Friday, June 15, 2018
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
"Once more!" The dragon growled, one taloned paw hovering above my head. With a sigh, I leaned against my sword and shook my head.
"The rules were best two out of three. We're already at ninety-two to fifteen, in my favor. Can I please just have the treasure and safe passage you promised?"
Letting out a puff of smoke the dragon gave another growl as he twisted his head to look at the scepter of Mis-so-muh, the fabled relic I'd been sent to retrieve.
No one had told me it was guarded by a dragon. Just as I'd conveniently forgotten to mention that I wasn't a knight from some far off kingdom seeking to do great deeds, but actually an apprentice stage magician.
And by apprentice, I meant that I took care of Mister Marvelous' tools and the equipment for our wagon.
So what made me think I could steal a costume that looked like a real knight's armor, a trick sword whose handle could make fake flowers sprout long the blade, and pass myself off as a hero in order to gain the reward for fonding the scepter?
Obviously, it was a girl.
She's a famous adventurer. She gets all the cool stories to share at family dinners. She's always laughed at how I was content as a stage magician's apprentice.
But unlike my sister, who would have slain the dragon within five minutes of finding its cave, I panicked and instead challenged him to a duel of rock-paper-scissors.
And now the dragon is hooked on the game, and I will probably never get to leave.
"I will keep my oath, on one condition." The dragon turned back toward me, his outstretched paw moving to gently grasp the scepter.
"What condition?" I asked, hoping it would be something simple, and not threatening to my life. I'd leave the adventuring to my sister from now on.
"After you have delivered the scepter to those who desire it, you must return to compete in another of these bloodless duels." The dragon bared his teeth in a gesture I'd come to realize was a dragon's competitive grin.
I'd created a monster. And if I said no, the original monster would decide it was time to eat me.
"Sure," it was only because of my apprenticeship that my voice didn't shake, "we could go for best fifty-eight out of eighty-seven."
Friday, June 8, 2018
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
The water was still, reflecting the moonlight across the pond's small surface.
A bush quivered as something small darted out from beneath it toward the pond.
And in an instant, the night's silence was shattered by a haunting howl.
The creature darting toward the pond faltered at the sound, before hastening to move faster. All it needed to do was get to the water, and it would be safe.
But the smell of sulfur was getting stronger, and the pounding of pursuit was coupled with the hiss of smouldering plant life.
Hot breath on its tail, and a hungry growl that almost made the fleeing creature freeze in fright.
Smooth pebbles beneath its paws, chill from their position at the pond's edge.
Pain, pain, pain.
Rip free from the clenched jaws, even if it means sacrificing part of the creature's tail.
Barely a splash as it enters the water, tension finally easing now that the creature is safe in the pond's cool embrace.
Distorted growls as the monster of heat and flame paces along the now steaming pebbles, furious that its chosen prey managed to get away.
But the creature safe beneath the pond's water knows that this won't be the end. Eventually, it will need to leave the pond, and the monster will be waiting.
They've been at this hunt for centuries, after all. One day, the creature would be too slow, or the pond's water would fail to heal its injuries, or the monster would finally figure out how to destroy the pond.
But for now, the creature would enjoy its moment of safety.
Friday, June 1, 2018
1. Learn how to cook. What better time to experiment in the kitchen than when many people take vacations?
2. Go camping. Because there's too much snow to camp in the winter.
3. Read books. Maybe then your to read list will shrink a little.
4. Dance in the rain. Because a summer storm in a great waltzing partner.
5. Stargaze. A clear summer night out in the woods is lit by so many stars.
6. Sleep in. Because sometimes the best idea is to take an extended nap or two.
7. Watch a movie. Get the projector set up in the backyard and enjoy a summer night at the home drive-in.
8. Eat all the cookies. Because there's no need to share with the class during the summer.
9. Go swimming. Since it'll be refreshingly cool in the water.
10. Make new friends. Whenever you go, a new friend could be waiting to meet you.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Sizzling meat, an open fire, and a family gathered together to feast.
Children run through the grass, full of giggles in their play. Their parents watch for a moment, then return to their conversation.
The weather remains nice, fulfilling the promise of a relaxing day.
Moments like this don't come often, and the family is determined to make the most of each minute.
For the time they spend together is precious, and they know it as a gift.
Friday, May 25, 2018
1. They breathe fire. Are you fire-proof? No? Then stay away from that cave.
2. The can fly. Climbing to get away won't work. In fact, you'll be quite easy to pluck off of a cliff from the air.
3. They have sharp teeth. The better to rip and tear tasty trespassers.
4. They also have sharp claws. Do you really need both arms?
5. They are very protective of what belongs to them. All that gold is the dragon's, and so is that pile of treasure, and that pile of armor and weaponry that used to belong to various knights and warriors.
6. A broody dragon is doubly dangerous. If you see even a hint of a dragon egg, it is too late for you to escape. The mother knows you're there, and she will ear anything to protect her clutch.
7. Dragons are smart. The intelligence of a dragon ranges from "bestial obsession to destroy all enemies", to "having calculated fifty-six ways to kill you and add to my hoard at the same time".
8. Most of them are bigger than you. And the little ones make up in speed and devious cunning what they lack in size and brute strength.
9. Did I mention they have excellent senses? And should one sense be weak, the others make up for it in their sensitivity.
10. Dragons hold grudges. So if you manage to make it out alive, the dragon you just stole from will make every moment from then on a nightmare for you; until it finally robs you of all that you hold dear, destroys any who try to help you, and then only after your transformation into a shattered version of yourself is complete, will the dragon finally kill you in the most painful way it can imagine.