Friday, May 10, 2013

Temper Tantrum

Billy didn't mean it. He didn't want to think the bad thoughts, feel his anger grow and grow until he lashed out and then ran away. No matter his parents had spent so much time teaching him to control his thinking because there could be consequences too horrible to allow. But there it was in his head, and then there it was laying limp in the sand.

He poked at the water dragon's outstretched wing with a stick, and when there was no response he drew closer to tap at the yellowish patch of belly that lay exposed and turning pink from the sun. But the beast just lay there as if it were made of stone.

Billy's curiosity got the best of him and he dropped the stick and climbed on its back and whooped and hollered, pretending he was gliding through his kingdom under the sea. Full speed ahead and calling to his best and only friend to climb on and ride with him on this wild and new adventure. He steered the dragon dangerously close to those bullies who had hurt him, and then swooped by and left them behind. After awhile he tired of the game and crawled along the long neck to finally rest his head atop the water dragon's own. He yawned and closed his eyes, resolving to rest a little while, never expecting to dream...

Languishing in the kelp, the sea dragon rolled with the waves. Elakinah disliked being so close to the landwalkers domain, but this protected cove was the only safe haven as the storm surged and broke above her head. It had surprised her. She had played with the dolphins and followed them too far from her home in the deep, and when she tired she found herself a quiet place in which to rest. But dark clouds appeared and rained down a storm of hail, waking her from her slumber. Wind whipped up the sea and she rushed down, down, down as far as the shallows allowed, anchoring her tail round and round the biggest root she could find, while the storm gods raged above her.

She held fast. Waiting. Praying. Sparing her energy and letting all but her tail go limp. She became like a reed, swirling and bobbing underneath a roiling sea. Until the fingers of the gods reached down and picked up her anchor and threw it onto the beach, she along with it.

For awhile the sea pounded and pushed her farther and farther up the sand, but it surrounded her and crashed down upon her, and she praised the water as she inhaled the breath of life in each wave. Until the fury of the gods finally lessened and left her too far up the beach. She flopped around and tried to make her way back, but the heaviness of the land overwhelmed her. It drained her strength, stole her breath. She lay gasping against the sand, unable to move even the barest stretch of her wings. Unable to claw the sand to drag herself back to the water, back to home, back to life.

How long she lay there she did not know. The clouds parted and she felt the sun burning her skin. Even the sand dried up and grew too warm, the tide too low now to reach her. Elakinah said her prayers, thanked the Sea Gods for their grace, their love, and even for this new challenge. She accepted her fate and was ready for the cycle of life to end and then to renew. To take her life so that it could be given to another...

Billy awoke with a start, tears streaming from his eyes. He lay there on the head of the sea dragon, an emotion filling his heart like no other he had experienced before. So precious, so wonderful, so full of aching and longing, and he knew there would be no other feeling to match this one. He knew he would give his own life before he would let that feeling go.

He raised his head and looked about. The tide was far enough up the beach that he could see the tail of the dragon bobbing in the waves. He climbed down and went out as deep as he could and grasped the tail in his hands and waited. As a wave came up and under the belly of the beast, he watched for its recession and then pulled with all his strength. The sea dragon moved ever so slightly backwards. He waited again, and pulled again, and again and again until finally he was too deep and only able to hold onto the dragon's tail as it swirled around in the surf.

He was so tired and cold but the waves kept splashing against his face and making him cough and spew the sea water out of his mouth. He crawled up the body of the dragon until he was able to rest his own head above the water...

Pain. Pain so intense and so deeply felt that she could not move. How could it be that she was feeling the breath of life coming back to her? Coming back with the force of the tide now heaving her body far enough out into the water that she was surrounded by its healing touch. Even so she had too little strength and could not move any part of herself, could not stretch her wings out and down to pull her under. Something was caught between her shoulders and she could feel the weight of it. Like a rock, but all she could do was rest and wait and hope that the sea would bear her under and loosen whatever was there.

She pushed her head underwater and took a deep breath of the sea, taking it down deep into her lungs and absorbing it into every fiber of her being. She felt the water giving her life back to her, and started to feel the blood pulsing through her viens, her limbs, until finally she could begin to swim.

But she felt also something strange. Something not quite of her but still... It was something akin to her. As if she were walking on land and breathing not the sea but the air. And she thought, am I dreaming? How can this be? I am a creature of the deep, but here I am walking on the land as if I belonged here. Loving the sun as it touched and warmed my face, my wings, my legs. Not burning.

Elakinah felt a movement on her back and realized what it was. A landwalker. She remembered her death dreams and somehow it had saved her, and now it needed her help. She arched her wings and spread them out to keep from sinking, then stretched her legs down to claw at the sandy bottom and slowly, painfully dragged herself against the waves and back up the beach. Not too far but far enough. She let a wave roll her and the thing fell off her back. She reached out and grasped at it before the wave could take it back out into the deep. She crawled a bit more up the sand, hauling the landwalker up the beach until she dared go no further. She pushed and pulled at the limp body of the boy, passing it from backleg to foreleg, grasping gently with her mouth and nudging with her head, finally using her wingtips to roll it as far up the sand and away from the water as she could reach...

Billy sputtered sand and spit up water, choking and gulping for air. He felt drained, but through his stupor he heard a purring just behind him. The sound was reassuring. Even so, he didn't turn to look until he had crawled far enough up the beach that he didn't fear the water dragging him back into its clutches. When he finally did turn he saw the beast crawling backwards into the water, its head bobbing just high enough that he could see the deep blue-green eyes watching him. And he knew. As sure as he knew this of his own mother, he loved this creature and the creature loved him.

And he finally understood the lessons his parents had tried to teach him. We are one you and I, he thought, blessed be, my dearest dragon of the sea...

... and blessed be to you too. Landwalker.

<word count: 1414>

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

loved it.