I’m surrounded by cattails. They jog the memory of the egret, tall and reed-thin. Something not quite reight about those spindly legs, the curved beak tucked to its breast, the eyes like beads of volcanic glass.
I turn slightly, and it’s there: tall, dark egret shape, the head cocked in study of me. I jolt, flashes of thought (egret – Mumbler – run) slamming through me, but my feet are rooted, and I nearly fall.
I was draped over the arm of one of the most beautiful men I’d ever seen, and he was staring into my eyes.
“Think.. Brad Pitt,” I whispered. The dark brown eyes still regarde me with remote interest.
Okay, I was on the wrong track.
I pictured Claude’s last lover, a bouncer at a strip joint.
“Think about Charles Bronson,” I suggested. “Or, um, Edward James Olmos.” I was rewarded by the beginnings of a hot glow in those long-lashed eyes.
I had Random.org select a % and it selected 29%.
As if I’d manifested him with my thoughts, there he was, in all his smiling, five-foot-ten, non-avatar glory, walking into the bowling alley with his old crew, Jon and Xavier. They were laughing, presumably at something hilarious Xavier must have said, and seeing Caleb’s energetic, genuine mirth was more than my poor, unprepared heart could handle at the moment.