The old man found the dragon in the middle of the field behind his house. It’s not everyday you find a mythical being lying in the tall, wet grass while going for a stroll. Last night there had been a terrible thunderstorm, common in Southwestern Idaho during late summer. Had the storm somehow brought this dragon?
“Oh my! What are you?” Grandpa James wasn’t used to fantastical happenings. He lived a quiet life with his son and grandchildren a few miles outside of town. They were all at home still asleep. Grandpa almost always took his walks early on Summer mornings before it got hot.
The dragon said something. It definitely sounded like words, sort of whispered, but totally incomprehensible. It seemed to be beckoning.
“You poor thing. Your wing is broken.”
Having never met a dragon before, Grandpa wasn’t sure how close to get. He wanted to help the creature, but would it bite?
“Me no hurt.”
Those were the first words it said Grandpa could understand.
“You won’t hurt me?”
The dragon nodded.
“I want to help you. Can I pick you up?”
The dragon seemed to smile but exposing what looked like hundreds of needle thin teeth gave Grandpa pause.
Summoning his courage, he gingerly approached the formerly mythical creature. It was about the size of a large cocker spaniel or a small collie. Grandpa carefully avoided touching the broken wing and managed to get his arms around it.
The dragon was a little heavier than Grandpa expected given its size but Grandpa, who really wasn’t all that old, was in pretty good shape and managed to muscle the injured being off the ground. Grandpa made a straight line for the back door of his house, all the while being thankful it was early Sunday morning and that he didn’t have neighbors close by.
Grandpa managed to hold the dragon in one arm long enough to get the back door open, then carried the dragon inside, lightly kicking the door closed behind them.
Grandpa had been a medic in the war, but that had been a long time ago. He hoped what he remembered was enough to mend a dragon’s wing.
The dragon was the color of honey with two bat-like wings protruding from its upper back. It had four limbs, and the claws on the front two had opposable thumbs. That’s what the dragon used to cling to Grandpa.
The eyes were the dragon’s most unexpected feature. They looked just like human eyes only bigger, and they were the brightest, clearest shade of blue.
The dragon flicked its tongue as if tasting the air. It was long, like a giraffe’s tongue, but the color his grandson’s tongue turned after he ate a cherry Popsicle.
Grandpa made a nest of blankets for the dragon on the floor of his bedroom, then went to get the First Aid kit he kept in the bathroom. Gently, very gently, he managed to immobilize the wing with a splint of tongue depressors and strips of gauze. The dragon grimaced and made a shrill trilling noise but put up with the discomfort.
“Grandpa, what’s that sound?”
Seven-year-old Landon walked into Grandpa’s bedroom while rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. Then he saw the dragon.
The little boy’s eyes went wide with wonder. “A dragon?”
“Shhhh. Keep your voice down. We don’t want to wake your Dad or Sister, not yet anyway.”
“Where did you get a dragon, Grandpa?” He was jumping up and down with delight, startling the hurt creature.
“Hey,” Grandpa whispered. “You’re scaring the poor thing. Calm down.” He put his hands gently on this grandson’s shoulders.
“It’s okay.” Grandpa turned to face the dragon. “Let’s sit down so it can get used to us?”
Both Grandpa and Landon sat near the dragon who had relaxed a little bit and was lying on the bed of blankets.
“Can he talk?”
“I don’t know if it’s a he or she and it talks a little bit. Mostly, I think it speaks its own language, though.”
The dragon issued what sounded like a purr. Grandpa hesitantly put out his right hand, and the dragon nuzzled against it, purring louder.
“Can I touch him too?”
Before Grandpa could answer, the dragon nodded.
“Go ahead, but be gentle.”
Grandpa took his hand away. “Slowly, go slowly.”
Landon put his hand out the way his Grandpa said. The dragon rubbed its head inside the palm of the child’s hand.
Landon giggled. “That tickles.”
The dragon imitated the boy’s chuckling and then winced when it reflexively tried to move it’s injured wing.
“We need to be careful, Landon.”
“Stay here while I go into the kitchen. I have no idea what dragons eat, but I’ve got to try to feed it something.”
Then, as an after thought, Grandpa turned back and addressed the dragon. “Are you two going to be okay while I’m gone?”
“Yes, Grandpa. I’ll be good.” That was Landon’s reply. The dragon raised its head and vigorously nodded “yes”.
“I’ll be right back.” Grandpa hoped it wasn’t a bad idea leaving his grandson alone with even a small and injured dragon. He was thinking of those hundreds of sharp teeth. Still, the creature seemed friendly enough.
The dragon and the boy quietly regarded each other after Grandpa left the room.
Presently, Grandpa came back with a plate and a saucer. The plate contained the leftovers the family had eaten for dinner the past several nights. Grandpa put the plate and the saucer, which contained water, in front of the dragon.
The creature scooted forward as best it could and lapped at the water. Then it sniffed at the different types of food on the plate and set upon nibbling at a large turkey drumstick.
Presently, the dragon’s razor-sharp teeth completely denuded the drumstick of meat and then it softly belched. Without pause, it then laid its head down and fell was fast asleep.
“We’d better leave it alone for a while to rest.”
“Grandpa, what are we going to do with a dragon?”
“I don’t know, Landon. I don’t know.”
“Dad, are you out of your mind? A dragon?”
Grandpa’s son David, who was Landon’s Dad, was holding Landon’s baby sister Dani and feeding her goat’s milk from a bottle, so he was whispering instead of shouting.
“You saw it yourself when you peeked in my bedroom. Yes, it’s a dragon.” Grandpa knew it would be hard for anyone to believe in dragons.
“I know it’s a dragon, but what if it’s dangerous? What about Landon and Dani?”
“It was perfectly fine around Landon. As long was we don’t leave either of the kids alone with it, I think it’ll be okay. Besides, it’s hurt.”
“Injured animals are the most dangerous, Dad. You know that.”
“I’m not convinced it’s just an animal, David. It can talk. It’s intelligent, but just how intelligent, I don’t know. Not yet.”
“I don’t care if it’s a bleeding Einstein. I don’t want it around my kids.”
“Dad! I like it. Can’t it stay with us until it gets better?” Landon was sitting with his Dad on the sofa while Dad was holding his 14-month-old sister. “Please, Daddy?”
“I’m afraid it will hurt you or Dani.” David was trying to be kind but he was also scared.
“I’m not afraid. The dragon let me pet him. He feels warm and fuzzy.”
“I tell you what, David.” Grandpa was trying to reason with David now that his son seemed a bit calmer. “When the dragon wakes up, why don’t you talk to it. See for yourself that it’s friendly.”
“Well…I’ll try. But it better be convincing.”
About late-morning when Dani was taking a nap, Grandpa took David and Landon into his bedroom. He’d closed the blinds and turned out all the lights to make it dark so the dragon could sleep.
When David first saw the dragon, his heart started beating faster. It was awake and looking right at him. David wasn’t afraid of the dragon. He was afraid the dragon might hurt his children.
Grandpa escorted David further into the room. He used the dimmer switch for the bedroom light to make it brighter, but not too bright. Landon was trailing behind his Dad and Grandpa.
“David, here’s the dragon. Dragon, this is my son David.”
The dragon became more animated, smiled, flashing it’s long, pointy teeth, and nodded its head, presumably as a way of saying hello.
“Hi, Dragon.” Suddenly David felt really silly.
“Sit down and talk to the dragon, son.”
David sat crosslegged in front of the dragon, then looked back up at Grandpa. “Really, Dad. What am I supposed to say?”
“Anything you’d like. Go on.” Grandpa encouraged David, “Give it a try.”
David reluctantly turned back to the dragon. “Uh, hi. How’s it going?”
The dragon’s face looked sad and it weakly tried to move its broken wing while moaning.
“I guess you’re not doing so well.”
The dragon shook its head back and forth. David couldn’t help feeling sorry for the little creature.
David looked back up at Grandpa. “I kind of see what you mean. He seems so…I don’t know…helpless.”
“So we should help it.” Grandpa replied.
David quickly turned back to the dragon. “What?”
“Me boy dragon.”
“So we should start calling him he,” said Grandpa smiling.
“I told you he was a he, Grandpa.” Landon was feeling vindicated.
“Are you going to be nice to my children?” David was still a little wary.
“The dragon smiled broadly and nodded its head up and down. “Me good.”
Then it started saying a bunch of words no one could understand.
Grandpa chuckled. “We don’t understand dragon.”
“Okay, you can stay.” David relented but he also was going to keep a sharp eye on the dragon, just in case.
“O boy, O boy, O boy.” The dragon continued to nod. Then it stopped and nuzzled its head against David’s leg. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“Okay, okay.” David was feeling a little embarrassed now. “You need help, so we’ll help you.”
The dragon looked up. “Food now?”
“He’s hungry again, Grandpa. I’ll go get the leftovers.” Landon was out of the room like a shot, heading for the kitchen. This time the dragon lunched on leftover steak.
“He seems to be recovering quickly.”
Grandpa greeted his son at the front door. David had just gotten home from work and wanted to know how the dragon was doing, especially around Landon and Dani. Grandpa was retired and usually spent his time tending his grandchildren. For the past three days, he tended to his two grandchildren and a dragon.
“So I see.” David put his backpack down on the floor and watched the dragon playing with his children while he pulled off his boots.
The broken wing was still in the makeshift sling. Grandpa had been looking after it, adjusting the splint as necessary. The wing looked more than halfway healed.
The dragon was hopping around the living room and fluttering its one good wing. Little Dani was sitting in the middle of the floor clapping her hands and laughing at the dragon’s antics.
Landon was at the kitchen table finishing up his homework and feeling a little jealous that his sister got to play with the dragon all day while he had to go to school.
“So far he’s been great with the kids. They really love him.”
As Grandpa finished his sentence, the dragon stopped, turned toward Grandpa and David and nodded quickly. “Me love. Me love. Landon and Dani. Landon and Dani.”
“I just wish his teeth didn’t look so scary.”
“He’s a dragon, David. What do you want? A cartoon?”
“I’m done with my homework, Grandpa. Can I go in the back and play now?” Landon had his army of plastic animals set up as soldiers just off of the patio. They were the good dragons fighting the evil trolls.
“Sure, but don’t wander off,” Grandpa replied over his shoulder. Landon left his chair and as he went out, he called back, “Okay, Grandpa.”
Grandpa and David kept talking while Dani and the dragon looked out the window at Landon playing.
Dani wanted to do everything Landon did, even though she couldn’t say so yet. Landon had left the backdoor ajar, and Dani saw an opportunity to get out back. She toddled over to the door, pulled it open, and stumbled down the step to the patio.
The dragon saw all this. He stayed inside but stood near the door expectantly.
Grandpa and David were interrupted by a loud yell. “Get Dani away from my toys!”
They both turned and saw Dani knocking over Landon’s carefully organized army.
“I guess we’d better…” Before Grandpa could finish his sentence, he saw something that sent a chill of horror down his spine. In the grass, a rattlesnake was slithering closer to the children.
Grandpa started to run for the backdoor and when David saw what Grandpa had seen, he did the same thing.
They might as well have been moving in slow motion. The dragon was out the door and leaping over Landon’s and Dani’s heads.
By the time they got out to the patio and had grabbed the children, the rattlesnake was already dead, shredded by hundreds of needle-sharp dragon teeth.
The dragon held the deceased reptile in his mouth victoriously. Then it tossed the snake up in the air, deftly catching it in his mouth again, and then swallowed the rattlesnake’s entire length in one gulp.
“I guess he won’t be hungry for dinner tonight.” Grandpa commented, still in shock over how quickly everything happened.
The dragon belched and then pranced happily back to the four humans. Grandpa, who had been holding Landon preparing to get him back into the house, put him down now that the danger had passed. David was still clinging to Dani who was trying to understand what just happened.
The dragon walked up to Landon and rubbed itself against him like a large cat. “You safe, you safe. Me love, me love.” The dragon purred and moved on to David. His long, pink tongue licked the bottom of Dani’s feet. “You safe, me love. You safe, me love.”
The little girl giggled. Then the dragon balanced on his hind feet and did a little dance for her, making her laugh louder.
“Here, Dad. Hold Dani for a second.” David passed his daughter to Grandpa.
Then David bent down in front of the dragon. “Thank you so much for saving Landon and Dani.” The Dad was near tears at the thought of his children getting hurt and in gratitude to the dragon.
“Me love,” the dragon replied solemnly. Then the dragon hugged David with its two upper limbs while standing on its lower ones. Hesitantly, David hugged the dragon back.
“I love you, too” David muttered into the dragon’s neck.
They were wrong about one thing. The dragon was still hungry at dinnertime and ate two salmon sushi rolls, devouring them in a pool of soy sauce and enough wasabi to burn a hole in concrete.
It was just after 9 p.m. and another summer thunderstorm had rolled into the valley. David was working on his banking online while Grandpa was reading a book. The lights flickered momentarily as lightning again flashed across the dark sky.
The dragon had been staring out the back window looking up at the storm for the past 45 minutes, ever since Landon had gone to bed. Dani was put in her crib for the night half an hour earlier.
Every once in a while, Grandpa looked up from his book at the dragon. The creature hadn’t moved. Grandpa could see the reflection of the dragon’s face in the window. He looked worried.
Finally, Grandpa put the bookmark in place, put the book on the arm of his reading chair and stood. He quietly walked over to the dragon and kneeled down.
“Is something wrong?” He thought maybe the dragon was afraid of the storm.
The dragon whimpered, and still staring into the darkness punctuated by lightning and rolling thunder said softly, “Something’s coming.”
The dragon didn’t say anything else for the rest of the night, and after he went to bed in his nest of blankets in Landon’s room, he tossed and turned until dawn.
It had been a week since Grandpa found the dragon in the field behind his house. He had examined the dragon and, after asking the creature if it was okay, removed the splint and sling from his wing. It was still a little weak but almost completely healed.
The recent storms that had come through made for somewhat cooler afternoons and evenings, at least for the last week of August. After dinner, Grandpa decided to take an unscheduled walk out in the field to enjoy the sunset.
“Can I come with you, Grandpa?”
“Sure Landon.” Then Grandpa called out to his son. “David, Landon’s going on a walk with me.”
“Okay, Dad. I’m just about to put Dani in her crib.”
The dragon was instantly by the older man’s legs jumping up and down and smiling.
“You want to come for a walk, too?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.”
Grandpa felt guilty about not letting the dragon go out any further than the immediate area around his back patio.
“I wish I could let you.”
The dragon instantly got a sad look on his face.
“I just can’t risk someone else being out there and seeing you. No telling how people would react, but it probably wouldn’t be in any good way.”
“Aw come on, Grandpa. Please?” Landon was using the ‘please’ tactic to get what he wanted, not that it was such a bad idea.
“Not this time, Landon. You heard what I just said.”
Landon sulked. “Oh, okay Grandpa.”
Grandpa opened the back door and ushered Landon outside. “We’ll make it a short walk so you can play with the dragon some more.”
Grandpa shut the door behind them and they started their walk. The dragon gazed at them with a forlorn look on his face. As he watched the two figures recede in the distance, he saw from the distant west storm clouds beginning to form.
“No.” The dragon was whispering. “Not now.”
Grandpa and Landon were so far out in the field that looking back at their house, it seemed like a small toy.
“Wind’s picking up Landon, and those clouds are coming in fast. We’d better head back.”
The two of them had gotten to talking and playing imaginary games and hadn’t noticed the change in weather. The sun, low on the western horizon, was blotted out by the black and gray clouds. The wind became harsher and they heard the sound of thunder getting closer.
The storm came upon the pair supernaturally fast. Grandpa and Landon were trotting now, trying to get nearer to home. The sound of thunder was all around them, and then there was something else. A loud, piercing screech.
Grandpa and Landon looked up, trying to see its source but only succeeded in getting their faces more wet from the rain.
From the back window inside the house, the dragon could see Grandpa and Landon getting closer, but they were still too far away. Then he saw it forming in a shimmering violet sphere in air right above them, the serpent shape of the Shadow Dragon, the one who he fought before, the one who had broken his wing right before the dragon escaped into the world of the humans.
The sound of thunder had frightened Dani and her Dad was in her room comforting her. No one was there to see the dragon at a near panic by the back window, nor to see the obsidian black Shadow Dragon completely solidify above Grandpa’s and Landon’s heads.
Grandpa and Landon could see the dark dragon now but they could hardly believe it.
It struck faster than Grandpa thought anything could move and knocked Grandpa to the ground. When he fell, he knocked over Landon, too. Grandpa looked up and saw the Shadow Dragon was circling for another pass. Grandpa’s right side hurt, and when he felt it, he knew he was bleeding. Fortunately, it was a glancing blow, which was the only thing that saved his life.
He used his body to shield Landon from harm as best he could, but he knew it wouldn’t be enough against something so huge. The Shadow Dragon was as long as his house. It looked completely black, like a silhouette, illuminated only by lightning flashes. They were only moments away from a second attack, and it would probably be fatal this time.
In the house, the dragon was muttering words too low to be heard, even if anyone had been in the room with him. He fluttered two small but powerful wings as fast as a hummingbird’s.
The dragon finished his spell, and the glass in the window fluttered like a curtain in a breeze and vanished just long enough for the dragon to bolt skyward into the storm.
The Shadow Dragon was rocketing down toward its would be victims when the golden dragon, as fast as a bullet, hit it in its mid-section. Right before crashing down on Grandpa and Landon, the dark beast moved sideways in reaction to the impact.
The lighter dragon, it’s eyes glowing red now instead of blue, released a loud shriek from the back of his throat, challenging his ancient opponent. The Shadow Dragon regained control of his flight and altered course to intercept its enemy.
“Run!” Grandpa didn’t hear the dragon speak with his ears but in his mind. He knew he couldn’t help in a fight like this. He knew that his dragon was much smaller than the creature he faced, but he had to get Landon to safety, no matter what.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, then picked his grandson up and half-ran, half-limped toward the house. They were closer than he thought which was good, because with the pain in his side getting worse, he didn’t know how long he could last before collapsing.
The battle between the two dragons intensified, but it was a battle of magic, not teeth and claws.
The storm was at its peak. The dragons were flying through sheets of rain surrounded by what looked like hundreds of lightning bolts, their screams drowned out by the percussion of thunder.
Between them, the air glowed and twisted, as if the atmosphere was being changed, as if the very molecules were shifting and morphing to different elements. The small dragon’s magic was powerful, but the great black monster was a formidable foe.
The dark beast had defeated him before, but this time he had to succeed, he had to fight. He had to win. He loved, loved, loved. He had loved before and they had died. This time they would not die, could not die. He could not face the heartbreak again.
The smaller dragon’s wishes were in vain. The larger one, the evil one, the destroyer of worlds was winning. His spells were stronger, he had more of them. The golden dragon could feel his life draining from him. Tonight it wouldn’t just be a wing that would break, but his whole body.
He prepared for one last strike against the Shadow Dragon, the most powerful of spells. It would have to work or the little dragon would die, and if he died, the world of humans would be helpless.
“No, no, no. Love, love, love.” The brave but tiny dragon was crying with anger and frustration. He couldn’t let his new family die like he did the first one.
The Shadow Dragon struck first and the little dragon’s wings could no longer keep him in the air. As he started to fall, he heard a loud boom that wasn’t thunder. He tumbled end over end and caught a glimpse of the children’s Dad, of David. He was holding something long, pointing it at the nemesis. It’s front end flashed with light and there was another loud explosion.
The golden dragon was barely able to slow its fall so that it skidded into the grass and mud on its belly rather than crash head first at full speed.
Half conscious, the dragon looked up. There were two holes in the side of the Shadow Dragon. The weapon David used wasn’t magic and the dark creature was taken by surprise. In a brilliant flash of purple light, much brighter than the lightning, the evil one vanished, escaping back into the place between worlds.
“Will he be okay, Daddy?”
David didn’t know if shooting the big dragon with a shotgun was going to work, but he would have done anything for the little friend who had saved his son not once but twice. Somehow, he had hurt the thing enough to make it go away.
He found the small dragon and managed to pick him up and carry him across his back, steadying him with one hand while holding the firearm in the other.
Grandpa had bandaged his own wound and had a fresh bed of blankets ready when his son brought the hero dragon back inside. The black dragon had gone, but what had it done to their friend before it vanished?
“I don’t know, Landon. I hope he’ll be okay.”
They could see the dragon breathing. There were no apparent wounds. Magic injuries were something they knew nothing about and couldn’t treat or heal. If the golden dragon was going to survive the night, he would have to find the strength within himself.
Dani had finally fallen back to sleep. Grandpa was sitting in his chair resting. He’d probably have to see a doctor tomorrow for stitches.
Landon hugged his Daddy and started to cry. “Please God don’t like my dragon die.”
Daddy held Landon and comforted him for a long time.
Landon slept by the dragon for the rest of the night. He didn’t go to school the next day. Daddy had called in sick for him. He called in sick for himself at work.
Grandpa called a friend in town to drive him to his doctor’s office. David and the kids didn’t dare leave the still unconscious dragon alone.
The dragon was alive, but just barely. His breathing was fast and shallow. There was no such thing as a dragon doctor.
Grandpa got eight stitches and had a big, big bruise on his right side. No ribs were broken and the doctor said he was going to be fine. Grandpa had to tell a lie to the doctor about how he got hurt. No one would have believed he was attacked by a big, black dragon.
But what about the little dragon?
Landon slept next to the dragon again that night and again the following night. He had to go back to school but he kept wanting to cry all day long. Why wasn’t the dragon waking up? What if it never woke up?
Thursday afternoon, Grandpa picked Landon up from school with Dani just like every other day. Usually, Grandpa tried to talk to him to help cheer Landon up, but today, he was really quiet.
Landon thought about asking Grandpa if anything was wrong, but he was afraid of the answer. He was afraid to hear that the dragon had died. Landon had never had a friend as good to him as the dragon. What was he going to do without him?
Grandpa pulled the car into the garage and turned off the engine. “Landon, wait here in the garage with me until I get Dani out of her car seat. We need to go into the house together.”
“Okay, Grandpa.” As Landon got out of the backseat and pulled his pack behind him, he felt hot tears stream down his cheeks. It must be true. The dragon must be dead and Grandpa didn’t want him to go inside and find him.
Holding Dani with his left arm, Grandpa opened the door from the garage into the laundry room with his right. Landon walked in just ahead of him, sat down and took off his shoes.
Landon stood up. “Come with me, Landon.” Grandpa walked toward Landon’s room. It was where Landon slept, where the dragon slept. “Grandpa, I’m scared.”
“Hold my hand.” Grandpa extended his hand and Landon took it. The door to the little boy’s room was ajar. Grandpa nudged it open. From inside, the boy heard a weak but familiar voice. “Landon, Landon, love, love, love.”
“Dragon!” Landon screamed with joy and ran past Grandpa.
“Easy, Landon. He’s still weak.”
Landon stopped short of giving the dragon a bear hug and laid on his belly in front of his injured friend. The dragon could barely raise its head to look Landon in the eye.
“I love you, dragon.” Landon started crying again, both with happiness that the dragon was awake, and sadness that it was so weak.
“Love, love, love, Landon, Landon, Landon.” The dragon’s voice was soft, almost a whisper.
“Me be alright. Me get better soon.” The dragon was reassuring his friend. He wasn’t going to die. “Me promise.”
Gently, very gently, Landon put his arms around the dragon’s honey-colored body and hugged him just a little bit. The dragon rested its front limbs around Landon. They stayed that way long after Daddy came home from work.
“I don’t see that we have any choice, Landon. The dragon is completely well. He has the right to go home.”
Grandpa was trying to be reasonable and Landon felt completely unreasonable. He didn’t want the dragon to leave ever.
It was Saturday. The dragon seemed fine. His wings were perfect. He ran and jumped and bounced around the house. He ate enough food to feed ten dragons his size. He played and loved Landon and Dani better than all the friends Landon ever had in his short life.
The dragon was in the living room playing with Daddy and Dani. Grandpa was with Landon in his bedroom breaking the news to him.
“Why don’t we talk to the dragon about it?”
“Okay, Grandpa.” In his head, Landon was praying that the dragon would never go home, wherever home was for him.
David had talked with Grandpa when the children were still asleep and he knew what was coming. Grandpa and Landon sat on the sofa and David picked Dani up and sat down in Grandpa’s reading chair.
“Can you come here, dragon?”
“Sure, sure, sure”. The dragon bounded over to Grandpa and grinned that wonderful, horrible, toothy grin.
“How do you feel?”
“Fine, fine, fine. Lunch soon?” The dragon was always hungry it seemed.
“Soon, but I have to talk with you first.”
Landon felt himself shiver like he was really scared.
“We would love to keep you with us forever, but you must have a home, family, a place where other dragons like you live. Do you want to go home?”
The dragon looked really sad and bowed its head. “Can’t.” Two dragon tears fell from his face and onto the carpeted floor.
Grandpa leaned forward. “Why? What happened?”
“All gone. Family gone. Dragons gone. World gone.”
The dragon crawled up onto Landon’s lap and they held each other. The dragon cried with Landon.
Grandpa whispered, “What is that thing, the big, black dragon?”
“Shadow Dragon.” The little dragon had stopped crying but was still hanging onto Landon.
“Lots Shadow Dragons. Break the world. Make it black. All Ambrosial Dragons scatter. All lost.”
“Ambrosial Dragons. That’s what you are.”
“Me Ambrosial Dragon, maybe last one. Some die. Family die. Others gone. Don’t know where.”
Landon held the dragon tighter. “I’m sorry.”
“Love, love, love. You family now. Mine, mine, mine.”
“You have no place else to go?” Grandpa was softly rubbing the dragon’s back between his wings.
“No, no, no. No place. Me have this place. Home, home, home.”
“Do you want to stay with us?” Grandpa’s question made Landon suddenly happy even though he was still really sad for the dragon.
The dragon raised his head and looked at Grandpa with very human, very intensely blue eyes.
“Home, home, home? You be my family?”
Landon was grinning ear to ear. Grandpa looked at David. They’d all have to agree on this decision.
Landon looked at his Daddy and the dragon did, too. They didn’t say anything but “please” was broadly painted on both of their faces.
David heaved a sigh and smiled. “Yeah. It’s okay by me.”
Grandpa said to the dragon, “You can stay a long as you’d like.”
Landon jumped up from the sofa, accidentally tossing the dragon in the air. “Yippee!”
The dragon fluttered its wings too fast to see and hovered. “Yippee! Me home, me home, me home!”
“No flying in the house.” Grandpa sounded stern for second, then he smiled.
“Yes, yes, yes. No house flying.” He landed on the coffee table.
Landon was laughing and jumping up and down. Dani was giggling, not sure of what was going on, but clapping her hands anyway.
“Well, if you’re going to stay, we have to call you something besides ‘dragon’. You’ve been here for weeks. What’s your name.”
The dragon proudly said something that no human tongue was designed to pronounce.
Everyone just looked at the dragon. “I don’t think we know how to say that.” Grandpa felt a little embarrassed not to be able to call their new family member by name.
“Hey buddy, can you think of something easier for us?” It was David who inadvertently gave the dragon a name.
“Buddy, Buddy, Buddy. Me Buddy.”
“Okay, your name is Buddy.” Landon hopped on the coffee table to hug Buddy again.
“You two, off the coffee table.”
“Okay, Grandpa.” Landon and Buddy got down.
“Now that we’ve got things settled, I have to make lunch.” David stood up and headed for the kitchen.
“Sushi? Please sushi?” Buddy beamed as he pleaded to have his favorite food.
“Sure, Buddy. Sushi it is.”
And that was the day a dragon came to live with us. That was the day Buddy became part of our family. Welcome home, Buddy.
If you enjoyed this story, continue reading about Buddy’s adventures with his adoptive family in the second tale, Rescuing a Dragon.