“Where’s Saraiya been? Has she been inside all day?” Rhett asked.
“I haven’t seen her,” Grant answered as the two walked towards Lars’s trailer.
“This is going to be great, just what we need after a hectic day like yesterday.” Rhett smiled as he threw his backpack against his back. “I’m glad you decided to come with, it’s much better with more people.”
“Yeah, sitting out on the beach sounds nice. I haven’t been to one since I was nine or ten.”
“Oh wow, it has been awhile for you.” Rhett stepped up onto Lars deck and Grant followed. “So, have you ever fished before?”
“Once or twice.”
Before they could reach the door to knock, it opened and Lars stepped out onto the deck. He carried four poles and a tackle box. “Looks like you decided to join us after all!” The boards under his feet creaked as he laughed. “I’ve got another one to tag along as well, I figure it can be a bonding experience for all of us hahaha!”
“…Hey guys.” Kale’s black mask slightly moved as he talked.
“Oh hey Kale!” Rhett flashed a smile.
“H-hey, haven’t talked to you in awhile,” Grant stammered.
“Yeah, I’ve been laying low, as you would call it. I didn’t want to bug you guys much anymore, but Lars insisted I come in hopes I can learn how to be more sociable.”
Lars looked at Kale. “Don’t be so hard on yourself Kale, that’s not at all how I worded it.”
“Okay…” His light gaze hovered around them and his hands fidgeted against his knees, as if he had no clue what to do with himself with his cat not around.
Grant hadn’t had a problem with Kale in some time. This opportunity didn’t bother him, but he would be lying if he said it didn’t make him feel uneasy.
They all hopped in Lars’s rusted truck. Rhett and Lars took the front seats, and Kale sat and squashed in between Grant and a mound of clutter. Grant felt uncomfortable with him being so close, their shoulders brushed up against each other with every bump of the road.
“How far is the lake from here?” Grant asked.
“Oh, it’s just a little further out than the leech farm. It won’t be too long,” Lars said.
Grant’s focus stayed on the window next to him as he tried his hardest to not look over to the left. If he did, he would be met with Kale’s orange eyes.
The stereo played an old time rock song with a fuzzy reception. The air in this car felt stiff, but not even close to the level of Ambri’s car from last night. Grant had room to breathe, even with the unbearable closeness of another person beside him.
He noticed this was the first time that he had seen Kale without his partner, Zair. Lars must have told him that he had to stay back, which Grant could assume caused some fallback from him. He was thankful for Lars. Not only would he have been stuck next to an odd human, but also a cat that would have been sure to growl and hiss in his face.
“Hey, Grant…” Kale’s voice quivered.
Grant looked over, forgetting exactly how close he was to him. Kale’s eyes outstretched open, as if in a state of shock, and drilled into his own eyes. Grant’s body twitched a little. “Y-yes?”
“Are you ready for the festival next weekend? You guys will be the guests of honor for this specific one.”
“Festival?” Grant asked, and Rhett’s head turned around to listen in.
“Yeah, the biannual festival, with everyone from Lyros. Ambri brought it up, that one time by the fire. We’re going to have it the day after the concert.”
“Wait, Kale, are you going to the concert too?” Rhett asked.
“Yeah, of course I am. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Grant turned his head forward staring at the back of the seat. Didn’t Kale refuse to go places because of his health condition?
“I know what you guys are thinking, but I’m going to be extra careful. Why would I miss the chance to go see my favorite band? I rarely take risks, but I am going to have to take this one.”
“Fair enough,” Rhett said, turning his head back towards the front.
“What about that festival you were saying Kale? What exactly is going to happen? And we don’t have to do anything as the ‘guests of honor,’ right?” Grant asked.
“You won’t have to do much. We will just feed you guys.” His eyes resembled a smile.
Rhett turned his head back around, almost causing whiplash. “Hell yeah! That’s my kind of festival. I wonder what we’ll be eating… Don’t tell me though, I want it to be a surprise!” He faced the front again, and slouched back in his chair. “Damn, next weekend sounds great…”
Next weekend did sound great, but Grant felt something more coming from behind Kale’s eyes as he went about explaining more of the festival. For once his eyes although looking happy, had a hint of darkness behind them. Not suspicious, evil, darkness. A lonely, heartbroken darkness. Although, that perception didn’t last for more than a few seconds, perhaps he was just missing his cat.
The final part of the festival sounded a bit odd to Grant though.
“Wait? We have to go to a church and sit through a service?” Grant snarled.
“Yeah, but it won’t be bad. I promise. It won’t be a religious service either, it’s just the only place around Lyros we can use for this kind of occasion. After the leader of the church gives a speech about welcoming you, you guys stand, we all clap, then we go home. It’s easy,” Kale said.
“You guys don’t need to worry, the end will come quicker than you know it,” Lars added.
“The leader of that old church lives with us in Lyros?” Rhett asked.
“Yeah,” Kale said.
“Who is it? I’ve always been curious about that building every time we drive by.”
“It’s a secret.”
Rhett clicked his tongue. “Fine, guess I’ll find out on our special day.”
They passed by the old church and Grant gave it a closer look. It really didn’t look like it was in any shape to be holding an event, even if it was only in celebration for them. It appeared to be a cheap, worn down excuse of a setting.
“So, I’m guessing the inside looks better than the outside of it?” Grant asked, still staring out the window.
“It’s very well managed. I’ve even helped out with cleaning sometimes, like I have with the trailers. It’ll be most comfortable for your ceremony.”
“Oh, now you’re calling it a ceremony?” Grant responded.
“Yes, the beginning is a festival, but the closing part of it could be defined as a ceremony,” Kale said.
The church fled away in the distance. Who holds a ceremony for new residents?