Raymundo leaned over the touching pool. The clear water allowed him to see the sand, coral, meandering urchins, friendly sting rays, sticky sea stars, squishy sea cucumbers, and shiny conchs. But his eyes kept getting caught in the bright green eyes Lucky was using for the day. Platinum blond hair accentuated the tanned look they chose.
“Put your hands in the water.” Becky nudged him with her elbow, “Or Ray will never pet the sting ray.”
“Right.” Raymundo chuckled along with her and placed his hands palms down into the water. Ignoring the awkwardly slow winks from Lucky, he tried to concentrate on the test: taking samples from the creatures without anyone noticing.
First was the strange feeling of threading his phenogland tube through his torso, up by his shoulder, down his arm, to make a tiny bulge in the tip of his pointer finger. It was in now in position for a quick retrieval, but even as his fingertips ran along the rough skin of the sting ray, he hesitated in actually taking a sample.
Raymundo knew the creatures would hardly notice anything, as Lucky had pricked him with their phenogland tube and he wasn’t even sure which of her pats to his shoulder was they one they had gotten his blood sample from. He didn’t bleed at all after the fact nor was there any other sign of the sample being taken.
But even with Lucky encouraging him with looks from the other side of the pool, he couldn’t help but worry about what could happen if someone else noticed. Lucky’s child was already being held captive, if weird rumors started flying around town about a man sucking up blood through an organic bodily straw who knew what could happen with him.
Yet… who knew when Raymundo would get another chance to be taught all the things he should know about being a shape shifter. So when the sting ray paused to suck a shrimp out of Becky’s fingers, Ray slid his hand over, pricked the ray with his phenogland.
With so much intense focus on the tube, he could feel the drop of blood get sucked in. He made sure the phyenogland was hidden once more under his skin before he darted his eyes around the room.
The ray he had just pricked was just continuing his lap around the tide pool. Becky was either still giggling about Ray petting a ray, or she was giggling from the sensation of a ray eating from her hand, but clearly she was focused on the pool. Almost everyone had their attention on the pool. The aquarium staff member was still giving a lecture. Only Lucky was looking at him as he glanced around.
She smiled. Test passed.
Word count: 458