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Prisoner of the Stone is a working title for an on-going story, rough draft, that I am posting on my blog. About once a week, maybe more if I am inspired, I will post new chapters.
“Are you quite sure there are no other dragons?” Aron asked idly as the two relaxed in a field that lowers into a swampy bog. The human had eaten enough mutton, the dragon had brought it back from his regular feedings, to keep him full all day.
The dragon flicked its tail, banging it into the ground once which felt to the human as if a tremor from the depths of the earth had become angry, “I told you that I do believe I am all that is left of my kind on this planet.”
“I can understand your feelings about people, although I do not agree with them. What I don't understand is why you eat humans?” Brother Aron asked the annoyed dragon.
The dragon sighed, “The real reason?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Okay then,” The dragon said, laying his head down facing the human, “Humans are an excellent source of protein. Animals are spread out and flee at the first sign of trouble, but conveniently, humans are all gathered together in clutches. The fat layer is also good for my brain, although regretfully, most of the time there are precious few fat humans. Even then, they are usually the important people in a society, your kings and princes, monks and priests and not easily encountered. By the way, you should finish that mutton before we leave.”
Aron didn't feel like finishing this conversation, “I'm going to relieve myself by that tree.”
The dragon made some disturbing giggling sounds.
They had traveled “too far” into the future. The dragon that lied about its name being Grotiss seemed to have been quite spooked by something. It had immediately turned on its invisibility and headed for a nearby unoccupied island.
“Why are we coming here?” Aron had asked. He was curious to see this world of the distant future.
“There are far too many humans, I can smell them,” The dragon had grumbled, then he projected into the humans mind, 'We will rest here before we go back.'
“We stink, then?”
“You wouldn't believe it if I could explain in words,” The dragon said before shaking its head enough to make the human hide behind a fallen log, 'They must be spreading like disease, like a plague.'
Brother Aron laughed, “That does sound improbable. It suggests that humankind has finally found new and more effective ways to grow food, for one thing.”
“Maybe,” The dragon said, “But something tells me to get out of here as soon as I am able. There is a sulphuric smell in the air, it permeates. There may be a high volume of volcanic activity on Earth in this time period. The air might be turning poisonous.”
Then they rested. The dragon seemed uneasy the whole time, at one point the dragon poked its head up above the trees on the island and looked around. Brother Aron was confused because the dragon was looking up, but he admitted to himself that he did not understand how dragons smell.
It was cold but the dragon warmed up the rocks instead of allowing the human to build a fire, as if it was afraid of being discovered.
“You are a dragon, surely there is nothing here that should frighten you,” Brother Aron said, “It's definitely not another dragon?”
The dragon looked at him sharply, 'Stop asking that, I have already answered.'
While exploring the wooded area nearby Brother Aron made a discovery of an old campsite. Rocks in a circle, gray ashes inside, logs on either side for sitting. There had been people on this island within the past few months. The most curious thing was that he found a cylindrical metal tin, he'd seen nothing like it before.
There was some sort of writing on it, letters that seemed familiar but also not familiar. He had no ideas what the text was, there was only legible spot near what looked like an illustration of an animal. The animal looked a lot like a hound but different from any he had ever seen. Could hound meat be preserved inside of a metal tin, he wondered? If food, not just dry grain, could be preserved for long terms then it would make sense that the population could swell.
Before he could climb on the dragons back a sudden storm hit the island. The rain did not touch the dragon, his magic forced it to go around. Brother Aron sat on the ground next to the dragon and leaned on its foreleg.
“Are we staying?” Aron asked.
“Too much electricity in the sky, it might have an adverse effect on my transversion,” The dragon told him. Aron didn't know the word but he assumed it meant the time traveling.
'Stay near me and you'll remain dry. I'm going to take a nap.'
The dragon only slept for short periods every two or three days, even with all of the activity, hunting and time traveling that it was conducting. It was amazingly little rest for such an enormous creature.
Aron laid down and used a dragon paw as a headrest. Part of him wondered if that was wise, being in close proximity to sheathed foot-long claws, but he was asleep before finishing the thought.
He dreamed of giant cities with buildings that reached into the sky, of machines that moved themselves, of great ships bigger than the island he was on. Aron did not understand the things he was seeing and when he began seeing large silver flying machines crossing oceans, he knew it was some kind of nightmare that the dragon was having. It was somehow being shared with him.
Then he saw a city reduced to rubble in a flash and woke up.
Brother Aron rubbed his face, it was sweat. The rain had not penetrated the magic of the dragon, but the dragon was grumbling and moaning in its sleep.
“It's not real!” Brother Aron said loudly, “It is just a nightmare!”
Brother Aron felt he could understand why the dragon would have such nightmares. The dragon had seen a time when his people and humans had been friends, then they had become enemies and the more numerous humans had hunted them to extinction. At least in this realm.
Of course there would hate and, in some ways, fear of humans. Those memories and feelings would form a furious storm inside of the dragons mind. It made some sense, as a theory. Brother Aron sat and waited for the dragon to wake up.
The dragon woke up in an hour.
“You were having a nightmare,” Aron told him, “What was it?”
The dragon shook his head, 'A dream of you eating me. Climb on.'
Aron briefly laughed. “I don't think I would ever eat you.”
The dragon growled, 'I'm sure you have my best interests at heart. Brother Aron.'
Aron was aboard and the dragon took to flight. Of course, Aron understood, I should not delude myself into thinking we might become friends. This dragon must be banished to its own realm or killed for the good of the human race it wants to extinguish.
Dragons live outside of time. Their path may weave through time and realms but their life itself, while long, was linear. Aron did not understand it, the dragon had said as much but would never answer any questions on the subject. A dragon could not go back in time a thousand years and be with its friends again. Those friends were dead, and their presence in those times disappeared as if they never existed.
No wonder the dragon was so angry.
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