I found out yesterday that I received an honourable mention for my piece of flash fiction, “Challenging Dragons”. Considering it’s my first time really writing flash fiction, or entering a writing contest, I’m pretty happy! It means I was in the top twenty out of three-hundred people. To check out the winning entries, go to the Wow! Women On Writing website, Fall 2020 Contest Results: https://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/98-FE1-Fall20Contest.html
I stand before the gigantic mass. Nervous, as one should be when facing a dragon.
The ground is soft around us, pillowy and unreliable, to the dragon’s advantage.
It isn’t looking at me. It’s sleeping. Curled over itself, poised perfectly for this dance of ours in which I do all the work.
My hair is sweaty and misshapen, my eyes puffy. I am armed with nothing but a desperate need, taking shape as a sword in my hand.
I step closer. Move, I tell it. Move and let me escape this place. I have things to do. Dreams to fulfill. Move, I scream.
The dragon doesn’t bat an eye. On the other side of this beast is a world of pain. Of fear. But so is everything I’ve ever wanted.
Please, please move. I can’t stay here forever.
I can see where the flames kindle in its belly, glowing through the toughened scales.
There’s no other choice. Lunging forward, I swing my sword.
It glances off. The dragon doesn’t move. One amber eye blinks open to look at me. It seems to say, That was original.
Then the dragon opens its toothy maw and yawns, shifting into a more comfortable position.
My feet are starting to sink into the spongy ground around me.
My battle cry is absorbed into the walls as I whack my sword against those scales, again and again and again.
With a huff, the dragon releases a burst of flames in my direction. They burn. Worthless, failure, weak, pathetic.
I sink to my knees. I’m tired. So tired. The dragon peers at me again. It asks, how much time have you wasted today?
I want to cry out my frustrations, but I know it won’t make the dragon move. Besides, it’s right. How many hours have I already spent on this fruitless battle?
Do you really want to leave? Isn’t it more comfortable to stay here?
No, no, no. But I’m so tired. The dragon is right. My surroundings are plush, warm.
My sword is heavy in my hand. It would be so easy to let go. Give up. You’ve done it before.
As the grip slips from my fingers, I can feel what’s left of my willpower transforming into embers that blister in my gut. I look down to see scales forming on my arms, legs.
No, this isn’t what I want. Move, move, move. But there’s still a dragon in my way.
The greatest pain isn’t the fire; it’s the disappointment of knowing that once again, I won’t be leaving bed today.
By: Jules Sherwood