Chapter 57 - Questions
Rhett and Kale halted their walking and brief storms of wind pelted them as cars flew past.
“So, there really is nothing out of the ordinary about Lyros?” Rhett leaned forward, overextending his balance. His feet still felt light from the alcohol.
“You want me to refute the claims that have been made about here? That’s easy. There are so many baseless rumors that people create about our village.”
“Yeah… But if there are so many rumors, would it be that odd for at least one to be true?”
“I have no more further input to add to this conversation.” Kale’s eyes evoked a keen sense of sadness or was it delight? His mask hid his overall true emotions. No one could completely guess how he felt at any time, but there were occasions where you could make a pretty accurate guess. This was not one of those times.
Rhett couldn’t let the conversation end like this, if there was any hint to learning about Aeyn, he had to prod further.
“Come on, there are a lot of strange things about Lyros that I already know to be true,” Rhett said.
“Like what? The cats? Please, Rhett.” Kale shook his head. “You Kandorrians are just as obsessed about your tortoises… and they can’t even protect you.”
“You think Zair is going to come to the rescue, if you get in trouble?” Rhett asked.
“I know he will. I have no reason to think that he wouldn’t.” Kale’s stance was brimming with confidence.
“Yeah… you’re probably right. A cat seems way more capable to at least attack someone…” Rhett cupped his hand against his warm face. “These “guardians” didn’t do shit when Aeyn was taken!” He slammed his fist into his thigh. “Not that I blame them for it, they really are only tortoises.”
Kale backed down and walked in silence.
“It’s not just the cats, Kale. The vulthos too.” Rhett couldn’t let the conversation end.
“I’ll give you that, I suppose. But, they don’t ever even stop down in Lyros…”
“Whatever. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.” Rhett’s body slumped as he continued walking.
Rhett, don’t worry. We’ll find Grant. I promise.”
“Don’t make a promise you can’t keep,” Rhett said, thinking about Aeyn.
“Grant’s an adult, and you’re drunk. There’s no reason to worry so much, I’m sure he is fine. Actually, I know he is.”
“You know? Sure you do.” Rhett scoffed.
Natch and Saraiya pulled up beside them on the road, and still hadn’t found a trace of Grant. They decided they would make one more trip up and down the highway and then park at Saraiya’s trailer to wait for them to return.
Some time passed and Rhett and Kale approached Lyros, still not finding even a trace of Grant, despite their constant hollering. Even though Kale said he knew Grant was fine, he still belted his name out across the fields. Of course Kale knew nothing, he only wanted to help Rhett feel better.
“I can’t believe we still haven’t found him… Where could he be?” Rhett said.
“We can look out behind the fields of Lyros before we lose hope. I know he’ll show up somewhere.”
They walked into the vicinity and stopped before the first trailer of Lyros. The three white masks stared at them. They looked even more menacing at night. What could the purpose of these masks even be?
“Kale, why does Helda make those masks…?” Rhett asked, eyes wide. “Every time I pass them my body shivers.”
Helda was one of the village elders. She had been living there even before Lars moved here, according to what others had said.
“She does indeed have a strange hobby. She likes to make them for each new member of the Lyros family… So one will be yours starting tomorrow. Try to act grateful when she presents it to you.”
Rhett’s face soured. He’d rather be given a dirty sock as a welcoming gift.
“Hah, I can’t wait to see the look on Grant’s and Saraiya’s faces when they are given them. At least now I’ll be able to hold my composure when that time comes.” Rhett smirked, but his lips slowly sank back down. “If we can find Grant…”
They walked the path of the dimly lit street lights. Grant’s trailer’s lights were still off and Rhett sighed, but Kale showed no emotion. Natch and Saraiya began walking over to them from her trailer.
“No luck either?” Saraiya asked.
“Nope, we found nothing,” Rhett said.
Saraiya and Natch both looked down towards the ground.
“We aren’t done looking yet though,” Kale said as he turned his back. “I’m going to grab Zair.”
What was Zair going to do? It wasn’t as if a cat could track down a missing person, or maybe he just felt more comfortable with him around. Although, after witnessing him speak to the lions at the zoo, Rhett wasn’t sure what Kale would even try to do.
Natch and Saraiya seemed to think the same. What use would Zair be?
“Well, if he isn’t on the road… or at home…” Saraiya began deducing the possibilities. “...”
“You guys are acting too worried right now. I’m sure he’s fine! There’s no way those lions got to him, Saraiya,” Natch said.
Lions? Rhett had completely forgotten about the possibility of the lions roaming out in the fields. How far did they actually leave from their habitat though? He had still yet to even see one.
“I’m back!” Kale jogged back towards the group with Zair on his shoulder. He began whispering into his ear when his cat jumped off of his shoulder and darted out past Grant’s trailer.
“Let’s go!” Kale shouted as he chased Zair.
What was going on? Was his cat able to understand what Kale just told him? Or did he have a scent of Grant that he had Zair smell? Could cats even be trained to do that?
The group ran out past Grant’s trailer and into the tall grass. Long stalks of weeds and spiky plants grazed against Rhett’s skin as he followed Kale and Zair. After a minute of running Kale stopped. Rhett and the others caught up to him and noticed a large indent of sunken grass where Grant laid, sleeping. The imprint on the grass covered a much wider area than his body could have. Who dropped him off here?