Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

#FridayFlash 37 - A Summer's Day

Yikes - it's been a couple flash-less weeks! That's just so wrong. Thanks for sticking with me :) Had a ton of fun with this one. Let me know what you think!

Cheers :)

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A Summer's Day

It was the kind of sultry heat that makes you question your sanity. Now I love summer, but even I had to admit this was pushing it a bit. But since I had deemed it entirely too hot to work I was enjoying it as the summer equivalent of a snow day, sitting in my lawn chair, a drink in hand, enjoying the whisper of a breeze I imagined I felt. I had a good imagination, for the leaves hung lifeless as there was not even a hint of a breeze in the air.

Such was the day that I wasn't even phased when the figure materialized in front of me. Just a mirage. A trick of light and heat wavering and a vibrant imagination. I blinked a few times to clear the vision, and even shook my head as if to clear the fog from my brain -- although how I thought that might work I've no idea. Made sense at the time though. And yet the mirage remained... And solidified... Appearing as a wizard -- complete with long robes and pointy hat.

And that was what convinced me he must be real. Because not even in my imagination would I condemn somebody to wear long hot robes on a day like today. I guess Disney got it right after all. My mind drifted to the unlikeliness of that before I clued in to the fact that the mirage was speaking. To me.

"Carrie, you have to come with me." Ummm no, methinks not. I raised an eyebrow at the apparition speaking to me. "We need your help. The world needs your help!" he implored earnestly. Must be real; even Disney scripts aren't that bad. I would certainly have written him a better script. I continued to stare at him, doped by the heat and particularly disinclined to rush off and save the world. I allowed my disbelief to show plainly on my face.

"Surely you've noticed the temperature going up," he started, "even the winters have not been cold these last few years, and now, in spring, you’re roasting."

"Global warming, yeah I've heard the story," I finally acknowledged him, wondering at my sanity for talking to a mirage. "I'm sort of enjoying it," I mentioned, refusing to be drawn into the doom and gloom ‘we're destroying the world’ argument.

"Global warming yes, but not due to anything your kind has done."

Well at least I could agree with that, "so what is the cause?" I asked, my curiosity finally sufficiently piqued.

"Dragons."

Uh huh. Well it was fun while it lasted.

"I take it your mother never told you of your heritage?" he asked.

Bemused by the change of topic I couldn't resist playing along, really - what else did I have to do? "My heritage? My mother's a writer, my grandmother was a teacher, my great-grandmother was a housewife," I recited; "nothing terribly exciting I'm afraid."

"They are indeed all those things, but so much more. Your great-grandmother was a queen, and your grandmother after her. Your mother," I thought I heard some bitterness in his tone, "rejected the throne to live a mortal life. And she refused to allow you any access at all."

"Yeah well my mother's a pretty smart woman. If she wants nothing to do with your world, there's probably a reason," but his words rang true and even as I dismissed him, I couldn't help but wonder. There were no pictures of her as a child -- destroyed in a house fire. Or that was the story. But all of them? Then again, was that really less likely than a talking mirage from another world?

"Carrie, your grandmother passed on several years ago. Without a direct heir the throne has fallen to the council. Their bickering has lead to war. None of which would've sent me to you, but now their war is spilling into your world. And since the dorns have awoken the dragons, only one of royal blood can retire them. And this must be done before they roast your world; if your world falls, so does ours."

"Ok, so let me see if I've got this straight," I started, intense heat entirely forgotten. "You want me to go with you to some other world, location yet to be disclosed, where I am no less than royalty, to stop a war and while I'm at it, put some dragons to sleep? That about it?"

"Essentially."

Sure why not -- what else have I got to do? I thought before warily nodding my assent. "Here, put this on," he told me, handing me a robe very much like his. I felt proud of myself for stifling the groan at the thought, but when I put it on was pleasantly surprised to discover its cooling effect. It was like wearing an air-conditioner set to the perfect temperature.

"Do I get a hat too?" I asked with a grin.

"A wizard must earn their hat," he told her seriously. "Hold this," he told me as he handed me what appeared to be an average stick. I glanced at it ever so briefly and the world shimmered. Again with the mirage effect; these guys needed some variety in their transitions! When my sight cleared I found myself in a world that in some ways, very much resembled my own; or rather, my own as it might've been before technology. A suburban environment, lots of houses with trees out front, a road of dirt or clay - I wasn't sure which. The street lights were subtly different, but I wasn't sure how. Two things struck me immediately. The colours - everything was painted vibrant colours. And the stillness; it was midday, but there was not a soul to be seen and not a sound to be heard. Eerie.

"So now what?" I asked, my voice breaking the stillness to the great concern of my wizard guide who silenced me with a wave of his hand.

"Nobody must know you're here," he told me.

"It's not like they're going to recognize my voice," I whispered back at him.

"Of course they will," he told me, "it's in our blood to know our queen. Any who see or hear you will instinctively know who and what you are. And while most would consider it an honour to meet you, there are those who would greatly prefer you never set foot in this land."

"And those are the ones you brought me here to confront," I commented. It was not a question.

"Can you feel the heat rising?" he asked and I nodded. "Put your hood up -- the dragons are near. Your skin will be scorched in seconds if you're not covered." And suddenly the air-conditioned cloak became so much more than a luxury.

I felt the shadow before I saw it; looking up I got my first sign of the creatures that were heating the world. Massive and beautiful in the way of pure power, the dragons exhaled steam with every breath. The air became too intense to breath. And then the creatures saw us. Faster than I would ever have believed possible the lead one swept down towards me, steam turning to flame. I held up my arm to protect my head. A futile gesture but the only instinct offered me. Seconds later when I registered that I was still alive, I cautiously lifted my head to discover that the stick I still held had created a shield of sorts. I was in a bubble that appeared to be holding off the dragon’s flame.

Ever so briefly I drew my eyes from the massive creatures to find the wizard who’d brought me here staring at me with an unreadable expression. I glanced back just in time to see the two dragons land, oh so lightly, beside me.

“Lower your shield Highness; no harm will come to you from us.” The words echoed inside my head.

I lowered my arm, and with it my shield at which point the wizard sprang towards me, “Carrie no!” He raised his staff, but the dragon’s flame held him off.

“Don’t hurt him.” I commanded. The voice I used rang with authority; where it came from I’ve no idea, but it was a voice to be obeyed. The flames instantly ceased. The wizard threw a shield around us both, which should’ve made me feel safer, but somehow I knew it was a bad idea. “Drop it,” I told him.

“Carrie, you don’t know what you’re dealing with here.” The look I gave him held the power and knowledge of generations. Power and knowledge I knew nothing about, but was only just starting to feel. He lowered the shield and stepped back. Still watching but silent.

I was in charge now.

And had absolutely no idea what to do next.

6 comments:

At least she's confident on the outside. Good story. I'm curious to see what happens next.

 

COOL story on a hot summer's day! Loved how the story built and how, at the end she held the power. Sounds like the beginning of a much longer piece.. great idea for a novel. Nice work, Lauren.

 

Ha, this is a wonderful story. Love the mc's attitude both before and after she finds her new world. And great descriptions, too. I'd love to see what happens next!

 

Loved this! And the ending made me smile.
I could relate, as I often find myself like that, being there, in charge, ready to take the next step only to realize I don't really know what the next step should be :)

 

Nice read. I can see why you had fun writing this one. Please tell me where I can get one of those robes. Summer in St. Louis is a ... it's hot.
~jon

 

Thanks all!

Jon - robes are on back order :)

 

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