The great mother dragon mused.
Her scales almost seemed to creak as she shuffled her coils. She did not know how long she had been here. Creation had been tiring; then there was existence, and protecting it all, she was exhausted. Her tongue lolled from her mouth, picking up the scent of life around her. So much life, such diversity that it was almost a total sensory overload. No one scent, but millions merging in her head – trying to make sense of that was tiring too.
She flickered like an old and over used cathode ray tube.
Flickering; shifting between dimensions. Flickering between her physical manifestation and the purely energetic existence. As she crackled back into existence this time she herself tucked deeper into her coils, she contemplated change. She did not feel strong; there was so much to oversee and their numbers comparatively few. The dragons needed to rest. She flickered again. Her soul questioned the her body’s worth.
There were so few of them now and there was always so much to be done. She thought of the Hominids. She thought of their simple and easy existence; their slowing growing numbers, they bred like … well, like hominids. Perhaps they might carry the torch for a while. They needed a little work, some attunement and a little tweaking. But that that was easy, compared to the grand scheme of universal creation.
She flew down to the hominid below her. He was scrabbling around, collecting bugs from the bark of trees. She watched him for a while – he did seem to learn quickly – promising! Perhaps there was a potential here. She approached him, he did not startle, he was still an innocent, without fear or caution.
She smiled and gently took him between her claws. She stretched her aging wings and lifted him gently. Up above the trees they flew, he was a little uncomfortable but still grinned his inane little grin. That smile of the innocence.
After a time they landed by a lake lying still and mirror like in the forests, the trees blocking the breezes, rendering the water still and reflective. She sat beside him and gestured him to lean forward. First he saw another dragon, he started and looked back at the first one, the one beside him. She flew a small snort of fire, out of the corner of his eye, the one below him did the same. Both dragon’s blinked, both dragons turned their head. Beside the new dragon he became aware of something else. A new and strange image. That image appeared curious, something stirred in his chest. The dragon smiled, the second dragon smiled, the image smiled, and he found himself with the sensation of smiling. The dragon nodded, the little pattern repeated itself.
The dragon leant down and touched the water with her nose. The faces disappeared. If pennies had existed; one would have dropped at this point.
And then there was fire. There had to be the fire. She placed a bundle of fallen branches before him and breathed onto to. They burst into flame. She looked him deep in the eyes and he was aware of sounds, unfamiliar, but understood: “this is my gift to your kind, use it wisely and you shall prosper; yours shall be the flames; with the flames come responsibility, bear that responsibility with humility, love and wisdom and this shall place shall prosper, and you shall prosper in this place.”
With that the dragon was gone.
Millennia of responsibilities dropping from their scales. Some were awaking, they begun to venture from their nests again. Cherishing the breezes again under their wings. Feeling life flowing around them. The energies did not seem the same, eden had developed an edginess. Almost a friction. As they watched from their dens and from the skies, they saw the proto-humans scurrying, busying themselves. But not sure why. Some kind of industry of self-defined value; strange endeavours, all to little avail.
They saw giant images of men – and great groups gathered before them – they saw them bend and fawn. Chanting hypnotically.
The dragons did not understand.
In time curiosity overcame. They began to approach the bi-peds. But they were not welcome, initially they sensed and smelled fear, but over time that energy shifted, the uprights approached them, waving and shouting indecipherably. The dragons drew back. Confused.
This was not love. This was no eden.
As she roused herself she made out a human figure before her. She flickered again. Consciousness kicked in and she recognised the being that she had taken to the lake in the forest. But it was only the image she recognised. There was no simple innocence, no love. Energetically she sensed a cold awareness, almost brutal intent. He carried a large sharpened hunting stick.
She reached out to touch him with the fondness of motherhood.
He looked at her. He blinked. He tilted his head. Focussing; he drove the stick into her chest.
In that moment she apprehended his intent. There was no place for the dragons now. Human was claiming his time.
This was his paradise. He knew it. He had told himself. He had told his brothers.
The pain in her heart burned greater than the pain from the spear; yet she accepted her end, she had known in some way that it would come – perhaps it was even supposed to.
What of the others? She knew that some would find a way out; as dragons they knew how to return to ether, to live in the winds and the and energies that cross the earth. They knew how to wait. But for her the waiting was over; she coughed; she flickered; she blipped; and then she just ceased to be in front on him.
His spear fell quietly into the soft leaves of her bedding. He leant down and lit a fire. Within minutes her nest was an inferno of dried plant matter. As quickly as it had started that inferno was but embers.
He would return is a few days to no more than a scar of blackened ash.
He would return in a year and the ashes would have been blown by the winds and the ground green again, reborn with a new season’s growth.
Dragons, what dragons?
(c) Graeme Green 2014