Caroline

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Sweet Dreams

My day went by quickly and without much to show for my efforts. The painters finished with the inside of the house and would be back tomorrow to paint the exterior. Whatever human or creature got my house would have a tasteful, fresh pallet to decorate.

My neighbor found an oxygen concentrator with several accessories including a new set of tubing. I promised to use it and return it to her before I left town. My last challenge for the process was the paint fumes. I didn't expect the house paint would smell so strong hours after it had dried. I needed a safe place to sleep, out of the fumes, and close to where I bound Lirot.

The garage had been recently cleaned out but wouldn't be painted until tomorrow morning. I opened a box of old towels bound for donation and made myself a soft spot to sleep while Boo Boo watched intently.

"I don't like this Car, it's got to be too cold for you out here I can see your breath."

"There's power for the machine here. I can't rely on the charger. The cardboard and these old towels are soft enough and it doesn't smell like paint fumes. It will be like camping and maybe the cold will actually help."

"I don't like this, I don't like this plan at all." Boo Boo paced the patch of cement next to my makeshift bedroom.

I did my best to reign in my scattered thoughts but I kept coming back to fear. When I used to meditate regularly I had a trick to calm my mind. I start by visualizing the dirt below me, then the floor, then the ceiling and the roof. Next, the open sky and the imaginary bubble of the Earth's atmosphere. Black space and the vision of the blue and green planet below my feet and the infinite view of space and stars around me.

A final deep breath and I reconcile my body knowing it will function perfectly and heal as if I were in a deep restful sleep. With my mind calm, I envision the milky way and the solar systems beyond until I find myself completely open. At this point, I can return back along the known path to my regenerating body, linger and let my mind heal or I can move forward.

"Lirotzut I call for you to guide me," I said my words with intent and purpose.

"I see you my sweet. Calm your thoughts and accept my help beyond your plane. I won't hurt you. This honor you pay me by traveling to my home prevents any harm from coming to you."

"Not like that old man today. Did he at least die quickly?" I asked.

"He did not die today. He was alive when I last saw him. You asked me to spare him and I did as you asked. His fate is his own now."

"Thank you Lirot."

"Umm, my lovely there you are." I could feel his warm hands on mine and tingle of his energy across my skin. "I have waited to parade your energy across my plane for so long. It is the closest thing to any drug my kind can conjure."

Energy, I have to keep reminding myself there is no skin here, there is no air, no time, and no flesh to harm. I am whole and safe and everything is fine.

"Yes, of course, you are. No harm will come to you in my realm or yours for that matter once you free me."

The image Lirot used was that of a naked, human male walking across a field of green and white clover. He left too much bush for my liking and I had to laugh. The whole dangling, hopping presentation he put forward was ridiculous.

The sunshine was warm on my skin. An iconic white and red striped lighthouse towered in the distance. The ocean with its deep blue water and the shining white-sand beach was barely visible beyond the cliffs. It was a perfectly breathtaking view of tranquility.

The shadows of several beings poked themselves onto the edges of our perfect landscape and then disappeared. I turned in time to see hulking, dark, misshapen figures encroaching from all sides.

"Lirot, "I screamed and pulled my hand from his.

In one fluid movement, his amusing human form exploded into a towering, dark-mass fringed in fire and sets of razor-sharp wings. Claw-like hands grabbed at my shoulders and my legs. Lirot swung a club-like weapon at the hulking creature that attacked me. The sound of a solid object slamming against pockets of thick liquid and bone filled my ears. Chunks of wet brain matter hit the hot ground and sizzled.

One thought rolled inside my brain. I am the light. I am the light. "I am the light!" The phrase was the key and the flame that fueled an all-consuming fire that flew from my hands.

The perfect beach landscape burned away. In place of the lighthouse was an enormous blood-red tower. The lush green grass turned to black sand and orange pools of fire. I was snatched up into the air from behind by Lirot's third arm-like appendage. The massive, articulated scale plated arm tossed me on the ground closer to the tower before returning to the fight.

Lirot had what looked like three arms and three leg-like appendages that moved independently of each other. I watched as the figures from the fringe of my view came into vivid color and beat his enormous body to the ground.

A horde of creatures smaller than him pinned his frame to the dark sand and opened his chest with their weapons. The mob rose to their hooves, pulled their weapons from Lirot's glistening pelt, and began to come for me. The tower was too far away to reach and completely unknown. As a lighthouse, it had a narrow bridge leading to the door but now it had a trench of snarling dog-like creatures with no eyes and no clear way across.

Fight the known targets. I could hear the instruction and it gave me hope, but fight them how.

No limits exist for you are the light. The first of the malformed horde reached me. The gnawing of sharp teeth on my skin and the piercing pain as their weapons sliced into my stomach and I found my scream. "I am the light!" The phrase ignited my skin burning the horde that touched me.

More creatures had made their way to my patch of black sand. As I felt their damage upon me I centered my thoughts. I don't have a body here. I have no limits. There is no air to breathe no skin to rip and no blood to shed. I am the light.

A blinding, white-blue flame emerged from what would have been my skin. Each creature in contact with me disintegrated in a harmony of screams and guttural noise. Lirot was lifeless on the ground far from the tower. I could see shadows of much larger creatures running towards us.

"Lirotzut, fly to me now." He was in obvious agony by my command was not one he could ignore even in this place.

I could smell the backyard dirt and feel the cut on my hand ache where I shed my blood to bind him to my family home.

Lirot rose to one leg-like appendage and lept into the air only to fall in a cloud of black dust a few feet from me.

"Again, use all that you have left. Get us to the tower." I wrapped my arms around his short neck and planted my feet under his wings. "Fly damn it, they are getting closer."

A set of black charred wings opened to reveal thick, rubberized swaths of skin. The hot wind filled the open spaces and we gained enough lift to raise all but his tail off the ground. I could feel the long muscles in his torso expand as his wings beat against the hot wind. The sound of his wings, I had heard this sound before. A quick glimpse of a glorious black creature soaring straight down a cliffside filled my mind. I felt so strong and free.

"I've had a body with huge black wings before," I exclaimed.

"Yes, my dear, you have. They make you incredibly hard to catch."

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