Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Boy and the Dragon

A story I wrote on twitter moments ago:

The Boy and the Dragon
by David August
November 9, 2014

There once was a boy, who lived in a town, and on the mountain near the town there was a dragon. And everyone in the town feared the dragon.

They didn't let any of their children outside after dark, for at night the dragon would emerge from the mountain and fly above the town.

But the boy wanted to see the stars, the real stars, not just the stars drawn on the ceiling of his room. So he decided he would have to...

...slay the dragon. One day, he started to climb the mountain in the morning, and by noon he reached the dragon's lair. He saw the dragon.

And the dragon saw him. I've come to slay you, said the boy. Why, asked the dragon, I've never hurt you, or your friends.

True, replied the boy, but I am not allowed to go outside at night because you fly at night, so I must slay you. The dragon thought a bit.

Why must you come out at night, asked the dragon. To see the stars, said the boy. To see the stars, you must slay me, the dragon asked.

Yes, I must slay you, so that I can see the stars, the boy replied, now sad. But the stars burn at night because I light them with... breath, the dragon stated. The boy paused. But even so, if I'm to see the stars, I must be allowed to go out at night, said the boy.

I see. But if you slay me, there will be no stars the next night. The boy thought, I see. But how will I be allowed to go out to see...

...the stars at night if I do not slay you? You would not, the dragon replied, but you will know the stars are there, even if you do...

...not see them. The boy considered, then spoke, stars I do not see, may as well not be there. I see. So it is, the dragon sighed.

The boy turned, and made his way down the mountain. Time past, the afternoon turned to evening and the evening into night. The boy woke.

The town was quiet, everyone inside, away from the dragon. The boy unlocked the door, and emerged into the darkness. The whoosh of wings...

...was all he could hear. And then he saw: the dragon landed and arched his back. You see, are not the stars beautiful, said the dragon.

They are, replied the boy, and now I must slay you. And the boy attacked. They fought, fiercely. Deep into the night, the stars watching.

At last, the boy struck the final blow. The dragon fell. Still. The stars faced down on the boy and the dragon. The boy marveled, at stars.

But only for a moment, as the fingers of the morning crept up, and the stars began to fade. The boy stood with the slain dragon.

The town woke. And when they found the boy, with the defeated dragon, they rejoiced. They celebrated the boy, called him hero, and a gift.

As the town's revelry calmed down the sun sank. As the last light dwindled the town grew quiet. The boy looked up, the sky growing inky.

His fresh garlands tilted back and his face turned up, peering at the dark sky. There was quiet, and the night was lightless. He remembered.

He remembered the stars, that he had seen so recently, just before the dawn took them away. But there were no stars in the sky where...

...memory had singed them into his mind. He imagined he could see them when he closed his eyes, but open, the sky was black. He boy longed to...

...climb the mountain, and talk to the dragon again. This first starless night stared back at the boy in the quiet town.

He felt cold. He always would feel cold now.