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Shirley Golden, 07 Apr '13

Riff sharpened his claws on the rocks. He growled, louder, harder. He peered out of the cave, kept an eye on the incoming waves. For years he'd strutted up and down the cove every day, sending bursts of fire and smoke up the cliff face and searing the chalk to black.
        The islanders frightened him. They said he was ugly and fierce and mean; he made sure they knew to keep away.
        Last month Riff puffed out his cheeks and blew, but all that funnelled out was a trickle of white smoke.
        The cliff face began to fade and soon it would wash to white. The islanders would think he had died. Then they would come to reclaim the cove and search for his bones to use in medicines that didn't work. They would strip the rock pools of his food and litter his caves with their waste.
        Riff sharpened his claws on the rocks. He tested the points of his incisors and the blades on his tail. He worked on his ear-splitting roar and wished he felt braver.
        Hettie skipped along the cliff edge. She waved a stick as if it were a sword. Riff retreated into his cave and closed his eyes in the hope the girl would go away.
        When she entered the cave, he opened one eye.
        She held up her stick. 'Stay back,' she cried.
        He blinked.
        Her arm trembled and so did her lips. 'Don't hurt me,' she said and took a step back.
        'Have you come to kill me?' he said and a tear slipped from his eye. 'Have the islanders seen the change in the cliffs?'
        She shook her head and lowered her stick, her eyes wide. 'I didn't believe the stories they told. They said you were ugly and fierce and mean. I knew they were wrong.' She frowned. 'What happened to the cliffs?'
        'Can't you see the soot has faded? My fire's run out.'
        She looked out at the lightening cliffs. 'Poor dragon,' she said and took a step towards him.
        Riff unfurled and sat upright. 'More of your people are bound to come and I'll have to leave,' he said.
        But Hettie smiled and shook her head.
        
        He swooped around the cove and Hettie clung to his back. They searched for pale patches in the cliff as she wielded her brush and painted the chalk forever black.

Comments · 4

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  • Shirley Golden said...

    Well, this is my first 'proper' burst. I don't usually write something without editing several times before I'd show anyone, but it's good to just write without over thinking. The other dragon stories helped to inspire this piece :)

    • Posted 4 years ago
  • David Taylor said...

    Hi @Shirley Golden! I really enjoyed this post and particularly liked your idea of the dragon being as afraid of people as people are of it, which obviously contrasts to the usual idea of them being fierce predators! I also liked your idea of the dragon's flames running out, which I thought was very clever!

    • Posted 4 years ago
  • Anthony Blackshaw said...

    Lovely little twist to end with - great burst :)

    • Posted 4 years ago
  • Shirley Golden said...

    Thanks for your comments, @David Taylor and @Anthony Blackshaw I'll admit it wasn't easy just writing it and posting (I've already gone back and tweaked a bit!). Good to know you both enjoyed it :)

    • Posted 4 years ago