Short As Fictober #11: “Early Dragons”*

*I’m feeling especially tired this evening, so tonight’s piece is shorter than some of the stuff that’s preceded it. It’s fortunate that tomorrow’s prompt is “Ash” as it will allow me to continue the story I’ve written tonight. I’m looking forward to exploring what happens with our protagonist and this dragon that has claimed him.

Ten years beyond the big Ocean Rise, the first of the dragons flew ashore. People freaked out, though not as much as you might expect with the revelation that dragons were real. I think a lot of that had to do with their size. These early dragons were much tinier than anyone expected. If you’ve ever gotten the chance to take a look inside one of the old science magazines, you might have seen pictures of iguanas. The dragons were the exact same creature, except their heads were narrower, and they had wings just above their forelegs.

I wasn’t born yet when the first dragons arrived, but whenever I asked Grandma and Grandpa about them, they always said that no one really feared the creatures, but that people did get annoyed with some of the winged lizards’ habits: roosting on roofs or in attics; terrorizing small animals; and starting the occasional small fires. But everyone just sort of dealt with it. They didn’t want to mess with the dragons too much for fear that they’d take off and never come back. So they’d call animal control who weren’t really equipped to work with dragons, no matter how diminuitive the creatures were, and they’d go about their day.

The big dragons winged ashore a year after I came along, and their presence told a different tale than that of their smaller brethren. The new monsters ranged in size from orcas to grey whales, and where their cousins were bothersome, they were absolute terror. Many people were burnt and/or snapped up by these big dragons, including my parents. One moment they’re walking out of a grocery store to their, and the next they’re cooked and devoured. 

I was at Grandma and Grandpa’s house at the time, so I was spared. Because I was so young, I didn’t know my parents, so it was hard for me to miss them, but I did miss my chance to have known them. 

My grandparents have done their best to bring me up in a world on fire, but I know it’s not what they had in mind. They never thought they’d be parents again, much less trying to parent while constantly worried about one or all of us being eaten, or the house catching fire. Which is why, beyond asking the occasional question about the time before, I left them alone. This eased some of the tension, but it sure made for lonely days and nights.

I was very much adrift in a world that didn’t understand what it was or what it wanted to be anymore, and I had no idea how to navigate those fires. Until one day, a dragon claimed me as one of its own.  

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