Here Be Dragons: Chapter 8

The smell of death and decay was all around her. It pulsated her, slamming into her in hot rasps and whistled as it struck. The whistling she knew, came from the air as it was breathed out in gasps from the large beast as it now held her up as it studied her.

The dragon had her in its claw and there was nothing she could do. The grip was like she was buried in iron bars as the beast was strong. There was no give as she fought to push and pull in the individual talons. No, the beast had her, and she had no way of escape.

It was now, only a matter of time before she felt the flame and was toast, literally.

She refused to look at it. She would not turn to look into those large orange eyes. She had seen them close enough with it had first brought her up to look at it, but the moment it had dropped her into its own claw, she had turned away. She didn’t want to see what was going to happen to her, either it be the flame, or those large teeth. Instead she kept her gaze on the lava river, wondering where Bruce was.

Then she heard him, and her perspective changed as the dragon turned away from the river.

“Come on you stupid…dumb bell.” Bruce called out to the dragon. It was obvious he had tried to think of some kind of insult. Unfortunately Bruce was terrible with them and ‘dumb bell’ was the best he could do.

Riley tried to call out to him, tell him to run and get out of there as there was nothing he could do for her. She was stopped short when she saw the glow of light coming towards them.

What was that?, she couldn’t help but think as the glow was racing in their direction. A flutter of hope blossomed in her chest, only to die as another raunchy breath exhaled from the beast, bathing her in stench.

Face it Riley, you’re out of luck no matter what that is.

The closer the shape got, the more she could see that it wasn’t just glowing. No, it was pulsating and making everything around it blur. There was a shape to it, but it was hard to distinguish as everything around the light was dark and black. Then she could see what it was. It wasn’t thing, but a person. It was a girl. She was wearing some kind of black suit and it was intertwined with lights. They ran along her arms and legs and across her torso and pulsating a light blue.

“Bruce, watch out, he’s coming for you.” Riley called out as the dragon moved to the caped shape that had taken up behind the rock Riley had been using earlier.

Bruce wasn’t watching them, or the other girl, the one in the Tron get up, as she approached them. He was hunched over and it looked like he was working on something. Whatever it was, he must have heard Riley when she called out to him, because he looked up and quickly registered the approaching dragon.

Riley couldn’t escape the image of a T-Rex coming down and eating live meat off the ground. She’d seen those Jurassic movies and always remembered that scene, though now she felt like she was living it. They were getting closer to the rock, and Bruce wasn’t moving.

“Sit tight boy wonder, I got this,” the other girl called out to Bruce. Then she jumped onto the rock, jumped up from it, using it to propel her higher into the air, until she was high enough that Riley could see her face. Well, not her complete face. She was wearing goggles, but Riley could see her wavy long red hair the large toothy smile as she extended a laser wand. The wand came slicing down on the dragon’s talons that had Riley and a moment later Riley felt freedom from her release.

It only took her a few more seconds than it should have for her to realized that her freedom also meant that she was falling. She landed, and it hurt. She didn’t know how she could hurt herself when she was in a dream, none of this was real, but her ankles cried out in pain.

She blacked out for a moment, not realizing it until Bruce had her. He was helping her run. She felt his arms around her back and could feel her own feet were under her, but they weren’t helping much as he was doing most of the work.

“Stop, stop, I can run.” Riley gasped to him.

“Are you sure? You took a nasty fall and your not wearing a rig.”

“I told you I can run.” She said.

“Come on princess,” the other girl said to the both as she ran by, now all of them running to get away from the hulking beast behind them.

Riley could hear it’s pained howl, then the loud crash and thump as it was coming behind them. Then a gust of air struck her, and she had a sudden feeling, like a rock had formed in the pit of her stomach, and knew that the dragon had taken to the air.

They all stopped, watching at the dragon was now high in the sky over head, swirling around them. It was up there, stalking them. They were trapped. They couldn’t go anywhere as the flying beast could now catch them wherever they would go.

Riley realized she was still being help up by Bruce and pulled herself away from him.

“Um, Raz, this could be a problem.” The girl looked at both of them, then pointed to Riley, “and who is that?”

Riley looked between the two of them. Bruce was looking up at the sky, watching the dragon, and so he didn’t notice the little bit of jealousy Riley saw in the girls question. Riley couldn’t say how she knew, it was something in how the girls stance chanced, a cock of her hips or a stiffening of the girls, back, but it felt like Riley had stepped in between something. She just wasn’t sure as to what.

“Raz?” Riley finally asked to break the silence, glancing occasionally up at the large dragon overhead, ensuring it wasn’t coming for its late night meal yet.

“Yeah, Raz,” the girl said, cocking her head towards Bruce.

“You mean Bruce?” That finally caught his attention and he looked back to both girls.

“What?”

“What’s going on?” the girl asked.

“Well, there’s a dragon,” he said matter-of-factly.

“I see that Sherlock. Who’s the princess and why is there a dragon?”

“Well, this is…” Bruce looked at Riley and she could see that he was unsure of wether or not he should introduce them or not. Which that made no sense. Why wouldn’t Bruce just come out and tell this girl her name? It’s not like she was hiding. Though Bruce was going by the name of Raz…

But this was a dream, right? So why should any of that matter?

“Raz?” The girl asked again.

“I’m Riley.” Riley said, holding out her hand to the girl. “I guess you could said that I’m handing out with Bruce.”

The girl looked shocked, her eyes going back and forth between the two of them. Her mouth had fallen open, and Riley was struck with a sense that this girl wasn’t lost for words much, but she was now.

“How do you know his name?” She finally asked.

“How far is the dragon?” Bruce said, glancing back up to the sky.

“I think we’re safe for now.” the girl said, not taking her eyes off of Riley now that they decided to stay locked on her.

“So who are you? How do you know Raz’s real name?”

“We’re in the hospital together, and he told it to me.”

“Wait, you’re in the hospital together. As in, you are still in the hospital right now?” “Yeah, we’re sharing a room.”

“So how did you get here?”

“He was having some kind of bad dream, and I just touched him to wake him up. Then somehow, poof, here I am.”

“Lol’s, no way.”

“What?”

“That’s just not possible.”

“What’s not?”

“You entered his dream without gear, Lols, that’s dangerous. You need to get out of here. You need to wake up.”

“I didn’t go to sleep.”

“You may not realize it, but you kinda did.”

“No way, I’d know.”

“Well, does any of this seem like its real. You’re in a dream princess, and you’re gonna get hurt.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“None of us will be when that decides to attack again.” Raz/Bruce said as he looked at both of them.

“No, no, none of this is making sense. When I got here, that dragon had Bruce-“

“Call him Raz.”

“Raz, okay, It had Raz, but this is all just a dream.”

“Yes, it had Raz, but it’s not just a dream. That thing up there, its been sent to kill him.”

“So wait, it can kill him in a dream.”

“If you’re in a suit, like me, you can’t get hurt, but Raz is being attacked in his dream.” The girl looked to Bruce who had been growing more and more pale as they had been talking about him. Riley guessed that he hadn’t thought about it during all this time he had been getting attacks, but now, he realized the level of danger he was really in.

This was too much for Riley too take in and she couldn’t stop herself. She sat down. Before she knew what she was doing, a chair suddenly appeared under her. When she realized that it had just materialized out of nowhere, she looked at it, studying that it was real and was now magically under her.

“Wha, this is all just too much.” Riley said, not able to stop looking at the chair, poking it to feel that it was solid.

“How did you do that?” the girl asked

“Give me a minute. This is a lot to take in,” Riley said.

“Yeah, well, I don’t think we have a minute, here it comes!”

She turned and sure enough, the dragon was diving down at them.

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