The Dragon and the Princess

This short story is brought to you by this Reddit writing prompt. Thanks to ThreeDucksInAManSuit (hah) for this one.

My story deviates from this prompt and whatever.

Hope you enjoy.


Perseus, a large red dragon, stole a princess. He waited for months, scouting the castle in order to learn the patterns and regular behaviors of the dwellers therein. When the time was right, he found her on the ramparts, looking out across a moonlit land. It was predawn.

Later, he flew off with Beatrice to his mountain.

Beatrice asked, “You’re not going to eat me, are you?”

Perseus chuckled. “No.” He paused. “If I was going to, I’d already done it, no?”

They traveled up the mountain: the winding path offered a narrow, poorly-traveled walkway. It was at least narrow for Perseus. Beatrice had issue, though. She faltered a few times. Perseus nudged her back up with his wing. She smiled weak-like, terror scrawled all over her face.

“Don’t be afraid.”

Her best attempts to disguise terror were quite nil. “How do I know you are not going to let me fall and I tumble to my death into your jaws?”

He shook his head. “Trust me.”

The treacherous pass lead up the mountain. Early morning offered a morning glow. Despite her terror, the grandeur captured her attention in a way that made her forget — for a moment — a spike-toothed dragon took her captive.

She perked up. “I’ve lived in a castle most of my life. This view is more grand than any castle spire can offer!”

The green valley, lush with vegetation and wildlife, carried not only sights but smells. Wildflowers growing beneath the mountain face offered sweet scents.

She breathed in and sighed.

Perseus watched her. She felt this. She turned around and shifted, looking at Perseus.

“What is it? Why are you looking at me like that?”

He looked away. “Nothing.” He hesitated and began humming a tune.

She pushed her hands and turned her torso on the stone she sat upon. “I know that. What song is that?”

He was halfway through with his bass voice when her face lit up.

“The Willows and the Rain! Yes, I know that song!”

He stopped singing. “Hope my creaky voice didn’t scare the birds.”

Her face turned sad, eyes unfocused. “That’s the song I heard when I was young. When my —” She looked at him. “When the dragons came. They burned my village.”

“Yes.”

“You’re the dragon who saved my family and I.” She pointed. “You pretended to be burning things and ushered us to safety! When the other dragons were—”

Her voice trailed off. In the distance, birds chortled gleefully whilst crickets strung their tunes. Perseus breathed in through his nostrils. Embers glowed between his thin lips and in his belly. She looked at his immense, armored chest glowing with fire. A brief moment of anxiety flashed across her face.

“I followed you for five months. I made sure to stay near enough my scent would overpower human scent, but it wasn’t far enough sometimes.” He breathed out. No flames, to Beatrice’s relief. “Your brother chased me off with a wooden mace.”

He noticed her anxiety after a silence. “Don’t be afraid. My chest burns with righteous anger against my own kind’s actions.”

“My brother told me about him chasing a dragon off. He said he wasn’t afraid to die and felt so proud.” She laughed. “Ohhhhh my. And now he spends his fortunes on ale and company. In fact, he’s probably at it now.”

“After a while your lot moved to a city — a heavily fortified one. And now you are a princess.”

“Royal blood finds its way back to the throne room — as my father always said.”

“Where is your family now? Is anyone coming to rescue you?”

“What? Why?”

He looked down. She smiled and said, “You’re embarrassed.”

“I like the idea of a good parlay.” He looked quite bashful. “I’ve read books.”

“What? You know how to read?”

“Yes. We have our books. No human has seen them.” He blew a flame and a torch lit, attached to a crude, hollowed-out nook that acted as sconce. Down a little ways a gray and weathered bookcase sat, half-filled with books. They were piled willy-nilly, and some even had the audacity to lean, upright, against the inner bookcase wall. “And I have others, like these.”

“You are a strange dragon.

“May I come back and read your books? My father and brother do not permit me books, except those I steal in to my private room. I can read as well as any man.” She laughed. “Or dragon.”
“Why do they not permit you to read?”

“You see: A lady must be prim and proper, taking care not to dip her mental faculties into the wildes of stories long ago.” She leaned forward, gesturing with a finger. “I am a woman, yet I am not allowed to read fantastical, inferior books. Explain that one to me!”

“I can’t relate! I’m sorry your plight. It sounds dreadful, being told what you can and cannot do. If I were a human woman, I’d want to fight against that. I may not be as tactful as you may be, though.”

She nodded. “I find ways to sneak around it. It is infuriating.”

“This is my plight: I am a dragon. My kind likes flesh, yet I do not. I like berries, apples, and carrots. I choose this. And I myself am hated for who I am despite my choices. I am hated for being a dragon by all. Well, except some. But mostly all my kind, that is.”

She narrowed her eyes, looking at him. “In this we meet at one juncture. So be it! Albeit, we may have more in common than you think.” She pauses, wheels turning. “A dragon who is not like his kind and saves the hunted — I’m sure you’ve gotten no small hatred from your kind.”

“My closest friends abandoned me. To die. My brother attempted to kill me. I was badly wounded, and my scars prove this. My family — I’ve none, and my brother told them I died. I pretended to die. I lay there, in agony and pain, just to give him what he wanted.” He sighed. “One can die in ways more than being in a grave.”

“That sounds terrible. I’m terribly sorry to hear.”

“After the past six years, though. I would do it again.” He smiled. “I’ve made some friends along the way. People you rescue tend to remember. Such as yourself.

She looked a little lost in thought. “Well. I should be going.” She looked over her shoulder at the scenery. “I’m quite lost, here.”

His face fell a little. “Your brother, though. He will come and rescue you.” He nodded. “Yes?”

She gave a flat look. “Hah, him? He’d chase woman and ale sooner than he’d come find me. I could be gone a month and the fool wouldn’t notice.

“I see you two are on good terms. Good.”

She laughed. “My father is a different story. He’s so busy with his various projects and meeting with local governors. But he is protective of me. He’d be the one who ought not to know.”

“Doesn’t he remember me?”

She smiled. “He indeed does. We all do. Your kindness is not forgotten. But I have an engagement after lunch.” She shook her head. “I hate being late, especially to things I’d rather not go to. That means I get done quicker!”

He smiled. “I think we can arrange this. But I must confess my sadness at no duels, fights, or parlay with knights and little men with pointy things.”

She grinned. “Well. We can arrange that — for later.”

Perseus flew her back. He took the long scenic route — past the floodplains and where the rivers empties into the lake. By now the sun’s beams were shining as directly as they may. The warmth felt good on both their backs, cool breezes relieving the warmth.

“Drop me off here, on this glen. Don’t want to risk it. We may know you, but they may not know you are you.”

He reluctantly complied. He enjoyed her company. It was an ache in his bones, this loneliness, like a damp draft under a door that seeped under the door despite every measure to prohibit.

She smiled. “Don’t forget — your books. I need to read them.”

“What book you want? I’ll hide it later, in this area. You can pick it up later.”

“Some epic of some kind. Your choosing!”

He watched her walk onto the path towards the castle. It wound about a bit, until she disappeared behind thickets.

He flew up with a snap of his wings. He made himself as low to the treetops as possible, to best avoid being spotted. When he was quite some distance away he burst up and made a wide circle to the mountain.

Long after last light, he took his selected book and flew to the castle. He waited a bit for the change of guard and made his move. He shot up and tossed the book through the open balcony window.

Beatrice was sitting on her bed, looking out at the still, calm night. From her perspective, a shadow blitzed just outside the balcony. A book flew out of the darkness, sliding across the stone floor and onto a large, red ornate rug, with a slap and plop. She looked at it odd, picked it up and laughed out loud.

She ran to the balcony. Perseus was a dark patch between glittering stars in an even darker night sky. She lost track of him, although she surmised he darted off towards his large mountain.

Saving Daylight

Based on a Reddit writing prompt produced by user ifiufiweallfiforfifi. You can thank them for that one.

Enjoy.


As a child, I used to squint to see the sun. My uncle John lived out west, where the willow trees grow free and the fields grow as far as one’s eyes can see. In my case, four eyes. As a kid, you’d think you could see four times as far and be able to spot stuff your friends couldn’t. It didn’t work that way. But one can imagine.

While my sweet glasses didn’t really impart superhuman sight, the earth had other things i”n mind. Hot winds would greet us as my brother, uncle and I sat before a nice campfire underneath the dark night sky. The winds started a long ways out, running down the backs of mountains and licking up the heat from the baked earth would send us nice hot breezes. The slight cool to hot eviscerates the mind.

Uncle John asked, “Daylight is finnicky. I’d tried to save enough of it over the years and found it just got out. I think I’ve nailed it.”

He traveled for work. He still travels but not as frequent-like.Billy chided, “But you just follow the sun. The earth turns…” He thought, and he finished with a confident nod. “And then you just follow the sun.”

John chuckled. “It’s easier than that, Billy.” He nods. “I keep it.”

I asked. “What? Solar power?”

John laughed. “I guess you could say.” He rose and said, “Let’s go!”

We left the campfire and entered the shed. Billy and I were not quite sure what he was up to, and I later told Billy I thought he was up to his usual tricks.

This shed was rather large — room enough for any sort of things two boys would want to mess with. Uncle John sometimes required us not to enter when he was in there, such as when he had the saw going to make furniture. But he would be in there for a while, and the sometimes snapping-on of the power saw did not sound.

We snuck in when he was out in the fields and look everywhere. It couldn’t have been his motorcycle, covered with a nasty, dirty tarp. The rusty two wheeled bucket smelled like corner garage and had an old, abandoned spider egg sack on the seat.

John took us to a back room and opened the door. While the boards were thinly spaced, the walls had impermeable material behind it — that is, inside the room. When he opened the creaky door, the most beautiful, brilliant lightshow I had ever seen emanated from a couple hundred glass Masn jars. The light wasn’t solid — rather, to say, it sparkled and moved above black-sleeved jars, poking out at all angles it could.

He smiled, seeing the look on our faces. “Well, come on in. Just shut the door.”

We two filed in and rubbed eyes. The brightness was like a candle flame in a dark room, except everywhere.

Uncle John smiled. “I collect light.” Little beams danced across his face. “I’ve done it for thirty two years.

I walked up to a shelf. The shelves — two jars deep and single-high — were painted black.

“I’m fifty three.” He laughed and winked. “This has always been my fun. Especially with those goofy faces you both are making.”

He searched for a minute and picked up one. “Ah, yes. OK. This. This one is from Costa Rica.”

He handed it to me. It was very very white, with a faint blue.  It was quite warm in my hands.

“It’s hot!”

Billy came over and held it. He looked up at me and grinned, one tooth missing.

All the different jars represented different places he had been. They were organized by continent or ocean-area. Each produced their own, beautiful, different, unique piece of sunlight.“This is Alaska.” He pointed. It wasn’t as bright as Costa Rica, but had a calming warm color. In fact, every jar bled through paper in a slightly different hue. “Alaska is my favorite. I take off the sleeve whenever I want to go back to that pure light.”

He nodded and smiled. “Go ahead.”

The paper sleeve came off with a few gentle tugs, rubber band clasping tight. For a moment I got lost. The light was bright, beautiful, blue-hued.

Uncle John smiled. “If you listen close enough, you could almost hear the caribou.”

A cow outside the shed mooed. We all burst into laughter. Billy snorted, and I laughed harder.

When we left the shed I felt like I had arrived home after a long, long time. It was difficult entering the moonlit backyard. I later learned the term for this was Rükkehrunruhe: returning to normal life after a great, memorable event; the memory of the event fades, and one tries to prop it up in the mind as if to maintain the reality of it. The word was as foreign as the first time I entered the shed, and as familiar as when I entered the shed the next time and left.

Next day, Billy and I stayed for three whole hours. My concerned uncle found us there, thinking we had run off into the corn fields and got lost. Nope. Billy just wanted to see if Greenland’s light was actually green, and of course tangents found us out until we looked through every jar. Billy’s face was sunburned.

My uncle gave a face, and Billy replied, “Um, worth it!”

I love going to his house. I still go every summer. He is older now and his sight is failing him. His wife is in on his secret and tells him, now, what the colors look and feel like. When I’m there, I spout off to him what I think this or that jar looks like. I wheel him into the shed, close the door, and ask him, “What country?

He usually replies one of three: Thailand, Spain, or, per usual, Alaska.

Fine Pottery

Based off this Reddit writing prompt:

There is an entire society of people who locked themselves underground for hundreds of years, expecting a nuclear war. After centuries, they come out to discover the society has thrived without them.


They traveled hundreds — at times thousands of miles — to a compound secretly build in Kazakhstan. They ascended the rough terrain and approached the door, entering the mountain like animals being herded into a giant earthen barn.

Giliab and Ray stood at the entrance. Ray sighed. “I’ll miss the fresh air.” He looked at Giliab. “If only the world didn’t turn to nuclear weapons.”

Giliab offered a simple grunt. After a moment: “Yes… well at least I won’t have to deal with the children running off.”

Ray looked sideways at Giliab. “Huh?”

Giliab shrugged. “I mean, just won’t have to put them on one of those ridiculous leashes. Do you know how embarrassing that is?”

“Well. What color was it?”

Gilab’s brows furrowed. “Well, I think it was salmon.”

“Who was it for?”

“James.”

Ray blinked. “You needed to choose something he likes, Ray. That’s your first problem here.”

“I thought he liked Salmon. He really picked up on that color.”

“That’s your girl, Mary.”

“How do you know my children better than I?”

“You’re good with a lot of other things. Such as…”

Ray thought. Giliab frowned. “Such as?”

“Oh! Right. Helping save human kind.”

“I would think that being a good father had something to do with that, too. Right?”

Ray shrugged, grinninng. “Lets see if they survive.”

“Oh stop! That’s not funny.”

“Its OK, they don’t have leashes.” He waved his hands. “No rocky terrain to wander off to.”

A few moments passed. They stood, looking wistful-like.

“Well, come along now, Ray. We must be going. It’s only a matter of time.”

With that, the mechanical door sealed shut and their underground environment became their new world.

A few centuries later, the door shifted.

Some archaeologists were busy dusting away at a site. The door opened, and a few heads popped out of the entryway.

The archeologist near — his jaw dropped and duster followed suit shortly after.

The two men looked at one another and back to the kneeling man.

A woman’s voice sounded. “Timothy? I asked you a question —”

A woman mounted a hill. Her eyes traced from Timothy’s to where he was gazing. One man waved and smiled. “What on earth?”

“I’m terribly sorry to interrupt — whatever it is you are doing, here.” He looked up and the smile returned. “So, the earth didn’t blow up in massive nuclear war?”

The woman rubbed her forehead. “Wha?” Pause. “No. Wait, what?”

The other man piped up. “No bombs got dropped.” He made a shape, like a bomb. “A-bombs. Nuclear. Big boomers.”

The archaeologist shook his head. His mouth was half-open.”No.”

Silence. The other man shifted and sniffed. “Smells surprisingly fresh out here.”

“Lunch is cooking.” She gestured. “Well. You’re welcome to join us.”

He nodded. “Ah — right. A feast.”

Timothy sat back and blinked. “What is going on here?” He gestured. “That door — I thought that was a tomb.”

“We are from a group who gathered here to escape certain doom at the hands of nuclear-armed nations. Nuclear technology was developed. World War Two happened, you had the cold war, you had decades go by, nations rose up in arms and it seemed most likely that everyone was going to die.”

The other man piped up. “Did anyone die from nuclear war?”

Timothy shook his head. Shock and confusion plastered itself onto his face. “Not from nuclear war.”

The one man shrugged. “Ah. Good. Well.” He cleared his throat. “Hrm. At least we can come safely out now.”

His voice trailed off and his face fell. The other man explained. “We’ve been down here for quite some time. The Big Clock told us it had been three hundred years. It struck three hundred and now we are up here and nothing was obliterated.”

Timothy looked down. The two men, now stepped forward, were stepping on some recently unearthed relics. “Don’t say that too soon.”

One man looked puzzled. “I beg your pardon?”

Both stumbled through the quartered-off dig site. One closed the large door.

The woman turned. “Lunch is ready.”

The one man grinned and rubbed his hands together. “Well. Hope we are not intruding. We do love a good feast!”

“Our diet of vegetables and grains seems lacking sometimes. But that’s when you reach for the spices, yes!”

Hamburgers and hot dogs were the menu. The archeology team of about a dozen just kind of ate and chatted while Timothy and the woman stared at the two.

A man called out — at the end of the table. “Where did you find these guys, underneath a rock?”

Timothy and the woman answered at the same time. “Yes!”

The woman — Mary — spread word about what happened. Actually, she just said, “Guys, come over here. You will not believe this.”

Timothy chortled. “They broke my fine vases.” He shook his head. “Twelve hours!”

They explained what happened. They mentioned the door — which was simply a door-shaped rock. It was clearly a door of some kind but the team decided to examine the grounds before the door before attempting to open it. Excavating the door could harm what was in the ground.

The head of the dig, Morgan,  stood before the two, behind Mary and Timothy. He had both hands on either chair. “So — let me get this straight. You go into the ground and underneath these sands you have been living.”

They nodded. One chided, “Yes, yes. That is right.”

“Why?”

“Must we repeat ourselves ad nauseum?”

Morgan shook his head. “What?”

“Ad nauseum. Until I vomit.”

He made a face. “Nah, don’t please. Anyhow, can we come down and visit you guys?”

“I must warn you. We — down there — haven’t seen anyone else for a very long time.” He became excited. “You must try our root vegetables. So delightful!”

Mary shrugged. She looked up. “I think it’s a good idea. Three hundred years? I’m sure they got some exotic and old things to examine.”

Morgan’s mouth twisted. The idea hooked him. “Let’s talk about it more later. Might be good to finish up the old dinner ware Timothy is examining, yes?”

Timothy waved a hand. “Fine! Sure thing!”

Morgan, confused: “If you say so. Now, anyhow, perhaps tomorrow we’ll venture in.”

The team cleaned up and went back to work. The two from the underground dwelling walked over now broken pottery shards. One stooped down, picked up a mostly intact, small vessel, and nodded in approval. “Ah! Looks good still. Heh!”

With that, they entered from whence they came.

Midnight Sun

I stepped out beyond my father, my house, my yard into a brave new world. Charlie grabbed my hand and smiled, bright white pearls. “Let’s go!”

We meandered through moonlit prairie paths, wildlife outnumbering us a thousand to two  in the brazen fields. The deer gave little notice to us — young, beautiful, prancing beneath their hallowed moonlight. They did not even notice — or care — about us being there. This was their night and their time to wander out of their hollows — just like us two. The crickets, frogs, and owls all squeaked and strung their symphony beneath the milky mists and moon-limelight. I squeezed his hand.

We meandered through moonlit prairie paths, wildlife outnumbering us a thousand to two  in the brazen fields. The deer did not even offer an ear twitch. I felt we were the wild animals, outnumbered, wild-eyed.

Around people I’m actually comfortable. I’m actually outgoing and also enjoy a good book. However, I felt vulnerable — exposed in this new situation, to the midnight wild beasts. I looked at Charlie and I perceived he felt the same and brave. It made me like him a little more and love that we were out here, exposed, together.

A buck looked up from his grazing and met eyes with Charlie and I. I’m not sure if he meant myself or Charlie. He paused chewing for a moment, examined us, and continued his late night dinner. His head dropped and he continued.

We journeyed to the knolls where a rabbit stood on hind legs. The rabbit wriggled his rabbit nose, and he ran off behind a rock. A giggle burst out my mouth. He squeezed my hand and smiled from his kind, gray blue eyes.

I was beside myself. I forgot what being clammed in felt like for a few moments, out here on these fields. I was smitten. I was happy. I was beside myself.

“What’s up, Katie?” His smile fell for a moment. It wasn’t that it fell fell — it was still there, in his eyes. “You OK?”

“I barely go out.” The hot summer winds gently caressed rustling grasses. It was quite the noise — unsettling at first, but the longer I listened the longer I realized these unthreatening reeds offered a meditative, calming rustling. “Going out means doctors. Ever since my first bad burn, when I was seven.”

He held my hand with both hands. “I’m sorry to hear.”

His voice betrayed genuine care. By now, the crickets had almost all but silenced in these fields. Even those night owls took to sleep. “I want to stay up with you, Charlie.” A field mouse ran across the path. I looked east. “…but.”

The moon began its descending course. A slight lifting of the dark night canvass spread over the eastern horizon. “You’re pretty brave, Katie. You said you never saw an owl before, in person. But you didn’t flinch!”

“I want to stay.” I said. “I like it.”

Charlie opened his mouth, and hesitated. He breathed out his nostrils. “It’s like what my grandfather used to say.” He cleared his throat and mimicked. “‘You’ve got to take baby steps, son! Soon enough, you’ll one day be a hundred miles beyond — even before you realize it.’” He nodded, sage-like. “Baby steps. We all must take them. “Sonny.”

I laughed.

I reluctantly returned. We were talking quietly and laughing. As we approached the front porch, my guitar and case lay next to the bench. On the bench — my father, asleep.

Charlie and I said goodnight. I silently put my guitar away and went inside. White lights wrapped around the porch columns. I let these stay lit in case he woke up before dawn.


The above I wrote for a Wattpad writing contest #MidnightSun. The contest revolves around a movie named, well, Midnight Sun. Waoh.

This may make a bit more sense reading the premise.

Hope you enjoy.