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not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment

The Sansibels

by KC

They’d called him the Dragon Whisperer. On national television. Chris gathered his coat from the green room and stalked out. He should have known better than to think the show would treat what he did with any respect; it was a talk show by a D list celebrity after all. Disgusted with himself and the world in general, Chris went home and got drunk, which was how he dealt with most of his problems.

He was awake before the phone rang, but he wasn’t really happy about it, so he snarled into his phone when he answered it.

“I bet you get lots of business with that sunshine attitude.”

What the hell? Chris checked the caller ID. He had no idea who this smart ass was but it wasn’t a friend. “Depends on what kind of business you’re in. Who are you and what the hell do you want?”

“My name is Nick, and I want to hire you.”

Chris stalled a moment. Work he could use, work meant money and money was always a good thing. “How did you find me?”

“Well,” and here Nick paused, “I saw you on Maury Povich.”

“In that case you’re wasting both your time and mine. I’m no Dragon Whisperer. I won’t be able to speak sweet nothings into the ear of the Damask you bought over at Pet City and make him light candles for you at dinner parties. So, thanks but not thanks and good bye.”

“Do you ever get business with this approach. Good grief. I said I saw you on Maury Povich, not that that’s why I called you. I did some research after I saw you. You come highly recommended from people who actually respect what you do. And you do have a website.”

He did, actually. But it wasn’t exactly what came up when you put ‘dragon whisperer’ into Google. “I do. All right, you’ve got my attention, tell me what you’ve got.”

Nick gave him a basic idea of what he wanted and Chris interrupted him here and there to ask more questions, searching for the details he needed. By the time Nick finished, Chris knew he would be doing the job, regardless of Nick’s ability to pay his fees. There was no need to tell Nick that though.

“I have to make a living you know. I do charge.”

“I know. I’m prepared to pay.”

“Great. Once your payment clears my bank, I can start.”

“I’ll have it to you by morning.”

Chris sighed. He was probably looking at pocket change, a few hundred dollars. A few thousand if he was really lucky. Blessed by the connections he’d made doing his work, Chris had few bills, but he didn’t have much either and usually he lead a hand to mouth existence. This Nick would be just like the rest, but perhaps Nick worked at a cellular store- Chris could really use an upgrade on his nearly four-year-old cell phone.

Apparently, Nick worked for something a little better paying than a cellular phone kiosk at the local mall. At least he did if the driver who arrived in the morning to accompany Chris to his bank for the funds transfer was any indication. Once the transfer was complete James, which was actually the driver’s name, returned Chris to his house where an SUV was parked out front. Chris didn’t exactly live in a SUV neighborhood.

“James, what the hell is going on here?” Chris looked at the rather sturdy looking man at the wheel of the SUV.

James turned in his seat. “You saw the amount of that transfer. This is serious to Mr. Carter. If you’re not serious tell me now, nobody will hold it against you.”

Chris swallowed. “Carter. That’s who Nick is?”

James nodded sagely. “He’s a good guy, Chris. He’s not his mother and he’s well thought of by the people who work for him.” The implication was clear, leave now with no bad feelings or leave later and possibly feel the wrath of James and his well-built associates.

“No worries. If he’s the guy he was on the phone, we’re fine.” Chris got out, but leaned back in to make a parting comment. “I assume I’ll see you again.” It was statement, not question.

James gave a curt nod of his head.

Nick was inside the multi-family house Chris called home, leaning against the wall at the top of the staircase, which lead to Chris’s floor. Nick Carter’s picture had been plastered all over the newspapers and television for years. He was his mother’s prize cow until he’d turned 18 and inherited his trust. After that he’d been in the news all on his own. The media loved a family in opposition, especially a well off one. The Carter Family was the best of the best, both in money and disagreement. Nick was the groomed son who had decided instead to be a Preservationist. For a family whose fortune had been built on building, expansion and Progressionism, Nick’s choice was a public slap in the face.

“I admit, you surprised me when you could pay in full, and in advance.”

“I’m serious about what I’m doing.”

Chris nodded and let him in. Nick was as naturally appealing in person as he was in the photos Chris had seen. Perfect face to promote the fresh air, fresh food lifestyle he campaigned. “I’d have figured it out last night when you called if you’d told me your last name.”

“Eh. I find that money usually impresses people into confidence faster than my name.”

“I can see that. So, you have dragon troubles?”

“Actually, no. I have dragons in trouble.”

Chris was impressed. And intrigued. He motioned for Nick to continue.

“I have at least a dozen dragons that need your help. To start. These are free dragons, no breeding or cloning.”

“Natural dragons?” Chris had run into a few natural dragons, but they were getting rarer and rarer. The breeders were focusing on miniatures these days. Dragons no larger that a cocker spaniel with short flight capabilities but mostly just as pets for their spoiled children or party tricks for friends. Natural dragons ran the gambit in size and capabilities. Chris had seen them as small as birds and one the size of a Clydesdale horse.

“A small herd was found on a island off the coast of Florida. The local Preservationists tried to tag and release them, but press overtook them and the local animal control came in and caged them all. People are claiming they pose a threat to society.”

“Threat? I don’t understand. Dragons are not violent.”

“You and I know that, but, between all the ridiculous stories and their size...” Nick trailed off.

“How big are they?” Chris knew better than to let hope build, but it did anyway, just a small bit, deep in the corner of his heart.

“The smallest is ten feet at her back and the largest is fifteen.”


Nick smiled. He felt the same way. “Yeah, whoa.”

Forty-eight hours later, Chris and Nick were on the island. Nick had an actually small house there and they were staying there. Nick knew the people at the animal holding center and he’d arranged for a visit.

The moment Chris walked into the holding pen, his senses went up. They were unlike any dragons Chris had ever come across. They varied in coloration like seashells, which shouldn’t have been surprising given their location. Some of the smaller ones had luminescent peach scales in waves over their backs and one of the largest has scales that were brilliant blue underneath their sandy tops. Chris walked into the center of the pen and spun in a slow circle. From the side, Nick watched as Chris’s eyes widened and then fell shut. Something that sounded like singing started.

Chris waited. He could hear them and in a moment they’d hear him. He hoped. He resonated as loudly as he could and after a few minutes he felt the tentative brush of a dragon against his hand. Chris opened his eyes and smiled.

Nick stared. “Whoa,” he said in a quiet whoof of breath.

Chris stayed in the pen until all fifteen of the dragons had approached him. He never moved from the center of the pen, never called to the dragons and never opened his mouth. It was the blue under-scaled that had come out first, tentatively butting his nose up into the outstretched hand and finally allowing Chris to give him a small pet. Two small identical dragons followed, using their heads to butt against Chris’s side tickling him. They were twins; both with a single luminescent scale mid-forehead.

Eventually the dragons had shared as much as they could with him about their history and how they were being treated; even that one of the female dragons was set to lay a clutch of eggs soon. When he’d finished he conveyed comfort and reassurances and then excited the pen.

“It go okay?” Nick looked worried.

Chris nodded in return. “It went really okay.” He smiled as they walked down the hall and then neatly collapsed onto the floor.

“I passed out, didn’t I?” Chris could see a figure sitting in the chair in the corner of the room. Physically, he felt pretty good, if wiped out, so they must have dragged him back to the house.

“Cold. You should have warned him.” James leaned forward and clicked on a light.

“He didn’t need to know until I saw them.” Chris felt around for his glasses and, when found, shoved them on. “Nothing he could have done about it anyway.”

“Bullshit.” Chris blinked at him. James continued, “We both know he could have at least helped a bit. Or I could have, any one of us actually, your choice.”

“How do you know so much about this?” Chris was really starting to wonder exactly what he’d gotten himself into. Nick had taken his communing with the dragons as easily as the sun rising and now the chauffer was offering him, well, physical contact of an intimate nature. “And why are you offering to sex up a virtual stranger?”

James laughed. “I have odd taste in partners. Plus, I would do anything to help Nick, as would and of us. As for Nick himself,” James paused. “Let’s just say Nick admires others who fight for what they believe in without waging war.” He got up from his chair and sat next to Chris on the bed. “You still need to recharge?

Chris nodded. “Not like that. I’ll sleep it off.”

“I’m not suicidal. I saw him carry you to the car last night. No way, I’d get in his way. But, I can do this.” James gathered Chris into his arms and laid them both down on the bed.

Chris sighed as James resonated around him and nodded off, a soft ‘thank you’ on his lips.

Some time in the night, Nick had taken James’s place and Chris woke chest to chest with his employer. “You didn’t hurt him, did you?”

Nick raised an eyebrow at him. “James? No. He was instructed to help you recharge any way you chose. “ Nick’s voice got softer. “I just hoped you’d only take him up on a low level.”

Chris sat up. “You guys have certainly done your research. When do I get to go back to the dragons?”

Nick sighed, but got up. “Tonight. We can actually stay all night tonight. You’ve got a week to teach them before they’re transferred and possibly killed.”

“That’s tight. I’m going to need some things or resonating for eight hours straight will be a one night show.”

Nick handed him a pencil and paper. “Make a list, it’ll all be there tonight.”

“Money sure has its privileges.”

Chris’s list had been easy enough to come buy. Amplifiers and his bizarre array of music had been purchased at a local music store and Nick had made a schedule of his people who were willing to sit in the pen with Chris to feed him resonance, each would be equipped with something that made them happy. Positive resonance was the most charging.

The night went fairly well. Each one of Nick’s employees came in with a smile and sat with Chris, some with books, some with music and James with a camera. They all sat behind Chris to maximize physical contact. James took pictures during his time with Chris, never letting go of Chris and smiling like a loon the whole time. He only left when Nick came in and tapped him on the shoulder. When Nick had settled in, arms around Chris and face nuzzling his neck, James leaned in and kissed Chris on the cheek before leaving. Chris smiled in return; the dragons followed James with their eyes.

“They like you.” Chris told him softly.

James looked pleased.

Chris could actually walk to the car in the morning. Nick held him in his arms and asked simple questions about their progress. Chris answered as best he could.

“It’s not as concise as speech, which is why it’s draining. We’re not really speaking on the same language plain, I just have the ability to translate it enough to get my point across and understand them.”

“Are we going to have enough time? I can arrange to have them stolen and secreted away, but they’ll just get caught again. And this island is their home, I’d really like it if they could stay.”

Chris smiled. Nick really did have the herd’s best interest at heart. He was a good person and pretty nice to look at. Chris kissed him impulsively. Nick looked surprised, but pleased. “When we’re done here, you can ask me out.”

“Until then?”

“Until then we concentrate on the dragons.”

Nick sighed, but agreed. He could wait.

For three nights Chris spent the night in the pen. Nick’s employees rotated in and out, sitting with Chris, feeding his energy and the dragons grew restless. A few attempted to fly and bumped into the ceiling fence and the twins had begun to quarrel. The herd leader, the large dragon with the brilliant blue under-scales, huffed a great deal more than usual. Chris did his best to comfort them. Nick always spent Chris’s last hour, and his breaking from contact with the herd, sitting embracing Chris. He never brought a book or radio and finally Chris asked him what he thought about to resonate so happily.

“I’m imagining them free on the island.” Nick smiled, and then looked at Chris saucily. “And picturing you naked.”

Chris threw back his head and laughed. The night had gone well and he was fairly sure the herd was ready, but he had one more night and he was determined to be there. When they were done though, Chris was going to enjoy getting to know his boss better. “You’re a freak. Good thing I like freaks.”

Nick stuck his tongue out, but didn’t argue.

On their last night, Nick went in first. “For moral support” he told Chris. Chris didn’t argue. When it was time for his breaking with the herd James appeared.

“Nick’s worried his stress will stress you. He’s outside to take you home when you’re done.”

“He’s not worried about your stress?”

James’s smile faltered. “My stress isn’t tied solely to you.”

Chris conceded the point and leaned back into James’s embrace. The dragons resonated their confusion to him. They’d settled into the routine of Nick being there for the breaking as much as Chris had. Chris tried to convey his assurances, both of his faith in them and James. It was time to break from the herd. He hated this part. While resonating with them was tiring it was emotionally fulfilling on a level nothing else could touch. He would miss them once they were released from the pen. With reluctance he began the breaking. In the car on the way back, Nick made sure James sat with them. Chris in his embrace, but James close by, Chris’s hand on James’s. They were quiet and worried.

Chris slept through the phone but he didn’t sleep through Nick’s loud ‘whoop!’ or the subsequent shaking of Nick trying to rouse him. He pried open his eyes. One look at Nick’s face told him it had worked.

“They’re gone?” He had to ask, just to hear it out loud.

“They’re gone!” Nick yelled, the smile on his face bright as the sun. Chris joined him in an impromptu dance.

At sunset, Chris made Nick take him to the field where the dragons had been captured. James drove them out and stood by the car as they walked to the edge of the clearing. For a moment the air shimmered like a hot August day and then they were all there. The entire herd of dragons, safe and seemingly happy, in the center of the field.

Scales that had lost sheen in captivity shone in the sun and the twins frolicked at the back of the herd, flapping wings at each other and nipping playfully at their sibling’s tails.

“Wow.” Nick’s mouth hung open. “I never in all my wildest dreams.”

Chris looked at him for a moment, and quickly over at his shoulder to be sure James could see as well. “I did.” He counted them quickly and sent out his concern.

“What’s wrong?” Nick had noticed the look on his face.

One of the larger dragons, a beautifully sandy colored one, beat his wings for a moment and blew a plume of palest orange fire into the air. The dragons shuffled a bit around him and blew smoke, seemingly in agreement and support.

Chris nodded and the dragons spread their wings, beating them gently. The aired swirled and shimmered around them and they hovered in the air for a moment. The sun gleamed on them, casting out tiny points of light, like sparkle from a handful of diamonds or sun on the ocean water. “Nothing, she had her clutch. Four viable eggs.”

Nick’s face was awestruck. They turned to the herd and watched. There was a second where there was a sound like singing and then the dragons faded and were gone, the sun setting in blazing orange across the field now clearly visible. Chris took Nick’s hand and turned them back to the car, where James now held the back door open for them.

“You should feel free to ask me out any time now.”



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