Evading Dragons, Part Three: Dance of the Dragons
At the base of a hill, in a valley was a big open circle. All the trees were burnt to the ground with a ring of burnt trees surrounding the circle. The ground was ashen and stamped flat. A large shadow fell over the valley. There was something in the clouds. The shadow Circled the valley. As it circled the clouds parted, and a beam of sunshine struck the circle. The first of the dragons arrived in the circle. It walked in from the woods. The first dragon was a juvenile with deep ebony skin. It raised its head and scanned the woods. Then it ran around the circle. As it did this, another dragon flew in. Then another. Within an hour the circle was host to nine dragons when the large one parted the clouds and landed in the middle. Lars recognized it immediately. It was the dragon from Nashville. They stumbled into its breeding grounds.
It had been a week since they left Nashville. Three days after Ester died. The boy was following them for those three days. Val wants to name him, but most of all she wants to put some clothes on him. He took off the dog skins he was wearing and was now naked. The nights were getting colder. The further north they go the closer to the foul weather they get. She calls the boy Spot. Val said, “I had this book about a dog. Most of it was gone, but the pages that survived had the people watching this Spot run.” She was sharing their food with him. The dragons in the circle stood around the bigger dragon. An older one of the dragons approached the larger dragon in the middle. The dragon went to its hind legs and breathed flames into the air. The larger dragon struck the one in front of it. It tried to back away when the larger dragon grabbed it by the neck and bit it off. The larger dragon grabbed the body then tossed it out of the circle. Val said to himself, “I guess that one said something wrong.”
Dance and Run
Val walked up to Lars. She asked, “what are they doing?” The dragons were bowing to the larger dragon. Lars said, “I think the smaller ones were looking to mate, but she wasn’t having any of it.” Val asked, “she?” Lars said, “I don’t think males nest?” The dragons bowed then raised their heads in unison. The larger dragon started to bop its head then stomp its feet. On every third stomp, the smaller dragons raised and lowered their wings in a snapping motion. The mix of the two created a sort of beat. The larger dragon spun to the right as the smaller ones went to the left. They kept up the rhythm as they circled. After seven full circles, they stopped. The large dragon raised her head and shot fire into the air. The flame was near white and formed a mushroom cloud over the dancing dragons. The heat wave shot across the valley knocking them to their feet. Val and Lars raced for cover. The larger dragon flew overhead and back toward Nashville. Val asked, “have you ever seen anything like that.” Lars said, “there are still eight more dragons down in the valley. We have to go.”
To the woods
They made it back to camp to find Hester and Helena packed and ready to go. Spot warned them that trouble was coming. The circle was to the north, so they went east. They used a stream to mask their odors. About a mile back they could hear the smaller dragons. The male dragons gave off a high pitched sound when they caught the scent of something to eat. On the other side of the valley, they found an ancient bridge. None of them knew what kind of vehicle could travel on this bridge. It had two parallel metal bars set about four feet from each other. None of them had ever seen a train or its tracks before. The valley the bridge crossed was covered in a dense fog. Lars looked toward the bridge then back to the others. He said, “Hester go into the valley. I don’t think they will follow.” Lars turned to Val and kissed her. He said, “there are no goodbyes.”
The others made their way into the valley while Lars got up on the trestle. He gave his pack with the little provisions they had left to Val. All he had was his ax and a desire to give them a chance to make it to the other side. The wood and metal bridge had seen better days. As he walked, he could feel it sway in the wind as the sounds of a dragon grew closer. Lars hit the track with his ax. The metal to metal contact echoed across the valley. He could hear the dragon turn his way. A head popped out of the woods. It was one of the small dark dragons. The dragon was the size of a horse. It saw him and started to race across the trestle. As the dragon ran toward him, the trestle shook. Large chunks dropped into the valley below. Lars could hear the pieces first hitting the ground then as the ripples ran down the trestle they hit the water.
Force and Fall
The dragon shot up into the air and extended its wings. It then glided into the fog. Lars could see the effect the dragon had on the fog as it flew around. It shot up and lunged at him. The dragon missed but a back leg nearly knocked him off the trestle. The shock shook the trestle. Much of the wood fell away in front of him. Lars had no way to go forward. He could either go back to the beginning or try to go down. Going down could expose the others to the dragon. Going back was nearly impossible. So with his ax in hand, he struck at the metal tracks. The dragon might win but he won’t make it easy. The dragon flew close overhead. The force nearly knocked him off again. The bridge gave way underneath him. He grabbed the rail then slipped.
Falling with an Ax
Lars fell into the fog. About ten feet from the trestle he hit something. His ax bit into whatever it was. That was when the dragon cried out. Lars acted quickly and buried the ax into the dragon. He could feel bones break. The dragon spiraled into the fog as it tried to buck and twist Lars off. In its fight, the dragon had circled back to the bridge. Both it and Lars collided with a lower column. Lars stayed on the bridge while the dragon shot through to the other side. The dragon that came through was mostly a bag of broken bones and torn flesh. Lars was spent. His fight ended with the dragon. All that was left was the fall. The fog was so thick he couldn’t see the bottom. Lars dropped the ax. It clanged just about two seconds after he dropped it. He climbed down to see he was just about ten feet up.
Off in the distance, Hester, Helena and Val heard the final climatic end of the fight. The trip cost them, two friends. Val wondered if the trip was worth the cost. She could imagine Lars on the bridge swing his ax as the dragons cut him down or him falling to his death. Using a fallen tree, they crossed a small stream. Hester carried Spot on his back. They somehow got some clothing on him. Spot took to Hester and was mimicking everything he did. Near the bridge, they found the pulped remains of the dragon. They checked, but all the teeth were gone. Out in the fog, they heard, “I got them.” Lars walked out of the fog. He tossed the bag with the newly plucked dragon’s teeth at Hester. The three just stared at him. He had cuts all over and more than just a few bruises appearing. Val dropped the bag and ran to Lars and kissed him. Lars looked over to Hester and said, “just like I planned it.”