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DRAGONE  9' An poor orphan girl's dream of traveling come true

Once upon a time a long time ago in a land far, far away lived a
little orphan girl named Michaela. She had been an orphan so
long that she could no longer remember what her mother or father
looked like.

Michaela lived on the streets of the town and she ate out of the
trash cans, eating the garbage that other people threw away. Her
clothes were in rags, so the children of the town made fun of
her appearance. So, she avoided them whenever she could. But the
children of the town, especially the boys, made fun of her more
and more.

Finally, she decided not to sleep in the town anymore. Instead,
every night at dusk she walked out of town and hid herself from
the boys in a strange looking jagged rock formation that the
boys called "the monster". Michaela never understood why, but
the boys were afraid to go near it.

Michaela, on the other hand, was happiest in the rock formation
because when she fell asleep there, her dreams were always warm
and pleasant. And when the boys found out that she slept among
the jagged rocks of "the monster" without suffering any harm,
they became afraid of her and stayed away.

One night a few weeks later, almost immediately after she fell
asleep, she dreamed that her body lifted off the ground and she
began flying through the air. As she flew higher and higher, she
circle the town. With the light of the full moon she could see
details in her dreams that she remembered from her travels
through the town earlier, like a discarded baby doll near the
school house, and a wrecked kite in a tree.

She could also see the few remaining fires in the town: the
blacksmith's burning embers, an open fire behind the saloon
where three drunks gathered to swap stories, and a few remaining
oil lamps that were visible through the windows.

It was then that she began to feel a chill as she flew higher
and higher. This was the first time she could ever recall a
dream where she FELT anything.

At this time, she noticed she was flying toward the mountain top
in the distance that still had a snow cap remaining. Now
Michaela knew why she was so cold. She was high above the snow
level in the mountains.

When she flew over the peak of the mountain with inches to
spare, she noticed a mountain goat below that turned and ran
from her.

When the goat was out of sight, she turned toward where she was
flying and saw the moonlight reflecting in ripples off the water
of the biggest lake she had ever seen.

"Ocean." said Michaela to herself, "That must be the ocean that
the adults in the town talk about. That's a lot of water!"

Then, suddenly, Michaela's flight turned into a dive. She felt
her stomach wanting to rise into her throat. But for some reason
she wasn't frightened at all of crashing. Though she was falling
fast, she was not closer to the ground. She flew just a few feet
over the tops of the trees until she arrived at the beach. Then
she leveled off and flew straight out over the ocean, just a few
feet above the waves.

The further she flew over the ocean the more the wind blew and
the higher the waves lapped up under her. She could hear the
white-cap waves crashing against one another. Then suddenly, she
could feel the cold wetness of ocean spray hitting her face and
neck.

Then, when she flew higher, she could see in the moonlight,
three oil lamps in the distance. As she flew higher still, she
could see the white sails of three sailing ships.

Michaela didn't know why, but for some reason, she was
frightened. She didn't know why until she saw the flag flying
from the closest ship. The flag was black and it had white bones
on it.

Immediately, Michaela began flying in a different direction,
back toward shore, she was flying faster now. Over the calmer
water, over the white sand on the beach, over the trees nearby,
up the mountainside, over the peak of the mountain, then diving
down the other side toward her home town. But, oddly, she didn't
land where she came from. Instead, she settled down on the other
end of the town.

As soon as she landed and settled down, she dreamed that she
fell asleep.

When she awakened it was morning. But nothing was the same as
when she went to sleep. The sun was up. She was still in her
hiding place among the jagged dark-green rocks, but everything
else was different. She was on the other end of town and she was
surrounded by all the people of the town. They were mumbling and
debating, even arguing with one another.

"Girl, are you responsible for this?!" asked the mayor.

"For what?" asked Michaela.

"Did you move the monster?" asked the Mayor.

"No." she replied, "It's solid rock! I couldn't even lift part
of it."

The mayor turned to the other elders of the town and said, "She
doesn't know."

"I don't understand." replied Michaela, "Have I done something
wrong?"

"This is an omen. I know it!" exclaimed the mayor.

"What is an omen?" asked Michaela.

"We're not going to get anything out of her!" exclaimed the
mayor, "Fetch the wise one."

"Here he comes!" said a woman at the edge of the crowd, "The
wise one is here."

The mayor motioned broadly with his arms and shouted, "Make way
for the wise one."

With that the crowd parted and an old blind man with a cane felt
his way to the front of the crowd asking "So, it's true, is it?
The monster has moved again?"

Taking the blind man by the hand, the mayor guide him close
enough to the monster for him to tap it with his cane.

"So, it's true!" the old man exclaimed.

"Is this a sign, wise one?" asked the mayor.

"Yes, it is!" exclaimed the blind man, "Where is the seer?"

"Where is the what?" asked the Mayor.

"The seer. Where is the seer?! Whenever the monster moves
there's always a seer. Where is he?!"

The crowd was silent for several seconds.

"Well?! Where is he?!" asked the wise one.

The mayor replied timidly, "The only one who was here when we
arrived was the girl."

"Girl? What girl?!" asked the wise one.

"The orphan girl." replied the mayor.

"I'm here." replied Michaela meekly.

"What did you see?" asked the wise one.

"Excuse me?" she asked.

"You're the seer. What did you see?" he asked.

"I think you have the wrong person," she replied, "I'm not a...
seer."

"Did you sleep on the monster last night?" he asked.

"Well, yes, but..." she replied.

"Did you have an unusual dream last night?" he asked.

"Well, yes, but..."

"Did you dream of flying through the air?" he asked.

"Yes. How did you know?", she asked.

"That was no dream. You are the seer!" he insisted.

The crowd mumbled. Noone, including Michaela, believed it.

"What you thought was a dream was actually what the monster saw
as he flew through the air" explained the wise one.

"But it's a rock! Rocks can't fly!" exclaimed Michaela.

All agreed, except the wise one.

"Those are not rocks around you. Those are horns and protective
armor plates on the back of the monster." he explained.

"You mean this thing is ALIVE?!" asked the Mayor.

"Yes," replied the wise one, "It's a dragon!"

Everyone in the crowd gasped and moved back from the monster.

"You mean, I've been sleeping on a dragon's back all these
weeks?!" asked Michaela.

"Yes. You're the seer for the dragon. What did you see?"

"I... we flew over that mountain peak..." she began as she
pointed.

"Toward the ocean", interrupted the wise one.

"Yes, we flew out over the ocean and saw three sailing ships."
replied Michaela.

"There was a full moon last night. Were you able to see the
flags on the ships?" he asked.

"Yes, it was black with white bones" she replied.

The crowd mumbled.

"A skull and crossed bones?!" asked the Mayor.

"Yes." she replied.

"Pirates!" exclaimed the Mayor.

The crowd went into a frenzy. All of them began to talk, and
noone was listening.

The mayor raised his arms and shouted, "People, listen to me!
The pirates are coming to pillage our town as they did more than
50 years ago. Prepare for war!"

All the towns people turned and ran toward town, then scattered
in all directions. Then there was quiet around Michaela and the
wise one.

"Are you sure about this?" asked Michaela.

"What do you mean?" asked the wise one.

"You're telling people to get ready for war just because I had a
dream last night." she explained.

"If it was just a dream," replied the wise one, "how do you
explain the moving of the monster to the other side of town?"

"Oh." replied Michaela, "I guess I can't explain it."

Suddenly, the ground began to shudder.

"What was that?!" exclaimed Michaela.

"You'd better hold on, now." explained the wise one. "The
monster is about to show you how he did it!"

With that, the monster rose up on four legs, unfurled its wings,
flapped them twice, then he began flying. Though she had been
warned, Michaela was not ready for this. She fell backward and
then wrapped her arms around one of the horns on the back of the
monster and watched in amazement that such a big beast could
fly.

Michaela had read about monsters that fly, but she didn't
believe they were true. But here she was flying on the back
of... of... a dragon! Yes, that's it! She was riding on the back
of a flying dragon!

She soared and circled over the town before heading toward the
mountain peak in the distance. Higher and higher she went. Then
she felt the same cool air she felt last night while dreaming of
flying.

"I saw what the dragon saw, so I must have felt what the dragon
felt!" said Michaela to herself.

"That's right." replied a woman's voice.

Michaela turned her head in all directions as if on a swivel.

"Who said that?!" she asked.

"You should know by now." replied the dragon.

"The dragon? The dragon... is a female!" she exclaimed.

"That's right." replied the dragon, "Hold on tightly, I'm about
to dive toward the ocean."

With that, the dragon folded back her wings and dived in what
seemed like a free-fall toward the big blue ocean ahead. The
roar of the wind was now deafening in Michaela's ears.

She lean beside the dragon's neck and shouted, "How can I hear
you so well when the wind is so loud."

"I'm not talking to you with my mouth," replied the dragon, "I'm
talking to you with my mind."

Michaela shouted "You mean I can hear what you're thinking?"

"Yes," replied the dragon, "and I can hear what you're thinking.
You don't have to shout."

Michaela closed her mouth tightly and closed her eyes and
thought as loud as she could, "Can you hear me now?"

"Yes," replied the dragon, "but please keep your eyes open. I'll
need your eyes when we battle the pirates."

"We are going to battle the pirates?!" shouted Michaela, "I
mean..."

Then she closed her mouth and thought, "Are we really going to
battle the pirates?"

"Yes," replied the dragon, "And there they are."

The dragon's wings began to flap faster. Michaela raised up
slightly and received a face full of ocean spray before seeing
the white sails of the three pirate ships in the distance.

"What can I do?!" asked Michaela, then she silently added, "I
don't know anything about fighting."

"I need you to watch my flanks." replied the dragon, "Do you
know what that means?"

"I think so," thought Michaela, "You want me to watch for what
you can't see.

The dragon was now just a few feet from the first pirate ship,
she began to breathe fire at the sails of the ship as she past
by. When Michaela looked back she saw all the ship's sails on
fire.

"I guess you don't need me to fight. Without sails, those ships
won't be able to get to our shore." thought Michaela.

The dragon was now just a few feet from the second pirate ship,
she began to breathe fire at the sails of the ship as she past
by. When Michaela looked back she saw all the sails on fire.

"Two down, one to..." Michaela's thoughts were interrupted when
she saw two large puffs of smoke coming from the third pirate
ship off to her right.

"Wo!" she shouted.

Suddenly, the dragon flipped upside down and dived toward the
ocean to avoid the two approaching cannon balls. But Michaela
was not holding on. She fell off the dragon's back and was
headed for a salt water bath.

But as soon as the cannon ball passed by, the dragon dived again
and positioned her body so that Michaela landed on her back.

"I'm sorry I didn't warn you." thought Michaela.

"But you did warn me." replied the Dragon. "Remember, I can see
what you see."

Then the dragon swerved and dived to avoid another cannon ball
that Michaela was looking at. But this time, Michaela held on
and didn't fall off.

She looked back at the first two pirate ships which were now
completely covered in flames as all the pirates jumped into the
sea. The dragon maneuvered quickly to catch up with the cannon
balls that had missed them earlier. She plucked two of the
cannon balls out of the air with her talons, then turned and
flew back toward the pirate ships.

As the dragon flew higher and higher and higher, Michaela asked
"Why are we flying so high?"

"The last pirate ship is firing cannons at us," explained the
dragon. "so we can't get close enough to burn their sales. So,
we'll have to stop them another way."

With that, the dragon, now flying high above the third pirate
ship, let go of the two cannon balls. The heavy balls dropped
faster and faster until they hit the ship. They broke right
through the deck of the ship, through the lower decks and
through the bottom of the ship. Sea water immediately filled the
ship like a geyser. And within minutes the ship sank from under
the pirates and they too jumped into the ocean to save their own
lives.

"Nice work, dragon!" thought Michaela.

"Nice work, seer!" replied the dragon as she turned back toward
the shore.

When they got back to town, the dragon landed, folded its wings
and went to sleep, waiting for the next time she was needed to
save the town.

Michaela was now the town's hero. She was no longer homeless.
Every family in the town wanted to adopt her. She accepted their
meals, but she preferred to sleep where she always had pleasant
dreams: on the rock known as THE MONSTER.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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