In an effort to get myself back into a writing frame of mind, I dusted off one of my old short stories, polished it up a bit, and present it for you reading enjoyment:
Teasing the Humans
by Ryan Crown
The dragon glided along the air currents, only occasionally giving his wings a lazy flap. It was such a lovely day, not a cloud in the sky. The sun felt warm against his dark green scales. Days like this it was good to be a dragon.
Below him he could see the river. The humans had a name for it – humans had this strange need to name everything, something the dragon simply could not fathom. The dragon couldn’t be bothered to remember what they called it. Eventually the river would reach the lake. On the shores of the lake was a human fishing village.
The dragon caught a down draft that let him drop almost to the ground, and he skimmed across the surface of the river, picking up as much speed as he could, sending up a spray of water on both sides of his long, lean form. The contrast between the cool water splashing against his stomach and the warm sun on his back felt highly invigorating. It put him in the mood for mischief.
“What should I do to occupy myself on this fine day?” the dragon wondered aloud, frightening the local wildlife. As they did not speak dragon, all they heard was a terrifying roaring. “I know. It’s been ever so long since I visited the fishing village. I’ll bet they missed me!”
The dragon couldn’t help but smile at this. He hated to admit it, but he took an inordinate amount of pleasure from teasing the humans. They were just so frightfully serious about everything. Any time he’d wander past they’d start screaming and shouting and running around in a panic, and shooting their tiny little arrows at him, most of which never came anywhere near him. The rare one that actually found its mark would simply bounce off, so he never could quite figure out why they bothered.
Their reactions hadn’t ever made much sense to the dragon. Oh sure, he’d kill the occasional sheep or goat, but a dragon’s got to eat, same as anyone else. It wasn’t like he’d ever killed one of the villagers, and the one house he’d destroyed had been purely by accident. Surely they couldn’t hold that against him forever, could they?
Yes, the more he thought about it, the more he knew today would be a good day to tease the humans. He beat his wings faster, lifting up away from the surface of the water and into the air. He darted through the cross breezes, twirling and spinning, just enjoying the thrill of flight, feeling the power in his wings as they propelled him through the air.
Maybe that was why humans were always so serious. They were perpetually stuck on the ground, plodding along on their little legs. If only they could experience the joys of flight, the freedom of soaring above the clouds, maybe then they’d be happy and carefree, like he was. Of course, knowing how humans were, even if he did try to show one of them how joyous it was, they’d likely as not just start kicking and screaming. That’s just how those silly humans were.
Before long he could see the lake, and next to it the human village, nestled at the mouth of the river. He gave a loud, joyous roar as he dive bombed out of the sky. He’d dropped to treetop level just as he reached the outskirts of the village, and he skimmed just a few feet over the tops of the highest buildings as he made his first pass.
As expected, the humans immediate reaction was to panic, pointing up in the air and screaming, and rushing into their houses to hide. The dragon sailed over the village, then banked hard and circled back around to give it another pass. And look, there were the guardsmen with their little bows and arrows, right on cue! Maybe if he slowed down a couple of them might even hit him.
The dragon just couldn’t resist. He circled around and stopped himself over the middle of the village, just casually beating his wings, hovering above the village marketplace.
“Come on, men, here’s your chance,” he roared joyously. “Shoot the dragon, win a prize!”
And shoot they did, firing arrow after arrow up into the sky at him. Several of them even managed to hit him, the arrows bouncing harmlessly off his chest. If only they spoke dragon, he could tell them just how much fun he was having. He made another circle of the village, then winged away. Yes, that had indeed been a wonderful idea – it really was the little joys that made life worth living.
He floated along on the breeze, headed towards the mountains. Now that he’d had his fun, he was starting to feel a bit peckish. A nice tasty deer would just hit the spot. He scanned the forest, his senses focused as he searched for his lunch. He noticed a strange smell, and not a pleasant one. What was it? He inhaled deeply, and could just make it out. Ugh, goblins! Nothing quite so smelly as goblins. And nasty tasting – the dragon had only made that mistake once.
Curious to see what sort of mischief the vermin were up to, he veered off his course, heading towards the smell. And in no time at all, he found them. It was a large band, several dozen at least. They were just entering the corn fields outside the fishing village. The dragon passed high overhead, not wanting them to see him – not yet, at any rate. There they were, weapons in hand as they marched forward, yammering to each other in goblin.
The goblins were marching straight towards the village. And their numbers were great enough that if they caught the humans by surprise it would be a slaughter. Well, the dragon wasn’t having any of that! The humans were much too fun to have around to let them be slaughtered by a bunch of obnoxious, smelly goblins. Something would simply have to be done.
The dragon dropped from the sky, his wings pressed up against his body, roaring down towards the goblin formation. He pulled up several yards from the ground, unleashing a stream of dragon fire as he tore through their ranks. He grabbed a pair of them in his claws as he turned skywards, crushing their feeble bodies, then dropping them as he banked in the air and came around for another fiery pass.
Two bursts of dragon fire through their ranks was enough for the goblins – they scattered, fleeing towards the hills. The dragon smiled. A job well done. Not that the humans would appreciate it. More than likely they’d be too upset about their corn fields to pay any attention to the dead goblins. Okay, yes, his flames may have set their corn fields on fire, but he was sure they could save most of them. They were next to a lake, after all, so it wasn’t like they didn’t have ample access to water.
The dragon flew past the edge of the village as he returned to his search for lunch. He could hear the humans down below, screaming about the fire and the horrible menace that the dragon was. No appreciation at all. But that was to be expected from humans. Not that the dragon minded. For all their faults, the world simply wouldn’t be as much fun without them!