Jack couldn’t stop screaming. It felt like his skin was being stripped away. His chest ached and burned with a timid flame that he didn’t want or know how to control.
“Wake up, Jack!”
He screamed. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was no longer himself. He was something else, something that couldn’t be reversed.
He felt pins and needles everywhere. The flame within his chest became so hot that he thought it was going to burn through his cavity to be let free. He drew a deep breath and coughed.
He was coughing, hacking something up. It was hard, and he couldn’t breathe.
He could hear someone calling him, but he couldn’t answer. He was no longer who or what he once was. He was something different.
The dragon huffed and blew out a cold blue smoke around Jack and bit down onto his arm in a vain attempt at stopping the witch’s curse.
“You will not have this one. He will not become like the others!”
The little dragon was pulling Jack as fast as he could along the forest floor.
A voice crackled with grating laughter as the forest filled with smog so thick that the dragon couldn’t see anything. He didn’t stop. He had spent years scouting out the forest and knew where he was going.
The dragon sighed when he noticed the tell-tell green and teal blinking of the faery lights. They were close. He could smell them.
The more the lights blinked, the more the smog faded away, until suddenly he was in a lush bright green open field. The dragon fell in a heap next to Jack and blacked-out.
A small creature zipped and danced around the dragon and Jack.
Jack wanted to smile but found that he was unable to move his lips. Even so, the dancing faery lights were so soothing that he black back out. While the little dragon didn’t stir, the flame within his chest dangerously cooling off, until it went out.
The faery hummed and buzzed as fast as they could around the pair, trying to reverse the curse as fast as they could.
Jack woke with a start.
“Jack, welcome back, my boy.” The small dragon whispered.
“I fear that I was too late to save you.”
A tall creature with black eyes and long red hair stood next to the little dragon.
“This is Su, he saved us. Well, saved us from the witch. For you see, we are now trapped in the underworld, which is the realm of the faeries. I tried to bargain with them like I did last time so many centuries ago. They don’t seem to be in a deal-making mood.”
Su inclined his head at Jack.
“What is wrong with me? I…I can’t feel anything,” Jack hugged himself.
The little dragon looked away from him.
Su cleared his throat, “Jack. You are now one of us. A real breed amongst our kind.”
Jack sobbed; he had a bad feeling.
Su shook his head.
“Don’t be upset. Your time had been cut short as soon as you stepped into the forest.”
Su extended his pale bony fingers out to Jack and waited.
Jack didn’t want to reach out to the strange creature, but he couldn’t stop himself.
His fleshless fingers click-clacked against the pale hand that embraced his sensor-less fingers.
The dragon curled himself at Jack’s feet.
“Welcome to the Reaper Society, Jack. I have much to teach you.”
Story by Ashley Houston
Drawing by my talented son. 🙂
Hope you enjoyed this short story and the drawing that inspired it! 🙂