Grant doubted his vision for a second, but this time, he could see them more clearly than anytime before. Three of them flew in formation with one in the center and the other two following to the sides, forming a triangle. Four wings—no, two wings, however there were two other limbs that appeared to be sticking out from their torsos. Grant tried concentrating until they flew directly in front of the sun and he had to look away.
“You can’t tell me that’s a normal vulture.” Grant stood up and pointed. “What the hell is that?”
Rhett, shading his eyes from the sunlight peered into the distance. “I don’t know… it’s hard to say.”
“No, I clearly saw them before they flew in front of the sun.” Grant reassured him.
Kale made his way back from a brush of trees, also staring up at the sky, his hands holding small disk-like things reflecting light. He pressed himself into his chair and dropped his hands full of seashells onto his lap without saying a word. Lars followed in keeping silent.
“Lars, I know you have told us that they are just vultures, but I have never seen vultures like that. And there is no way that one is flying atop of the other because the second set of wings don’t even look like wings from this distance.”
The birds flew downward straight towards the lake, as if performing a dive. Right when they were about to touch the water, they all spread out in separate directions and disappeared.
Rhett took a swig of his drink and turned to Lars. “Yeah, these don’t seem like normal vultures. That was an extremely odd display of actions.”
“The area breeds some odd natured wildlife, things around Lyros aren’t—” Lars was cut off.
“Don’t you dare lie.” Kale’s commanding voice chilled the area, almost as if the waves themselves weakened up against Grant’s feet. “Those aren’t vultures. They are far more dangerous. I’ve seen them up close, if they ever come near you, run. And don’t look back.”
Lars glared at Kale. “That’s enough of your ghost stories.” He chugged his drink in one go and threw it to the ground, grumbling.
Kale dropped his head and grabbed some of the seashells from his lap as if sorting them. The sound of waves and clacks of shells scratching against each other filled the silence. The air became a familiar chill, but before it became too familiar Rhett spoke up.
“Ah, well anyway, it’s just a bunch of animals. No need to let that ruin our day, yeah?” Rhett stood up and grabbed another drink for himself, and handed one to Grant and Lars. “Let’s have a fun day at the lake.”
Kale stood up and looked at Rhett. “Yeah, let’s do that.” His voice didn’t waver, and his eyes depicted a smile beneath his mask.
“Kale, I got your rod set up while you were adventuring, why don’t you show them how it’s done.” Lars smirked, appearing to be already over the previous altercation.
Kale dipped the pole back a bounce and thrusted it forward. The line sang as it whipped through the air. Past Grant, Rhett, and Lars’s lines it soared like a bird. Kale looked around him as he acknowledged their awe-stricken expressions.
“I’ve never met a better caster than Kale,” Lars said. “But, he still doesn’t even compare to me with the actual act of fishing.”
The group let the lake take them away. The sound of bugs humming, waves rushing, and occasional birds calling to each other as they zipped around brought them back into a peaceful state.
The “vultures” never came back though. Grant still couldn’t place his mind on what they could have been. And was Kale’s story even true? Probably not. But, it was unusual to even see Kale disagree with Lars. Did he actually have a reason behind what he said, or was he trying to scare them?
Grant’s rod yanked forward. He pulled up and began reeling it in.
“The first fish of the day!” Lars said as Grant stood up struggling to bring it into the shore.
“Come on Grant, you got this,” Rhett said.
The fish could be seen flopping towards the surface of the water with its shiny scales dazzling. Kale stepped forward, eyeing the fish. Grant kept reeling in and plopped onto the damp sand.
“Uh, what are we doing with fish now? Are we going to release them or take them back for food?” Grant asked as he stood before the flopping fish.
Kale leaned in closer and swiped his finger across the fish’s belly. “We’re going to eat it of course!” His mask moved in a motion that Grant could only imagine to be him licking his lips.
“Where are we going to put it then?” Grant paused. “Don’t tell me it’s going in with the snacks?”
“Damn it, I forgot the bucket for the fish.” Lars wiped the sweat off of his forehead.
“No worries,” Kale said. “I’ve got spare buckets out here for my seashells. Let me grab one.” He planted his pole into the sand and headed back in the direction he ventured into before.
“What? Does he have a fort out here or something?” Grant sat back down in his chair, watching the fish flop for its life. He tapped the fish back into the water with his foot, letting it swim on a leash.
“Nah, he just stockpiles things here. We usually come out here every weekend. Once he forgot a bucket to collect the seashells and got angry, and the next time we came out he brought multiple buckets hahah.”
“Well, thanks to Kale we’re eatin’ good tonight!” Rhett leaned back, rod in hand, and smiled.
“We’d find a way to take them back even if we didn’t have that bucket. The cooler would have stored them well enough. Fish covered alcohol and snacks never hurt anybody.” Lars reached over and grabbed another drink while Rhett cocked his head to the side in disgust. “You know what? I’m really glad you guys decided to move out here and help with the leech business.”
“I’m glad too, Lars. Sure beats having to worry about all the city life problems, right, Grant?” Rhett said.
“Yeah… I guess city life wasn’t really my problem, it may have been part of it, but now that I know an option like this exists, I don’t think I’ll ever settle doing something that doesn’t satisfy me.”
“It always feels like a vacation out here doesn’t it?” Lars chuckled. “Just wait until our welcome ceremony, after that, the party will never end.”