Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Dragon's Curse


Howdy m'freinds!


Well I'm back, was back tuesday, as a matter of fact. We had a great time on vacation in Minnesota. It's just as I remembered from my childhood. I even got a great story idea becasue of it. I didn't catch any fish, and I got one helluva sunburn, but hey, I'm happy. It was great just going there.


So anyway, I have my contribution to the First Sentence Assignment done. It's not too bad. Have a look see and let me know what you think. Remember, honesty is the best policy. I cna't wait to read your contributions. I hope you all give it a shot. I found this one quite fun, but that's just me.


Anyway, here's the story:


The Dragon’s Curse

By

Lucas Pederson


The dragon swooped down from the sky like a winged demon, its maw yawing open to claim them.

Samuel shoved Will aside, drew his bow, knocked an arrow, and pulled back on the string.

“Nay!” Will protested to the highest degree and picked up his own bow.

As he knocked an arrow from his quiver he heard he heard Samuel’s bow let loose. Will looked up, and froze. The dragon was right above them, diving at them, giant, toothy mouth wide open. It roared, blowing fiercely hot air down and knocking both boys off their feet.

But Samuel’s arrow hit true. Will saw it plunge down the dragon’s throat. He caught the dragon’s mouth snap shut immediately after, just before he met with the ground painfully.

“Run!” Samuel pulled Will back to his feet again and they sprinted away as fast as their legs would allow.

“Run, run, run, run!” Samuel cried and Will gave forth his greatest effort to follow his big brother’s plead.

Then-

BOOM!

The earth exploded to life under their feet and Will lost his footing. He stumbled, and Samuel yanked him up and pulled him along, avoiding a serious folly with a jagged jutting stone.

Hot air jolted at the back of their necks, sending gooseflesh to lump over Will’s body like a sudden illness. He ran. He ran to beat the dragon’s curse. For when one killed a dragon, if one remained near the spot where the dragon fell, one would be forever cursed to become a dragon. A dragon with a human soul.

It was that realization, that horror, which drove Will, forced him to run faster.

Samuel’s hand let go of his and they rounded a giant boulder shaped like an old man’s face. The Face Stone, as they called it. The air grew hotter, humid. The sky blackened and swirled with gray brooding clouds. All at once it was hard for Will to breathe. He coughed and Samuel drew him close to him, embracing him as a protective older brother must do from time to time. Will was grateful for the comfort, especially now.

The earth rumbled under their feet, as if some long hibernating beast had suddenly awakened and now wanted to be free of is dirt chamber to wreak havoc on the land. Will felt like screaming. The entire land was erupting into chaos before his very eyes, all from killing one single dragon. Or at least he thought it was dead. Perhaps its magic was still very much alive and after them. Maybe it wanted to play with them first before devouring their souls. He just prayed they stood far enough away so that the curse would not find them.

Then everything fell still, quite, a bird chirped somewhere near by. The sky lightened.

Samuel let go of Will and they peered around the boulder, Will’s heart racing with the speed of his father’s magnificent horse.

They saw the dragon, lying smoldering in a giant crater, its body unmoving. Thick tendrils of smoke or steam strung upward from the massive body like horrible dream snakes, or tentacles.

“Oh.” Samuel breathed.

Out of nowhere the still dragon reared its head and let loose a roar so deep and so full of rage and sorrow, and agony, Will had to hold his hands on his ears to dull the sound, however unsuccessful. Flames burst forth from the gaping maw, jetting into the morning sky with heat so hot it seemed to scorch the very sky itself. Then the dragon’s head plopped back to the ground, and it lay still once again.

Will nudged his older brother.

“Are we safe?” He asked, knowing Samuel would know what he meant.

“I should think so.” Samuel relied and moved cautiously around the boulder to look fully at the dead dragon.

Will watched his brother shudder, and could not help doing the same. They had somehow killed a dragon and escaped its curse. Now they stood in wonder. Will had never even seen a dragon until just this morning. And he wished he hadn’t now. He wished they had stayed at home, instead of wandering out to hunt for deer today. The deer could have waited. Their father had gotten three large ones just yesterday, which would feed them for a couple months at the most.

Will stepped beside his brother and gaped at the dead creature before them. It was huge, giant beyond all giants who ever lived; a massive killing machine with the wisdom of the greatest wizard or sorcerer, a monster beyond all creation. And Samuel had killed it with but a single arrow. A feet even the greatest of archers would be envious of. For, it was not easy to slay a dragon. Will silently applauded his older brother’s skill. Just wait until the village heard of Sam’s courage and skill with a bow. Why, maybe even the king would invite the family to his majesties castle; an honor that happened rarely in these slow, dark times where monsters stalked the night and blistered the land with their evil.

Will smiled. This was great and horrible at the same time. Horrible because it was a dragon and the curse would be loose in this section of land for a hundred years, awaiting a human body to transform. Great because Samuel had stopped the creature responsible for so many deaths and so much destruction brought upon the land. It had been a bane for centuries, elusive to the slayers, until now. Now it was dead.

Will knew how the dragons at every point of the kingdom had gone mad. How they all at once hated humans and wanted to rid the land of such. From what his father spoke of, the dragons have been cursed by some evil sorcerer by the name of Fiddle of Rac A queer name, but a frightening one if one knew the creature, or knew of it and its black magic.

“Let us leave now.” Sam said and Will noticed his brother shudder again.

They collected their bows and trudged back to their cabin on the outskirts of the village, Shew Mills. A small community made up of logging men for the king and his ever escalating urgency to build more homes and bring more folk to the kingdom; since the village sat nestled amongst the great Bumbus Trees, which was said to have magical attributes when cut down. Expanding his generosity, Will’s mother once said with more than a little pride. The king was a good one, and was loved by all. His armies were the thing of legend and his kindness of the greatest and utmost characteristic about the powerful man. Shew Mills was but only one community surrounded by dozens. To the east lay Sounder Falls, the lake and river folk. To the west stood Walden Hills, a community made up of iron miners who supplies the king with steel to make new swords and arrow heads.

Their mother came out of the cabin in a red furry as they approached.

“Where have ye been? Where so early and with not so much a scribbled note!”

She rushed at them and Will felt the sudden urge to hide behind Sam. Their father was out in the Laughing Forest cutting Bumbus Trees, thanks the God. All ready they both would have blistered rears. Their father always acted first before he spoke. Their mother, on the other hand…

“How dare ye! Get in the house! Now! Wait for yer father!”

Samuel told her they had been hunting for meat, and then led Will around their fuming mother and into the cabin, where the somberly went to their bedroom. Sam sat on his bed, bowed his head and sighed.

“Father is gonna hurt us bad when he hears.” Sam’s voice sounded rough, dry almost.

Will sat down next to him. He wrapped an arm around his brother’s shoulders.

“Maybe he will be light on us. If we tell him we were hunting for-“

Sam shrugged Will’s arm off.

“T’won’t be light, Will. Even if we did tell him we were out hunting. He will be angry.”

Will’s eyes lowered to the wooden floor. Sam was right. Yet-

“What ‘bout the dragon, Sam? We tell him ye killed the dragon then he will be happy.”

Sam seemed to consider this for a long time before he said.

“Maybe.”

Later that night, their father came home, sweaty and tired. He plopped down at the eating table, where their mother had fixed him a large plate of chicken quarters and potatoes. She did not tell him what they did until after his dinner.

After she was done speaking, their father stood from the table with a heavy sigh. Will could tell the man did not want to do what had to be done, but it was a matter of principle rather than wanting to or not. The children had done wrong and needed punishment for it, so they may learn to never do such again, unless told to.

Their father turned to Sam first, motioned him over. Sam bowed his head and walked over to father. Then Will was surprised to hear father speak, instead of the sound of leather against bare skin.

“Ye had good intention, I know. Hunting for this family. T’was good smarts to think of it. But ye wandered out and did not leave a note with yer mother. She was worried ill for you two.”

Sam lifted his head to look up and Will saw how their eyes locked on each other’s. He saw the love there and knew their father was not going to beat them tonight.

Then Sam said.

“We killed the dragon Megrog.” To this their father’s bushy dark eye brows rose.

“True?” Their father asked after a moment and looked at Will. Will nodded, as did Sam.

“Where?”

“The Sky Clearing in the eastern forest.” Sam said.

Their father let go a long breath that wasn’t quite a sigh.

“Tomorrow ye will shown me.” Their father said.

Sam nodded and hugged their father. Will hugged the man too and then their mother said.

“You will not!”

Their father turned to her, and her eyes lowered. She nodded. Then he went over to her and embraced her too. He whispered something in her ear. And she nodded and they kissed. Their father turned back to Will and Sam.

“Off to bed. In the morning we shall see thus dragon.”

They went to bed without speaking to each other.

The next morning they led their father through the eastern part of the Laughing Forest and to the large meadow-clearing hidden within. The sword dropped from their father’s hand. And his mouth opened wide. His eyes grew large, like meal plates.

“By the God. Ye were truthful after all.” He said in an awestruck voice.

Then Sam suddenly doubled over, he screamed.

Their father rushed to Sam, put his large heavily worked hands on his shoulders.

“Samuel?” Their father managed before Sam dropped to his knees, wailing, arms wrapped around his gut.

Their father stepped back. Will stood, his eyes flitting from the dead dragon to his screaming brother.

“The curse.” Will said softly.

He felt his father’s eyes on him and he looked over at the man. He saw his father was crying.

“No. No curse. Help me with yer brother. We-“

There was a ripping sound, like a cloth flour bag being torn open, and then two small membranous wings shot out where Sam’s shoulder blades should have been. He yowled his agony.

“God.” Their father said, stepping away, weeping.

Will started forward, but then a long greenish tail burst forth from Sam’s rear and struck Will directly in the chest, knocking him back. The tail whipped about furiously. And even as Will watched, it grew spikes and a sharp talon at the tip. Oh no.

He scrambled away and joined his father, unable to do nothing more but watch. It was the curse, it had found Samuel. Sorrow like cold water filled up inside of Will as he watched thick greenish scales sprouted all up and down his brother’s arms, his legs, smothering his face. He nearly wretched when Samuel’s head morphed, grew, elongated. A dragon’s muzzle replaced Sam’s mouth and nose. His eyes shifted more so to the sides of his head and changed to an amber color.

A hard hand grasped his shoulder. Will looked up and saw his father, still weeping, motion with his other hand to moved farther away. There was nothing that could be done now, and Will saw the stinging fact in his father’s wet brown eyes.

They moved to the nearest edge of the clearing, both trembling with fear and sadness as Samuel turned from an average young man, into a giant dragon. One, perhaps, even larger than the one Sam had killed not so long ago.

And when this newly formed dragon let loose its first roar, Will thought he could hear Samuel screaming within it. Screaming to be let out, screaming for his life. Will then began to cry, for his brother was now a beast, a dragon.

The thing before them roared again, flapped its mighty wings, and then lifted itself into the air. Will and his father stepped into the clearing to watch it go. Will’s father picked up his sword and turned to him.

“Samuel is gone. Forever.” With that his father left Will alone in the clearing as Will dropped to his knees and wept.

Near dusk, when the forest was just beginning to come to life with horrors beyond even his most frightening dreams, Will stood from the ground, wiped away the last of his tears and ran back to the cabin. He knew what needed to be done.

He waited until his parents were heavily in sleep, which took quite a while, and then he grabbed Samuels bow from the corner where the hunting weapons were kept. He slipped on his boots, his deer hide coat, and Sam’s quiver of arrows. He wrapped up a loaf of bread from the pantry in a cloth and, just before walking out the front door, stole his father’s sword.

Somewhere between deepest night and dawn, Will quietly led his father’s horse away from the cabin and to the road. From there he began to ride.

He knew what needed to be done. Samuel must be stopped. His misery must end. And Will knew exactly the direction his brother had gone.

East. He rode with a blank face, his eyes never straying from the road ahead, for, there might be things along the sides that want to eat him.

The End

14 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

A cool idea about the dragon's curse. Makes me wonder why they went back so close, though. That part might need to be developed or explained a bit more.

Lucas Pederson said...

Charles, thanks! I guess I didn't realize I had them go back so close. Dummy me. I will revise that part. Thanks for your honesty too! Makes me work harder, I'm nothing but methodical when it comes to revising now days. It's just sometimes I can't see the errors before me. Thanks again, good buddy!

Donnetta Lee said...

What a terrific imagination!This is definately EA Monroe's kind of story. I'll be sure to send her over here. Good job, Lucas.
Donnetta

Christina said...

You should try to get some of these published. There are so many magazines you can try for.

Lucas Pederson said...

Donnetta,thanks! Not sure I know who EA Monroe is, but yeah, send her my way. More the merrier is my motto. Plus it's just great to keep seeing new faces, and adore those who are regular. Thanks again!

Christina, a lot of the stories I post here are ones I have sent out but got rejected on. Some of them anyway. The assignments, both Stewart's and mine, are off the top of my head sort of deals and maybe with some tweeks a few of them would be good enough to send to a couple magazines. I've got a long list of mags that I submit to, desperately hoping one will say: Hey, this story isn't half bad! Lets place it the next issue!" Then I either get a call or an email or a letter telling me my story will appear in the following issue. So far I get personal responses from most everywhere I submit to. But that's okay, a personal responese is much better than a form letter.
But, I am working on a few stories I have posted here in the past, fixing them up a little bit. We'll see what happens, huh? Thanks for stopping by!

Fab said...

Hello. I liked this story. How it started immediately in the action and how gradually you explain ... I just wondered why of all the times he struck them, he didn't that evening. How come?
The curse was a great idea.

A question: "to his majesties castle", isn't it his majesty's castle? I never know how it should be written.

Susan Miller said...

You do have such a wonderful imagination, Lucas.

Lucas Pederson said...

Fab, the reason I was hoping to convey was that the father was too tired to strike his children that night, then he softened to Samuel's explination. And, yeah you're right, it's supposed to be his majesty's, not his majesties. It's first draft, so it's variously flawed here and there. Thank you so much for reading!

Susan, thanks! Now only if I could write just as wonderful. :-)

Christina said...

Lucas, I wanted to thank you for that offer, but I want to email you the warning on the story before you read it so you can make your own decision on if you can stand it or not.

EA Monroe said...

Hi, Lucas! Donnetta said you had a dragon story. That's a cool twist on the dragon's curse and twistier still that one of the brothers turned into a dragon. Now, Will sets out on his quest. Wow! Can the dragon's curse be undone and can Will save his brother? I'd like to know how the rest of the story goes. I bet your little girls enjoy hearing you tell this story to them!

Lucas Pederson said...

CHristina, tis cool. Let me know.

EA Monroe, many thanks! I was hoping the whole dragon curse thing hadn't been done before, I'm guess it hasn't. I am tinkering with the idea to make the short story into a novel, there by sending Will on his quest to stop his brother, and perhaps reverse the curse. We'll have to see. I've got a lot of work right now, both the day job and writing here at home, but I've got all sorts of ideas clonking around in this melon of mine. We'll see.
I do write stories for my girls, although I have not writen them a dragons tory. Maybe I shall do that soon. FOr them it's Willy Rabbit and Chuckle Bear, both my own creation. They are funny characters and the girls like them a lot. Perhaps Chuckles and Willy will encounter a dragon on their next adventure, hmmm....
Anyway, thanks a billion for stopping by!!! Hope to see you back here again! Later.

Fab said...

Oh, ok. I accept that explaination. Loved stopping by. Curious about new work.

Lucas Pederson said...

Fab, cool! New work is on its way. Been working on a couple other short stories, and my slow moving fourth novel (hope this one gets some agent's attention better than the other three). Anyway, new stuff is coming. Just hard to produce stories for the blog and some for submitting, but I think i worked out an agenda and more stuff will be poping up here more regularly, at least that's the plan. It's always good to see you here. Till next time, my friend.

Fab said...

Don't rush it. Yeay for new material, but let the muses guide you, not your bloggers! (Unless they inspire you, that is.)