down angle photography of red clouds and blue sky

4. Sky

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Flash Fiction February

Snelgorb liked wind. He liked the feel of it on his scaly skin. He liked the way it tickled behind his horns and along the ridges on the back of his head.

He liked things that made wind, too. As a youngling, he loved to just spin his sling around and around in front of him, just to feel the wind against his skin. Of course, inevitably he would be asked to “stop that!” and he would, and then the rock that was lodged in the sling would fly out, and usually hit his sister, Shodil, in the stupid nose. She would cry, and his mother would smack him in the head with a wooden cooking spoon. That would make a kind of wind, too. Just before the spoon thwacked against his skull.

One time, Snelgorb and a few of the packmates found something in the fields outside their caves. It was wooden, with two long beams at one end, and a sort of hollowed out area for carrying things in the middle. Underneath, were two large round things. The carrying-things part — which was sort of like an opened box — sat on top of the round things and if you held the long beams you could push the thing from behind. Snelgorb later learned these round things were called wheels, and the stupid villagers in the stupid town below used them to carry things — including people — from place to place. So, of course he and his packmates stole this wheeled thing.

They spent hours that afternoon and for days afterwards — until their parents learned what they were doing and hit them all in the head with wooden cooking spoons for being so careless that they could have gotten caught by the stupid villagers — taking turns racing the wheeled box thing down the hill with one of them riding inside. Frequently, they would hit a bump and the rider would go flying out of the cart, tumbling head over tail in the grass while the one pushing flipped over the top and landed on their back. Snelgorb even loved this part, because the feel of the wind felt so good on his skin that he’d completely forget about how much it hurt when they crashed.

When Thordak, the huge red dragon, came and destroyed the stupid villagers’ stupid village, Snelgorb’s pack cheered and celebrated by finding all the shiny things in the village and putting them in a pile for Thordak. He wasn’t particularly impressed, but he smiled and told the pack to come with him and they could take more shiny things from more stupid villagers and eat all their tasty food, too. Snelgorb’s pack had never left the caves. They didn’t know what was beyond the fields that they could see. But they knew that Thordak was big and red and powerful, and they knew that he hated the stupid villagers almost as much as they did, and so they agreed.

It did not go particularly well.

Most of Snelgorb’s family was killed in the fight against the stupid villagers. This village was huge, with stone walls, and they threw large rocks at Snelgorb’s pack and the others that fought with Thordak. The dragon burned them all up, of course, but not before most of Snelgorb’s pack was crushed by rocks or shot with arrows or stabbed with angry metal swords. Snelgorb hid most of the time this was happening. When Thordak found him after the fighting was done and the village was smoking, he let Snelgorb climb on his back. The wind dried Snelgorb’s tears and he screeched with pleasure as it hit him, racing past him like angry bees, faster and harder than he’d ever felt before. Even the beating of Thordak’s wings sent waves and waves of wind hitting Snelgorb’s face.

Until, of course, Snelgorb got a little too overconfident. He thought that riding on Thordak’s back was fine, but it would be even better to rid on his head. Then, Snelgorb could see where they were going and feel the wind on his face even more. The problem came as Snelgorb crept past Thordak’s ear-hole. It must’ve tickled, and the huge dragon shook its very large head. Snelgorb lost his balance and fell off the dragon.

As the wind rushes by Snelgorb’s body, he can see the silhouette of the dragon racing across the clear blue sky, majestic and mighty, off to destroy his foes. Meanwhile, Snelgorb is…nowhere. Engulfed in wind. With the ground getting closer every second. The wind feels good though, and he grins a large toothy grin as —

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