Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Cars, Cat, and Dangerous Stranger
Three things happened in the last two days. And I, Kaya, am going to tell you about it.
The first thing that happened was, Kirsten and Bree took their test for their learner's permits yesterday afternoon. They both passed, but Bree got all the questions right, and Kirsten missed two, so of course Kirsten is jealous. Molly told Kirsten not to feel bad because Bree is a better driver anyway so it doesn't matter... which so did not help. Kirsten didn't talk to either Molly or Bree (even though Bree didn't brag at all) for about three hours. Now they've made up, though, and Inna's car has a "Novice Driver" sign in the rear window so the girls can legally use it to practice. Fun times!
The second thing is, Kiwi found a cat yesterday. He was a little grey stray who has been hanging around their school for a few days, and she decided to bring him home. After some major wheedling, and Summer and Kiwi promising up and down to take care of him, Maia said they could keep him if Inna agreed when she got home from work - which she did. So now the Roses have a pet, too! We're so happy for them!
They gave their new kitty some food, which he liked, and a bath, which he didn't... but needed because he was really muddy from living outside. They brushed him and petted him for awhile. Then he curled up on their sofa and fell asleep, having decided to his satisfaction that their house was home. They've decided to name him Gandalf the Grey, which we approve of because we all love Lord of the Rings.
The third thing is not so fun. This evening I was walking April (our dog; probably you all know that by now, but we clarify sometimes because her name is human-like enough that she could be another sister or a friend) with Kirsten, Bree, and Felicity. Kirsten and Bree had settled their earlier driving-related differences, and Felicity and I were prepared to calm them down if there was another flare-up of hostilities, but they were getting along again. I will say this for them, they yell at each other like crazed wolverines at the time, but it blows over fast afterward and they're fine again, which is kind of weird to me.
Anyway, we noticed someone was behind us, keeping pace. It was early evening, but getting dark, because our days are starting to get short. We were pretty sure it was a male, in dark clothes and a hoodie. That may sound foreboding, but it's really not all that unusual. We live in the city, so it's not odd to see other people out walking when we take April out, and lots of people have the same urban-travel walking pace because we're used to going places on foot, so you naturally keep a steady distance between you. Nor was his clothing odd - dark colours are popular here, and practically everyone wears hoodies at least sometimes. At first, we weren't concerned about him - but then he got close enough that I could sense his emotions using my power.
He wasn't feeling hostile. He wasn't feeling violent. But he was feeling very determined and intent... and perceiving himself as intimidating. That was not necessarily a good thing. When April stopped to sniff something, I stopped too, hoping we could let him pass. Suddenly he was very focused on examining the house numbers, even though before he was just walking, not looking for an address. Clearly taking an excuse to stop when we stopped. I pulled on April's leash, and she followed - and then he was moving again, too. I started to get really alarmed, and communicated this to my sisters with my eyes. They'd already figured it out, though.
"I need to get something at the corner store," Bree said.
"Okay," I replied, knowing where she was going with this. The corner store is open late, and whenever we've gone there, there have always been at least a few customers. It's well-lighted. They'd probably give us a hard time about April, but on the plus side they don't let people wear their hoods up in the store (there's a sign on the door indicating that,) so he'd have to show his face on the security camera... making it less likely he'd do something to us afterward.
I thought Bree had the right idea. Apparently the guy following us figured out that we were onto him, too, because suddenly I sensed frustration and hurry from him. We picked up our pace. So did he. We exchanged another look. This one said that if something bad happened, Bree should run for help because she's so fast. She nodded a little, just enough for us to see.
In sight of the store, the guy picked up his pace, passed us, and blocked our way. I saw Bree tense, ready to bolt, and he said, "Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you."
"Darn right," Kirsten replied. "So we're just going to be going..."
He continued like she hadn't said anything. "But I do have a message for you. You girls have been making some dangerous enemies lately. You've displeased people who really ought not to be displeased, if you value your lives."
Bree tried to dart past him, but he moved in front of her. She's faster, but he was bigger and stronger, so it was like she had hit a wall. She glowered at him, which he seemed to find funny.
"Let us go," Felicity told him steadily, her power active behind the words.
For a moment, it seemed like it was going to work, and he looked uncertain and started to move out of our way... but then he shook it off. "Wow, you girls are pulling out all your tricks tonight, aren't you?" he said with a laugh. "Don't worry. We're almost done here. One last part of the message. The woman next door to you, Inna. Don't believe her, don't trust her, and don't get too attached to her. She's made worse enemies than you have - and you don't want to be caught in the line of fire when her time comes. I'm warning you about this because you're just dumb kids, but one warning is all you get. If you're interested in your longevity, cut your ties with her before it's too late."
He turned away and left. April belatedly barked at him. I realized I was shaking. We walked home in silence.
In some ways, this is not big news. We know that we have a gang of vampires after us, as well as some mean vampire hunters back in the United States who dislike us, and those definitely count as dangerous enemies. We also know someone has been following/bothering the Roses, and that their efforts and the secrecy seemed focused on Inna. Somehow it all seemed more real, though, hearing it from a stranger in such stark terms.
I can't help feeling worried...