Rayad didn’t kill Kenno that day.

In fact, he didn’t return at all. But the waiting grated on Kenno’s mind. Every sound from outside would set him on alert, making him wonder if it was Rayad.

Kenno had come to know what to expect from Rayad over the past week, although he dreaded every moment of it. But now he had no idea what would happen. If Rayad came today, he might murder Kenno in cold blood, or he might do nothing at all. It all depended on what he’d decided about the benefits and drawbacks of keeping Kenno alive.

Kenno laughed at the absurdity of it. His life had become a list of pros and cons. And now his life depended on that list.

And if Rayad didn’t come, was that a good or bad thing? Did it mean he had decided not to kill Kenno? Or did it mean he would simply stay away and let him starve to death?

The issue turned over and over in Kenno’s mind, refusing to let him stop thinking of what might happen. Finally, late that night, he managed to doze off into a restless sleep.

The next morning, Leyon returned. “I don’t have any food today,” he said apologetically as he untied Kenno’s hands.

“Then why are you here?” Kenno asked, half frustrated and half curious.

Leyon said simply, “I told you I’d be back.” He sat down next to Kenno just like he had before.

Why did Leyon have to make it so hard not to trust him? Kenno breathed out sharply and refused to look at the man.

An uncomfortable thought entered his mind. This was the first day that Leyon hadn’t brought him food, and it was the day after Rayad had given up on Kenno. Maybe Leyon, too, had come to the conclusion that Rayad might simply let Kenno starve.

And if that was Rayad’s plan, Leyon wouldn’t prevent it.

“You shouldn’t come here,” Kenno said shortly. “There’s nothing you can really do. And you’re risking your son.” If he exists.

“Until Rayad finds me here for the first time, I can pretend I knew nothing,” Leyon said.

“You don’t know nothing,” Kenno said.

Leyon looked at him in a way that made Kenno stop. “I have lied every day for the past three years,” he said. “I can lie to Rayad again.”

Kenno glanced at the ground and didn’t argue. Instead he asked, “What’s your son’s name?”

The words made him think of Tole. Of both of his children, so alone and unprepared to survive. He prayed they would stay safe without him and Siya to protect them. Siya…

“His name is Doken,” Leyon said. “He’s a year older than Anla.” The past tense than Anla was hung in the air unsaid. “He’s full of the same life,” Leyon continued, a distant smile crossing his face. “Always jumping from one exciting thing to the next, always ready to make a new friend, always smiling and never upset for long.”

“Does he know about her?” Kenno asked. He should stop asking all these personal questions, but he didn’t want to sit here in silence, and he didn’t know what else to say. How’s the weather today? would sound painfully out of place in circumstances like this.

“Not the truth,” Leyon said. “They all think she drowned.”

Kenno nodded in acknowledgement. He didn't have a response to that.