Wednesday, October 31, 2018

All Hallow's Read Free Story- Maybe It Will Be Enough

I always try to put up free stories for Halloween as a way to honor Neil Gaiman's tradition of All Hallow's Read.  I hadn't done a dragon story in the past and this felt like the right mood for this year, so here is "Maybe It Will Be Enough" along with an ink illustration. If you're looking for more disturbing, gory, and scary, check out Literary Dust's "Bride of Glass" on Amazon here for free today, and you can get the first book in the series for 1.99 here

Enjoy your Halloween,  and don't forget to share your scary stories, and your candy, and your zombie teeth. 

Maybe It Will Be Enough

      To be chosen by a dragon, you had to give up part of your soul.
      They had to be fed. Fed a still bleeding, fresh human body. Dragons ate all meat they could, but only an offering of the highest sacrifice could make you a companion.
      And Tahann had cheated.
      She brought her friend. And some of his blood had to be drained from the pieces. She could not risk it soaking through the bag and touching her. Coming to the mountain wearing blood meant you were food. Every footstep and handhold was careful. An open scrape marked you as an offering in this place.
      For added insurance, her body had been dusted in the soft purple lavender powder, so much that a heavy breath made it visibly float off into the cold air. It masked the scent of carrying the dead, and the color was meant to show the dragon something calming. Tahann had never seen a dragon up close and had no idea if any of this mattered or if any of it was true.
     Her friend, Dahy, had died peacefully. More of poverty than the illness itself, which could have been cured with three expensive bottles of little round pills. The plan had always been this, but Tahann felt guilty still. Many had probably done this, or far worse, for the chance to befriend the creatures that snaked on the edge of the world’s darkness. Everyone wanted this. Dahy, too. It made her feel worse that fortune had ended his life and given her the chance. But this was always the plan.
She hoped it would be enough.
     It was almost midnight before she found one sleeping. Young, a male probably, as the horns were longer than she’d expected. He was coiled up, and even in the dark, what light her torch carried picked up his brilliant blue scales. His eyes opened. Tahann put down the torch to the ground and she could still see his gaze on her, gleaming in the shadows.
     Slowly, very slowly, she took the bag off of her shoulders. She put her friend down to the ground. Barely breathing, she pulled the string, one inch at a second, until he was in the open air again; a mess of limp and red wet pieces. His face no longer resembled what he was in life. It no longer resembled anything she’d ever seen.
     It was the arm the dragon moved to first and sat down with it, like a dog with a bone, and began chewing, sometimes stripped the skin and fat and muscle off to swallow. Tahann just watched. She had known this part, this gap between the sacrifice and the reward, would be torture. But it hurt so badly that she stopped caring if she was eaten tonight as well.
     Unable to stand it anymore, she reached out and touched the top of the blue dragon’s wide head. He was warm, unbelievably warm, just like the books said he would be. He paused for a second.
He went back to finishing off Dahy’s arm.
     Tahann touched his head with both hands. He did not shake her off but moved to caress his horns on her palms.
     It was enough. 
     They had done it.
     Tahann hoped Dahy could see, not from the dead closed eyes he’d been limited to, but from somewhere and something else. 

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