Grant’s heartbeat rocketed, bouncing around in his chest. What did Kale want now?
A second set of knocks thudded against the hollow door.
Grant reached for the doorknob and slowly turned it while taking a deep breath. Kale stood, wearing his facemask and gloves. Under the sunlight, his skin appeared paler than even Grant’s. His light purple hair rustled with a gust of wind, and his cat glared at Grant.
The daylight lessened the magnitude of the anxiety that rippled through Grant slightly. He made a conscious effort to appear unfazed.
“Hey Grant, I wanted to come by and apologi--”
The cat broke free of his arms and darted into Grant’s home, scurrying down the narrow hallway. Grant jumped back, tripping and falling down the couple stairs that led to his living room.
“Are you all right?!” Kale scurried over to Grant and tried helping him up.
“Don’t touch me. I’m fine.” Grant brought himself to his feet, rubbing his legs.
Was Kale just putting on an act? Grant didn’t feel the hostility from him he did earlier, but his unnerving demeanor still set him off. His eyes implied a smile once again as he glanced at the light injury. Was smiling all he could do? Grant narrowed his eyes.
“...I’m sorry,” Kale murmured, eyes dancing back and forth.
His creepy expression did not bode well with his words.
A thud came from the back end of the trailer.
“Please get your cat and get out. It’s fine, just please, leave me alone.” Grant began escorting him towards the sound.
Stopping in the kitchen, Kale stood for a few seconds, hands moving forward towards the Shuraek plushie. He quickly brought his arms back to his side and continued following Grant. Grant kept his eyes on him the whole time they walked down the suffocating passageway.
“Zair! Come to me!”
Kale called out to his cat from halfway down the hallway, and it responded with a soft meow. The small whimper came from Grant’s bedroom. Was it even the same cat that ran out from under his car? How could the tone of its voice change so drastically from his initial meeting with it?
“I’ll take it from here. Please, let me walk ahead of you,” Kale insisted. “He doesn’t like new people. Should he see you first, he might attack.”
“...Sounds like someone didn’t train him right,” Grant grumbled.
Kale gave a sideways glare, and then proceeded forward. Grant heard a scratching sound coming from within his bedroom, but he didn’t mind if a few scratch marks were left on the wall, he just wanted him out of his house as soon as possible.
Grant stood back and watched the scene from the hallway as Kale entered his bedroom and found his cat next to the closet door. He scooped him up in his arms and walked out of view, moving towards Grant’s bed.
Peeking through the doorway, Grant saw Kale with his face barely an inch apart from the cat, staring. Was this some kind of way of punishing the cat? Grant knew sure as hell that he would make a serious attempt at doing no wrong if this were to be his punishment.
“There, there. It’s okay. I told you, you can’t run in here anymore.” Kale drifted his face back, his body jolted when he noticed Grant beside him.
“...Anymore? You used to let him play around in here?”
“Ahh, yeah, well, on occasion we would hang out and try our best to clean the empty trailers every few months, and he always followed me wherever I went.”
“Are there a lot of empty ones here?” Grant asked.
Jack did seem to ask Grant to try to move here every few months. Was he asking for him to live in this trailer? Or was each time he asked for a different one?
Kale paused for a moment, then spoke, “Yeah, people don’t seem to stay for too long. A lot of them get bored and leave after a few months. I wouldn’t blame you if you left. Everyone gets so tired of having nothing to do.”
Grant stood in silence. What was up with this guy? Was he trying to be friendly or drive him away? He wasn’t making any sense.
“...So, you don’t like it here?” Grant finally spoke.
Kale’s gaze swayed around the room.
“It’s more than just liking or hating. I don’t feel I have a purpose if I am not here. To answer your question though, I do like it here... I get to spend time with all my friends.” Kale’s statement trailed off into a whisper as he focused back into the cat’s eyes.
“Oh, I guess having people you can call friends around must make a big difference...”
“Not people, cats. I love them all, much more than people. I do try to make friends with people too, but no one likes me. Well, everyone says they do, but I don’t know if they actually do. Now I’m trying to become friends with you, Rhett, and Saraiya too. Why is it that no matter what I do, everyone stares at me the same?”
Kale sulked for a moment and walked out of the room mumbling to himself, “I’m only trying to help you guys...”
Grant’s eyes widened, baffled by the twist the conversation took. Did Grant really do anything to cause such an offended reaction?
He followed Kale down the hallway, making sure he left. Kale took another glance at the Shuraek plushie as he walked to the door.
He paused at the door as if in thought to say a final word to Grant, but then he opened the door as he faced downward and left.
Grant, not knowing exactly what that previous discussion was about, grabbed a stack of the Bloodline Beasts comics and walked back to his bedroom. A full day of rest called his name, and he should have been free from Kale now for some time.
Kale said he wanted to help Grant and some other people. An unfamiliar name came up in the conversation after he talked about Grant and Rhett, perhaps Saraiya was another new arrival?
If all these new people moved to this village so recently, a lot of people must have moved out often like Kale said. But the village was so small, how often did people actually come and leave?
Regardless, this was Grant’s home now, and he was free to do as he pleased. Even if it wasn’t quite the start to his freedom that he wanted, compared to his previous living situation, this life was more enjoyable. He didn’t feel like a prisoner, but he did feel on edge.
He sat on his bed staring at the off white colored wall, a blank slate. In time, would this be tarnished, or painted an eloquent design?
Grant let the details of the previous conversation float out of his mind as he hopped into bed with the stack of books. No matter how many times he read this story, comfort filled his body. Like listening to a favorite song, his eyes followed a pattern throughout the pages, going to an imaginary beat.
After finishing one volume, he stretched and moved his head in a circular motion, cracking his neck as he noticed something in his peripheral vision. A spiderweb pattern of indents cracked its way down into a crevice, the hole on the closet door. Grant leapt out of bed and inched closer.
He mentally compared the hole to the size of his index finger when he arrived. Grant clenched his fist and held it up to the hole. Pushing through, his whole fist fit. Realizing the only thing that could have caused this crevice, blood rushed to his head.
Was that even possible? Sure, the wood consisted of a cheap quality, but even if you punched it, one would have to give it all their strength to break through.
A cat scratching open this hole in a few minutes, impossible. Hell, could a cat even make a hole of this size in any amount of time that resembled this? He traced the webbed lines that speared out from the hole with his fingers and stood up.
He opened the closet door and saw wood chips laying in a small pile. He brushed his fingers through them and stepped back. Taking a deep breath, he shut the door.
The hole in the door wasn’t what bothered Grant, but imaging the force behind the paws and claws of the animal made the whole situation seem unfathomable. With all the new cracks that formed throughout the area of the hole, it wasn’t just clawed out. It was as if the cat bashed the door with the meat of its paw.
From the moment he arrived, an off feeling wrapped around him. As time flowed, the feeling grew stronger. Kale was hiding something.
Grant slogged himself back onto the bed, the relaxation he desired slipped away. He opened up the comics, and laid himself down, reading through the pages.
Nothing could clear the mystery out of his head. What did he miss while he took a tumble on the living room floor? Grant shook his head and looked at the comics.
A story about monsters and their owners, how fitting.