Massacre

avenue

© Sue Vincent

“It’s Shay! She’s trapped! We’ve got to save her!”

Seven-year-old Jake woke up panicked and hyperventilating in the shadow of a dragon’s grave.

“Jake. Take it easy. It’s okay.” His sister Mandy had him by the shoulders. His eyes looked glazed, like he was still asleep. She hugged him close to her. “It’s okay. We’re all here with you.”

He started to calm down but was still trembling. “Mandy, you’ve got to believe me. I saw Shay. She’s been captured, I don’t know how long ago. We’ve got to find her. They’ll kill her if we don’t.”

Then he felt a hand on his shoulder. “You said you saw Shay in a dream?” It was Dani, the dragonrider. Her voice was calm, but her own experiences told her that dreams carried great and terrible messages.

The little boy pulled away from his sister and looked back. “Yes. She was in some dark place, a forest or a cave maybe. They had her tied up in chains. She looked awful, all cut up, bruised, and bleeding.”

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The Runaway Stuffed Rabbit

bunny vs dragon

Found at the bloodbankdragons YouTube channel

“What in the name of a bunch of deleted, censored, and just plain bad words happened to me?”

The scream came out of Landon’s room, but the nine-year-old was at school at the moment, so the only ones to hear him were the boy’s nearly three-year-old sister Dani, his Grandpa, and of course, Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon.

Well, that’s not quite true. Baby the Stuffed Giraffe and all the other living stuffed animals had been taking a mid-morning doze when they were startled awake by the caterwauling.

Dani had been riding her little, plastic car up and down the hallway, and was right next to Landon’s bedroom door when she heard the yelling. Fumbling with the doorknob, she managed to get it turned, and pushed the door in. Then, seeing the source of the commotion, she jumped up and down with delight and giggled. “Bunny rabbit!”

“Bunny rabbit, my bow tie! I’ve been turned into some kind of plush toy, and for heaven’s sake, where the blue buttons am I?”

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The Fallen

fallen

© Sue Vincent

Jake saw Dani standing in a gorge between two cliffs holding Witherbrand in her hand. Her blade was covered with blood and she was surrounded by bodies.

“Dani, what happened?”

The seven-year-old looked around but couldn’t see his brother or sisters, that is, until he looked closer at the dead people on the ground.

“Dani?”

She turned and stared at him, but her eyes were so different. Pale, blue orbs gazed at him with malevolence, and she grinned like a predator who had just spied fresh meat.

“What are you doing?”

She wasn’t in a hurry. The teenager strolled almost casually in his direction. Her armor wasn’t what he had given her after his dream. It was red and black, like the demon’s armor, like Sahkr’s.

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The Forest

spiral staircase

© Sue Vincent

The Beginning of the Saga of the Davidson Children

Five children abruptly found themselves at night in a dark forest being drenched during a thunderstorm. “Mandy! What happened? Where’s Mom and Dad?” Thirteen-year-old Amanda Davidson felt panic rise her chest. Where were her brothers and sisters? What happened to their parents? How did they get here?

“I don’t know Paris. Stick with Taylor. Can you see Jake and Zooey?”

“Zooey’s here with me, Mandy.” Paris was holding her younger sister’s hand.

“Jake’s right next to me.” Taylor pulled his brother closer to him.

Mandy was trembling from the cold and terror at suddenly being alone with her brothers and sisters and lost in the dark.

“Everyone stay close to me. Paris, get right behind me. Jake and Zooey, get behind Paris. Taylor, you get behind Zooey and make sure everyone sticks together.”

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The Dragon’s Head

dragon's head

Photo credit: Jeff Chep – Found at the Amusing Planet blog

Their campaign against Peking was succeeding, but General Hiroki Sato had to land his troops at Shanhai Pass, then march to the city to relieve the siege.

“Is this bombardment necessary? There are likely few Chinese troops present.”

Admiral Ako Yamamoto could barely hear above the cannon fire.

“Better this than an ambush.” He returned to his binoculars and gasped.

“What?” Sato took the binoculars from the terrified Yamamoto and beheld a sight he thought only possible in myth.

This end of the Great Wall of China, regaled in fable as the “dragon’s head,” was proving that its name was not merely symbolic. Stone, brick, tamped earth, and wood was miraculously transforming into an enormous serpent, the legendary defender of China.

A thousand men met their fate in the sea that morning in July of 1900, and then the dragon rose to destroy the rest of the invaders investing her land.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps street image and location as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to The Great Wall of China. As you might imagine, the wall has a long and fascinating history, which makes crafting a wee tale about it difficult.

I decided to focus on its western edge, which is at Lop Nur or “Lop Lake.” I discovered that in July 1900 (or 1904 depending on the source), the Japanese landed troops at Shanhai Pass where the wall dips into the sea, to re-enforce a siege against Peking. You can click the link to Amusing Planet to learn more, but that part of the wall is called “the dragon’s head” because it looks like a dragon dipping down to have a drink from the ocean.

Now imagine that the wall isn’t really a wall, and you’ve got a fantastic tale on your hands.

To read more stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Ana Gets a New Friend

alfred

© James Pyles

“Well, I, Greigen the Shadow Dragon have found you. Not sure yet whether I shall tell the others. I rather fancy having this little hunting ground all to myself. Besides, you’re well off the proverbial beaten path, so it’s not like there’s a freeway leading to your door.”

“Yeah, well put up your dukes and let’s see who’s tough!” The bunny in the bow tie stood on his hind legs and raised his paws in his best boxer stance, but even Ana could tell he was quaking with fear.

“Oh, come now, bunny. You want to be eaten first, is that it? Fine, you shall be an appetizer, and your child friend will be a slightly larger appetizer.”

“You’ll have to get through me to get to her.”

Even though Ana was terrified almost senseless, some part of her felt amazed that the rabbit, who couldn’t wait to get rid of her, was now defending her to the death.

“Easily done.” The Shadow Dragon flicked a claw and sent the hare flying out of sight.

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Valley of Blood

splash

© Sue Vincent

Taylor watched the light from the campfire flicker reflected in his opponent’s all too confident eyes, as he picked himself up from off the ground again and raised his bokken. She was already in position, barely winded, while he was almost totally out of breath. He knew his brother and sisters were watching, but he couldn’t afford to take his eyes of his adversary. They practiced with wooden bokken because they were non-lethal, and for the most part, produced only bruises and welts, but it was still a hard fight, harder than he thought it would be.

Dani was six years older than Taylor, was bigger, stronger, and had a longer reach. Eventually, he’d grow taller, but that would take years, and right now, she had every advantage over him, including that of experience.

“You’re getting better, Taylor,” she taunted him. “I think you’ll make a fine swordsman someday.”

“What do you mean someday?” Suddenly, he raised his bokken over his head and charged.

She just laughed and dodged his clumsy attack, but that was really his trap. Taylor wanted Dani to think there was no way to beat her, but if he couldn’t defeat her with strength and skill, he’d settle for tricking her. Quickly, he swung his stick in an arc low over the ground, and hit her hard in both shins. Dani nearly lost her balance, which gave him a chance to score a blow. Even then, she managed to elude his bokken, but not by much.

The sound of two pieces of wood repeatedly striking each other filled the air, and every time Dani stopped to brag about how he’d never be able to stop her, he’d pull out another surprise.

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Duel at Orholt

waiting

© Sue Vincent

There was the clatter of two pieces of wood rapidly striking each other, occasionally punctuated by a boy’s voice crying, “Ow!”

It was after another day of hiking, another day in the wilderness, climbing steadily up from the seashore into low hills, heading back toward the Dark Hills which were in fact mountains.

It was after another meal cooked by campfire, and young bellies now accustomed to wild game were satisfied (except for little Zooey who insisted on only fruits and vegetables similar to what a mouse or rabbit might consume). A nearby stream provided fresh water to slake thirst and for much needed, if chilly, bathing.

By the light of the fire and the stars, the Davidson children sat watching the two combatants earnestly plying their trade, or trying anyway.

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The Tracker

footprints

© Sue Vincent

It was late enough that Dani found herself alone as she crept through the forbidden corridors of Direhaven. She was grateful for the tour provided by Queen Janellize and her court earlier that day, because it provided her with the clues she needed to discover where and what in the castle she wasn’t supposed to see.

During their “walkabout” through the halls and levels of the Queen’s Keep, the dragonrider had mentally mapped not only where they had been taken, but what had been avoided. At one point, she’d spied one of the four Mages who had overseen her exorcism-by-combat, freeing her (supposedly) of the demon Sakhr, slip through a doorway into an area they were not shown. Dani had passed through that door minutes ago, and was stalking its byways, seeking a lair of magicians.

Footsteps. They were almost as soft as her own, and they were coming from behind. Dani quickly slipped into an alcove on the left hoping the shadows would conceal her.

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The Uneasy Pact

shelter

© Sue Vincent

Dani was with the Davidson children, all of them dressed regally if somewhat uncomfortably, sitting under a grand silken tent, served drink and treats by elven servants, while the Queen of Direhaven, Janellize, sat in front of them next to the golden dragon Shay, the two of them marvelously displayed against the backdrop of a magnificent waterfall.

It was mid-afternoon, and Janellize had just begun her tale of the shared history of her people and the dragons, one fraught with conflict and distrust. But who was at fault and why now was the enmity set aside?

“For time out of mind, we whom you call Elves and the race of dragons have visited your world, but neither are what you imagine us to be from your legends.

“Only in certain lands on your world were we called Elves. In other languages, we have been referred to as fairies, gnomes, and dwarves. In centuries past, an ancient Christian prayer book used the term elf as synonymous with Satan, though other nations of that time, considered some of our people light while others dark in nature. We have also been considered rbhus, hobgoblins, nymphs, demons, and angels.

“Our people have been all of these and none of them, for in truth, we were never truly realized by humans. In fact, just as your world contains differing cultures and individuals with varying characters, so too do we, and thereby hangs our tale.

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