Part 5: A Half-Formed Thing

The boy’s plan was as simple as it was foolish, which was to say: very.

“The dragon can pluck you out of the window with its tail!” he’d exclaimed. The girl had only rolled her eyes. As though she hadn’t asked the dragon if it could fly her far away before. Besides, that wasn’t the only problem. Even if it could, where would it take her?

“That isn’t possible,” she said, when it was clear the boy was still besotted with his idea. “But perhaps you could tell someone in your village about me.”

There was a pause, where the boy seemed to be considering her request. He was really thinking how he could find a way out of doing anything but that. For part of him wished to keep this girl and this dragon and this magic all to himself. At last, he spoke.

“Speaking of impossible things!” he said, voice loud and punctuated with a kind of drama she was unaccustomed to hearing. “I have explained before that nobody in the village believes in magic. Whenever I mention it, they turn a deaf ear. In fact, if I were to mention it again, they may truly send me to the asylum this time. And I could never see you again.” A gasp was her reply. He walked toward the dragon, looking up at her. “But I suppose, if you wish, I could mention you.”

She shook her head. “Oh, no. It is certainly not worth the risk.”

“We are agreed, then.”

They fell into silence. The dragon looked upon the boy’s face, scanning it for disingenuity, wondering if it were a mask, hiding something different. The boy met its eyes, and raised his brows in question. The dragon gave no response, or no inclination what it was thinking.

Before either girl or boy could start a new conversation, or offer any other half-formed plan, the dragon’s tail flicked toward the boy, and curled around his middle. The boy gasped, and cried out, as he was lifted off the ground.

The girl leaned over the side, shouting to the dragon to put the boy down, a panic she’d never knew she could feel rising in her throat, as it seemed the dragon was seconds away from flinging the boy through the trees ahead.

But, instead of doing that, the dragon stretched its tail up high, toward the tower window, where the girl stayed staring with wide eyes, and stopped. The boy hovered in midair, the tail around his middle the only support, as he came eye-to-eye with the girl in the tower, who leaned back, caution replacing the panic.

“Hello,” the boy said, a slight tremor to the word, hands gripping the tail at his stomach.

“Hello,” the girl replied, unable to even blink, just in case the dragon changed its mind, or in case she woke up from this dream. After a tense moment, the dragon leaned its tail closer, the girl moving further back into the room, and, only when the boy’s feet touched the floor of the room at the top of the tower, did the dragon retract its tail.

The new friends stared at one another, neither knowing what to say. The boy was still reeling from the feeling of flying. The girl was reeling because she could scarcely believe any of this was happening.

After a moment, the boy stepped forward. The girl remained rooted to the spot.

“So,” he said, his voice filling the space, “this it your room?”

And she smiled.

TO BE CONTINUED

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