Happy Chinese New Year!  2012 is the year of the dragon and promises to be an exciting time on many fronts.  Dragons have so many meanings and connotations, from protectors in the east to destroyers of villages in the west, from Kung Fu masters to little lizards.
Check out my story, "Dragons" at Daily Science Fiction to see another idea.  DSF has many wonderful stories by Nebula winning authors and rising stars in Fantasy and Sci-Fi delivered to your inbox daily for FREE.

The Judge

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This week's judge is equally comfortable in front of a set of weights or high tech gadgets and video games, he's also a heck of a writer.  The inimitable Rafe B, please take a moment to check out his website and show him some love.

The Prompt

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My buddy Fluffy who passed away last year.
People call them dragons.

The Rules

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  1. The story must start from the prompt.  This means the prompt must be the first words in the story.
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the one on the right.
  6. Have fun!

1/23/2012 12:09:04 am

“People call them dragons.”

Her words whispered over my shoulder. I started to turn from my perch at the bow, but the sudden clenching of her fingers on my arm stayed the motion.

“I’ve even heard some of your men start to wonder.”

The calm wind barely pushed us through the water and sweat pricked my skin, but the horizon promised storms soon enough. For the moment, I forced myself to be content to look at the sky, to see the giants floating through the clouds. Some left straight rails of clouds—or maybe it was smoke if they were indeed dragons—that looked much like the wake of a ship. I’d never seen the like.

“Dragons?” I asked, striving for nonchalance. “Who believes in dragons?”

Inside, my heart pounded and I wondered what rational man wouldn’t believe in dragons after seeing these silver beasts with their great wings and smoky trails gliding through the sky. I didn’t doubt that my crew had similar thoughts.

“I imagine it’s much like anything else,” she said. “We build our beliefs around what we know until we are taught or come to understand differently. If you’ve never seen an airplane, I suppose these look like dragons as much as anything else.”

“Airplanes?” I tried out the unfamiliar word. “What are they?”

“They carry people, supplies, go to war. Much like your ships.”

I’d spent two-thirds of my life aboard ships. I couldn’t imagine anything capable of taking their place, yet these airplanes—they moved regardless of the wind’s direction, unhampered by the minimal breeze that left us inching through the water.

“The first serious experiments in manned flight begin only a few years from now,” she said.

“Manned flight,” I murmured. To see such a marvel—“Tell me about them,” I demanded. I whipped around, but her fingers seemed to sink straight into my flesh, and the pain drove me to my knees, eyes closed, teeth clenched around a scream. My breath hissed in and out.

“Focus, Jonathan,” she said softly. “And never look back.”
I stood slowly, wincing at the ache in my knees, and half expecting my arm to be bleeding, but my white shirt was stained only with sweat.

“You cannot look back,” she chided gently. “This place will tempt you to stay without even trying. You will lose yourself in what you see.”

“You said it’s not permanent,” I said. “You said people can return to their proper places.”

“If they find a way out, yes.” I could hear the sadness in her words. “Is what you see here worth giving up everything you know and love? Because seeing is as close as you will get.”

“You’re in my world, now,” I pointed out. “And you are clearly not of my time and place.”

“And I never will be,” she sighed. “We only interact here, in this place where worlds, times, even dimensions cross paths.”

“So once we leave the rift…”

“I will be returned to my proper place.”

@caramichaels
500 #WIP500 words

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1/23/2012 01:11:58 am

Failed Invasion
by Lisa McCourt Hollar

"People call them dragons."

"What? Those tiny things?" Bending, I looked at the tiny creature that was standing on it's hind legs and leaning against the laundrey detergent. It was no longer than two inches. Nothing like the glorious creatures I remembered from my youth.
"You must be joking."

"I told you, they would be easy to take."

"Shhh, someone is coming." Shimmering, I morphed into a puddle and slid under the door. Once outside, I transformed again, blending into the tiger lily's that were blooming. I could hear a woman speaking.

"Franklin is coming for dinner tonight, I thought I would spruce the place up a bit."

Then I heard her shrieking. "Ewww, get it, get it...don't let it into the rest of the house!"

"Lois, it is just a lizard."

"It is a wretched, ugly beast," Lois said. The door opened and the creature was swept out of the house. The lizard sat there a moment, dazed, and then crept into the flowers to escape the crazed human.

"Not a very polite species," Glek said. "This planet will fare better, once we have removed them."

Before I could respond, the human took hold of me, wrapping her fingers around the stem my body was emulating.

"These tiger lilies will be perfect. Franklin loves them."

Realizing the mistake I had made in choosing this form, I attempted to transform before it was too late, perhaps into a fierce dragon, so this woman would know what a true fire beast was. My body shimmered for a moment, but her closeness prevented my being able to change. The scissors slipped in and cut.

"Glek, I can not change back!" My thoughts were frantic as I sent them to him. "You need to shift now, if you are to survive."

"I am afraid it is too late," Glek said, joining me in the woman's hand.

As we were carried back into the house, I saw the small 'dragon', leave his hiding place and crawl onto a rock, sunning himself.

Word Count: 338
@jezri1

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1/23/2012 01:59:16 am

Not my lover by JM Filipowicz

People call them dragons, because they don’t like to be called fairies. A few even have scaled serpent tattoos. I discovered Aiden’s dragon last night, curled around his left butt cheek, breathing a faded orange flame.

And now he’s here. He doesn’t ask, just struts into my dorm and plunks his blue-jeaned ass down on my twenty-dollar swivel chair. Micheal Jackson’s Billie Jean leaks through paper-thin walls.

I lie in bed, pretending to be engrossed in my Psych text. Whoever wrote it has no idea what the mind can do. What must it be like to live in a secular world without Witches and Warlocks and Fae? I envy the normal ones. Through the corner of my eye I see Aiden fiddling with my flip-flops. He’s going to stretch them with his sweat-socked feet.

“About last night,” I say. “I think there was something in my drink.” He knows exactly what, the Fae equivalent of the date rape drug. I tasted it in my first sip of Daiquiri. In seconds I was love drunk.

His pearly white smile is cliché. I slam my textbook closed and glare at him, the essence of my fury flowing into his golden eyes. In my mind, I scream at myself to stop, but my power is beyond my control. And I don’t really want to save him.

His smile fades. After a moment, his body fades, too. An enchanting glow resonates around him. As the light dims he disappears, never again to be seen in this realm.

“Shit,” I whisper to the empty room. “Not again”.

262 words
@SuperHappyJen

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ModernBard1024
1/23/2012 02:05:59 am

“People call them dragons.”

It wasn’t hard to see why. The creature slithering across the moon-kissed grassland toward us could easily be called many things. Serpent, centipede, whatever. Calling it a dragon just made it all the more mystical. After all, it was a massive beast, flying over the countryside at amazing speed, belching smoke and thunder as it went. I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that some people would go running in terror if they saw one coming. As it was, it made my horse nervous.

I found the level of awe people expressed to be somewhat worrisome. After all, we lived in a world where Magesmiths and Craftsmen could enhance the living with slivers of metal and glass, and gave inanimate materials life. The long train down below was a simple machine, far less worthy of wonder. It was fire and iron, steam and coal. Nothing special. Deep down, the idea that common people would show reverence to these glorified contraptions when they ignored the true wonders around them soured my stomach.

Worthy of worship or not, the trains now coursing the metal roadways had captured my interest. A simple robbery in town held risks, risks that might easily outweigh gain. On the other hand, these trains often traversed long stretches of land where there was no one at all for miles. They also had the capacity to carry more wealth on them than any wagon could ever manage. Some had open flats bearing raw materials, others drew vault cars with the payrolls of entire businesses tucked away. Still others, no doubt, bore weapons for equipping the military outposts. The trains were a rolling smorgasbord for someone with some desire and intelligence. I had both.

With some planning, I stood to not only reap the rewards of pulling off the largest heist in the territory; I stood to gain the reputation as the man who brought down the mighty iron dragon. I rather liked the image.

“I call them opportunity,” I replied. “Get me a count of the cars, see if you can give me an idea what this one has.”

The man standing beside me nodded and drew off his coat. Samson was a man blessed – women swooned over his blond hair and blue eyes, and rumor had it that a certain part of him was of glorious size. I had no interest in anything the man had below the waist, what made him useful to me was the pair of Crafted wings that opened with a series of metallic clicks and whirs, unfurling into a splendid arrangement of wood and metal. With two hard beats, he was in the air, vanishing into the darkness. One tool of many.

People saw the train below as something magical. It was my intent to not only steal from one of the great machines, but in doing so, lay the legend low and remind the people what was truly worthy of wonder. They had forgotten.

(497 words)
@ModernBard1024

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1/23/2012 02:11:03 am

People call them dragons but I am not sure about that. Since they arrived, people have been curious about them and their hard leathery hides. I don’t trust them even though they have done nothing not to have my trust. I get the feeling that they are observing us with their serpentine eyes and reporting to somewhere.

The governments of the world have not been able to determine how they got here. One minute they were not there, the next they were flying in the skies with great-scaled wings or crawling on the ground, their long claws scratching any surface they touched. Some “experts” say they have always been here but we are just now able to see them—I am not sure how that is possible. Wouldn’t we find it odd if we tripped for no reason or if an airplane crashed in the sky with nothing?Other “experts” say they crawled up from the depths of the earth. Either way I don’t trust them and they have a strange odor that I cannot describe.

I find it odd that no one has ever seen them eat or defecate like the true inhabitants of Earth. I see them grouped in packs, of five or six, trudging down the street or sitting in a circle and I get the creeps. I’ve watched them follow people walking down the street but always from a distance. I told a coworker that a few were following him this morning and he just smiled and shook his head at me; was he aware of it?He seems different somehow; I’ve been noticing that about others as well. As I entered the parking garage, a pack sat across from the doorway of the elevator, they acted as a child would if you caught them doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing.

I caught the train that takes me home. It seemed that the streets I jetted by were filled with more of them than normal. I glanced around the train, there were less people on it than normal, especially for a Wednesday Rush Hour. I was the only one that exited the train at my stop.

Gangs of the creatures gawked at me as I walked down the street. I was becoming unnerved. I reached my house and locked the door as soon as I was inside. It was all my imagination, it had to be, how else could I explain it?I turned on the T.V., a blank news set stared back at me; the scroll at the bottom of the screen ran automatically, telling me of local events and weather. I flipped the channel, the same.

I shut off the T.V. and peered through the closed mini-blinds. They swarmed up the street, some flying, some crawling; there were more than ever. Was that one wearing Ms. Johnson’s dress?They converged on my house. I stumbled backwards, fell to the floor, then crawled to the door with claws clicking on the hardwood floors.

@ChuckWesJ
500 words

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1/23/2012 02:19:00 am

People call them dragons.

At first they merely observed, passing by once every few seasons, but now they have increased in frequency and they are no longer content to pass by with their shining eye. The unnatural metal beasts can reduce an entire village to rubble with their death magic. people begin dying before we even see the damned things.

our pleas to the Gods have fallen on deaf ears, the elders are dead along with most of the young and the weak. Our warriors are like children helpless against these monsters. In the past the dragons descended from the heavens but there are rumors that a large dragon has decided to borrow into our earth.

The dragon has slaves, that are mere men like us, they scurry about carrying for it and climbing into its belly before it flies. I must see this creature on the ground, perhaps i could meet one of its slaves maybe it speaks the common tongue. Many warriors have died trying to approach from the surface, the dragon controls lightening and fire. The elders confirmed the dragons bottle fire from the sun and break their jars on our villages.

The Dragon is near the stream of life, i will approach from the water floating just under the surface like a snake, and when a slave approaches the stream. i will free him, a freed slave owes allegiance to his new master and he will help me understand the ways of the dragon. I will save my people from these unnatural beasts.

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1/23/2012 03:45:22 am

“People call them Dragons. The Eighty-Eight Dragons, to be exact.”

Captain Emerson looked out the grimy side window at the group—men in their teens and early twenties—lining the street and staring down vehicles as they passed. Some wore expensive hoodies, jeans, and shoes, while others were adorned with white wife-beaters that showed off expansive and colorful tattoos.

“You’re saying my boy joined them.” Her inquiry was phrased as more of a statement than a question.

Emerson nodded soberly and placed his hand on hers in an attempt to comfort the grieving woman.

She began to sob, quietly at first but then erupting into an hysterical outpouring of emotion. He let her express her sadness and frustration for several minutes without interruption.

“Why didn’t he tell me? Why would he do this without telling me?”

“I’m sure he didn’t want to hurt you, and, well, obviously he knew you would not approve.”

She frowned but said nothing, staring at the troublesome young men as they laughed and pushed each other playfully like little, deadly pit-bulls. She saw the glint of hand-guns in the waist-bands of at least two of them.

“I understand today is Chinese New Year?” he asked, jarring her from her thoughts.

“Yes, but we are Vietnamese. It is Tet, the Lunar New Year.”

“I am aware. Chuc mung nam moi,” he said softly, trying his best to comfort her.

“Thank you. Happy New Year to you too, Mr. Emerson.”

She laughed humorlessly, adding, “How ironic is it that this is the Year of the Dragon?”

He nodded. “Yes, I thought the same thing.”

She swallowed and began to muster her strength, as if the question she was about to ask was the toughest she’d ever say in her life.

“So what will happen to him?”

“Well,” he replied solemnly, “he’s probably already been partially initiated. Part of that process requires extensive tattoos. He’ll be asked to steal a high-end vehicle. We don’t believe they’ll force him to hurt or kill anyone, but only time will tell.”

She nodded, wiping her eye with a tissue. “I just don’t understand. Why a gang? Why this?”

He remained silent, unable to give her the answer she desired.

“You think he’ll be OK?” she finally asked.

He nodded emphatically. “I’m sure of it. Nguyen is the best young cop on the force right now. If anyone can go so deep undercover, it will be him.”

She turned and looked to the police captain for reassurance as he patted her hand gently. At least, he thought, he wasn’t telling her that she’d lost her son in the line of duty. Yet.

440 words
@rastrohman

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1/23/2012 04:01:53 am

People call them dragons. People say they aren’t real, that they never existed. Six weeks ago she met one, and now she knew none of it was true. He told her he was a dragon, she saw his wings. Most things still made little or no sense to her, but somehow she knew he wasn’t a dragon. She wasn’t normal herself. Her sense of what things weren’t had solidified in the past month, all that was missing was the all important detail of what they were.

The silver-eyed man had the answers she needed so desperately, but as far as the government was concerned he didn’t exist. No ID, no bills, no birth record, not even a name. Few people had seen him and no one knew anything. She had discharged a full clip from her service arm the first time she saw him in that dark alley and he’d simply caught the bullets in his hand. He didn’t give her the answers she wanted then, but this time she wasn’t going to let him leave until she knew what she wanted to know.

He hadn’t been expecting to see her in the alley, the anonymous tip she received wasn’t a mutually arranged meeting. It was somewhere he frequented. Three days in the dark and the cold finally bore fruit as she saw the tall figure returning to the alley.

“You again?”

“What are you, really? What am I?”

239 words
@DavidALudwig

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1/23/2012 04:49:06 am

“People call them dragons.”

Tom wrinkled his nose and shook his head. “That’s not a dragon! Dragons are big and have wings and breathe fire.”

“I know, but most humans don’t believe in dragons, so they call lizards ‘dragons’. I think that’s a picture of a ‘bearded dragon’.”

Tom shook his head and set the book aside, swinging his feet under his chair. “So why don’t humans believe in dragons?”

“Because we don’t want them to.” Aliandra signed the last report and shoved it in the manila folder. “It’s safer for everyone.”

“Why?”

Aliandra wished Drake had come with them to the clinic. He was the historian. He could probably explain it better than she could, but he’d stayed at the Library. <i>Dammit.</i>

“Did your mom teach you much about the Elder Races before she died?” Aliandra asked as she rose and dragged her doctor’s stool over beside him.

“A little.”

“Well, the dragons are the oldest of the Elder Races, Guardians of the World for the Goddess.” Aliandra’s heart warmed as she recited the tale for Tom. <i>Goddess, I so wish he was my son!</i> “Demons from the Underworld often found ways to get into Her world and caused havoc among the peoples she’d created. The demons were particularly adept at damaging the humans because humans are predators and often react with violence to something they either fear or don’t understand.”

Tom considered her words, running his fingers over the raised title on the cover of the book. “Is that why we wear their costume? So we look like them?”

Aliandra smiled. “That’s exactly why. We hide among them and protect them, but we can’t tell them we’re here because they’d be afraid of us.”

“And try to hurt us.”

“Yes.”

“Like they hurt my parents.”

“What?” Horror and surprise shot through Aliandra.

“My parents were killed by three men claiming they were evil and needed to be destroyed,” Tom whispered, his hands clenched on the book.

“Why?”

“I don’t know. My mum threw me in the root cellar of our old shed and told me to stay there until the visitors went away.” His face contorted with rage and grief. “I did as I was told. And now they’re dead and I’m a coward!”

Aliandra hugged him before her mind even registered the movement.

“Shh, shh, Tom, that’s not true,” she whispered as the boy sobbed aginst her chest. “Your parents wanted to protect you. They knew something was very wrong and you were the most important thing to them. You weren’t ready to fight for them yet and they knew that.”

“But I didn’t even try,” he wailed.

“If you had, three dragons would’ve died that day.” She rocked him gently. “Oh, <i>sa cherro</i>, it’s not your fault and I’m grateful they didn’t find you. I’m so glad you’ve come to Three Lakes and if you were my son, I’d do the same to protect you. Be at peace, <i>sa cherro</i>.”

Aliandra held Tom until he released his grief.

498 #WIP500 words
@SiobhanMuir

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1/23/2012 05:16:46 am

People call them dragons. Alana called them harbingers of death. Anytime there was something bad happening in her life, she saw a dragon. Sometimes it was just a picture, a caricature, or cartoon of one, or one of those gecko-like ones that some people kept as pets, but it was always something.

Growing up, her friends didn’t understand why the cartoon “Puff the Magic Dragon” made her cry or why she’d never watch Shrek. They saw innocent, cartoonish dragons. Alana saw death and destruction and evil.

Dragons never hurt Alana per se, they just seemed to always be around when something bad would happen. When she broke her leg in elementary school after falling from the monkey bars, she had dragons on her cast –at least until she took a Sharpie to them. When her dog died when she was in junior high school, Barney was on the television. When her first boyfriend broke up with her in high school at a football game, the other team’s mascot was a dragon.

Those things were relatively innocent but nevertheless made an impression on her young mind.

It continued much the same as she grew into adulthood. When her grandfather, Robert, died while she was in college, she had a horrible nightmare. Her grandfather was fighting a huge fire-breathing dragon. For a time, it looked like he was going to win, but at the end of the dream, the dragon defeated Robert, tearing him to shreds. Alana woke immediately afterwards, chilled the bone and somehow knowing that her dream wasn’t just a dream, that her grandfather really had died.

The tear-filled call by her grandmother later that morning confirmed that.

It wasn’t for several years before Alana saw another dragon. She thought she was finally growing out of it. One spring night, she was dreaming about her grandmother. They were in Evelyn’s garden, tending her flowers and ivy, when the house behind them was incinerated by a huge fireball. When the smoke cleared, a fierce dragon stood, trails of fire dripping from its nostrils. Shrouds of darkness swirled around the dragon like an evil halo.
Evelyn cried out and shoved Alana aside as the dragon let out a gust of fire at them. The older woman was immediately engulfed in the deadly flames.

Alana woke, screaming with tears running down her face. Her boyfriend tried his best to calm her down but she was inconsolable. It had happened again. Alana wasn’t sure if she’d ever be the same again.

@MLGammella
417 Words

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1/23/2012 06:13:23 am

The Long Fight

People call them dragons.
But dragons doesn’t tell the story of what these things are. There is not a word horrible enough on God’s tongue to give the abominations an apt name. Demon, devil, terror, none of them go far enough.
They came on the last day of light, at the solstice, as if called by the coming darkness. They rose from the caves, from the ocean, from the woods, from the very ground itself. Men of arms fought valiantly but we were overwhelmed, driven to slaughter.
I survived not by skill of sword, force of strength, or ward of armor, but fate’s fortune. My son was eaten by a Red, my daughter was melted by the breath of a Black. My wife lived only long enough to whisper my name with her dying breath; legs stripped to the bone by a Green.
I long to see the blue sky again, not marred by the spectre of leather wings and smoke.
I long to smell the sweet clover of the fields, but all breath is poisoned by rot and ruin.
I must hold on to sanity, hold on to hope.
I hide in exile with my battered crown. King to a people on the brink of extinction, waiting for the Dragon Slayer to be born.
Today is that day.

219 words
@zombiemechanics

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1/23/2012 08:47:59 am

Preserving History

People call them dragons. They aren't, of course. They
aren't dragons anymore than the sharks are sharks or
the tigers are tigers. I could belabor the issue, but you
get the point.

People, as a species, are most comfortable when they
can pigeon-hole those around them into one group or
another. Then they can quantify, objectify and generally
label those who are not what they are as...something
else. The unique, the unusual, that which falls,
demonstrably, outside of the norm is easier to handle
when you have a name to put to it.

Well, here's a revelation to people in general and to you
reading this in particular. We really don't give a flip
what you call us. We know who we are and what we are.
Neither your tacit acceptance or your abject rejection
of us makes much difference in how we live our lives.

We are mutants, plain and simple. We weren't born this
way. All of us started out life just like you. More or less
like you, except we don't seem to pay as much attention
to you as you do to us. The brass tacks of it is: we were
once homo sapiens and now we aren't anymore.

There. I said what nobody wants you all to remember. We
were once like you. That is going to cause a lot of
upheaval when this manifesto gets more widely
disseminated. Those who make the rules, who write the
histories have a stake in making sure things stay a
certain way. We understand that.

To be fair, since The Change, we don't age the way you do.
Whatever caused us to grow scales and wings, gills and
fins...whatever... changed us in many more ways than our
appearance. So, in the 324 years since The Change, we
aren't surprised our origins are in the dustbin of
history.

We were told that The Preserves were necessary. We
were told we needed to be protected from others and
others from us. We were told we were no longer part of
the world we'd always known. We were told happiness,
acceptance and community would be most easily
accomplished if we were someplace specifically selected
to nurture and sustain our mutated bodies.

It took a long time for us to realize it, but eventually
we DID figure it out. We were lied to. Once we tumbled
onto that little ditty, it suddenly became clear to us
that all of you must have been lied to as well. It's the
only thing that makes sense.

The Preserves are NOT a necessity simply because they
are a reality. We don't need to be sequestered from you
nor you from us. We are as much a part of you as you
are a part of us. We want to come back.

People call us dragons or sharks or tigers and that's
fine. We really don't care what you call us as long as we
can come back home. That's really all we have to say on
the matter for now. Think about it...okay?

500 words @klingorengi

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1/23/2012 08:57:31 am

Redo starting with prompt
Dudley the Magic Dragon

People call them dragons but I never knew why until I got one but I'm starting at the end of the story not the beginning.
“Mommy I want a dragon.” My little girl asked after I read her the book “Dudley the Dragon” yet again after tucking her back into bed. My little girl was ill dying and nothing I could do could stop it.
“Dragons aren’t as big as Dudley anymore.” I told her.
“But I want a Dragon.” protested Anna.
“Well would you be happy with a little one?”
“Yes and I would take such good care of it. I promise.”
It was another added responsibility but if Anna wanted a dragon a dragon she would get. The next day I put Anna in her wheelchair and took her to the pet store. She was sorely disappointed with the specimens there until she saw the sign on one terrarium. It was fitted with a screened top as the bearded dragons climbed and sat on top of a log.
“This is the one Mommy. It’s a bearded dragon see it says right there.”
“People call them dragons honey but there not really. Are you sure?”
“Yes I’m sure. It’s just smaller but it’s a dragon, a magic dragon. His name is Dudley and I believe he can make me well. I had a dream that he did.”
“Okay honey.” I agreed anything to make this little girl happy.
We took Dudley home and to my surprise, Dudley was always able to get out of his terrarium. Our dog Fred would always try to alert me when he escaped but often I found Dudley in Anna’s room playing on the floor. Anna would laugh and smile to see him scurry across the floor. It added smiles to our dreary days of fighting the illness. One day as Anna fed him some shredded carrots she pulled back her hand in surprise it had bit her, as examined the bite it didn’t look serious but I looked closely at Dudley convinced it was an accident. That night it was clear Dudley was a female as she laid three eggs. Dudley sat proudly on her eggs for three days and on the third three little dragons hatched. Anna was mesmerized by the hatching and seemed more alert and healthy. I knew it was a temporary remission but it seemed that Dudley was helping. I took Anna to her doctor’s appointment after carefully securing the terrariums screened top with wire so none of them could escape. At the doctor’s the doctor checked the blood test not once but three times and then told me.
“I don’t know how it happened but you have been granted a miracle. There is no sign of the disease. Anna is cancer free.”
I wept with joy totally convinced that Anna had been correct her dragon, Dudley had cured her.
485 words with title
@SweetSheil

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1/23/2012 10:30:38 am

People call them dragons, beasts of the air, if they only knew the truth. But what would I expect from a society that has never seen the horrors we see on a daily basis. To them we are but the protectors of the realm. The mythical dragons and their riders that live in the clouds, rarely seen except when riding off to or returning from battle. Even then we are but specks in the sky, fabled warriors on their golden scaled creatures protecting the realm.
Would that it could be different, but we can no longer live in the lower lands with the rest of our people. Since bonded with my own draconem when I was a youth and joined others of in the clouds I have seldom returned to earth, except, of course, to do battle. We that ride the draconem have traded much for the right to bond with a being beyond the understanding of most men and women.
How do I describe this to those who have nothing to compare it to? The joy of flying among the cloud or to dodge the bolts of the thunder giants as they play is not something that is easily explained. Can one who tills fields or tends to grapes understand the glory of the bloodlust as we fly into combat to vanquish our foes or die in glorious battle?
Perhaps I underestimate them. Maybe they do appreciate the sacrifices made to keep them safe. Maybe it is just the distance and hardship one would have to overcome just to visit our nest. It is true they do send us the best of their wine and cheese and I have never heard mine complain about the tastiness of the cattle and swine she has fed on.
It does not matter; I would not trade my life for theirs even with this self-imposed exile from most of my own kind. Although my youth has fled and I have but one son to continue my line I would not trade these memories at any cost. She is part of me, and I am part of her. We see through each other’s eyes as we once again set off in flight to do battle with the foes of the realm and it matters little whether we return or fall in battle. We will do as the riders of the air have always done.
Some people may call her but a dragon but I call her my heart, for only together are we truly complete.


@dryadsgarden 421 words

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1/23/2012 10:37:41 am

_By Any Other Name_


People call them dragons. As soon as they see the different colour, their bigoted imaginations fill in other details for them:

"They're dark!"

"They're scary!"

"They breathe fire!"

"They kill people!"

"They destroy entire neighbourhoods!"

For centuries, they responded to their own fear and hatred, frightening other people with dark and scary stories that burned with their flaming ignorance.

Gathering together as mobs and clans, they slew some of the dragons and forced others into isolated slums, denying them entry into other parts of society. In some cases, they even barred the dragons from particular properties and facilities, relegating them to places otherwise considered undesirable - chiefly because they considered the dragons to be undesirable.

Many used to keep the dragons in chains, forcing them to perform hard labour as well as menial tasks. There were no justifiable reasons for this. They only did it so they could feel superior to someone else without having to do any real work or having to get their hands dirty.

There have even been Kings who have championed the cause of the dragons, ultimately going so far as to die for it, but speeches can't cure ignorance and legislation can't eliminate hatred. Much good HAS been done, but much more MUST be done.

I'm a werewolf. I know about prejudice. People call them dragons. I just call them friends.

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1/23/2012 11:09:54 am

Almost forgot:

225 Words
@LupusAnthropos

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1/23/2012 03:16:36 pm

People call them dragons. I call them friend. Actually, I only call one friend. Actually, I call him Sigmund. I found Sigmund in the park one day while I was jogging. Well, I found a very large egg. I was at the bottom of a hill, wishing I had chosen to jog on the treadmill in the gym, when something white caught my eye. There at the base of a tree was the largest egg that I had ever seen. I cupped it in my hands and the tip jutted out over my fingertips. When I picked it up it was warm, but I just assumed that was because it had been in the sun. Not for one second did I think it was real as if something alive would come out of it. I thought that it was a piece of art that someone had carelessly discarded. I put it my fanny pack and finished my jog. When I got home I placed it on my mantle and positioned a desk lamp to shine directly on it. I thought it looked artsy or rather it looked as if I knew something about art. For a week, everything was fine. I knew it was wasteful, but I left the desk lamp on all day and all night. There was something comforting about having that orb in my living room, with the light shining on it, giving it a slight glow. It was like having a little moon in my house. Then one day I came home from work and sitting in the remnants of the cracked egg was a little dragon. Sigmund (I knew that was his name immediately) was looking around, craning his thin neck on his purplish body. His body was purple with a blackish sheen to it. It didn’t occur to me to scream or to run and hide. I just walked over to him and picked him up under his arms. It was like holding a newborn kitten. He placed one of his paws on top of my hand and opened his big green eyes and looked at me. I smiled at him and I know how this sounds, but I swear he smiled back.

@karenfictionst
369 words

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1/23/2012 10:06:42 pm

“People call them dragons. But the creatures that fly in the sky in long, undulating masses don’t really look like what one would imagine to be. They are more like fuzzy caterpillars. Giant ones with large teeth that could eat entire buildings. No one had yet to figure out what they were around for. At night, they were luminescent and were large markers for the ships to travel by.”

Belle stared up at them, the thrum of the engine vibrating the deck under her feet. The creatures undulated and wove in and out of the clouds that dotted the sky. As soon as they disappeared into the clouds, the clouds writhed themselves until the creatures came out. They were never still enough for her to get an idea of what their heads looked like. If they were draconian or dog shaped.

“They’ve been there for a week. The most I’ve heard them stay around were two days.” Haskel leaned up against the railing next to her, pushing the goggles up from his face, leaving pale marks around his eyes that weren’t covered in soot.

“They seem to be moving over the plains. Is there anything out there that might pull them?” She glanced down at her book, making a note next to the sketch that was started. “Is there a way to get closer to them?”

He looked at her, staring until she shifted on her feet.

“What?”

“Get close to them? Do you realize how big they are? They could easily smash the zeppelin to bits and we would all fall a very long way to the ground.” Haskel snorted. “Get close to them. You are seriously crazy.”

Brenna scowled. “This is a perfectly logical thing to do when examining other species. Especially since you said they were so mysterious. They can see us, can’t they? They could move around us.”

“I’m not risking my ship just for one person to try to get closer to the dragons to look. They don’t move aside for anything. Everything else moves aside for them. As far away as we are and you can see how big they are from here. They are the masters of the sky, despite what other ship captains will tell you. No one messes with them and no one gets close enough to sight see. They aren’t part of a zoo.”

Brenna shoved the book in his face. “This is what I paid for your ship for. To get closer than anyone else has to them. If you can’t do it, then I expect most of my money back because you can’t close the deal. You were the one who said it was no problem, unless you are getting cold feet about it.”

One of the sailors had been walking by, carrying a coil of rope and he froze and stared at her, eyes darting to his captain and then found somewhere else to be, very quickly.

Haskel’s lips tightened even as his cheeks flushed. “Your funeral.”

500 words
@solimond

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