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Toddrick's Worm-Bone Soup

(Destroy upon reading)

By K.H. ObergfollPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 9 min read
Toddrick's Worm-Bone Soup
Photo by Kadir Celep on Unsplash

"Dragon tails or Dragon tales, maybe it was Dragon nails?" Why'd it matter. He wasn't going to eat his own kind, that would be barbaric. Toddrick thumbed through the tattered soup-stained rolodex in annoyance. He had standards after all. “It has to be here,” he moaned. His mother’s famed worm-bone broth recipe had eluded him—as it should. You see, there wasn’t actually a worm to be had in the soup; besides, worms didn’t have bones, and not to mention— it appeared he had forgotten why it was called that to begin with but that was neither here nor there.

He wrung the remaining drops of a slithering snake’s venom onto the end of a wooden spoon, stirring carefully as to not waste a bit of the bubbling brew. Next it would be trying to catch an overly aggressive Seizure Wasp—for some reason he remembered the recipe called for one ounce of this crushed specimen but he couldn’t understand why. Naturally, Toddrick wondered who in their right mind would want to run about a perfectly good field chasing these monstrous winged-beasts, their stingers were formidable even for a dragon.

Meanwhile—the easy ingredients—softly diced tomato, clumping carrots, flowering violets, sneezing neddleleaf, queening annuals and sugar-shades were easy to find, he had already dumped the lot into the kettle.

He was just about to resume his search for the worm-bone recipe when the sound of a wailing cry emanated through his open kitchen window. Toddrick paused, pulling the kettle off the fire and waiting for the rolling boil to subside. He leaned closer to the kitchen window but heard nothing.

An icy-cold pain cut into his foot before erupting in burning boils. Toddrick jumped back, tossing the soupy concoction and its kettle onto a spare corner of his cutting block. It appeared he had burned himself.

He didn’t have long to kick himself for being so stupid because there it was again—the unmistakable shriek of a child. His ears perked curiously as he leaned furthermore into the window, his wings gleefully carrying him upwards—practically propelling him out of the window. His horned jowls caught on the splintering frame; he didn’t get far.

Toddrick didn’t care—the cries were music to his ears, fresh inspiration—something he could add to his recipe. He tossed the idea around, gathering slivers of chopped potatoes and lemon wedges as he grabbed dried ropes of various herbs from atop the drying racks.

A child—the soup didn’t call for that—he mused, a devilish grin forming on his face. He contemplated what seasonings the child would call for but then thought against it.

“Don’t want to ruin my soup,” he whispered, sauntering off into the woods, whistling with delight.

As he neared the tempestuous crying—it soon became clear, Toddrick had no clue how to pick up a screaming child. Instead, he stood there pacing back and forth, eyeing the small creature with contempt.

“Where’s your parents,” he asked the tiny, ugly thing, barely the size of a copper toad and to top it off, the child had the most unfortunate genes— beet-red skin with silvery hair and scrunched features. Even in dragon-terms it wasn't what one would call pretty.

“Lucky for you I don’t eat humans,” Toddrick announced holding the child nearer his face, a look of disgust in his upturned grimace. He wasn’t sure why he said that, all his earlier excitement had lost its touch, turning instead to a pile of dejected mush.

Even if he wanted to, the child didn’t look like it would taste anything but bitter. Besides, a foul smell was coming from somewhere unknown—near the tail-end of the small creature.

Toddrick held him out at an arm’s length as he ran towards his hut and the nearby watering-falls.

A quick rinse would do him some good.

Toddrick’s wings fluttered along, pushing him and the small child over prickly patches of wild ferns and tangled roots.

“Whatcha got there Todd,” a yellow-spotted dragon named Elyse questioned as she watched Toddrick dunk the tiny creature into the icy shower of water.

“What’s it look like,” Toddrick replied, “a human, a boy— a loud, stinky, parent-less creature.”

“Oh Todd, you aren’t going to eat him are you,” Elyse asked, continuing on with her questioning.

“No, he probably tastes horrible,” Toddrick said in a rather severe tone, “and besides, I already thought of that. You aren’t going to talk me into it Elyse—don’t even try.”

“Why would I ever do that, I can’t believe you would even imply…” Elyse started to respond but was abruptly cut off by the sound of a third dragon entering the fray.

Toddrick quickly jumped into the swelling water joining the small child under the waterfall as his nosy-neighbor and fellow dragon—Rommellen interrupted.

“What’s that you have, I heard you were making soup,” Rommellen queried nosily as he always did—asking questions he already knew the answers to.

“You were incorrect,” Toddrick began, “I was making soup but then I got burned. Besides, there wasn’t enough for you anyways.”

Rommellen inched up onto the back of his curved tail as he tried flying closer to the waters-edge to get a better view—“I heard a child’s crying, was hoping you weren’t harboring a child here?”

“No, no, you were mistaken, maybe heard my screams, like I said, I burned myself pretty bad, there was lots and lots of crying on my part,” Toddrick added, lifting his blistering foot for all to see as he shot Elyse a fleeting look, his eyes growing wide with insinuation, hissing just out of earshot of Rommellen.

He couldn’t hold the boy here forever. The child was starting to grow cranky, besides, what would he feed it; he had never had a small creature before. Never had to take care of anyone but himself (outside of his nosy, needy neighbors of course).


Back at his hut Toddrick thought back to what Rommellen said—was he really harboring a child? It was against the rules. They had long pledged against it—there were a lot of rules, lists of unspoken rules that kept growing and growing—no eating of humans, no harboring of children, no this, no that—it was all quite much to keep up with.

A knock jolted him from his thoughts as he crept quietly to the door—hoping whoever it was didn’t wake the sleeping child.

He was sure they caught him, this was it. He was certain they were coming to take him and the child away forever.

“Oh, it’s you,” Toddrick huffed, moving aside to let Elyse in.

“Yes, me, where is he,” she asked looking about the room.

It was empty, the pillow and blanket were fenced in and lying by the fire-place where the boy should have been.

Where’d he go,” Toddrick yelped, panic sweltering through his veins as his body began to hover, kicking dirt and dust up, clouding everything from sight.

“Toddrick, calm-down,” Elyse shouted, slamming the door open and shut a few times in a failed attempt to catch Toddrick’s attention—also hoping to clear the air.

“He probably wandered out of the play-pen. How long were you asleep,” she asked, lifting up the couch pillows and cabinets, looking underneath.

“I don’t think I was asleep…besides, he’s a child not a monkey,” Toddrick moaned, “how come you think he can get all the way up there.”

Elyse peeked over the top of the loft and into the cobwebs and eaves—“you never know, I just can’t believe you lost him,” Elyse whispered, nervously checking the boiling kettle nearby.

“Thank god,” she breathed, a long sigh of relief escaping her lips.

“Oh, so now you think I killed him…” Toddrick began his defenses on full alert.

“Of course not, but, you know how you are when you sleep-walk, remember last time…” Elyse mused, “after-all, you’re the reason for all these rules. Anyways, do you even know how he got here?”

A roaring wail was heard off in the distance, Elyse and Toddrick both scurried over to the window. It would seem the boy had been discovered, but by whom?

Toddrick tensed up, his wings growing frigid. He hadn’t even thought about where the boy had come from. In fact, he hadn’t given much thought to who he became when he slept either. Prickling, needling white-hot fear shot from his belly, the hairs on the back of his neck rose. It was too late.

The walls of Toddrick’s hut shook, it was happening all over again. At first it was soft, slow, measured vibrations—was it a dragon or an earthquake? He had an inkling of what was causing the disruptions. Patches of roof fell around them as they held tightly, their claws digging into the ground as the large, looming steps of something giant moved closer and closer until it was right overhead.

He could hear the droning call of his brethren dragons as balls of fire fell from bouldering lassos—Toddrick looked out through what was left of his hut and saw Giants—creatures taller than trees. Their silvery hair and smooshed faces were familiar. Yep—he’d done it again.

Dammit…” Toddrick hissed, wondering how the hell he was going to explain this one away.

Up above— soaring with the stars were thousands of swirling dragons, their flame-filled roars lighting the night sky like hundreds of swooping comets.

“My soup,” Toddrick sighed, pushing a nearby lid onto the piping hot kettle. "I'll be back for you later," he paused, tapping the pot gently.

“You’re worried about your stupid soup at a time like this,” Elyse shouted, "I'm really starting to worry about you."

“You wouldn’t understand,” Toddrick gave a reassuring smile as they started their ascent, rising nearer the mountains, ready to fight. He had finally remembered what the missing ingredient was— how could he have forgotten pickled toe-nails, but not just any toe-nails, only the full-sized fungi-mushroom-laden toe-nails of silver-headed giants would do. Yes, that was it indeed—the recipe card hadn’t gone missing, it had been taken, forcibly. Of course!

Toddrick waited until Elyse disappeared from sight high in the clouds before heading back to the woods, hopeful to lure himself a Gaint. By the time anyone realized he had gone, this would all be over. He just needed one good toe-nail… Heck, why not take the as many as he could get, no harm in having extra on hand.

Besides, it made perfect sense. Using the baby as bait shouldn’t be too hard. Giants always had such ugly, tiny babies; he couldn’t imagine one being missed, how could this one be any different—he mused, gently scooping the small boy back into his arms as he trotted off whistling a calming jaunt—wondering how exactly he would start. Do you cut off the whole toe or just the toe-nail? Now he remembered exactly why he hadn't made this soup in ages...

FableSatireShort 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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