Once again, I was invited to take part in an Indie Authors Writing Advent Calendar run by author Katharina Gerlach. The topic for the Flash Fiction was “Dragons”.
After the Advent Calendar was completed in December, we were able to post our stories online on our own sites.
So in my continued effort to push my comfort zone boundary, I am sharing my new Flash Fiction here on my blog. Hope you enjoy!
They whisper my name with dread upon their lips. I am their nightmare. And yet, still they come, creeping steps to my home, to try their luck and take what is not theirs. To steal what I have.
The cave was warm, the air dry and lightly fragranced. Only a small opening above cast any light inside. That sliver of brightness gently caressed his rough bronze scales. Unlike his cousins from the South, the Sand Dragons, he bore jagged, puckered scales across his stout hide.
Around his head was a crown of twisted black horns, curling and spiralling back away from his face to arch over a long, serpentine neck. Shorter, stubbier spikes marched down his back and ended at the base of his tail. Its tip, weaponised with a three-pronged barb.
He turned one lazy yellow eye up to stare at the fading light. It was when the darkness crept in that they came, daring to take his treasure.
The very thought of such thievery had him baring an impressive set of pointed teeth. They glistened wetly, a silent warning to all – stay away!
He shifted slightly, and the sound of gold scraping against gold filled his ears with delight. Every dragon craved treasure, craved the sparkle of it. Although his cousins to the West found their own treasure amongst the iridescent shells and smooth pearls rather than the earthy gold, what else could be expected from flighty Water Dragons?
Beneath his overly-long talons, he could feel the cool, hard metal. Reassuringly, he curled his tail around as much of his hoard as possible. There was a trickling sounded as some rolled down the pile he created. Yet he was ever watchful, always aware of where each piece rested, always within his sights.
He settled down to wait.
The darkness had descended slowly until the cave was swallowed by the night. His wide eyes remained open, unblinking. Tilting his head, he listened. There.
In the distance, he could hear the soft footfalls. Someone was making their way purposefully towards his cave.
Another foolish attempt, he sneered. Would these fleshy creatures never learn?
He froze, every muscle held perfectly still. They were closer now. The softest glow from a fire filtered in through the cracks in the main entrance that was blocked off.
He didn’t fear fire. What dragon would? Maybe the Water Dragons with their smooth slippery skin. Their scales, unlike his own, were similar to a fish, giving little protection against an attack.
But he was protected as his heart could call forth its own fire should he need it. Nothing these treasure seekers possessed would be enough to match the might of his flames.
They were closer now. The scent of a single man filled his nose – cooked meat and spiced ale and something else, musty parchment and ink.
Movement, the scratching and scraping as the entrance was discovered and whoever stood outside struggled to unblock it.
He readied himself, feeling the thick muscles bunching beneath his scaly hide. There would be no warning, no grand speeches, just a fast attack to show that this treasure would not so easily be taken.
Light spilt into the cave, illuminating the treasure. For a second, he was distracted by its beauty. Its brilliance cast against the cave walls. Catching himself, the dragon spared no more time. He lunged forward, propelled by thick legs and a whipping tail.
Fangs meet flesh, tearing and searing. Blood, warm and sticky filled his belly. There was a sharp, painful scream that made him feel triumphant. The thief pulled back, staggering away from the cave and its threat.
With a bloody-toothed grin, the dragon resettled on his treasure.
“Curse you, you wretched beast!” snarled the man, the light from his candle wavering as he lifted it to examine his aching finger. A tiny row of needle-like teeth had punctured the fingertip.
The scribe smoothed down his robe and peered into the ceramic pot sitting on his shelf, to see the grinning Pebble Dragon clutching at the shiny coins. “I’ve told you before, it’s not your treasure it’s my damn piggy bank!”
© Ari Meghlen 2019
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Thanks to everyone who reads my flash fictions, since I have always struggled to share my writing, it means a lot to me that you have taken the time to read this.
I was given a wonderful surprise when this story went live in December on the Advent Calendar. Several people actually visited my website, found my contact page and sent me messages letting me know just how much they loved this piece. 🙂
Want to read more? You can find my Flash Fictions here.
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Word Count Update: 9,828 words (in my Goals, I stated that I’ll be tracking my word count on Fridays for the 85K Writing Challenge).