You wake up in a field with this note on your chest. Tell the story…
A dream? Was that what it was? A dream? How can a dream seem so real?
Glancing around the field not for the first time I wondered how I got here. The last thing I remember was walking through the woods on my way home. I had been told many times not to walk there because of the legends. For years people would walk in only to reemerge years later. There was the next question. What year was it? I glanced down at the paper I clutched in my hand. “Come now, Alice. It’s only a dream.” Only a dream. Did that mean what had happened before I ended up in this field, or what was happening now? And what or who was Alice? All questions that would only be answered, I suppose, if I tried to figure out what the hell had happened.
Sighing, I pushed myself to my feet. First thing first, was I in one piece? Nothing seemed to be broken. I wasn’t bleeding anywhere. The only thing that hurt was my head, which was pounding like a freight train was running through it. Shading my eyes, I looked up at the blue sky and the blazing sun that was doing nothing to relieve my headache. Now I was higher, I could see that the field I was in was surrounded by a forest. Behind the trees was a ring of mountains with jagged peaks covered in snow. I turned, following the high peaks with my eyes trying to find a possible escape. When I found none my panic started to set in. A long mournful howl sent it in over-drive. Great. Wolves.
Stuffing the paper the back pocket of my jeans, I decided that the middle of a field was not the best place to be. I needed to find cover before the wolves found me, unless it was too late. Before I could move, a very large shadow moved over me. Since there had been no clouds in the sky when I last looked, that could only mean something very large had just flown over. Not really wanting to look yet unable to stop myself, I looked up into the sky. Aside from the sun it was empty. Shaking my head at my own overactive imagination, I began to jog towards the wood. I was halfway there when the shadow once again passed by. The grass around me flatten and my hair whipped around my head as a gust of wind almost knocked me over. Okay, overactive imagination was one thing, but that was too much. This time I did not look up, I just ran faster. I wanted the cover of the trees before I stopped to see what it was that was taunting me.
Once I was in the tree line, I took a moment to catch my breath. Once I was able to stand up straight, I took a deep breath for courage and turned to look back in the field. It was as empty as I had left it. Frowning, I carefully moved to the tree that was closest and looked up in the sky. Once again it was empty. “It’s only a dream.” Well, if this was a dream I did not like it. Hopefully I would wake up before something ate me.
Another howl filled the air followed by a second. Great. They were calling in reinforcements. I needed to find shelter and build a fire so I would have some sort of weapon against the wolves. I turned to make my way deeper in the woods.
The wolves are not your greatest adversary here, a voice rumbled through my head.
Suddenly the trees around me began to creak, threatening to snap in two as another gust bombarded me. Grabbing my head, I crouched down, trying to make myself a smaller target for anything that might fall from the sky. When the wind stopped, I slowly lifted my head. Again I was alone, but I had had enough. Something else besides the wolves was here, and it was big. Very big. Time to stop dawdling and run. Before I could take a step there was a loud thud that shook the ground. Putting out my hands for balance, I tried to keep my feet. Once the shaking stopped, I waited for it to begin again. Once I realized the earthquake was over, I took a step.
Little human, do you really think you can hide from me? the voice rumbled through my head again. Apparently the idea amused whoever it was because I could hear laughter in its voice. I wasn’t sure what worried me more. The fact I was hearing voices, or that it called me human.
“Who are you?” I whispered out loud.
The voice chuckled in my head. Why don’t you turn around and find out? it smirked.
The one thing that irritated me the most was when someone was laughing at me. I had never done well with it as a child, and as a young adult I was even worse. All my life my classmates had made fun of me because I was different. I could see and do things that they could never understand because they were ‘normal’. Where there were times I wished I were normal, the ability to hear other peoples’ thoughts, see their intentions, had saved my ass more than once. Aside from my parents, there was only one person I trusted with all my secrets and that is because he came to my rescue more than once. Unfortunately, John was not here this time. This time I was on my own.
You are never alone, little human. You will always have those who will protect you with their lives. Except for maybe now, the voice mused. This time you must prove yourself to me.
”And who are you?” I asked not really sure I wanted to know.
Turn around and find out, the amusement back.
Closing my eyes and tightly fisting my hands, I did my best to pull back my fear. I was not helpless. I had my ability and years of training. I knew there were those who wanted me and had prepared to fight back with everything I had. I just had thought John would be with me. He always had in the past.
The past is the past. This is the present. Turn around and face your fate or run like the coward we believe you are. It is your choice, the voice rumbled. I could hear the shrug in its voice. It did not care either way what I did, as if it already knew the outcome. Well I was no coward.
Opening my eyes, I unclenched my fist, took a deep breath, gathered my wits and powers around me and turned around. What stood in the middle of the field took the fire right out of me. Oh…my…god!
Standing proudly in the middle of the field on standing on all fours with its wings extended out to the side as to emphases just how huge it was, was a gigantic purple dragon. The smooth scales shimmered in the sun, telling me that there was just more than the color purple in its hide. The huge leather wings flexed, bringing my eyes to them as if that was what the dragon wanted. They too shimmered, but what drew my eyes were the talons at the top of the end knuckle, large enough to gut anything that tried to attack the thing.
I am not a thing, it snorted, steam coming from it nostrils.
At least two stories high with those talons on his wings and more on its feet, I realized calling a sentient being a thing was probably not the best of ideas. Neither was fighting it, which it had insinuated it was there for. To test me. As she stared at it realized there would be no running away from this creature.
Another howl, only this time it was a course of many wolves. The dragon settled its wings onto his back and settled its belly onto the ground, his muzzle slowly swinging back and forth as it look around it. They come. It looked at me. You are running out of time, little human. Make your decision.
“What decision?” I asked stepping out from the cover of the trees.
Whether or not you will be a pawn or if you will fight. The howls became more frantic as they came closer. Hurry, little human. They are coming.
“Who is coming? I don’t understand,” I yelled in frustration taking a few more steps closer to the large beast. “What do you want from me?”
The dragon regarded me for a moment before saying with a tone that echoed in my head and sent dread throughout my entire being, Your life.
Copyright 2016 Heidi Barnes
This a FWF prompt from Kellie Elmore’s website Magic in the Backyard.