Aidan was quite bewildered when I pulled him away from the table so abruptly! Once he recollected his wits, he realized that I must have performed that action for something urgent, so he queried, “What’s up?”
“The hooded man!” I exclaimed. “He’s here! He’s over there by the… And he’s gone! Dammit! Maybe I should’ve just ran after him instead of grabbing you!”
“I’m never gonna say no to you grabbing me!” Aidan cracked with a wink. “He couldn’t have gone far! Let’s go!”
As we dashed for the door, I briefly worried that the others might notice our sudden departure, so I glanced behind me to ensure that they wouldn’t disrupt us in our important but covert pursuit. Apparently, Minna was still going for it with that guy even though he was showing clear indications of disinterest, so everyone’s attention fixated on that drama and no one caught sight of Aidan and I slipping out!
When we went outside, Aidan I surveyed the scenery to find signals of where the silhouette might have fled to. We didn’t see anything that looked disturbed, at least not position-wise! There were some people gagging at the spectacle of a man who’s skimpy outfit left little to the imagination, but the witnesses to this tawdry display were probably disturbed by something besides a ruthless and toothless villain bumping into them! After visually sifting through the occupants of this area, we came up empty, which prompted Aidan to ask, “Do you think he escaped into the rainforest behind the bar?”
“Maybe…” I answered while contemplating the issue for a moment. “… Hmm… Oh! That tunnel! He might’ve gone there to hide since it’s supposed to be secluded from the public and he assumes we wouldn’t follow him there! I dunno how we’ll get past that old dude who yelled at us… How did he fly under his radar?”
“When we catch up with him, we can find out!” Aidan responded. I nodded, and we sped towards the other end of the boulevard!
Right when I started dreaming up different methods of sneaking past that specific resident’s suspicions, we beheld a pop-up concessions’ stand near the cave’s territory. With billowing disappointment surging within me, I noted, “He couldn’t have gone this route! That means we lost him and this whole thing was a waste of time! We should’ve stayed behind and watched the theatrics between Minna and her dreamboat!”
Aidan consoled me, “Well, that passageway may be closed, but another lead is open…” He gestured to the store we had stopped in front of, and my spirits rose up again when I could see that we presently had access to the Hekekias’ Hut! Once this circumstance sunk in for us, we briskly entered into the shop!
“Welcome to the Bumboocha Bungalow!” a cashier merrily greeted us.
“I thought it was the Hekekias’ Hut,” I puzzled.
She filled us in, “The new owners renamed it, but they’re too cheap to replace the sign. I mean, I know it’s expensive, but it’s been over a year! And they’re not the ones that gotta repeat this spiel a hundred times a day!”
As Aidan and I ambled around and pretended we were interested in their wide variety of goods, Aidan probed, “So, what happened to the Hekekias’ Hut?”
“The owners died,” the cashier conveyed to us. “They weren’t even that old! They were only a little old, kinda like you guys!”
“Thanks for that!” I reacted in a jovial fashion, but I wasn’t really thrilled with her depiction of us! If we were actual customers, I would’ve exited the facility immediately, but since we needed intelligence from this twit, I laughed it off. “How did these still technically young individuals kick the bucket? Did it have something to do with that locked up property a few doors down?”
The cashier mulled it over briefly, and then she shrugged. “Maybe! Someone took the mo’o’s makana makamae, but I don’t know why the Hekekias would sabotage themselves like that!”
Aidan and I gazed at each other in both excitement of an important discovery and complete confusion! We didn’t have the foggiest idea of what a makana makamae was, and it mystified us as to what could someone have taken that would motivate a water guardian to curse an entire region! “I’m sorry, someone stole a what?” I petitioned her.
“Why is that any of your business?” Samena materialized into the business unexpectedly!
“Ugh! Don’t do that!” Aidan vehemently requested.
Samena inquired, “Don’t do what? Appear so suddenly or grill you with hard questions?”
Aidan replied, “Both!”
“Why is it so strange to you that we wanna learn about our own land?” I countered her.
“What do you wanna do with this land?” Samena catechized us.
It boggled my mind as to why she found our farm work even the slightest bit suspect, and I strove to unearth a manner in which to respond that wouldn’t make her sound dumb! Yes, it was a stupid enquiry, but I wouldn’t want to provoke any already edgy adversary! “It’s an orchard, so we’re trying to grow trees…”
Samena pressed us, “For the Fay Folks?”
“Yeah…” Aidan confirmed. “Okay, fine! You found out we’re employed by Fays, and since everyone here thinks they’re all criminals, that gives you a fishy impression of us, huh?”
“You’re employed by them?” Samena’s expression grew rather dumbfounded.
I took offense to that, and I ranted, “Yes! Fay Folks are still human beings who wanna earn a living and live their lives just like the rest of us! They have monstrous appearances, but they’re not monsters! Is it too much to believe that a few of them might want a little dignity?”
Samena shifted to a more defensive posture. “No, no, no! The KPD doesn’t operate with any prejudices in its system! I’m simply attempting to figure out what the connection is between your agricultural occupation and this conquest to gather info on the mo’o!”
“It’s not that difficult! We gotta jump through hoops to maintain our crappy aqueduct, and it’d be nice if we could restore hydration to Lake Ana Wai!” I folded my arms and stared at her with irate eyes. She could claim she was unbiased all she wanted to, but I was positive she had targeted us because of our association with the Fays! I would have eaten my hat if she possessed a valid intention for this interrogation!
“Your file said you came from Massachusetts,” Samena conversed. “You traveled that lengthy distance so you could help a couple of Fays? What do you get out of this arrangement?”
Aidan told her, “A job! Well, that and the satisfaction of doing a good deed!”
Samena raised an eyebrow to that. “You went through all this trouble ‘cause of the goodness of your heart?”
“You must’ve been in the detective field for a lot of years! Obviously, you’re jaded to the thought that decent individuals still exist in the world!” I threw that out there based on my personal experience with many of my colleagues. When I first started in this post, I met a lot of men and women who had a very blight view of humanity, and while most of the planet had no clue how close they came to total annihilation, the mood around Anaknock became infinitely more optimistic once Aidan and I pulled us from the brink of armageddon. I assumed that the rest of the population would have adopted a similar attitude towards the morality of their fellow humans, but she proved me wrong on that! I didn’t like this lady very much, but I began to feel sorry for her and pondered if our paths had crossed for a definitive purpose…
“Don’t try to recruit me into your credence!” Samena barked.
Apparently, I was incorrect about this being a preordained encounter! All of my pity for her vanished, and I had no problem with backing away from this endeavor!
Aidan assured her, “We’re not trying to recruit you into anything! We’re just trying to help! That’s what we came to Hawaii for! And after we’re done in Hawaii, we’ll do it again somewhere else- that’s what we do!”
Samena couldn’t argue with that logic, but she wasn’t entirely accepting of it either. All of a sudden, it occurred to me that her crime-solving instincts led her to the hunch that there was something fictional about our backstory, which worried me tremendously since our background was completely contrived! I doubted that I even knew half of what the FBI put on our files! If Samena was anything like me, she wasn’t going to give up until she knew the facts, and we couldn’t have that because our cover would get blown! It would completely compromise our security, and while I welcomed a confrontation with Wade, I wouldn’t want to risk putting the others in danger! That dastard may have worked out the general range of where we were (in my opinion), but I couldn’t allow any activity that may harm our loved ones! Or Minna! I had to do something to throw her off of our trail, and as I espied some hoodies on a rack, I came up with, “I saw a mysterious person hanging around that empty pond tunnel! I couldn’t see any distinguishing features on him, but I did see him go inside with two teddy bears!”
“That location is off limits to the public. The citizens of this district are adept at keeping trespassers out of there,” Samena remarked.
“I have no inkling how he got away with it, but if you go down there, you’ll see the toys in there!” I sensed her skepticism heightening, so, in a very casual tone, I added, “You can do what you want with that tidbit, but while we were on the topic of helping others, I thought I ought to report that to you!”
“Hmm…” Samena seemed to be considering this concept, and I suppressed every twitch in my body to outwardly celebrate this pending victory! I waited patiently, and at long last, Samena relented, “Alright, I’m gonna investigate this! But always remember that I have this county thoroughly covered! If you’re up to no good, I will find out!”
Aidan and I politely smiled and waved to her, and I cheerily bade her, “Let us know if you need a hand with anything!” Once she disappeared from our sight, Aidan gave me a perplexed look, so I relayed to him, “Eh! I was just being polite! If we stay in her favor, maybe she’ll leave us alone!”
The cashier enquired, “So, are you guys, like, criminal masterminds or something?”
“No!” Aidan refuted. “We’re f’ing farmers! Gawd, why is that so hard to believe?”
“Ah, I see…” the cashier behaved with a disposition that did not really convince me that she did understand the situation. She appeared to have decided that she didn’t care one way or another about our possibly nefarious nature as she posed to us, “So, did you all wanna buy something, or…?”
Aidan started to decline, “No, we-.”
I insisted, “Yes, we do!” Aidan wordlessly wondered about this move, but I couldn’t tell him my plan, so I showed it to him by appealing to the cashier, “Can I purchase one of the purses in the window?”
‘What color?” she wanted to know.
“Uh, I dunno! I can’t decide between the purple one or the pink!” I wasn’t totally lying- both bags were adorable, and I would have bought either of them, but prior to that happening… “Hey, what were you saying about the mo’o getting something taken from it?”
As she plopped the totes in front of me, the cashier sought clarification, “Oh, you mean the makana makamae?”
While I examined the cute wares, I heard Aidan’s phone chime, but I ignored it and continued, “Yeah, what is that?”
The cashier opened her mouth to elaborate on this, but Aidan’s frown at his device prompted him to interrupt, “Actually, it looks like we have a problem here…”