“What on earth is an escat-whatever you just said?”Â Kystel asked.
“Eschatometer.Â Don’t ask me how it works.Â That’s Ralph’s area.Â He loves to invent things.Â There’s always stuff laying around to salvage.Â We rescue bits and pieces and Ralph makes new things out of them.”Â Ryall smiled at Lolly and Lolly grinned back.
“At least he hasn’t blown himself up lately.”Â Lolly elbowed Sloan.
“Don’t freak her out, Sloan!Â Don’t pay attention to him Kystel.Â He likes to exaggerate.”
The twins didn’t look all that much younger than Ryall but Kystel saw the look in his eyes when he watched them. He cared about them. She wondered about how they all came together.Â Â Did they have families that were left behind?
Lolly touched Kystel’s arm.Â “Come on, I bet you’re hungry.”
Kystel followed Lolly over to what served as their kitchen.Â She looked back at Ryall and Sloan talking.Â Ryall looked concerned and Sloan looked angry but they were speaking too quietly for her to hear.Â Lolly was spooning up something onto a plate and looked from Kystel to Ryall and Sloan.
“Don’t worry about them.Â They’ll work it out.” Lolly held out the plate to Kystel and put the kettle on to make some tea.Â “Sit down.
“So, now what?”Â Kystel took a bite and waited for Lolly to answer.
Lolly poured the hot water into a teapot and brought it to the table and sat down with Kystel.Â “You will stay with us.”Â She said.
“You don’t know me.Â Why would you let me stay?”
“Ryall brought you.Â I trust him. Do you have enough to eat?Â There is plenty if you want more.”
“This is great, thanks.” Kystel cleaned her plate.Â She had been so hungry.Â Lolly poured tea into two cups and handed one to Kystel.Â She pushed the sugar bowl to her, taking a spoonful and stirring it into her tea.Â Kystel heard a loud engine sound and stood, dropping the tea.Â The cup shattered as she turned. wild eyed and ready to run. Lolly grabbed her arm.
“It’s okay!Â They’re with us!”Â Kystel turned and saw a girl with nearly white hair and pale blue eyes.Â She and a boy nearly as dark as she was light were riding a motorbike.Â The back of it had a compartment that held copper and wire and what must have been the salvage Ryall had mentioned.Â As they skidded to a stop the boy on the back was laughing and Ralph came down the ladder and ran to the bike hugging the girl.
“What did you bring me Emelia?” He swung her around and set her down rushing to the back of the bike and pulling out his prizes.Â He was gathering them up and then stood looking around confused as he realized everyone was silent.Â Emelia pointed at Kystel.
“Who is she?”
Ryall was standing with his arms crossed.Â Maybe everyone wasn’t going to be happy about a stranger.