This is a cute little story. I truly enjoyed it
There was a sound coming from the central square. A sound they’d never heard before, so smooth and soft, so beautiful. There was something in the tones, between the tones that made the world seem like a better place, the sky a bit bluer, the problems lighter to carry.
There was a man sitting there. He had a strange widget in his hand, a box with many strings and a bow, but it was not for hunting. They all stood and watched, listened, paralysed by the calm beauty in his melody. After a long time he stopped.
The world came back. The bad harvest, the accident last week. All the problems.
More! Said the blacksmith. Please, play more!
Yes, the others agreed. Please!
I’ll be back tomorrow, the man said. He disappeared around the corner and into the forest.
The next day they heard the music again, this time from…
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Shadow enveloped Mitch as he stood outside the Golden Calf Pub. A cold drizzle fell, adding an additional layer of misery to the already frosty autumn air. It was almost time he thought as he tugged the collar of his ugly tan trenchcoat up to try to get some warmth. I would be warmer he mused if I had bothered to wear clothes under this trench coat. Despite the chill biting through him, he luxuriated in the freedom he felt without the confining clothing entrapping his body.
The time on his silver wristwatch said 2:00 am. He rubbed his frosty hands together and waited for the inevitable flow of people coming out of the bar. Sure enough, the crowd of tired and drunk humans teetered out the door. It was then he saw her. She was taller than most women, maybe nearing 6 feet. Her wavy, flaming orange hair was beginning to be matted on her head from the rain. Despite the chill, she wore only a white low cut blouse and a tight leather miniskirt that barely covered anything. Her shoes were 6” matte black stilettos.
Mitch gaped at her voluptuous body and thrilled as the rain rendered her shirt slightly transparent, and revealed that she wore no bra over her buxom chest. She was perfect. He hoped she would go off on her own. Focusing on her eyes wide, he tried to will the girl away from the other patrons.
Against all hope she stumbled down a side road alone, stilettos clicking loudly on the pavement in unevenly. His mouth stretched into a toothy grin, but there was nothing mirthful in the gesture. His eyes glittered with lust as he began to cross the empty street to follow after her.
He found her again under a streetlight, leaning heavily against a wall on an elbow, head hanging from her neck unsteadily, half her face shining in the beam of the lamp. The rain had made her clothes cling even tighter than they had when he first saw her, the light silhouetting her perfect form. Breathing heavily, he stalked closer, not wanting to move under the light, but unwilling to let this one get away. He stopped about 5 feet away, haunting the shadows of the moonless night.
After a moment, she pushed herself off the wall with an audible grunt, and took stumbling steps down the street, clicking loudly, giving Mitch a clear way to follow her. He moved quickly through the streetlight, listening for any sign she might have noticed him, but her steps continued unabated. Good, he thought a cell call could end his game real quick.
He followed her shadow through the pitch black streets, and an animalistic grin crossed his face. She had turned down an alley, one he knew had no exit. He hurried down the shadowed and rain soaked alley to finally get what was his.
She stood at the end of the alley, back to him, leaning on both hands against the wall. No escape now he mused and reached into a pocket pulling out a 6” blade, which glittered under the light of the sole streetlight that reached into his trap.
“You are beautiful.” Mitch spoke in a husky tone “and you are mine. Turn around slowly so I can see you. I am armed, and have no problem with dead prey” He stretched his hands magnanimously. “Although I prefer alive and kicking”
She turned slowly, face entering the light. It was ethereal, symmetrical, smooth, with a wry grin. The visage was too perfect, it seemed unreal.
“Oh no” she said sarcastically “whatever shall I do?”. Her drunken swaying had ceased and she stood towering over his short stocky form, hand on her hip the other curled as if to use her perfectly manicured nails as claws.
He stepped back, confused. Prey never acted like this. They begged, they screamed, they cried, and usually bled. This was not how she should act. He needed the look of terror. The understanding of her impending doom. Still, she was perfect, and he would have her.
He reached down with he free hand and unknotted the belt holding his coat closed. Cold air flowed in around his body, prickling his skin. The predatory grin returned, and he was sure she now knew what he meant for her.
She had watched all this silently, mouth curved upwards, and her bright green eyes piercing through him. “That’s all huh, I expected something a little more – substantial. Guess that’s why you take your girls by force, huh?”
A burning flush washed over his face “How dare you!” he waved the knife and walked towards her. She stood still, smirking at him, taunting him. She won’t be so smug when the knife cuts her. Then she’ll show proper fear. He charged, shining blade flying towards her chest.
The woman let out a deep breath and rolled her eyes. She held a hand in front of the advancing blade and the knife crumpled like tissue paper. “Well I gave you a final chance to back off, but I suppose you are irredeemable” her voice was filled with regret. She began to stretch higher, her body becoming unreal, too perfect. Two extensions began to grow from her back, sprouting feathers and becoming great wings. Her clothes disintegrated, immediately replaced by a flowing gown. She closed her right hand and clenched the wooden handle of a great spear, with a gilded blade. Her body gave off an ethereal light, filling him with a strange sense of calm.
That changed when her piercing green eyes fell on him. He felt a tearing feeling in his soul, and tears filled his eyes. “You are now feeling the pain of your victims. Do you feel it? 15 victims. All helpless, violated by you, then killed slowly. Their bodies dismembered and hidden where they won’t be found.” her voice boomed mightily at him, like a chorus.
“I’m so sorry.” he sobbed “they were things not people, I never even thought of their pain. Please forgive me” he dropped to his knees.
Imperiously, she stared down at him, her feet rising away from the rain soaked pavement. The chorus rang out again, mercilessly “No. I will not forgive you. If you want forgiveness seek it from my Lord. I am only vengeance.”
He never saw the blade move, only felt it strike his manhood. A horrific shriek echoed throughout the alley. “That is for your first victim, Jessica, she was a babysitter on her way home when you met her.” Striking again, the spear thrust through his shoulder, and again she told him his victim’s story.
This continued, her golden blade striking methodically into elbows, ankles, knees and more. With every blow she listed off another name and story. Mitch wailed and begged, but the emerald eyes only glared mercilessly. It seemed like hours of agony, the litany of sins burning into his mind, entering his consciousness. After an eternity, Mitch lay prone, covered head to toe in wounds, mouth open in a silent scream.
“You will live. Your wounds do not bleed, but you will be an invalid, weak and helpless. At every moment the names and stories will echo in your mind, with no reprieve. You will not be allowed to commit suicide, should you try I will come and ‘save’ you.” the chorus was cold, emotionless. “You will live every day in pain and misery, remembering your sins, living to a ripe old age.” she turned away from him, then turned to look over her shoulder “Perhaps if you pray to the Lord each day, and do good works, He might give you a reprieve and allow you to die early. Enjoy your new life. You worthless piece of filth.” She rose silently, wings outstretched, floating into the heavens, leaving Mitch crying in the pouring rain, alone.
My feet are making flapping noises as I run. The red carpet isn’t as soft as it looks. My chest hurts. My voice is coming out in little breaths. I think I heard a deep voice behind me. Even though I’m tired, I try to make my legs go faster. They burn and hurt. Looking around I see lots of white doors. Maybe one of them can save me. Stopping, I knock on a door, and a grumpy voice yells “Leave me alone!”
A lady’s voice sounds far away, but it sounds closer than the last one. I start running again. The hallway was huge and went on forever. I want to stop, or hide but there is nothing around me. My chest hurts. Tears are running down my face. Why won’t they leave me alone?
I shout “Leave me alone!” then put my hands over my mouth. That was stupid, now they could find me. The lights were blinking, making shadows all over the place. It was super scary and I wanted to turn around but that would mean getting caught.
All of a sudden I come to a fork in the hall. I look both ways and can’t decide which way to go. Hearing another voice, I start going down the left way. My legs wanted to stop but I was too afraid. A room with no door is in front of me. I hear humming from it, and I think I might be able to hide there. I look in and the room just has some machines in it, but they are too close together to get behind. I run as fast as I can again. I hear a voice again and it sounds louder.
I try to get my legs to go faster again, but they hurt so much I am slowing down. I begin to sniffle and try to wipe the tears away. My legs won’t go anymore, so I begin walking. I see the end of the hall and there are no more turns. A big plant sits at the end of the hall so I get behind it.
For a long time I ducked down there, then I see them, mommy and daddy and they are staring at me. Mommy’s forehead is all crinkly and she is frowning. In her hand is a small suit. Daddy walks right over and picks me up.
“I can’t believe how naughty you are being right now” mommy said. “Running away from our room completely naked. After this wedding you and I are going to have a serious talk about your behavior. And you forget playing with your tablet for a long time.”
She took the small pants and put them over my kicking legs. “I don’t wanna be a ring bearer!”
Not every farm grows belladonna thought the weathered, wizened man. Mine does. The deadly nightshade is my best crop. Reaching out with gnarled fingers, he pulled off several leaves and a flower off one plant in the rows and rows growing in the field. He dropped the pieces into a pouch hanging from his belt. The farm stretched for acres around him. A cool breeze nipped the air, and spectacular reds were starting to form on the nearby maple trees. “Time to harvest the corn” he mumbled, walking back towards the ramshackle house. Its white paint was peeling, and grimy green shutters hung loosely on broken hinges, only by some miracle did they still cling to the house. One flapped wildly in the wind, clattering against the cracked siding.
The old man was not looking at that though. He instead stared at the immense limestone tower that connected disjointedly to the rest of the house. It rose high above the tiled roof, and was leaning at an impossibly awkward angle, at the point of collapse but miraculously holding on.
Walking quickly the farmer entered the home, and started up the rough hewn stone steps that rose into the depths of the tower. His legs ached, joints flaring with arthritis, but he pressed on, ignoring his protesting limbs. At the top was a stone room, walls covered with faded and threadbare tapestries, depicting bizarre creatures and covered in blazing runes that bathed the room in a pale red light. The center of the room held a great iron cauldron, sitting in a pentagram that glowed blood red. The giant vessel was spotted with rust, and a greenish liquid roiled inside it, giving off acrid fumes that burned in the man’s nose and throat. The only other thing in the room was a scrawny brown dog with wild unkempt fur. Its eyes were closed, in a deep canine sleep.
The dog raised its head as the old man entered, opening its eyes, which gave off a sickly yellow light. Did you get it? The dogs thoughts echoed through the man’s mind.
“Course I did” growled the farmer, pulling out the deadly nightshade he had collected, throwing it into the cauldron. The liquid swirled and changed to a sky blue.
How long had it been since the demon was summoned into the old bitch? 3 years? His thoughts floated back to the ritual he had performed to summon the fiend. It involved taking a bitch who had just given birth. He had tied the dog in the center of the circle, the poor creature cringing in fear. He then took each of her whimpering puppies and ran a jagged blade across their wriggling necks, letting the blood flow into the symbol. The resulting roar as the infernal creature was sucked into the dog still echoed in his mind. The demon refused to give its name, but it was helpful so the farmer ignored the slight.
Do you remember the words? Thought the dog who wasn’t a dog.
“I ain’t senile yet” the farmer growled in response.
Voice straining the ancient man began chanting “O pater Chronos tempus inuocantem te” a tempest of wind roared from the cauldron whipping the wisps of hair on the farmer’s head crazily “aperire suas aedes ingreditur sanctuarium ut temporis tectis!” his voice was carried away by the wind, which began to spark with green flames.
The dog grinned a human grin, distorting its face in unnatural angles. State the time! It thought, the voice ringing clearly in the farmer’s head despite the roaring winds.
“O decem et novem!” he screamed into the raging cyclone.
The sound of claws tearing through flesh drowned out the howling winds, and a jagged crack ripped across the floor, opening to a sky of a thousand millions stars shining a thousand colors, some shades recognizable, others no mortal being had seen before. The man and the dog tumbled into the abyss, floating down into the sea of stars.
Falling in felt like he was a trickle of water running down into the chasm. The farmer slowly recognized that each star held a place in his chosen time. He firmly grasped the scruff of the dog’s neck and his eyes drop closed, mind wandering over the endless sea of places. Time passed quickly and slowly, warping around and through them while in his mind the man gazed at a thousand places until finally his consciousness came to rest on the where he wanted.
With a thought the man floated towards a glowing red star. As it grew larger, the crimson light changed into a swirling gate. The pair passed through the vortex and into a blackness as silent as the grave. After an infinitely long and fleetingly short time they landed roughly in a cobblestone street. Nearby a stocky brick building with arched windows sat next to an open air marketplace with a fountain in the middle. The smell of sewage filled the air, mingling with the smells of freshly baked bread and pies. Hawkers called out about their wares, and a small boy stood off to the side selling papers and yelling the headlines for all that would listen.
Shouts and noises washed over him, as the foreign words echoed strangely in his ears. Frowning, he pulled out a small pewter model of a face with an open mouth. Biting his finger, he opened a small tear in the flesh. Putting a droplet of blood into the pewter mouth the farmer mumbled “Mercurio, deo verborum me verba intelligunt de Austria” Sound warped strangely and the words changed in his mind, understanding washing over him.
He wandered the market for some time, the dog keeping pace, still holding its cheshire grin. Soon he spotted what he was looking for. A thin, greasy young man in threadbare clothing on an ancient blanket, with canvases placed neatly over it. The paintings depicted scenes of the beautiful city they found themselves in. They approached and looked at the paintings. I still disagree with you but I can’t prove it. Let us ask a stranger for their opinion. The dog’s thought echoed in the man’s mind.
“Fine.” he said and approached a man standing nearby. “Good morning” said the farmer “I have something of a bet going with a friend and I was wondering of you could settle it for us?”
The man was slovenly, wearing a ripped shirt and rough woolen leggings “Yeah fine. Whatcher bet?” his voice croaked, reminding the farmer of a fat bullfrog.
“Well, we are wondering what you thought of that young man’s art?” the farmer said politely.
“Wassat?” the frog man said and looked over at the blanket. “Oh him.” he hocked and spat onto the cobblestones. “His work is shait. He never sells a thing and spends most of his nights at the Good Sisters Home for the Lost. He’s a boil on the ass of the city. Nothing’ll ever come o’ him.” He spat again and wandered away.
“Hah!” the farmer yelled triumphantly “I told you Hitler was a terrible artist!”
Fine. you win. You can keep your soul for now… but next time it will be mine. The demon thought to the man, the unnatural grin falling from its face.
The armor clanked loudly, almost drowning out the sounds of hooves clicking on the cobblestone. The knight looked around, eyes moist and red rimmed. The surrounding lands were charred and the acrid smell of smoke permeated the air. Red and yellow light reflected off the knight’s silver armor, as cracking flame still flared among the remaining few trees still standing. Continuing on his path, the land turns to open countryside, broken by smoldering wooden fences. There were wisps of smoke rising from the blackened ground. Scattered around were steaming piles of gore from cattle and goats, great hunks of flesh torn from the carcasses.
The knight knew who must be responsible, it could only be one beast; the great dragon. He had heard stories of its fury. It was said the creature threw torrents of wind under its batlike wings. Great gouts of flame bringing death down upon the once pristine landscapes. Its neck and head were serpentine, with eyes glowing the color of amber. Its gaping maw was filled with yellow dagger like teeth, stained brown and red with gore. The beast lived far from the kingdom, across tangled and stinking jungles, over a barren rock face, and through the scorching unrelenting desert.
Nevertheless, he clicked his tongue and pushed his spurs into the sides of the muscled chestnut stallion he rode. The creature pulled itself taut, threatening to toss its rider to the side, but the knight tugged firmly on the reins, and its powerful muscles dropped slack and it began to pump its powerful legs swiftly, clacking loudly.
The sun rose and set twice, with the knight and steed stopping only when the night swallowed the path into darkness. During these times the knight’s sleep was rocked by visions of smoldering homes, and the piercing screams of children. His dreams brought the creature to life, all muscle and sinew, gouts of blue and red flames bursting forth from its horrid maw. His heavy eyes bursting open. He fed his small campfire for the remainder of the night. In truth, none had seen the beast. Only one peasant, torched by the beast’s fires claimed to have heard an ear-shattering roar, proof enough for the knight that the dragon was involved.
The next day he reached the edge of the jungle. Great trees tangled with vines reached high above him, putting the undergrowth into a murky twilight. He could hear the hoots of some animal or another, and the clicking sounds of insects filled the air. The smell of must and decay assailed his nostrils. The small opening between trees would not allow for the great horse to pass. The knight sighed as he opened the faded leather saddlebags, pulling out rations, water, and other necessities, loading them into a woolen rucksack which he slung over his shoulder. The weight pressed his armor down upon his flesh, pushing through the padding so he could feel the bite of the seams of his armor. Shrugging, he turned to the horse, striking it firmly in the rump. The beast reared dangerously, then turned and charged away down the dirt path towards the castle. The beast was headstrong but it knew the way home.
Stepping forward, the knight hacked at the thick, stringy vines with his shining blade and strode into the jungle. Hours of chopping and squeezing through the dense undergrowth found the knight consumed by the gloom, with no sun or stars to guide his path. His shoulders drooped and his head whipped around searching wildly. He sighed, followed by a deep inhalation. He lowered himself downward til his knees sunk into the squelching mud. Crossing himself, he bellowed out into the gloom. “Oh Lord, please guide my path through this place of darkness and despair. I seek to avenge your flock and see justice done in their name! May your glory guide your simple servant to the lands beyond. Amen.”
Stiffly he rose and felt a holy light fill his body. Squaring his shoulders the knight continued, his shining sword now stained green from the slimy vines. For three days he wandered the jungle hacking a path, arms straining, and struggling through undergrowth until he finally stepped blinking out into the warm sunshine beyond. He scanned the area, his heart rising in his chest. Sure enough, his eyes alighted on the sheer rock cliffs he sought. The aching knight faltered a bit seeing miles of land ahead of him, but soon shook himself and began moving, feet pounding a steady rhythm with his mud-caked silver boots.
The trip took the rest of the day and was over smooth, flowing grasslands. He breathed deeply, smelling the aroma of grass and flowers Finally he found himself looking upwards at the sheer rock face. Only small lips and stones jutted out from its side. The knight lowered himself to his knees, grass brushing across the chest plate of his armor. He reached a hand upwards, shoving his metal mask to his forehead revealing a dirt-caked face with streams of sweat pouring down from his brow. His legs felt leaden, and his shoulder aflame under the weight of his sack. His shoulders drooped and body went slack. He slid the bag off his shoulder, which dropped roughly to the ground. He laid back in the tall grass, and soon his heavy eyelids drooped and closed, his breath slowly rising and falling.
Shrieks of terror tore through his mind, the heat of flames nearly consumed him. Homes crackled slightly, blackened boards lying in heaps. Twisted corpses littered the ground, faces unblinking, mouths locked open in a silent scream. The knight’s eyes flew open, and his body shot upwards. He quivered with quickly rasping breath. He stayed that way for a moment then lowered himself down to the rough ground. Motionless, his dark rimmed eyes staring at the cliff face till the sun peeked over the horizon.
The cliff rose upwards, monolithic and unassailable. He pushed himself to one knee, voice echoing across the grasslands “Oh Lord! Please give your child the strength to avenge your flock.” The knight lifted himself from the ground and released the straps on his metal gauntlets and boots. The gloves dropped to the ground with a crash, and he struggled with the metal boots, forcing them off his feet. He picked them up and placed them in his sack Shoving aside unwanted items he recovered a pair of soft leather boots, which he slipped over his blistered feet. Digging further he recovered a pair of kid leather gloves, fingers removed. These he slid onto his aching hands.
Feeling the cliff face, his questing fingers found a small crack just higher than his head. Sliding his fingertips into the rock, his muscles tightened, and he pulled himself up. Holding himself with only his fingers, he slid his feet across the featureless surface, searching for footholds, and finally resting on some protuberances of rock. After hours of pulling, scrabbling and running his fingers over the sheer surface, the knight’s lungs blew out ragged breaths, the muscles in his arms spasmed slightly, and his legs felt like jelly. Looking upwards, hoping for the upper lip to lay nearby, but the face stretched far above him. The knight squeezed his eyes closed, a breathy groan escaped his cracked lips. Dropping his left arm he tried to shake some strength back in his limbs, then switched arms and shook the right. Grunting with exertion, he slid his hand up the face seeking the next handhold.
Through the day and night, he climbed, finally hauling himself over the edge. He lay there for hours, his arms leaden, fingertips red and raw, and legs lying uselessly behind him. Slowly he rose and looked at the desolation before him. The sun baked the shifting sand, a hot breeze blowing, promising but not delivering any relief. Reaching into his sack he pulled out a waterskin which sloshed heavily and let water flow down his parched throat. His mind crossed the years, to his childhood when desert nomads told him stories of their barren home. “Don’t hoard your water.” they told him “Most who travel the desert die with water in their skins. Wait for the night, for it is cooler and the sands will not burn your feet.”
Heeding the advice of times past, he dropped to the sand in the sweltering heat, waiting for the sun to sink. While he waited he emptied his rucksack before him and carefully took stock of the items inside. A few pieces of salted meat and three dry biscuits, it may last him two days if rationed carefully. He ignored his growling stomach as he packed his things away. His head drooped, eyes devoid of life. There would be no return trip. No honor to be gained, he would die on this quest. Still, he thought as he lifted his head to see the sun slip over the horizon. He would avenge the lost before he died.
Temperatures dropped swiftly, heat giving way to a bitter cold. His breath steamed through his mask, the constant pumping of his legs warmed his aching body. He guided his way by the stars, keeping his path firmly to the north. As the sun rose over the horizon his legs gave out, dumping him unceremoniously to the sand. He pulled his skin to his parched lips letting the warm water run down his dry and cracked throat. The incessant heat beat down on him, turning his metal skin into an oven. He struggled for a time, unbuckling straps and tugging away at pieces of the suit. For a few short seconds it was a sweet relief, but the beating sun still shone down, causing rivulets of sweat to pour down his body. The unrelenting sun took a toll on the knight’s skin, as it rapidly changed from a pale tan to a deep crimson that radiated heat. Looking at himself he saw small bubbles form in his flesh, painful to the touch. As the day passed he ate a stale biscuit and a tough piece of beef, and let his diminishing water supply quench the agonizing thirst. Night fell, and the knight pulled the heavy pieces of armor over his raw and blistered skin, the pressure forcing air through his gritted teeth. Resolutely he rose and tromped unsteadily through the icy winds of the desert.
The knight squeezed his eyes to slits as the bright sun climbed over the horizon. The warm rays outlining a great spire of rock, rising like a spear from the sands. The base of the mountain gaped into a huge opening, shadowy and dark against the bright sands. He poured the last few dribbles of water into his parched mouth, throwing the now useless skin to be swallowed by the sand. With military precision he marched towards the darkness. The sun was high in the sky when he finally stood on the rough stone at the mouth of the cave. The knight dropped roughly to his knees and offered a silent prayer. His foe only meters away he shuddered at the thought of awakening the beast. He desired silence as he entered the cave, but his metal sheath groaned and shrieked as he walked, piercing the tranquility of the endless desert.
The giant beast dominated the cave, its huge body’s breath rising up and down slowly, moving shadows in strange shapes on its scales. Its huge talons glistened in the light of a fire at the far end of the room. The bulging muscle lay placid on the stone. Its sinuous neck stretched across the room connected to the wedge-shaped head, amber eyes glowing and teeth stained yellow. And it was wearing spectacles.
He shook his head, hoping to clear away the strange sight. He looked again and saw it was indeed wearing spectacles, the tip of its long nose rested in front of a leather tome easily the size of his arms spread wide. Casually it flicked out its thin tongue, turning the page in its book. The knight stared, head cocked sideways and mouth slack. Dragon were terrors of brimstone and death, he had never heard of one reading. No matter, he thought the beast must pay.
Honor demanded a confrontation, man to beast, not an ignoble stab to the unaware. “Dragon!” he bellowed, causing the creature’s head to pop up and its eyes to widen. “I have come to slay you for the destruction of my fair kingdom!”
The dragon slowly removed the spectacles with two razor-sharp claws and lay them gently on a table. He then lazily turned to look at the knight, his scaly brows furrowed.
“Hmm,” he said in a surprisingly tenor voice, though it boomed, echoing through the dim chamber. “I don’t recall razing any countrysides recently. Can you tell me where it is? It might jog my memory.”
The knight again bellowed forth “I come from a land across the desert through the jungle and across a great plain. I traveled many days to reach you and now that I have you shall be slain in the name of the Lord God!”
The dragon looked upwards and muttered to himself. He then lowered his head and said “No, I’m sorry that wasn’t me. It must have been someone else. Sorry you had to travel all this way. Would you care for some tea?”
The knight stuttered for a moment, forehead creasing and mouth moving silently. Shaking his head he then shouted “Of course it was you! The land was razed in flames!”
“Well,” the dragon said brightly “there is a flame-breathing giant salamander who lives in a swamp far closer than I to your kingdom. Perhaps it was him. Do you like sugar or cream in your tea?”
Without thinking he said “cream” then ground his teeth. His voice echoed through the cavern “You can’t fool me, beast. The cattle of the land were all mauled and eaten! No salamander would do that!” He nodded his head resolutely.
The dragon was silent for a moment, back turned to the knight, clinking noises filling the air. Finally, he spoke “That settles it then. It must have been the wyvern two mountains down. I don’t care for cattle in the slightest, I much prefer pig.” His slender neck turned to face the knight and his claws held a porcelain cup, with cherry trees dropping petals gracing one side.
The dragon pushed this in the direction of the knight who took it without thought and raised the cup to his lips. He held the aromatic tea in his mouth savoring the fragrance and slight bitterness, mellowed by the rich cream. His hand froze in place, mind dragging him back to the present. His color rose to his cheeks as he again heard the screams of children echo through his mind.
His head shot up, eyes slits, his face red “Damn your tea, and damn wyverns. The destruction of my home was all your doing!” He threw the cup down onto the stone floor. With a delicate crunch the mug shattered sending porcelain and tea flying. The knight’s hand dropped to the hilt of his blade, sliding it smoothly from its sheath and raising it menacingly at the beast.
The dragon’s eyes were alight with a flaming orange glow. “That was fine china!” it voice blasted through the room, leaving the knight’s ears ringing. “From a complete set! Do you know hard it is for a dragon to find a full set of fine china?”
The knight bellowed “Damn your china! You will have no need of it now. I will destroy you in the name of God and Kingdom!”
The dragon clicked its tongue and opened its mouth. Heat and smoke issued forth, followed by a great gout of blue flame. The knight’s mouth dropped open, but no sound emerged before the flames engulfed him. His body blackened in the intense heat and his shining armor melted down into so much slag.
The dragon raised its head, and shook it slowly “That kingdom is full of barbarians. “ he muttered “Who would be so rude to destroy a prized piece of china like that? I wish I HAD razed that kingdom.” he cocked his head thoughtfully “Well, the castle must still be there, or where did the knight come from? Maybe they have a new set of china? Perhaps even a book or two?” He smiled, sharp teeth glinting in the firelight. “Yes. It’s definitely worth a look. Where did he say it was? Across the desert, past the jungle and over a plain? I think I know where that is.”
He stretched his wings and strode out of his cave, earth shaking at his steps. He pumped fiercely, hurricanes of air swirling beneath the force of his thrusts as he rose from the ground. Wings thrown wide, he soared across the desert as the sun dropped over the horizon. Rising higher, the dragon muttered grumpily about his ruined china.
I ran into the house, tears filling my eyes, with sobs shaking my chest. Breanna and Jessica were the meanest girls on the planet. I remembered how they had made me cry today. They had grabbed my pink pony backpack, opened it and dumped everything out. I had to crawl around in the dirt, picking up my stuff while they kept kicking and stomping my things. When they finally got tired of their mean game, they shoved me down, laughing.
They made me cry everyday. I wished I could get back at them but they were bigger and meaner than me. My eyes burned from crying. I yelled to mommy, but there was no answer. I walked to the kitchen and found a note stuck to the fridge. Wiping my eyes I read “Had to fly off for a meeting. See you later. If you get hungry there are snacks in the fridge.” She had drawn a big smiley face on it.
My tummy felt icky and I didn’t get a snack. Instead I decided to work on my clay model. Climbing up the stairs, My tummy felt a little better when I got to my room and saw the statue standing there. He was made of green modelling clay, with what I thought were big muscles and a wolf-like face. His legs were just stumps of clay but I didn’t care about those. I sat down and began by smoothing a rough spot on his nose.
I continued pulling off bumps, squishing and rubbing bad parts for a long time. I accidentally stretched his nose too long, so he looked more like an alligator. That kinda bothered me, but it would mean starting over again to fix it and I didn’t want to do that.
Finally he was done. I picked him up and carefully hugged it, so he didn’t get squished. I whispered to him “I bet you could stop those meanies.” Careful not to smoosh him, I took it to the next room where we had a special table set up for special things. This was a special thing so it really belonged there, I decided.
After a long time I came downstairs. Now I was super hungry. Opening the fridge I found a nice shiny red apple. Going into the living room I grabbed my backpack. It was dirty, and streaked with mud. My eyes filled with tears when I took out my homework and it had a big shoe print on it. I didn’t cry though. Instead I started figuring out my math problems.
It took a long time to do the homework, but I got it done. Mommy got home while I was working on it. She fixed dinner. It was meatloaf. Yucky, but I ate anyway because I was so hungry. I told mommy about the mean girls, and she said she would call the school. I didn’t want her to because the girls would just be meaner if I told. She said it was important. I sighed and asked to be excused.
Going to bed I thought about my statue monster and smiled. Then I fell asleep.
The next day Jessica and Breanna were waiting for me. The two girls looked the same, tall, skinny and with blonde hair. I was short, with black hair. I ducked down and tried to get around them. It didn’t work. They each grabbed one of my arms. “Time for a bath.” Breanna giggled. I struggled as much as I could when I saw them dragging me towards a mud puddle. “Ready, Emily?” I didn’t know which of them said it, being too scared to pay attention. Then there was a crash, and the girls turned their heads and screamed. They then dropped me with a thud. I turned and there he was, my monster. He was big now, and walking quickly towards us. The other kids ran in every direction, screaming and yelling. Breanna and Jessica tried to run too, but the monster caught them by the backs of their shirts. He picked them up high in the air, and they screamed. I looked around for teachers but they were not here. That was weird but I didn’t mind. It too much fun listening to the girls screaming.
“You will never pick on Emily again or I will come back, and it won’t be nice for you.” His voice was very growly and sounded scary. I just had a smile on my face. He then took the girls and tossed them 3 feet through the air into the mud puddle they were gonna drag me into. He then walked off. The two girls were terrified, and I just walked up, smiling. The two muddy girls just ran away from me.
The next two weeks of school were great. Every time the girls saw me they would either run away or be very nice. I didn’t get pushed in the hall, picked on with mean jokes or threatened with mud puddles. I was sure that the girls had learned their lesson, but I was wrong.
On a Monday I got to school to see the blondes standing in front of the gate. That made me a little nervous but I smiled at them and walked towards them, expecting them to run like normal. Instead Breanna grabbed me and threw me down, and Jessica walked over and sat on me, fist raised to punch me.
“I dunno what trick you used, but I know monsters aren’t real. I think you need to learn a real lesson for tricking us.” her voice was harsh. She started to bring her fist down as the screams came. I was hit, hard, in the eye, and was ready for more when suddenly Jessica lifted off of me.
I looked up to see my monster holding her by the waist. He flipped her butt first in the air, and smacked it hard. The girl screamed in pain but he didn’t stop. Then he threw her on the ground. Breanna had tried running while he was busy, but two long steps brought him to her. She dropped to the ground crying saying she was sorry, but my monster didn’t care.
It picked her up and just like Jessica he flipped her over, and smacked her bottom. She screamed. I bet it hurt more than Jessica, since the other girl was wearing jeans, and she was wearing a thin skirt.
After a time, my monster dropped her, and again he spoke to the crying girls. “I warned you once.” he growled “Next time I will make you disappear and nobody will see you again.” He walked away from the two crying girls. I rubbed my hurt eye, sure it was going to be black, but I didn’t care. It was too funny watching them hold their butts and cry. This time I bet they really learned their lesson.
The next month was even better than the two weeks before it. My eye looked bad for a couple of days, and my mom called the school again. Jessica and Breanna admitted they had done it, and cried about the monster that hurt them. The principal didn’t believe them of course and they were suspended for two days. After that the two girls either avoided me or were super nice, sharing their desserts at lunch and offering to do my homework. I just smiled every time they saw me and enjoyed how scared they looked.
It was Monday again and I was tired. I went to school, and didn’t see Breanna and Jessica anywhere. They were usually super nice to me in the morning now, so I felt a little confused. I went to class and almost fell asleep while my teacher was talking about clouds. Finally the school lunch bell rang, and I walked downstairs to the cafeteria.
Today was spaghetti day. That was ok, I liked pizza day better though. I walked through line and got my food. I walked out into the cafeteria and Jessica and Breanna were standing there. They didn’t look like they meant to be nice.
“I bet that monster can’t get us here. We’re inside and it’s too big to fit through the door. So I think we can teach you a little lesson.” Breanna reached over and quickly flipped my tray up onto my nice white shirt. Then Jessica poured a full carton of milk over my head.
My eyes filled with tears and my cheeks burned. I looked at my ruined shirt and decided I hated them. So much it hurt. I wanted to see them punished, but as usual they dodged the teachers.
Suddenly there was a crash, followed by screams. The whole wall had been smashed and there stood my monster. It walked through the cafeteria kicking over tables, scattering food everywhere. Jessica and Breanna turned and ran, but they were not fast enough. He picked them up by the waist and shook them roughly.
“So you still didn’t listen” he growled “I hope you said goodbye to your family because now no one will ever see you again.” He waded through the wrecked cafeteria and left.
I smiled as they disappeared. It was not a happy smile, it was a mean one. I thought about that day so long ago, when I had made the monster. After I made it, and put on the special table and stuck a piece of each of their hair in the monster. I had grabbed the day before when I tried to stop them from shoving me into a trash can.
I stood where mommy had told me to stand and began to chant in latin a spell to create golems. It took a very long time, and made me real tired and hungry. It was so worth it though. Mommy even said she was proud of me when I told her. I laughed a mean laugh while teachers came flooding in and herded everyone out of the cafeteria. No one ever figured out what happened, and no one ever saw Breanna or Jessica again.
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