Georgie was in all sorts of hysterics today.
We’d been living in the underground bunkers for quite some time now, the girls unnerved by it at first but they slowly got used to it.
Queenie had fallen into some sort of depression. She wasn’t as lively as she used to be and she wore a sad face quite often.
This morning, however, she was gone.
Georgie had already been mourning over the disappearance of Asa in Vietnam, when she found a note left by Queenie – saying that she would go off and sort out the Chess Piece situation on her own. She did not want any of the other family members to get involved.
I took the note and read it, touching the paper.
“The ink,” I said, “It’s still wet…”
Leaving Zoe and Brynna in-charge, Georgie and I took horses and went passed the gate of our home. It rattled against the wall as it slammed backwards. We raced up the path, seeing the trees that lined the side of the road whip passed us.
I stopped on the road and examined the prints.
“She’s gone off into the forest,” I said, squatting and watching the stray tracks.
Georgie jumped up, “Then we have to–”
“We do nothing,” I said.
“What!” she screamed, “Midnight, you can’t be serious!”
“I am,” I said, mounting my horse. It shook its mane and nodded as I pulled on the reins.
“You cannot leave my little girl–”
“She’s not your ‘little girl’, anymore,” I said calmly, “Georgie, if we go into that forest, there could be a huge chance that we would get lost and not find our way out again. We’d not helping her then, we’d be giving her an extra burden. She took off on her own.”
Georgie breathed heavily, tears rolling down her face, “So, that means we just leave her to it?”
“It means she has a plan, Georgie,” I said, putting a hand on her shoulder. Thunder crackled up ahead, and the horses shuddered slightly, “The most we can do is not screw with it. I know your Queenie. She’s no fool and she’s as tough as old boots.”
“I know, but with Asa gone and…”
“It’s alright, we’ll figure something out,” I said, “What’s meant to happen, happens. Let’s get home.”
We trotted back up the road to Manor, just as it began to rain…
* * * * *
When we arrived home, we found the girls in a frenzy. Kenny, it seemed, had also disappeared.
“What now, Midnight!” Georgie barked in my face, “What now! Do we just sit by, with two of my daughters gone?”
“No, I don’t want explanations and philosophies! I want you to go out there,” she pointed up to the front door, “and get them back! Both of them! I never should have let you teach them to fight! I never should have come near you! I never should have agreed to live in this house!” she broke down crying.
I sighed and turned, allowing Zoe to soothe her mother.
“Brynna, Becky, Evelyn, Bethy?” I called, “When was the last you saw of Kenny?”
They gave a panicked babble of explanations.
“Silence! Calm down!” I said, “One at a time.”
“She said she was going to go after Queenie, but we didn’t take her seriously,” said Brynna.
Evelyn nodded, “I saw her take her bow and arrows – the ones you got her after she hit all eight targets on the course, remember?”
“One minute she was here, muttering to herself,” said Annabeth, “The next – she was gone.”
Becky chimed in, “We didn’t even hear the front door shut.”
“More of your corruption, Midnight!” Georgie screamed.
Queenie was one thing, but little Kenny? Could I interfere in the course of things for her? I had opted to stay out of Queenie’s plan, because I wanted to let her deal with her own problems and I didn’t want to ruin whatever it was she planned to do –
But now Kenny would become a part of that plan.
Would Queenie be able to adjust to that change? Kenny was a marvellous tracker, even better than me – I noticed – when we went hunting together. I was certain she’d be able to find Queenie and provide food for herself.
But little, little Kenny…
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the doorbell. I left the crew underground and hauled myself up to the ground-floor and opened the door.
As if their wasn’t enough excitement for one day.
Baffled, bruised and bleeding, Asa fell onto me and passed out.