Here There Be Dragons: Chapter 4

Riley couldn’t believe it.  There was no way that was actually a river of lava below them.  It looked like it with the flames shooting out from the explosive heat, bursts of ash shooting up at them.  It just wasn’t possible, he had just been in a hospital room, this was just not possible.

“What are you doing here?”

Riley looked back to Bruce who was being held by a monstrous dragon, its claw looking massive as it held Bruce up like he weighed nothing.  Bruce wasn’t looking at the dragon any more, and he was much calmer now as he looked over at Riley.  Riley was sure he looked scared enough for both of them.

“Riley, what are you doing here?  You shouldn’t be here.” Bruce yelled at him, but it was hard to hear him as he was nearly deafened by a rush of flame that shot up from behind.

“Bro, you were calling out in your sleep.  I was trying to wake you up.” Riley screamed.

“Wait, you touched me and it brought you here?”

Yeah, Riley looked up at the dragon towering over them, and was a little put off that Bruce wasn’t at all concerned as the nostrils flared up.  Well of course he wasn’t.  Who would ever be afraid of a huge, dragon like that.  A huge, smoke coming out of his nose, teeth the size of small children and eyes pitch black, dragon that was focused squarely on the two of them.  Who would ever be afraid of that?  Right?

“Um, Bruce?”

Bruce turned to look up as the dragon was breathing in deep.  If Riley had to guess, and he sure as heck hoped he was wrong, that dragon was getting ready to turn them into shish kabobs.

“I think we’ve just been invited to the BBQ.” Riley said, backing away from the beast that still held Bruce over the edge.

“Yeah, dinner for two,” Bruce said, studying the large creature.

“What do we do?”

“Some savior.”

Riley looked back at Bruce, a sheepish grin, but then had to stop himself from laughing.  He hadn’t noticed that Bruce wasn’t in his hospital gown like he had been earlier.  He was wearing, sure enough, a dark, bat shaped suit reminiscent of the comic books. Though it wasn’t like anything Riley had ever seen before, and the suit was shredded in different places where the dragon’s claws had dug in trying to get at him.

“Um, Riley, grab me.”

Riley looked back up to Bruce’s grim expression and saw that he was looking up at the descending open mouth of the dragon.  Riley didn’t need to look, he could feel the hot air around him getting warmer and that was good enough.  He leaned forward, grabbed Bruce, and he pulled with all his might.

Of course, he was mighty Riley, and he was stronger than a dragon.  In retrospect, it really had not been the greatest of plans.  Bruce, he stayed put, Riley not even able to move him before he heard Bruce call out to him.  Then he saw it, just over his shoulder, the other claw swiping at him.

Riley barely had time, but he rolled.  He didn’t have too many options with the river of lava just past the edge of the cliff, he could only roll towards the claw or towards the dragon.  He chose the dragon, and got lucky, getting through the gap in the legs of the huge beast.

“Go!” He heard Bruce calling out after him.

Go!?  Go where?   He rolled under a dragon.  No matter how much he thought about the fact he was actually doing it, the more his head hurt, but he rolled under the dragon. He had no idea where he was let alone know where he should even go.  The ground was all black, throbbing with red lines that pulsed. The sky was dark blue, the sun was non-existent, so he could see nowhere too go.  Most the light came from the lava river and the fires bursting off of it and that was behind him.  He couldn’t see much of where he was at.

But what was that?

He dodged the dragon’s swinging tail, not sure if the beast was aiming for him or if the thing was turning around to find him.  He didn’t care as he saw something by another edge of the cliff.  It looked like it was glowing.

Well, he wasn’t sure where else to go, so he headed there.  Maybe there was something he could find to use.  A weapon would be nice.  Maybe he would get lucky and find a large broad sword and he could take on the dragon like they did back in the Middle Ages.  Na, screw that, he didn’t like the idea of getting close enough to use a sword.  A cross bow wouldn’t be bad, he could fire that into the dragon’s mouth.  Of course, that would require him knowing how to use one, and unfortunately he was all out of that skill.  Too bad this wasn’t like D & D where he could just roll a di and have the skill to shoot the dragon with the strength of the roll.

Though if that was the case, he would be a low level knight and this was a level fifty dragon.

Face it Riley, you’re out of luck no matter what you find there.

“Riley, help!” He heard his friend calling behind him. He could hear the heavy stomps of the dragon. It was coming behind him. He was lucky so far, thankful that for as large as the dragon was, it was really really slow.  At least he had speed as his advantage.

Wait a minute, what happened to my cast? The thought caused Riley to miss a piece of uneven rock and he lost his balance.  He was able to catch himself, sure enough, with what should have been his broken leg. He didn’t even break stride as he kept running. There wasn’t a cast, and he didn’t feel any pain.  He felt completely fine, and he was running pretty good.

Just what was going on here?

He made it to the glowing light and realized that it wasn’t just glowing.  It was pulsing, and the closer he had gotten, he saw that there was a shape to it.  As he reached it, he saw that it wasn’t a weapon or some random thing, but a person.  It was a girl.  She was wearing some kind of black suit and it was intertwined with wires.  The wires ran along her arms and legs and across her torso.  It was the wires pulsating a light blue.

“Riley, watch out, he’s coming for you.”

Riley turned around and saw that the dragon was moving towards him, and while it didn’t start fast, it was picking up speed.  He hadn’t realized how far he had made it to get away from the beast. There was still some distance between them, but the faster it got, the faster that space disappeared.

“Oh no.” he said under his breath.  “Crap.”

He had to get her out of there.  He could do another spin and try to get out of its way, or even better, start running to the side.  He was sure it couldn’t turn as fast, he might be able to cut in and it would run past him.  Maybe he could even get it to chase him to the lava and he could heroically jump out of the way as it ran into the lava and to its death.

Man he watched too much television.  That was such a typical way to take out a monster, and he doubted that it would actually work in reality.

Besides, the dragon still had Bruce.  He had to figure out a way to get him away.

No, first he had to get her out of there.

How did this all become so complicated?  All he had been trying to do was wake up some kid he barely even knew from a night terror.  How did he go from that, to being chased by a dragon?  In what world does that even sound like that could happen?  He had to be losing his ever loving mind as all of this was just not possible.

Besides, there was the girl.  How could he take off and just leave her?

Because it might save her you idiot.

No, it wouldn’t.  There was no guarantee that the dragon would follow him.  It just might as well decide to make her a snack before continuing after its main course.  He didn’t know, and how would he feel it he left her just to see her get eaten.

He could never live with himself for that.  He had to try and save her. Besides, after being saved from a dragon, she might like him…see how cool he is and maybe hang out with him. Maybe he could even score a date.

He kneeled down. At first the thought he would try to wake her up, but a quick glance back over his shoulder he knew he didn’t have time for that.  He reached out and grabbed her the best he could and pulled.  Her was surprised that she wasn’t that heavy.  He barely even felt her weight as he pulled her to him and stood, again looking back at the dragon.  It was getting closer, faster, and he didn’t like that.

Crap! Crap! CRAP!

It was really getting close.  Like he could hear its deep breathing and smell the flame building in its nostril.

He thrusted her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry wishing they could see him now.  He was rocking this, this was going to be easy to get her out of there.  Though the pulsating light that crisscrossed around her legs blinded him a little, he would be able to run and get her out of there no problem.

He wasn’t sure where he was running to, but was going to where the dragon wasn’t.  While he knew there was little chance the thing would run off the cliff into the lava, he could at least figure something out by first running to the side and then in that direction.

He felt the girl over his shoulder tense up, then start to move.

“Hold still.”

“Stop, let me down.”

“Really,” He called over his shoulder to her.  He couldn’t look back at the dragon having her there now, but he heard the breathing, and if he wasn’t imagining it, the frustration.  “You don’t see we have a dragon chasing us?  We kinda need to get away from that thing first.”

“Let me go!”

She was thrashing now, making it hard to keep her in his arms.  She was strong for a girl.

“Can’t do that, saving your life.”

“Stop, we have to get Raz”

“Raz?

“That things got him in his claw.”

Raz?  Was she talking about Bruce?  That must be some nickname. Cool nickname.

“You mean Bruce?”

She stopped struggling.

“How do you know his name?”

“How far is the dragon?”

“I think we’re safe.”

Riley slowed and bent forward, easing the girl to the ground.  As soon as her weight wasn’t on his shoulder, he turned to see just how far away from the dragon they had gone.  It was weird, he wouldn’t have expected they were so far away from it.  It looked like it was nearly a mile behind him.  Which, also made no sense as he would have thought they would have been stopped by the lava river which now he could barely even see any trace of.

“So who are you?  How do you know Raz’s real name?”

“We’re in the hospital together, and he told it to me.”

“Wait, your in the hospital together.  As in, you are still in the hospital right now?” It was hard not to laugh at the shocked look on her face, but then he also noticed the rest of her.  She was cute, her long curly red hair circling around a petite round face with a slight upturned nose.  It wasn’t in a snobbish sort of way either.  There was a cuteness to her, and that body suit really clung to her frame under all those wires.

“Yeah, we’re sharing a room.”

“So how did you get here?”

“He was having some kind of bad dream, and I just touched him  to wake him up.  Then somehow, poof, here I am.”

“Lol’s, no way.”

“What?”

“That’s just not possible.”

“What’s not?”

“You entered his dream with the gear, Lols, that’s dangerous.  You need to get out of here.  You need to wake up.”

“I didn’t go to sleep.”

“You may not realize it, but you kinda did.”

“No way, I’d know.”

“Well, does any of this seem like its real.  Your in a dream dude, and your gonna get hurt.”

“Yeah, and what happened to you?  Why did I find you knocked out over there.”

“It was a lucky blow.”

“No, no, none of this is making sense.  That thing over there, it has Bruce-“

“Call him Raz.”

“Raz, okay, It has Raz, but this is all just a dream.”

“Yes, it has Raz, but it’s not just a dream.  If I don’t save him, that thing over there thats been sent to kill him will have done its job.”

“So wait, it can kill him in a dream.”

“If your in a suit, like me, you can’t get hurt, but Raz is being attacked in his dream.”

This was pushing Riley too far.  This just didn’t make sense.  He needed to sit down.  The world around him seemed to quake and he wasn’t sure if it was just his rough newly forming headache from all this he was trying to take it or from the dragon that was again running towards them.

He sat.  Before he knew what he was doing and as he sat down, a chair suddenly appeared under him.  When he realized that it had just materialized out of nowhere, he looked at it, studying that it was really and was really under him.

“Bra, this is all just too much.”

“Bra?”

“Give me a minute.  This is a lot to take in.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t think we have a minute, here it comes!”

He turned and sure enough, the dragon was nearly right on top of them.

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