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George and the Dragon

S C Wells

By SC WellsPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 5 min read
Photo by S C Wells

“Sweetie, what’s that?” Polly’s eyes fell on the sword at her son’s hip.

The rustling of leaves and bird chatter played despite the fact no breeze could ever reach inside the forest nor had songbirds been added yet.

“A sword for slaying naughty dragons,” little George said.

“George, darling, you shouldn’t be bringing that to playtime.”

“But daddy said is okay.”

“Yes, but those things are sharp and can make ouchies. We wouldn’t want any ouchies, would we, darling?”

“But mummy Georgy is careful. Promise! Promise! Promise infinity plus one!” He raised the sword high in his podgy hands. It glinted as it caught the artificial light. 

“Okay then, my little dragon slayer. So long as you’re super extra careful times infinity plus two,” Polly chuckled as she ruffled his hair as white as a cherub’s. It was impossible to refuse a face like that; scrunched up and full of determination.

Polly pushed baby Lydia’s pram as George led the way through the artificial forest with its artificial trees and artificial colours. The silhouettes of squirrels, owls and other critters poked out every so often. The recent addition of crude butterflies half fluttered half convulsed in drunk flashes of sparkling pinks and purples. Something buzzed past Polly and toward the pram. She was ready to swat it until she noticed stripes too saturated and the beat of wings too mechanical: a robot bee. It must be the latest addition to the forest as it was the most convincing yet.

“Oh dear oh dear!” George called from far ahead, “Mummy, Georgy lost Georgy lost!”

A smile played on Polly’s surgically enhanced lips as she followed his voice.

She parked Lydia by a cut-out of grasses and bushes with cartoon flowers and berries which partially hid the pram. Making sure to pull the blanket tight around Lydia, Polly smiled as she smoothed it out and traced the H with a pink and manicured finger. Only the softest merino wool would do for her baby.

“Whoopsy, whoopsy! Where mummy?”

Polly opened her mouth to call out but before she did, George sang, “so cute so cute!”

He had already scampered to the middle of a clearing where a plush green dragon stood waving with its oversized paws. It bent down as George ran up and embraced him. It picked little George up and spun him around as the boy squealed and giggled.

Polly marvelled as she clicked and tapped in her heels up to the pair. The dragon’s movements were too natural to be an automaton. Her husband may own the world’s leading AI company but even that kind of fluidity was impossible to replicate. It must be one of his assistants. Perhaps they had pulled the short straw or this was punishment for tardiness.

“What do dragons eat with cheese?” A deep voice jollied out through the comically oversized and ever-grinning head.

“Georgy doesn’t know. Mummy knows?”

“No, I don’t know, my pumpkin prince. What do dragons eat with cheese?”

“Firecrackers!” The dragon chortled.

George likely did not get the joke but he shrieked and giggled anyway.

“So funny so funny!” George clutched his stomach and bent over. Once he had found his breath again, he turned to Polly, “but mummy do dragons talk?”

“Hmmm,” Polly frowned in thought, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a talking dragon— No, I’m quite certain dragons don’t talk.”

“Oh okay,” George turned to the dragon, “dragons don’t talk. Please don’t talk now.”

The dragon exaggerated a nod and bowed with one paw crossed in front and another out behind it as if George were a king of old.

“Dragons don’t bow,” George’s face was pulled into a grin.

“What do they do?” Polly asked.

“They roar of course.”

“Can this dragon roar?” 

Prompted, a grumble from inside the dragon deepened and intensified until it was a gut-wobbling, bellowing roar.

“So scary so scary!” George shrieked through giggles. His cheeks flushed ruddy and red.

“Yes, sweetie pie, very scary.”

“Can dragon breathe fire?” George looked up at the dragon.

It shook its head and waved its arms as if to say no.

George’s features screwed up into disappointment and his lips wobbled so Polly said, “Goodness, what clever dragon!”

“Dragon is clever, mummy?” George looked at her with big blue eyes.

“Yes, so clever so clever,” Polly insisted.

The boy’s eyebrows wrinkled in confusion.

“Because clever dragons know not to breathe fire in forests.”

After a moment of thought, a smile returned to George’s face, “yes, so clever so clever. It’s the best dragon ever.”

The dragon nodded.

“Let’s play knights and princesses,” George declared, “Georgy rescue princess mummy and princess Lydia from naughty dragon!”

The dragon roared and chased the giggling George for a few laps of the clearing before stumbling and landing on its side in its ridiculous costume. George stamped its shin. He was small but strong especially when he put his weight behind him.

“Ouch, please don’t,” a whimper escaped the dragon.

“Dragons don’t talk,” Polly shot it a glare. Sobs from Lydia turned to wails so Polly clip-clopped to the pram and called out to George, “play nice please, my honey pie.”

Polly shushed the baby while roars, shouts, giggles, scraps and scuffles and all the other sounds a boy George’s age should be making played behind her.

The baby wriggled and sniffled in Polly’s hold. She tried to feed her and when that did not work she checked her nappy, which reminded her to ask her husband to get one of his technicians to invent a self-cleaning one. Cleaned up, she rocked her in an embrace. “All clean now, shush shush,” she hummed, hoping to drown out whatever mayhem her son was causing from behind.

“Mummy! Mummy!”

With a squirming Lydia in one arm and the other hand resting on the pram’s handle, Polly pushed it back to George and the dragon, “Yes, my scrumpkin?”

“I slayed dragon and now dragon sleepy.”

“Oh, well done,” Polly bounced the baby.

“So sleepy, so sleepy!”

“Yes, very sleepy. What a sleepy dragon.”

The dragon lay on its back, a paw holding George’s sword in place at its left armpit. It was doing a good job of playing dead for it did not move one bit.

“What a clever dragon slayer,” Polly placed Lydia back in the pram now that she could hear deep breathing. 

“Whoopsy, whoopsy,” George sang from behind, “so ketchup so ketchup!”

Polly turned to see him spinning. She frowned lightly as she stepped forward. The dragon was still pretending to be slain with the sword still held in place. George carried on chanting so ketchup

“Oh,” her eyes fell on the puddle of red creeping out from below the dragon and the stain climbing up the fleece of its costume, transforming the bright green into brown, “what a lot of ketchup.”

“Dragon likes ketchup, dragon likes ketchup.”

“Yes, sweetie pie,” Polly murmured.

George went to retrieve his sword but Polly placed a hand on his shoulder.

“We’ll get the sword later, darling. Let’s finish playtime for today, shall we, my little dragon slayer?” Polly patted her son along and directed her voice to the computer in the painted sky, “playtime over.”

George spun and skipped and danced to Lydia’s pram leaving his mother behind. Her eyes remained on the dragon. The stain and puddle turned to ink as the sunset activated and washed the artificial forest with red. 

Such a pity: This one had been her little prince’s best toy yet.

Sci FiShort Story

About the Creator

SC Wells

Thank you so much for reading my stuff!

I love travel, photography, and writing speculative fiction.

I’m also on a never-ending quest to improve my storytelling so any feedback is massively appreciated.

Instagram * Ockelwog * Other Links

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (3)

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  • Sean Bass2 years ago

    A wonderful retelling of one of our oldest tales, almost fairy tale like in fantasy and macabre.

  • R. J. Rani2 years ago

    Whoa. I could hear the conversation and see the sights. 👏👏👏

  • Claire Guérin2 years ago

    Dark humour and grime, this is my jam! That's the kind of story that'll stick with me for a long time!

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