|Snicker. The blog is named after him.|
by Valerie L. Egar
Sheriff Joe looked skeptical when he came in. He’d posted one of his deputies in the hardware store parking lot to watch for Melchinor and told the others to patrol the town. Shaking his head as he wiped his feet, he looked at Mr. Gibbons. “I’ve got to hand it to you, Mike. If you can explain this one, lunch is on me, next time I see you at the Grille.”
Meanwhile, Mom set out the coffee and a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Melissa and Jenna were still out looking for Melchinor. I’d debated about what to do with Ziti. Leave him in the dining room so Sheriff Joe could see how well behaved and gentle he was? Shut him in the bedroom so Sheriff Joe might forget him? After all the excitement, he’d curled up and fallen asleep in the corner, so I decided to let him sleep. I hoped he wouldn’t have a dragon dream and blow smoke from his nose.
Mr. Gibbons took a deep breath. “Sheriff, I discovered a lair of dragons at the top of Crenshaw Mountain a year ago when I was completing an ecological survey. They appear to be a new species and I suspect they came from Iceland.”
Sheriff Joe wrinkled his brow. “That’s a big discovery. Why haven’t any of us heard about it?”
“I didn’t want people to know. I love this town and the wilderness that surrounds it. Imagine what it would be like overrun with trophy hunters, thrill seekers, reporters. All of it would be destroyed in no time, and the dragons, too.”
“I’m not one for secrets, Mike. What about safety? Are people or livestock at risk?”
Mr. Gibbons shook his head. “No. In the wild, the young dragons are omnivores. They compete with bears for food: berries, roots, fish, whatever they can find. Right now, Melchinor is happy with dog food. When dragons mature, though, they’re nourished by negative earth energy.”
Sheriff Joe looked puzzled and I know I was. I didn’t want to interrupt, but I had to ask. “Are you saying they don’t eat food when they grow up?”
“Well, they do, but not physical food, like you and me. Do you remember learning about how trees use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and make oxygen?”
“We learned that in science. Trees use light, carbon dioxide and water to make sugar and in the process, give off oxygen.”
“It’s a little more complicated, but that’s the basic idea. Adult dragons seem to engage in a similar process. They absorb insults to the earth’s environment, like water and air pollution and heal them. Nature’s restorative processes seem to be linked to the dragons’ metabolic process.”
“Well, there’s not much to heal here in Maine,” said Sheriff Joe.
“They’re here in Maine because it’s pristine and safe. From that cave on the top of the mountain, they’re healing the whole continent and beyond.”
“Even the oceans? North Pole? Rain forest?” I asked.
“Yes, Terry. It’s why they were regarded as earth guardians in ancient times.”
“Hmm,” said Sheriff Joe. “How am I supposed to explain a winged beast, huffing smoke, flying around town?
“You won’t have to,” said Mr. Gibbons. “I found Melchinor, the dragon you saw tonight, wandering on the northern ridge of the mountain a few months ago. I assumed he was orphaned. Now that’s he’s reached maturity and can fly, it’s time to release him back into the wild.”
“And what about that one?” Sheriff Joe asked, pointing to Ziti, who was still asleep.
“When he matures, he’ll have to go back to the wild, too,” said Mr. Gibbons.
“No,” I shouted. “I won’t do it!” To be continued….
Published January 10, 2016, The Sunday Journal Tribune, Copyright 2016 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied or reproduced without permission from the author.