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Ruinous Night's Lost Child

By K.H. ObergfollPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Astryth peered curiously at the tepid night sky; she no longer saw any stars peeking through the mingling of clouds but she was certain they were still heading north. The air hung heavy; it felt like they had passed this same tree several times already.

“How much farther, we’ve been walking for hours. Are you sure we’re going the right way?” Astryth mused, quickening her pace to match that of her cousin Darros.

“Yes, we are most definitely going in the right direction,” Darros replied matter-of-factly, “it should be right over that hill.”

“Over what hill,” Astryth queried, straining her eyes through the thick trees, “that’s not a hill, that’s a mountain.”

“I don’t know what you’re complaining about Astryth, its far better than flying the whole way, at least we can safely stop and rest without anyone spotting us. Imagine, Mervryn and Aundrenth are probably miles behind, besides, we are making great time,” he stopped, pausing to catch his bearings.

Up ahead the distinct smell of something burning caught their attention first.

Bright flickering flames smoldered in the underbrush.

Darros’s slowed to a crawl, inching along the dirt-laden leaves as Astryth tailed along at a snail’s pace.

“Darros,” Astryth’s yelp was barely audible, “Darros, up ahead, look! There’s something there, moving in the bushes.”

“Is that what I think it is?” Astryth squealed, “humans?!!”

“There’s a whole gaggle of them, what do we do?”

“Calm down, keep quiet,” Darros whispered as he snuck along the edge of the tree-line towards where the commotion had been. “I checked these mountains on Fragros’s map; no one was supposed to be living here…”

“Great, just great; we should leave while we still have a chance, they haven’t seen us yet.” Astryth hissed but Darros wasn’t as easily convinced.

“They are in danger, we have to help them,” he insisted, leaning against a nearby set of rocks for a better view.

“You’re kidding,” Astryth cried, recoiling at the idea of ruining a perfectly good hiding spot—“us go down there and risk being killed. Their kind hates our kind, remember. That’s why we’re in this position to begin with…”

The words had barely left her mouth when the sounds of twigs snapping followed a tiny voice from a nearby set of trees—“hello, can you see me?”

Astryth flinched, her buxom wings tucking inward as she popped one eye open to face the voice. All she saw were two pale hands feeling around the empty air.

Darros wheeled around sending a flurry of leaves into a wild frenzy.

“Can you see me?” Darros asked curiously, unsure of what else to say, “it looks like you are having a hard time.”

An awkward silence followed as the three stood quietly waiting for the other to make a move.

Astryth broke first—“what sort of stupid question is that, of course we can see you,” she mumbled in the most mocking tone she could summon as her lips contorted into a tight line.

“Why would you ask such a dumb question? If you can see us, we can see you…”

“I wasn’t sure,” the boy continued, “I can’t see real well at night and I can’t find my mom and dad,” he began, stepping out into the moonlit patch of woods, his soft, plump features illuminated brightly as he stood shivering in a pair of silky blue button up pajamas.

“Have you seen them?” he asked. “My name is Rowan, Rowan Prescott. My parents are John and Marnie Prescott, they are about this tall”—he stopped, pointing to a mark on the nearby tree that was halfway between the top of the dragons head and that of the boys.

“No we haven’t seen anyone but you,” Astryth replied her voice calm and collected as she tip-toed around the obvious—“and why is it that you can’t see, are you blind?”

“Not exactly, I just can’t find my glasses, they fell off during my escape,” Rowan, the boy replied.

“Escape from what? So, let me get this straight,” Astryth began, a slight smirk forming—“first you lose your parents, then you lose your glasses…what else is next…maybe it’s you that is lost.”

Darros interrupted—“ignore my sister, she’s just cranky from all our travels,” he cautioned, throwing a pebble-sized rock at her feet. “Then there’s a matter of trust. Are you sure you want two lowly dragons helping you?”

“Dragons,” Rowan gasped, “I couldn’t tell what you were with all the shadows. You don’t look like dragons; you are much pudgier than I thought you would be…”

Astryth huffed, “of course you would think we are pudgy,” she snarled, “us ‘lowly’ creatures, not good enough for you.”

“That’s not it at all,” Rowan stammered, “I don’t think that, I just want some help. I’m afraid, I don’t want to be alone,” the boy all but cried as he threw himself to the ground.

Darros sunk down to sit next to him, “Rowan, we will help you but you have to help us.”

Rowan nodded, tears glistening off his cheeks.

“Anything, anything, just help me find my family.”

“We need to know what attacked you, it’s very important,”

Astryth’s miffed sighs did not go unnoticed.

“Don’t worry about her,” Darros continued, shooting Astryth another glaring look as he made his way back to the top of the gaggling rocks, “she’s made it clear she doesn’t want to be involved.”

“Can I talk to you,” Astryth mouthed as Rowan clambered up to join Darros.

“I don’t want to hear it Astryth, I’ve already made my mind up,” Darros hissed.

“We don’t owe him anything,” Astryth started, “just think about it, he still doesn’t know what attacked him. We didn’t come all this way for nothing, if we die, we can’t help anyone else. Please, don’t go down there,” she plead, begging him to listen but it was no use; Darros had made his mind up. He would help the boy at all cost.

“Astryth, we were just like him. Our family gone, our nest gone, it was just you and me for the longest time. We can’t leave him out here all alone, he won’t make it. Trust me on this,” Darros murmured, and with that the two dragons began to hatch a plan to save Rowan and find his parents but it didn’t look good.

Astryth’s laser-like eyes focused on the decimated land below; there was no further movement, no flickering of lights. All the flames had dulled to a pile of rubble; empty remnants of homes were all that lingered, no more signs of life were present. As she turned around, even images of the boy disappeared, taking along with him, her cousin Darros.

Time began to slow around Astryth as she soon came to grips with the notion that she was all alone. Images of rotting carcasses appeared amidst the hollow shells of putrid tree trunks. Bare branches and the smells of Petrichor filled her nose. There was no one but her around, no one.

Where had the boy gone, where had her cousin gone? A heavy, heady fog trickled through the underbrush swallowing dew-stained hedges and ferns in one swoop as the woods began to disappear from sight and soon, so did she.

Short Story

About the Creator

K.H. Obergfoll

Writing my escape, my future…if you like what you read—leave a comment, an encouraging tip, or a heart—I’m always looking to improve, let me know if there is anything I can do better.

& above all—thank you for your time

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Comments (2)

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  • Casey Abbott2 years ago

    I was surprised by the ending, but looking back there were hints at it and it works.

  • Bronson Fleet2 years ago

    Great job! I liked the uncertainty of the ending!

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