Damitol twirled in the grass by the river. She linked tentacles with Testicleeze and spun around him, both of them laughing with delight.
“I haven’t seen anything this pretty in a long time. Maybe never. Look at the green leaves of the trees, and the yellow-green of the grasses across the river. How blue the water is, like the sky. Flowers all shades of yellow, violet, even red. I’m so glad we came down here.”
“It is lovely, but I think you’re just a tiny bit oxygen drunk.”
She spread tendrils of her aura to their limit and ran along the riverbank. “I don’t ca-a-a-a-re.” Rainbow hues rippled around her.
Testicleeze dashed after her, cycling his aura colors along with hers. When she rolled exhausted onto a particularly thick clump of grass, he dropped down beside her. The grass that crushed below them added a fresh scent to the air. They lay side-by-side, admiring the puffy white clouds above them in a pure blue sky. A flock of biwinged creatures—purely material, no aura to them—flew overhead. They had bright yellow heads and chevron shapes on their wings.
Finally, he caught his breath. “This is so nice. How long can we stay?”
“We have to get back within thirty hours. If the junger gets no orders within that time, the autoreturn kicks in.”
“To take us home.”
“Yeah, but once we’re back in the junger, we can go somewhere else. The timer resets every time we access the ship’s system. Nav. Ship’s log. Something like that.”
“Or, we could go up, reset the timer, and come back awhile.”
Damitol’s aura glowed. “Or that.”
They ate their snacks and gathered all the debris into a pouch to take back with them. They went to the edge of the forest, where the trees got thick enough that the canopy blocked out the light, but decided not to go farther. They heard noises from deeper inside the woods that sounded like something alive and wild.
“Let’s stay out here by the river,” Testicleeze said.
They moved downstream. Along the way, they passed an inlet of a creek. A group of small quadrupeds with hard shells sat sunning on a log.
“Those are odd creatures,” she said. “The second one has pulled into its shell.”
“Maybe it’s afraid of us.”
He shrugged a tentacle.
Eventually they found a wide spot where the river current slowed almost to nothing. They sat on a grassy sandbar and watched slippery-looking water creatures pass by. Even without his scanners, Testicleeze felt he could declare those creatures low in the cognitive order.
The sun began to set, and they decided to stay on the beach of this little lake overnight. Other than a few sounds from the forest, they hadn’t experienced anything to cause them to be afraid of the night. They watched the sun set and enjoyed the array of colors into the deep quadrille infrared. The couple fell asleep, each with their head on the other’s tentacle.
Damitol awoke to horrible cramps in her body. She sat up abruptly, thinking she’d lain in a bad position. In the dim light from the moon overhead, she saw Testicleeze rolling around the ground. He didn’t seem to know what he was doing.
She called to him. “The water. Watch out—”
It was too late. He had rolled into the lake, and continued to roll into deeper water. Despite pain that had spread into every part of her body, she crawled into the water and pulled Testicleeze back to shore.
“F-f-flor–k-k-king,” he said.
Stay tuned for the next adventure in the joy rides of Damitol and Testicleeze.
I saw Merlin the other day on a street in Houston. He was looking for King Arthur.
Merlin said that he’d slept for fifteen-hundred years, and when he woke up he set out to find his liege and friend, Arthur. He stowed away on a container ship in Britain. But in the Gulf of Mexico, it sailed into a hurricane. You won’t believe what he said happened on the way. Download a copy of his story by clicking here.
You can get more of Merlin in Texas by reading Merlin’s Knot, available on Amazon.com.