The Dragon of the Skyscraper
(based on the poem by the same author)
In colonial New York, at midnight, a group of men wearing monk-style habits and carrying glowing torches hiked through the wilderness to a strange hole in the ground; with them, they took a tied-up woman in a homespun dress as a hostage. The men gathered around the hole in the ground and began to eerily chant; the men lifted up their hands and strange circles of pinkish light formed between them. A monstrous roar arose from the hole, and a few puffs of blue-green fire rocketed and dispersed into the air. Then, they pushed in the tied-up woman who released a muffled scream as she fell into the hole; monstrous roars and meaty sounds arose from the hole and then fell silent after a minute. The men's chanting stopped, the circles of pinkish light faded, and they all returned home.
As the years passed on, the colony expanded and became a city with skyscrapers; the hole was covered up, forgotten about, and built on top of by a banking company's skyscraper. Years after the skyscraper was built, its basement developed an infamous reputation; sometimes, janitors and other such workers would enter the basement and never come back out again. Superstitions began to develop about the basement.
Late in October, a group of accountants had just finished a full day's worth of work, began shutting lights and computers down, and were preparing to go home. While they were walking in between green cubicles to the elevator, they chatted amongst each other about their lives back at home. "So how's that kid of yours doing?" inquired one of them. "He's doing great," answered another, "He scored a few points in yesterday's soccer game." "Good for him," complimented the youngest and newest of the group, Sam.
After less than half a minute, all five of them crammed into the elevator. Because he was not looking, Sam almost pressed the basement button on the elevator's control panel, but one of the other accountants stopped him by crying out. "DON'T TOUCH THAT BUTTON!" cried one of the accountants, "that one leads to the basement!" "What's wrong with the basement?" questioned Sam confused. "Sometimes, when people go into the basement, - they never come back out," replied that same accountant in a low, creepy voice with dramatic facial expressions. Sam gulped in fear. "Ah, that's just superstitious crap," ridiculed a black accountant who had a scientific mind. Once the elevator reached the first floor, the accountants bided each other farewell and dispersed to their individual cars under the orange evening sky.
As Sam drove down the busy urban streets, his mind was gnawed at by the troubling thought of a basement in which people vanished forever. Sam tried hard to concentrate on the road, but the troubling thought kept worming its way into his mind. A couple times, the thought seized him so tightly that he entered a trance of apprehension and almost caused a couple wrecks. Fortunately, Sam made it home safely without a scratch.
Once he made it home, he changed into some sweats, heated up a frozen dinner, and ate while he watched TV. Still, the thought of the mysterious skyscraper basement and how people vanished in it haunted Sam as he watched one of his favorite TV series. At 10:00 pm, Sam slipped into his warm, cozy bed and sank into an uneasy sleep; the darkness of his bedroom surrounded and closed in on poor Sam, pushing the thought of the basement even deeper into his mind.
After about a half an hour, Sam's uneasy mind entered a dream. In his dream, he was at work managing his client's portfolios as he always did at work. Because it got dark faster than normal, Sam left his office and made his way to the elevator. Even though he pressed the button for the first floor, the elevator descended all the way to the basement. Then, even though he couldn't see it, Sam felt as though the elevator was gradually tilting and fell towards the doors. When the elevator doors opened, Sam fell into a dark abyss of nothingness screaming as he descended for eternity. Then, with a deep and troubled gasp, Sam abruptly awoke from his nightmare at 4:30 am.
The nightmare troubled Sam throughout the day and for several days to come; he continued to have nightmares about the skyscraper's basement for many days. His mind was so enveloped by the thought of the basement that his performance at work and other activities began to suffer. Sam's boss recommended that he saw a counselor regularly; even though Sam saw the counselor regularly, the troublesome thoughts of the basement continued to worsen.
Then one Friday, Sam worked late and was the last one to leave the building. As the day grew old, the sky became a swirl of orange and black clouds outside Sam's large back window and faded to a dim pinkish light in the horizon. At 9:00 pm, Sam shut down his computer and began his way to the elevator. Sam was so tired and dreamy that he accidentally pressed the basement button without realizing it.
When the elevator doors opened, Sam was so lost in thought that he took many steps into the basement without realizing where he was. After a minute or two, Sam realized he was not where he was supposed to be; he was in the dreaded basement. The thought almost gave Sam a panic attack, but after mustering up some courage, Sam decided to investigate the dark, lonely basement while he was there to see if the superstitions were true. Sam crept through several rooms cluttered with old, neglected janitor tools; the walls and floor were dusty with cracks and other damage. Around one corner, Sam saw an orange light, but when he rounded the corner, he was greeted by a most unpleasant sight.
Before Sam's very eyes was an enormous, monstrous beast that took up almost the entire room. It growled as it slept. It had a long, scaly, red body with a crocodilian head; black spines poked up from its back, and large, black horns curled up from the back of the monster's head; its bat-like wings could span half a football field; and its breath smelled worse than a large mound of dog feces. At that moment, Sam discovered the very reason people never came back out of the basement alive; it was a dragon.
Sam was so terrified by the sight that he released a shrill scream that woke the dragon to life with a smelly yawn; the dragon opened its blood red eyes glowing with rage with liquid yellow slits for pupils, raised its head, released a loud roar, and bellowed a great fire upon Sam, reducing him to ashes. After that, the dragon slowly returned to its long, dreamless sleep.
After a few days, Sam's boss and his friends and co-workers began to notice that he was missing. The police searched for him all over the city but found no trace of him; the news reported him as missing. No one ever found Sam or found out what happened to him.
Then, a blond haired man with glasses in a dark gray, almost black business suit came into the skyscraper for an interview to take Sam's job; his name was Martin. Because the interviewer was satisfied with Martin's responses, Martin got the job. The next day, Martin was taken to Sam's office; the job was dull but tolerable. But Martin was there for other reasons.
When no one was looking, Martin pulled out a large, brown book decorated with an orange gem, flipped through several pages, and chanted a few lines from the book. Then, he saw ghostly images of people walking backwards and getting up from and plopping onto chairs; he was seeing images of the past in reverse. After a few days' worth of reversing images, a ghostly image of Sam walked backwards into the office and sat down right where Martin was sitting. This meant that he was in his office the day before the night he disappeared. When he heard footsteps approaching his office, Martin quickly shut his book and hid it in a drawer right when a supervisor walked in. The supervisor asked how Martin's portfolios were coming along, and Martin answered affirmative.
Martin caused images of the past to appear because he was a member of a secret order of wizards, the Order of the Dragon. The history of the Order of the Dragon could be dated back to the medieval times, and it was perhaps the most prestigious order of wizards in the world. The Order had ordered Martin to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Sam and, if possible, find him.
Martin planned to work overtime so he could carry out his secret investigation without possible prying eyes. Once everyone else had left the building, it was twilight outside on Halloween night with the sky growing orange and black as the sun sank to the horizon. Martin pulled out his large, brown book and chanted those same few lines again causing the ghostly images of Sam and the other people at the time to reappear. This time, Martin chanted a couple other lines which caused the ghostly images to move forward in time at a normal pace. Martin watched as the past image of Sam typed on the computer and flipped through folders.
After a few minutes, the ghostly image of Sam stood up from the chair, put away all the folders, shut down the computer, and walked out of the office; Martin followed the ghostly image of Sam to see where he might have gone. Martin, carrying the book open in one hand and his briefcase in the other, followed the ghostly image down the hall between offices and cubicles all the way to the elevator.
Once they made it to the elevator, the image of Sam pushed the down button and walked through the elevator doors; Martin pressed the down button, waited a few seconds, and walked between the opening elevator doors. Once inside the elevator, Martin witnessed the image of Sam unknowingly press the basement button and sink through the elevator floor with a ghostly elevator ceiling sinking through with him; Martin also pressed the basement button and waited as the elevator descended through many floors.
Once the elevator doors opened slowly, Martin stepped out into the pitch blackness and quickly slapped his book shut causing the ghostly image of Sam dissipate; Martin could sense something evil in the darkness. Martin pulled out his gnarled wand with a crystal ball at one end out of his suitcase, spoke a couple strange syllables, and illuminated the room with the wand's sparkling blue crystal ball; Martin walked slowly and meticulously through the dark basement following the psychic presence of the evil thing, whatever it was. After taking a few turns and walking down a couple dark hallways, Martin found "the evil thing"; before Martin laid the same sleeping dragon that killed Sam. Martin trembled in fear before the great beast.
There was also a pile of burnt ashes lying at Martin's feet; Martin pinched a small bit out of the pile, examined it through magic, and discovered that it was Sam's ashes. This could mean only one ominous thing; the dragon in front of Martin slew Sam.
After examining the ash pile, Martin decided to quietly slay the dragon before it could claim any more victims; but unfortunately, when he pushed one leg back, he accidentally knocked down a vacuum cleaner he forgot was there; the dragon quickly opened its eyes and rose to its feet with a growl. Trying to maintain his courage, Martin quickly shrugged off his business coat knowing that a fight to the death was imminent.
The terrible dragon roared as Martin dramatically stood ready to attack or defend. The dragon hurled a breath of blue-green fire; in response, Martin quickly uttered a syllable and enveloped himself in a blue transparent dome that divulged the flames. The dragon continued to bellow fire upon Martin's magic dome; Martin could feel the strain as the dome continued to withstand the force of the flames. Finally, the dragon ran out of breath, and Martin deactivated his dome.
Then, the dragon's hideous head swooped down and almost swallowed Martin; luckily, Martin leapt sideways in time to save himself. After a dramatic back-roll on the ground, Martin recited a syllable and shot bolts of blue magical energy out of his wand at the dragon's now raised head, but the dragon dodged them all. Then, the dragon puffed blue-green fireballs at Martin, yet Martin dodged them all in zigzag patterns. After dodging a fireball, Martin spoke a couple syllables, levitated the very vacuum cleaner he tripped over, and threw it at the dragon's face; the vacuum cleaner smashed into two pieces as it slammed into the dragon's nasty face causing the dragon to release a screech of pain. Then, the dragon threw one of the boulders surrounding it at Martin, but Martin recited a couple strange syllables and shot a blue lightning bolt from his wand that shattered the boulder into many smaller rocks.
Then, reluctantly, Martin recited many dark, strange syllables as the dragon prepared to bellow another breath of fire and fired a red death curse that zapped the dragon's head; the dragon screeched in pain as the bolts of red lightning zapped its unpleasant face. After several minutes of magical torture, Martin released the death curse's grip on the dragon, and the dragon's scaly head fell to the ground; Martin dodged it just in time to save himself from being crushed by the dragon's long neck. The dragon was defeated. After that, Martin whispered about five strange words and caused the dragon's dead body to scintillate out of existence. After that long, horrible fight, Martin decided to return to the elevator, ascend to the ground floor, and go home to get some sleep.
The next morning, Martin reported back to the Order of the Dragon about Sam's death and the slaying of the dragon in the skyscraper basement. Martin continued to work at the banking skyscraper for another year until the Order ordered him to go on another quest regarding another mysterious disappearance. The dragon of the skyscraper would never again claim another victim in the basement.