Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dragon Mountain (Part 2)

Snicker. The blog is named after him.

       by Valerie L. Egar

     When Melissa told me to "bug off," it wasn't the answer I expected. I thought telling her that Ziti had a "very long tail" would tip her off that I had a baby dragon. Instead, she was annoyed I'd disturbed her and it made me mad.

    "No wonder you're always alone on the playground!" She looked at me. "I'm trying to tell you something."

         "What?" She wasn't smiling, but at least she was listening.

          It was all or nothing now. After all, I'd told Mom, my sister and best friend I had a baby dragon and they all laughed. I had nothing to lose with Melissa. "I have a baby dragon. Everybody thinks he's a dog."

           Melissa's eyes widened and she looked around to see if anyone was listening. "Let's go outside."

          We sat on a bench under an oak tree outside the library and I told her what I knew about Ziti: how we'd adopted him from the shelter, that his tail was long and strong, how sparks flew from his mouth when he was excited.

          "And smoke comes out of his nose sometimes?" she asked.


          "But unlike pictures of dragons you've seen, he has fur, not scales?"


          "What kind of sound does he make? Does he bark like a dog?"

          I thought about it. He didn't woof when someone came to the door. He snorted and huffed when he was excited and now and then he yelped, but it sounded weird.

          "Mom says he's not exactly a watch dog. He doesn't bark. If I close my bedroom door and he's on the other side, he snorts under the door until I open it."

        "Dragon. Definitely a dragon." The way she said it sounded bossy, like she was telling me something I hadn't already figured out on my own. I wasn't sure I liked it.

            "How do you know?"

          Now, she got prickly. "You're the one who said you had a dragon. I'm just telling you you're right. How did you know to ask me about it?"

            "Ms. Quirkhorn. I asked her if she had any books about what dragons eat and she asked if I had a baby dragon. I told her I didn't, but she told me to talk to you. Is he going to get a lot bigger?"

            "No. He's a new species, Dragonae Minaturus. He'll be about the size of a collie."

            "How do you know?"

            Melissa paused. "I have a dragon, too-- Melchinor." Then, she added, "It's a much better name for a dragon than Ziti."

            I shrugged. "I thought he was a dog. How did you end up with a dragon?"

            "Dad's an ecologist studying the upper ranges of the mountains. He discovered a lair of dragons in the caves up there. Melchinor was orphaned, so he brought him home for me to raise."

            "Wow. That's big news, Melissa. Dragons, a new species. Your Dad's going to be famous."

            "No!" She said it so fiercely, I was almost frightened.  "No one can know about the dragons or their habitat will be ruined. They'll get captured, studied, put in zoos. The mountains will be overrun with hunters who want a trophy dragon for their walls. The dragons are a secret and Dad plans to keep it that way."

            "Did I hear someone say 'secret'?" It was Mrs. Tufts, the town's big mouth. I know it's not nice to call people names, but even Mom says Mrs. Tufts is a nosy gossip. We didn't know how long she'd been listening, and there wasn't a secret in the world that was safe with her.

                                                        To be continued……

Published in The Sunday Journal Tribune, October 25, 2015. Copyright 2015 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied or reproduced without permission fro the author.





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