“Alright, Cassandra, what’d you see?” dad asked after the kids got out of the car. I waited until Jared slammed the back door and followed the other two into the small diner, then turned to him.
“I saw a hunter,” I told him and as his face lit up, I held out a hand. “I don’t think it will be a good meeting. Something about him felt…wrong.”
Dad looked a little disappointed, but shrugged. “Not all the hunters I know are my friends,” he said and climbed out of the car. I followed him into the diner and looked around for the kids. Jensen waved at me and dad from a corner booth and when I saw that the three weren’t alone, I instantly felt wary.
I touched dad’s shoulder, and he nodded; he’d seen the man as well. We walked over to the booth, and I kept one hand behind my back, ready to draw the blade I never took out of the sheath strapped there. It was one thing to approach us; it was something else to approach the kids. It was underhanded, and sneaky. I already didn’t like the man.
Both Jared and Jensen were listing to the man intently, hanging on to every word he was saying. As we got closer, I could tell it was a story of some kind. But Katey, little Katey looked just as wary of the man as I felt. I felt proud of her.
When dad reached the table, a step ahead of me, the man turned and smiled at him. I recognized him from my vision and began to worry about what he was doing here. The man was large, taller and broader than dad, and was all gruff. Scraggly beard, unkempt hair, dirty clothes. He was a sore sight for someone who had grown up with a neat freak like dad.
The man stood up and held out a hand to dad. “Hello, sir, these must be your fine children,” he said. Dad didn’t take the proffered hand, and the man cleared his throat uncomfortably. “I’m sorry if I’m intruding, I’m Keith Nolan.”
Dad glanced at me, the obvious question in his eyes, and I nodded slightly. Yes, this was the man I had seen. Dad gritted his teeth, then turned back to the man.
“What are you doing sitting at my table?” he asked, a little harsh. The man hesitated in the front of dad’s hostility, but perked right back up.
“I was just telling these cute kids of yours a hunting story of mine,” he said with a toothy grin. Dad’s frown deepened.
“Why would you be doing that?” dad pressed, and the man shrugged.
“I figured it would be a good way to break the ice between hunters,” he said. Dad brushed his jacket aside so that the man could see his pistol.
“Well, Mr. Nolan, you thought wrong. Please leave,” he said. I hardened my face in a frown when the man looked over at me for…something. If he thought I would help his case, he was wrong. No one got near the kids without my permission.
Finally, after a long uncomfortable minute, the man raised his arms in defeat. “Alright, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean no harm,” he said. He threw me a grin, then turned to the table. “It was nice talking to you kids.” Then he left.
Dad didn’t relax until the man was out of the diner. Then he slid into the booth opposite the kids with a sigh. I followed him, feeling a sense of dread. That man wasn’t finished with us, that I knew for sure.
“What was that all about?” Jensen asked dad, but the waitress came over right then and once we got our food a few minutes later, there wasn’t any talking.