Neither the girl, nor the boy could quite believe what they were seeing.
The former thought she must still be dreaming, and that if she even dared to blink, she’d awake in her bed, to the same sounds she was accustomed to hearing.
The latter was trying to understand the situation he was currently in, and where this girl had come from, and where she got her pet dragon, and if she lived in that tower all alone, and if maybe he could come up and ask her some questions.
The dragon made no move, or showed any sign that he noticed either of them, and continued to snore and dream of blue, cloudless skies, and a friend flying by his side.
A silence surrounded them all, like the inside of a bubble, where things are muted and shiny and brilliant. But it was broken by the boy when he shouted out, “Hello!”
As the echoes of his voice hit the girl’s ears, there was not much she could do to stop the tears brimming in her eyes. The first word she had ever heard spoken by someone other than herself. This was a monumentous occasion.
Her voice felt lost for a moment, but she quickly cleared her throat, for fear that he would run away soon, and shouted back, “Hello!”
“What are you doing up there?” he replied, soon as her echo had died. The sun was up high, and shining down, so she could make out very little from the glare that hit his head. But he seemed as tall as she was, and therefore must be near her age. If only she knew what her age was.
The boy, on his side, could see nothing save a hazy shadow, the glare being too bright. He shielded his eye, as he awaited her response. Perhaps he shouldn’t have asked such a crass question.
Before he could retract it, she called out, “This is where I live. What are you doing down there?”
The boy shrugged his shoulder. “I went out on an adventure.”
“Oh,” the girl said, her voice filling with a sort of melancholy. “That sounds wonderful.”
“It rather was,” he said.
“Was?” she asked. “Is your adventure over?”
He nodded, looking to the dragon ahead of him. “Yes. I came looking for some magic, and it seems I’ve found it.”
The girl straightened at his declaration. “Magic!” she exclaimed, squinting through the light. “You can see it?”
The boy scoffed. “Well, clear as the nose on my face. It is curled around your tower.”
“What?” She looked down, right at her dragon. “Surely you cannot mean the dragon.”
“But of course I do,” the boy replied, stepping closer to it, cautious. “Nobody alive today has seen one. Wherever did you get it?”
“Get it?” she repeated, incredulous. “I didn’t get it. It appeared one morning, and has been here ever since.”
The boy’s ears perked up. “That is strange! Suppose you would like some bread?”
The girl’s heart leaped to her throat. “How you do propose to give it to me?”
“Perhaps through the door,” he said. All the way on the ground, he could see her slump her shoulders. Never a good sign.
“If you find it, please let me know,” she said, and turned to leave.
“Wait!” he cried, coming nearer still. Closer to the tower, the sun was less harsh, and her form was becoming clearer. He could see her hair waving in the wind, the colour of an autumn breeze. “There’s no door?”
He watched as she shook her head, craning her neck around to see him better. The dragon was very close now, and its breath was tickling the boy’s neck.
“Not trapped, exactly. Only I have no way of leaving this room.”
“Because of the dragon?” the boy asked, which may not have been clever, as said beast was close enough to swallow him whole. Could dragons understand human language? He hoped not.
“Perhaps,” she said, adding, before he could interrupt, “As well as the lack of a door.”
“Yes, I suppose you are right. How very peculiar.”
The boy thought for a moment, considered his options. He had never been in a circumstance such as this before. And a part of him, it seemed, never though he would be. Because he found himself sorely unprepared, without a clue of what to do.
The girl felt similar, in that she had been dreaming of meeting someone for all her life, but now that this boy was here, she was unsure how he could help.
The dragon heard their conversation, and understood it all, and only wished that they would be clever enough to understand the problem together, and set it free.
After a while, the boy suggested he try to throw the bread up to the girl, who did not exactly want any bread, but she wanted him to leave even less, and so she indulged all his attempts, and laughed when the loaf fell back and hit him on the head.
The dragon watched, losing all hope.
TO BE CONTINUED