As the poor little sapling burned, Jackson announced, “I know what to do during a fire!” He then proceeded to roll around on the dirt!
“You idiot! That’s what you do when you’re in flames!” Kinsey scolded her brother.
“Don’t call me names, Danny!” Jackson bickered.
Kinsey corrected him, “It’s Danielle!”
Jackson argued, “No, it’s not!”
I spotted a nearby hose, and while I was grabbing it, Aidan found the spigot and turned the water on. I doused the enflamed plant during Laraleigh’s attempt to persuade her kids to stop feuding, and during this process, I hoped that I had redeemed myself from that atrocious blunder at least slightly! It was hard to tell- Kaleo and Kalani had a lot to take in at that moment!
We all gazed at the charred leaves, and I felt so guilty for harming a living thing like that! I had no intention of doing such a terrible act, but that didn’t quell my anxiety over hurting it! Mom must have sensed my disquiet over the matter because she confidently assessed, “It’ll grow back! As long as it’s got strong roots and enough hydration…”
“I’m not quite so certain about that last one,” Kalani remarked. “We’ve scaled back on our water usage as much as we could due to the drought. Oh, I wouldn’t take any long showers if I were you!”
“I didn’t even consider that!” I commented. “With one bathroom and nine other people needing to use it, i just didn’t seem like a remote possibility!”
Jackson probed, “Isn’t this island surrounded by water?”
Kinsey edified him, “You can’t use ocean water for crops!” She mulled it over for a second, and then she asked, “Can you?”
“The salt would kill the soil,” Kaleo answered. “Believe me, we tried! Lake Aopu’a is drying up, but there aren’t any other water sources close by! We checked every corner that we could! But even if we could use seawater, we’d never be able to get an aqueduct that long! The closest shoreline is over an hour drive!”
“That would be an expensive permit!” Aidan noted.
Kalani bore a look of surprise on her face. “Oh, that hadn’t even crossed our minds! We built the one going to the lake ourselves, and we have enough issues keeping that running! We were hoping that you could use your magic to repair it…”
I assured her, “We’ll work on honing our magic! It won’t always be like this!” I really meant that! I was a skilled magian, and this was so out of character for me! I felt determined to prove my worth… unless they caught Wade and let us go home quickly, then… oh well!
“Great!” Kaleo chimed in a tone that signified that he didn’t seriously buy our claim of accomplishing that in the near future. “Until then, I’ll give you all some shovels.” He went into a small shed by their cottage and handed out spades to each one of us. “Do you guys know how to use these?”
“Of course!” Aidan smugly stated. “I mean, it’s a shovel, how hard can it be?” He shoved his into the ground, but he couldn’t pick anything up- the shovel wouldn’t budge! When he let go of it, the spade fell down! “This is why I always paid someone to do my landscaping!”
Kaleo instructed him, “Don’t shove it in like that! You gotta do it at an angle, and use your feet to give it some leverage.”
Jackson gasped, “Oh, it’s like digging for fishing worms!”
As he eagerly used his spade, he made debris fly everywhere, and Kinsey opined, “I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to make it spray all over people!”
“Why don’t we pair up to do the planting?” Kalani proposed. Aidan and I each gravitated to each other, and Kalani gingerly told us, “Uh, it would probably be best if the skilled and unskilled diggers paired together.” Aidan and I wanted to protest, but when we deliberated it, we saw that she had a valid argument and complied.
“This is wonderful! I’ve been trying to get you to garden with me for years now!” Mom rejoiced as she linked her arms with mine. I gave her a thumbs up, but I couldn’t feign any enthusiasm over this task.
Mom and I picked up the burnt tree, and Aidan and Jackson took the one behind it, which had some ash on it that they brushed off. As Laraleigh and Kinsey went for theirs, the Hekekias retrieved some spades for themselves, and Laraleigh observed, “Wow! Y’all have a whole bunch of shovels!” They gazed at her peculiarly, and she apologized, “Sorry! I didn’t expect to see that ‘cause I assumed the farmhands who came before us were good at spells!”
Kaleo explained, “They weren’t- the old owners employed Fays! After the drought started, they weren’t harvesting enough nonis to pay them, so the Fays all left. The owners got sick for a long time and didn’t touch the place, so all of their stuff remained where they always stored it. Well, not all of it- some of it got stolen, and wandering livestock ate a portion of it…”
“Dang! You guys did a lot of research on this land!” Aidan noticed.
“Yes, naturally…” Kalani agreed with his assessment, but I sensed a hint of ambiguity. I began to wonder if they were hiding something about how they acquired this farm…
At the end of the day, we all trudged back to our abode sore and tired! “How many trees did we plant today?” Jackson posed to us.
Kinsey informed him, “Sixteen.”
“How many trees are still there?” Jackson pondered.
“A lot more than sixteen!” Kinsey groaned, and Jackson followed suit.
I wearily articulated, “I can’t wait to go inside and rest!” From the exterior, we heard a cacophony of laughter and banging, so I changed my tune, “I wanna go back to the field!”
Aidan knocked on the door and shouted, “Entering!” He paused a minute, and then he opened the door and went inside.
We walked in and saw Minna backing into the dining room area while wearing soaking wet clothes, and prior to any of us voicing expressing our curiosity on how that spectacle came to pass, Harper commanded, “Fire!” A series of water balloons flew over the ledge of the loft and onto the main floor!
I’m pretty sure that we all wanted to scold them for this mischievous action, but Mom beat us to the punch, “What are you heathens doing? You’re gonna give my babies a heart attack!”
“Minna said it was okay for us to do this!” Mason justified their behavior.
“No, I did not!” Minna firmly denied that accusation. “I said, ‘Go ahead and see what happens!’ I really thought that’d get them to listen! Man, none of my professors ever covered how to deal with this type of situation!”
Without intending to say my opinion out loud, I astonishedly reacted, “You have a college degree?” I covered my mouth after those words blurted out! I hadn’t meant to act so rudely towards her, and I fretted over what repercussions might ensue this slant! I couldn’t bear to add a tiff with an unbalanced person to the list of stressors that haunted me each day!
Thankfully, Minna didn’t air her tribulations over the incident! “I got my masters in psychology. I finished an internship at a counseling center, and I was planning on getting my Phd so I can open up my own clinic…. And don’t even try saying how odd it is for someone with a personality disorder to do that!”
“I wasn’t going to!” I lied. I couldn’t fathom how somebody who made a living fixing people’s mindsets could possess such an irrational decorum with men she found attractive! I weighed whether or not I should have reported her to the Kentucky medical board, but then I opted to table the issue and shifted my attention to the more grievous development, “You all need to quit wasting so much water! This region is experiencing a drought!”
“What’s a drought?” Willow enquired.
I tersely educated them, “They’re running out of water.”
Harper disputed that, “That can’t be true! We’ve been running the faucet all day, and we haven’t had any problems!”
All of the adults winced at that concept, and I dreaded to picture what would occur if we ran out of such an essential supply! Unless we could pilfer more powerful wands, I had no inkling on how we would repair their aqueduct! And I didn’t conceive the notion to delve into how much water was lingering in that lake when we were interacting with the Hekekias! If I hadn’t been sweating for several hours, I would’ve chosen to skip my shower tonight out of an abundance of caution! My head commenced in throbbing like crazy, so I exasperatedly regarded the children, “Go play downstairs! I’m gonna lie down!”
They were set to tote their box of balloons to the lower level, so I snatched them away and requested to Minna, “Can you destroy these?” She aimed her wand at the crate, and her jinx obliterated its contents. Unfortunately, it drenched me, which made the youths erupt in cackles! I gritted my teeth, but then I reasoned, “Well, I don’t gotta worry about bathing tonight!” I dashed upstairs without listening to their response.
“Don’t tell me everything’s gonna be okay!” I barked at Aidan as soon as I sensed him coming in.
“Why not?” Aidan rejoined as he sat down on the cot next to me.
I rationalized it for him, “I know it’ll all be okay eventually, but when? What if they don’t catch Wade for months?”
Aidan disagreed with that premise, “No way! Not gonna happen! He’s not that clever!”
“He got away with his first crime spree for months, and I was living with him for part of this duration!” I contended. “Wait, was that months or weeks? It felt like months… Anyways, he’s a master of disguise, and he might slip right under everybody’s noses!”
“Speaking of noses, they’re probably on the lookout for a horrible stench, so all he would have to do to hide himself is take a damn bath!” Aidan mused.
I iterated my point, “Exactly! This could be our lives for a really long while! Imagine all of the cases not getting solved without us around! Plus, Ben will be in charge of the low income rehab and the Center for the Recently Deceased! I couldn’t even count on him to run our finances when we were married, and now he’s running two non-profits?” A cat jumped onto my bed to offer me some comfort, but when it saw how sopped I was, it crinkled its nose and hopped off. “Instead of helping our community and finishing the day at home in our nice, cozy apartment, we’re sleeping on hay and planting trees that probably won’t even grow ‘cause the last of the water apparently went into entertaining the bratty pack! I miss our home! I know it sounds superficial, but I liked all of our stuff, and I want it back!”
Aidan related to me, “It’s not superficial! We worked hard for our stuff! And it bums me out to imagine all of the citizens we would potentially assist going without! But it makes me feel better to maintain the belief that we’ll get out of this mess soon! It drives me nuts to not have any say-so on how I sort out my routine, however, I keep thinking about the weekend and the chance for us to go on an adventure! Maybe that’ll make this whole ordeal worthwhile!”
“I hope so!” In the back of my brain, I still didn’t accept any optimism regarding this expedition, but I would have to keep reminding myself of his wisdom to trick my thought-waves into generating enough plausibility to get to the other side of this debacle!
“Now, let’s get you out of these clothes!’ Aidan proffered with a wry smile.
Immediately after that suggestion got put forth, a chorus of young voices echoed out, “Eiww!”
Aidan’s face fell, and he canvassed the juveniles, “You heard that?”
“Uh, yeah! There’s no walls in this building, remember?” Kinsey shot back.
“Oh, sweet crap! We’re not gonna get any opportunities to get lucky while we’re here, are we?” Aidan lamented.
I didn’t want to confirm that assessment and be the individual who stole the sunshine out of such a perky man, so I gave the abstraction some serious consideration. Eventually, I produced a rather implausible potentiality, “We could try sound-proofing my closet.”
Aidan furnished his wand and stared at it with a fairly inauspicious frown. “With these things? Although… We do have to get them to function sometime…”
I brought my wand out, and I recommended, “Let’s practice! We can start with a really simple hex like clearing out some of this straw so our allergies stop going into overdrive!” Aidan nodded, and we both concentrated as much as we could, or at least he did! I instantly recalled that I ought to have used the blowdryer on my hair or changed into dry clothes preceding this venture! I sincerely strove to clear out all of my woes, but they kept returning to my focus over and over again! I grew frustrated, and then I espied some sparks flying out of my wand…
All of a sudden, a series of loud knocks boomed from the backdoor! I shifted around in a distraught manner… What exactly had I invited over?