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.
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.
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
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):
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Original narrative & well developed characters
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions