Thursday, July 31, 2014

Paper Dragons - A Short Story

Panting, I held my sword to my chest.  The dragon lay dead before me, its corpse sprawled out on the floor of the dungeon.  The task was a challenge, but I finally managed it.

As I began to leave, I felt a twinge of heat on the back of my neck.  I slowly turned, only to find that the creature was rising again.  How could that be? I thought.  I spent hours and all of my energy bringing it down.

Still, I knew I had to finish the job.  Perhaps I just missed the heart last time.  I brought my broadsword up and pointed it at the dragon.

"Death to evil!" I shouted.

The beast roared and shot a breath of fire my way.  I ducked, rolled, and thrust my blade into the dragon's belly.  It groaned as I pulled the sword, its intestines spilling onto the stone floor.  Its massive head swayed, its neck bending like a tree caught in a hurricane, before striking the floor.

"Finally," I sighed.  Sheathing my weapon, I turned to leave again.  Unfortunately, my victory was short lived.

I'd barely reached the door when I heard a grunt, and then another earsplitting road.  There's no way this should've been possible, but the shadow it cast across the room left little doubt.

"Son of a bitch," I muttered through ground teeth before turning back around.

In the firelight, I could see the enormity of the dragon.  The wound I thought was fatal looked like it had nearly healed.  The dragon glared at me through beady yellow eyes, as if daring me to strike again.  Its rhythmic breathing asked, "Is that all you got?"

My arms shook from fatigue, but I brought my sword up again.  "Die dragon die!"

I charged with all my speed, ignoring the flames that shot past.  I'm pretty sure I caught it off guard by being so bold after beating it three times already.  The fire went over my head while I rushed forward.  I prepared to run it through when a clawed foot caught me in the chest.

It hurt.  A lot.

It knocked the breath out of me so hard at first that it took a second or three for me to notice the blood running from my tunic.  It soaked all the way through, and I could feel it running down my stomach.  A fresh surge of hatred shot through my veins, granting me strength where combat drained my energy.

Running toward the dragon, I sliced the foot that whipped at me, striking a claw when I did so.  As the creature howled in pain, I took advantage to stab it in the hindquarters.  Such a blow wouldn't kill it, but it might make the thing hesitate before attacking again.

I then whirled around and chopped off the last half of its tail before hopping up on what was left and ran up its back.  Stopping halfway up, I rammed my weapon into the softest part of its flesh.  It snorted and crumpled to the ground, dead once more.

Jumping off, I re-sheathed the blade and trudged back to the exit, but I knew what was coming.  Once again, I felt its eyes on the back of my head just moments before fire singed my ass.
"But I've filled out these forms in triplicate twice already," I argued.
"Yet you forgot to sign page three and initial sub-paragraph 14b," said the woman with the sugary sweet, and very fucking annoying, voice.  "Since we went ahead and stamped them since we were under the understanding you'd filled them out correctly, they're no longer good.  Now please go back and re-do them.  We'll be open for another 30 minutes, so you need to hurry."
I slumped in my seat as I tried to remember each tiny element I filled in on the forms last time.  Every time I thought I penetrated the bureaucracy, it rose again to challenge me.  Was there no slaying this beast?

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