Morris stumbled up the steep icy hill mumbling about stupid dares. Torrents of snow rained from the sky, coating the underdressed boy in frosty white flakes. His bare arms wrapped around his shivering body as he progressed to the top of the hill. His thin tank top, basketball shorts, and sneakers were no match for the freezing elements.
He chanced one last glance at his friends waiting at the bottom of the slope. Their smug faces told him they hadn’t changed their minds. Morris let out a long sigh, watching the puffs of breath disappear into the frigid air.
“Why did I ever agree to this?” Morris stumbled to the top, peering over the edge. The frozen expanse loomed far beneath his feet. Tightness coiled around his stomach and dizziness swept through his body, reminding him of his biggest fear—heights. He sucked in a deep breath, trying to ignore how far he had to slide down.
He couldn’t stay out in the cold much longer. The tips of his wild brown hair were laced with white flurries and his soaked clothes encased his numb body in a heavy wet snow. There were no other ways to go back down. He didn’t have a choice now. He had to jump. Morris shut his eyes and leaned forward, preparing for the rush of adrenaline.
A loud roar at his back sliced through the air, stopping him dead where he stood. The terrifying gravelly roar was nothing like he had ever heard before. A rush of new anxieties drowned out his petty worries. He knew he should jump to safety, but curiosity could be a deadly thing. He turned. The thick falling snow cloaked a large dark figure lurking behind the white shroud. A beating warmth drifted from the form like that of a campfire. The welcoming, much needed heat, beckoned him. He stepped forward, his body quivering with the movement.
“W-w-who’s t-th-there?” A mighty force rocked the hill as a large three-toed foot emerged into view. The three talons jutting out like curved blades caught his attention. Morris glanced back at the edge of the slope, thinking through his options. Be eaten by a giant creature or face his fear of heights. His indecisiveness could cost him his life.
“Who dares trespass?” A booming voice echoed through the terrain.
Morris’s knobby knees shook uncontrollably as the figure revealed the rest of its long scaly body. Two rigid horns spiraled from the base of its thick dark forehead. Curving down its back ran jagged ice blue spikes protruding from its snake-like body. Tendrils of smoke curled from the beast’s massive nostrils, disappearing into the sky like smoke from a chimney. Morris couldn’t decide what scared him worse—the creature’s booming voice or the bulky muscles padding its massive body.
“H-h-how a-are y-you a-able t-to s-s-speak?” Morris’s eyes locked on the icy blue dragon eyes staring back at him. His whole body shook with the revelation. He didn’t understand how a once-thought mythical creature could be real. Was he the first human to ever discover a dragon? What was it doing here in the middle of Calibre Park? Has it always been here?
“I am the mighty dragon guard, protector of this planet. Leave now before I must take action!” Morris almost heeded the dragon’s advice, but curiosity dragged him forward.
“W-what are you protecting this planet from?”
“You are too simple-minded to understand, boy. Now, leave while you still have the chance.”
“Please,” he begged, “I thought dragons were just fairy tales. I want to know more.”
“Curiosity has killed many. Don’t be one of its victims.” The elegant beast flared its nostrils as if to emphasize the point. Everything in Morris screamed at him to slide down the slope, but he stepped forward anyway.
“What is a dragon guard?”
“Foolish child! Don’t ask questions you can’t begin to understand!”
“How can I ever understand if you don’t answer me?”
The dragon snorted. “Please boy, humor me. What do you know of the stars?” Morris lifted his eyes to the sky, catching several snow flakes on his tongue as he spoke.
“I know lots of stuff about the stars. I love the constellations like Ursa Minor, Scorpius, Lyra, Gemini, Ori—”
“Your simple mind can comprehend the names, but that proves nothing.”
“At least tell me your name.”
“That is not of importance.”
Morris puffed out his lower lip, “pleeease!” The dragon’s dark muscular features tightened as it let out a low snarl.
“Fine. I will reward your tenacity. You are braver than most… or outright foolish. I have not yet decided.”
“My name is Slitherinx. Now away with you! I will waste no more time conversing with a child.”
Morris plopped down in the snow defiantly, drinking in the warmth radiating from his dangerous companion. He ignored the narrowed ice blue eyes shooting daggers of rage at him.
“LEAVE!” The ear-piercing snarl echoed through the frozen terrain. The shear force of the noise sent Morris plowing into the snow, coming inches from falling over the edge of the slope.
“Not until you answer my question.” Morris sat up. “What are you protecting Earth from?”
Slitherinx narrowed his eyes into thin slits and sighed deeply. “Only if you promise to leave.”
“Deal.” Morris stood.
“The dracolators are not to be trifled with. Those power hungry savages destroy worlds. I have protected this one for millennia. Dracolators travel through way of the stars. Each constellation contains a wormhole at its center, each leading to a different planet. The constellation you call ‘Gemini’ leads to this one. I guard the wormhole on this side, ensuring no one gets through uninvited. I really must be getting back. Now, be on your way.”
Morris’s hazel brown eyes widened.
“Information overload,” were the only words he could muster.
“Humans… always so shortsighted.” Slitherinx disappeared from where he came, along with the only source of Morris’s warmth. Curiosity sank through Morris, flooding him with the will to continue. He promised Slitherinx he would leave, but how could he? Not after this new revelation. This scientific discovery could change everything.
Morris bolted in the direction he saw Slitherinx disappear. His eyes lingered on a cave guarded by the majestic dragon. Slitherinx looked none too happy. Before a word could pass between them, a thundering boom ripped apart the earth at Slithernx’s feet. The large dragon crashed to the white-coated ground, thrashing. A ferocious creature, even more terrifying than the dragon, stood over him. Shadows curved around its indistinct features obscuring its muscled mass—a dracolator.
Two limbs obtruded from the mass with sword-length claws. Ferocious fangs hung from the attacker’s mouth, black goo dangling from each of them like drool. Dark bulbous clumps freckled its exterior. Morris cowered, stumbling backward and freezing. All he could do was watch as the dracolator ripped open Slitherinx’s scaly chest with its sharp claws. Slitherinx yelped and his thrashing stopped. The dracolator left him for dead, scurrying off.
Morris rushed to Slitherinx’s side, studying the giant oozing wound stretching across his chest.
“What can I do to help?” Morris’s eyes clouded over.
“If you did not distract me…” A horrifying cough wracked his body as he struggled to breathe. “The dracolator would not be free. It will destroy Earth.”
“I… I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to do. This is all my fault!” Tears streamed down Morris’s face.
“Huh?” Slitherinx didn’t reply. Instead, he opened his mouth and electricity burst forth, engulfing Morris. Morris screamed as the blue jolts of electricity encased his body. Warm tendrils of power wrapped around him harmlessly, searing light blurring his vision. When the light flashed away and his sight cleared, his surroundings were different. Slitherinx was nowhere in sight.
Morris stood three-fourths of the way to the slope's peak, looking down at his smug-faced friends at the bottom. Did he just time travel? Slitherinx instructed Morris to warn him about the threat. He really meant it. The only way to save Earth was to warn Slitherinx before the dracolator arrived. The safety of the planet rested in his hands.
“Time to warn Slitherinx.”
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.
Amazingly detailed story.