Human-dragon shape shifters, Sapien Draconi, are shifting unexpectedly in public. A solution needs to be found before the two-leggeds discover, dissect and destroy their species.
In a world full of anomalies such as the platypus and the self-reproducing Komodo dragon, is the human race willing to accept the fact dragons may be real?
Sapian Draconi, dragon-human shape shifters, all over the world face this dilemma every day. The question has become life-and-death as their species is plagued with unexpected and unwanted shifting in the most unlikely of places.
The Ancient Ones, full-blooded dragons, can offer advice, but few seem to put forward workable solutions to the problem.
The fate of the shape shifters hangs in the balance, and an answer must be found before the Homo Sapiens find, dissect and hunt to extinction their kind.
Aleda crawled from her sleeping bag and, individually, stretched her muscles. She'd always enjoyed camping. It was the only time she slept well. Something about the unpolluted air, the nights sounds of nature and knowing there were no other people about produced a sleeping potion no doctor could recreate.
She dressed warmly against the morning chill and meandered to the stream to get water for coffee and cooking. Not having done much the day before, her ravenous hunger puzzled her.
"Must be the good mountain air."
She made coffee, scrambled eggs, and toasted bread with a slender wire camp toaster, which she held over the fire. As she sat in her chair enjoying the taste of food and quiet of the surrounding woods, hair on the back of her neck began to stand on end and her skin tingled.
She shook off the feeling and poured another cup of coffee. The sensation of eyes observing her movements overpowered her senses and her amulet began humming, the sound increasing in volume with each passing minute.
"Enough!" Aleda tossed her plastic plate to the table with a clatter, stomped to her tent and retrieved a heavy coat. "I'll nip this foolishness in the bud, right now!"
She hesitated as she started to storm from the camp. 'Camera.' Quickly returning to her tent, she stomped away from her personal sanctuary, Nikon in hand, stomach complaining.
Half a dozen paces from the camp, after wreaking a rushing flurry of birds into flight, Aleda realized, if she was to find out what was inducing her amulet to hum and her hair to stand on end, she would need to slow her pace-think before she stumbled into trouble. She proceeded into the stand of trees serving as the backdrop for her camp.
Sauntering to nearest the evergreen, she placed her hand on the bark and felt a buzzing sensation tickle her palm. Aleda stumbled backward, dumbfounded by the commotion stirring within her. Logic and reason said she shouldn't be sensing anything by touching the tree.
"This whole trip is turning out to be totally illogical."
Aleda narrowed her eyes and concentrated on the skin of the tree. She began to see small creatures scurrying up and down the grooved surface of the bark, the scene recalling the Marquam Bridge merging into I-5 at rush hour. She pulled deeply of the air surrounding her and discovered she could taste ponderosa, yellow pine and western larch trees tinged by intermittent bursts of avalanche lily, trillium and huckleberry.
Another deep breath captured faint blackberry and raspberry sensations. Standing very still and concentrating with an intensity she'd never utilized, Aleda began to recognize the buzz of life around her. In her ears, insect sounds whispered from every direction, her skin reverberated with the movement of air caused by birds flying and bees busy with spring activities. When the scene before her began to waver and tiny flashes of white light popped in her vision, Aleda realized she'd quit breathing.
She pulled air into her lungs and crumbled to the soft pine needle and moss covered forest floor.
"What is happening to me? Why haven't I seen these things before?"
"Because you were too busy ignoring them."
Aleda loosed a shrill, piercing scream and jumping from the earthen floor into a defensive standing position, she whipped her head from side to side, her turquoise eyes narrowing to miniscule slits.
"Who’s there?" Completing a full circle, she found she was unable to locate the origin of the rumbling voice.
Silence met her question.
'That's stupid. What am I going to do if someone steps from behind a tree? Hit him with my camera? Why has my amulet stopped humming?'
As she stood scanning the forest, her muscles tensed in readiness, a cacophony of rustling to her left snatched her attention. She sniffed and wrinkled her nose. There was the rotten egg smell again. Not as strong but still hanging in the air. She began an unsteady withdrawal, her breath scrapping raggedly against her throat.
The sounds of skittering pebbles and crunching dead leaves moved her direction. Aleda felt the air ripple then spotted a large, scaled, greenish-grey talon ten feet away. She opened her mouth to scream but nothing came out. The light shafts coming through the overhead forest canopy began to luminess eerily just before the blackness overtook her.