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Bravery
7.11.2002 by Rosemary, every Tuesday.


This is a story from Ro. I hope you like it.



Bravery


“Aiiiiigh!!!”

The terrified cry pierced through the sun-dappled woods and dissolved into a slew of gasping, bubbling whimpers.

The dragon lowered his massive head and examined his prize, pinned under his left forepaw. It was a businessman, or perhaps a creature of the high-tech sector, and it wore an unremarkable grey suit and an uninspiring grey tie.

The dragon drew closer, flicking his fantastical violet eyes across the little man. Its brown eyes opened wider, and its mouth worked like a fish; it looked, on the whole, ridiculous. Sighing, the dragon lowered his haunches onto the soft grass of the park glade. In a voice like a church bell rolling down a mountain, he boomed, “Name please.”

The man’s dull eyes darted to and fro, and it said, “Nguh nguh nguh.”

The dragon sighed. Fair was fair, but the new regulations seemed excessively time-consuming, and nobody had passed yet. He thought about going home and taking a bath. “Name please,” he repeated wearily.

“Wh-whuh... what are you?” stammered the man.

Leaning to one side and resting his crimson chin on his right forepaw, the dragon said, “You were late for work, yes? You took a path through the park, thinking -- in your slow human way -- that you could slip through the gash in the fence and enter through the back, thus avoiding detection.”

The man’s mouth formed an “o”. It nodded. Damp patches were forming under its arms.

“Well then,” continued the dragon. “You assumed nothing could harm you. You figured monsters were a myth. You humans,” he rumbled, “find it very difficult to conceive of things outside of your limited experience.” He raised his eyes to the wide blue heavens as if praying for patience. “Now: the new requirements state that I must interview you before I consume you. If I deem you worthy, valuable, special, then you are to be spared.”

“Christopher Dishpan,” said the man suddenly. “That’s my name.”

The dragon nodded his ruby head and smiled, like a teacher smiling at a slow child who’s just added one and one. “Profession?”

“A-Assistant WAN/LAN Coordinator a-a-and VP of Agendas,” replied the man. The morning breeze pushed its thinning flax hair aside, revealing glints of sweat on its forehead.

The dragon blinked, wondering once more what a WAN/LAN was; he’d eaten three WAN/LANs in the past month. “Accomplishments, volunteering, public works?”

“Let me go,” sputtered the man, as if its mind had finally geared into defensive mode. It pushed against the thick, scaly claws. Spittle shined in the corner of its mouth.

“No,” said the dragon, but he found himself grudgingly admiring the man’s attempted resistance. “Accomplishments, volunteering, public works?”

“I... I organized a tennis round-robin at the office...” said the man shakily. “And I... give to the Lung Association every Christmas?”

“I see.” The dragon stretched his bejewelled wings and tried to recall the next question.

Somewhere a bird trilled, liquid and sweet. The warm sun steamed away the last of the dew, and its light snagged a bit of metal in the man’s breast pocket. The dragon winced against the spot of light. Questions forgotten, he nosed closer to peer at the fascinating object. The man drew a shuddering breath; it welded its cow-brown eyes to the dragon’s ruby head.

“What is that?” asked the dragon, with real curiosity. He tapped a golden claw on the breast pocket. “Take it out.”

He shifted his left forepaw and the man pulled an arm free. It reached into its pocket; milk-pale hands shaking, it pulled out the object and held it up to the dragon. It was a golden pen.

“What’s that for?” asked the dragon, wonder replacing condescension.

“It’s for M-Melinda,” said the man. “She works with me. She’s an Assistant Programmer and Cobol Cowboy. She’s... well, yes. She’s beautiful,” it said softly.

“You were going to give this... thing, to the girl Melinda, today?”

The man nodded. Its white fingers clenched the pen.

“And tell her what?” asked the dragon.

“That... I l-love her,” the man stammered, then exclaimed in a rush, “I do, I do love her, I can’t even sleep.”

The dragon cocked his great head, fascinated. “Will she say she loves you too?”

“Probably not,” admitted the man. “She doesn’t even remember my name.”

“Huh.” The dragon blinked. “Everyone will ridicule you. Why tell her this?”

The man shrugged as best it could beneath the forepaw. It gave a courageous smile.

The dragon snorted and raised his left forepaw from the sweaty form. “You are a braver beast then I,” he said. He shook the forepaw once, and gave his great ruby wings a flap that resounded throughout the glade. Shaking his head, he wandered off to take a nice warm bath.

Christopher Dishpan stood up very, very slowly. He pushed the pen into his pocket. Then he stumbled, under the changeable shadows of the trees, towards the gap in the fence.




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