If one short story from my imagination were allowed to be transcribed into a short movie, this is the story I think I would want to see most. I hope you enjoy it:
Far in the west, high in the mountains, where the clouds lazily drift by and only the most nimble of creatures walk, sat a partially concealed cave in the tallest peak. Steam slowly rolled from the small mouth of the cave, drawing several mountain sheep and birds to its warmth.
One of the birds, a red one, flitted up to a rock at the cave mouth and peered into the darkness within. It twitched its wings and floated down to the ground then it boldly hopped into the cave. When it had gone in several feet, it stopped and chirped. It cocked its head and looked at a giant mound that lied at the back of the cave. The steam originated from a small point on this mound, drawing the little bird’s curiosity. It hopped closer before jumping up and perching above the hole where the steam was coming from. Something moved and more steam began to roll from the hole, intensifying the foolish bird’s curiosity. It inspected the hole until the setting sun sank lower in the sky and more of its light filtered into the cave, reflecting off a shiny disk glittering further up on the mound. Attracted by the shiny object, the little bird bounced up to it and then pecked it. The tiny gesture made hardly a sound itself, but what followed was just the opposite. Groaning filled the cave and the entire mound under the bird began to shudder and move. The little bird chirped in alarm and took flight, darting directly to the cave mouth and landing on the rock that obscured most of the opening.
Slowly, the mound inside began to grow. It shifted, shaking off dirt and dust to reveal shining bronze scales. Wings unfolded partially, knocking rocks and dirt from their leather membranes. A long, thick tail uncurled and stretched out, then it slapped the floor with a loud thump. The cave shuddered and rocks fell from the ceiling, but then all went still and became silent.
The little bird peeped back into the cave curiously and waited.
Two lights gradually began to grow in the darkness. More steam rolled from the cave. A rumbling sound started to reverberate off the walls. Suddenly, a huge stream of fire exploded inside the cave, channeling straight for the opening.
The little red bird shrieked a warning and took flight barely in time to save his bright feathers from a deadly scorching. The mountain sheep all bolted from their comfortable places with a pounding of hooves, disappearing into the surrounding trees and down the steep ledges of the mountainside.
Inside the cave, all became still again for a brief moment, then a deep, slow, rhythmic breathing began to pulse inside. Gradually, a pair of glowing orange eyes opened and their dark pupils contracted into narrow slits before expanding again, adjusting to the meager light in the cave. There was a heavy sigh, followed by a groan, then the massive hulk began to scoot toward the cave opening. Its spine covered back scraped against the roof of the cave, as did its scaly belly against the floor, and its closed wings were mere inches from touching the cave walls. A huge pair of talons wrapped around the rock sitting outside the cave and shoved it aside with ease. Dirt and shale fell over the mouth of the cave as the rock supporting all of it was removed, but they were no threat to this massive creature. A giant head pushed through the dirt, squeezing a pair of huge, curled horns out of the cave mouth, then the beast paused and slowly opened its eyes again, blinking rapidly as the sun light hit them. A low growl vibrated past huge fangs and the creature shook its massive head. The giant horns smashed into the sides of the cave mouth, rearranging the whole face of the cave. Deeper inside, the cave began to shudder and collapse in on itself. Slowly, the hulking creature forced itself out of its home, breaking the entire cave apart as its wide shoulders and chest squeezed through. Finally, the entire cave collapsed with a roar. But standing outside of it was a particularly massive, majestic dragon.
He was easily 60 foot at the shoulders. His legs were as round as ancient oaks. His scales glittered like bronze. His wings spread out to an eye opening 200 foot span. His thick tail was long, and a sharp, gleaming spade tipped the end of it. Hard spikes adorned his chin and jaw bones. His thick, ridged horns rose from his head and curled down to his nose, then changed direction and curled up and back over themselves, toward the back of his head. He blinked his orange eyes and looked softly at the lands that spread out before the mountain, partially obscured by drifting clouds.
The massive bronze dragon was truly a sight to behold, standing alone on the mountain peak with wings open wide, looking down at the world as a king on a throne. But, gradually, the dragon’s head began to stoop. His wings slowly dropped to his sides and slouched to the ground. A mournful groan rumbled from his throat and he squeezed his eyes closed as they filled with overpowering sadness. He turned and limped a few steps away, savoring his right foreleg, which was badly scarred. Even with his limp he was a formidable sight to behold while he walked, crushing earth, plant, and stone under his massive feet. But when he had gone no more than 6 paces, he collapsed to the ground with a boom. He bellowed a sad, pain filled cry that rumbled down the mountainside, making the hearts of all that heard it ache in sadness. A giant teardrop suddenly slipped from the dragon’s left eye and rolled down his bronze face, twinkling in the sunlight as it fell to the ground and soaked into the earth.
In a deep, rich voice, speaking in his own tongue, the dragon uttered sad, lonely words, “Three hundred years and I am still alone, lost in an endless winter, and none can save my broken heart!” he sniffed, then blew out a breath of steam before whispering “Oh death, why do you spare the immortal?” he spread his wings out flat on the ground and slowly curled into a gigantic ball, his whole body vibrating with defeat.
“Kohnon…” a warm wind blew across the dragon, carrying a sweet, soft whisper on it “Kohnon… my love…”
The dragon opened his eyes, a small light springing into them, then he raised his head and looked in the direction that the wind had come from. Another gust blew into his face, and a few leaves floating with it danced playfully around his huge horns before blowing away, but no one was standing there. All there was to see was open sky, clouds, and endless miles of land.
The dragon stared into the distance for some time, held there by memories of long ago with a longing in his heart for things that could never be again. Time was cold. It would not stop and let him mourn. Death was cruel. It took those undeserving and left the rest behind. And memories? Ah, memories. They could rip the wound of grief open again and again, but warm you from the inside out when all else was cold. Memories made one long for death. But they also gave one purpose, a reason for living.
Finally, the dragon took a deep breath and pushed up to his feet. He wrapped his tail around himself and looked back at his old cave for a moment, then he turned his face forward into the wind and walked away. His posture was still that of a sad and lonely creature, but there was a new hint of determination and purpose in his step as he slowly limped down the mountainside.
Although it seemed hopeless now, perhaps- just perhaps- his endless winter would one day show signs of spring.
The Mourning Dragon
Copyright © 2013
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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