Thunder Reader:

Just like a driver isn’t their car, you are not your body, Saint Bridgette used to tell me. Obviously, I didn’t have Motor Oil pumping through my veins. But there was more to it, I must have missed it because my first inclination was to tease her. Bridgette always got heated when I called her “Saint”, like it was real sacrilege. Part of it I think was that Thunder Readers can’t stand the church, another part her own self-depreciation. Since clouds started rolling over the Barrows, they could never swallow all the pomp and frivolity those Arthurians spewed. Saint always told me not to play with the Arthurians, especially the boys, cause their frequency was all out of whack. They’d go and fling themselves about in the mud during the rain and scare all the toads and dragonflies out their homes, and they wouldn’t thank a single Diviner!

And there I go, I’ve lost track again. I’m up by the Nimbus Trees, same perpetual grey and gloom as ever, and the Parallel Rods were going absolutely hoopy! I swear, the Rods act up and everyone flocks around them with their palms up like they were in the presence of Um’tak Sc’ziva themself. Whenever I’d act up, either everyone pretends I don’t exist or I get slapped by a child’s divining rod and scolded to “Let the air strike you” so they wouldn’t have to.

I’ve never been all that good a Thunder Reader. There are so many things I’d rather think about that watching clouds all day, fun things. Maybe I’ll pop Billy Arthur’s balloon one day to show him what for being so ungrateful to the forests. Oh, that’d show him!

“Elise.” Saint said, crisp as a doorbell.


“The clouds are getting upset that you’re not paying them attention. Tell them you’re sorry.”

“I would, if I was the one making such a boring reading lesson in the first place. Can’t we go catch frogs, Bridgette?”

And just like that, she fulminated me. The bitch!

OW! What in the blue hell did you do that for?”

“So you can listen, for once.”

It was like a Wet Willie, but with a zap of electricity that makes it a bazillion times worse.

Suddenly, the flashes made sense. All the way from across the horizon, it made me feel all kinds of sad I hadn’t felt two seconds ago. For a second, the puffy rose billow wasn’t a thing to stare at like paint drying. I picked up the other end of the conversation, even felt guilty a little for not having done it sooner.

“There you are.” Bridgette said. “Now, remember what I told you.”

“You are not your body. You are you, an essence that merely inhabits your flesh and blood form. Just as you can inhabit your body, you can dwell in the Nimbus Trees. It’s our gift as the Phrumer Lasandra, we are the storms personified.”

Elise genuinely concentrated after her initial success, and looked out towards the Southwest, across the Atlantic. She didn’t have to guess with the flash she saw this time, and what she read made her gasp.

“I’ve been hoping to speak to you for a while, little Lasandri. You indeed are a special one.”


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