"Uhmm, Jane? There's a dragon in the living room." Cait's voice
resonated with the perpetual tremor of nervousness that had developed in
the past year.
Jane didn't even bother to raise her eyes, intent on the computer
screen. "I know, her name is Ashlee. We live with her. Remember?" Her
fingers typed a rapid fire sequence on the keyboard in reply to a friend
online, her mind comfortably in the rational world. A rational world where
sometimes it seemed nothing made sense, but that is the way of things.
Cait's face lost some of her fear and grew indignant. "Not that
dragon. I know her. I mean a real one. You know, wings, scales, claws?" A
microexpression of amusement flashed across Jane's face before settling
into pity. She wondered what to do with Cait, who had either finally
cracked from the stress, or at best totally lost her sense of timing with
jokes. Her muscles relaxed, she put an away message on her computer, slowly
stood, pushed her way past the taller girl, and headed for the kitchen.
She froze, stopping short and making Cait trod on the back of her
heels. There was a dragon in the living room. A smaller beast than one
would expect from proper movie effects, but even a small beast lying on the
delapidated couch watching television was surreal enough. It was a hideous
creature, rather like the western european conception dragon, rather than
the eastern or south american vision. It had a body the height of a
slightly short woman, but was topped off with a foot long neck and a wide
flat head and a crown of horns. The skin hung in drab wrinkles of mottled
olive green, turning to a greyish color at the base of its bat-like wings
and horns. Claws, long and pointed like an old woman's knitting needles
forged of iron emerged from limbs knobled like an osteoarthritis patient's
and wrapped around a small black television remote. Small mean yellow eyes
shown in the darkness, intent on the movie of the week. A few feet away lay
a facedown cellphone, carelessly tossed aside. A strangled cry rose out of
The two girls took one last glance at the horror in their dormortory
before fleeing into Cait's room for a council of war. But a few last
sinister details registered. The dragon's evil little eyes were outlined in
black paint, its lashes made more pronounced with heavy mascara, and worst
of all, the lips surrounding a mouth of uneven, pointy and yellowed teeth
had been touched up to a deep antique plum.
"Believe me now?" Cait's tone had grown decidedly snide. Jane's was
hardly more pleasant. Cait flopped on her bed, deciding which stuffed
animal to cling to. A teddy bear was tossed aside for not being squishy
enough. She looked like a college student with the eyes of a three year
"Sure, hold it against me to not believe the impossible." Jane
paused. Debated stealing a stuffed animal herself. "Do we get to feed Sarah
"And have it die of high blood pressure?" Cait's response was that of
habit. A cream colored stuffed rabit was pushed away.
"You would have said it if I hadn't."
"Well, yeah." Jane grinned. "Besides, I was right, the dragon is
Ashlee, looks more like her personality now, though. Doesn't she."
"Well, only she and Sarah would wear make up like that. And Sarah
would be watching wrestling. Besides, that was Ashlee's cell phone."
"But. I mean, that's no proof. Ashlee never watches her phone or
anything. Just leaves her shit all over. A medieval monster wasting crops
would be less of a slob. But I guess it's still a valid point. I conceede
the wrestling. So assuming mythical monsters don't have keycards or
sketeton keys. What are we going to do?" Cait hugged a potbellied purple
and jade stuffed dragon to her chest. It looked nothing like the living
oddity outside. Nor did any of the other cute, or at least friendly,
dragons inhabiting Cait's room. "I mean, the knights are long gone. And I
bet they were assholes anyways." She glanced at the faerie knight on her
calander. Looks arrogant alright, she thought in passing.
"Hit her hard?"
"That would be therapy, but not helpful."
"Sounds good. Glad I already had dinner tonight. But this isn't going
to make 8:30s fun."
"She might be quieter."
"Yeah. Right." Cait snorted.
They stood in the hall, on opposite sides of the entrance to the
common area. Their bookbags were held at the ready, over their left arms
and blocking their bodies, 'with your shield or on it' style. Hardly
Spartan warriors, they held such weapons as could be found. Cait held a
hardwood walking stick in her right hand, looking for all the world a poor
parady of Merlin. She clenched it with all her might, knuckles pale and
figers white with strain. Across from her, Jane held a heavy computer
science book in her right hand, ready to use it as a club if necessary.
After a silent count to three, the two rushed out and ran for the
door. With their miserable luck, a commercial came on the television and
the dragon's eyes wandered. Catching sight of her appartmentmates trying to
sneak away unmolested, she bellowed, a nasal battle cry painfully
reminescent of Ashlee's voice, then charged. The girls froze a moment,
rabbits caught in an open field, but as a razor sharp claw descended on
them Cait twisted her staff and managed a passable block, with that extra
moment Jane heaved her book at the monster's head. They headed for the
door, praying the television would recapture the beast's attention before
it could attack again.
Safe outside they took a moment to crow. "Your aim is so much better
than mine!" Cait told Jane, meaning to make a larger compliment than she
actually did, for Cait's aim was notoriously bad. "Sorry you lost your book
"I'll get it back while she watches television. What about your
"I'm sure I will be back from class in time to retrieve it from the
kitchen before she moves her lazy ass."
Another discussion took place that night. "Having a dragon out there
really isn't that bad. So long as we make sure we leave while a decent show
is on we should be fine. Even able to cook."
"We have to get rid of it. We can't live with it."
"I said that about a week after we moved in."
"It was different."
"I prefer physical attacks to the verbal. And we don't have to listen
to her sing."