In stories, kids always seem to get shocked when magical things happen to them. They try to deny reality. Not me. I’ve read enough books to know that when something magical happens you just go with the flow. So when I woke up today and found myself looking straight into the eyes of a young dragon I was only mildly surprised. I immediately accepted its existence.
We stared at each other for a long moment. He was a squat, greenish creature, with a knobby ridge down his back and skin sort of like a crocodile. He was about the size of a St. Bernard dog, except for his tail which was much too big for him, maybe about ten feet long. He snorted a blast of smoke and my face stung with the heat. The smoke alarm went bonkers. The dragon’s eyes went wide and it opened its mouth. Quickly, I leaped away. It breathed a bolt of fire and my pillow went up in flames. I jumped on my desk and yanked the battery out of the fire alarm.
“Andy?” I heard my mom call up the stairs. “What are you doing up there?”
I opened my bedroom door a crack and hollered, “I’ll be down in a minute.”
The dragon stared rooting its nose around in my smoldering blankets, like he was trying to find something to eat. I didn’t want him to start looking at me so I quickly slipped out of my room. I didn’t know what to feed him but I figured raw meat would work, so I grabbed the steak Mom was planning to make for dinner. Then I grabbed myself a bowl of cereal and milk.
“Andy?” asked Mom from the living room.
“I’m getting breakfast,” I answered and headed upstairs.
I didn’t want to get too close to the dragon so I sort of tossed the steak in his direction. He cautiously sniffed it, then sneezed, toastifiying it into a hunk of charcoal. Guess he doesn’t eat steak. I slid my bowl of cereal over towards him. He wasn’t interested and only knocked it over on the rug. I tossed a towel over it and got dressed quickly. Dragon or no dragon I had to get to school on time.
I heard footsteps outside my door. “Andy, you are going to be late.”
“Just a moment, Mom, I’m almost ready!” I shouted back as I grabbed my backpack from under my desk.
Suddenly, the dragon perked up. With a leap, the dragon was next to me and latched his teeth into my backpack.
“Hey!” I yelled and tugged. He tugged harder. My backpack split and my papers scattered on the floor. The dragon made a squealing noise and grabbed a mouthful of my papers. I watched in amazement as he munched happily. I guess he eats paper. Then I realized with a cold shock, he’d just eaten my math homework!
Which is why, Mrs. Thompson, I can’t turn it in today.
This story won an April Fool’s Day contest at the now defunct Imaginaries SF/F writing group. Later it was published in the Oct 2008 issue of “Beyond Centauri.”