Short Story Saturday #4 – At all costs…

Welcome to Short Story Saturday, where I practice my skills in writing shorter fiction pieces. My aim is to get myself out of the habit of overthinking the prompts I’m given, and to instead just start writing.These pieces will likely not be polished or proofread, they will instead be posted “as is”, almost like flash fiction, though in many cases, a bit longer than the average flashfic.

Today’s story was inspired by the prompt: The world’s tiniest dragon must defend his hoard, a single gold coin, from those who would steal it.

The world’s tiniest dragon must defend his hoard, a single gold coin, from those who would steal it.

The coin is just big enough that the dragon can sit on it, or circle the whole thing in a few gallops if he needs to. Which is pretty often, since the Bad Humans are always trying to steal it, and they come from all sides. The Good Humans have given him a glass case to call home, decked out with cushions and a little stone castle where he can curl up at night, but for some reason, they can’t keep the Bad Humans away.

Still, he knows they’re no match for him. Whenever their fingers start reaching for his coin, he darts at them, a flame belching out of his mouth. They bare their teeth at him, grotesque grimaces on their enormous faces and tittering nervously, but they always pull away. After a few attempts like this, he perches himself on top of the coin and looks defiantly up at them, daring them to try again. They always make more noises at him, but they leave him alone, and he has a few minutes’ peace before the next lot come along.

He’s always a bit wary come feeding time, though so far, nothing untoward has happened yet. The Good Humans take him out of his box, and for that ten minutes or so, his hoard is completely unguarded. He’s tried to convey to the Good Humans that the coin needs to come out with him, but he hasn’t been able to make himself understood yet. One day, perhaps… and in the meantime, he just positions himself on the wooden table so that he can see it while he chows down on the pile of ants and bugs the Good Humans bring out for him. If someone does try to steal it while he’s not defending it, he thinks he could at least kick up enough of a fuss about it that the Good Humans would intervene.

There’s a particularly bad group here today. They’ve been standing around his box for a good few minutes now, tittering away like they always do. The rest of them seem to be cajoling the one in the middle of the group, nudging him around and pointing towards the dragon. The dragon knows from experience that these types are the worst; the provocation from its peers means it ends up trying to prove something, and it takes more effort to get their hands out of the box.

Finally, the one in the middle steps forward. His hand is three times as big as the dragon as he lowers it into the box. The dragon stands defiantly on top of his hoard, letting the hand come closer, letting the fire brew in his belly. It’s nearly on top of him when he lets loose. The flame barely touches the flesh before the Bad Human is yanking it away, bellowing, and stumbling backwards.

The dragon smacks his lips, and sits down, satisfied. Another day, another Bad Human who wouldn’t be troubling him again.

*

“Oh my god, that was so cute, did you see that?”

“Are you all right, George?”

The schoolboy who had just stuck his hand in the dragon enclosure shrugged. “Yeah, I’m fine, it only tickled. It was more the shock. I mean, did you see the size of the flame?”

“Its little face looked so furious!” gushed one of his friends, a girl called Sue. “All over a single gold medallion.”

“Well, to be fair, the medallion is nearly as big as him,” said a third member of the group, another boy called Sam.

They all looked down as a sound emanated from the dragon. It was a small, high-pitched noise but they realised it must have been a growl. The dragon was settling itself on top of its coin again, and giving them what might have been a steely glare on a larger animal.

Sue giggled. “Come on,” she said to her friends. “We’d better go before he tries to roast us alive again.”

Published by Emily Wrayburn

She/Her. Writer. Reader. Blogger. Hufflepuff. Theatre nerd.

5 thoughts on “Short Story Saturday #4 – At all costs…

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