From Writers Exchange
“Doc?” Daniel resisted the urge to yank on his guardian’s sleeve. He felt very small and lost.
A rocky mountainside spread around him, sloping downward to the foot of the Silver Mountains reservation. This was where all the rangers and investigators and scientists who had studied wind and rain directions and angle of descent said he should have come through the mountains, that day he was found.
“Daniel?” Khyber stood on his other side, bracketing him between her and their teacher. “Are you okay?” she said, dropping to a whisper, and squeezed his shoulder. “You’re white.”
He shook his head, though now that she said it, he did feel a little queasy.
This was wrong. Very wrong. He looked at a row of three trees and his mind told him he should see a pile of boulders instead. He saw a gouge in the landscape where water runoff had worn away softer soil between the bedrock of this slope -- memory said he should find slabs of moss in scarlet and purple, and a slight mound instead of a gap in the rock. Daniel tried to remember the wind and rain and flashes of lightning Khyber had described when she went through the same storm only a few hundred yards away.
Something did flicker at the back of his mind, a memory trying to surface, but he got hazy images of sunshine and trees and emerald lawns and heard flickers of laughter.
Those shadowy creatures from his dreams were there, though. Big and black, towering over him, only the jewel-toned eyes distinct in sapphire, emerald, and a deep purple that made him think of snow-topped mountains at dusk.
Dr. Harland linked their arms and drew him close. “What’s wrong?” He signaled the ranger retracing the “scene of the crime” to stop.
“Sit him down,” Khyber urged.
Daniel grinned crookedly as he realized that the world was tilting. He leaned against Dr. Harland while Khyber dabbed at his face with her red bandanna and the contents of her canteen.
A cat-like creature with green and silver fur peered through Khyber’s loose hair, perched on her left shoulder, watching Daniel most solemnly.
That was enough. He shut his eyes tight and clenched his fists and wished the illusions to go away.