Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Excerpt from Slaying Dragons

I'm currently working on another book of quotes, poetry, and short stories to be released this coming April, just in time for my second son's graduation. It will be his graduation gift. The book is titled, Slaying Dragons: Quotes, Poetry, & a Few Short Stories for Every Day of the Year
 I thought I would share a recently-written excerpt:

I used to play in the hot July wind and imagine it was dragon’s breath singeing my skin.  I would clamber up the hill behind our home as if I were a knight intent on hunting down and slaying the beast.  For I would try to rouse it by making a ruckus as loud and annoying as a lonely pup.  But no dragon responded to my verbal challenges, and I was never lucky enough to stumble upon any large, fire-breathing animal.  Not until the day I turned ten. 
That day was not unlike other hot and windy July afternoons when I scrambled up the green hill that blocked faraway scenery from the windows of our house.  And like every other time, I brandished my invisible sword, imagining it glistening in the sunlight, bejeweled at the hilt with priceless sapphires and rubies.  I swore aloud to slay the dragon whose hot breath was the source of the July winds—or so it seemed in a boy’s creative mind—and hustled with great energy and determination up the rocky terrain. 
I had climbed only partway when the toe of my shoe managed to lodge itself beneath the edge of a smooth, pearly rock.  I nearly fell over and would surely have dropped my treasured sword had it actually been made from physical substance.  But it remained in my hand and, finding my shoe unable to slide out from beneath the pale stone, I pretended to jab at it with the tip of my sword as if this poking attack would surely persuade whatever had taken such a fast hold to release me.  For a short period of time I entertained myself with fantasy heroics that pitted me against creatures of enormous girth, extraordinary strength, and fierce cunning.  However, this did nothing to free me.  As one might guess, a make-believe sword has little effect on genuine problems.  I soon grew anxious enough to reach for a real, solid stick in hopes of prying my foot loose.
To my great relief, the stick worked like magic and forced up the pearly rock.  To my great astonishment, I discovered that what had snagged my foot was no rock.  It had a peculiar shape; the unburied end tapered off to a sharp point.  But the fact that it rose in the air of its own accord proved most convincing. 
I staggered backwards, succumbing to greater degrees of shock with every inch this mysterious item rose off the ground.  I gasped aloud as it was joined by four near-identical ivory hooks.  It wasn’t until the sharp tips came together that it dawned on me what I was seeing.  The pale, pointed rocks were claws!  Five claws attached to crusty fingers that formed a fist larger than my pitiful, scrawny mass! 
I could feel my face drain of color standing there, wanting to flee, yet powerless to command my muscles to move.  White as a ghost, I watched the green, muddy hillside grow taller and taller while taking on a beastly form.  I cannot recall if I breathed at all during the time this thrilling phenomenon took place, but the creature extended its neck and breathed a waft of hot air down upon me as if conveying irritation at having had its nap disturbed. 
There I stood staring up at two glowing golden eyes, facing a magnificent dragon as real and alive as the hopeful, young knight at its feet.  My heart started with fright at what sounded like a boom of thunder, and I fell to the ground like a rag doll.  Under a sudden shadow, I realized the dragon’s wings had snapped open, mimicking a clap of thunder.  The air seemed to swoop up the beast in defiance of gravity, and it took my dragon far, far away while I watched, mouth agape.  I stared at the sky until no visible proof remained of what I had witnessed.  And though I told many a soul the truth of the matter, none believed me.
I have yet to cross paths again with that golden-eyed dragon, but you will find me still climbing hills where the winds blow hot.  With watchful eyes and a solid Terillian sword in my grip, I search for unusual rocks as white and smooth as pearls.

Copyright 2017 Richelle E. Goodrich