Here there be dragons...

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

Flash Fiction #5 - Reduced Price

hahaha I had fun with this one but I can hear my OAC Writer's Craft teacher banging his head against the wall as I broke rule after rule after rule. "You have to maintain tense, tone, voice throughout..." Well the original broke all three, but I edited enough to follow two of the three and as to the other one, well clearly that was intentional to make a point rather than lack of editing time :) Sorry Mr. S. >;-P



Reduced Price:

"Ohhh look at the dragon -- he's half price!"

"We don't need another dragon," Steve told his wife, exasperated. This was a conversation they'd had many times.

"But he'd go so well in the yard next to the bird bath!" The bird bath had been 30% off. Claire had a need to rehome the dusty, the antique, and the hideously ugly artifacts of the world, and a shopper's eye for a deal.

The storekeep seemed to realize this and stepped in to close the deal at just the right moment. Claire was excited about this find, the attention to detail in the carving was incredible, and the deep green eyes reflected light in a way that made them seem eerily alive

Within moments of arriving home, the neighbourhood children had crowded around to see the new addition. It was town legend that their garden came alive at night and many of the children would spend hours playing there talking to their "friends", afraid of the witch who haunted the back corner, and swearing that if they snuck out after bedtime everybody came to life! Steve and Claire had spent the odd night in their yard, but their adult eyes saw no signs of life beyond the one curious little rabbit who hopped through in search of dinner.

Late that night Claire heard a noise in the garden. Knowing it was nearly impossible to wake Steve, she headed down alone expecting to find the local teenagers being teenagers. She turned on the floodlights, but nobody was there. The dragon had been turned so he was facing the opposite direction -- pointing almost directly towards the wizard but everything else seemed to be in order so she turned the lights back off and went back upstairs to sleep.

To sleep and to dream.

"Do you believe in magic?" the wizard asked her.

"Of course." Claire gave the only possible answer.

"And what of good and evil?"

"ummm sure" Claire said hesitantly.

"I assure you they exist, right here in your yard. The corner witch believes people are pests to be eradicated. Only the young ones are aware of us; she feels once they loose their sight, they're useless. So she and her minions spend the depth of the nights doing what they can to disrupt your civilization. Mostly they can only cause mischief, but with the power of the moon, any she encounters can be turned to stone. Those who "vanish" are often victims of her quest, and may be found frozen as a statue for sale at any garden centre. She particularly hates and envies the young and beautiful.

The witch's power is limited by her book. If she could not read the spells housed inside it, your people would be safe. And so we spend our nights trying to destroy it."

Claire looked around her garden. Sure enough, some of her favourites -- the little cat and the giant frog for instance, were missing. The dragon was watching her intently. He seemed to be trying to communicate something to her, but it was beyond her abilities to understand. The witch was glaring at the wizard, but seemed to be paying no attention to Claire whatsoever.

"You could help us," he told her, "all you'd have to do is remove the book by daylight while she sleeps."

Claire woke with that suggestion in her mind. She told Steve about her dream, fully expected to be mocked, and was surprised when instead he took her hand and led her downstairs to his workshop where he grabbed his toolbelt before heading out to the garden. She watched as he walked directly up to the witch, raised his hammer and swung.

"NO!" Claire yelled. He stopped mid-swing, proving he'd never actually intended to follow through. "What, you mean you don't want me to destroy your statue because of a dream?" he asked her, grinning to take the sting out of his words. She glared at him and approached the statue, twisting her head so she could see the book.

"It's actually got writing in it." she announced surprised.

"It's just scratches." he said peering over her shoulder, "not actual letters."

"Still, it's more detail than I'd ever noticed before." Looking at the statue she knew what to do. Feeling rather idiotic, but knowing she'd sleep better the next night, she took a chisel from Steve and gingerly chipped away at the unknown script on the book. The statue would still look the same, but Claire's superstitious side would be appeased, and her adult side could pretend she hadn't given in to childish fears.

Late that night, long after the moon had risen, she crept back to the garden half expecting it to be alive and busy. As soon as she stepped out the door there was a flash of light that momentarily blinded her. When she could see again it was to discover she couldn't move and the wizard was walking towards her. She tried to yell, but it was as though she were in a soundproof container. She could move, speak and breathe inside the container, but nothing moved her cage.

"Oh my dear, I must thank you for your assistance in the matter with the witch. Now that you've successfully incapacitated her, I'm free to do as I wish with any of your type who venture out after dark. She was such a thorn in my side always wanting to respect the people, but thanks to you I've proven to her just how stupid they are and eliminated of any influence she ever had."

With that he tipped her over and carried her around the block to the nearest garden shop -- the one where she'd gotten him for a great price over a year ago. "This will help you find a new home soon", he said with a smirk as he hung a sign around her neck.

It read: "Reduced Price”.


OMG, hilariously funny and spooky at the same time. Love the twist! Now I'll be looking closely at all garden statues. :)


I agree that was spooky. Sort of a twisted Toy Story meets Chuckie. I'll stick with the little gnomes I guess.


hahaha omg the wizard so should've been a gnome! Wonder how that would've twisted the story :)


Do not trust in wizards for they are dangerous and devious and they know many things that you do not.

I loved the feel of this piece. You painted it so well that I could see the garden at night.

Nicely done - KjM


Good story, Lauren. It falls into that odd little niche of humorous horror, which I love to write in myself. This was right up my alley.


This is precisely the reason I do not have any garden statuary. The story is fun and twisted at the same time. Thank you!


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