I think I do that far too often. I finish other stories, of course, but when my brain starts to drag when I’m writing I start something new. This story I have decided to call The Dragons of Wilder Realm: Caged. I have the first chapter finished and I felt like sharing it since I haven’t posted anything in awhile. Hope you enjoy. I’m off to bed after this.
The Dragons of Wilder Realm: Caged
Chapter One: Heartbreak to Hell
“We’re sorry, ma’am, there’s nothing more we can do.” These words continued to echo hollowly in Esther’s mind. She stood staring at the empty room, unable to do anything else. She was vaguely aware that her boyfriend was trying to tell her something important behind her, but she didn’t care. All that mattered was this empty room, and the fact that it was not supposed to be empty. She closed her eyes and could feel the mind-blowing pain once more. She didn’t think there would ever be a time that she didn’t feel it. In her mind, it happened over and over again. It was always happening. It would always be happening.
“I’m sorry Esther, I can’t keep doing this. What happened was awful. We could have moved passed it though, if you would have just tried. I have to leave for me, and honestly, I wish you the best of luck. Take care of yourself.” Devin’s voice sounded far away now. Esther didn’t even flinch when the door slammed close behind him. How could she move past the moment when the moment had never ended for her, would never end? She looked blankly at the room that should not be. A crib stood empty, a testament to how empty she felt.
She had been nearly term, just a few weeks away really. Then the unthinkable. She started hemorrhaging. The rush to the hospital along with the mounting fear was crystal clear to her. As clear as this empty room. She could still feel the horror she had felt when the doctors told her that her baby girl was dead. That she would have to deliver a dead baby. She had held her perfect little girl forever before being forced to let her go. She had met with so many doctors after that to try to find out why she had lost her baby, but it didn’t matter because it would not change anything. She had been forced to see counselors about her inability to deal with her loss. She supposed she would have tried to stop Devin from leaving if she still cared. She didn’t care though. Maybe she would someday but for now, it was all too much. She stared longingly at the empty crib.
Something pulled at her mind making her look just slightly beyond the crib. A small glow to the air shimmered lightly beside the bed. Esther wasn’t a religious person regardless of her name’s history, but she felt a moment of hope. Cautiously she approached the glow. Could it really be her daughter’s spirit? Perhaps a message from the great beyond meant to give her hope. Feeling more than a little trepidation at the thought that she had been wrong about what happens after a person passes on, Esther felt a warmth to the glow as she approached it which was kind of weird to her. She had always heard that ghostly apparitions were heralded by warmth leaving the room, not by warmth entering it. The nearer she was to the glow, the warmer she became. To the point that she was sweltering as she brought her hand up to gently caress the strange visitor to her nursery.
Esther felt herself blown backward and pulled forwards at the same time. She felt on fire all the way through to her core quickly followed by the sensation of being frozen from the inside out. Nothing made sense as her world spun wildly out of control. The only thing that was certain was that Esther was living in the moment for the first time in months. Her pain was still there deep inside where it would always abide but Esther was fully aware of where she was or more importantly where she was not. She was not at home. She was not in the nursery. Where ever she was, it was chaos, hell, and fury all rolled into one. Not for a single instant did she think that her mind had snapped, and she had finally gone insane. No, this was too real for that. Desperately, she tried to grab anything in the mindless madness that surrounded her. Surprisingly her hand touched something. Something soft as leather and as hard as steel at the same time. Not caring what it was, she held on to her only lifeline, and Esther did want to live.
The spinning sensation had stopped and she no longer felt as if her body were living flames, which for a time she had. Esther’s eyes were closed tightly. Fear had taken hold of her, forcing her whole body to shiver uncontrollably. She was sprawled atop of her soft yet hard lifeline that felt warm to her now clammy cheek. She should open her eyes or move. Possibly both. The ground beneath her shifted slightly. Definitely both.
Her eyes fluttered open as her body seemed to automatically jump away from the leathery ground that she had lain upon. The light was dim causing her to blink several times before her eyes adjusted enough to see the shadowy figure before her. All sounds ceased to be, including Esther’s breathing. She couldn’t really be seeing what her eyes were telling her that she was seeing. The shadow shifted once more.
“Are you injured?” irritably challenged a voice spoken to her like whispered thunder, booming and quiet at the same time. The form advanced tentatively towards her. The head was as big as her torso. The body was long and sleek looking. In the dim light, it was hard to tell the color but the shape was quite unmistakable. The dragon cocked its head inquisitively at her. Esther was staring down a dragon about the size of a stretch limousine.
“I’m fine thank you.” Replied Esther a bit wobbly. She knew this was real yet it was so unreal that she was frightened more by that thought than what was happening to her. “I’m sorry but you’re a dragon right?” Esther inquired not knowing what else she should say or do. The creature blew billowy steam from its nostrils in apparent frustration. It brought its head down to eye level with Esther. The dragon’s eyes were a startling swirl of bright blue-white dots in midnight shaded eye sockets. They looked like mini galaxies staring into her soul. The skin seemed to be a light shade of lavender. Curiously she craned her head to look at the dragon’s back where her mighty wings were folded neatly. The dragon fluttered them obligingly. The skin of the wings seemed to shimmer with each movement. Esther was completely enthralled.
“That much should be obvious, human. I do not have time for this. I came her looking for a help and the ancestors send me you. I will have to make do, it seems.” The dragon’s decidedly feminine voice hissed, the breath blowing over Esther like a warm breeze smelling of burnt charcoal. What did the creature mean that the ancestors had sent her? Exactly what was being expected of her? How was the dragon going to make do? Her brain began to swirl with unanswered questions.
“This might sting for a bit, but there is nothing for it, I have to give you some protection against the horrors you will surely face here. You will be entrusted with what I treasure most in this world. You will protect it or you will face my wrath human.” The feminine voice became a low angry growl as Esther found herself being knocked backwards by the dragon’s lightning fast front claw. Terrified Esther choked out a half scream half plea for mercy to her attacker who claimed to need her help.
“Be silent. We may not be alone. Dragon kind is rarely alone. They know not what I have done yet, but they will. I must do this, you see. I have to protect what is mine. I have to protect the future. Make one sound and I will end you. I will find myself another way. This is for your own good. Now hold still.” The hissing whisper brought a new level of terror to Esther’s heart. If she made a noise, she had no doubt that this creature would kill her. She was startled by the thought that she did not want to die. She had felt that same fear of death earlier but now she was fully aware of it. She grieved her loss still, of course, but she lived and she wanted to continue to do so. She felt her blouse rip down the front from her collar down in between her breasts. The ripping of her blouse was followed by an insane amount of pain. Then above her hovered those beautiful eyes that had held her captive such a short time ago. The blue light swirls began coalesce into a single bright blue light that flowed from the dragon’s eyes into the open wound down the front of her torso. Through it all, Esther was utterly still. Too afraid to protest this bizarre treatment to even move.
As the blue light flowed into her Esther felt the oddest sensation in her chest. It was as if all the dark corners of her soul were illuminated by the healing blue light. It did not banish them or make the darkness less real, but she felt more at peace than she had before. The pain in her chest was gone. The dragon collapsed before her, the light in those eyes barely a glimmer now. Esther sat up feeling more confused than ever about her predicament.
“I have given you my immortality human. You will be the first of your kind, like him. You will protect him, nurture him, and most importantly of all, you will love him. I would not have been able to, but you can. Now take him and run human. Run far from here and do not ever stop running. Keep him safe. All depends on that. I am spent. Go now before they come.” The voice was weak now. The light was nearly extinguished in those large eyes. Carefully the creature pulled something forward with her hind leg and then her front paw pushed a small bundle towards Esther. “Go.” This his was urgent pushing Esther’s fear into overdrive.
Esther bent forward to pick up the strange bundle when she truly saw what was being asked of her. It was a small infant. Somewhat human in appearance but also it had the characteristics of a dragon with wings upon its tiny back. The legs though were something else. Almost fishlike in appearance though they were definitely legs and not fins. The legs just looked rather scaly and the toes were widespread webbed looking much like foot fins that divers used back home. None of that really mattered though. The dragon wanted her to take this little hybrid baby and protect it. She wanted her to raise it. To love it. “I can’t” she whispered thinking of her beloved baby girl. It felt like a betrayal somehow yet she yearned to be able to love again. She gingerly picked up the small wiggly creature.
“Please. He is my son. He must live and they will not let him live. You must go.” The dragon weakly begged. It was a plea from one mother to another. It was saying please don’t let my baby die. Something snapped into place for Esther. Her longing to live and love again now had a purpose.
“I will keep him safe. I swear it.” Esther whispered fervently as she turned and ran blindly in the dim light stumbling along what felt like rock walls. She didn’t think she was being chased but the urgency to escape this place became so unbearable that she thought her heart might just explode from her chest. She kept running not even knowing where she ran to or where she ran from. She was far from home or anything that had ever made sense to her, but she had to keep running. There was a light far in the distance and as she emerged into the dimmed moonlight of her new world she realized she had been running through a cave.
Before her was sprawled a vast forest of giant trees that reminded her a bit of California redwoods. Those huge ancient giants back home that were a reminder that humans were a relatively new species. Esther looked down at her adopted son. Thoughts of how new humans were made her think of how her son was new to this world that she still knew nothing about. Would he truly be greeted with fear as the dragon had hinted? Run the dragon mother with the beautiful eyes had said. Run. So she did.