Chapter 36 - Passing the Claw
Blood dripped out from Grant’s finger. He couldn’t believe he was that careless to cause a gash on his hand once again. He swore the edge of the claw never even grazed his skin. There was no way he could have been so reckless.
“What happened to my hand? Yeah, that’s what I would like to know too.” Grant held the claw out in the palm of his other hand, the fire reflecting off of the shiny surface.
Saraiya and Natch also sat down around the fire and looked into Grant’s hand.
“That is one big claw…” Saraiya leaned close and extended her hand. “Can I see that?”
“I wouldn’t recommend handling it,” He motioned to the blood soaked paper cloth wrapped around his other hand. Grant couldn’t believe how much one slice to his finger that he didn’t even feel could cause so much blood.
“I’ll be careful, just please let me see it.” Saraiya moved her hand in closer.
What other choice did Grant have but to hand it over? She loved researching things and would surely know to be careful, but any level of cautiousness couldn’t prepare anyone for how sharp it was.
By looks alone, was this claw really that outstanding? He imagined this is how any lion’s claw would have looked like. Apparently Saraiya thought otherwise.
Before he would give into her persistent efforts however, he had to demonstrate the sharpness of the claw..
“Wait Saraiya. Give me a moment. Rhett, can you toss me a block of wood?”
Rhett’s expression changed, a puzzled expression no doubt. “Yeah, sure…” He tossed it over to Grant. “Are you going to attempt to carve a tortoise like me?”
“Not quite.” Grant held the claw like a pen and dug in. The claw seeped deep into the wood almost effortlessly as he guided it, drawing a circle. They all seemed to notice the lack of force he used while carving. Even using a knife on this block of wood would need a substantial amount of pressure to make such deep cuts.
Saraiya kept silent, and so did Rhett. Natch had no idea what was going on, but judging by his face, he seemed to have an idea of where the claw came from. Grant set down the wood and held the claw flat in the palm of his hand and moved it towards Saraiya.
“Now you can look at it. Are claws normally that sharp? I’m not well versed in animal facts.” Grant’s hand shook as Saraiya had yet to pick it up. Her face moved in closer and closer to the object.
“No, this doesn’t look normal at all.” She finally picked it up and brought it closer to her face. Her eyes stared into the odd claw with an intensity as fierce as the fire before them. Was it fear?
“Hey guys I’m back,” Kale said as he stepped towards the fire. “What do you have—” Kale stopped and stared into Saraiya’s hand with a blank face. His eyes wore no emotion, his mask did not move. The only thing that reacted were his hands. His gloved hand moved forward with intense speed, stopping before coming into contact with Saraiya. His gloved hand held cupped, as if telling her to hand it over.
The air went still and the fire’s crackles seemed to dull. Kale’s chest displayed abrupt violent breathing as Zair rode the undulations of his shoulders.
Kale focused on the claw.
A moment passed.
“Kale, have you seen a claw like this before?” Saraiya’s voice brought the still of the night back into motion.
He was quiet for a few seconds, then finally spoke. “Uh, where did you get that?” His breathing calmed a notch.
“Grant found it.”
Kale’s eyes darted towards Grant, and then back to Saraiya. “Yeah, I have seen a claw like that before. Please, let me dispose of it.”
“Why would you do that? This could be a huge discovery. This claw is unmatched.”
“It’s not unmatched. Please, hand it over. Nothing good will come from you guys having it.” Kale’s voice was stern. He leaned in towards Saraiya’s ear and whispered something.
Kale stepped back with his hand still held out. Saraiya’s face flashed white, as if fear took over. Kale’s eyes were pointed at her, piercing like knives. She reached her arm out towards Kale and dropped the claw into his hand. He then proceeded to place it into his pocket.
“Kale, be careful. That claw could pierce through your clothing and slice your skin,” Grant said. “But, why do you need to take it? Why are you acting like it is so important?”
“I’m only doing this to protect you guys. Please, believe me. I wish I could tell you more, but I can’t.” Kale looked downwards.
“Saraiya, you good?” Natch asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine…”
“Just wanted to let you know, you were right.” Natch laughed. “These past few minutes have been kind of creepy.”
“It happens.” Rhett’s smile quivered. “Who knew a small claw could kill the night.”
Kale sat down between Rhett and Saraiya with Zair dropping off of his shoulder onto his lap. “Sorry for breaking the mood guys. I’m really not mad or anything, I swear. I know it’s hard to trust me, but I hope one day you guys can.”
“We know Kale,” Rhett said while jumping onto his feet. “Anyway guys, who wants drinks!”
“You’ve been drinking all day, Rhett,” Grant said.
Light chuckles warmed them as the normal bonfire atmosphere returned. The only thing missing now was Ambri. Grant hadn’t seen her since this morning out around the cages where he left her in a bad mood. She had probably spent the whole day making adjustments to her traps.
“Is Ambri going to come?” Grant asked.
“I don’t think so. She didn’t seem in the mood when I picked up Zair at her trailer,” Kale said.
The cat hopped off of Kale’s lap and wandered around the fire, making his way towards Grant. Kale’s eyes opened wide, as they followed Zair’s every move until the cat brought his nose to Grant’s finger.
“Well… Isn’t this surprising…” Kale leaned forward. “Zair took a liking to you before any of the others”
Saraiya’s mouth opened in shock, and Natch looked around at everyone’s expressions as if they were crazy.
“I’m not sure why, but the other cats seemed to take a liking to me tonight as well…” Grant brought his hand down upon Zair’s head and lightly patted him. He didn’t bite, or growl. In fact, the only thing he did was purr.