Chapter 17

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Dyson and Leo had to walk a while until the first one got his bearings again and knew where they could head next. He was pleased to see that he still knew the majority of Vancouver's streets like the back of his hand, even after all these years. None of that saved them from the stark reality of being utterly stranded though. They didn't have money, identification, phones or clothing appropriate for the season. Dyson's embroidered linen shirt and Leo's training attire looked foreign and impractical for life in a big city, and it definitely didn't shield them from the increasingly chilly night air.

Even if Dyson had any idea where his former friends lived now, they wouldn't recognise him, never mind let him stay with them. The only thing he could think of was seeking shelter in a park along the waterfront he used to visit on lunch breaks. At least there, no one would ask any odd questions. Vancouver had always had a housing problem and usually he avoided the areas that were frequented by homeless people. It wasn't so much that he was scared of them, unlike Kasia who always got nervous around the more unpredictable guys. And it wasn't that he just didn't want to deal with the proof of poverty right in front of his eyes, but rather the fact that he felt helpless seeing them and not being able to better their situation. He tried his best and assisted in setting up community gardens and handing out food whenever his time allowed it, but it never felt like it was enough. It never felt like it made the impact it should, so he just gave up one day. Now he was entering the territory of the very people he had avoided. He might even have to ask them for help and his guilt tripled.

As suspected, there were a couple tents and makeshift hideouts scattered on their way to the park and the number just increased the farther they ventured into the East Downtown area. However, they did not run into a lot of people and the ones they did see, barely looked at them twice. Vancouver's night life had always been scarce and it was to their advantage now.

Another good thing about their walk across the length of the city was that Leo and him had time to talk. Once Dyson started laying out the story about what had transpired in the past weeks, about Kasia and his struggle to get back to her, he could barely stop himself. By the time they reached the pavilion Dyson had in mind for them to use as a sleeping ground, he had finally finished. Right then the first rays of sun started appearing. He hadn't known how much he had missed Earth's sun until its warmth graced his face. The blue skies were a sight to behold, instead of the constant angry red that surrounded them in Arcadia. He sank to the floor and was both exhausted and relieved that there was at long last another person who knew what was going on. A person he didn't have to hold back or watch his every word with.

"Wow, man! That's a wild story. Does that mean no one from our previous lives remembers us?"

"Yeah, I am afraid so." Leo's face crunched up temporarily and only then Dyson realised that he never really asked about the people his friend had to leave behind when he was taken. "There is some sort of failsafe or curse put on them in case they do remember though. The Velcrys wouldn't want their kidnapping business to be discovered."

He seemed to consider that for a while and Dyson was just about to ask about his family when Leo changed the topic. "Your girl sounds badass as hell then! Risking a curse just to get you back."

Dyson couldn't help but smile. "She is."

"So, are we going to meet up with her soon?"

"It's not that easy."

Dyson had no idea where Kas had gone to find the location to meet him, he just knew she wasn't anywhere close. And whenever he tried to reach out through the bracelet, nothing that made sense came back. He could still feel her on the other end, but there was no way he could establish a connection for a mind visit and it put him on edge. Then again, everything about their current situation did. While he knew that he should be happy to be back home, he couldn't help but feel like this wasn't the way it was supposed to be. They simply landed on Earth by mistake, but they didn't actually get their old lives back in any shape or form. It didn't seem like an option to just accept the fact that he was to walk among his friends and family as a stranger now, with no proof of his existence and the life he had built for himself before his disappearance. He almost wished to go back to Arcadia and remedy whatever he could. But, he was tired and probably not thinking straight, because how could he willingly go back to the prison he had just escaped from. So, they gathered some old newspaper and tried to make as cosy a bed as possible, before a skinny guy with an unruly beard offered to share his blanket with them to get some rest before figuring out what to do next.

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