© James Pyles
“Dragons roared and children picked up musical instruments and played. Many alighted to the ground to dance, and the singers clung to tree branches like birds. It was a moment of grandeur and promise. But as bright as it was in the city of Vovin, the city of dragons and children, a dark night was coming.
The ancient dragon Gerliliam reclined in his favorite chair in front of the fireplace in his library, and slowly closed the book he had been reading.
“What do you mean ‘the end,’ Gerliliam? That can’t be the end. What about the Grey God? How are the kids supposed to get home? Does that mean the demons are going to come for us, too?” The excitable and feisty sparrow hopped annoyingly back and forth from one of the dragon’s shoulders to the other. In ages past the dragon would have simply swatted him with one of his wings, but then, that was ages past.
“Excuse me, but I think he’s right. You can’t stop reading now. There’s so much more to tell.” Mr. Covingham, a brightly colored garter snake, was comfortably curled on a pillow set on the floor, not too close to the fireplace, but not too far, either.
“But that’s what it says, my friends, ‘the end.’ That rather means there is no more to read.”
Kiyohira Arita was the only one in the lifeboat when he regained consciousness. What had happened? The eleven-year-old student had been on a ferry, the Shiun Maru. Yes, that was it. He was with his class on a school field trip crossing the Seto Inland Sea. The fog was so terrible. He and some of the other boys were on desk. He was trying to be brave, but he’d been freezing. Then he heard something, a horn of some kind. Then the world tore itself apart.
Now it was sunny and warm. Kiyohira had to take off his jacket because it was hot, like a summer day in the tropics though he knew it was only the beginning of May. Where was everybody? There must have been a crash, a collision. He looked in the water. No debris or wreckage. He looked further. Kiyohira knew she should be able to see land. They’d been in the middle of their transit so he shouldn’t be more than fifteen or twenty kilometers at most from the shore and even closer to one of the islands. They’d be impossible to miss on a day like this. Not a cloud in the sky.
But it was like he was in the middle of the ocean. He’d never been on the ocean before but he’d read books. Somehow he was put on a lifeboat after the collision and floated out to sea.
No, that was insane but how else could he have gotten here?
Red Rock Island – San Francisco Bay – This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
“Young people need something stable to hang on to, a culture connection, a sense of their own past, a hope for their own future. Most of all, they need what grandparents can give them.” –Jay Kesler
“Still no sign of the warship, Isaiah. It’s been four hours.” Keisha was whispering in the hot, humid air of the Dakuwaqa’s control room. Both Isaiah and his son Josiah were at their stations, trying to remain as motionless as possible.
The man at the helm looked back at the chronometer over the engineering station. “Yes, Miss Davis. The danger is still present, should the Navy ship be playing the same silent waiting game as we, but we must risk moving our submersible. Son. Apply minimum power to the screws and I’ll raise us marginally off of the bottom.”
“Yes, Pa.” The nine-year-old expertly worked the knobs, wheels, and levers on the tin, brass, and wooden panel in front of him, and Keisha could detect the faint hum of the engines from the rear of the boat. At the same time, Isaiah pulled back on the helm gently, activating the Barsoonian charge which restored just a slight bit of buoyancy to their craft. Power was also increased to the atmospheric circulation system, refreshing the air aboard.