Once upon a time, in a land caught outside of time, the sunless sky glowed and darkened, and glowed again. In a place where the saltless ocean ever gently lapped the rocky shores, and where the forest grew towering trees spaced well apart from one another. There in a cave tucked inside the stone cliffs along the water lived a tiny dragon. Her scales gleamed purple and blue even in the dim light of the rocky hollow she knew as home.
She had lost track of how long she had dwelled in this place, or how many times she had taken to wing to find others like herself. No matter how far she flew, or in which direction, she found more of the same: endless water lined with rocky cliffs, forest or plains empty of larger life forms. From the waters she found her sustenance, hunting the water creatures from the sky by diving down into the depths, and using her talons to capture her prey. Those swimming beings were mindless, or she had yet to find a way to communicate with them.
The forest was filled with small, furry animals which jumped, or climbed, or scampered through the trunks, capering over the mossy woodland floor. They were too small to spend too much time hunting. Although she did hunt them sometimes for amusement, she rarely caught them as agile as they were.
Sometimes at night, she would perch on the edge of the cliff, open her great jaws to let out a sonorous call, long and sorrowful, which seemed to carry her very heart out across the waters that she had never been able to cross. She wondered how she had ended up here, and could not remember. What purpose was there to swim and climb, and blunder through the woods? She did not know.
Always there was a faint recollection of the others. When she would see her reflection in the water, she could almost remember them.
When she slept, her eyelids closing in layer after layer, she dreamed of little lights winking in and out, off and on in the darkness. Against a blue, blue sky, there shone a brightness, a warm thing which would set her scales to sparkling and tingling, and she would roar and launch into that sky with a feeling of lightness. The answering roars of the others would ring in her ears, and she would wake to the dull glow, and the gentle lapping of the waters here in this desolate place.
Now she knew, somehow, that there was an answer to her fate. She knew that there was a detail missed, or overlooked, just there beyond what she could easily sense. Sometimes she set her mind to the task with a frantic passion, spending day after day flying, searching, daring, exploring, only to give up in frustration.
Today, she floated in the water on her back. Her wings were stretched out along the top of the water, and her long tail wove gently through the swells and troughs of the waves. Her back legs paddled slowly to keep her from approaching the rocks, while she examined her front talons for loose bits that had torn from her climb up the cliffs earlier that morning. Some small birds were diving in and around her, catching insects off the top of the water, using her as a place to rest and chatter in between dives. She could almost understand them.
As she floated there, she closed two of her eyelids. The first set didn’t change her vision, but they felt more comfortable to her when they were shut as she relaxed in the water. The other pair dimmed the light, and caused the birds and vegetation to appear in different colors, brighter and more defined. With that set, if they were closed at night, the whole little world would have a soft luminescence.
She heard something from far away, from inside her mind, from somewhere she could not locate. Her arms flailed, and her wings splashed. The birds took flight calling sharply at being dislodged. She began to sink, and roll. One of her wings began to wrap around her as her shoulder dipped deeper into the water.
She kicked her legs, and slashed her tail, trying to keep her head above the water. This was not the clean, open winged dive she used for hunting. This was a thrashing, splashing situation. Her nostrils closed against the water. Panic. More of her eyelids closed as she tried to unwind the wing binding her front talons. Her other wing extended up into the air, but a breeze had arisen, and it acted as a sail further turning her into the water.
“Where are you?”
She writhed in the water, twisting her long body, and finally got her wing unwrapped, and her head above the waves just in time to miss knocking her head onto the rocks. She grasped the stony outcropping, and began to climb up the cliff.
“I am here!” Her bellow echoed out over the water, along the shoreline.
The sound of the call was inside her. The sound of the call was around her.
There was a feeling, a pulling which compressed her at the same time it dislocated her.
All her eyelids closed.
“Are you an angel?” The small voice came from a large, soft creature with brown curling moss around her head.
“What’s an angel?”
“An angel has wings, and helps people.” said the large, soft creature.
“Maybe. Are you a people?”
“Do you need help?”
“I want to get these out…” A talonless appendage extended towards a smooth dead moss with a crystal stuck in it.
The tiny dragon climbed along the soft limb to examine the crystal. This was like nothing she had seen before, and the large creature had pulled her from the neverending place, and brought it to an end. She must be magic, the dragon thought. I should help her.
The dragon saw a curling spike enter into the dead moss, and set her talons to it. She twisted until it came free, then set to work on the next one, and the next. Each crystal she released, she placed into the palm of the soft creature who had freed her.
“What is going on here? How did these get out of the couch?” The voice rang loudly, and startled the tiny dragon.
“Hide!” The creature told her, so she crawled into the soft brown moss which wasn’t moss, and hid there.
The much larger creature took the crystals from the smaller large creature and pointed at the dead moss.
“Maybe an angel did it.”
“Oh, an angel, huh? Well, why would an angel take the cushion pins out of the couch?”
“Maybe the angel wanted to see what they were, and thought they were pretty.”
The larger creature began to twist the crystals back into the dead moss.
“Well, maybe the angel can just leave them where they are. They’re sharp you know, and you could get hurt by them.”
The larger creature left.
“It’s okay, you can come out now. Do you want to see my room?”
The tiny dragon didn’t know how she ended up here, but she knew she had finally found her home.
“What is a room?”
“I’ll show you. Come on!”
For my youngest, Rebecca.