Kian handed Aidan a bottle of wine from the pantry and two glasses. She watched as he poured a bit of wine in a glass, swirled it, and took a sip.
He nodded, filled her glass and poured more in his own.
She took a tiny sip and then looked away. “Listen, I have to tell you something and I hope you won’t think I’m crazy.” She did not wait for him to respond. “The day Uncle Jacob was killed, that morning, I had a dream and it was exactly like what happened to Uncle Jacob. Only it was my parents in the dream. They had gold and silver coronets on their heads, like crowns or something. Like the one Uncle Jacob had around his head. And at one point in the dream they were garroted.”
Kian then described the beginning of her dream to Aidan, explaining the candle and how the tunnel opened up, revealing the vision.
She stopped just long enough to take a needed breath and look at him. “All this scares me.”
“Oh my God, Kian, were you born with the Second Sight, too?”
“What do you mean, ‘too?'”
“Kian, the Second Sight is a sign of the Old Blood. Like the Bucknuns have and the families that have the Arks.”
“You mean they would have had the Second Sight if they had the Old Blood?”
“Yes, Kian, Second Sight would be a sign of the Old Blood.”
At that moment Kian did not know what scared her more, having this Second Sight and being able to see things others couldn’t or being just plain crazy. “Aidan, I don’t like it, having these visions. They scare me. Besides, only crazy people have visions. It’s called schizophrenia.”
“Kian, if you were schizophrenic, you wouldn’t be trying to deny your visions. Or question them. Some people have gifts others don’t understand, but that does not mean they are crazy.”
“Are you sure?”
“Then answer me this. How come I saw my parents in the dream, not Uncle Jacob?”
“People with the Second Sight are called Seers and when Seers get messages or even intuitions, they come through their subconscious mind and then they have to be translated by the conscious mind. During these translations, a lot of error can happen. That is because the conscious mind will filter the message, will change it so it makes more sense. Your parents were missing, you didn’t know what happened to them, and you were worried about them. So maybe your conscious mind couldn’t understand why Jacob would be hurt like that, but it could understand that your parents might have been. Does that make sense?”
Kian took a long sip of her wine. “Maybe. Some.”
“Seers need to be trained or they can go off the deep end and into fantasyland. Do you think maybe that was what Uncle Jacob did when he took you places and had you make up stories? What I mean is, did you actually make them up yourself, or did you see them like they were actually happening around you?”
“Like they were movies and I was in it, but the characters could not see me, why?”
“I think he was training you. Because he knew you had the Second Sight.”
“Second sight, third sight, tenth sight, you know I really don’t care any more! Thank you for listening and not thinking I am crazy.” She raised her glass. “Here’s to getting back to normal. Starting now.”
“Sounds good to me.”
The aroma of the stew enveloped the kitchen. Aidan sliced a loaf of ciabatta bread while Kian fixed the salads. “How are we getting Jimbo’s dinner to him? If we just leave it outside, the animals will get it.”
“We use his mess kit.”
“We can’t put the salad in the same container with the stew.”
“Forget the salad. He’ll just use it for rabbit bait. The bread we pile with an inch of butter and put it in the mess with the stew. That’s why they call it a mess kit. It’s a mess.”
Kian lifted the cooker from the stove and carefully placed it in the sink. She turned on a slow drip of cold water to cool it and release some of the pressure. After a minute, she turned the release spout. The pressure inside escaped with a loud whoosh. Kian always found the sound reassuring.
“I can’t wait to taste this,” Aidan said.
She removed the lid with a flourish. “Ta-dum!”
With that, Lucky ambled into the kitchen, rubbing at Kian’s ankles, looking expectant. “Tell you what, I’ll feed the beast, you dish out stew for Jimbo.”
Aidan was one step ahead of her. He had Jimbo’s mess open and was slathering butter on the bread. He put four generous ladles of stew in the mess and placed the bread on top. “Jimbo had this thing made special, you know. He said navy-issue kits were made for sissies.”
“Aidan Scott, do you ever answer a question the first time it is asked? How are you going to get it to him?”
“Watch.” Aidan secured the mess kit and found two plastic shopping bags. He put the mess kit in the bottom of one. He put trash in the second bag and placed it in the first bag on top of the mess. When he picked it up, it looked like just one bag. He then grabbed an old can opener and slid it into his pocket.
Kian was fascinated. She followed Aidan to the back door. The rain had stopped, the sun had reappeared and beat down again. It only added to the humidity, tendrils of steam rising from the concrete porch outside the kitchen door.
Aidan boldly walked out as if going to the garbage can. Was he really going to put Jimbo’s food in there, Kian wondered. But just as he reached for the can lid, he seemed to spot something along the tree line. Still carrying the plastic bags, he walked toward it and squatted down. After a minute, he turned to Kian, “Look I found a can opener.” When he stood again, she thought she could see a bit of the plastic bag under a low growing bush. Aidan carried the can opener and the bag of garbage, tossed the bag in the trash, replaced the lid, and walked back to the door.
“But how is he going to get that without being seen?”
“He already has,” Aidan replied. Kian stepped around Aidan and, taking a long leisurely stretch, she glanced in the direction of the bush. The bag and food were gone.
Aidan spent the better part of the evening going through Red’s papers. He tried as best he could to place them in piles so they could be filed by topic. It was difficult as they all seemed to point in the same direction. Red had been putting a puzzle together. He had been researching the Ark and its history. Along the way, he had discovered some interesting facts and Aidan filed these facts in his memory. While not relevant to this case, he hoped he’d be able to examine it more carefully in the future. He was especially drawn to translations of what looked like diary entries. Red had entitled these translations The Book of Knowings and Aidan had just started to read some early entries about a storm and lost wings when his cell chirped. He went out onto the front porch to answer it.
“Agent Scott,” Power barked as Aidan held the cell phone farther away from his ear. “Are you still working for me? What did you find out?”
Aidan stared up at the night sky and took his time. He could not explain it, not even to himself, but something was holding him back. An uneasy feeling. When finally he did answer, his tone was measured. “In regards to the girl, not much. All American. Scared. Like you’d expect.”
“The package, Aidan, what about the package?”
A cold shiver crept up Aidan’s spine. Like when someone was sneaking up on him. He should tell his boss. He really should. What excuse did he have for withholding that information? None.
Lightening flashed, and then a loud crash of thunder followed by more lightening. The connection cut off. Another storm was moving through.