Friday, January 9, 2015

Daydreams on the Sherbet Shore Episode 5: Kitties and Cake

From an island deep in the Sea of Whatever, bright blue eyes focus on a spot on the horizon. Pursed lips purr curiously as the dot bounces from one spot to another, flashing from point to point in an instant and hovering on each spot before buzzing to the next.

Upon closer look, the buzzing point appears to be a half-dragon/half-insect, with two large yellow eyes and an amber canopy. Further inspection reveals two people inside that canopy, strapped into chairs and holding onto controls in what appears to be a cockpit.

“I told you the Falkori would be a smoother ride!” said a young woman dressed in a mauve jumpsuit with black and magenta lace. You’d never think a woman so lovely could hold on with such grace while the runaway-flying vessel she was in actually inspired in her sympathy for ice cubes inside a martini shaker.

“That you did, my dear Claudette,” replied a young man in a brown flight suit with a tiger stitched on one sleeve and a joker card on the other. “My apologies; when you said Miles was related to the S.S. Falkori, I had to see how he flew. It might have been his last name that threw me off.”

The young woman huffed. “Libelulla is the taxonomic name of dragonflies, JD.”

“And it has such a soothing ring to it, don’t you think? Like the name of some groovy bossa nova singer. Far from the jittery dragonfly ship that has managed to give me motion sickness in my dreams. Care to eject?”

“Yes, please!” Claudette shouted. “There’s an island below we can aim for. Where are we at anyways?”

“Sea of Whatever, if I’m not mistaken. It’s after the Soothing Sea and before the Ocean of Bliss. Plus, I think that’s where we were aiming for originally.”

A dense blackish cloud suddenly appeared in front of them. This tempted the dragonfly ship to punch through it without the least bit of turbulence before coming to another jolting stop. The difference Claudette and JD immediately perceived is that instead of hovering, the ship began to shake uncontrollably.

Below, the blue eyes continued to survey the dot and saw when it stayed on one spot an instant longer than its other stops. The eyes looked on in concern as the ship quivered right before a huge sound exploded high above.


After the thunderous sneeze, the large dot soared off into the horizon, clearly propelled by the mega sneeze while two smaller dots floated down in descent towards the island.

Both JD and Claudette floated down softly thanks to some assistance. Claudette had her trusty lacy violet parasol, with which she had become quite adept at navigating air currents. JD wasn’t as graceful; he clutched at his black umbrella and found himself slowly rotating without being able to control his descent until his craft folded upwards and he plummeted thirty feet into the mint green waters below. Claudette shook her head at the poor form of the dive. Quite effortlessly, she landed next to the watcher that had been surveying them from below.

“Greetings,” said an elegant woman with short blonde hair and cat-like features.

“Pleasure to meet you, Miss...?”

“Evans, although Catherine is a better option. And you would be?”

“Claudette, owner of the Crayon Parlour when I’m not tagging along with my fellow oneironaut.”

A splash interrupted the young woman. From the water flew her copilot landing about ten feet from them, drenched to the bone. “JD’s the name, madam and it’s a plea... plea... plea...”

“Uh oh,” Claudette said quickly covering herself and their host with the parasol.

“PLEA...CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” drummed the sneeze.

It had been so powerful that it had instantly dried JD and left him a few seconds with a confused look. “My apologies, I hope I didn’t get any on you... or your shoes.”

“None at all,” said the woman in her fitted dress with white and copper stripes and a friendly feline smile. “Hello, JD.”

“Cate!” he cried enthusiastically, tossing the crumpled umbrella to the side and giving her a hug.

“Claudette, this is Cate, brilliant writer and a lovely friend. Cate, this is Claudette, fellow Draem traveler, staunch supporter and instrumental in the rescue of Jane.”

“So I see. And no sign of Captain Phish or Chips?”

Claudette was a little taken aback by the woman’s knowledge of their adventures and she noticed.

“You’re not the only ones to travel through Draem and I’m actually quite fond of your adventures here in the Sherbet Shore. Mind you, I’m not the only one.”

“That’s pleasant to hear,” said JD. “Now, about why we’re here... well why are we here, Cate? All seems in order in the Felinia peninsula though I did get some weird vibramessages through the ether.”

“So that’s what this place is called?” asked Claudette. “It seems you’re a borderline local.”

“Actually, this is my first time here, luv. So Cate, mind doing the honors and giving us the lowdown?”

“Certainly, Master Estrada. Felinia requests your assistance because we’re a little stuck at the moment.”

“What do you mean stuck?

“Well, the story of Felinia is that it’s supposed to be a floating cay, and like I said, we’re stuck.”

“That is a pickle and I don’t mean vinegarized cucumbers, I mean, a problem.” JD looked at Claudette, “By the way, don’t you love that cay is written with a C?”

“Grammar jokes? Now? Really?”

“Don’t be a diphthong about it,” he responded to Claudette, “By the way, what a funny word, diphthong. It could refer to linguistics or other tongues, I mean languages.”


“What? It’s not like Cate’s telling us what’s wrong.”

Cate braced her temples and breathed out a sigh. “This is supposed to be a floating island. Supposed to be floating, at the moment not floating, actually stuck is a better definition. Technically we are the end of a peninsula, which isn’t an island. Any ideas on how to solve the situation?”

JD pondered a second and finally took things a little more seriously. “Ok, for a floating island or a floating anything to stop floating, an anchor is probably the culprit. The two questions to ask right now are where is the anchor and how big is it?”

“That’s simple enough to answer. Are you ready for a stroll?”

“Is it far?” asked Claudette. “Our transportation kind of abandoned us.”

“Not to worry,” Cate said, “follow me.” She turned and walked into the jungle that had been behind them. Walking through the brush, JD and Claudette took special care to stay within sight of the blonde feline woman. The trees seemed to occasionally part way with small squeaks as if saying little comments like excuse me, pardon me, my mistake.

“Don’t mind the trees,” said their guide, “they can be over apologetic and on occasion a little sappy, but they’re all right.”

As they continued their way through the trees, the densely wooded area opened up to a sight that almost took JD and Claudette’s breath away. Cate took a few steps before realizing she’d left her guests behind. “Well come on then!”

JD was the first one to be able to talk, “Is that a...”

“Tree house? Indeed. My family tree house... and seeing as my family is a quite large one, so is the house.”

What Cate so calmly referred to as a tree house was a mammoth structure taking up the better part of what seemed like an acre. The structure itself was a tree, although it was so gigantic it was as if a factory and a skyscraper had been combined and expressed in plant form. Basically an entire village lived within the branches and leaves.

“This is the village of Felinia, where my entire family lives. Be they living, or from a distant memory. We have all been able to converge on this one point in Draem through quite a bit of effort on my part.”

“So I take it that the passion for seeking your family roots is still alive and well.”

“Always, JD. As you can see from the grounds, most people are being accounted for although there is one link that does trouble me.” The young man looked closely to where her eyes rested questioningly and one single part of the entire tree complex was dark and unlit. “I’ll find him yet.”

JD looked past the different houses and noticed that different families lived in different parts of the trunk and that each had its seal, which shared the same family crest of a smiling cat with an inscription below.

The one next to them read a very peculiar line, “Gravy does not equal custard,” read JD. “What’s that mean?

Cate gave a small giggle. “Oh that? An invaluable lesson learned by my sister Julie... and one I shall never allow her to forget.”

Claudette could only continue to stare in amazement at the view of Felinia. It was a glorious sight that just danced in her eyes. Vines swinging, swings from bedroom windows, branched Catherine windows, even different colored roots.

“Those are for hot water, cold water and steam,” said Cate as she noticed the young woman looking at the wooden plumbing.

“This is amazing,” she managed to say.

“Oh you should come back for the inauguration of the Caramel Carousel.”

“I’d love that.”

“As would I,” blurted JD, “But, there is a pressing matter we have no idea of and if I keep looking at this marvelous place, we won’t get anything done. Cate, talk with your people, schedule us a visit in say a draem cycle and a half and make sure to spare no luxury, I will reward you handsomely although I have no idea how, since Draem doesn’t work in currency that makes any sense to us.”

“Consider that visit your reward for the predicament.”

JD wiggled his eyebrows and flashed a brilliant smile. “Now we’re talking. Now seriously, take me away from this glorious place or we won’t get anything done.”

Cate smiled and led them into another tree patch. This time the trees were more static and an odd sort of hiss could be heard in the distance. “What’s that?” asked JD.

“You’ll see,” replied Cate. When they got out into the open again, they saw a long strand of land that stretched far off into the distance. The feline woman snapped her fingers three times and a low rumble sounded in the distance coupled with an odd tumbling sound that was making its way towards them... quickly until three large balls rolled up to them and stopped on a dime. Cate snapped her fingers again and the three balls unrolled to show they were three armadillos with saddles on their backs. “Hop on,” she said while herself climbing on her ‘dillo steed.

“Oh this seems like fun,” JD said, none too convinced.

After he and Claudette saddled up, Cate looked at the armadillos and spoke to them firmly. “Make sure to behave with our guests. We don’t want what happened last time to repeat itself.”

All the armadillos snickered until she pulled out a whip and cracked it in the air.

“Got it?” she insisted.

That time, the armadillos nodded quickly with scared looks on their faces.

“Kitty cracking her whip, meowww!” said JD making cat noises with only the silence of Claudette and Cate as his response. “Wow... tough crowd today.”

Cate then smiled and snapped the reins of her armadillo, leading the other two steeds towards what seemed like east to JD, so it was east. As they rode, JD couldn’t help but marvel at just how smooth an armadillo ride could be, even if it was a dream. As they made their way down the trail, a green barrier came into view.

“Whoa,” Cate called out.

“What’s this?” asked Claudette.

“A precaution so people aren’t exposed to the affected area.”

In front of them stood a solid wall of several cactuses blocking the path.

“Salute!!” called out a voice from within the prickly barricade and all the cactuses brought their right stalk to the middle as if saluting. One even became momentarily jammed because of his thorns sticking into his center stalk.

“Greetings, Miss Catherine,” said a mid-sized cactus with pink blossoms for eyes.

“Hello, Carlos. All in order here?”

“Yes, ma’am. No one has approached from Felinia and we redirected some traveling merchants on the other side of the shoal back to the traveling market.”

“Good man,” Cate said. “I’ve brought assistance.”

The cactus saluted both JD and Claudette and they awkwardly gave a wave hello back.

“All right,” said Cate as she got off her armadillo, “time to show you the problem.”

The Cactus Carlos gave a loud grunt towards the cactus brigade. “Part way for the Lady Catherine.”

Quite obediently, the cactuses split and opened the way for Cate, Claudette and JD. They could see the path was actually very narrow and only the barest land bridge connected the island to the main land. Seeing beyond, the small group could make out the market about a quarter of a mile to the left and the vast land of Draem beyond.

Claudette could barely make out a thought. “The Lucid truly is enormous.”

“Indeed,” said JD. “The subconscious of one person is large enough on its own... imagine the common ground we share.”

JD’s attention was brought back to the moment due to pungent fumes that came from just in front of them. Right there in the path, a gelatinous filth pulsed and writhed disgustingly. It was a greyish brown color, not unlike spoiled mushrooms. As a physical object, it made no sense, completely amorphous. For lack of a better word, it was chunky, as if a rotten stew had congealed, become sentient and somehow grew gills and eyes.

“What in Draem is that?” asked Claudette battling back the sick in her throat, as she experienced a whole new definition of the word nausea.

“I thought you could help me identify it,” said Cate. “It just appeared there one day. It had always been a simple path and one that we thought could even be severed to allow Felinia to soar as it was prophesied. Then out of nowhere, it was there... growing.”

JD meanwhile had become quite serious and took a gulp to negotiate the fumes and stench. “I think I may be of assistance in identifying this... well this.” Cate looked at him surprised and he just kept looking at the thing. “Yes... this seems to be a Blinded Jelly Gas Nosey Moronic Grouper Crab.”

“What????” asked Cate and Claudette in tandem.

“Call it a Jelly-Gas for short. It used to be able to see and hear and might have at some point in time even been pleasant. Put some internal failings, make it go dead, blind and foul, and voila. As for the stench, that comes from having nothing positive to share. It’s one of the most selfish stubborn and disgusting creatures in existence. Technically a selfish shell fish.”

“So how do we get it out of the path?”

“Well that’s the thing, innit? It might take the path with it.”

Cate looked quite alarmed. “And Felinia?”

JD Smiled cheekily. “Well it wouldn’t be the first floating island in Draem and who are we to deny prophecy? Still, we do have to sort this out rather.”

“Any ideas?” asked Claudette.

“The compass,” JD replied, taking out the familiar box that pointed to what you needed to find. He handed it to Cate.

“Ok, what do I do with this?” she asked.

JD took a step back and opened the box which itself held a liquid metal center. “Think of solving this situation and the compass will point the way. Easy peasy, luv.”

Cate did so and immediately, the compass began to respond. Little ripples quivered from within the center until a multicolored crystal the shape of a heart jumped up. The shard pointed at JD, then Claudette, then spun, then back to JD.

“Calm down, Cate. CLose your eyes and answer me this: what do you want more than anything?”

The feline woman gave a soft purring sigh. “To solve this situation, so I can be free of this pestilence and for my country to soar.”

“Ok, why do you want to get rid of this thing?”

“Because it is holding my kingdom hostage.”

“So you want this out of your life?”


“Good... now look at the compass.”

Turning down to see, the compass was pointing straight to the caravan.

“I guess we have a destination,” said Claudette. Now how’s about I get us a shortcut?”

With exquisite elegance, she snapped open her overcoat and pulled out one of her pencils. Wielding it as you would a wand, a bridge began to materialize in front of them. She trimmed the edges, did some shading and finally included her signature on the newly created road.

“That’s brilliant,” Cate managed to say.

“Oh, she’s full of surprises and talent, that’s for sure,” said JD.

Claudette sheathed her pencil back into her coat and looked at JD, “You’re buying at the Pumpkin then.”

JD leaned to Cate to whisper, “She’s also a little wicked, mind you.”

“Oi! I heard that!” Claudette said.

“So off we go?” asked Cate.

“Aye, luv. You just follow the compass.”

Cate led the way across the drawn bridge, which was far sturdier than they could have imagined. “Magnificent construction, Claudette,” said JD. “You really are a wonder with these pencils.”

Claudette smiled cheekily. “You ain’t seen nuffin yet. You really should check out my reverse Mexican ballerina dance. That's something to see.”

They made their way across and a lush grove stood between them and the caravan. The flowers were gorgeous and in full bloom. Initially they felt rather lovely as they crossed the grass until Claudette let out a shriek.

“What’s wrong?” asked JD.

Claudette was alarmed though not scared. “The flowers... well... they... umm... they kind of pinched me.”

“What do you mean kind of pinched you?”

“Well... it was like a pinch except it didn’t hurt... it was... it was like a kiss.”

Before Cate or JD could clarify further, a chorus of little voices all surged up from their feet saying the exact same thing.


Cate looked both alarmed and about to laugh. “Oh no! This is a three-lip grove!”

“Three lip?” asked JD.

“Yes!! It’s a variant of your average tulip, except it’s a lot friendlier.”

The tickling was too much and they all started running and laughing as the flowers did their best to have them stay and smooch. Finally they got through and stopped a moment to catch their breath. As soon as they were able to, they started walking towards the caravan that now turned out to look much more like a market. Even at a distance, they could hear all the hustle and bustle.

When they arrived in front of the market, they were all amazed at the variety of shops that seemed to be available and their amazement was such that the heart shaped compass went crazy and started spinning wildly.

“What’s wrong with the compass?” asked Cate.

“Simple, dear madam. Since you’re not really sure what we’re looking for, we are all distracted by the wonders of the market. We’ll have to search about and hope that when we see what we need, we’ll know it.”

“Shoes!!!!!!” screamed Claudette.

JD could only smile at the dust trail his dear companion left in her wake. “Ah yes, the eternal battle of want and need.”

Oh-Sole-e-Mío read the shop sign Claudette entered and JD was about to share another smile with his other companion when he heard another yell. “Fruit Pastilles!!!!!”

All alone, JD could only talk to his lonesome. “Note to self, although not exclusively, a woman’s joy is often facilitated by something sweet or something sassy.”

Instead of worrying or being bothered, he took in the sights of all the shops around him.

Dinaro’s Dynamite Spices

Alfred’s Owl Emporium

The Miasma Marauders Perfumanium

Flying Threads, rugs and linens

Dozens of shops all lined what was basically a market town. He noticed a clear space and was surprised it wasn’t cluttered with another colorful shop. But that didn’t last long. A huge trumpet sounded from his left that caused him to jump from the fright.

“Out of the way please,” spoke a dainty voice that came from what seemed like a cross between a rhino and an elephant. “Excuse us, sir. Shop coming through.”

“Yes, yes. By all means,” said JD stepping aside to allow the rhilephant to pass. It had been so long since he’d seen one because it’s not every day a rhinoceros falls in love with an elephant... even in dreams.

She had to be five foot tall and immaculately dressed in a purple chiffon dress that complimented her pinkish skin perfectly.

“Here you are, Nicodemus,” she said to a wiry young man with flowing hair and a loose fitting periwinkle shirt. The young man had been carrying a battered suitcase. Kneeling down, he unclasped both latches and with one sudden movement, pulled up the suitcase almost vertically. Instead of the contents spilling all over the floor, a lovely tent unfolded from within the suitcase, landing perfectly and gently on the spot he had been assigned. He smiled kindly to JD, hung his sign right above the entranceway and entered.

The Flowing Quill read the sign.

The rhilephant then turned to JD, “Now that we’ve sorted him out, may I offer you assistance, Mister....”

“Estrada, a pleasure, miss...”

“Ivory. And it is Missus,” she said, flashing a large diamond studded ring towards the young man.

“A pleasure, madam. Although at the moment I don’t really have a need for space for a shop, I do however have a situation that requires remedying.”

“Do tell,” said Mrs. Ivory, paying full attention to the young man in the jumpsuit. “I know all the shops here and am familiar with much of the merchandise.”

“Are you familiar with Blinded Jelly-Gas Nosey Moronic Grouper Crabs and how to dispose of one... a very large one?”

“How large are we talking about, Mr. Estrada?”

“Landmass locking big... say 50 square feet of nasty business?”

“That’s a big one.”

“That it is.”

“Best go to the Bas Teeah store. It’s right there. Tell them I sent you and you should get some help.”

“Much obliged, ma’am. I’ll make sure to pass by again with more time to browse though.”

“You’re always welcome in the Nickel Market, Master Estrada.”

“Peculiar name.”

“Well it’s a penny for your thoughts and a nickel for your dreams. Anywho, must be off. Best of luck with the Blinded Jelly-Gas predicament.”

“Cheers and thanks indeed, mum.”

JD scanned the nearby shops and quickly found the Bas Teeah store except its spelling was Bãs Tía. It was a more solid structure than the one he’d just seen the young man open up. The building was wooden as was the sign and its wooden door, which said ‘open for business, closed for complaints’. When he entered the store, the smell of holly instantly made him smile.

“I’ll be with you in a moment,” called out a singsong baritone from behind a curtain. All around, the store held all sorts of intricate knickknacks and all sort of funny looking objects.

Coming through a curtain of beads, a ginger cat JD’s height greeted him while sipping on a piping hot cup of tea. “Welcome, welcome to the Bãs Tía store.” (He put a LOT of emphasis on separating each syllable). “I am Bas and the lovely wonder that will be with us shortly is Tia.” (Again, he emphasized the syllables almost baroque-like.)

“A pleasure to meet you,” said JD, “I was wondering...”

“If we had anything you could use to get rid of a Blinded Jelly-Gas Nosey Moronic Grouper Crab... and a large one at that.”

The voice that had interrupted JD was as sweet as honey and came from an elegantly dressed chocolate Labrador with a red shawl covering her shoulders.

“Lovely outfit, Miss Tia,” said JD, emphasizing on the syllables, much to the approval of Bas the ginger cat. “It matches wonderfully with your coat.”

“But I’m not wearing a coat,” replied Tia, instantly causing JD’s cheeks to turn scarlet. “I’m just teasing and before you think me clairvoyant, remember that a dog’s sense of hearing is just a tad better than a human’s, and you wouldn’t believe how it is here in Draem.”

“Oh? How so?”

“I know of the Jelly-Gas from listening to your conversation with Miss Ivory. Also, at the moment, Miss Cate is enthralled at the Pastille Pavilion and you should definitely rent a shoe transport. It seems Miss Claudette has struck gold, figuratively speaking.”

“So you can help me?” asked JD.

“Indeed we can, Master Estrada. Basil, darling; fetch me a pair of pegaseeds and the Tiger boots.”

“Yes, darling.”

While Basil went to the back to look for the things requested by Tia, the chocolate lab pulled out a note pad and looked warmly onto the young man. “You do enjoy helping others, don’t you?”

JD gave a warm smile, “As much as I can and I’m sure I could help much more.”

“Oh, we all could, dear,” said Tia while writing on the pad. “Now take this note to Cate. She must follow the instructions to the letter and you cannot read the note. It is for her eyes only and it cannot be in a shared dream.”

“Darling,” sang Basil, “I found two sets of boots. Which size?”

“Bring them both,” answered Tia.

When Basil came out, he carried two sets of boots and a small leather pouch. “Here we go.”

“Thank you, darling.”

“For you? Anything my love.”

The Labrador looked warmly on her husband and couldn’t help but lick his face.

“Not in front of the guests,” said Basil, abashed at the public display of affection.

“Then try not to be so adorable and irresistible,” his wife justified.

Bas turned to JD with a cheeky smile. “Who says gingers don’t get the hot girls?”

JD chuckled and rounded up his buy. “What do I owe you?”

“Nothing, dear boy. Let’s just say anything in the best interests of Felinia and its queen is something we’re happy to help with. Besides, money’s no good in dreams. Part of why I love it here so much.”

The young man felt such gratitude he couldn’t help but hug both the cat and dog intensely.

“Now, now! Mind the whiskers!” said Basil.

“Off you go,” Tia said warmly.

Waving thanks and smiling from ear to ear, JD exited the Bãs Tía store and was able to find Cate and Claudette talking nearby.

“There you are!” shouted Claudette. “Where’d you go off to?”

“I bring good tidings and the tools to help with our predicament.”

“Then there’s no time to lose!” said Cate, still chewing on a pastille before whistling loudly.

It didn’t take a minute for the armadillos to arrive and it was amazing at the speed in which they crossed the three-lip patch, the drawn bridge and arrived at the Jelly-gas mass.

“I swear, it gets uglier the more you look at it,” said Claudette.

“Try to imagine living next to it. All right, JD, now what?”

JD looked at Cate, put the bag down and pulled out the pouch, the note and the boots. Along with the boots, there was a note with a large number 1. He took the note and read it out loud: “These boots were made for more than walking. This calls for a reverse Mexican Ballerina hat dance.”

While JD asked himself what the cryptic note could mean, both women had put on the boots instinctively and stood at each edge of the blob. Before the young man could ask what they were going to do, both of them broke out into a dance that was equal parts elegant, ridiculous and utterly mad.

The sound the gelatinous mass made was hideous. It was as if you crossed flatulence, belching, crying, whining and an annoying screech all into one single sound. While the women strutted their moves, JD pulled the leather pouch out of the bag and poured its contents onto his hand, two beans and a note that read: Toss as high as dreams allow.

Rather than question the note, JD pulled his arm back and tossed both beans that flew higher than he would have ever thought. Their trajectory split into opposing arcs and he heard a crashing in the distance and some rumbling.

As most rumbles do, it started soft at first and grew into a terrifying rumbling where it sounded as if the land were groaning. The women continued their maniacal dancing, stomping their heels hard and JD could see as the ground seemed to crack beneath each step.

“Get off the Jelly-gas!!” he shouted and it was impressive how fast both women snapped out of their dance trance.

In the nick of time, they stepped off the cracked blob and stood next to JD. The sudden rush of wind took them by surprise as the peninsula broke off the land bridge leaving the jelly mess behind.

“What’s going on?” asked Cate and JD pointed at either end of the newly launched island. At the edge of each direction, a huge wing flapped and pulled the island gracefully towards the sky. The wings had to be a thousand feet in length and their soothing movement brought calm and a smile to Cate’s face.

I know you’d seen floating island in Draem, Master Estrada, but how about a flying one?”

The young man smiled in return. “It’s always wonderful to surpass expectations and you do that often, luv.”

With a tear in her eye, Cate could only shake her head from side to side. “How can I thank you?”

“The ride is all the thanks needed, no worries. Though be sure to schedule that visit. Your village is brilliant. Oh! Almost forgot, Miss Tia did want me to give you a note.”

“Tia? As in my dog Tia?”

“Ah... that explains a lot. She and Basil send their regards and love, whilst also asking me to give you this note.”

Taking the piece of paper, Cate wondered out loud. “What’s it say? What’s FYDO?”

For your dreams only,” said JD as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “This message is neither for me nor Claudette, just you.”

“Ok, so now what?” Cate asked.

JD smiled calmly and allowed himself one last look onto the blue horizons. “Now we wake up.”

With a huge gust of wind, Cate found herself laying on a bundle of pillows and finding her balance. At the head of her bed was her ginger cat and at the foot of the bed was a beautiful chocolate Labrador, deep in sleep.

She smiled as she scratched the sleep from her eyes. “So tell me, what have you two been up to while I was away?”

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