Luona had invited Lonny to join them. So Lonny had accepted.
“I’m mighty tired of all this havoc happening around the city lately, especially in this district! Caused me so much trouble, and I lost several bunches of my flowers too…”
Luona had told her and Ava to go on out looking for the kid or any sort of clues they might find. They both agreed, they were both free. So now they continued strolling down the street, Lonny pushing her cart of flowers, Ava next to her, looking for any signs of trouble.
“Are you a student?” Lonny asked.
“Mm…yeah, I should really be getting back to classes, since my job… But Luona asked me to help, so of course I’m happy to.”
“He calls you often?”
“Yeah… Are you a student?”
“Oh, I didn’t go to college, actually. I’ve been selling flowers for years.”
“Mhm. Flower selling’s nice. You get to meet so many people, and wonder what they want flowers for. Or even if they don’t buy, and just simply pass by, you can still imagine what kind of flower would look good with them, in their hair, or button hole, or on a hat… And you can wonder if they’d keep it in a book or would they simply throw it away once it wilted? Or perhaps put it in a little vase of water? So sometimes I give out single blossoms, though I never get to see if I’m right or not.”
“Then what kind of flower do you think you would give me?” Ava asked.
“Mm… Maybe a violet. And I bet you’d be the type to put it in water, yeah?”
“Very much so,” Ava said, pulling her coat closer to her in the brisk air. “Truth be told, I’ve never really thought about such things before.”
“See? Flower selling’s fun. And you get to think about such things.”
“Sometimes at the cafe, I’d do that with customers, maybe. Wonder what they’re going to order before they do so, or speculate what book they’re reading, or what they’re typing, or what they’re thinking about. Do they want two creams and five sugars? Or maybe no cream and ten sugars. That kind of thing.”
“Hey, that’s similar enough. I think I’m going to like you a lot, Ms. Ava.”
“Aw, just Ava’s fine.”
“Very well. Ava it is, then!”
They continued, chatting about other aimless things, and for all the pedestrians saw they were two very normal humans enjoying a long conversation. So far there was nothing suspicious to see, no trouble at all.
“So what does this missing kid look like?” Lonny asked.
Ava described him the best she could.
Lonny nodded. “I reckon I did see a kid like that last week… Gave him a purple carnation. Wonder what he did with it. I thought he was the type to leave it on a windowsill in the moonlight.”
“Did you see where he went?”
“Ah, yeah, I did! I can show you right now, actually. Just this way…”
Lonny led her to the spot where she had been selling flowers that day. “Right around this road… Seemed to me like he was going towards the apartments over there.”
“Then lets go over.”
At the gate of one of them they asked the guard if they had seen a boy that fit Dema’s description. The guard said no so they moved on.
Finally, at the fifth place they asked, the guard said yes, there had been such a boy here, but he didn’t remember him very well. He wasn’t a local resident that he remembered, but at the same time, maybe he was. He ended up letting them in, and Lonny gave him a bunch of red tulips as thanks.
“He’s escaped juvie… I doubt he’d have an apartment, so…” Ava stopped at the stairs of the building that the guard had pointed them to. “Something up?”
“I’m going to check the basement,” Lonny said. “Are you coming?”
They headed down; it wasn’t very far. But there, on the windowsill, was wilted purple carnation. The very one that Lonny had given him all those days ago.
“Well, this is interesting, isn’t it?” Lonny gave Ava a small grin. “I wonder what else we’ll find…”
There was an old mattress shoved next to the bicycles, a pillow and a couple of blankets on top. By an outlet in the wall was place an electric water kettle, and several cups of unopened noodles next to it. There were also a few plastic bags of things on the other end of the mattress, unopened.
“Just food, I think,” Lonny said, examining the plastic bags. “Looks mighty drafty to sleep here. I wonder if he caught a cold.”
“I don’t think that’s really our concern right now… Where did he go?”
“Not back here, that’s for sure. So if that guy Thorn really does have him, then it’s in another location. And considering they didn’t even let him to come back and get his stuff…”
“He probably doesn’t need his stuff there. They’d probably give him food and a place to sleep. Much better than this.”
“Yeah, for sure.” The two of them continued to stare at the scene. “Pretty nice for someone homeless, though.”
“At least there’s a roof,” Ava agreed, and took out her phone to snap a picture to show Luona later. “What building was this again?”
They checked the apartment complex number, as well as the neighborhood, then left. There was nothing more to find there, except one of the places that Dema had stayed after his escape.
So where was he now?
“You know, this whole thing… It seems pretty uncomfy to me,” Lonny said as they walked along again. “You’ve got a missing kid, and some pretty powerful people who want him… Not to mention the kid’s really dangerous, just look at what happened the other day. So I’d reckon we’re up against something...pretty unpleasant.”
“You could say that again,” Ava said, burying her hands deeper into her coat pockets. “The sooner we find him, the better. I don’t want a repeat of yesterday’s incident.”