Monday Excerpt

Enjoy this small piece of what I’m working on:

Jack followed Sam into the next car. Dozens of hoops, rings, ropes and other animal toys lay around, looking as if they’d been used for a long time. Sparks let out a squealing sound and raced over to tussle with a well-chewed toy. He sniffed it and butted it, cooing.

“What’s he doing?” Jack asked.

Sam shifted a little and finally looked at Jack.

“Oh, nothing,” Sam replied casually. “He just probably smells his parents.”

The room seemed eerily silent as Jack swung to face Sam. His parents? They’re alive? Jack wondered. Fang turned his blindfolded face towards Jack and flicked his tongue. Sparks plotted over proudly with the decapitated toy, dropping it at Jack’s feet. Jack bent down to pick up the toy. Hesitantly, he threw it to the other side of the floor. Sparks yipped and chased after it.

“How come he’s separated from them then?” Jack asked after a moment.

He watched as once again Sparks bit into the toy, tearing out stuffing. Sam sighed and reached up to pet Fang, a familiar gesture Jack recognized from when he’d first seen Sam.

“His parents aren’t…around anymore,” Sam explained. A pained look flashed across his face, as if he perhaps understood the feeling. “His mom went missing about a two months ago and his dad died in an accident. His grandfather is still around though.”

Jack’s head snapped up.

“Wait, he’s got a grandfather? Like a big dragon?”

Sam flashed a bittersweet smile.

“Yeah. He can sort of communicate with us. Like telepathically. It’s really weird, but cool.”

Sparks trotted back, his tail flailing in excitement.

“So does that mean someday Sparks is going to breath fire and do the telepathic thing and fly?”

Sam’s grin broadened.

“You better believe it.”

Jack picked up Sparks and heaved him into his backpack. Jack put the backpack on and huffed. Sparks was heavier than he looked. Jack glanced back at Sparks. His head was poking out with enough restraint to keep him from getting out.

“You coming?” Sam stood at the door with Fang wrapped around his shoulders.

Jack nodded and followed as they made their way to the back car.

Once again, the ceiling stretched impossibly high, stacked with supplies and animals. They passed through the car, moving through three others of the same kind. Finally, they reached a car marked “Dragon”. Sam turned to Jack.

“Be careful when talking to him,” Sam warned. “Dragons are known to be wise, but really possessive. The older they get, the more respect they demand.”

Sparks clacked his jaws together and rolled his golden eyes up towards Jack. Sam grimaced.

“And remember to keep Sparks hidden until I say it’s ok,” he added.

They opened the door and stepped into the car. There was hardly enough light to see. As Jack raised his eyes from the straw-covered floor, he realized that the dragon was blocking the electric lights. It was about as large as an apartment curled up and as the dragon sat up to view its visitors, it appeared to be as big as a house.

“Whoa,” Jack breathed in awe.

The dragon’s scales were chipped and ragged, the color like a faded version of Sparks’. His claws were as long as a rake, his eyes as large as a dresser, and when he opened his mouth, his teeth gleamed wickedly. He lifted his head and gazed down, eyes narrowing as they viewed Jack.

So, this is the intruder?

Sam glanced warily at Jack.

“Yes. Drago, this is Jack.”

Sam shoved Jack forward.

“Um, hi? Drago?”

Sparks poked his head out of Jack’s pack and hissed. Drago drew closer, peering at Sparks.

My son’s spawn? How is this possible? Where did you find him?

Sparks scrambled out of Jack’s pack and ran to uncover what Drago was hiding. On closer inspection, he appeared to be hiding a large pile of books. Sparks nosed the musty pages and hopped back in disgust as a cloud of dust arose from them. Drago viewed Sparks’ antics with a stern affection. He then swung his head towards Jack.

Has he spoken yet?

Jack shook his head.

“Nah. Sam tells me one day he’ll speak. Until then, I’m managing.”

Sparks trotted back to Jack, growling insistently, as if insulted by his grandfather’s hoard.

“Why books?” Jack asked, looking up. “All the dragons in the movies have gold and stuff.”

Drago peered closer at Jack

In the vast expanse of your “Movies”, what is more important? Knowledge or money?

Jack looked at Sam who shrugged.

“Dragons also happen to think they can hoard knowledge by having something that gives knowledge. For example, books,” He confided in a low voice.

Do you mock me, young one?

Sam smirked. The dragon growled, a loud rumble that shook the car a little. Sparks hissed and stepped forward defiantly, as if preparing to attack Drago. The older dragon chuckled, another long rumble.

You wish to attack me, young one?

“Uh-oh,” Sam muttered.

Go ahead. I do so wish to know how you shall defeat me.

Jack glanced warily down at Sparks who dove at the large dragon. Drago looked down with amusement as Sparks fiercely battled the tough hide covering the older dragon. Jack groaned as Sparks wriggled under Drago’s belly, trapping himself. The little dragon mewled piteously. After a moment, all was silent. Startled, Drago poked his head down to see what had happened. A flash of green erupted as Sparks burst out and began to scratch and bite at Drago’s face. The older dragon lifted his head, with Sparks still fighting. Jack would have laughed at the way Drago looked, had the dragon not looked so mortified.

Finally, Drago managed to peel Sparks off. Sparks looked as self-satisfied as a dragon could as he marched over to Jack’s backpack and seated himself. Drago cleared his throat, an expression of pride overtaking his irritation.

This is indeed my son’s spawn. He shall be as strong as a mountain.

Sparks puffed out his little chest as Jack zipped up the backpack and put it on. Sam whistled for Fang, who scuttled off Drago’s hoard and onto Sam’s shoulders.

“Thank you for your time,” he said to Drago.

The dragon settled himself in a resting position.

Come again, young one.

Just before the door closed, Jack watched as the elderly dragon closed one eye in a wink.

What do you think? Chime in; I’ll be happy to take your suggestions and advice.

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