Fiction logo

The Hunger

By Michael Coffey

By Michael CoffeyPublished about a year ago 5 min read
The Hunger
Photo by Henk van de Goor on Unsplash

There weren't always dragons in the valley. There was a time when they had faded into myth, the subject of campfire stories and bedtime tales to scare children into behaving. After 300 years of peace, history turned to fiction and the past was slowly forgotten.

But after 300 years, on the night the dragons returned; the sun was casually slipping into the easy embrace of the next hemisphere, leaving cool spectres of its touch on goose pimpled skin. This night, as was the case with many winter nights, the families that lived within the valley huddled close around small, crackling fires. The winds were icy and bitter, whistling against the shutters of their ramshackle homes. The nearby lake, which they often ice fished in during the winter months when the ground was inhospitable for crops, was frozen over and caught the moonlight like a mirror. It was almost blinding. If one looked upon it, they’d see a sea of diamonds amid a beach of snow. In the waning hours the moonlight faded away, shrouding the valley in shadow. Had any been awake they would have noticed the wind being drowned out by a rhythmic battering sound, like bed sheets being buffeted by gale force winds. It grew louder as it drew nearer, until not only the shutters but the foundations of the homes were rattling and trembling. It finally ceased as the sun would be rising, the cacophony culminating in an almighty slam that caused the ground itself to quake. That eventually caused some to rouse, like the town smith, Margor and the cattle farmer, Brant. They ventured out, wiping the sleep from their eyes, assuming that an animal must've broken free of a pen but what they saw... was nothing.

There was no light, no stars, no rising sun, only an impenetrable veil of darkness. Unable to see to investigate, the pair, unaware the other had also been awoken concluded they must’ve simply imagined it and returned inside to wait for light. never came. As the hours slinked by and the rest of the valley finally began to awaken, the sky remained dark. The people of the valley began to file out into the main road, stumbling blindly into the black like lost children, looking for any kind of explanation or even another soul. At the end of the road perhaps a hundred paces from the village, there came a deep, phlegmy purr. All snapped to follow the sound and saw two suns amid the sea of dark, growing and expanding. They burned with a fierceness that would turn legs to jelly and make a heretic believe they were staring into the cruel domain of the devil. And in the centre of those suns, two inky, narrowing pupils...

Another quake as the purr turned to a growl. Resonating deep with a sound like a landslide. The two suns started to rise, and beacons of light broke through growing spaces surrounding the fiery orbs, illuminating an outline of a colossal beast on four legs. The onlookers almost wished the sunlight to disappear again, so they didn't have to look upon this god clad in grey scales swinging a tail as long as the valley itself. It opened its mouth, a cavern of stalactite like teeth, dripping with saliva. It's whip like tongue caressed each mottled yellow tooth in a slow tentative motion, like it was savouring the moment, allowing itself to want.

To hunger.

Then with lust and with relish, the dragon sunk its lower jaw deep into the ground and dragged itself forward, shovelling the land beneath the settlement into its great mouth. The valley folk, screaming and clinging to each other fell to the ground as they and their home was engulfed. Margor grabbed his young son Arza and held him close, praying to whatever God that existed that they would survive this somehow. Arza felt no fear. The young boy, perhaps in a state of shock was merely looking at the sun for the last time, trying to feel it's heat on his skin and remember the feeling of hope for tomorrow it brings.

The people of the valley fell down the dragon’s throat, an eternity in the dark, the heat of the creature's innards coating them in sweat and the stench making their eyes water and their throats burn. The uprooted set of homes eventually landed, miraculously more or less intact, in the stomach of the great monster. They were afloat in an ocean of bubbling stomach acid, mucus green and riddled with pieces of the other villages it had devoured.

And villagers. Floating. Decaying.

While the village panicked, screaming, and recoiling from their new habitat, Arza was still staring upwards to where the sun had been.

"Where have you gone?" He whispered. He slowly craned his neck and looked around, distantly aware that something was wrong. The boy looked around and saw the mania, the acid, the bodies. One in particular he couldn't tear his eyes from. There was nothing to indicate who the corpse had once been, but their arm stood tall above the acid, reaching. Trying to be free. They died down here. Their whole life and all it meant, now just an unidentifiable limb in a sea of other limbs. They died down here. He would not. This was the vow he made to himself. This beast would die, and he would claim the sunlight. He would claim tommorow.


About the Creator

Michael Coffey

Lover of spooks and metal and writer of wordy things

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.