Zeshan Ashfaq

Death By Dragon

His hide was so incredibly black it almost seemed to absorb the light. It was so intensely dark it seemed dense. Though how a colour could be dense...

It was an amazing sight, seeing this measureless black glimmer draw towards me, seeming to slowly grow until it took on definition enough to actually have a discernible form. Once it did, it was suddenly falling right at me. Then, it became clear what it was. One would normally say he fell like a stone, but not stone could ever be that beautiful. And he was beautiful, though beautiful as a raptor bird is beautiful: a deadly beauty. His claws gleamed darkly in the sun, curving wickedly towards me. His hide seemed to make the air around him grey with chill. His wings swept back straight behind him, letting the wind slide off them like oil on water. His jaws gaped at me, the tongue lashing at the dagger-like teeth. His four powerful limbs arched towards me eagerly. And suddenly my mind realized what was happening: there was a dragon diving in attack position at me!

He shot sharply down. And suddenly I became aware of the fact that he was screaming in blood fury. He was in a killing rage. It occurred to me that I should be mortally afraid. The cold light of reason told me I should be running in terror of my life. But instead I stood transfixed by the wondrous sight of this dragon, a dragon, coming for me. I could do nothing but stare at this improbable beauty.

Time abruptly dropped to a crawl. I suddenly had the leisure to notice tiny details: I could see my distorted reflection in the great black dragon's claws. The massive drake was racing tiny drops of his own spittle to earth. His tail arced around between his legs at me and there were many vicious spines curving from its terminus. His claws curved at the precise angle that would most easily allow them to all plunge into a body between them, but then curve inward in such a way as to prevent their clean removal. Whatever he caught would not be released in one piece. And I knew suddenly that I would not survive this deadly beauty.

And suddenly his wings unfurled, and those claws were no longer racing towards the ground at my feet, but straight into me. As the blades of his claws sank into my flesh, neatly parting the tissue before them, I truly realized how pain felt. I could feel every nerve that was pierced and shredded with exquisite acuteness, but even more remarkably, I could actually feel the claws sliding past the nerves to either side. I could feel where the outer layers of my skin folded inwards around the entry wound, being dragged inwards along with each piercing claw. Every single sensation was sharply defined and individually significant. I felt each one as a distinct locale for sensations, and experienced them all with intense clarity and perfect awareness.

And then those wicked blades stopped, sheathed in my own body. And I felt myself lifted suddenly into the sky. The air swept past us loudly. The monster's wings beat in powerful strokes up, up, into the heavens. He screamed his triumph to the clouds and let his tail whip out behind us. His claws tightened inside me slightly, getting a firmer grip, and suddenly it seemed as if my body had decided that these intruders should not be there, and decided that these interlopers were unpleasant. I screamed, finally, in the most endless agony I had ever experienced. And as though the sound had shattered its lethargy, the first note reached the air and snapped time back into normal speed. The wind of our passage whooshed past my cheeks, and forced my eyes shut from tears. Blood oozed from my mouth and then whipped by my face, separating into tiny droplets that vanished behind us. The same came from the new orifices in my body, streaming away behind us in thin ropes. I screamed piercingly into the rushing air before me, until suddenly I choked on a strangely viscous liquid that burbled up from my throat. It spewed out thickly from between my lips in red blobs that splashed over my chin and cheeks and vanished where the ropes from my chest any belly were going. My vision filmed over with a red mist and the world shrank exclusively to the hollow cylinders of agony circled around the claws piercing me. And then even that, too, faded, and I slipped into a comfortingly velvet silence, and my very self was warped in warm blackness.

The End