Chapter 66 - Kale | VOLUME 2 START
“Hey look, this bird is hurt!” Kale stepped close to a bird as it writhed on the concrete with a wing slightly bent to the side.
The other kids outside ran towards him. They all knelt down closer to the small animal.
“What should we do?” one of the other kids asked.
“We should do this!” a taller boy, Deron, picked up the bird.
“Stop! What are you doing?” Kale jolted upright and aimed his eyes at the boy.
Deron placed his fingers under the belly of the bird like a paper airplane and dragged it through the air while running. Its wings forcefully snagged through the air, rippling against the current. Some of the other kids started laughing.
“I said stop!” Kale chased the boy, but Deron easily maneuvered around and pushed him to the ground. Kale jumped right back up, brushing the chalky flakes of dirt from his skin and started chasing him in a fit of rage.
“Who cares about this little bird! I’m just having fun!” Deron continued to let the bird fly through the air within the grip of his hand. Kale noticed the bird’s head was growing limp. None of the other children even made an effort to help.
“Kale, he isn’t hurting the bird so calm down! Hahah!” laughs went around the playground.
Kale frowned and stopped his running for a moment, taking in all the kids laughing at his outburst. He tensed his legs up and began a strong dash for the bully.
Kale shouted as he got hold of Deron’s arm, knocking him slightly off balance.
“Let go of me!” He shouted as Kale clawed his way up to the bully’s hand, desperate to save the bird.
As soon as Kale had almost lifted the grip of Deron’s fingers, the bully’s balance had been lost and he began falling. He opened his hand that held the bird and swung it backwards in preparation to catch himself on the ground.
The bird fell to the ground. Kale also lost his footing, but managed to keep himself from falling as he tottered around.
Kale’s face scrunched up as he felt something beneath his feet. He took a step back and looked at the ground.
Blood and feathers lay unmoving on the ground.
His eyes welled up as he frantically looked in all directions hoping someone could help him. All the kids were silent and all of the teachers were still inside the school. Recess wasn’t over yet.
The bully got back up to his feet. “This wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t chase me. It’s all your fault!”
“No…” Kale knelt by the bird as tears began dripping onto the limp body.
He stood up and clenched his fists. He ran. Out of the playground. Out of the schoolyard. Out down the street. Out of the neighborhood.
Wind attacked with a cool sensation, drying his tears as they fell from his eyes.
He stopped to catch his breath at an old broken bench that was in front of a local grocery store. It creaked when he sat down. Three birds passed through the sky singing together as he rested his head in his hands.
“What’s wrong buddy?” a voice called out.
Kale looked up and a man in a suit stood before him.
“I accidentally killed a bird… I wanted to save it.” His voice was muffled by tears, and his eyes followed his own shaking fingers as they traced over the loose boards of the bench.
“Oh, well if you didn’t mean to, it’s no problem. Actually, I take care of lots of animals myself! I have quite the collection of cats, I could introduce them to you and you could help them if you want.”
Kale’s face lightened up. He nodded.
“Just come this way, I can show you.” The man led Kale two blocks over to a residential area.
He stopped in front of a van with tinted windows. They walked around to the backdoor and the man opened it. Dozens of kittens laid inside cages, meowing.
“Go on, you can play with them if you would like.” The man smirked.
Kale hesitated for just a moment and then jumped into the van and sprawled out across the carpeted floor reaching his hand in through the cages. The sadness in his face faded, yet still lingered. The kittens called back at him as he tried talking with them. The small animals tried nuzzling their head against his hand. The small faces of the felines gradually grew darker as the door shut behind him.
Kale fell back in shock. Darkness veiled the space. His heart pounded as he felt the engine of the van start.
“Hey! Stop! I’m still in here!” He screamed.
The van started moving, Kale bounced over the bumps of the road as he frantically searched for a way out. The handle to the back of the van wouldn’t budge. Tears rolled down his face. He crawled back to his previous position, or at least he thought he did. He grabbed onto the cage and slid his hand back in feeling around for the kittens.
In this moment of terror, the kittens snuggled up to his hand as he wept. His screaming grew weaker with every moment as he listened to the tires gliding over the pavement.
He hadn’t lost all hope yet though, his parents would definitely find him, he believed. He remembered the story of a missing kid that was on the news regularly. In time, the whole town would be searching for him. That left him with a bit of an optimistic feeling, but it still didn’t help much. He was afraid of what was going to happen to him in the time it took for him to be rescued.
The backdoor jangled and then opened. Light peered into the dark space. Kale looked outside, his eyes adjusting to the light. He trembled.
Three people wearing disturbing white masks, dressed all in black surrounded the van.
“Alright kid, get out.”
Kale made his way forward slowly as he fumbled his footing. The people grunted and reached their arms in and yanked him out.
“Ah! Please don’t hurt me! I want to go home!” Kale shouted as his knees fell to the ground.
They repositioned their grips and grabbed both of his arms, standing him up outside the van. Grass up to his knees swayed around him. Fields outstretched for miles, but laying in front of them was an old church.
“Please! Stop! I want to go home!” They dragged Kale forward and into the shoddy building.