Thank you coming along on this blog adventure! I was pleased to receive feedback after the first portion of the story posted (you can read it here). Not only did you provide feedback, but Audie wrote a portion of this part of the story!
Nothing keeps an author going like knowing she has readers who are enjoying the story. Please continue to read, and if you feel like it, comment or contribute.
Without further ado, our continuing saga…
He knew patience, as only a creature whose life had spanned the rise and fall of empires could know patience.
He lay in darkness, in no hurry to stay, in no hurry to move. He was not waiting for anything, but he was still waiting for something.
Then, he felt it. A prickle. Something like an itch on his front left leg at the spot where he had been injured some time ago.
How long had it been? A few months? Years? Maybe a century or two? It was difficult to keep track of time napping in total darkness.
He reached across his body to rub at the itchy spot, and heaved a long and heavy sigh.
“Dag nab it. Who’s calling me?” He stretched his muscles, moving vigor–a dragon’s vital fluid–through his limbs and to the tips of his wings.
“Bet I’m gonna have to go out and deal with some other of them dang-blasted Dragon Shooters again. They can be more of a bother than a hat full of head lice on a hibernatin’ bear. Bad enough way back when all they had was magic lances and swords. I could just fly up in the sky right over them, and laugh while they had conniptions down on the ground. Then they went up and learned to make project…produc…confound it, what is that word? Ah, projectiles, that’s right. Projectile weapons. That was just fighting dirty, it was.”
He belched, and a plume of smoke released from his nostrils. The vernacular from the last time he visited the human realm was his favorite from any of the ages. Better by far than all the thees and thous and –ests.
“Can’t be helped, I guess. Them’s the rules. Gotta go see what’s up with that scale of mine, what went missing all that time ago. Now, where is that confounded exit? Ain’t been out in so long, I plumb forgot how I got here.”
Laurel woke in a warm violet haze to heat against her face and a question lodged in her brain.
Are you ready for the good to be real, as well as the bad?
As she moved away from the heat, the violet light became brighter. At its center, almost too bright for her eyes, pulsed the indigo gem. Laurel shifted her gaze away, dark spots floating in her vision. Movement out the window caught her attention. She leaned over the edge of the top bunk and caught a glimpse of a large shape slither behind some brush. To big to be a snake, yet serpentine in its movement—it had to be a dragon.
The gem’s glow waned then went dark.
“Coincidence? I think not,” Laurel whispered to herself.
She shimmied down the bunk bed’s ladder and exchanged her PJs for yesterday’s clothes, still conveniently located on the floor near the bed. She stuffed the gem into her jean pocket and tugged on her cowboy boots.
“What are you doing?” Her sister’s groggy voice prodded her heart to race.
Hopefully Alexa was just talking in her sleep again. “Going to the restroom. Go back to sleep.”
Alexa’s voice was more alert this time. “Dressed and wearing boots?”
Not sleeptalking then. “I saw something outside. I’m gonna go peek and see what it is.”
Alexa sat up, smacking her head against the upper bunk in the process. She groaned and rubbed at her head.
Laurel winced. “Ouch. You okay?”
“Yeah, but I don’t think you should go outside. We can go in the morning after Mom and Dad wake up. You know Dad, he’ll want to go hiking anyway.”
Laurel eased open the door to the outside, glad their quirky cabin had separate doors to the outside in each of the main rooms. “Whatever I saw will be long gone by then. I’m going now, but I won’t be gone long.”
She tiptoed across the worn wooden porch and jumped off onto the dirt path leading from the cabin. The full moon cast a white glow over everything as if God had left a nightlight on for her use.
In no time, Laurel sped across the yard and over the swing gate that protected the cabin from wandering horses. Cicadas’ trills camouflaged the sound of her movements. Laurel never thought she’d be glad of the noise the annoying insects made.
Dashing to the scrub brush where the serpentine form disappeared, she peered around the bush.
Moonlight pooled over soft indentations and wide swept areas of sand. Dragon tracks? It was hard to tell with her boot prints everywhere.
“Laurel, wait!” Alexa’s cry carried over the cicada chorus, but Laurel wasn’t about to listen to her big sister try to talk her into going back to the cabin. Not yet.
She followed the sweeping tracks through the maze of scrub brush, eyes scanning the ground and ahead of her for any sign of the creature. Something snagged her elbow and she let out a yelp of surprise. Laurel turned to see Alexa, her sister’s round eyes as large as the moon.
The stone in Laurel’s pocket flared a bright, hot indigo and the ground shifted beneath them with a large pop. Laurel hit the ground on her rump as her sister tumbled on top of her. Frustrated, she pushed Alexa off, finding it difficult to read the expression on her sister’s face in the dark. What had happened to the moon?
Laurel searched the sky, expecting to find clouds rolling across the face of the moon. What she saw made her stomach fall like a sickening roller coaster ride. The moon was no longer full; instead, it hung in the sky like the Cheshire Cat’s grin from Alice in Wonderland.
WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN NEXT?
Laurel and Alexa don’t realize it yet, but they’ve been transported to an alternate dimension–the place the dragon usually lives. Obviously, part of the story is going to deal with how they get home. Here’s the question for you:
Do they need to find the dragon to get home or does the dragon help them find the way home?
Comment with your ideas, questions, or contributions. Who knows, your idea and/or contribution might end up in next week’s post!