[This post is from Kailey Astoris’s point of view.]
“Kay. Hey, Kay.”
Kailey Astoris tried her damnedest to ignore her younger brother’s hissed call. Whatever mischief Finn had gotten into was something she didn’t want any part of—she’d gotten into enough trouble on his account in the past few weeks. Perched in a tree with a book open in her lap, she was content to pretend that she simply wasn’t there to hear him.
She tilted her head back, leaning against the rough trunk of the tree, staring at the leaves fluttering in the breeze, at the shafts of light that filtered down through them. It was comfortable there, even balancing on a branch that was perhaps not quite large enough to be a wholly stable perch, but still and all it was her favorite spot.
“Kay, I know you’re here.” Her brother’s voice was closer now. She tucked a finger into her book to mark her place and peered down toward the sound, brow furrowing.
She couldn’t see him.
How does he know I’m out here? No one saw me leave.
“Kay, I found your shoes. Come down. Something happened to Lin.”
Her heart seized, stomach folding in on herself. No. No, no, not again.
She tucked the book under her arm and scrambled down a few branches, then dropped the last few feet to the ground, landing in a crouch. Finn stood a few feet away, his eyes wide and his expression surprised, as if he hadn’t quite expected her to be exactly where she was.
He held out her shoes.
“What happened?” she asked as she took them, tugging them on before starting to walk back toward the village proper.
“I don’t know because no one will tell me,” Finn said. “But Aunt Jac won’t make you leave if you go help.”
“Where are they?”
Kailey nodded, handing him her book. “I’ll find out. Do you know where Tory and Anne are?”
“No. I was up at the forge helping Dad. He sent me to go find Uncle Phelan and Uncle Phelan sent me to get Aunt Jac’s kit and then I came looking for you because no one will tell me anything.”
“Right,” she said, exhaling and starting to walk a little faster. “I’ll find out. You go find the others.”
“Everyone, or just Tory and Anne?”
“Mostly Tory and Anne,” Kay said. “But if you find Gwen and Kurt, too, then that’s a bonus.”
“Right,” Finn muttered. “Why the hell am I always the errand boy?”
“Because most of the time, you’re the youngest.” She waved him off. “Go. I’ll tell you what I find out once I find out something.”
“All right,” Finn said, sounding like he didn’t quite believe her. “You promise?”
“Yeah. I promise.”