Hello once again on this fine Saturday afternoon(?) Well, things are getting interesting as we move onto the final two arcs. This current one with our new child is going to probably just last until tomorrow, and I’ll wrap it up and transition directly into the last arc before the finale. It’s going to be fun, well, it won’t be fun it’ll probably be depressing and we’ll probably learn more than we wanted and characters are going to change and learn and events and things. You know what, the intrinsic segmented story line that I was pushing for is probably going to seem less intrinsically episodic now. Here you go, chapter 21 of “Home For The Unwanted”.
“Sleep well?” Ryan asked as he walked into Kyle’s room just as he had gotten up. Kyle looked up at Ryan with tired eyes, and as he had finally adjusted to the tide of the morning, he was suddenly taken aback.
“Kyle?” Ryan asked, worried about the actions Kyle had just done.
“Where am I?”
“Lorna’s orphanage. She brought you here yesterday, remember?” Kyle looked dumbfounded at Ryan, but as he began jogging his memory, he looked down. Kyle remembered his encounter with Ryan, and with Lorna. Kyle remembered why he was even on the streets, and how he ended up far from his real home. Kyle didn’t want to remember.
“Want something to eat?” Kyle stopped and waited. He didn’t know whether it was morning or night, as the room he was in was covered in blinds. What Kyle wanted was a sign.
“What time is it?” Kyle asked.
“If I’m here, sometime in the afternoon.” Kyle looked around the room but couldn’t see a clock. In fact, the room looked like someone else’s, Kyle thought, there was furniture, a cabinet, even a scrawled painting that was crocked on the wall. Ryan noticed Kyle’s wandering eyes, and added, “This is a spare room. One of many, actually. The other children all have their own rooms, so don’t worry about it.” Kyle’s eyes rested upon the bed that he laid in. He knew that he had someplace to be, and that someone was looking for him. He didn’t want to worry them, but Kyle knew that the thrill of the run was from knowing imminent danger, although, that was only a small subconscious thought that had been planted in his head. In reality Kyle was scared, but, he was also sad. However, seeing Lorna, and seeing where he was, his fear slowly began losing itself. What drained over Kyle now, was worry. And his stomach.
“Sure you don’t want anything to eat?” Ryan said as he listened to Kyle’s stomach grumble in the dark of the room.
“I don’t know.” Kyle said as he looked into Ryan’s eyes and began biting his lips. Kyle’s stomach growled in the darkness once again, this time, much louder. Ryan gave him a staunch smile, and wondered about Kyle’s gesture to bite his lips.
“Yes.” Kyle corrected himself as he nodded his head.
“Then let’s head down.” Ryan walked over to the door way, and waited for Kyle. Kyle got up slowly, scuffling away the bed sheets that covered him. Kyle began swaying back and forth once his feet had touched the wooden floor. It took him a few moments to regain a sense of balance, and once he did, he began following Ryan. Judging from the windows and the scenery below, Kyle figured that he wasn’t on the ground floor.
“It’s the spy!” Spear suddenly appeared behind Kyle and Ryan, giving Kyle a big surprise, and leaving Ryan to sigh at his statement.
“Stop calling Kyle a spy. You know he’s not a spy.”
“That’s what he wants you to think!”
“And he doesn’t want you to think that?”
“No. He does, he really does, but I can see through his cloak!” Spear made a big gesture with his arms, although Ryan didn’t really understand what it meant.
“So why would Kyle be a spy?”
“To spy on us! He’s part of the blue aliens!”
“The blue aliens?”
“He wants to gather our information and then tell it to the ‘bad guys’!”
“The bad guys are aliens?”
“They could be.”
“And what if Kyle isn’t a spy?”
“No. He is a spy. There’s no mistaking it. You can’t see it, because you don’t have the right eyes!”
“What kind of eyes do I need?” Spear stopped, and thought. Once Spear had the right words in his head, he pointed at Ryan’s eyes and said with great pride, “Spy eyes!”
“So you have spy eyes?”
“I don’t. But I can tell when someone has them. Only spies can detect other spies after all!” Spear gave out a big smile acting as if he had just made a revelation.
“How can you tell he has spy eyes?”
“Because he’s a spy!” Ryan sighed and knew that if he continued to argue with Spear, he would only be leading himself into a tiring circle. Ryan decided to ignore Spear and move on with getting to the kitchen, “Well, I’ll keep a good eye on Kyle, so don’t worry about any spy activities.”
“Alright, you better not let him tell the ‘bad guys’!” As Ryan and Kyle descended the stairs, Ryan remembered that Kyle hadn’t been introduced to any of the kids. He only knew of Ryan as Ray, and Lorna as Lorna.
“That was Spear by the way. He’s a strange one, but he can be awfully acute about things.” Kyle didn’t respond, nor did he even nod his head. His eyes seemed to be planted on the ground, but Ryan knew that his stomach must have been killing him as his hands gripped it. Ryan wondered when Kyle had his last meal, but refrained from asking. Right now, what Kyle needed wasn’t another interrogation, but a place to feel at ease. At least, that’s what Lorna had told Ryan. Ryan still didn’t know much about Kyle, nor was he able to come up with a decent alibi. Ryan would have asked Lorna, if she was still in the building. It appeared that she left early to run an errand, as she wasn’t home when Ryan arrived, he thought.
“Oh, so he’s awake.” Just as the pair suggested, Walker was the one who had appeared behind them this time. His tone was very indifferent about the situation, almost as if he was bored, but Ryan thought it was strange that Walker was the one to find an interest in Kyle. They turned to face him, they were now at the base of the stairs, and Walker’s eyes were strangely fixated on Kyle. However, it wasn’t long for Walker to lose interest and falter back into his own world as his eyes turned towards the windows.
“This is Walker,” Ryan said.
“And this is–”
“Kyle,” Walker said, interrupting Ryan.
“The new guy, Lorna told me,” Walker paused.
“Well, not a new guy. But he’s new here,” Walker added.
“Lorna probably won’t let him stay for long. She’ll be back later.”
“Where did she go?”
“She told me that she was out to buy more bread.” Winter suddenly appeared behind Walker and jumped in.
“Bread for Hailstone?” Ryan jokingly added. Winter shook her head. As she noticed Kyle, she gave him a quiet smile, although Kyle wasn’t paying attention.
“I’m going to watch the flowers now,” Winter said as she left the building. Walker had already begun making his way across as well, leaving Ryan and Kyle to finally make their way to the kitchen. As Ryan opened the door, he was suddenly greeted by Runner, “Hey Ray!” As Runner noticed Kyle, he added, “Oh! Kyle!” Ryan found it strange for them to be using proper names. Ryan was so used to the nicknames that they all had. It was a vital part of the norm that existed, and although Lorna wasn’t quite a nickname, it still stuck into the crowd as one. Before Ryan could say anything, Runner jolted off with a cookie in his mouth, leaving Ryan to give a small chuckle. Ryan didn’t bother saying anything, as Kyle wasn’t really paying attention. However, Kyle was more than attentive, and was simply trying to suppress his stomach from howling.
“Feeling better?” Ryan said as Kyle finished his food.
“Yes.” Kyle nodded as he answered.
“What do you want to do now? I bet Runner and Sunflower are probably playing right now. Walker and Spear might be having an argument somewhere. Carrier and Spark might be doing something exciting, and Winter is taking care of the flowers.” Although Ryan knew that Kyle hadn’t met most of the children he mentioned, he still left enough options for Kyle. The only one he excluded was Hailstone. Ryan didn’t think Kyle’s first impression of the children here should be tied down to Hailstone. And knowing Hailstone, she would probably challenge Kyle to a game, lose, and get mad. Hailstone was good at losing games and getting mad, Ryan thought.
“Or maybe, you want to go back?”
“Go back?” Kyle repeated as he gave Ryan a questioning look.
“Back to town. Back to the streets,” Although, that would heighten the chances of bumping into Lorna, Ryan thought. It wasn’t such a bad thought, but if it did happen, Lorna would probably let Kyle go then and there, Ryan concluded. He had no belongings, after all.
“I don’t know.” Kyle said after a long pause and after looking at the ground.
“Do you know where you want to go?” Ryan thought about his question, and quickly rephrased, “Do you want to go anywhere?”
“I don’t know.” Kyle said, with the same expression as the last.
“Do you want to leave?” Kyle looked up towards Ryan, and began biting his lips.
“I don’t know.”
‘”Oh.” Hailstone suddenly came into the kitchen as they were talking, catching both Kyle and Ryan’s attention. Hailstone didn’t pay much heed and simply walked in and grabbed what she needed; milk.
“You know if he’s good at anything, Ray?” Hailstone asked, confirming Ryan’s suspicions.
“You can’t play him.” Ryan said.
“Unless he wants to,” Ryan added. Hailstone and Ryan both looked at Kyle, but he didn’t harbor a response.
“Boring,” Hailstone said with a long stretch.
“How about you Ray?” Ryan considered it, but didn’t think he had the time to spare to amuse Hailstone, although, it would be a fun time, he concluded.
“A quick game! Come on! I just woke up.” Ryan was suddenly given chills as Hailstone revealed that she had just woken up. Ryan knew that Hailstone was not a force to be taken lightly in her morning state. If Hailstone could speak with such enthusiasm in the morning, then the reality of it was that she was really ticked off, Ryan thought. If Ryan had decided to run from the situation, he may very well cause it to be even worse than it is, Ryan thought.
“Fine. A quick game. What do you want to play?” Hailstone gave off a dangerous smile, and her eyes seemed to gleam a dangerous gleam. Hailstone went over to the kitchen table, got up on the chair, and placed her arm over it.
“Any one of you fools shall be my opponent!” Hailstone declared as she brought her arm up, in position for a timely game of arm wrestling. Hailstone had a certain brashness to her voice, that made Ryan worry if Kyle were to accept her challenge; he didn’t. Ryan grabbed Hailstone’s hand on the table, and as they were in position, Hailstone gave another harrowing command.
“Kyle! Count us off!” Kyle was watching intently at the turn of events, but had no interest in being an arm wrestling attendant. Instead, Kyle spoke his mind.
“Outside…” Kyle said.
“Outside?” Ryan asked.
“Oh.” Ryan let go of Hailstone’s grip and grabbed Kyle. Ryan rushed outside, and let Hailstone’s anger explode behind him, “Hey! Get back here!” As Ryan and Kyle rushed out of the building, Hailstone was left disappointed. Her fists scrunched up, and she slammed the table. Unfortunately, as Winter walked into the kitchen to refill her water, Hailstone put on a devious smile.
“Where do you want to go, that’s outside?” Ryan asked.
“River.” Kyle simply stated. Kyle remembered something, some that he should have remembered. Kyle remembered that when he was young, much younger than he is now, he would always find comfort in the river. There was a certain person associated with the river that sparked Kyle’s memories. The only reason why it was hard for Kyle, was because of the way he had been raised since then. Kyle wanted to see the river. He had something he had to do there. He just didn’t know what.
“Sure. Let’s go.” Although, Ryan was sure that the moment he would step out of the forest, he would encounter Lorna, and that would be that. Despite that, Ryan could feel longing from Kyle. Kyle’s eyes had narrowed and he had a certain strange determination within him. Ryan wanted to see that, Ryan wanted to see where it would take them. And so he did. Ryan led Kyle back into town, and as they got out, he nervously checked both roads before making his way to the bridge, where the river resided.
“Why do you want to go to the river?” Ryan asked, not really expecting any answer.
“I–” Kyle paused. He gathered his thoughts, and tried his best to remember what made the river so important to him. There was someone there, someone who made his world better. She would bring him away from the conclave of the world. But Kyle couldn’t remember who she was. Perhaps, she wasn’t even family, or friend. Just a stranger. Even then, Kyle still wanted to see the river. He liked the river.
“Like it.” Kyle finished, as he nodded.
“What do you like about it?”
“I don’t know.” Kyle smiled at Ryan. He was telling the truth.
“How’s it going, Ray?” Lorna suddenly appeared behind them as they were making their way to the river. Her voice had a small tinge of annoyance in it, which masked very well behind her playful exterior. Ryan considered ignoring her, but knew that there was no point in it. There was something about the situation that made him want to press on. Even if Lorna wanted him to leave Kyle as he is, Ryan didn’t want that. He wanted to bring him to the river. Ryan still doesn’t know why.
“Sure doesn’t seem like nothing. Where is Kyle going?”
“Good. Good. Bring him nowhere. Because, I’m sure you know that he can’t stay.” Lorna was serious, dreadfully serious, Ryan thought. Her voice seemed to trail off, however, but she was really intense about the situation.
“So if you’re not bringing him anywhere, mind if I take him?” Lorna had plans, she had already asked Amanda, and Amanda had already known who Kyle was. She was worried.
“Well, can you?” Ryan suddenly grabbed Kyle’s hands and ran off towards the bridge. Ryan ran as fast as he could, dragging Kyle along, but Kyle was keeping up. Kyle understood the situation, to an extent.
“I’m not letting Lorna take you until you see that river, okay?” Kyle didn’t answer.
“Because you want to see that river, right?”
“I do. I want to see the river,” Kyle repeated. That much was enough for Ryan, somehow. Somehow, Ryan didn’t need to know. Somehow, Ryan was okay with the norm. Somehow, Ryan ran, and he ran away from Lorna, who didn’t chase him, but simply watched. Lorna already knew where they would go, Amanda had tipped her off. Lorna also knew why Kyle was so attached with the river. Lorna knew everything, and she simply waited. She simply watched them run. It was fine. Kyle was going to leave either way. Lorna made no mistakes.