“You’re free to go!” Samena relayed to us through gritted teeth. “But, just remember, if you’re up to no good, I’ll find out! I’m a detective- we’re trained to detect criminal activity!”
My blood almost curled at this remark, but I recalled that she had no idea who she was talking to! I thought I ought to have simply walked away, but her insinuation piqued my curiosity! “What exactly did you think we were up to?” I asked her.
She curtly answered, “That’s classified! Have a nice day!” Prior to me being able to query her any further, she turned smartly on her heels and walked away.
“Have a nice day!” I aped her in a mocking voice. “Oh, yeah, like it’ll be so easy to do that after getting grilled by law enforcement for no real reason!”
“Let’s go babe!” Aidan recommended as he put his arm around me and led me away from the area.
I complied with his wishes to vacate the vicinity, but I didn’t stop ranting about that interaction! “I bet she didn’t have a true cause to accost us! She was obviously bored, it’s not like there’s a lot to do out here! How many crimes get committed in this tiny town?”
Aidan noted, “Only one that I can think of, and it doesn’t look as though we’ll get any leads on it from this location!”
In my state of animosity over this contentious exchange, I temporarily forget about the disappearing lake! I hadn’t considered what our next steps should be other than getting Aidan to agree with me on what a terrible person Samena was, and now that the decision had come to my feet, I drew a blank on how to proceed in this venture! “Maybe the people on the other side of this street didn’t see that! Or talk to those small business owners who believe we’re monsters ‘cause we work for…” I eyeballed the passersby and changed the verbiage that I originally wanted to end that sentence with, “… you know who!”
As we strolled down the boulevard, I scoped out every nook and cranny that we passed in order to espy where Wade ran off to after I spotted him. No one else seemed quite as disturbed by the presence of a shadowy figure staring at us, but it bothered me tremendously! Did they esteem that I made these episodes up? Or perhaps they imagined that I had become delusional! Someone was out there watching us, and I wasn’t going to let that go! Since Samena wasn’t so friendly towards us, I doubted any of her fellow officers at this precinct would take me very seriously, so it was up to us to solve this mystery! I suppose it could have been anyone, like another person with the same personality disorder as Minna for example, but this looks a little too similar to a previous case to be a coincidence! I didn’t recall him ever wearing a hoodie at home, which meant he most likely only wore it when he was doing his criminal activity. Therefore, if he resumed donning the hood once more, then he had to be up to some nefarious actions this time around too…
“They’re talking about us!” Aidan asserted.
“Huh?” I fell out of my torpor and glanced around to see what he was referring to. Soon, I saw a few shopkeepers across the road pointing in our direction and whispering, which made me grimace! “Wow! Word travels fast in these parts apparently!”
Aidan lamented, “It doesn’t seem like we’ll be able to gain any allies out here! So, what resources are available for us now?”
I mulled it over for a second, and then I shrugged. “The internet maybe. Well, that’s assuming the answers will get past the filters that your sister put up to try and prevent ‘Danielle’ from searching for more details on gruesome murders! But I’m willing to bet she knows how to get around those barriers!”
“You can do that?” Kinsey emerged from a shop behind us with her eyes sparkling with interest at this notion.
“No!” I denied my own statement with trepidation. I feared I may have accidentally incited an endeavor where this teen would obtain some knowledge not meant for her age level and rouse the wrath of her mother!
Kinsey didn’t seem fooled by my ploy unfortunately. “Why did I ask? You wouldn’t have mentioned it if it wasn’t! Now, how do you bypass her security spells…?”
Laraleigh exited the store with a paper cone in her hand and a concerned look on her face. “What on earth did you say to her?”
“Nothing!” I truthfully conveyed to her. “I was talking to him! I thought we were alone!”
“Weeeee!” Willow, Harper, and mason cried out as they zoomed to the streets at top speed.
Mom and Jackson went outside, and Mom cautioned the kids, “You shouldn’t play in the road!”
Harper objected, “But we’re pretending it’s the Green Lady’s canyon! She’s gonna snatch us up!”
“Boy, will she be sorry!” Aidan commented.
“Exactly!” Harper grinned mischievously.
Laraleigh shouted, “Get kidnapped on the sidewalk!” A couple passing us gazed over peculiarly, and Laraleigh clarified to them, “Not literally!”
As the youngest kids unwillingly headed away from the avenue, Jackson put the back of his shirt collar over his hair and hollered, “Oooh! I’m the Green Lady, and I’m gonna get you!”
Laraleigh winced as her little ones let out piercing screams, and Mom filled Aidan and me in, “The shave ice owners told us some legends from the island while we ate.”
“I see… Hey, maybe they would-,” I glanced inside of their property, and when I beheld them glaring at the pair of us, I recanted that supposition, “Nevermind!” I couldn’t help but feel a heavy surge of disappointment at this- they seemed very well-informed on local mythology and probably had an insightful account as to what may have occurred between Lake Ana Wai and the Mo’o, whatever that was! I sighed, but then Willow hid behind a trash can and casted a shadow, I got reminded of the other issue I wanted to figure out. I canvassed those who were not reeling from a sugar rush, “Did you guys happen to see anything strange going on around here?”
“Stranger than that?” Mom gestured towards the quirky antics of the juveniles at play.
Laraleigh took a slight offense to that. “Hey, they’re just acting like typical children! Don’t you remember how your kids behaved under the influence of sweets?”
Mom shook her head. “Not really! I only had one child, and she was sorta boring!”
“Excuse me!” I put my arms up in a manner that clearly indicated my offended stance.
“Well, you were!” Mom refused to back down from her allegations. “You mostly read a bunch of books and went searching for villains in the bushes. Of course, I don’t know how you were after I gave up custody of you. You might have became more rowdy for your father…”
I begrudgingly admitted, “Not really. My stepmom was pretty strict, so even if I wanted to misbehave, I wouldn’t have been able to!”
Sensing my depression heightening from the premise that I may have been seen as an uninteresting individual, Aidan piped up, “Don’t worry, babe! You’ve more than made up for your previous lack of a bad side during your time with me!”
“Eiww!’ Kinsey’s visage soured at a raunchy interpretation of his phrasing.
“That’s not what I meant! Although…” Aidan rubbed his chin contemplatively.
Kinsey requested to her mother, “Can we go home? I wanna rinse that picture out of my brain!”
Laraleigh started to decline that, “We haven’t been here that long! We still have a lot to-.” Her younglings frightened a man on crutches, and after blushing profusely, Laraleigh changed her tune, “On second thought, let’s leave quickly!”
Aidan and I sat in the hayloft while the youths played a very rambunctious version of tag and Minna chatted with Mom and Laraleigh in the kitchen. I buried my nose further into my laptop as if that move would drown out all of the noise! It was hard to concentrate on my countless scrolling of news sites, but I did my best to comb through all of these news sites in hopes of finding any sort of sign of Wade’s whereabouts in this jurisdiction! Lake Aopua’a was the closest locale to the farm he had gotten seen at, so I wondered where else he may have wandered to. Thus far, no reports of nearby break-ins or burglaries turned up in the papers, so I concluded that he must have wound up in a stretch where he could blend in, but where a large, smelly jerk possibly blend in around this region absolutely stumped me!
“Hey, Shannon! I found out what a moe was!” Aidan announced as he caused me to jump while he unexpectedly hovered over my shoulders.
“Who’s Moe?” I puzzled.
He informed me, “I know a crazy cat named Moe in southern Maryland…” A kitty turned up next to him, and he remarked to it, “Not that kinda cat!” The feline insisted that he pet it, so Aidan relented, “Fine! Anyways, I wasn’t talking about Moe the caterer! This is the moe connected to the disappearing pond!”
I corrected him, “It’s pronounced mo’o.”
“Yeah, that’s what I said,” I contended.
“No, you said moe, and it’s mo’o,” I illuminated him.
Aidan scratched his hairline in confusion. “I don’t hear the difference.”
I decided to table that matter temporarily, “Let’s go on. What is this thing?”
He put his screen in front of me and summarized, “It’s some sort of reptile that guards bodies of water.”
“Some say they’re small geckos, and others say they’re huge dragons!” My brows furrowed upon this observation of these conflicting reports. “Wow, this one said it could be a seductive woman! How are we supposed to know what to look for then?”
“I don’t know if it matters,” Aidan reckoned. “Whatever form it comes in, someone must have angered it. Doing so makes it react in terrible ways like summoning adverse weather or other natural phenomena to punish the offenders!”
A lightbulb went off inside of my noggin, and I excitedly inferred, “Someone disturbed the mo’o of Lake Ana Wai! But how? According to this, it could stem from merely swimming in their territory or-.”
At that moment, Willow emitted a high-pitched shriek as Mason bested her in their frivolity! Meanwhile, the three ladies in the kitchen were gabbing away like nothing happened! Minna prattled on, “The cliffs going down to the beach are gnarly, but it’s worth the magic to get there ‘cause it’s so relaxing! And when the tide is low, a sandbar opens up that leads to this really peaceful mini island! You should try it! It…”
“What have you been reading about here?” Aidan studied my computer, and I admonished myself for letting the banshees on the lower level distract me! I wasn’t ready to justify this particular research to him, especially since we assigned ourselves to work on something else! Aidan conjectured, “You must really miss doing policework!”
“I was trying to find Wade!” I confessed. “He’s in our neighborhood, and-.”
Aidan disagreed with me, “Babe, he’s not here! And if he was, we’d smell him coming like we did before!”
I argued, “But who else would be following us?”
“I…” He contemplated it, and when he came up empty, he countered with, “Well, if he was here, why would he be biding his time in getting his vengeance?”
“Um… Well, he…” I couldn’t decipher a motive for that, but prior to that instance occurring, a loud bang sounded from below! “Ugh! There had better be a damn good explanation for that!” I marched over to the edge full of ire, and when I saw the causation of the disruption, my eyes went wide…