Eight year old Tanwen Argall had to go to the bathroom very bad. There was no use trying to think otherwise as her bladder swelled inside of her like surging water behind a damn. She could not show weakness however, for if Miss Aderyn caught her squirming she would admonish her with her sharp tongue or worse, her sharper lashing stick.
There were twenty teachers at Mesen Heights Grammar School and out of all of them Miss Aderyn was the worst. If her students were tiny pigeons all ruffled in their black uniforms then Miss Aderyn was a giant bird of prey who stalked the roost of her classroom like some wizened buzzard. She marched up and down the rows of desk, the footfalls from her heavy boots deafening against the hardwood floor and her shrill voice like nails against the chalkboard.
"Miss Argall!" The sudden outburst threatened to break the dam of Tanwen's bladder but she remained poised, clinched her thighs tightly together and looked her teacher straight in the eyes.
"Yes Miss Aderyn?"
"You fidget in your seat like a little worm, is it that you have to use the little girls room?" From behind her beak like nose Miss Aderyn regarded Tanwen with a smile that carried all the warmth of a blade.
"No Miss Aderyn." she lied, her bladder threatening to betray her.
"Speak up for yourself child!" Miss Aderyn chided. "You spend your class time daydreaming about your little dragons but you won't even raise your hand to ask a simple question?
There were muffled giggles from her classmates. Tanwen went bright red but it was true. Ever since she could remember she had harbored an intense fascination with dragons. It was their vicious beauty that attracted her so, their fierce yet graceful forms, but more importantly it was her envy for the creatures, how she wished she could spread her wings and leave Miss Aderyn and her classmates behind.
But her dreams, like the dragons themselves, were long gone. The Welsh skies would never reverberate with the beating of mighty wings again, no dragons roost would ever occupy the skyscrapers, and Tanwen would never fly away, forever grounded by the shackles of reality.
"Silly child," Miss Aderyn continued. "Dragons are disgusting, soddy creatures. A proper young lady should never entertain herself with such vile fantasies!"
Tanwen hung her head in shame, gutted by her teachers vitriol. "May I go to the restroom?" she asked meekly.
"What was that child? I didn't quite hear you." Miss Aderyn mocked.
Tanwen met the old buzzards gaze, her tiny hands balling into fist. "May I please go to the restroom?"
Miss Aderyn's predatory smile seemed to grow larger. "You may go to the little girls room to urinate, and next time watch your tone with me young lady."
Tanwen sulked up the row of desk towards the door, dozens of eyes burning into her back, none more cold than Miss Aderyn who kept her silence until was out the door and into the mercifully empty hallway.
The bathroom was at least a football field length away, plenty of time for Tanwen to lose herself in her thoughts.
Miss Aderyn liked it. Tanwen decided. She liked instilling fear and suffering into her students, probably makes us easier to control. There was a word for people like her: sociopath.
That's exactly what her teacher was, a mean and bitter sociopath who got off on tormenting children for whatever reason. There was a special place for people like her, a place where there's nothing but fire and you have to stay there forever and ever.
Tanwen entered into the little girls room.
The air inside was a little warmer, a faint lingering scent of disinfectant clinging to the air. Along with something else.
Tanwen wrinkled her nose. Underneath the hint of chemical smell there a subtle burning scent, like the whisper of brimstone against the fragrance of everyday normalcy. The bathroom was empty however, no one to bother her or report her back to class if she took too long.
Tanwen entered into one of the stalls, hiked up her skirt and thought of nothing in particular as she did her business. After peeing she wiped herself, flushed the toilet and was about to wash her hands when she noticed the dragon in the stall next to her.
It was perched atop the toilet, as big as a large dog with sinuous wings draped across its lithe form. Its body was covered in a thick coating of emerald green scales and two bulbous yellowed eyes regarded her with a keen inquisitiveness from its squashed, reptilian head. A kind of snorting chuff burst from its mouth in a wisp of black smoke that made Tanwen jump back in fright but the dragon did not move, its ancient and majestic eyes locked on her.
Her mind scrambled to find answers, each one failing to explain the impossible before her.
Maybe it's here to eat me…no, if it wanted to I'd be barbeque already. Maybe it's here to –
Take me away…
On legs that felt weak and rubbery Tanwen slowly inched towards the dragon. The dragon chuffed again, this time softly. She stared into those lambent eyes as she reached her hand out. The scales were rough and hot to the touch and as she stroked the creatures head she could feel the kindling of a bond taking shape. She scratched behind its ears, beneath its chin, the serpentine tongue lapping from its maw of razor sharp teeth as if it were an oversized puppy.
Tanwen must have been in the girls room petting the dragon an awfully long time because Miss Aderyn burst through the door.
"You filthy little girl!" she shouted. "What are you doing in there!?"
Usually one of Miss Aderyn's outburst would have unnerved Tanwen to her core, but now an ember of bravery combusted into an inferno of confidence and before she could stop herself the words spilled out of her mouth. "Why don't you come find out you old bitch!"
Miss Aderyn's face exploded into a mask of rage. She stalked across the bathroom like the giant bird of prey she was and seized Tanwen by the collar of her shirt with a talon like hand. All of her attention was so focused on disciplining the little girl that she did not notice the dragon until it was too late.
A stream of fire erupted from the dragons mouth, engulfing the old buzzard in a shroud of flames. Tanwen had just enough time to break free of her teachers grasp and watch the immolation before her eyes. The screams of Miss Aderyn were unlike anything a human should be capable of making but as the sweat gushed from her forehead and twin suns danced before her pale blue and frenzied eyes, Tanwen thought it was the sweetest sound she had ever heard in her whole life.