Dragon Season

“Mama! Mama! They’re dropping!” Ten-year old Myrie hopped from one foot to the other in her excitement.

“Okay, okay! Let’s go see,” her mother said, smiling at Myrie. She put down the rolling pin, covered the pie crust she’d been working on, and held out her hand.

Mother and daughter walked hand in hand out to the small cluster of bushes against the back fence. The bushes were tall, ranging from about six feet in height to around eight feet. They made an excellent privacy screen from the house next door. In the middle of the hedge formed by the bushes was one with bright green, almost iridescent leaves. This was the focus of Myrie’s excitement – the dragonberry bush.

Sure enough, Ariana saw that Myrie was correct. The dragonberry bush was dropping its fruit early this year. The baby dragons fell to the ground, uncurled, and crawled away, their wings still tightly furled.

“See, Mama? See?” Myrie was still hopping up and down with excitement.

“Careful, sweetie. You don’t want to step on any of the babies,” Ariana said, putting a calming hand on her daughter’s shoulder.

“Oh! Sorry, babies! I didn’t mean to scare you!” Myrie crouched down and stuck a finger out to pet one of the babies. She was rewarded with a small, stuttering flame. “Can we keep one, Mama? Please?” Myrie glanced up at her mother, still focused on the baby dragon clumsily crawling toward her.

“No, sweetheart, we can’t. Dragons don’t make good pets. They’re too independent. But we’ll put food and milk out for them, and I know that some of them will come back to visit even when they’re grown. I bet your friend there will definitely come back.” Ariana nodded toward the purple and green baby who was now head-bumping and rubbing against Myrie’s knee.

The dragonlet’s wings were starting to unfurl and soon he or she (it was hard to know when they were newly hatched) would take to the skies.

Myrie returned her attention to the demanding baby at her knee. The little dragon was still head-bumping and rubbing against her knee. Ariana could swear she heard a sound like a cat’s purr coming from the tiny thing. She shook her head. Tiny. Maybe compared to a full-grown dragon, but the baby already stood about a foot high at the shoulder.

“Oh!” Myrie gasped, gazing into the eyes of the baby dragon. “She says her name is Raesaine. She likes me!”

Ariana felt her eyes go wide. The dragonlet had bonded with Myrie! She knew that had never happened in her family before. She felt a stab of loss that Myrie’s father, gone these five years, wasn’t here to see this. Or here to ask if anyone in his family had ever bonded with a dragon.

“That’s wonderful, sweetie!” Ariana told her daughter. “Having a dragon friend is a marvelous thing.”

“She’s hungry, Mama. What do we do?” Myrie was stroking the still-damp wings while Raesaine continued to rub her head against Myrie’s leg.

“Well, we’ll give her some milk and there’s some chicken left from last night. Then, you will have to sit down with her and find out what she likes to eat. Until she’s big enough to hunt on her own, you are going to have to make sure she gets enough to eat, Myrie. Do you think you can do that?” Ariana asked. Myrie did have a tendency to forget about her chores and responsibilities at times. Forgetting about the dragon would not be good.

“Oh, I’ll remember, Mama! I promise! And Raesaine says she’ll remind me too!” Myrie smiled up at her mother.

Ariana caught a wink from the dragonlet and smiled. “Thank you for the help, Raesaine.”

Myrie stood up. “We should get her some milk now,” she said seriously.

Ariana smiled again. “Alright. Let’s go.” She turned and headed back to the house, daughter and dragonlet trailing behind.

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I got a fun one from ‘nother Mike for the Week 16 More Odds Than Ends prompt. The dragonberry bush was dropping its fruit early this year. The baby dragons fell to the ground, uncurled, and crawled away, their wings still tightly furled… AC Young got my prompt about the bamboo moving through the yard. Head on over to More Odds Than Ends and check out what he did with it.