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?Continue reading
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.
“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.
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.
I think that I first was inspired with this character when I saw a figure in a hat on the back of my wardrobe door when I was a child. (It was actually a dressing gown/coats hung on a hook, but it could have been a mysterious figure like the Shadow Man! This is a small excerpt of a new story about a child who hears noises under the bed and has to go and investigate! Let me know what you think!
Silently a figure stepped out from among the folds of the dressing gown and coats hanging on the back of the door, dressed in a tricorne hat and a cloak with a deep red velvet lining. His boots were leather and glistened in the moonlight, and he wore a shiny sword in his belt. Noiselessly he moved around Jamie’s room calming the curtains dancing at the window and righting the sad pile of books lying twitching on the floor.
Jamie watched all this trembling under safety of his duvet, afraid to set foot on the floor, in case the shadows caught him and the fierce monster who lived in the chasm gobbled him up. The Shadow Man showed no fear of the noises under the bed. He stepped up to the edge of the bed, towering in the darkness. Jamie hid his head under the covers. Close up he was quite terrifying – he must have been a hundred feet tall and his face was scarred and his eyes were dark under his hat. He looked as though he might know all of your secrets. His hand rested on the sword in his belt and Jamie could now see that there was also a pistol tucked into the folds of his cloak – not one of the ones that soldiers had nowadays. This one looked old and worn but it shined as if it was polished regularly. “James,” he said, and his voice was soft and gravelly. How does he know my name? Jamie asked himself. “James, you must come with me. We have work to do.”