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The Handicap

6th February, Story #37/366. This is the 5th in a series of super-short stories. You can enjoy it as a stand-alone micro, or if you'd prefer to read them in order (they're all very quick!) then *skip to the end* and I'll link them there.

By L.C. SchäferPublished 21 days ago 3 min read
15
The Handicap
Photo by Egor Vikhrev on Unsplash

It was a burning sensation on my ear that roused me before I could suffocate, or be swallowed by flames. The blurry sliver revealed by my eyelids was obscured by the smoke-sting at first. I blinked, squinted, rubbed my eyes with my one good arm.

Lex, the dragonling was perched on my own severed, half-cooked hand on the forest floor. With his little wings outstretched for balance, he reminded me of a hawk mantling his wings over a kill. His snout was smeared with (my) blood, and there were sparks coming from his mouth. He looked quite happy, given that he'd just been abandoned by his mother. It was his attempt to flame which had woken me.

My head felt fuzzy, as if it, too, were full of smoke. I tried to bully my brain and body into action. Surely, with the recent downpour, the trees would be too wet to catch beyond this clearing? If I stuck to the path, maybe I could outrun it.

What do they call it in racing? A handicap.

I scooped up Lex and my dismembered hand wholesale, making an apron of my ruined t-shirt. Swallowing vomit I didn't have time to hurl, I started my race against the flames.

Shouldn't have.

Those were the words that reverberated in time to the beat of my stumbling feet, and my panicking heart.

The fire shouldn't have caught. Everything was too wet. But then, dragonfire is sure to be hotter, wilder, more volatile, isn't it? The clearing where I collapsed hadn't stood a chance in the heat of the mother dragon's immediate flame.

Shouldn't have survived. Should have bled out here, alone.

Shouldn't have gone to the forest.

Shouldn't have trusted a dragon.

Shouldn't have been so stupid.

The storm had finally dwindled away to a drizzle and the sky was pale. I kicked the door open for the second time, staggering into the kitchen and yelling for Mum. She appeared just as I was tipping the contents of my t-shirt onto her kitchen table. Her face paled, and she clutched at the sideboard to steady herself.

Dad wasn't far behind. He did faint, glasses askew and horror printed on his face.

++++++++++++

Word count (excluding note): 366

Submitted on 5th February at 6:44AM

*Quick Author's Note*

Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment so I can reciprocate. Your thoughtful engagement is appreciated. If you enjoyed this, the best compliment you can give is to share it, or read another.

The story behind the story: This is story #5 about this dragonling. Here are the first 4 in order, if you prefer to read those first:

1. The Baby

2. The Sickening

3. The Return

4. The Mother

My story every day project: I'm writing a story every day this year. This one makes a 37 day streak. You can find all of them in my Index post. It's also pinned to the top of my profile.

If you're joining me on this "story every day" madne adventure, please leave a link to yours in the comments. Whether you're on a creative bent, like me, and writing mostly microfiction/stories, or whether you have your own, self-imposed criteria, I'd love to see what you come up with for today. I'll try to come back and edit this to link to your piece at the bottom.

If you'd like to buy the cow, (or get more free milk on Kindle Unlimited):

FantasyYoung AdultShort StorySeriesMicrofiction
15

About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

Book-baby is available on Kindle Unlimited

Flexing the writing muscle

Never so naked as I am on a page. Subscribe for nudes.

Here be micros

Twitter, Insta Facey

Sometimes writes under S.E.Holz

"I've read books. Well. Chewed books."

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (11)

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  • Cathy holmes20 days ago

    Oh my. That was wild. And yes, I did miss it. This is such a great story, but I'm conflicted. Not sure if I want to protect the wee dragon or crush it. Seems it's nothing but trouble, yet it's just a baby.

  • Lol, the dad fainted! I'll wait for the next part for him to wake up!

  • Hannah Moore20 days ago

    This has become less cute....

  • Kenny Penn20 days ago

    Oooo I love Dragon Stories, L.C.! It seems I have some catching up to do….

  • Phil Flannery21 days ago

    Dragons...say no more, but carry on by all means.

  • Brenton F21 days ago

    This brought some of the Anne Mccaffrey I have read to mind. Good work (I can't believe its 37 already!) Hitting your links now!

  • Caroline Craven21 days ago

    I love this series. And I love Lex. Makes me want to get a dragon.

  • Yep, that tends to happen a lot (or at least used to) whenever a man sees a woman delivering. Great chapter, L.C.

  • Love how this is shaping up LC!

  • John Cox21 days ago

    LC, you have created one resilient badass protagonist for these stories! Color me eager for more, please.

  • Matthew Fromm21 days ago

    Well this was a ride….glad you linked the rest of the parts!

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