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My mother screamed when the dragon devoured her, tearing her apart with a clean snap of his jaws. I heard her bones crunch between his fangs, and I saw her blood drip from his mouth and splatter on his coal-black scales.

(It was a terrible scream that rattled around in my brain like a hurricane, tearing at me from the inside out. When I tried to think of how her voice sounded when telling me stories of her adventures, all I could think of was that horrible sound.)

I couldn’t scream, or cry out. All I could do was stay hidden, praying that a brave knight or even a particularly heroic villager would save me. It was a fool’s hope, seeing as we lived on the outskirts of town.

My mother bade me to hide, while she tried to calm the dragon.

“Give it back!” The dragon roared. The house shook, and I curled up, my heartbeat roaring in my ears.

My mother screamed back at him to leave, that she had not stolen from him.

That’s when it happened.


I heard thumping as the dragon stormed our home, gathering things to add to his horde. He growled, for there was nothing of value for him to take, no shiny gems except for the emerald ring I clutched close to my chest.

I took a ragged breath, fighting back the urge to cry. I didn’t think this would happen. My mother and I were starving, and I was desperate. The dragon had so much treasure, and I never thought he’d miss one measly ring, one that could buy me and my mother a better life.

The dragon thundered through the house, breathing plumes of fire in every empty room, torching any sign of life. I coughed as the smoke began to make its way into my lungs, and that’s when the dragon’s evil eye fell upon me. He looked at me like a god looking down upon a mortal, and he lunged for me, scooping me up in his claws with ease.

I could still smell the coppery scent of my mother’s blood on his breath, and her screams echoed in the back of my mind. “Please,” I sobbed. “We were starving. I’m sorry.”

The dragon’s eyes were alight with malice. “You took something that was mine.”

Tears pushed at the corners of my eyes. “You already have so much.”

The dragon bared his crimson-stained teeth. “I’ll never have enough.” His tongue darted across his teeth. “I still want more.”

The dragon’s claws dug into my torso, drawing blood. I screamed as my cries joined with those of my mother in a wretched internal harmony, and I fell limp in the dragon’s grip.