Vision in Silver Page 123

“Not many humans to look after.”

“I thought she could split her time between the Courtyard and this community. And she doesn’t have to treat humans exclusively.”

“We have our own bodywalkers.”

“Yes, you do. But it wouldn’t hurt for the terra indigene to become familiar with human healing. To learn simple things, like how one of our healers takes a person’s temperature, or uses a stethoscope to listen to heart and lungs, or measures blood pressure.”

He couldn’t see the harm in any of those things, especially now that he needed to consider how much human the terra indigene wanted to keep. “I’ll think about it.”

<Simon?> Nathan called. <Meg is getting itchy.>

“It’s time,” he told Steve. “Go on up. We’ll be there in a minute.” He fixed his gaze on Michael Debany, then walked away, expecting the human to follow.

“Problem?” Michael asked.

“Merri Lee is your mate. Why was she holding Meg’s hand?” He hadn’t known he’d felt angry, or even threatened, until he heard himself snarl the words.

Michael blinked, swayed a bit, but didn’t actually take a step back. “It’s a girl thing. Friendship. Comfort. Nonverbal communication.”

Simon narrowed his eyes. “You’re not female, and you hold Merri Lee’s hand. That’s friendship?”

Michael smiled. “That’s friendship. But with me and Merri, it’s also romance.”

Romance. Something to think about. But right now, there was something else he needed to know.

Hurrying to join the rest of the terra indigene and humans assembled, Simon focused on Meg.

“I wanted you to see this place as it is now,” he said. “And then I’d like you to tell us what you see as its future. We need to know what we can do here. Can you tell us, Meg?”

“It would be like what we did the last time you made a controlled cut,” Merri Lee said. “You had focused on the Courtyard that time.”

Meg nodded. Then she twisted her arm to reach a spot on her back. “I can’t make the cut.”

“I can,” Emily Faire said. “And I brought a first-aid kit with me.”

Meg pulled the razor out of her pocket. After a moment’s hesitation, she handed it to Emily before sitting on the blanket, her legs loosely crossed to avoid pulling the skin on the knee that was still tender. After another hesitation, she pulled off her top. The bra adequately covered her breasts, but the thin straps didn’t hide much of her back.

Simon heard Emily Faire suck in a breath. So did Steve Ferryman. Merri Lee and Ruthie paled as they looked at the scars already on Meg’s back.

A thousand cuts. Someone had figured out that was all a cassandra sangue had before the cut that would kill her.

He refused to count Meg’s scars.

After Meg explained how to make the cut, and Emily located the exact spot where the skin prickled with prophecy, and Merri Lee indicated she was ready with her notebook and pen, Simon went down on one knee and looked into Meg’s eyes.

“What do you see here in the coming months? What can we build here? Speak, prophet, and we will listen.”

Meg kept her eyes on his as Emily made the cut.

So hard to be so close to Meg, to smell the fresh blood flowing from the wound and know how good it would taste, how good it would make him feel after he licked it up. But he stayed.

Connection. Communication. Friendship.

He saw the change come into her eyes before he smelled the lust of euphoria that filled her when she began to speak prophecy.

But this time, it was different. Meg looked around at the houses, at the land.

“What do you see, Meg?” Simon whispered.

She smiled. “Jackson is here. He’s throwing a ball for some of the younger Wolves. And there’s a gold cat shifting to human. Roy. I remember him. And a smaller cat. Pretty. Short tail and pointy ears. And people working in gardens and painting houses. A woman is feeding some chickens. Horses and carts. Cows and goats and sheep. Big shaggy animals.” She frowned, clearly searching her memory. “Bison.”

Bison? Simon thought. Here?

“Windmill,” Meg said. “Bus full of books. Lights in the windows. Wolves howling. Owl in the moonlight. The sound of a guitar. Laughter.” She sighed.

“That’s it,” Merri Lee said quietly.

Simon stepped away to distance himself from the bloody cloths Emily Faire was placing into a plastic container. Henry and Steve Ferryman joined him.

“Sounds like we don’t want to depend on the highest forms of technology for everything,” Steve said. “A windmill is Simple Life, but it would provide a mill for making flour and cornmeal at the very least.”

“Library bus,” Henry said. “Ming Beargard told me the other day that your village is sending a library bus to the places where the gards live on the island.”

“We’ve included those residents ever since we turned a bus into a rolling library,” Steve said. “But Ming and Flash Foxgard and a few other terra indigene were the only ones who entered the bus to make a selection. Now more terra indigene approach when the bus stops.”

“They can’t pass for human,” Simon said, understanding why they wouldn’t have approached before.

“No, they can’t pass,” Steve agreed. “For generations, the Intuits have shared the island and the work of providing food for everyone, but there was a barrier and most of the Others kept their distance. Something changed in Lakeside, and that changed things for us too.”

They all knew what had changed in Lakeside.

“If Meg can tolerate a little more new, I’ll treat you all to a meal at Bursting Burgers,” Steve said.

Simon caught her scent and turned as Meg approached. “I’ll see how she feels.”

Steve and Henry moved away to talk to the rest of their group.

“Did you get the answer?” she asked. “Is it . . . bad?”

Simon smiled. “Actually, it’s good. You saw the community we’re hoping to build here. Intuits living in some of the houses; terra indigene living in others. Farmers growing the food. Humans and Others working together.”

“That is good.” Meg’s stomach growled.

He laughed. “That sounds Wolfish.”

“I’m hungry.” She pressed a hand to her stomach. “Really hungry.”

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