“Who’s at the door?” Aidan queried as he peeked down at the scene from the loft.
“They didn’t say! They just keep on knocking!” Minna reported. Aidan became very overtly annoyed, so much so that even Minna’s usual obliviousness couldn’t prevail in this instance! “Okay, I’ll answer it!”
Aidan commanded, “No! Don’t do that! We don’t want someone that angry entering the house! See who it is first!”
Mom chided him, “Aidan! How do you expect a woman in a wheelchair to look out a window that high?”
“Oh, please! Unreachable windows never stopped me from doing what I wanted to before!” Minna asserted, which made my mother raise her eyebrows. Minna used her wand to draw open the curtains on the glass at the top of the backdoor, and then she did another spell to raise herself up to see what was outside. Despite my misgivings, I couldn’t help but feel impressed by her stalker skills being put to good use! “Woah!” Minna exclaimed when she espied what was causing the voluminous banging on that entryway.
“Who is it?” I tentatively inquired. The renewed knocking made my apprehension return, and I feared that my accidental jinx had summoned the worst person to show up at our abode right then! If Wade had materialized while we possessed such faulty wands, I was certain that we would not fair too well in this battle!
Minna squinted her eyes and studied the subject as she replied, “I don’t know his name…” My heart skipped a beat- it seemed impossible to me that her response could signify anyone other than Wade at our patio… Or did we have patio space in our backyard? I hadn’t scoped out that section of our territory yet… “Oh, maybe it’s a she…!”
My eyes blinked in confusion. I didn’t estimate that Wade would dress in drag, but that definitely would throw investigators off of his trail! “Can you describe their appearance?” I interrogated her.
“I see long, white hair, beady, little eyes, and gray horns…” Minna described to me.
“Horns?” Up until that specific detail, she had me convinced that the perpetrator truly was Wade! “Wait, it’s a goat? Why didn’t you say that sooner?”
Minna folded her arms and pouted, “Well, you didn’t ask me whether or not they were human!”
I growled in frustration. Yes, I was relieved that our nemesis hadn’t resurfaced, but it irked me that her graceless deliverance of this fact had evoked unnecessary panic! My muscles grew less tense, but I didn’t like that I had to go down there and deal with this issue! I pressed myself against the window and shouted to it, “Get out of here! Yeah, you! Get out!” It made a strange face at me prior to its departure, and I puzzled, “Goats can stick their tongues out at people when they’re mad?”
“Cool! I wanna see!” Jackson ran to the door with excitement in his step.
“It left,” I revealed to him. He peered through the window to confirm this, and his expression doured. I continued to study our surroundings, and I observed, “Gosh, all we have around this property is a flimsy wire fence! This is supposed to keep us safe from Wade ambushing us?”
Kinsey quizzically responded, “I thought the point of all this was that we’re somewhere where that dude can’t find us!”
I opined, “Uh, yeah, that’s true, but we still need some protection in case he does turn up!”
“I don’t see how he could possibly figure out that we’re at this random farm on the complete opposite side of the country, but if he did somehow, then we’d simply have to call the police to come get him,” Laraleigh saw Aidan and I about to speak up on this subject, so she added, “The Hawaiian police! You two aren’t cops anymore- you’re agricultural workers!”
“We’re still in law enforcement!” I differed. “Once this is all over and we’re back home, we’re going right back on duty!” That sinking sensation of envisioning a bleak future that contradicted my sentiment kicked in, and I wistfully wondered how much validity my argument had!
Mom attempted to comfort me, “I know it’s rough letting other officers do your job, but…” She didn’t have a way to finish that sentence, so she switched to petitioning the group, “Who wants dinner?”
I didn’t have a cheery reaction to give her, but prior to me feigning anything, water dripped off of my clothes and sprayed the same cat from upstairs! To avoid sharing in everyone else’s mirth, I excused myself, “I’m gonna go wash up!” As I ran into Aidan on the upper level, I could tell her wanted to offer me some encouragement, so I cut him off preceding this occurrence, “I know, I know!’ I grabbed some dry clothes, and after I marched into the bathroom, I determined that I was less interested in hearing that it would all be fine someday and more gravitated to how to get to that status!
With so much on my mind, sleep seemed like an impossible feat for me, and yet, throughout my endless reel of anxious thoughts, I must have fallen asleep because I found myself waking up to the sounds of loud whispering! “We have to be quiet, everyone’s still sleeping!” Harper cautioned her siblings.
“How are we supposed to have any fun if we can’t make any noise?” Mason probed.
“You leave that to me!” Harper instructed them. “Now, Willow, go get the matches, and-.”
Laraleight shot straight out of bed and bellowed, “Uh-uh! Absolutely not!” She snatched the matches away from her, and as we all groggily roused ourselves from our slumber, we all saw that Mason was holding a box of firecrackers! Laraleigh shrieked, “Where did you get those?”
Mason tried to fib, “I dunno! It’s not like we snuck into the storage shed and saw them covered in dust!”
“You broke into the Hekekias’ property?” Laraleigh hollered.
“No! I said we didn’t do that!” Mason countered.
Aidan posed to them, “How exactly were you expecting to get away with using these? You don’t think we would’ve heard you using those?”
Harper got slightly affronted by this insinuation. “You insult our intelligence with that question! We weren’t gonna use them in here! We were gonna throw them over the fence and wake up the neighbors’ cows!”
Laraleigh grimaced, and then she vociferated, “You wait ‘til your father gets home, I-!” She cut herself off when she recognized the error in her phrasing, and then she quickly spouted out, “You’re grounded!”
“We can’t leave the perimeter though!” Mason pointed out.
“Actually, we were gonna explore a desert town this weekend, but you’re not going!” She mulled it over and then reconsidered, “Oh, but that means one of us can’t go ‘cause we’d have to have someone watching you while we’re gone! Hmm… well… You’re gonna get punished eventually! Mark my words!”
The youths stared at her blankly, and then Willow enquired, “What’s for breakfast?”
Laraleigh threw her arms up in exasperation, and I attempted to assuage the situation by articulating, “Breakfast isn’t a bad idea! We’ll need all the strength we can get for another shift in the field!”
Everyone groaned at the prospect of repeating that arduous labor, and Mom optimistically put forth, “Maybe it won’t be so bad! It’s a bit drafty in here, so the weather’ll probably be cooler at least!”
It wasn’t! In fact, it felt more hot and humid than the previous day! Kaleo and Kalani joined us outside, and Kaleo canvassed the group, “Ready to do some work?”
“No!” Jackson shook his head vigorously.
“Before you plant some more trees, we gotta water the old ones first. Any volunteers?” Kalani glanced at each of us, and nobody raised their hands to do an extra task. I didn’t have a lot of patience to stand around and debate this dilemma in this heat, so I put my palm in the air as well as Aidan’s. “Thank you!” Kalani chimed.
Aidan didn’t appear thrilled that I forced him into this assignment, but he trudged over to the spigot without objection. I aimed the hose for the initially planted sapling, which still had charred leaves on it. I don’t know why I expected it to have returned to its green form so instantly, and it disappointed me to see that reminder of my blunder! In the midst of this musing, it dawned on me that water hadn’t come out yet! It irritated me that Aidan was being so slow, but I didn’t want to needle him further by commentating on his speed, so I very sweetly asked him, “Babe, are you gonna turn it on?”
To my astonishment, Aidan answered, “I did!”
Fear flowed through all of my veins! Had the children’s escapade really depleted their water supply? I was already blaming myself for this transgression even though I admittedly couldn’t decipher a logical basis for doing so! I was out working in the field when it happened, but nonetheless, I felt as though I ought to have done something to prevent this incident from occurring! Kaleo and Kalani didn’t appear half as worried as I did, which made no sense to me! This affected their livelihood and their lives, so I couldn’t comprehend why they weren’t flipping out until Kaleoassessed, “Oh, lapuwale! There’s a break in the line! I’ll be back!”
“Hold on, Kaleo! Why don’t we have these two go fix it while we get started on the planting?” Kalani suggested as she referred to Aidan and me. She caught our eyes, and she conciliatorily addressed us, “I imagine you’re more mechanically inclined than physically, and we can save time by doing the saplings while you repair the aqueduct… unless you’d rather do the digging…”
“No, no!” Aidan declined. “Where’s your toolbox?”
As we walked across the gray, rocky terrain, I wiped yet another waterfall of sweat off of my forehead! I didn’t even pay attention to what Aidan was doing, I was too exhausted to care! At least until he excitedly proclaimed, “Yes! I did it!”
Without looking at him because I didn’t expect anything significant, I hazily questioned him, “You did what?”
“I made a jinx appear out of this crappy wand! See?” He avidly indicated to the effect he created. I took a glimpse of what he had been so keen on, and I didn’t see anything until he let go of the toolbox. It floated in the air next to him, and he proudly affirmed, “Ta-da!”
“You spent this entire trip trying to get your magic to function properly?” Suddenly, I didn’t feel so bad for volun-forcing him to assist me with the hose! And here I was thinking of what I could do to make it up to him!
Aidan’s mood dampened by my lack of enthusiasm over his accomplishment. “Not the entire trip! This thing got heavy, and I wanted to make this ordeal a tad easier!”
I sighed, “So, I’ve been the only one searching for the break in the line?”
“Hey! This is a major leak! I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t miss it!” Aidan disputed.
“Pretty sure? What if it’s a minor problem causing the shortage and we wasted a lot of energy walking here when we could quit somewhere far behind where we are now?” I pressed him. “And now I’ll have to mend the breakage by myself due to you exhausting your stamina on trying to make the tools float!”
Aidan contended, “I didn’t try, I succeeded!” I gave him an aggravated stare, and he opened his mouth to debate the topic, but instead, he dropped the toolbox and made much of the contents of that vessel fall out! “Sorry!” he mumbled while we picked the items up.
I wanted to get vexed with him for causing a hellacious delay, but as I gazed at the ring of mountains that contained the embankment of our destination, something occurred to me. “This whole journey might’ve been a quagmire- the minions most likely sucked the last drop of hydration dry! This farm is completely doomed! No wonder the previous owners abandoned it!”
“Shannon, do you really believe the Hekekias would have bothered with this acreage if it was so poised to ruin?” Aidan challenged me.
“Aidan…” I strove to interrupt his pep talk.
He wouldn’t allow this to happen! “No! Fays have a limited lifespan on this earth, so they’re not gonna attach themselves to anything so futile!”
I more urgently tried again, “Aidan!”
“There’s hope here!” Aidan insisted. “They must have seen something that-!”
“I just saw something!” I gestured towards the hills with a frightened expression! I considered that perhaps the humid sun made my mind play tricks on me, but I was fairly positive that I was not wrong on this one…