Chapter 14 - A Night of Perspective
Grant laid awake in bed trying to fall asleep, listening to the light breeze against his trailer. Thoughts of leeches slugged around through his head, when he woke up it would be time for his first day on the job, after all.
Imagining handling the slippery snot-like creatures sent shivers throughout his body. It couldn’t be as bad as it sounded though, right? He wished he would have asked more questions about it, but too many other things were on his mind.
The thought at the forefront of his mind was the way Ambri gave her farewells to him. It sent shivers throughout Grant’s body. She may have known a lot of reasons why people moved to Lyros in general, as she had been living here for some time. Perhaps it was her way of trying to open up to him and have him tell her about his life, although it backfired.
Kale and Ambri seemed to have a long history of knowing each other, and Grant felt a bit suspicious about them. The way they looked at each other, as if their simple dialogue said more than the content it bore. The festivities they mentioned sounded nice in concept, but it was a gathering of all the village residents, surely everyone would force their way around the new people in an attempt to get to know them.
Rhett and Saraiya on the other hand, both of them appeared to be likable people. Grant had known of similar people from his past job, and although he normally wouldn’t make the extra effort to get to know the others, living here wasn’t a job. He wasn’t forced to always be around these people if he didn’t want to be, now he was given a choice, and that made him feel more open to the idea of trying to bond with others. The first night he spent with them was overall a positive experience, but Grant still doubted it. He decided he would try to hang out with them again. Well, maybe I will, he thought.
Lars and the other residents, he still had yet to completely meet with. Sure, he spoke with Lars for a few minutes, but that didn’t leave much of an impression for Grant. And he had only seen a few of the other residents when he went to Nha-Stop for the first time, and they stared at him as he drove away.
For a village with such a small population, it would only be natural to be nosy about what is going on. Everyone had probably heard about Grant within half an hour of Jack calling his father and became the talk of the town.
Trying to fix himself into a snug state, Grant tossed his pillows around, plopping his head down over and over. Groaning to himself, flustered at his body not shutting down for the night, he reached around his mattress and tugged it upwards letting it slap back against the frame.
A second slap tapped the floor. He slowly leaned over the side of his bed, and looked down. The room remained shrouded in darkness. He fumbled his fingers along through the carpet until he grazed something. He etched about the smooth surface that quickly turned to rough edges, rock-like, and picked it up.
On his way to turn on the lights his fingers explored around the object, and it jutted into his skin. He let out a heavy breath and jogged up to the light and pressed the switch.
Small drops of blood trickled down from his index finger, poked by what appeared to be a long claw strapped onto some kind of stone. The claw reflected light as the stone’s granular surface absorbed it.
Grant peeled back the tape that kept the claw in place and observed it, the claw was too big to be one that came off of one of the neighborhood cats. Could it have been a claw from one of those lions they had heard earlier? And why was it attached to this rock?
Rhett sat at the chair in his kitchen, elbows leaning on the table, staring at the mess of mail before him. How often did Shelpo have to send report updates? Wasn’t weekly good enough? Rhett sighed and wobbled, alcohol still took hold of him.
“Why do I have to go through all this damn paperwork…” He muttered to himself as he thrust the cluttered mess from the table onto the floor, leaving only one letter on the table. “This amount of legal bullshit is not necessary at all…” Rhett only half believed what he spewed out, he understood the exact reasons Shelpo pelted him with letters.
They were just looking out for him. Without constant update reports, his agreement would fall void and he would be forced to move back to Kandorr, which he wouldn’t let happen. He had yet to find what he came for.
Rhett opened the letter in front of him and unfolded it. It read, “Week 9 Lyros Progress Report - Rhett Ziine.” He sighed, these were originally the only agreed upon legal documents he had to fill out, however it seemed they sent two extra letters a week that required a signature. If they kept sending more than the weekly updates, perhaps some residents in Lyros would get suspicious.
Every format for the weekly letters were exactly the same, and so far every single week Rhett had filled it out the same.
He wrote, “Cats are still hostile. Ambri is still suspicious. Kale is still creepy, although he seemed to act a bit different than normal tonight. Lions still howl in the night.”
For the first time in eight weeks he could add something new to the table, two things in fact.
The first being Grant. Grant didn’t seem too strange though, didn’t give him any bad vibes either. He just seemed like a guy who liked to keep to himself.
Rhett described Saraiya in the same manner to the company, nothing was out of the norm about her either.
The second new detail he could jot down was the festivities that had been said to take place.
Rhett finished filling out the letter and tucked it back into an envelope. He proceeded to stare at his pile of mail on the floor and bent over to pick up the other one he hadn’t opened yet from today.
Of course, from the same company, Shelpo.
He ripped it open and stared at the headline, mouth slightly agape. He continued reading, his eyes blinked fixedly as he tilted his head. He took a deep breath, and filled in his signature and placed it in the same envelope with the weekly update.
Sitting back into his chair, he sank, and stared into the distance.
Saraiya sat on her bed, with a lamp illuminating a dull glow, she stared out her bedroom window with a notebook and pencil in her hand. In the depths of the dark yard, small eyes stared back. This was a normal occurrence for her, and she felt comfort in this situation. Having another living being in the vicinity gave her motivation to write.
“When are you going to come greet me, huh?” She said, staring at the cat as she placed her hand on the window.
Every night, the same set of eyes stared into her room from across the yard, glaring. The cat started watching her through the window ever since it was a small kitten around the time she moved in. It had grown a bit since then.
Whenever she tried getting close to this cat however, it would take off as soon as she stepped outside. Yet, from the outside it seemed interested in her, as if it was studying her as much as she took inspiration from it.
Saraiya sat down and positioned herself with her notebook on her legs and started to write. Once again, writing a similar passage as previous nights, trying to improve her prose. Was there a better way to describe the eyes that stared through the glass?
When Saraiya focused on the eyes, she felt a sense of warning, but the danger did not emit from the animal. It stood in solitude, a watcher of sorts, observing the immediate area, as if trying to keep her safe. That’s how Saraiya liked to believe it to be anyway.
If it gave the same vibe as Zair did, or any other cat in the neighborhood, for that matter, she would have always had her curtains closed, or kept them open long enough to observe, and write. She quickly learned the limits of how long she could stare at most of the cats before they turned violent. Watching the hostile cats for too long would only lead to fear, for both parties, they had tried pouncing towards her window before. In those situations, she would immediately shut her curtains letting her emotions fill the page.
This was the only cat that even though it possessed haunting, chilling eyes, even if it glared at her, it didn’t give her a sense of dread. After months of watching each other, she had come up with a name for this white cat, Liam.
Once she filled out the full page in her notebook, she sat up, and looked out the window. The eyes had disappeared. Of course the cat wouldn’t sit and watch forever. Other cats meandered through her yard, giving no attention to her in the window. Occasionally creaks came from the skirting on her trailer as they passed under her, turning in to rest.
Some nights the cats created a ruckus below her as she tried to sleep, but she didn’t mind. Although it could scare her, it made her feel less alone. She wondered how Grant would find the midnight screams of the felines.
Her eyelids began to drift downwards as the excitement within her yard disappeared; she closed the curtains and nestled into bed.