The Virgin and the Dragon

This is an idea I’ve been playing with. The dragon is a man who had been turned into a lizard, and is clever enough to make a living while he is a lizard. He uses smoke and shadows to appear bigger than he is and he successfully scares the villagers so they don’t bother him. The girl is not afraid of confrontation with a dragon and doesn’t fall for his tricks. The lizard needs someone’s help to exact revenge on the warlock who turned him into a lizard.

Life couldn’t get much worse.  She was staked out in front of the dragon’s lair waiting to be burned to a crisp.  She sighed and puffed her hair out of her eyes.  The sun was rising over the mouth of the cave.  If the blooming dragon didn’t turn up soon she’d be roasted alive by a different fire source.  Her hair was red and her skin was white, rapidly turning pink.  Getting a tan wasn’t part of her life.  She squinted up at the hessian rope tying her to the stake.  Maybe the sun would burn through the rope and she would be free?  She puffed again, this time in exasperation.   What had she done to get to this point in life?

A small, unobtrusive lizard watched from a rock nearby.  His tongue flicked in and out and his eyes swivelled in his head.  He could feel the warmth seeping into his cold scales.  He would wait a while. 

A clever lizard

She’d never thought of herself as pretty.  Who could ever like red hair and freckles?  She’d been called names by the other children in the village since she was born.  Her mother always said that having red hair was a gift and everyone was jealous of it.  It didn’t feel like a gift when the other pretty blonde girls poured ink over her head.  The boys pulled her hair and pushed her over.  Her mother always gently washed her hair out and cleaned her clothes and said it was all part of growing up.  It had taught her self-reliance from an early age if nothing else. 

As she grew up her hair had darkened and her freckles had scattered prettily across her cheeks and boys stopped pushing her over and started arguing about who could carry her books home.  They seemed to become tongue-tied in her presence.  The girls of course, still hated her.  But now it was for completely different reasons.  Her self-reliance gave her an air of independence which seemed to fascinate and attract members of the opposite sex. 

She hadn’t cared a snit for any of the village idiots as she called them, but as soon as the tall, dark stranger had ridden into town she had fallen.  And fallen hard.  And now look at her…

The lizard felt his joints un-thawing finally.  He lifted one foot, then the other.  He flicked his tongue and swished his tail.  All seemed to be working.  He rolled his eyes.  The damsel was still staked out.  At least she was pretty.  And she wasn’t crying or tearing her hair out.  She obviously had courage.  Yes she might do.  He needed a brave young lady to help him with his plan.

A Faded Shadow

A faded, grey shadow of a girl stood in front of the desk.  He looked up from the racing pages with a start.  “Didn’t see you there.  Can I help?”  She didn’t speak, just continued staring through vacant eyes.  He couldn’t see any spark inside her.  The greyness was all consuming.  The fluorescent sign flickered bright pink and yellow across her face.  “Vacant”.  The sign was right about her.  Definitely nobody home.  He tried again.  “You want something?”  Her lips moved but no sound came out.  He didn’t know but it had been days since she had been allowed to use her voice.  Nobody had wanted to hear what she had to say.  Nobody had noticed her.  They had left her in the background.  The greyness had consumed her entire life.  She’d left and nobody had noticed. Nobody had asked her opinion about anything for years.  She didn’t know how to respond.  She mouthed the words.  Her throat constricted with the sudden movement.  She felt like she was going to be sick.  The words were stuck.  She needed to get them out.  This was the first step.  Wrong – she had left. That had been the first step.  She needed to find her voice now. 

“I need a room.”  It came out as a hoarse whisper.  It was barely audible across the desk. 

“What’s that?”

“A room.”  She swallowed.  Saliva was lubricating her throat.  She cleared it and swallowed.  “I need a room.  Please.”  She was determined that her new life would be full of pleasant manners and kindness now.  No more demands, name calling or swearing.  She was starting afresh.

A Writer’s Death

A slightly depressing one today…I’m not planning to do this at all but it’s interesting imagining the feelings and emotions.

She sat down to write.  Nothing new there.   It was a daily ritual.  She never knew what would come out of her pen these days.  But this, she knew exactly what to say.  Everything was clear.  She knew what to do.  Write the letter and leave it.  Walk to the river.  Find something heavy to weigh herself down just in case panic made her want to survive.  Walk into the river.  Drown.  Simple.  Everything resolved in one easy move.  No more voice.  No more headaches.  No more noise.  Just quiet death.  He would understand.  He always understood.  He looked at her with such compassion.  She wished she could feel better.  For him. 

***

Her coat was wrapped around her ankles and it clung to them like a persistent child.  She felt the cold penetrating her shoes, her stockings, her calves and up her legs.  It was like icy tentacles shooting through her veins.  Still she stepped deeper.  There was no turning back this time.  As she stepped in to the fast flowing muddy water her coat released its grip on her ankles and floated out like a balloon.  The stones in her pockets felt like lead weights dragging her body deeper into the river.  She was cold to her chest now and had to keep breathing steadily to stay fixed on her goal. Gravity stepped in and was pulling her down.  Her plan was working.  The tide felt strong but each muddy step felt like an iron anchor sinking into the mud bottom.  Each step grew harder as she tried to pick her feet up and take another step deeper.

The shock of water on her face made her falter.  It slapped some sense of reality back for one second and as she opened her mouth the water rushed in.  Her head was pulled backwards as the river pulled at her hair.  The cold ran through her insides too now.  It wouldn’t be long.

***

The armchair sagged under the weight of years.  It lay waiting.  The window opened over the lush garden while the door shut it out.  Blossoms nodded around the window behind the glass.  A light drizzle spattered on the window.  It was dark and cold inside.  The electric fire glowed fluorescent against the tiled fireplace.  It barely penetrated into the room.  The books shivered on their book case and were huddled together for warmth.  Paintings hung limply on the dark, damp walls. 

He’d taken to being in her rooms, waiting for news.  He knew she was gone but the cold comfort from her rooms comforted him.

***

He knew she was dead.  He’d known on the first day.  It was now the fifth day.  He waited.  For the telephone call, or the knock at the door.  Everyday he walked to the river tracing the steps he thought she had taken.

They had found her walking stick abandoned on the bank.  He roamed the canal path for another sign but there was none.  He knew he wouldn’t find anything.  She had planned this.  It hadn’t been a clumsy mistake when she’d come home soaked to the skin the other day.  She had tried then, but something had gone wrong.  This time she had been better prepared.  It had been definite.  She didn’t plan to return.  Her letter had told him as much.  He didn’t need to take the letter out – he had memorised it in the first few moments of reading it. 

***

It was three weeks before they found her.  She had been abused by the tide and by the elements.  The local boys had mistaken her for floating driftwood and thrown stones at her lifeless corpse. 

A new character

I love creating characters and this one is one of my favourites – he’s for a fairy-tale style story, but he has to be the most vain, useless and inept knight going. There is also in the story a magician, a witch, a fortune teller and of course a hero/heroine.

He sat in a glamorous knightly pose.  He checked his reflection in his sparkling armour and brushed an imaginary fingerprint away.  His “How To…” book was open at his favourite chapter about rescuing princesses.  His white steed was grazing alongside the meandering stream.  Willows dangled prettily.  It was a perfect scene for rescuing a damsel in distress.  His silver armour shone to perfection.  He ran his finger under the collar.  Wearing armour was hot work.  He picked up his shield and checked his reflection.  He looked good, better than the others anyway.  Hair – blonde and recently trimmed by Manuel (his stylist).  Stubble – just showing.  It gave the girls a thrill and it looked like he’d been too busy slaying dragons to shave.  Physique – tough.  He worked on his thrust and parry daily.  Overall – brave because of the sword, gentle because of the poetry reciting and the rose he carried (silk because he’d taken so long to find a damsel in distress that any normal rose would have wilted with boredom).  He surveyed the competition around him – a field full of knights just like him.