Loris rose from the green water, slid upward naked and glistening like the storied blade. It was not so much dark around her as green. A crowding, hustling green. There was a dim light in the water below her and she knew she needed to return to that light. In fact, the thought made her feel soft and dizzy with anticipation. She continued to rise out of the dark water, hovering upward, water falling from her pointed toes now, making ripples the gold color of the light below. She floated sedately upward through veils of green.
It was vegetation: broad leaves and clambering vines of primordial jungle that broke the daylight up into shifting camouflage patterns of yellow and green shades. Like layered veils over the water below. The tangle fell past her eyes as she rose, an avalanche of seeking greenery trailing tendrils into the water at the bottom of the big natural well. She rose past more veils: green scrub, red-green streaked leaves of trees. She lifted slowly past the canopy, seeing only miles of more treetops in a circle around her, a horizon of jungle striving upward.
That horizon fell away as she continued her ascent, revealing the sea in the distance. Not that far, she thought. Not so far at all. She rose further, could make out the emerald necklace of cayes along the reef.
Then she was high enough to see the outer slopes of the reef, falling away like mountain foothills under the clear water. She was miles high by then, passing white wisps of cloud, brushing through one wispy cool wipe as she rose higher.
She could see the sweep of Caribbean coastline then, unmistakable. The inland cayes to the north, Guatemala’s coves to the south. She knew exactly where she was. She raised her hands above her head like a ballerina, linked her fingers together like a little girl at prayer. Then she fell.
Loris slid smoothly into consciousness as usual, white wisps on blue sifting before her eyes, then dissolving to a view of Bannock, lying on his back with his right arm stretched out as if reaching for her. She lay watching him, storing the dream away and scanning it in the light of her waking life, as she always did.
She’d been big on dreams since childhood, had made a cult of it for awhile there and was still a strong believer in their power and message. What she’d never believed in much was Men. And with plenty of reasons. Now she regarded the man who was currently sharing her dreams.
Not much to look at, but that had never meant much to her. A legitimate tough guy and she didn’t yet know if that was better or worse than the guys who pretended to be tough. But there was this: he had brought her here, where her dreams had beckoned her. He had brought oXo thousands of miles, perhaps to where he belonged. He seemed to respect and like oXo and didn’t seem to mind being a vehicle for the wayward skull, rather than trying to use it’s powers for his own gain. Well, other than the two hundred thousand. It would bear some thinking about.
She had the strong impression that Bannock was alone in the world, but that he wouldn’t mind changing that. She knew what that was like. He seemed like a very odd choice for the first man she could trust and believe in, but he might do.
She rolled softly onto his outstretched arm and without waking he curled it, drawing her to him. She moved her leg over his body and lay listening to his breath and breathing his scent. She wondered what he was dreaming.