Sunday, August 16, 2020

Dragon - A Flash Fiction

            You never truly understand fear until the dragon wakes. You have experienced a mere inkling of fear in your past. A deal gone sour, surrounded, you fought your way out. Your heart may have raced, and you may have yelled out in seeming terror, but that is not fear. That is but the seed of fear. It blossoms into something more and unfurls its velvet petals to engulf you in a silken embrace. You do not cry when true fear comes to bear. You are silent. Your senses are painfully heightened, and the world slows. This is it. This is the moment when you know the plan has failed. A mistake, the chalice clatters, and suddenly death becomes a difference of degree, not kind.

The dragon’s malevolent eye lazily rolls your way. The iris widens as it perceives the elf trifling through its treasure. It is no stupid beast. It knows it can easily crush you like the fragile thing you are, but still you both freeze. There is a brief, blissful moment of limbo where you hope against hope that the serpent will sink back into its slumber, but deep down you know that you are both beyond any point of return.

The stillness is broken as a small ember of hope ignites within you. Its flames fill your chest. Your fear feeds the ravenous flame, and it erupts into a blazing inferno as the scaled face of sheer doom spurs you into action. The monster’s lips part to reveal broken, stalagmite-like teeth that tower taller than your diminutive frame. Death’s powerful laugh booms off the cavern walls as it rises to its feet. The dragon feels no fear. Fear is all you know.

 Your heart pounds erratically in your chest while every muscle and sinew of your body twists and tenses as you spring to the side to avoid the furnace of flame erupting from the dragon’s maw. Your clothes are charred, and your mind screams in agony as your skin blossoms into blackened roses. You are losing, but still, for some damn reason, hope remains. It burns within you hotter than ever before. You fight.

You dance the line between life and death as long as your legs will support your feeble frame. Your mind is clear as time slows further before your darting eyes. You think that perhaps you shouldn’t have gotten greedy. Your folly is obvious, and you feel foolish. You hate yourself for your stupidity. 

These thoughts quickly fade as the world shifts back to full speed. Sweat stings your eyes, and you try to wipe it away, but you cannot. You power through the pain, and you find the strength to fight harder. Your body burns from the effort of exertion. The exit is visible. You think you can make it. Breath comes in ragged gasps as you propel yourself forward and dive for salvation. You do not make it.

Death’s scythes tear into your flesh and slam you into the unyielding rock with a crack. You are dying. Your heart shudders and hops as your heaving chest struggles for air. The pain numbs you and your eyes lock on the hideous face of death looming before you. You rage and struggle, but your limbs are heavy and unwilling. Your eyes loll listlessly, and the world blurs into unrecognizable blobs. You have a vague sense of movement, but no longer care. Your thoughts come slowly at first, then halt to an agonizing stop as colors fade to gray and then black. The fire within you is quelled. 

You have failed.

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