Sometimes, things just come together with no advanced planning or scheduling. I like to call these moments gifts from the writing gods. And the month of June here on Flash Fiction Fridays is one such gift. Each of these flash pieces harkens back to childhood, whether through old bedtime stories or mythical beasts of imagination.
This week, please enjoy this story by M.R. Mathias.
Believe in Dragons?
By M.R. Mathias
It was a dark day with steel gray clouds flowing slowly past. An irritating wind pushed the two feline mounts sideways as they trudged across the wide open Plains of Theragar. Zax didn’t like it at all. “At least it’s not drizzling,” he mumbled to himself out loud.
The other rider, Dewd Willox, Zax’s partner since youth, harrumphed in agreement. The two were herding a half dozen prized elk across the plains to Vangar. It was a mundane job, but it paid well because of the risk.
“Hey Dewd, that time Geary saw the wyrm, did he say its eyes was really red like cherry coals, or was he fibbin?” Zax reached down and rubbed the plush neck of his Pantheran mount.
“Dat wyrm ain't been seen,” Dewd snorted. He was a bit bigger than Zax. Zax always looked up to him. But in this matter Zax was sure his friend was more than a little optimistic. “Dat wyrm is just a tale to keep our wages up. How many times I gotta tell ya?”
“Why’d them two herds go missing last spring?” Zax argued. “Just last month Geary came in three head short, saying he seen the thing.”
“Geary sold them three to someone, or maybe they wandered off while he was slacking.” Dewd chuckled. “Think about it. A driver loses his heard, what’s he gonna say? He’s gotta say something’ right.”
“I don’t think Geary made that up,” Zax went on despite his friend giving the idea no credibility. “It was about this part of the crossing too. Or so he said.”
“Well you can worry your hair off over it Zaxin Vall, its ridiculiou—”
Just then Zax’s Pantheran reared up and darted sideways. Flames spewed in a stream across the road before them. Something gigantic swept passed, and the torrent of wind it stirred up nearly toppled them over. It was all Zax could do to hold on.
Zax’s usually fearless mount began shivering, and then it hunkered down like a cur dog.
Zax couldn’t help but be overcome by the same powerful surge of dread.
To his right a towering shadow thundered down. His Pantheran was going nowhere. He chanced a glance up and saw two almond shaped orbs filled with brilliant orange-cherry flames. The dragon’s huge head loomed down at him, but those arm-long length teeth reached for Dewd instead.
Zax watched on as Dewd dove ahead and rolled in a tumble over one of the elk that had broken its leg in the panic. Dewd came up running as the hungry wyrm lifted back up with the crushed elk in its maw. Zax was stupefied until his friend landed in the saddle behind him and heeled the Pantheran into motion.
“Seems I owe you and Geary an apology,” Dewd tried to laugh as they held on for their lives.
Behind them a deep guttural roar sounded and the tower of flames that erupted from the dragon’s maw reflected down off of the low clouds lighting up the plain with a terrible fiery light.
“So you believe in dragons now?” Zax asked. He was as pleased by this as he was afraid of the wyrm that was surely going to come find them and eat them.
“Yeah,” Dewd conceded with a wide eyed glance back. The well illuminated monster behind them was terrifying. He reached down and grabbed extra thick tufts of Pantheran fur in his fists and held on as the creature ran as fast as it could. “Yeah, Zax, I believe. I definitely believe in dragons.”
Copyright © 2012 by Michael Robb Mathias Jr. All Rights Reserved
M.R. Mathias' The Wizard and the Warlord - The Wardstone Trilogy Book III will be released July 4, 2012. For a free five-chapter preview, visit his website. Mathias is the author of the best-selling Wardstone Trilogy and the Dragoneer Saga.