A.J. Walker


Really: Here Be Dragons

Here Be
Mid Week Flash Challenge: Week 272

Really: Here Be Dragons

If you’d asked James a week ago whether there was such a thing as dragons he’d have laughed in your face and shouted a resounding, “No.” Now he and Katherine knew different.

They sat on the cliff edge above the thick Forest of Lost Souls, feeling the cold seep into their behinds from the ancient limestone, but not caring a jot. Before them the darkening forest canopy looked like a choppy sea beneath the scudding cloudscape. In itself it was beautiful, but the true beauty was seeing a pair of dragons frolicking high above the seascape that wasn’t a sea.

‘There are too many things that are surreal about this moment.’ James said.

Katherine punched him playfully on the arm. ‘Moment? This has been one long trip of surreal. We need some serious talk with our teachers when we return. No such thing as dragons, my arse!’

James leant back to take in a view of Katherine’s rear.

‘Very funny, James. You know what I mean.’

The two dragons danced around in the sky. Twisting their bodies and apparently entwining their necks – at least from their distant viewpoint.

’Think they are courting now?’ Katherine asked.

James shrugged. ‘I’m no expert on them. To be honest I thought they were brother and sister when we met them.’

‘Me too. But maybe things are different in the world of dragons?’

‘Ya think?’ James laughed.

The dragon dance continued but they could see they were slowly receding from view as they began their journey back home – probably far from this forest.

They were sorry to see them go after the days spent at the Congress of Dragons. Apparently it was held so rarely it was a less than once in even the oldest man’s lifetime. They had been so lucky to come across the congress. They’d seen the location of the week long meeting before as children and always thought the place a little magical: a low grassed hill in the middle of the thick forest, it was strange how different it was, how nothing seemed to want to invade or take over the hill. No rocks, no trees, no weeds, no paths – even though they’d walked over it many years ago. Now Katherine had seen its purpose she thought it was more beautiful than ever. It really was magical.

‘Who’s idea was it to come here, again?’ Katherine asked.

James sighed. ‘For the umpteenth time: it was yours. Now don’t make me answer that again. But thank you for doing so.’

‘But I don’t know what made me do it, made us do it. I mean we have never left the town overnight before on our own. Never stayed outdoors either. What possessed us to do it – and to meet the dragons?’

‘It certainly felt a bit like it was our destiny, doesn’t it?’ James said.

He looked back at the map. The forest was on the western edge of it and emblazoned across it was the familiar “
Here Be Dragons.”

‘Who the hell put’s “
Here Be Dragons” on maps and means it? I mean it just means they don’t know what’s here and it may be dangerous or it may not be, doesn’t it?’

‘Perhaps whoever drafted this map really knew what he –
or she,’ Katherine emphasised, ‘was talking about.’

‘But it says it to the east and south too. Do you think there are dragons there too?’ James asked.

‘Damned if I know. But those two siblings or lovers – or both – have gone. And it’s time we did too. I’m in need of a bed with clean sheets and a decent meal.’

‘Yeah, me too. I mean it was nice of them to share their food with us and all, but they could do with adding the occasional herbs and spice. I think they only did three options: cooked, undercooked and
usually – overcooked.’

‘Definitely. I’m looking forward to a straightforward meat and two veg when I get back. With some salt and pepper, and maybe some sauces.’ Katherine said.

‘So predictable. But me too.’

They stood up and embraced on the rock and agreed to get out to the other areas of the map emblazoned with ‘
Here Be Dragons’ in the future. James said he’d definitely bring a bigger rucksack with room for plenty of veg.


WC: 716 words