The shapes appeared slowly at first. I thought it was just the stage lights messing with my eyes. Then the air got cold, my hair stood on end, and I saw it.
Behind the guitarist, a huge electric blue dragon curled itself around her body, turning its head to look her in the eye. She stiffened and glanced up like she knew it was there but didn’t want to get distracted. She smiled then, her first real smile that night, and began the guitar solo.
I had heard this song a hundred times online in the last two weeks, but hearing it live felt like the first time all over again. The crowd screamed, ecstatic and enamored. As the guitarist played, I watched this dragon lift up its head and, I swear, it sang with her. It hummed deep, guttural croons that shook the ground and thrummed inside my bones. It should have made me elated, but to my surprise, I started crying instead. The dragon’s voice made me think of my family, my grieving parents…and the baby that was almost my brother.
The music made my heart ache and soothed it all at once. I laughed as I cried, and I felt my friend tug on my arm. She yelled in my ear if I was okay. I wiped my eyes and nodded, refusing to look away from the stage.
My hands kept moving across the strings, but my powers pulled my astral self out of my body. I could see everything now. A thick, dark energy had settled around the crowd, like smog, covering the whole room. I saw it stick to one girl and drain something from her. She wasn’t far from me, but even from where I stood, I saw her eyes glaze over.
I directed my spirit self over to the left hand side, so the girl could look me in the eye. I heard the cue from our drummer and dove right into the solo. Wake up, I told the girl.
I felt my dragon—Cirrus– before I saw him, but it still surprised me that he chose to step through. I glanced up at his pale blue eyes. He answered my unspoken question. I saw her, too. And you’ve asked me to help you before, but I ignored you. The regret in his voice hurt my heart a little. I won’t let that happen again.
I couldn’t cry in that astral state but I wanted to. It’s an honor, seriously.
He smiled at me and turned his gaze right to the girl. With his head swaying to the music, he began to hum. I hadn’t heard Cirrus sing since last Beltane, and I soaked it up. His voice sounded warm and deep, like the rumble of thunder in a summer storm, and I tried to bring that sound forth from my hands into my guitar. The girl’s eyes came back into focus. She looked at us, and the smog rolled off her body in waves. She stood taller and more alert, as if she woke up from a dream. I held eye contact with her through the whole solo, until she blinked and shook herself, noticing the roaring crowd around her. She turned her gaze back to me and smiled, tears streaming down her face. I pulled my soul back into my body and let my own tears of relief fall. After tonight, she will sleep better than she has in a long time.