Posted this yesterday on Daily Writing Practice and thought I’d share it here:
The villagers watched in fear as the huge shape circled over their village. No one had seen it until it had started circling. By then it was far too late to run for cover — no sense attracting its attention. So they stood frozen wherever they had been on its arrival.
After what seemed an eternity to the terrified villagers, the dragon landed in the village square. Its tail caught the edge of the village fountain and stone tumbled to the ground. The noise was explosive in the silent village.
The dragon leaned its head down to the nearest villager and boomed, “Where is your chief?”
The trembling villager pointed across the square to the largest house, where the chief stood. The dragon turned ponderously and announced, “I require a person.”
The gasp echoed through the village. It was one thing to be eaten, quite another to be asked for first.
The dragon blinked and seemed to realize the misunderstanding. “Oh, not to eat. I don’t eat humans. You taste nasty. No. I require a human to return with me to my land and break the curse on my family.”
“No,” said the chief.
“No? No? What do you mean, no? I am a dragon. I could char you and your village to ashes in seconds!”
“I mean no. Kill us all if you must, but I will not ask one of my people to serve the object of their fears.”
The dragon stared, uncertain what to do. She had threatened flames, but she needed a live human, and this was the first village where the inhabitants hadn’t run screaming at the first sight of her. She had been flying for days, and she was tired and worried about her family. She didn’t really feel like finding another village.
A soft voice spoke into the silence. “I’ll do it.”
The chief’s reaction was instantaneous. “No! I forbid it.”
“But Father, if I volunteer, we don’t get charred, and you don’t have to force someone to face their fears.”
“But, but … Clarinda, I can’t let you go!”
“I’m sorry, Daddy. I love you and Mother, but I must go. Goodbye.”
And the chief’s eldest daughter walked calmly up to the dragon and swung herself up. The dragon leaped into the sky and flew away to the west, whence it had come.