I didn't really pay attention to Mr. Kent's conversation with Theo because I finally got a real copy of Kidnapped and I could start reading back from page one again. The last time I had read the book was three months ago; it was about time for a reread.
Then all of a sudden Theo snatched the book from my hands and snapped it close. I was taken aback; if she wanted the book back she could easily have asked me to give it to her, but judging from her facial expression I thought she must have something important to tell me, maybe to pass on whatever information Mr. Kent had given her before he left. 'Charlie, what on earth-' She began and then stopped, she went to the other end of the room and started to inch along the wall feeling with her hands for something.
I was puzzled, while she searched the opposite wall for whatever she was looking for, I contemplated her question, 'What on earth?' It was not a complete question.
'What on earth what?' I asked, Theo didn't hear me.
'Well, appears we have another mole.' She said.
I thought about this and decided that it had nothing to do with her 'What on earth' question, and then it came to my mind to ask, 'There are moles in your house?'
Theo didn't seem to comprehend my question at first, she was about to say something and then changed her mind and said, 'Why yes, why don't you come and have a look?'
I went over to where she was standing and saw a small hole drilled through at the baseboard. I looked at it for another few moments and said, 'I don't thing it's a mole hole, it looks more like rat hole to me.'
'A rat hole? How can you tell?' Theo asked me absently, her ear was against the wall, listening intensively and not making a sound. She was probably listening for the squealing of rats.
'Moles are outdoor animals, they rarely dig into houses, I think, and they usually stay below ground too. That hole is very small, too small for a mole, but perfect for a rat.' I got down onto my knees to see through the hole, I made another discovery, 'Look! The hole is dug all the way to the other side of the wall, it goes into the next room. Though I don't know how rats can dig through cement and plaster, maybe-'
'You're right, I'm sure it is a rat,' Theo said quickly, cutting me off, 'It is an old house, the walls are probably cracked and rotted inside, it would be easy for a rat to dig through.' As she said this, she tiptoed out of the room and out of sight.
What was that all about? I thought, so I followed her into the adjacent room further up the hallway, which was the smoking room, and found her bent over a section of wall on the far end of the room, the other side of the wall in the den. I went over to where she was kneeling and saw a screwdriver on the ground, some plaster dust and a hole near the baseboard.
'I suppose someone has been trying to use the screwdriver to poke the rat out of the hole.' Theo said, her eyes darting around the room, which was empty. She was looking for something.
'Are you looking for something?' I asked.
'I am, can you go around the room and help me look for the rat, I think it may still be here. I had heard it in the other room just now, that's why I came over here.'
'Okay,' I said. With my mouth I mimicked the squeak of a mouse; this was how I caught mice back home. The family house was old, just like Theo's house, only a tenth of the size, and there were sometimes a lot of mice. I became good at mimicking a mouse, and almost always they came to me from their holes, then I would take out the hatchet from behind my back and cleave the mouse to death with a single blow. I was very accurate with a hatchet too, that was why my sister always had me split the firewood.
So I crawled around on all fours and did my rodent squeak.
While my head was under a table cloaked by tapestry, a maid came into the room calling for Theo. I poked my head out from under the table and said, 'She's here, we're looking for rats.' This startled her.
'What do you mean? There are no rats in this house!' She exclaimed.
'Well it appears there are, but never mind that,' Theo came over and said, 'What do you want?'
'Mrs. Selene wishes to speak to you, Miss. Theo.' The maid said.
'Is it so important that I absolutely must see her?' Theo said with obvious annoyance.
'She did not specify, Miss.'
'Then I don't have to go see her.'
'But Miss., it's two days to Mrs. Selene's birthday, Master Kyle has requested for everyone in the house to do as Mrs. Selene tells us to ensure her absolute happiness.'
Theo sighed deeply and said, 'Alright, Charlie, can you stay in this room and keep watch, we don't want the rat to get away.'
'Sure,' I said and got out from under the table, 'Can I have Kidnapped back?'
'Fine, here you go.' Theo gave me Kidnapped and left reluctantly with the maid.
I sat down on a couch and began reading from where I left off, I would read to pass time while I listen for any sign of a squeak made by a rodent. My hearing was good, I wouldn't miss it.
'Well hello there sport, whacha reading?' Suddenly, Kyle was standing in the room, not far from the large cabinets near the door. He must have entered quietly, so quietly, I was startled for a second.
'Kidnapped,' I said, 'Theo finally found a copy for me.'
'Ah, good book,' Kyle walked over and sat on a couch next to mine. 'You don't mind me asking where you're from, do you?' He asked.
'Of course not,' I replied, 'I'm from Danforth County, north of here.'
'I've been there once, they have the best wineries in the province.'
'And fight clubs.' I added.
'Excuse me?' Kyle exclaimed, he must be unfamiliar with country fight clubs.
So I told Kyle about fight clubs, and the more he listened, the more his face contorted into an expression of puzzlement yet at the same time realization of something I was not aware of.
After hearing me talk about fight clubs, Kyle said, 'Fascinating, you have to take me there some time. Now, I just have one last question, how did you meet Theo?'
This was a hard question, I wanted to give Kyle a straight forward answer, but the events leading up to meeting Theo was complicated, so to make a long story short, I said, 'Heathcliff introduced me to her.'
'Oh.' Kyle said thoughtfully, 'I have some business to attend to, I hope I did not disturb you for too long.' Kyle said, getting up from the couch, 'I shall make my leave now, and by the way, can you make sure that Theo knows nothing of this conversation between you and me? She's quite nosy as all little sister are.'
'Sure,' I said, if it was okay for Theo to entrust me with not telling Kyle something, it's only fair for Kyle to entrust me with something that I shouldn't tell Theo; it was a fair and equal agreement.
'My darling Selene's birthday is coming up in two weeks, I'm sure you'll be staying for the party?' Kyle asked, he was at the door.
'I think so.' I said.
'Great! Then I shall catch you some other time, sport.' Kyle said and left.
I went back to reading Kidnapped and listening for the squeaking of rats. I didn't hear any.