Have you ever wondered if fairytales were real? Have you ever wanted to live in a land of magic and fairies and dragons? Wouldn't your life seem way more interesting than it is now?
I don't totally remember how it was back then, because it seems so unfeasable to picture myself on my own. But I'll try.
My name is Allie, and I am one of those girls who fantasises about things that could never be. At school, I don't really have friends. I get through my classes and then run home as fast as I can. People think I'm emo, or depressed, but mainly leave me alone. Anyone who tries to reach me thinks I'm crazy or worse. People just don't get me. I don't put up with obsessing over fandoms or clothes or makeup. I don't like team sports, I like doing stuff on my own.
I don't know when I was first interested in fantasy. Seems like I've always been fascinated by alternate realities. Reality is all in our head anyways, so why not imagine a world full of monsters and saviors and a chance for everyone to be a hero. Maybe I've always wanted to be a hero.
But every day, I run home into the woods behind my house. Nobody goes back there, as our property borders state forest land. I have a master map where I note landmarks as well as new things like new game trails or footprints. It's been etched out and rewritten dozens of times as the forest changed. At first, I wasn't allowed to go out of sight from the house. Gradually I went further, and my mom stopped caring. I take my books out there to read them. Most of the time I get my homework done in the woods, too. It's my real home.
One day, during freshman year, I was bored. I'd always stayed close enough so if my mom yelled really loudly I would hear her. But I decided to go further, mapping out the trees as I went. Back there, the forest got wilder. The branches got in my way, and I kept running into bushes and having to backtrack. But it was exciting, I hadn't been in new woods for a long time. I heard the ground shake, and looked down, confused. It wasn't me that was shaking the ground though. I looked behind me, and realized there were no birds or squirrels. Suddenly realizing I might be in the path of a predator, I slowly turned around, looking towards the ground.
It was hard to miss, the only red in a sea of browns and greens. I was staring at a giant scaled claw. The top of the paw came up to my knees. The scales were a glittering red. I slowly raised my eyes upward, and just about stopped breathing. I followed the paw up the leg to a massive body, and even further to a neck and a head. That's when there was no denying it.
I was looking at a dragon. It was a more western style, with large bat wings, four scaled legs, and a long tail that ended in an arrowhead.
My breath caught, and I stepped back hesitantly, thinking of what to do. But I'd read so many dragon stories I didn't know what applied. Was it my imagination.
"Hralloh" it said, ending the greeting with a click.
I had to be dreaming, there was no other explanation. "Uh... hello"
"hri hrasth shreenk hyou rethork *click* hert hrormally hyou kron't scom sok frar *click* It was hard to make out the words he/she/it said in low growls, but I was able to translate.
"Yeah, I normally don't." I said, rather awkwardly. On the inside, I was screaming, "Please don't kill me." But hey, if you're stuck in the best dream ever, you just go with it.
"Sometimes you have books with pictures of dragons on them, or other mythics." (I'll spare you what his/her/it's words actually sounded like, because they were pretty growly) "Do you have to go home soon?"
"Uh... well I probably should be getting back...if you don't have anything more to say to me... my mom will be expecting me..."
"Because normally you stay until it gets dark" He/she/it had spotted my bluff. It wasn't often I got to talk to a real dragon, but it was freaking me out a bit. "Come on, I have something to show you." He/she/it turned and started walking away. Here was my chance, either I ran home, or I followed. It was the best dream I'd ever had, so I figured if anything went wrong it would be fine in the morning. And so I followed.
I tried to note the scenery as we went, determining how far I had gone. Suddenly, he/she/it stopped in front of a large cave. He/she/it raised it's head towards the sky, staring at the sun. "I apologize if I make you late. Just don't get angry with your mother. She worries because she loves you very much. Someday you'll understand what it is to worry about children." He/she/it said thoughtfully. "I'm getting ahead of myself. You're probably very confused. Let me show you around my house before we get to why I've brought you here."
"You mean in the cave?"
"Of course. Who wants to sleep in the rain, especially in Oregon?"
I shrugged in response. Then he/she/it walked into the tunnel. Here was another chance. If I darted, I could probably make it home. But if it really wanted to hurt me, it would probably catch up with me. If it was a real dragon, then it could burn my house down, or kill me in one swipe. So I really didn't have a choice but to follow.
The further we walked, the darker and narrower the tunnel became. It didn't look very well worn at first, but deeper down it was smooth where the dragon could just slide through. It was getting to the point where I could barely see when suddenly I saw light ahead. Looking back, I could just see a hint of light filtering through. I'd lost track after the third turn of the tunnel what direction we were headed. Not to mention the various forks.
As we walked on, it got lighter until I could see normally again. Then I started to see gems embedded in the dirt and rock, small sparkles among the dark. We came out to a large, circular room. A large bonfire formed the main centerpiece, but that wasn't what caught my eye. The walls were covered in glittering gold, silver, gems, and pearls. The total value could easily be a billion dollars in jewels. Across from me were three archways. Two were ornate, the other plain. I looked down the hall of the plain tunnel and while it looked well traveled, it was not decorated like the other. I had read a bunch of dragon books, but they always showed dragons in different ways. I guessed the plain, smaller tunnel led to servants, waste, a second escape, or a food stockpile. It seemed misplaced, kind of like me standing there in a random tshirt and jeans against all these jewels.
"Welcome," he/she/it said, "to my home." I stood in awe of the room, and then in awe of the creature I was standing next to. "Let me show you around. This is the main hall. Down the plain tunnel is the servants quarters and an escape route. We'll go down the central tunnel" I wondered who the servants were, but I was too scared to ask.
But then I remembered it was a dream. Therefore, it didn't matter if I became enslaved. I swallowed the lump in my throat and walked on. We walked into a room even more ornate than the main hall, with large patterened fabrics and paintings hanging from the walls. A large pile of fabric sat in the middle of the floor.
"What's the giant blanket for?" I asked.
"A bed. This is the guest room."
"A bed. You mean, for another dragon?"
She flicked her tail and sighed, "Of course. You didn't really think we slept on piles of gold and jewels, did you? That would be far too uncomfortable."
"Oh." I honestly had always thought that sounded uncomfortable in books, but I didn't know any better." She led me on to another room just as grand. "This is my room." Nestled in the blankets was a large polished rock the size of my head. It was a pale off white color.
"This is what I brought you for. I've watched you for a long time, I know you're responsible and care for nature. You're independant. Altogether perfect. This forest isn't big enough for two dragons, and I can't care for it." I gasped and she, obviously now a she, went on, "I need you to take my egg and find someone sutiable for it. The forest is surrounded on all sides by development, and I am very old, and getting sick. I... I want it to live, even if I don't." Tears trailed down her cheeks, "it's my everything, and I hate to give it up to be a riding dragon and not wild and free as I am, but I don't have a choice. I love it with all my heart, but this forest isn't safe enough for it."
"How am I supossed to care for it? I don't know much about actual dragons, I can't just leave and raise one. I'd really like to help you but I don't know what to do with it."
"I'm sure you know more than you think you do. And it probably won't choose you anyway. It'll hatch for whomever fits it's personality close enough for them to be connected. The egg is pretty hard, you'd have to be very violent to break it. No, you just have to look out for people, people who seem to be responsible and have an idea about the world of magic. Take them the egg, have it touching them for a good hour. If nothing happens, move onto the next person. Being a human, you have a lot more freedom than I do to find the right person for it. It shouldn't hatch for a week, but after that it will hatch as soon as it finds a suitable partner. Whoever it hatches for will be attatched psychologically for life, and you'll be done."
"So just ferry it around to people? But nobody knows about dragons. I can't just give it to someone and say, 'Good luck!' I don't know what to do with it."
"It's not that hard, it'll have instinct and know what to do. You're my only hope. There isn't room for two grown dragons. I'm getting old. You can't understand, not having children of your own but... I want it to have a chance."
"Could I just leave it in a large preserved wildlife land to hatch on it's own?"
"No. It'll only hatch with me to become a wild dragon, or with a human to be a riding dragon."
"Why don't you just move somewhere big enough for the two of you?"
"I can't fly anymore." she said sadly. "My wings have been damaged beyond repair for a while now. The area around this forest is too developed for me to walk through it. Please, just take it."
"I... I guess I can."
"Thank you." she said, and then handed me the egg. It wasn't as heavy as if it were solid rock, but it wasn't exactly light either.
"Can I find you if I have trouble."
A shadow fell over her face. "No. You must never come back here again, unless it has hatched already. Otherwise it will hatch for me as a wild dragon and it will die if I'm not there for the first year of it's life."
"Okay. I'll take it, and make sure it finds a good home."
"Thank you again. Oh, and I'd like it's name to be related to a jewel, or a two word name. Or maybe both."
"Okay. Jewel two-word name, it won't hatch for a week, and it has to be near that person for an hour before it will hatch?"
"Yes. You've got it. Try to keep it warm, but it can handle cold temperatures if it has to. I'm sure you'll do well." She gently stroked the egg with her talon, and then escorted me to the surface.
No matter how hard I wished for magical powers in my dream, the egg was still heavy and it was a long walk home. By the time I was there it was dark, and I was totally late. I panicked. If my mom was looking for me, there was no way I could sneak the egg into my bedroom. I hid it in some bushes before running inside.
My mom was yelling at me but I didn't pay much attention. I couldn't stop thinking about thee fact I had met an actual dragon. I had stood next to, talked with a giant red reptile, gone to it's lair, and come back unscathed. Now I was responsible for a baby dragon. A freaking baby dragon.
So no, I didn't really care much that my mom was upset with me. I told her that I'd been exploring and it took me longer to get back than I'd expected, which was true. But there was no way I was telling her I had a dragon egg in the backyard.
I ate my dinner, which was now cold. When my mom went up to the bathroom I snuck out and stuck the egg under my sweatshirt. It was warm to the touch, even though it was cold outside. I silently apologized to it for leaving it in the cold for an hour. I snuck back in the door, and luckily my mom wasn't downstairs yet. I walked up to my room trying to look as normal as possible, keeping the egg on the other side of her room. Amazingly, she didn't notice. I looked around my room for a place to put it. Eventually I decided on the back of my clothes door. It wasn't the most ingenious hiding place, I know, but the room was small and there wasn't much else I could do with it.
And so I slept with a dragon in my room, regretting leaving behind this dream and waking up to an ordinary day.