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A Pig A Dog and A Little Girl Named Kai

Life Changing Adventures - In Truffles And Dragon Eggs

By Kelli Sheckler-AmsdenPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 13 min read

Kai hadn't seen or heard from her daddy since the last full moon of fall. The snowy season had come and gone, and as the trees began to shed their winter coats, she knew he should be arriving home soon. It was the longest he had ever left her alone, and the only time she ever felt afraid he wasn't returning.

Work was hard to come by, and it took a hard man to do the work that was available.

Her daddy had built their cottage to be camouflaged, nestled safely - under the tree canopies. The towns people referred to them as - marsh dwellers, living on the outskirts of Villefranche-du-Perigord - France. But, after the death of his wife, he only wanted to be left alone.

Not far away were the bastides - where they sold their wares at the markets and fairs, and active trading places. Kai loved hiking with her daddy, the long distances - selling the truffles they had hunted and harvested together. When he sold locally, Kai went along, but when he needed to Trek into the neighboring towns, she was left behind. Never for long periods of time, even being so small, she had grown accustomed to taking care of herself.

On the long journeys, he would jump rail cars, making quick connections to Périgueux and Agen, selling his goods to the highest bidder. As it turned out, truffles were a delicacy in high demand, worth more than imagined, and people would do just about anything to get their hands on them. Even if it wasn't exactly, legal.

When she hadn't heard word from her daddy's traveling companion, Earl, she made the decision to make her way through the mountain pass, across the river and to the edge of the Dubois Forest -Accompanied by her best friends Boo, a blue tick hound, and Oink, her truffle hunting pig. They needed to find Earl's wife, Peg. She had been keeping tabs on Kai, but it had been a few days since she had seen anyone at all, and she was sure she would find her daddy there.

As she reached their settlement, Kai noticed the door had been broken and items from inside were laying scattered all around on the ground. Boo began to growl, alerting the pig to protect Kai, by standing between she and the noise coming from inside the shack. As they moved closer to investigate, a couple raccoons came tumbling out with their paws full of apples and bundles of bread. Boo barked and Kai let out a nervous giggle. Kai stepped further inside; the entire house had been torn apart. "Raccoons didn't do this," she muttered to Boo and Oink.

Having been taught never to take chances, the trio waded further into the woods to make camp. It was Boo's job to catch dinner, Oinks job to locate the truffles and Kai's job to collect the firewood and prepare the feast.

Boo set off in search of a bunny or squirrel, something easy, but Oink stood there squealing with frustration. "It's ok girl," Kai encouraged, "I'll help you dig." The two began digging, getting completely covered in the damp soil.

While they were digging, they lost track of just how far away from the fire they had actually gotten. They were startled when a gruff voice from behind asked, "what are you looking for...?"

Oink did as she had been taught and threw herself between Kai and the mysterious voice, but as she came face to face with the beast standing in front of her, she fainted, straight away. Kai's eyes widened and her mouth dropped open, but there was no air in her lungs to call Boo for help. She managed to mutter, "Uh, I, I, I'm sorry, we were looking for..."

Interrupting what Kai was about to say, the beast stood on its hind legs, towering over the small tot and her portly pig, revealing from behind its back, Boo, gripped tightly in its claws. "MY EGGS, you were hunting for MY EGGS," she bellowed, spewing spit and ash, as she continued. Boo's eyes were bulging and bouncing around like pebbles on the water, as the dragon flailed her arms around in anger.

Kai bounded over the pudgy pig, still woozy from her scare and ran towards the beast. "YOU PUT MY DOG DOWN!" she demanded. "We were looking for truffles, what would we want with your stupid stinky eggs anyway?" she scolded. "Who do you think you are, scaring us and roughing up my old pup? PUT HIM DOWN, NOW!" She screamed, as toddlers do.

The dragon, unaccustomed to being spoken to in this manner, looked around in shock. Boo was now cross eyed, trying to keep his eye on both the beast and his little girl. Feeling helplessly emboldened, he nipped at the dragon's hand, startling her - causing her to drop him.

The fall was unintentional but - damaging. Boo was no young pup anymore; he lay motionless on the ground.

Kai screamed, stirring Oink who again - charged the dragon in defense of her girl. The dragon, still in shock from the previous attack, waved her tail to scare the pig away, sending oink flying through the air, landing in the brush.

Kai let out a gasp, and for a moment, the air was completely still and silent.

The dragon and girl stood looking wide-eyed at one another, neither one moving, or even taking a breath.

As Oink began to stir, the dragon repositioned herself, facing the pig. Her eyes darted quickly and frequently between the girl and the dog. After a few moments of silence, Kai spoke, keeping her hands in the air to show the monster she wasn't tricking her.

"I have to get my bag, it's by the fire - it has medicine for my puppy." she began to cry. "Please don't hurt us, we were just looking for food." Her face, streaked as the tears ran through the mud, now dried on her face. The dragon nodded, her head still darting between the three intruders, motioning with her head - that it was ok.

As Kai hurried back and knelt by Boo, Oink made her way over and hid behind Kai, giving the dragon the stink eye over Kai's shoulder. Boo whimpered as Kai attended to his injured leg. Without turning her head to look at the beast, Kai muttered angrily, "don't worry babies, I know daddy will come save us. He won't let this mean monster hurt us anymore." her lip protruding in a pout.

The dragon sat down on a nearby rock and sighed, and in a voice that seemed offended said. "I never meant to hurt you; I was simply protecting my eggs. I only have two left; those other nasty humans stole my babies!" Her hardened face softened, and she became weepy. "I will never get to see them grow; I buried them - well, to protect them while I went in search of food and when I - I came back in time to chase them away before they got them all." Kai turned around to see the dragon bury her face into her claws, sobbing. "I'm sorry, I have never done this on my own before, since the hunters killed Forah, my husband, last fall, I - I am all alone." Kai fell backwards avoiding the large teardrops falling from the dragon's face.

Kai feeling sorry for the dragon, and strangely connected, as she was all alone too. Stood and took a few steps closer, speaking tenderly to the beast. "We are here looking for my daddy, he has been gone a long time, and my friends and I are all alone. I - we would never hurt your babies, we, we, well - we have never seen a beast like you. What ARE you?" She asked nervously. "Are you the one who broke Earl's house, do you know where Mrs. Earl is? Did you see the raccoons, they scared us, did they scare you too? Why did you bury your eggs in the mud? Are you going to try and eat us? That would NOT be very nice." Kai looked at the dragon with her innocent, wondering eyes and began to smile, with just one side of her mouth, scrunching her face, trying to solve her own riddle.

The dragon, wide eyed - stared at the child with curiosity. Having only experienced the horrible side of humans, but once, she remained guarded. Asking her own questions, her voice, higher than normal, and now, very inquisitive. "Who is daddy? Why did your daddy leave you out here all alone? No, I never broke anything, raccoons? Eat you? EEWW, I don't eat humans. And if you must know, I only buried them to protect them while I ate." The dragon, beginning to feel angry again, remembering the loss of her eggs while she was away, snapping at Kai. "Why were you out here digging? You barely look human, and you all stink!" She said, feeling better, and completely superior.

Kai's smile faded and she retreated to the safety and comfort of her friends. "you're mean," she snorted. "If you are done scaring us, we will go back to our fire and leave you alone." Kai and Oink helped Boo back to the campsite, still very hungry, and now grouchy.

The dragon sat alone, sorry for hurting such a small and seeming kind human, but she was still so sad and angry at the humans that had taken so much from her. She sat in the distance for a short time, watching the trio muttering and snuggling together, and felt lonely. It would be months until her eggs would hatch, and she had moved them to a place no-one could find them. So, she sulked and envied the closeness of the strangers by the fire.

The next morning Kai crawled out from in between her warm and cozy friends, starving, and exclaimed, "WHERE DID ALL THIS FOOD COME FROM!" Startled, Boo and Oink turned over to see more food than they had ever seen in their entire lives. Without thinking, they all began to smash everything into their mouths. Kai whispered, with her mouth still full, "Wait, what was that?!" Everyone stood still, holding their breaths to listen.

In the distance they could hear dogs barking and horses neighing.

"DADDY?" Kai screamed, spewing her food. "Could it be daddy?" She was up and running without thought, with Oink and Boo hobbling along behind her. As she approached the clearing, where Earl's shack sat, she stopped in her tracks. "Hunters, " she whispered. They were rummaging through the house again, yelling and stomping.

Kai gasped, terrified as she saw her daddy lying on the ground next to the horses. Boo ran out of the thickets to the side of the wounded man. The hunters kicked at the dog to shoo him away, which enraged Kai. She and Oink came charging out screaming, "don't you dare kick my dog - oh, daddy," she cried, " are you ok?!" As she got closer, she could see her daddy was not moving, Boo indicated with a howl, that he was no longer breathing.

Kai fell to her knees sobbing and screaming for her daddy. She was grabbed up by one of the large hunters, pulling her so hard she heard her shoulder pop.

Boo and Oink ran to her aid and were wrangled up and put into wooden crates. Kai sat frightened, holding her arm crying. She kept glancing over at her daddy, hoping he would get up and save her.

Across the clearing another rider approached, it was Earl, Kai sat up excitedly. Earl walked past her snarling, he shook his head and rolled his eyes. Boo growled, "What is that kid doing here? I told you idiots to get rid of my wife and collect the money from the truffles her father had. How is that so hard," he yelled. Kai couldn't believe what she was hearing

"We ran into a problem," the other man stammered. "When we arrived to take care of your wife, he showed up. He saw what we'd done and well, we had to shut him up." Earl turned to see his friend lying dead on the ground. "We didn't have a choice boss, he wouldn't stop yelling, he wouldn't give us the cash either, so, we took it. And I think Luke broke his neck." Before Earl could respond - the man continued with his explanation.

"The good news is, when we dug the hole to put her in, we found these two amazing large eggs. They are massive, and the shells are the most beautiful things we've ever seen, they have to be worth a fortune." Earl quickly turned around, the horror on his face was obvious. "What's wrong boss?" the man questioned.

Earl grabbed the bag off of the ground and began to run to his horse. Before he reached the edge of the clearing, there she was. Her belly glowing fire red, and she hovered him like a dark cloud. Her breath was pure black smoke and she expelled ash as she began to speak. "I allowed you to stay here untouched and unharmed as long as you never touched my nests. Your wife and I have had a long-standing arrangement, friendship - since she was a child and you have broken that trust." she hissed. "A life for a life...tell me, WHERE ARE MY EGGS?" she demanded.

Earl fell off of his horse, as his men disappeared into the forest. He laid there on his back, completely helpless. As she was about to thrash Earls body into the ground -with her claws, she heard Kai whimpering in fear.

She turned to face the terrified tot, and with a soothing voice she whispered. "Don't be afraid child, I misjudged your intentions yesterday, I am terribly sorry for that. I saved a small girl years ago, just like you, and we were the best of friends for a mighty long time. I cannot change what this man has done to alter our lives, but I CAN make him pay." She gently caressed Kai's cheek with her claw. "I can help you get back home to your mother." Kai began to weep heavily. Confused the dragon stepped back, looking at Earl lying there helpless, and asked him gruffly. "What have you done to her mother?"

Kai interrupted her and said, "no, it was nothing HE did, I killed my mother." The dragon looked horrified. Kai explained that her mother had died while giving birth to her, she had been raised solely by her daddy.

The dragons massive heart broke for the tiny girl, without thought, she picked up and cradled Kai. She fought it at first because she had never been held that way, she was too tough to be treated like a baby. But as she snuggled into the warm belly of the dragon, she felt safe, she felt understood, she felt like home.

The dragon understood what she needed to do. Freeing her best friends from the crate, the two of them forged a plan. No one from the town would know Kai was missing, so she would stay in the woods with the dragon, who's name Kai learned, was Hild.

She managed to get where abouts of her missing eggs from Earl, who soon after, disappeared, never to be seen again.

She and Kai collected what she would need to live in Earl's homestead - from her house under the trees. Soon after, they made a beautiful nest for the eggs, and together, they would wait for them to hatch. "Becoming a family only makes sense," Hild would say as they spent their days digging for truffles and filling their bellies.

It was exactly what they were missing, the love of a family.


About the Creator

Kelli Sheckler-Amsden

Telling stories my heart needs to tell <3 life is a journey, not a competition

If you like what you read, feel free to leave a tip, I would love some feedback

Find me on twitter @kelli7958958

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (6)

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  • Emeka Nwankwoala2 months ago

    A strange voice always makes man afraid. Very interesting story

  • Branden Kerr3 months ago

    Wow there were so many elements to this story, but all knitted together so well! I like how it started primarily with the child's perspective and yet still delved into deeper more serious topics, and as I felt the shock of what happened to her father, and wondered how it would possibly be put right, the dragon came in and fixed it in a way that worked well. It went in various directions but held my attention, and kept me guessing!

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    Great story, Kelli. Love the family aspect. Fabulous job on the pics as well.

  • Antoinette L Brey3 months ago

    Nice story, very original, a good read

  • Lovely story and the images are amazing

  • Colleen Millsteed3 months ago

    Wow this is some story. Loved every line of it Kelli.

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