Chapter 29 - No Sleep
Saraiya looked out of her living room window witnessing Grant leaving Ambri’s cage filled field. She felt relieved to see that there were no lions within the cages and that no damage had been done as far as she could tell. The village seemed to be its normal, unnerving self.
She retreated her face from the window and the purple curtain swished back into place as the room darkened a bit. Her living room might as well have been called a library. A single cushioned chair sat in the middle of the space with full bookshelves lining the walls. Books and notebooks laid out on the floor as she stepped around them.
Her eyelids drooped as she fell back into the chair. The night had not been kind to her, or rather, to her emotions. Her mind did not welcome rest, it still ran on lingering adrenaline, constantly questioning everything that happened. Thoughts bounced about, involving the white lion, Ambri, and the other residents of Lyros.
Echoes of the lions did not come last night. And neither did her familiar feline friend. She longed for any sense of normalcy after that long day, but the world didn’t bring it. Even if that sense of familiarity could bring danger, she would take it; she needed any kind of sign that told her she was waking from that nightmare.
She looked up at the ceiling. A six foot tall lion. That didn’t seem believable. Was it, really? Maybe Natch was right and she just needed more time to relax her mind. As if she could do that now though. The sunlight peeked through the curtains; it was nine in the morning.
As much as she tried to get comfortable in the chair, her nerves resisted relaxation. She stooped forward and picked up a book she had read throughout the night. If she couldn’t relax herself enough to fall asleep all night, she figured she would read a relevant book; a book specifically on lions.
Flipping through the pages, once again she came to the section about the biggest lions ever recorded in history. She sighed and tossed the book to the floor. This must have been the fourth time she skimmed the page. The lion she saw definitely beat the world record.
I really need to get some sleep, I don’t care if any of this is real or not right now. My mind can’t take it, she thought as she stood up from the chair and walked towards the kitchen.
An open notebook with a pen laying on top of the pages as well as a book beside it sat on the kitchen table. Crumbs of food scattered around the makeshift desk along with crumpled up paper. The floor too, showed remnants of an essay in progress. She went from writing to reading, hour after hour during the night, yet she felt nothing but lunacy. She knocked the balled up papers to the floor and shut her notebook.
Her body screamed for rest as she walked down the hallway to her bedroom. No matter what, she was not going to let her mind distract her. She was going to sleep, especially if the one person she could trust with her sanity might come to the bonfire later in the evening.
Saraiya thought she could trust Rhett with her ramblings and misbehaviors. Possibly even Grant too, but after hypothesizing why Ambri and possibly even the village as a whole shifted their moods the night before, she didn’t want to tell anyone that it was her in the forest. Nothing bad happened, so she had no need to tell anyone, right?
She originally planned to tell Ambri, but her nerves got the best of her. Even at the fire she could tell that Ambri knew. Yet, she still couldn’t bring herself to confess under those rage filled eyes. Even if it could possibly save the village from the lions. Ambri’s terrorizing eyes held onto Saraiya with such intensity which led her to believe that she was insane in the first place for even worrying about the lions scavenging around Lyros.
She came to the conclusion that they wouldn’t have any real motive to tear down homes or terrorize people anyway. Even if they got stuck in the cage and called for backup, they would most likely retreat after regaining their freedom. She felt silly for even thinking the lions were smart enough to take revenge.
They were just big animals, nothing more. Lions never set out to hunt humans. Sure, the occasion could happen when they would kill one, but there weren’t a lot of articles thrown around relating to that, even in Jurai.
Perhaps when she woke up, everything would be fine. She hadn’t slept in a whole day now, which would throw off anyone’s cognitive abilities. After her rest she would be able to think through everything in a calm manner, without jumping from conclusion to conclusion. Her specialty was observing and documenting things after all. It was just another mystery to solve, only this time the subject of the matter revolved around her.
Whenever things were about herself, she had a hard time looking at things objectively, however. She second guessed everything about herself because it was impossible to observe her own actions as an outsider, and she was biased, believing she knew everything about herself. She understood that everyone had unconscious thoughts and patterns that their minds and bodies performed, but she thought she had a decent grip on how she worked.
She trudged her way into her bedroom after slumping through the hallway. Ruffled blankets sat on her bed and were slightly hanging off. She looked at the bed and sighed. Time for another try, she thought.
Before throwing herself onto the bed, Saraiya checked her window again. Hoping to see her friend. She peered out into the blinding light, and saw it. Closer to her window than it had ever been before.
White fur and a familiar stare. As her eyes were adjusting to the bright light, she swore it looked just like the white lion.