This story is by Coleen Holley and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
Kareena was on her way to work at the local Veterinarian’s office. As she sped around the corner, she saw a pile of…something in the middle of the road. She slammed on the brakes, swerving to avoid the lump of green, gray and black in the single lane road. It looked like it might be some sort of animal, but she’d never seen a critter like that. She exited the vehicle, and approached the thing.
This can’t be real
It was a small creature, maybe three foot from the tip of its nose to the end of its long spade shaped tail. It had a sinuous neck, the body the size of an iguana, with four legs positioned under it like those of a dog rather than a lizard. It had an angular, bony head with small, sharp pointed ears. A crest adorned its head and ran the entire length of its back. Forest green scales covered its entire body, fading to a light sage green on its belly. Its wings were charcoal gray and black; they were almost fragile looking, but skin stretched across them like a bat’s wing. It had long talons, like an eagle.
It had emerald colored eyes, with a vertical slit like a cat’s. One eye was open, but glazed. Kareena thought it might be dead, but it moved its head a smidgen to follow her motion and made a pitiful, high-pitched keening sound. She ran back to her car and dumped the contents of her gym bag in a haphazard mess on the seat of her car. She grabbed the bag and towel and returned to the animal that was now writhing around. One wing seemed to be wrenched in an awkward position, and it had a gash in its belly.
Kareena wrapped the creature in the towel with caution. She tucked the creature into the bag, careful of the injured wing. The animal moved its head in a feeble attempt to peck at her, but seemed to understand she was trying to help it.
When she got to work, she brought the animal into the back. The dogs in the kennels whined and scooted to the back of their cages. She placed the creature in an empty crate and attended to its wounds. It closed its glassy eyes and appeared to relax and emit a sound akin to a purr.
What an amazing creature.
She went to find her veterinarian friend Larisa, but when she showed her the creature, Larisa stared at her like she was deranged.
Larisa furrowed her brow, “What kind of game are you playing? Why do you have an IV drip hanging in mid air? What do you mean what kind of animal is this? There is nothing here.”
“You can’t see that?” Kareena asked, pointing to the creature in the towel, “it’s right there, but I’m not sure what it is, but it looks like a dragon.”
“Did you hit your head on the way to work? What are you talking about? You have some imagination, there is nothing there but an empty towel,” Larisa raised an eyebrow at her friend.
Kareena moved the towel aside, the dragon was there, plain as day – to her. She scowled at Larisa, “It’s right there.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about, there is an empty towel with an IV hanging in midair,” Larisa shook her head and started to walk away.
Kareena stroked the scales of the animal, it felt like snake skin, “Give me your hand,” she took Larisa’s hand placing it on the soft hide of the creature. “Can you feel that? Does that feel imaginary?”
Larisa’s eyes widened. She could feel the scales of an animal, but there was nothing there to be seen, “What? How are you doing that? I can’t see anything, but it feels like,” she paused trying to find the right words as she ran her fingers across the smooth skin of the creature, “It feels like snake skin, but it has legs…and are those wings?”
“Yes, it has wings, feel this,” Kareena moved her friend’s hands across the uninjured wing of the beast, “Feel that? That’s the finger bone of its wing. Here,” she moved Larisa’s hand to the bandaged the wing, “This wing seemed to be wrenched, so I taped it up.”
Larisa ran her hands gently across the invisible body of the creature her friend could see but she couldn’t. “It feels like the wings of a large bat. Are you sure it’s not a bat?”
“No, it can’t be. Bats don’t have tails. Follow the ridge down the animal’s back. See? It has four legs, it has wings and it has a tail. There’s no way this is a bat, or even some strange type of lizard, lizards don’t have wings,” Kareena bounced from foot to foot, “Larisa, what else could it be? It’s a dragon.”
Larisa ran her hand through her hair, “Dragons don’t exist, this can’t be a dragon. I don’t even know if it’s real. This could be some elaborate prank you’re playing on me.”
The creature awoke, screeching in an ear piercing wail. Kareena turned to Larisa, “Does that sound like a hoax to you? The poor creature is in pain, we need to help it.”
“How can I help something I can’t see?” Larisa asked shaking her head.
As they were discussing what could be done to treat the animal, the towel started moving, thrashing around as if possessed. With one final hiss, it died. Larisa watched in fascination as the outline of a small, scaled creature appeared in the folds of the towel.
It was like nothing she had ever seen before. Lying before her was an animal right out of legend, a dragon. Beside it lay three green sparkling eggs, glistening in the glow of the fluorescent lights of the clinic.