Here There Be Dragons: Chapter 1 Rewrite

There is no such thing as dragons. There never has been. They are mythical creatures that have not now, or have ever been. They just do not exist.

Fossils have been found for dinosaurs of all different types. herbivores, omnivores, and even the dangerous carnivores have all been found and documented. You can go to the library or search online and see pictures. They have existed, it is proven to be true. You can look up a skeleton of a pterodactyl, or of a t-rex and you can see their bones. Go into a museum and there will be a skeleton of them.

You will never find a skeleton or a real photo of a dragon’s fossil. They have never existed.

Riley knew that fact because she loved dragon’s and had read many books about them. She knew they didn’t exist. Which was why she had no way of explaining as she stared up at the ginormous head of the beast, how she could be standing in front of one.

And it was looking down at her, angry. It’s large, orange eyes were like fire, red lines coursing through it that were in their own way, alive with energy. There was a large slit in the center of them of the darkest black, and behind them drew in such an anger that burned the flame inside to a heat hotter than the sun.

It was focused on her, and she was afraid of what might be coming. She could hear the building up in its chest as it was taking it deep breaths. She saw as that massive chest rose and fell rhythmically, creating its own drum beat to a deadly song.

“Run!” the boy in the dragon’s hand was saying. She glanced briefly at him, but then back to the dragon’s long snout where the nostrils were flaring in and out.

Then there was the motion. The dragon pitched back it’s head, opened it’s snout, bearings its rows of very large teeth, then launched forward, shooting out a torrent of flame that was aimed at her…

She knew it was over, and couldn’t stop herself from wondering, how had she ever gotten there to face a thing that did not exist. Just earlier that day, life had still been ordinary. How had all of this gone so…wrong.

****

Riley looked in the mirror and gave a weak smile. The mirror was full body so she see her t-shirt, her short hair, and her sneakers as well. It was everything she was used to seeing, and just like usual, she was impressed. There stood that scrawny kid with the pinched nose, and the small mouth. She was the annoying girl who everyone would look at and watch as she continued her annoying habit of snapping her fingers while she walked. She couldn’t help it, she was fidgety and being out in public made her nervous. That didn’t mean she didn’t like herself or how she looked.

There was so much to her than people saw. She knew she was more than that. Come on, she had to be more than that.  She was Riley, and you know what, she was cool.  Everyone who was anybody knew that.  That was, if you were her best friend, Suzy.

And Riley, she dressed cool.  She had her jeans on, sure she pulled them up a little too high, but it worked for her because she was that awesome.  That with the Captain Marvel t-shirt and her bright purple knee high socks, well on others it just didn’t fit but for her, she rocked it.  It’s because she was Riley.  Everyone who was anyone, loved her.

Yeah, right.

No wonder she only had one friend in school, as who would ever want someone boring like her. She sucked at sports, knew more about comics than anyone else in her class, hated doing dress up or playing the role of ‘Barbie’ and couldn’t tell anyone anything about how to farm even though their small town was surround by corn and wheat fields.  And hey, it wasn’t that farming was bad, she had just grown up in the city. It was thanks to her great ever-so-smug father who decided they needed to move from the city to smalltownsville.

Someone pounded on the door of the bathroom.

“Come on, get out of there, some of us have to go,” Suzy yelled.

“Coming out.” She called out keeping her eyes locked on her own. Her smile faltered as reality tried to peel back the layers of fiction she had crafted for herself.

“What are you doing in there?”

“Pondering the meaning of life.” She said. Her tone mocking as she pulled herself away from, well, herself.

“Yeah, well, when you get a life to ponder over, let me know. Until then hurry it up.”

She came out of the bathroom and before she could even sit on her bed, Suzy was in the bathroom.  Dang, she really did have to go.

“So, what’s the meaning?” She called back, through the door. Riley leaned back on the bed, looking up at a poster for some boy band on her friend’s ceiling.  It was nearly a match for all the other posters surrounding her.  She was being stared down and from every direction by a collection of different boys from bands she couldn’t stand.

“The meaning of life is to not be obsessed with some yucky crap music.”

“Hardy Har har.”

“Okay miss know-it-all, what is the meaning of life?”

Suzy didn’t have a chance to answer when her mother came whooshing into the room, her hands full with a clothes basket filled to the brim of folded clothes.

“Oh now what are you two on about?  Making your plans for world domination?” Ms. Rowling said as she set the load of laundry down near the dresser.  She looked up, looking at him through the mirror waiting for an answer.

“Oh, nothing much.  Just debating the meaning of life. Nothing too important.”

“Well now, didn’t you know.  The meaning of life is to eat as much good food as you can and to pass on your knowledge to others.” Suzy’s mom had an Irish accent that always sounded funny to Riley, sometimes getting both girls to laugh at the way something was said. Suzy said her mom came from the old country, whatever that meant, but that they’d lived in Somniville for as long as Suzy could remember.

“I agree with the food part.” Suzy said as she emerged from the bathroom.

“Oh I know.  Someday that’ll catch up with ya.” Ms. Rowling said, standing as she looked at the pair now sitting on the bed. “And you won’t have that teenage metabolism.”

“Na, I’ll stay like this forever.” Riley said, giving her a sheepish smile.  She always enjoyed being over there as it felt so homey. It was so much more welcoming than when she was home with her dad.  Ms. Rowling had been good to her since they moved to town and had become to feel like her second mom, though she hadn’t seen her first mom in years. She didn’t know if it was because Suzy and her were best friends or just her nature from being a kindergarten teacher.  Either way, being there was comfortable.

It was the rest of the town that made her feel like such an outsider.

The room had grown quiet and Ms. Rowling studied them wondering just what they were up too.  She had to know they had something planned.  There was that gaze that lingered just a tad too long on each of them.  Oh yeah, she knew, she was too smart not too. She could probably read it in their faces, or just read their minds. Mom’s were crazy that way, having an uncanny sense when trouble was lurking.

Riley let out a long breath when she left the room.  Then she turned to Suzy.

“She knows.”

“What, that you’re an idiot.  Yeah, we’ve known that for the last year.”

“You know what I mean.”

“She doesn’t know, but you’re still an idiot.  You’re going to get yourself killed.  Is it really worth it just to tray and impress Chad.”

“I’m not doing it for him.”

“Uh huh. See, you’re an idiot.”

“It’ll be okay.  We’ll do it once and then quit.  Hey, what else do we have to do today?  You’ll record it and then” Riley held up her arms as in a triumphant boxer, jumping after winning a fight, “I..Will.. Be.. A..Goddess…”

“No, you’re just going to be dead.”

“Just hit the record button, okay.”

“But you can’t serious and there is no reason for you to do this.”

“Chad Johnson did it.”

“He only said that he did it.”

“That is why we are going to record it. That way, I will have proof.”

“But like I said, what good will that do if your dead. They call it deadman’s curve for a reason.”

“That’s only to scare people from trying to skate down it.”

“And what are you going to do?”

“Skate down it.”

Suzy through a pillow at her smiling friend, and Riley grabbed it as she lunged off the bed as though the pillow had been a bullet and Riley had taken it to the chest. She rolled to the ground and turned to her friend laughing.

“What’s going on up there? You two aren’t wrestlin’ now are ya?” They heard Ms. Rawling call out from downstairs.

“No mom.” Suzy said, but she gave Riley a mischievous sideways glance that made Riley unsure if she was about to be tackled.

“Come one, grab your camera.” Riley said.

“I’m not taking my camera. She’d get suspicious. I’ll just use my phone.”

“That works. Come on, let’s go.”

2 Comments

  1. I’m thinking of tweaking this one more time by starting the chapter by flashing forward to the first battle with the dragon and then come back to this opening…

    Thoughts?

    Like

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