The second of the planets twin suns dipped into the ocean, which began to burn in colors red and purple. The darkening sky reflected this, as clouds danced across a firmament on fire. Sooleigh, alone from her village, sits outside the village walls on the cliff top watching the dragons fly. Dancing in unison against the setting suns. She doesn't move as she hears the heavy step of The Villous-Man approach.
Margaret leaned back in her chair and looked about her room. The mid afternoon sun streamed in through the living room curtains picking up the dust particles and outlining the many pointless ornaments that littered the room.
Margaret Summers, was one of the most successful and prolific fantasy writers of the 21st century. With 37 novels to her name, she knew what she was doing, and what she was doing was novel number 38.
Margaret learnt long ago the secret to good writing was just this – writing and plenty of it. So she always made a point to write a chapter a day. It was a lot by most people's standards, but Margaret never really had trouble writing, often it was the stopping that stumped her.
She stretched, deliciously content in a job well done. It was barely three and already her work was done for the day.
There was a knock at the door. Although expecting someone, Margaret panicked. Anything that forced her to face the outside world sent her into a cold sweat. Padding down the hall in her slippers, Margaret faced the door as if facing her doom. With shaking hands, she began to unfasten the locks, three, four, five. Then slowly she turned the handle and allowed the weight of the door swing itself open. The sunlight hit her like a sledgehammer and she was momentarily winded. Blinking, she held onto the door handle as if grasping onto a life buoy. It took her a few moments to register a presence on the other side of the door. But something spoke and Margaret was able to collect her thoughts enough to see there was a deliveryman standing in front of her
"Your groceries Ma'am"
Margaret stepped out of his path, letting him into her sanctuary. She kept hold of the door handle for safety as he deposited the boxes in the kitchen. In a matter of seconds he was done. It felt like a lifetime to Margaret. Just as the deliveryman was leaving, Margaret felt compelled to speak.
"Right, thank you. See you in a fortnight."
It was a triumph. She beamed as she began to barricade herself back into her home.
The dragons were disappearing. The Villous-Man had told her. But she didn't need The Villous-Man to tell her their numbers were dwindling. Their fire dance almost a memory, as their magnificent shapes disappeared from the night sky. Even the villagers were noticing. They couldn't decide whether to…
A scream disrupted Margaret's train of thought, but it was happening outside in that other world that didn't concern her. Before she could resume her writing, she heard another scream. A siren went off followed by the sound of running footsteps, doors slamming, a baby crying. Curiosity became too much, even for her and she moved to the window, twitching the curtain only a little, she peered out. What she saw left her gasping for breath.
What can only be described as rips in the sky, great gouges across the vista letting in colors of deep red and purple like some alien sunset. It was both terrifying and beautiful at the same time. Once over the initial shock, Margaret did what any sane woman would do in these circumstances; she turned on the TV, flicking between channels, desperate for information. No one seemed to know anything. They appeared, great rents in the sky, sometime after lunch. They didn't seem to be doing any damage, but what they meant was anyone's guess.
After half an hour of channel surfing, Margaret's curiosity had dulled somewhat and besides, there was still a chapter to finish.
The last of the dragons were gone. The villagers didn't care, didn't see the significance. The changes in seasons, in tides. Sooleigh alone amongst the villagers cared. The Villous-Man approaches her as she stands on the cliff top watching the now empty sky. "They are gone." He mumbles into his fur. She nods. "They need to return" "Yes" "You must bring them back" He looked at her for the first time "But how?"
Margaret was distracted. She shouldn't write distracted. But ever since the rips in the sky had appeared, she had left the TV on when she was writing, waiting for news. And today she got news
Dragons. Real, actual, live, fire breathing dragons in the sky. No one seemed to know for sure, but they appeared to have come in from the rips in the sky. They were flying high, doing this intricate and beautiful aerial dance.
She looked for a second at her computer, her story, the missing dragons, then shrugged, just a coincidence. It was almost funny really.
For a moment, Margaret wished she could go outside & watch the beautiful animals, but she would be content with the coverage on TV.
It seemed there were hundreds of them, these beautiful, magical creatures. Spread out over the country. Flying high in the atmosphere. Ignorant of the commotion below. They seemed to be dancing an intricate pattern, each centered below a red/purple rent in the sky.
What was also remarkable, the news reporter told Margaret, was the fact that, although spring, it had just begun to snow.
Sooleigh stands on the snow capped cliff top holding the amulet before her. "It is time" The Villous-Man shivers involuntarily "Can't you come with me?" For the first time Sooleigh looks the frightened 14 year old she is "I will be there when you need me" He takes the amulet from her shaking hands and places it tenderly around her fragile neck.
Then what? Margaret was stuck. She never got stuck. This was unnerving. For the first time in her life, Margaret had writers block.
She stared blankly at the page for what felt like hours and what may have been close to five seconds before abandoning her computer and beginning to pace the room. She began to talk to herself.
"Now Sooleigh has the amulet, where does she go?"
"Wherever the dragons are, obviously."
"Where the heck are they?"
"Down the street at the moment."
"No, seriously, another world, another dimension or another time?" Here she paused, weighing up the options.
"It’s all getting a bit science fiction…" And then, straining, as if out of practice, Margaret swears
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