I will be out of town next Saturday and Sunday, and I probably won’t have Internet access. I will do my best to post part three of World Without Color during the middle of the week of the seventeenth, and post part four, which should be the final part, on the following Saturday.
Peace all, and enjoy your holidays, whatever or wherever they may be.
Half an hour later, Tabitha wondered if she’d overreacted. The world outside their hotel hadn’t changed. The Florida sky still reminded her of the blue marble she kept in her treasure box. The water sparkled all around the boat where the ceremony would be held. And even though the rest of the wedding party wore black or white, most of the guests managed to keep their color.
The people running the hotel wore black and white, she thought. But they’d been wearing those colors yesterday.
“Unless the bad genie started with them before messing with my family,” she whispered.
Uncle Mark, walking on her right, glanced down at her. “What’s that, Tabbykins?”
She clutched her purse. “Nothing.”
He crouched, waving off Tabitha’s mom. “We’ll be right with you, Naomi.” He touched Tabitha’s shoulder. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”
She looked into his eyes and saw them change. Not to the yellow-green she’d come to expect before he switched to his scales so he could give her a ride, but to a different blue that shaded dangerously toward grey. She flinched, looking away.
Don’t think. He’s a telepath. Don’t think about…about anything! Tabitha focused on her white shoes and the boat’s dirty white deck under them until her mind was full of nothing but white and brownish grit.
She couldn’t feel Uncle Mark trying to get into her mind. Maybe that meant the bad genie hadn’t taken him over completely. But if his eyes, the tell for any dragon, were shifting to grey, he must be falling under the bad genie’s spell.
“Come on, Mark,” Tabitha’s mom said. “The ceremony starts in ten minutes.”
Tabitha watched her uncle walk away, glad when her mom didn’t seem to notice she hadn’t followed. But Grandma, Danny, and even Davy followed her.
Davy’s forgotten about helping. I’m alone. Tabitha backed up two steps, trying to see everyone on the boat at once. What if her Uncle Luke wasn’t here? What else could fight a genie besides another genie?
A shadow fell over her shoulder, darkening her dress shoes, and Tabitha whirled, retreating with her hands up.
Relief shot through her like when she’d eaten twenty pieces of candy in five minutes. She enjoyed the rush, but it left her unsteady.
Uncle Luke beamed down at her. “Hi, Tabbykins.” He offered her an easy grin as he settled into a cross-legged pose a little way above the deck.
Her relief vanished when she saw his white suit. “How long have you been wearing that?”
Uncle Luke looked down at himself. “The shirt?”
“About three minutes.” He held out his hand.
She didn’t take it. “Can you put on a red suit?”
“Nope. It has to be white.” He shrugged. Grinned. “Mark’s orders.”
“But what if…” She stopped. This uncle might not be under the bad genie’s influence, not yet, but he’d share whatever she said with Uncle Mark, and Uncle Mark was lost. “What if you spill something on it?”
Tabitha forced herself not to smile as another idea popped into her head. Please let there be lots of red and purple juice somewhere. If I spill lots of colorful things on my family, they should remember color. Maybe the bad genie would be driven out in the open. Then her uncles could fight it.
With my help. I’m the only one able to think past the white.
She bit her lip. For now.
Her uncle said, “I won’t spill. Promise.” He stood. “Come on, Tabbykins. We’re going to be late. It’s your job to toss the flowers, remember?”
“Yeah.” Davy’s gone. Uncle Mark’s gone. Uncle Luke’s almost gone.
Tabitha bit her lip harder.