Sky Sailing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 2 (v.1)

Submitted: April 14, 2013

Reads: 42

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Submitted: April 14, 2013

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His claws clicked on the stone counter, the tip of his tail slithering out of the sink basin. Water glistened on his freshly washed scales, a black darker in patches like a leopard’s markings and an oily sheen on his wings tucked snuggly against his sides, the bathroom light gleaning blue, green and purple from the leathery skin.

He rose on his hind legs and pressed his forepaws against the mirror, stretching his snout to see his reflection in the fogged up glass; his tongue flicked out, wiping a patch clear and an ear pricked in surprise when his eye appeared in the glass. He was the length of Mallory’s forearm with a chest that dipped like a greyhound’s and a slender rump tipped by a tail longer than his body, lightly ridged with the beginnings of spines similar to those on his head.

Mallory dumped her soiled clothes in the bathroom bin and leant up against the shower door opposite the sink, twisting her fingers until the knuckles clicked one-by-one. The dragonling’s ears perked, tiny flaps of skin hidden against his head and twisted his serpentine neck, staring at her unblinking.

‘What?’ He flinched and she cleared her throat, softening her tone. ‘Hey, it’s okay. You’re far from home, you know that? If Wales is your home…’ She pressed her head against the damp glass and stared at the ceiling.

Jeremy and Susan had planned their trip to Abergynolwyn for months, getting time off of work and shopping around for the perfect place. Not too reclusive and not too populated, the cottage in the middle of a valley of sheep and cow fields had been perfect; the week spent roaming the hills in hiking boots, drives out to Dolgoch Falls and Tywyn and the ascent of Snowdon. It wasn’t until Friday, their final full day that she had tripped over the egg on Birds Rock.

‘Why me?’ She glared at the ceiling and sucked in a deep breath. ‘You’re going to be trouble, I just know it.’ Stepping forward, she plucked a hand-towel from a nook beside the mirror and wrapped up the dragonet, cradling him like a baby.

His green eyes remained on her, as she left the bathroom and traipsed through the sloped hallways to the kitchen. He growled and wiggled, as if trying to speak and pawed at the cloth imprisoning him; after the gloop had been cleaned off, his claws were surprisingly sharp, leaving red scratches across her wrists and hands.

Paintings and photographs hung on the yellow walls of the upstairs hallway, following the curve of the ebony staircase and down through the ground-floor passages. The only places bereft of art were the walls of the restaurant-style kitchen, on the orders of her mother; it didn’t stop Jeremy from giving character to the white cupboards and stone countertops with little stickers and potted plants.

The sweet aroma of warmed-up pastries hung in the air, as Mallory stepped through the archway, cool tiles raising goose-bumps across her legs and curled her toes. Jeremy sat hunched at one end of the granite island, a foot tucked beneath him, as the other tapped a jittery tune. He looked up from the depths of his mug when she entered and smiled.

‘Still alive I see.’ She joked, sliding onto the stool opposite him. Disinfectant lingered in the air around him, clinging to the fresh blue shirt and jeans.

‘It would appear so.’ He slid a plate of pastries across the counter, eyeing the white bundle in her arms. ‘Can the poor thing breathe?’

Mallory tucked the towel under the dragonet’s head and plucked a raspberry from a wild-berry tart, feeding it to him. He sniffed the fruit first then with utmost care took it from her fingers, giving them a lick. ‘Yes, Dad, I’m not going to kill the poor thing.’

‘Alright, alright.’ He raised his hand in defeat and slurped his tea. ‘So…care to tell me where you found a dragon egg?’ The usual half-smile on his lips had vanished, a sombreness taken to his sharp features, as furrows adorned his brow and the corners of his azure eyes; shadows in the hollows of his cheeks and cleft chin, coated in a three day old beard a shade darker than his blonde hair shot through with grey belying his forty years of age.

‘Wales.’ She popped a blueberry into her mouth. ‘You know the rock I tripped over and nearly fell to my death?’ He nodded slowly. ‘Yeah, that one.’

‘But it’s been months.’ Jeremy scratched the carroty stubble across his cheek and said, ‘where did you keep it? The oven?’

Mallory held the tart in front of the dragonling’s nose and watched him smear most of it around his mouth rather than in it; crumbs scattered the table and her jeans whilst gurgles of delight vibrated deep in his chest. ‘No,’ she retorted. ‘I kept it on my desk. I didn’t think it was an egg any more than you did.’

‘You shouldn’t feed it pastries.’

‘Have any defrosted meat handy, Dad?’

The kettle whistled and Jeremy hastily took it off of the stove, pouring his daughter a cup of tea and draining his own for another. ‘I called your mother.’ He kept his back to her, as he worked. ‘She’ll be back in a few minutes.’

Mallory gently wiped the residue from the creature’s maws with a corner of the towel. He batted at her hands, as he settled further in her arms, grasping the front of her blue vest with his paw. ‘Do you think she’ll let us keep him?’

Hot water splattered over the floor and Jeremy’s socks, a stream of curses exploding from his lips. ‘Us?’ Hopping from foot to foot, he set the kettle back on its base and stirred the contents of their mugs. ‘How do you know he’s a, he?’

‘Basic biology, Dad. And yes, us, who else is going to have him?’ He opened his mouth to retort and she hastily added: ‘Dragons are meant to be extinct, what do you think the police will do with him? Keep him as Ecclestone’s mascot?’

Jeremy set the trio of mugs on the island and resumed his seat. ‘Exactly, Mal.’ He dragged a hand over his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose, the wedding band glistening on his finger. ‘How are we supposed to raise a dragon? We’re in the middle of a town, people will notice.’ He smiled like she was five again. ‘We should let the authorities take care of it, they’ll have protocols to handle this sort of thing. I’m sure of it.’

His daughter immediately reared back, holding the dragonling against her chest; he snorted and buried his nose in the crook of her neck. ‘They’ll want to study him, put him on display and do who knows what else!’

‘Or they’ll look after it with knowledge we don’t have.’ He glanced at the archway behind her, as the front door slammed. ‘Look, Mal, we don’t have the time or the resources to look after a dragon. Your mother will agree with me on this.’

‘Agree with you on what?’ Susan swept into the room, planting a kiss on Mallory’s head, then her husband’s cheek, before she settled on the remaining stool. ‘What’s the emergency? I see neither of you hurt or my kitchen on fire.’ The scent of Ecclestone’s prized restaurant, The Hunter’s Choice, lingered on her blouse and dark hair like barbeque perfume.  Much like her daughter, freckles dotted her round cheeks and pointed nose and her eyes the colour of toffee were framed by thick black lashes, something which Mallory envied when seeing the reflection of her pale face and russet hair inherited from the Aspen clan.

The dragonling wriggled around and craned his neck toward Mallory’s mother, as her gaze finally landed on him and her mouth fell open. Susan clamped a hand around her husband’s forearm, her fingers digging into his wrist. ‘Is that a…’

‘Yes.’

‘How…’

‘The rock, Mal tripped over.’

‘Did it just…’

‘Forty minutes ago,’ Mallory interjected. She smiled at her parents, their eyes never leaving the hatchling in her arms. ‘And we’re keeping him.’

Susan swallowed a mouthful of tea, as she blinked owlishly. ‘Him?’

Tired of her parents’ shock, Mallory removed the towel and held the dragonling in front of her.  ‘Yes. He, I’ve checked. Now can we move on and decide on where he’ll stay? Solarian won’t be this size for long.’

Jeremey snorted into his tea. ‘He has a name now?’ He wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his shirt and shared a look with his wife. ‘Mal, we can’t…’

‘Do you even know what species of dragon…Solarian is?’ Susan enquired, as she hesitantly held out her hand for him to sniff. He gently nuzzled her finger tips and then retreated back into the crook of her daughter’s neck.

Mallory ran her fingers over his back, feeling the bumps and silk of his scales. ‘Well, no, not yet. But I haven’t exactly had a chance to.’

‘Right…’ Susan puckered her lips and shot her husband a look. ‘Why don’t you go find out?’

‘Okay, you could just tell me to leave so you can talk, you know.’ She hopped off of the stool and walked out of the room, but not without a few parting words. ‘And you might want to start leaving some meat out to defrost, he’ll be really hungry soon.’ 


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