A young Agnes finally spotted a green door surrounded by leaves, she knew it had to be Nestor’s residence. His two guardians came to the door. “Hi, Agnes.” The female guardian went to apprehend Nestor. “We are not sure if he is here or not. He said something about traveling to the Crescent today to meet some other children.” Agnes couldn’t believe what she was hearing. His guardians seemed to be so nonchalant about Nestor’s whereabouts. The female guardian returned. “He’s still here. He’ll be right out.” They both retreated back inside of the residence. Agnes waited for Nestor outside. He skipped out of the door. “Your place was easy to find with the green door and all.” Agnes stated.
Nestor laughed. “You came here to talk about my door?” He kept walking forward. “Say it now. I’m meeting some vamps in the Crescent. It’s a long walk.”
“Some vamps? Vampires?”
“Going to play a game of sticks and rocks. You can come if you like. Girls can play. ”
“I needed to tell you to not take my brother outside of Bristol. ”
Even though Nestor was only eleven, he had a sassy mouth on him. He had to speak in a somewhat vile manner to survive in different circles. He stopped and looked at her. “People don’t tell me what not to do. You should control your brother, if he needs it.”
“The other boys in the village, they look up to you. They might follow you to the Crescent. Want to be like you. My brother needs to know what fear is and why it exists.”
“That’s right, you practice being afraid. The Punishere and the freaks. Believe whatever you want. Anything else, Agnes?” They had reached the beginning of the Octo Trail.
Agnes was nervous just from being close to the trail. She felt that if her foot crossed the line, she would be lost forever never to see Bristol or her family again. “You are brave, Nestor. I admire that.”
(BACK TO PRESENT DAY-40 years later in Kobo)
Agnes gazed into the shack window. Missa, Rebe (the twins) and Lottie, the new girl, sat at a wooden table. They saw that Agnes was standing outside of their window but pretended not to notice her.
Lottie chuckled. “That old lady needs a life.”
Missa explained, “This is her life. Don’t look at her and maybe she will go away.”
“Hettie needs to hurry back. I don’t know how much longer I can stay awake,” Rebe whined.
“You are so green. Already worn out and we haven’t even left the village yet. There’s no room for weakness on the Octo Trail.” Lottie glanced back at Agnes.
“We are going to Sandor. It’s not that far.” Missa acknowledged.
“I’m not weak. I’m just tired. Some of us have been helping rebuild,” Rebe responded.
“It’s very hot going and coming from Sandor. Thankfully, I know how to get back. People get lost on the Octo Trail everyday. Eight different paths,” Lottie informed them.
“Eight different paths?” Rebe asked for clarification.
“You two know nothing about the world past Kobo.”
“Wrong. We have been to Bristol,”Rebe stated.
“Well, good for you. You’ve been to Bristol. I hope Hettie hurries back. You are double the bore. But she’s so obsessed with Nestor who knows if she comes back tonight. Why did she have to see him tonight?”Lottie wondered.
Agnes entered the shack and pointed her finger at Lottie. Agnes stood near the door. “You girls should be mindful of this one. You don’t know what she’s up to.”
Missa whispered to her sister Rebe.
“I thought you put the stick in the door.”
Agnes ordered them. “Off to sleep. You are on sea collection tomorrow.”
“Cause you found six gold coins days ago. I know how to get some real gold,”Lottie teased Agnes.
“This does not concern you, Lottie.”
“I will be busy tomorrow,”Rebe told Agnes.
“Doing what exactly dear?”Agnes asked.
“She doesn’t have to answer to you. None of us do. We are free souls,”Lottie jumped in.
Agnes lectured,”You girls will contribute to life here. You will not live off of the backs of great men. You will bring something of value back here.”
Rebe stretched out her arms. “I carried wood today, back and forth, back and forth. Ask anyone. Look at my arms. I’m so tired.”
Agnes walked towards them. “If you were tired, you’d be asleep by now, not entertaining with Lottie. Tomorrow! Be ready.”Agnes opened the front door and stormed off.
“Sam can get us a better stick for the door.” Missa pointed at Lottie.
“Why does she dislike you so fiercely?”
“Don’t know. I’ve never met her before,”Lottie answered. “I hear she’s from Bristol.”
“She’s very protective. You must have some sort of secret, Lottie. Something that you are hiding?”Missa concluded.
“I shall confess. I was born a vamp in the Crescent. A human bit me, so now I’m a human in Kobo on sea collection with you identical hens as a punishment. That sums it up.” Lottie tried to keep a straight face but let out a few chuckles. “I have nothing to hide. Nestor read my past. I’m just a regular girl.”