Guided By Dreams
Some dreams are more than wishes
It was the year 2141, and it had begun as just a normal day.
Gavin roused from his slumber at sunrise. His friends were always teasing the teenager for going to bed an hour or so after sunset, saying he rose and fell with the distant star. It was never an intentional thing--he did not set alarms to get up so early, nor did he see the sun going down and decide to retire along with it. It was instinctual, a reflex. As easy as breathing, or using his hands; he just never really thought about it.
Gavin had gotten ready for the day and headed downstairs for breakfast. He had found Tawni in the living room, building yet another computer. She was engrossed in her task, using her technopathy and cyberlingualism to speak to her phone as they worked, so he let her be and made coffee.
It was only after the smell of fresh coffee had filled the room that Tawni took a break from her project to join him in the kitchen.
"What are you doing up?" she asked. Her chocolate brown hair was piled on top of her head in an unkempt bun, and her mossy eyes were squinting at him through square-rimmed spectacles. She claimed a seat at the half-circle counter-top that doubled as the kitchen sink and an island, already reaching for the sugar. "Do you ever sleep?"
He frowned and poured her a cup of the hot beverage. "Of course I do--at night, like a normal person. Do you ever sleep?"
Tawni's eyebrows rose and fell in response to her question being thrown back at her. "Usually. Didn't have time last night, though--I've been working on something."
Gavin nodded, absent-mindedly pouring coffee into his travel mug. "Gabby and Benji?"
"Considering the sun only just rose, like, half an hour ago, I'd say they're still in bed," she quipped. "You know, like normal people."
"Hilarious." He took his mug of black coffee and waved half-heartedly, already on his way out of the kitchen. "See ya."
"Where are you off to so early?"
"Scouting run," was his only response. He was out the door, keys in one hand, coffee in the other. At his waist were two holstered handguns and a hunting knife; a small pocket knife was hidden in his left boot, and two extra clips fit snug inside a hidden pocket of his leather jacket. Gavin was as prepared as a scout could be--he just needed a partner.
She was already waiting outside, sitting in Mona's jeep. Her Ombre-dyed hair was onyx at the roots and sanguine red at its curled tips. Both sides of her head were twisted into tight braids along her scalp, and the curls at the top of her head formed a fro-hawk. Her puce eyes were glued to a sheet of sketch paper that he presumed had been folded in thirds to fit inside an envelope. A tiny little bird sat on her left shoulder, singing a joyful tune. His appearance was abnormal; most of his body was a soft lilac, but the pastel purple gave way to an orchid pink along the birds wings. His tiny beak was black, and his eyes were such a deep shade of the pink that they appeared almost red. The bird was a colorful contrast to the goth girl he flocked to, and Gavin tried and failed to imagine a young Karia choosing the bird's color scheme when she aided in his creation.
"Morning, Karia," he greeted as he approached the vehicle. He was climbing into the passenger seat when he added, "Hi, Hugh."
Hugh chirped cheerfully from his creator's shoulder.
"He says hi," Karia translated. She folded up the letter and tucked it into her jacket's inner pocket. "Where to?"
The GPS--a navigator used by travelers before the apocalypse--dinged as it calculated the journey for them. Thanks to Tawni's affinity, the navigator had the capability to listen to their conversation, discern their destination, and calculate the best route with Tripp's reported knowledge of their territory. Their destination was just beyond their borders.
"Is that place even above water?" Karia asked.
She was right to question him; the lower third of Florida had already been completely flooded by the year 2030, and all land under thirty feet was overtaken by the ocean.
Gavin thought back to his dream--and to the message he had received from the mysterious girl he saw there. "Yeah. We'll be fine so long as the tide is out."
Karia shrugged, unconvinced. "Fine--but we bail at the first sign of trouble."
She shifted into drive and sped off, pulling out of their empty neighborhood and heading toward the interstate. The demons were silent for a spell before Gavin asked:
"So, how's Monty?"
Karia sighed. "You know, he's Monty. The impeachment took its toll on him, but Tony becoming prince ended up working out for them, so he's handling it well, I think."
Gavin nodded, thinking. "Do you feel bad?"
"What?" she scoffed. "Are you seriously saying that Monty was dethroned because of me?"
"I mean, technically you and Mona--"
"I didn't make him disobey the council, Gavin!" she shouted over the roaring wind. Mona's jeep had no doors, so the only barrier between them and the summer air was the front windshield. "He reached out to us of his own accord. He did what he thought was best, for the court and our tribe!"
A brief, strained silence fell over them. "You really miss him."
The psychic wiped her eyes, still trained on the road ahead. "Of course I do. But that doesn't mean I've forgiven him."
Her words hit Gavin like a brick, reminding him of his dream earlier that morning. He was standing on a dark highway that extended over a creek like a bridge. A couple cars were abandoned on the road, blocking his path. The girl--the same mystery girl he had met in his dreams far too often--was seated on the roof of one of the cars, basking in the moonlight.
"You're late," she noted.
Normally, he would have shot her a sarcastic reply, but he was taken aback by her appearance. Her curly hair was as black as night, giving way to blue twilight toward the ends. The strange angel was otherworldly--and, more importantly, she was familiar.
She raised a hand and pointed south; he turned to the right, facing that direction. He could barely make it out, but he caught the glint of light, of a white sail and dark wood. A ship?
It was over two hundred miles away; a tiny blip on the horizon, floating on the black waves. While it was too dark out to tell whether it was headed toward them or not, Gavin soon realized that it was not a full-fledged ship, but a sailboat with a single sheet.
"She's coming," the girl whispered. Her voice was like moonbeams, her words like seafoam crashing on an empty beach. Her sapphire eyes glistened, twinkling like stars. She turned to face him then, and her question still rang in his ears: "Do you think she has forgiven you?"
His left hand rose to his chest, resting over his soul. Who could she be talking about? Who do I need to ask forgiveness from?
It was the year 2141, and what had started out as any other day was about to take a turn.
Thank you for reading!
The above passage is an excerpt from Cancer, the unpublished third book of Solar Winds--a future trilogy that takes place in The Chronicles of Life & Death. The first trilogy, Saturn Rising, is already underway; check out my blog, Sisters of the Shadows, for more information on the series, lore, and where to read Saturn Rising, Book One: Aquarius.
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