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From Beneath You...

by Tim Frost 3 months ago in Fantasy
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A Tale From New Wales

There weren’t always dragons in The Valley Genetic Research Laboratory in New Aber. Ffion had worked incredibly hard to engineer them and now, finally, the first dragon had been born. She sat, holding this fragile leathery ball, its thick skin the deep blue of the ocean at midnight and watched as it uncurled its stiff wings for the first time. There were still small fragments of ostrich shell stuck to its tiny, spined back as it shook its wings out and raised its head. Eyes opened up; so deep and bottomless it seemed as if this pocket-sized beast was born with the knowledge of the ancients. It gazed up at Ffion’s face, tilted its head and let out a little trill, like a piccolo clearing its throat.

“Llŷr” she said. “Are you saying Llŷr? Is that your name, bach?” There were very few words of the old country left but Ffion knew bach – little one, was a term of endearment when her people had lived in The Valleys. No one knew where these mythical valleys were or even if they existed at all but Ffion had always yearned for the long-forgotten times when grass was green and people sang for fun and not just at the Official Presentations. At least, that’s what the tales said.

In her hand, Llŷr was now fully stretched out. He reached his neck towards her and chirruped again. Realising that the small beast would be hungry, Ffion had prepared a selection of meats. No one had seen a dragon in recorded history so what they ate was a matter of pure speculation but it was unanimously thought that they would be carnivorous. She placed him onto the table where there were several petri dishes laid out like a buffet. Llŷr gingerly stepped over to the first of the dishes which was filled with the dull brown of several dead grasshoppers. Ignoring this, he investigated what else was on offer. He slowly passed all of the options, pausing briefly at the diced chicken thigh before raising his head up and blinking quickly. Something had caught his attention. He scrambled to the edge of the table and craned towards Ffion’s work station in the corner.

“What is it? You want me to help you?”

Llŷr walked over to where Ffion’s hand rested on the table and nudged it with his beak like snout before looking straight back at her, head tilted once more.

“Come on then” she said, picking him up and walking over to her desk. As always, reams of paper covered in a mix of tiny spidery writing and chemical equations were spread over the entire surface. “I am pretty sure you are not wanting to help with my research.”

Llŷr hopped from her hand and onto the papers, he seemed to like the feel of them under his talons. He then scouted about, searching like a chicken scrabbling for grain when his focus suddenly deepened. Nudging aside some paperwork, he uncovered a plate of burnt toast that had most likely been there for a day or two. She had no memory of having left toast there but then she often left half-finished mugs of tea all over the place so why not. His wings closed around the edge of the toast and, for the first time, Ffion notices basic jointed digits. Fingers. Dragons had hands at the ends of their wings?! Utterly astounded, Ffion sat back into her chair and watched as Llŷr picked up the toast and started nibbling away at the darkest parts. It took him a good thirty minutes but he ate the entire thing. Giving a little yawn, he waddled back towards Ffion and looked at her expectantly. She put her hand back on the table and Llŷr clambered on. Feeling a little heavier and more than a little warmer than before.

Ffion didn’t have any children and most likely never would; the chances of winning the Surrogacy Lottery were so low, she didn’t even bother entering. Now though, she felt that she was getting a glimpse into what it might be like to have a kid. Just looking at Llŷr, she felt like she intuitively knew what it was he wanted and needed. She carried him over to a shoe box that she had filled with feathers and balls of cotton. After nestling into the down, Llŷr looked back up at Ffion, head tilted to the side again. He blinked once, yawned and went to sleep. Ffion watched his little stomach going up and down a couple of times before going back to her notes to try and work out what the hell she had done differently to make it actually work this time.


About the author

Tim Frost

All my writing so far has either been collaboration or adaptation. This space is where I can write with my own voice and in my own style.

I hope you like it. I do!

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