I woke to screaming by Natalie and Kate. I had been yelled at a lot, so thought nothing of that. I did wonder why Kate was there, though. Her territory was the Pacific Northwest, whereas Natalie looked over the Great Lakes area. I had the in-between up to the Rockies.
“Why’s Kate here?” I said. At least I thought I said, the words echoed and muffled in my head.
They were still screaming, but I couldn’t make anything out. I tried to sit up, but couldn’t. I was sore, everywhere, as if I had spent all day yesterday working out. I felt drained, too. I was out of lightning and air, which was not generally a good thing for a storm rider. We absorbed both ambiently, and I had been full up not that long ago.
Or maybe not. How long was I out?
“Whoa!” I made the time-out T with my hands. “I can’t hear you, so save your voices.”
The muffled sound was gone, but the echo was still there.
The two women looked at one another and began speaking in what I assumed was quieter tones. Their mouths didn’t open as wide.
Kate nodded to whatever Nat said, then they waited.
Ten minutes later, and I was able to hear clearly. I still couldn’t sit up, though.
“What the fuck happened?” I asked.
“You tell us!” Kate yelled.
I shrugged my shoulders.
“Reilly, what’s the last thing you remember?” Nat asked.
Nat smacked me upside the head. Kate followed on with her own.
“Ow. Okay, I was cloudsurfing chasing this . . . thing. Seven tentacles on its butt. I hit it with some lightning and it went down. Don’t’ remember anything after that.
The women looked at one another. Kate hauled on one arm and Nat the other, getting me to a sitting position.
I looked around. I was in a crater.
“This is not my fault.”