get out of the slums and into their own apartment, maybe even put them in jobs where they could afford the rent on it. It would be nice to have a good life again instead of being a pariah after their father’s less than popular opinions on how nuclear war created the issues they faced.