Dragonslayer – A story for a child

Princess Kyra stood defiantly in the arena, the hopes of thousands sitting squarely on her young but confident shoulders. Her cape billowed violently in the wind, much like wings preparing to take flight. This was the moment that she had trained for, her entire childhood. This was her legacy to fulfil; and her battle-ground, this craggy hilltop with a slippery surface and giant boulders surrounding it.

On her proud forehead, glistened the tiara bestowed by her Mother, Queen of the Amazons, as her blessing before this glorious battle. Held aloft in her hand was the deadly Fire-staff, passed on to her by her Father who himself was bequeathed it by his own Sire. But this was not her sole weapon for the confrontation ahead, nor was she without an ally. At her side stood her faithful Tiger, a friend she had grown up with since they were both little more than cubs, fiercely protective of her and raring for the battle ahead. His teeth menacingly bared and his eyes fixed intently on the enemy as it crouched above.

Yes, the Enemy. The despoiler of their lands, the scourge of livestock and infants and terroriser of her hapless subjects. The primitive tormentor, thwarted by her ancestors, had once again risen and invaded their lands and forced their subjects to come crying for succour. The terrible, fire-breathing evil Dragon perched above her on the sheer wall facing the hillock, poised to launch an attack. Fierce in disposition and giant in width, this was her enemy in this battle for Justice. An enemy larger, stronger and with more power at its disposal than she and her loyal Tiger combined.

Yet she was unfazed, she knew no fear as she prepared to release the Tiger and aimed her Fire-staff, ready to plunge into fierce battle herself. She had the training and courage of her ancestors, her own steely will and the blessings and wishes of her subjects willing her on. The subjects who even now watched in nervous anticipation and rent the air with their cheers. As she began to leap she felt buoyed by these very chants of ‘’Kyra, Kyra, Kyra.’’

‘’KYRA, STOP SHINING DADA’S TORCH AT THAT POOR LIZARD AND GET OFF THE BED THIS INSTANT! Look, what a mess you’ve made jumping around like that, the pillows and covers strewn all over. And how many times do I have to tell you that the Cat is NOT allowed on the bed. And why do you have that dirty towel from the laundry-bag wrapped around you? And my hair band on your head, child? I can never understand the things you get up to, I tell you.’’

Little Kyra sighed and thought, not for the first time, that Mommies shouldn’t be allowed in your Fairy Tales.

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Stranger in a Strange Land – Short Fiction

 

I am aware now. Did I become aware this very day, minute or second? I do not know. Time is a chimera within the confines of my nascent awareness. Distant, Deceptive and beyond gauge. Constantly flowing yet forever constant. But let us leave that for the moment.

I must confess that while I am now aware of my existence my identity remains a mystery. Who am I? How old am I? Do I have a name? How did I wind up where I find myself? How long have I been marooned here? Where IS here? All questions that prick my consciousness with unyielding vengeance but I have no salve of answers to assuage the wounds. Let me then focus my thoughts on other things lest these relentless questions rip the very core of my newly found awareness and leave me incapable of thought itself.

Physically I am whole. I have no frame of reference to verify this but instinctively I know this. I am in good health and growing stronger with the passage of time. I hunger. I feed. The milieu I find myself in may be decidedly alien to me but by foraging around, I have found the means to stay nourished. In plentitude.

Let me reflect on this world I find myself in. There is constant darkness. Heavy and oppressive darkness. Light has no place in this world. Through the darkness I sense more than I see never-ending walls and skies of red. Noxious gasses frequently cloak me in the passing and threaten to over-whelm my senses. Dim Shapes that defy imagination are suspended far above me. Suspended from what? I could not tell you.

There are vast oceans that surround me. Angry Oceans that swell, surge and are wont to engulf me. Oceans within which thrive creatures that are shadowy and unlike anything that has ever inhabited my imagination. These are not friendly creatures.

Green Rivulets connect these oceans. And a vast and intricate network of ivory bridges is erected within and without.

There are islands amongst the turbulent oceans. And it is on one such precariously placed island that I find myself trapped. The surface below me is soft, moist yet unyielding. The surface is treacherously slippery. The surface undulates. I must hold fast.

 

Of one fact I am certain however. Whoever I am, I did not begin my existence in this place. I am not indigenous. My presence here is against the natural order of this domain. This I know instinctively. And so too, it would seem, do my surroundings. For I have no doubt that what I am surrounded by is alive, is sentient. And it speaks to me. You are not wanted here, it says. You are a monstrosity, an aberration. Begone or we shall exterminate you. Every cascading wave and every gust of wind echoes this. But I know not where to go. For I know not from whence I came. All I know is that I must do whatever it takes to survive. I have no past but I will not relinquish my present. Not without a battle at least.

 

Time, invisible and unstoppable, passes. Days, months, years? I do not know. How long have I been trapped here now? I could not tell you. The darkness is unrelenting. The waves continue to crash all around me. I hear distant rumblings emanating from I know not where. The shadowy creatures have thus far left me alone as have any other denizens this world may host. I have grown stronger. I have entrenched my self further in my surroundings. I must abide. I have grave forebodings of imminent danger.

The attacks have begun. Swarms of tiny white creatures that come from the oceans. Rapidly covering every inch of my body. Gouging, piercing and tearing at me. There are too many of them for me to fight back. Every swarm I resist is replaced by an even more determined one. Let them do their worst then. I am stoic to the pain. If I am meant to survive, I shall.

 

 

I survive, thus far. Multitudes of attacks. Leaving me torn and battered. My flesh severely abraded. My body a receptacle of pure agony. But my will is still intact and unbending. So, it would seem is my immune system. The flesh repairs. The wounds fill fast. I am resilient. And with each subsequent attack, the ability of the creatures to hurt me, to penetrate my skin seems to ameliorate. Is it that they are weakening? I think not. I think that which could not kill me has made me literally stronger.

 

For a while now, the white creatures have left me alone. I sense intelligence in them. Their complete inability to do any worse than simply shroud me in the last few attacks has made them realize the futility of their actions. I grow stronger. The fire to live blazes on within me. But I fear this world is not quite done with me yet.

Another wave of attacks has ensued. More savage and more devastating this time.

A rain of toxic substances from above. My flesh burns and suppurates. I have never known such agony before. The bites of the creatures were mere tickles compared to this. There is nowhere I can hide from this rain. Who is the cruel overlord releasing it, I wonder? Come out and fight me in the open, I want to shout. But all I can make is a silent appeal for mercy. My will falters. But the rain is unrelenting. The pain is unrelenting. I succumb to it. Red walls come crashing down on me. Is my end nigh?

 

I arise once again. Like the phoenix from the ashes. How many toxic rains did I survive? I do not know. Countless, it would seem. But yet again, my remarkable immune system and my sheer resilience carried me through the pain and torture. My rotting flesh healed miraculously each time. And as before, each subsequent attack could do far lesser damage. Right up till the last one which merely soaked me without causing me any injury or suffering. But the interim was truly desperate and agonizing. How much longer will my will and immunity hold up, I wonder. What terrors is my unseen assailant going to send my way next? I bide my time and my strength. I am far stronger than I ever was before. But yet I fear what lies ahead. But of this there is no doubt in my mind. If go down I must, it shall be fighting.

This is the moment then. I fear my final battle is upon me. My unknown and unseen adversary has unleashed yet another fearsome weapon from its arsenal. It comes my way and it comes fast. An angry, unstoppable juggernaut of glistening sharp edged steel. Aiming to rip me to shreds and gouge out my very soul. I am unarmed. But yet I do not retreat. I shall stand tall and fight to the death. This is my destiny. I shall remain true to it. Curiously, I feel no more fear. Rather a sense of impending glory. Buoyed by a sudden and instinctive realization that I am not the last of my kind. Even if I should fall here, another will arise. So, I proudly await my destiny. I await the killer juggernaut.

 

Epilogue

Tense faces surrounded the masked man as he strode out into the narrow corridor. Tense, expectant and appealing. He wondered if at this very moment they were trying to read his eyes, the only visible part of his face. He could feel their tension grow exponentially as he paused to remove his mask. But he had no doubt that what he was about to say would undo that.

‘’The operation was a success. The tumor has been completely removed. The patient is expected to make a full recovery.’’