Jan sat on her bed snuggled up with her duvet wrapped around her and her book, Dracula, opened at Chapter 1. She began to shiver, even though she felt warm. She took her cup of hot chocolate from the bedside table and began to sip it as she read.
She tried to convince herself that she wasn’t in the least bit afraid even though the hairs on her arms were standing on end and she hadn’t even got to the bottom of the first page!
Before she could continue reading, she thought she heard a creaking noise coming from the corner of the bedroom.
Don’t be daft, she thought to herself and carried on reading.
She heard the noise again and then there was a rustling sound. She took the torch out from under her covers and shone it into the corners of the room that were not lit by her bedside lamp. There was nothing there. Back to her book.
Another noise made her look up and by the door stood what she thought was her younger brother Tim with a white sheet over his head and two slits for his eyes.
“Oh, do stop messing about Tim it’s way past your bedtime and I’m trying to read.”
There was no reply.
“Tim, go away, I said.”
The white sheet appeared to stand more upright. Jan jumped out of bed, ran over to the sheet and went to grab it.
“Tim, I told you to stop messing about and get back to bed. You don’t frighten me.”
Jan reached out to pull the sheet away, but her hand went straight through it as if it were made of air. She did it again.
“Uh. Tim, is that you? What are you playing at? I’m going to call Mum if you don’t stop this.”
Jan tried to grab the sheet once more but again her hand went straight through thin air.
Then she heard sobbing coming from under the sheet and the sheet seemed to crumple into a heap on the floor.
“What on earth is going on? Who are you? You don’t frighten me.”
“That’s the whole point,” A faint voice said between sniffles, “I don’t frighten anyone.”
Jan put her hand over her mouth to try and stem the laughter that was erupting from deep in her stomach.
A ghost that can’t scare anyone. She thought. Well he ought to read the Dracula book to get some ideas.
“Um, well I don’t know what you can do about that Mr. Ghost, or how I can help you. I’ve just tried to touch you and my hand went straight through the sheet. Anyway, wearing a silly old white sheet with two holes in for your eyes isn’t going to scare anyone.”
“But I don’t know what else to do,” sniffled the white sheet, “I’ve tried loads of things, like being a dragon.”
Suddenly the white sheet became an orange dragon about the size of a Labrador dog and fire was shooting from its nostrils.
“Wow,” said Jan, “But stop all that fire or you’ll set my room alight.”
“It’s not real fire,” said the dragon. “and that’s why people aren’t scared of me.”
“You’re not a very big dragon either, are you?” Said Jan.
“No, said the dragon,” as he began to cry large, golden dragon tears that pooled in a puddle on the bedroom floor.
“Look, you’ve now made the floor all wet with your tears. Can you stop it dragon and I’ll try and help you become a bit scarier?”
“You haven’t got any wings, have you? Dragons have wings.”
“Like this?” the dragon appeared to sprout two tiny wings on either side of its body.
“But they’re no good, Dragon, they’ll get you nowhere, they’re tiny.”
“But I can only grow big wings when I’m a dragonfly or a butterfly.”
“Look, let me pull on your wings and see if I can make them any bigger.”
Jan stepped forward, reached out her hand but once again it went straight through the dragon.
“You’ll have to make yourself, more um.. real, more solid somehow. My hand keeps going straight through you.”
“I’ll try,” sobbed the dragon as more golden tears fell to the floor.
The dragon huffed and puffed some huge flames and then stood up taller.
“Like this? Touch me now and see what happens.”
“That right,” said Jan as she touched the dragon.
“Oh, you feel very soft. Here let me pull on your wings and see if that makes any difference to their size.”
“Ouch,” said the dragon,” that hurt.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean it. Let’s try something different. What you need is a castle, like Dracula has.”
“He’s the man in the book I’m reading. He’s a Count, Count Dracula and he lives in a huge castle and drinks blood.”
“Oh, I hate blood, I’m a vegetarian. My favourite food is cabbage. Any leftovers that little children leave on their plate, then I eat it all up.”
“Oh, well you’ll love my brother Tim as he hates cabbage and he hides it under his plate and tells Mum he’s eaten it all.”
“I know,” said Dragon, that’s how I came to be here, I’ve been eating his cabbage for years.”
Jan began to laugh so much that it hurt her stomach and she had to hold her sides to stop them hurting as well.
“What’s so funny about that?”
“A dragon who goes around in a white sheet and cannot grow proper wings and cannot scare anyone and eats only cabbage. That’s what’s funny.”
Jan began laughing again and had to sit on the floor but accidently sat in the puddle of golden tears.
“These tears are warm.” Jan ran her hands through the golden tears.
“Hurrah you can touch the tears and you can touch me now.”
Jan gave the dragon a hug and kissed his nose.
“Come on, let’s talk about this castle that you need.”
Suddenly a small fort appeared in the centre of Jan’s bedroom.
“No, that’s not a castle, that’s a fort and it looks just like the sort Tim would play with. You’ll have to do much better than that. Look, let’s go out into the garden where you will have more room and you can build a giant castle there.”
Instantly the dragon disappeared.
Jan looked out of her bedroom window and saw him sitting under a pine tree by the lawn.
Well, I wish I could do that, I’ve got to put my slippers on and run down two flights of stairs before I get to be outside. Jan put her feet into her slippers and as she walked to her bedroom door she went through the golden puddle of tears, the next minute she was on the lawn beside Dragon.
“Wow. Your tears must be made of magic. I trod in the golden puddle and now here I am. I can fly. I can fly.”
Jan spread out her arms and suddenly shot away around the top of the pine tree and back down again.
Dragon laughed. He had never seen a human flying unaided before. He was beginning to feel braver now but not scarier.
“That’s lovely, I’m so glad you can fly but I still want to be scary. I want to frighten people to bits.”
Jan laughed at Dragon’s endearing desire to frighten people.
“Look, I’ll show you some tricks. My brother Tim is always trying to frighten me. Go and hide behind that tree.”
“What for?” Said Dragon.
“Because I want to show you how to frighten people.”
The dragon trundled off behind the tree and was just about to fall asleep when Jan crept up on him.
The dragon’s eyes shot open and he jumped two feet in the air.
“Don’t do that Jan you frightened the life out of me.”
“There you are then Dragon, that’s what you’ve got to do. Come on, I’ll hide, and you creep up on me and try to make me jump.”
Jan hid behind the tree. Dragon stomped along swishing his tail.
“No, dragon you’re making far too much noise. You must creep up on me.”
“Oh, all right then if you say so.”
Dragon tried again. He trod carefully and stood by the tree.
“No Dragon, that will not do at all. You must shout, BOO as loud as you can and even stamp your feet and clap your paws. You must try harder if you want to be a scary dragon.”
“I’ll try just this once and then I’m going to give up.”
Dragon crept up to the tree, took an almighty inbreath and bellowed, “BOOOOOO,” so loudly that it shook the pine tree and rattled all the glass windows of the house and nearly shattered them all.
Jan jumped so high that she hit her head on an overhanging branch.
“Ouch Dragon, not only did you nearly burst my ear drums, but you made me bang my head.”
“Sorry.” Dragon bowed his head.
“No, that’s all right, all is forgiven now. You’ve done it, you’ve learned how to be scary. We must now make your castle because scary dragons must have a castle to live in.
In an instant There was a giant fortress of a castle in the front garden of the house.
“That looks magnificent Dragon. Now you’re learning.”
Dragon jumped up and down and wagged his giant tail with joy.
“I’m beginning to get it now, thank you Jan. I think I can be a scary dragon after all.
“Tell you what Dragon.”
“You stay here, and I’ll go and get my little brother Timothy and you can practice on him. If you can scare Tim, then you can scare anyone.”
Dragon rubbed his front paws together with glee.
Jan ran off into the house and tapped on Tim’s bedroom door.
“Are you awake Tim? I’ve got something I want to show you.”
“What, is it Jan, you woke me up.”
“Sorry but it’s rather important. Can you put your dressing gown and slippers on and come with me into the garden? There’s something magical I want you to see.”
Tim put on his dressing gown and slippers and followed Jan down the hall to the front door.
“Look,” said Jan.
“Wow, it’s a castle. Where on earth did you get that from Jan?”
“Well um.. my friend built it.”
“They built it quickly then didn’t they.” Said Tim as he moved nearer the castle, his mouth wide open in awe.
“I want you to walk around the outside of the castle and have a look and tell me what you think.
Tim yawned as Jan pushed him to her right. When Tim had turned the first corner and was out of sight Jan beckoned Dragon to come close.
“Dragon, you go to my left and creep around the castle and then when you’re near Tim make him jump, like I showed you.”
Jan pushed Dragon to her left and waited.
After what seemed like ages Jan heard an almighty roar coming from the back of the castle walls. She saw flames rising high above the roof and treetops. Then Tim shot past her at break-neck speed, the blood drained from his face, and hid in the bushes by the front door.
“Jan, Jan,” Tim whispered, “Get here quick, there’s a dragon in the garden.”
Jan lay down on the grass and rolled about laughing.
“You’ve done it Dragon, you scared my little brother Tim. Nothing has ever scared him before. No spiders, frogs or snakes-nothing. Congratulations Dragon.”
“You mean you can talk to the dragon, Jan.”
“Yes, he’s my best friend and I’ve been teaching him how to scare people as he could not scare me when we first met. He also built this castle.”
“Wow, Sis, that’s amazing. He really did frighten me but if you say he’s your friend then can he be my friend too?”
“Yes, of course he can. Dragon. Dragon, come on over and meet my little brother Tim.”
Tim stepped backwards with fright, but Dragon held out his paw and gently took Tim’s hand and shook it.
“Yes, friends,” said Tim and the three friends hugged and then sat on the grass and laughed until their sides ached.
“Well, you two, ~I’ve got to go now. Thank you for showing me how to frighten people, I shall forever be grateful to you. I’ll come back and visit you both and tell you how many people I’ve frightened and how I did it. Bye.”
With a puff of smoke Dragon and the castle disappeared.
“Come on little Tim, we’d better get back to bed before Mum finds us out here on the lawn in our nightclothes.”
“Okay Sis, I’m very tired. One thing though. I wasn’t really scared of that dragon. I just pretended to be.”
“Yes, I know,” giggled Jan. He didn’t frighten me either.