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Monday, 8 February 2010

The Hatchling

We got in from school, and I threw my bag and coat down in the hall as usual,and then ran upstairs to my bedroom. Ben had already got the DVD playing in the living room by the time I had reached the landing. You could already hear the loud American accents yelling “oh my god!” at some exaggerated wrestling manoeuvre. I reached my bedroom door and opened it, I didn’t even have time to take in what was going on as something sprung from my bed and was flying towards my face. I instantly screamed and slammed the door shut as fast as I could. My heart was racing and I was scared witless as I heard the thud on the other side of the door. It would have been quite funny if I wasn’t so terrified! I didn’t know what the hell it was, but it certainly wasn’t our cat Tammy, who hadn’t moved that fast since playschool! Maybe it was a rat? Can they jump that high? I had no idea. I’d been waiting for my bed all day, there was nothing for it, I would have to risk it and look inside. I grabbed the handle of the door and turned it as slowly as possible trying to keep the gap as small as I could but allow enough space to see what had just flown at me from inside. It was no use; all I could make out was a thin slither of my bed and the posters above it. There was no movement and no noise from the other side of the door. Maybe whatever it was had hit the door so hard it was knocked unconscious or even dead? I would have to find out one way or another. I just went for it.

I swung the door wide open in one fast movement. The thing on the floor was certainly still alive; it ran towards my bed emitting a tiny shrieking noise. It was tiny but still scary at the time! It was about the size of my pencil case and covered in red scaly skin, a long tale ending in a red point and wings much like a bats. As it jumped from the floor it spread its wings and rotated in the air to land neatly on the bed facing me. Its little black eyes were looking me up and down inquisitively. I’d seen enough! I slammed the door shut and sprinted back downstairs to get supplies. My parents were control freaks and Mum would make sure I wouldn’t have my ears pierced next month as promised if she found out about this. I’d have to sort it myself.

I didn’t think where it could have come from at the time, and in hindsight I guess I realised straight away what it was I was dealing with. In emergencies you don’t really do much thinking, you just sort of act on instinct. That’s why I went straight for the oven gloves – they were heat proof - and the welding mask from the garage. Oh, and the spatula. I know! You must be reading this thinking spatula?! But what’s worse than finding a dragon in your bedroom? Yeah. Running up stairs with a kitchen knife. So spatula it was. There I stood, armed and ready to deal with this tiny thing probably wreaking havoc in my room, left arm held aloft in the air with the spatula in a suitably threatening position, oven gloves on the right hand and welding mask protecting the face.

I opened the bedroom door. All my limbs seemed to be shaking uncontrollably with fear, the kitchen weaponry was doing little to steady my nerves. There it was, waiting for me on my desk, clear as day. A dragon. His little red face looked angry and his whole body was moving up and down as it drew deep breaths. I could almost make out my reflection in the little beady black eyes that were monitoring my every movement unblinkingly. I moved slowly into the room, my left hand still held high, my knees bent and the oven glove on my right hand. As I took my first step towards the dragon, it instantly took a step closer too. It was dangerously close to my brand new GHD’s on the edge of the desk and I was going to go crazy if it touched them. The anger at the thought of my potentially broken hair straighteners gave me a boost of confidence as I took another step towards it. The little thing held its ground this time, it spread its wings and its nostrils started flaring. I didn’t have time to react, I knew from instinct what was coming. It squeaked and exhaled, I closed my eyes knowing I was about to be incinerated where I stood. Nothing happened. I was still alive!

I opened my eyes and through the welding mask I could see the dragon standing there on the desk looking slightly confused. It was just looking at me, little wisps of smoke rising from its mouth and nostrils. With all its body it inhaled deeply, squeaking loudly as it opened its mouth. I raised the oven glove and spatula again in one of the worst forms of defence imaginable just in case. Fortunately all that came out were little smoke clouds. I took my chance and jumped towards it, right hand covering its body with the oven glove and pinning it to the desk. My straighteners were knocked to the floor in the struggle as I dropped the spatula and used my now free left hand to grab it fully. With the dragon now firmly secure in my arms I turned, scanning the room. I could feel the little body wriggling trying to get free, both its wings trying to force my hands apart. I would have to be quick. Where could I put it? The window was shut. Dammit! It would have been so much easier to have thrown it out the window and pretend I’d never seen it. Instead I ran downstairs, found the cat’s pet carrier and threw him in, locking the door of the cage as the little dragon flopped down inside.

Inside the cage the dragon was sitting with its little legs stretched out in front of it, its wings wrapped around its upper body as if to protect itself. They were like a red scale covered leather blanket. It wasn’t moving and was just sitting there looking slightly sorry for itself. I must have sat there looking at it through the welding mask for ten minutes as it sat there before the sound of my dad’s keys in the front door shocked me into action.

I picked up the cage and ran into the garage with him, the welding mask falling off behind me as I did so. I couldn’t think where to put it, but I knew I had to hide it. What on earth would my dad say if he caught me with this? Eventually, after much banging and shoving I managed to fit the cage inside the tool cupboard, just about getting the doors closed to fully hide the captured dragon. A little protesting squeak was all that came from the entrapped animal as I quickly ran back into the kitchen. My dad called out as he entered the house, “who’s been doing some welding then? And why on earth would they do it in the hallway?”

For more on my story check back here soon!

Story by Lucy Arnold - February 2010

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