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brigits_flame week 1 April: Cliff

Prompt: Cliff
Word count: 787
Genre: fantasy/realism
Warnings: none applicable

Summary: Where did the dragons go?


"Tell me where the dragons went!"

"Are you sure, Annie? Daddy's feeling pretty tired and it's almost bedtime."

"Mommy said you would tell me."

"Oh, oh, all right then. But after this, you're going to sleep, yeah? Now, you know that the dragons used to live all over the world, right? All over the place, in the mountains and in the big plains. They used to hide in the caves and surprise prey that way. Some of them even used to spend their whole lives over the sea, flying forever and landing only once to lay eggs. Then they'd fly off again and make another lap over the oceans. I don't think sea dragons liked being mommies and daddies very much.

"There were some that liked the forests, but those ones were small. Bigger than you, though, Annie. A little bigger than me, which is very small for a dragon. These forest dragons would perch in trees and use the canopy to hide—they had brown and green wings, see. And then there were the sort of dragons which were snow-white, so that they could blend right into the snowy tundra. Those ones were the most fearless—they used to fight polar bears, and you know how scary those are. They were huge and had amazing wings, just like the sea dragons, because the tundra is so big and flat—you could probably fit twenty Annies on one!"

"Field trip, Daddy."

"Yes, if you could make an ice-dragon your friend, he could take your class on a field trip. At least where it was cold. They didn't like leaving their frozen lands. But I was saying—oh, there were so many dragons! Even on the slopes of volcanoes there were little ones. Humans like you and me got them mixed up with winged lizards. Dragons that lived in the tropics with silvery wings to deflect sun—if you looked at them too long you'd blind yourself, they were so bright. There were so many."

"Daddy…"

"There are more dragons. The only place we know they didn't like was the sea—the sea-dragons just flew over them, but they didn't swim in the sea except to get fish to eat. There were desert dragons that weren't afraid of wind and sand, and ones that lived in such rainy places that they even got close to being watery dragons…"

"But what, Daddy?"

"But then they began to diminish. They saw humans coming and had to leave when we fought them. Some of the dragons could breathe fire or blow down houses, but there were more humans, and the dragons retreated to where they could. All the dragons got mixed together. The tropical dragons that lived for monsoons had to fly next to big ice-dragons that took up all the space. Even the sea-dragons went along, because humans started filling the seas.

"Finally they flew away to a remote mountain chain which has no passes—you have to fly in. The winds are so strong and unpredictable and the air is so thin that our planes can't make it. The mountains there are a little funny, because they make a ring. They say that the inside of the mountain ring is like a perfectly steep, smooth bowl—you can't climb down. Like a bucket, Annie. It's a cliff on the inside. The dragons knew that this was their strongest shelter, because all of them, even the smallest, can fly and survive things that humans can't. If you want to meet the dragons, you have to climb up to the very top of one of the mountains where there's no air. Then—"

"Then what, Daddy?"

"Then you have to jump. There are dragons down there, but the only way down is to—to jump. The cliffs are as smooth as glass and just as hard as metal. And so far no one has dared, and so the dragons live in peace in their mountain circle. And now even humans have respected their claim and don't live around the mountains. That's where the dragons went, Annie. Nobody even knows what the bottom of the mountain circle looks like.

"Now, you really have to go to bed, or Mommy will have my head too. Tomorrow we have to get up bright and early to go to the aquarium, so—here's your teddy bear—say goodnight."

"Goodnight."

"See you tomorrow morning. Sleep tight."

"Daddy, can we go find the dragons?"

"I think they want to be left alone, and that cliff is too dangerous. But maybe someday when they're ready they might come out again to meet us—I don't know, pet. But it's bedtime. Goodnight, Annie."

"Goodnight, Daddy."


I am so sorry to perpetuate another HUMANS SUCK story, but I just love the dragons. :( Credit must go to Cornelia Funke's "The Dragon Rider", of whose idea is the dragons' retreat to the Himalayas. Her story is a true delight unlike mine, though.

Feedback and crit is always appreciated!

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
bluegerl
Apr. 8th, 2013 11:49 am (UTC)
OOOh lovely. This old person was once an Anne... Annie to some. She wishes she could have had a Daddy with such a lovely story to tell.
And I am sooooo happy that the dragons have somewhere to live all safe. Do the sea dragons and snow dragons live there as well??
In a land, called Honalee???
silverflight8
Apr. 8th, 2013 12:53 pm (UTC)
You even have a dragon icon! :D

I think they must all live together, the desert ones next to the sea ones and so on, though of course as a human you can't ever really understand a dragon...
keppiehed
Apr. 8th, 2013 02:07 pm (UTC)
Your story is a delight. I particularly like how you wrote it in all dialogue.
silverflight8
Apr. 8th, 2013 08:05 pm (UTC)
Aww, it's nice of you to say so. Could have done without the jumping-down-mountains bit though :p
bloodofareptile
Apr. 8th, 2013 07:38 pm (UTC)
That was a really nice read. :)
silverflight8
Apr. 8th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.
kathiann
Apr. 9th, 2013 01:04 am (UTC)
This was interesting. I do enjoy a dragon story.
silverflight8
Apr. 9th, 2013 02:29 am (UTC)
I love dragon stories too. Everything is more interesting with dragons! Thanks.
keppiehed
Apr. 11th, 2013 02:54 pm (UTC)
Your BF edit!
Hello! I’m one of your editors this week!

Let’s start with a line-by-line, with concrit to follow. Corrections are in brackets:


- Daddy's feeling pretty tired[,] and it's almost bedtime."

- "There were some that liked the forests, but those ones were small. “ones” is implied with the use of the word “those” and can be omitted, here and at other places in the story.

-"Finally[,] they flew away to a remote mountain chain which has no passes—you have to fly in.

-"Now, you really have to go to bed, or Mommy will have my head[,] too.

As I said in my earlier comment, I really enjoy that you wrote this story entirely in dialogue form. The idea of it being a bedtime tale gives a good context for this. It takes a clever person to be able to keep the interest of the reader with only spoken words, but I find that it is an art well worth acquiring as a writer; the physical attributes of Annie and her father and their setting are never once mentioned, but it did not detract from the story. Instead, I feel that by deliberately choosing not to focus on detail, you have enhanced it in the mind of the reader by allowing them to rely on their own imagination. You provided a good plot and the story took flight and the details of the dragons and their movements flourished. I am a huge proponent of this style of writing, be it in the form of dialogue or otherwise; by allowing the reader their own freedom to imagine, by not strictly controlling every detail of your own story to the nth degree, you have propagated interest and movement in a much more plausible way... by tapping into to work of each reader and making themprovide anything they feel relevant. At that time, it becomes a tipping point: providing extraneous details (Annie’s red hair or the quilt she was tucked under) might only serve to jar the vision the reader had conjured and detract form the story. You understand this in a way few writers do, in a way I seek to educate people about, and in a way I find sophisticated and understated. I applaud you and you get high marks from me for your style this week from me. Excellently done!
silverflight8
Apr. 13th, 2013 02:42 am (UTC)
Re: Your BF edit!
Thanks so much, keppie! Lots of stuff for me to think about, as always <3
cedarwolfsinger
Apr. 15th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
Editor
First, let me apologize if this edit is disjointed. I've got this open and also my Facebook page and every time someone shares I get a notification tone. I'm waiting for some folks to check in, so I am a bit scattered.

I really like this story. I have a few suggestions for changes. The first, paragraph 5, sentence 1 -- remove the word "ones" so it would now read "...but those were small...."

Also last line of that paragraph: change line to "Those were the most fearless dragons" (deleting "ones" but adding more words to clearly differentiate this "those" from the "those" which is connected to the polar bears later in the sentence.)

Paragraph 11, line 2. Your line is "but there were more humans". More humans than what? "...more humans than dragons"? "...more humans than ever before" or something to make it more clear.

Paragraph 15, line 1. I'd delete the word "too", so the line would now read "...or Mommy will have my head."

I really did enjoy this piece and the fact that you framed it as a bedtime story was awesome. I also love dragons, though mine appear to be different than yours.
silverflight8
Apr. 15th, 2013 10:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Editor
Thank you very much for the edit! I love the variations in how dragons are presented - there are so many different ones :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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