Lizard Skin

fast lane

Dan sat on his couch, holding a snifter of whiskey, wearing a cobalt dress shirt. Cai came out of the bedroom – now, really, their bedroom – holding his phone, “There are some people I want you to meet.”

He looked up at the sound of Cai’s voice. Rain ran down the windows. The 6 o’clock news played quietly on the TV.

Cai plopped down next to him, revealing a couple on the mobile screen. The one on the right was clean-shaven, pale and dark-haired, with intense amber eyes, under a heavy brow – A Cancer by the looks of it, Dan thought – and the other, on the left, had a beard, and a swarthy, Mediterranean complexion. Both were smiling – the smooth one had on a smug, triumphant look, the other, pleasantly bemused.

“Who are they?” Dan asked.

“The one with the piercing glare and the tie is Hod, Undersecretary to the Lightning Avatar. The other one, with the open collar, is his husband, Sebastian. They’re both FBI agents, on this side.”

“Oh,” Dan said. He hadn’t really talked to Cai about the whole Lightning Avatar thing. He hadn’t known there was more.

“And this,” Cai continued, “is Alli and Page.” Cai swiped left, and a second photo appeared, one of two women, one with long black hair, wearing a gray pantsuit, and another bronze-skinned, shorter female, in jeans and a dark green college sweatshirt.

“This is the Thunder Avatar, and the soon-to-be, new Sky Avatar,” Cai explained.

Dan blinked, “Who are these people?”

Cai returned his gaze, and without missing a beat, said, “This is the team.”

“The team?” Dan asked again, growing more bewildered.

“Yes, the new team,” Cai responded, “Our new team.”

“For what?” Dan wondered, “What do we do?”

“Well, we’ve got a heavy caseload,” Cai quipped.

Cases?” Dan exclaimed, alarmed.

“Yes,” Cai soothed, “Are you in, or are you out?”

“Well, I’m in, but –” Dan began.

“Good, because we’re meeting Hod and Seb tomorrow, for dinner,” Cai slapped Dan’s thigh and got up from the couch.

Dan looked around, flabbergasted, but he didn’t follow Cai back into the bedroom. He sank back, into the cushions. He had no idea what he was going to wear tomorrow evening. The rain clattered down, either unaware or unopposed to the idea.

cream soda

Always Together

life as we know it

Alli was sitting at the house in the field, burnt out, twisted out, more than thirty years ago. The moon floated overhead; the flowers tossed in the evening’s gusts. A little lantern sat on the porch between them. Page, the Thunder Avatar, sat in the adjacent rocking chair.

She was dressed like a young professional. Her tall, lanky frame was graced by a slate pants suit and an obsidian blouse. Her raven hair flowed like silk and caught the deep blue of the sky, the spinning, sparkling stars – like a kindly, modern Morgan le Fay. Clear water had nothing on her almost translucent blue eyes, bright and burning in the dark.

“Aro didn’t tell me you would be this humble, this small,” Page began.

“Well, I am very short,” Alli admitted, embarrassed.

“So, you went to Dartmouth,” Page said, leaning forward, peering at her in the darkness.

“Well, you did go to Yale,” Alli answered, heat rising in her cheeks, a substitute for a blush.

“Yes, I went to college around the same time as you,” Page said in a soft voice, turning her drink on the armrest of the chair.

“Your mother served as the Lightning Avatar, the diplomatic head of the Atevars. What was that like?” Alli wondered, in awe.

Alli heard her smile, “It wasn’t that immense, really. I thought about going to the State Department, in this world, but I just became a lawyer.”

“This is the first time anyone in my family has even heard of Atev, much less became any of the Three Avatars,” Alli confessed, spreading her hands wide – a placating gesture.

“Oh, don’t worry,” Page murmured, reaching across the divide – the gap between their wooden chairs – her hair falling into her face, her right hand sporting a gold Yale ring, “You’re not going to be out of your depth. And I am sure your parents knew about how permeable this world is with Atev.”

Alli sighed, with Page’s hand resting on hers, breathing in the Thunder Avatar’s perfume – a heady feeling. The woman was a snowy pale, accentuated by her bright, red lipstick. Alli, by contrast, was folded into a warm, comfortable, pearl fisherman’s sweater.

She glanced up and knew Page was looking into her eyes, in the night. She squeezed Alli’s hand, “I know it sounds trite, but whatever comes our way, we’ll face it together.”

Wind rustled through the grasses and crickets chirped in the underbrush. The odd firefly winked in and out, working its way back to the main road. The two held hands, staring out into the void.

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Song

F O R E C A S T – Conscious Thoughts