Chapter 6

Nope, this isn’t happening. There is just no way. It isn’t possible.

There was no way she was standing next to a fire-breathing dragon, a boy dressed in what looked like a Batman costume in its clutches, and yes, a river of lava a few feet from her.

Riley would have thought it would be hotter standing so close to lava. But there it was, flames shooting out of it from what she could only assume was explosive heat.

Nope. No, no, no. This isn’t possible.

After all, just seconds ago, she was in the hospital, using her crutches to hobble across the room.

No, this is just not possible.

“What are you doing here?!”

Riley looked back at Bruce, the dragon’s massive-looking claws clenched around his body. Bruce seemed relatively calm compared to the terrified boy she’d seen in the hospital bed. He looked worried, but not screaming in horror like before. Which was okay because Riley was sure she looked scared enough for the both of them.

“Riley, what are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here,” Bruce yelled, but it was hard to hear him over the rush of the bubbling lava.

“Bruh, you were calling out in your sleep. I was trying to wake you up,” Riley screamed.

“Wait… You touched me and it brought you here?”

Riley looked up at the dragon towering over them, a little put-off that Bruce didn’t seem at all concerned. Of course he wasn’t. Who was afraid of a huge dragon? A huge, smoke trailing out of its nose, teeth the size of small children, and pitch-black eyes dragon. Who would ever be afraid of that? Right?

“Um, Bruce?” She pointed at the dragon.

Bruce turned to look up as the dragon breathed deeply. If Riley had to guess, and she sure hoped she was wrong, it was getting ready to turn them into shish kebabs.

“I think we’ve just been invited to the barbecue,” Riley said, voice trembling.

“Yeah. Dinner for two.” Bruce studied the large creature.

“What do we do?”

Bruce snorted. “Some savior you are.”

Riley looked back at him and studied the suit he wore. Sure enough, a dark, bat-shaped suit reminiscent of the comic books. Though it was shredded in places where the dragon’s claws had dug in.

“Um, Riley…”

Riley looked back at Bruce. The dragon lifted him higher, its nostrils flaring with more intensity. The amount of smoke coming from them grew, now comparable to that of a chimney.

“Yeah?” Riley yelled back, helpless. She had to do something to save him, but what?

“Grab me.”

“Okay… Any bright ideas how?”

Riley spun around, looking for something she could use, growing frustrated when nothing jumped out at her.

Then it hit her. She was in a dream. Bruce’s dream. That wasn’t Batman gripped in that creature’s claws, but the kid she had just met back in the hospital.

So when she looked around and saw nothing but darkness just beyond the edge of her vision, she knew it was because there wasn’t a need to see into the distance. In dreams, there was only the immediate world around you. All the same, that didn’t make it any less disconcerting to look a few hundred feet away and see nothing.

Riley looked back up to Bruce’s grim expression, seeing him watching the descending open mouth of the dragon. Feeling the air around her getting hotter, she knew she had to act. She needed a rope, something she could throw up to him to pull him free. Unfortunately, Bruce was the one with the utility belt, but even if it had a rope in it, there was no way he could get to it.

Then, out of the corner of her eye, Riley saw something move. She looked down at her hands. Not only did she have a rope, she was already spinning it around to get momentum behind the throw.

Where had this come from?

She furrowed her brows. She had thought about needing rope, but…

Dream logic.

She was in a dream. She had thought about needing rope, and here it was. It even had a grappling hook like you see in movies. She guessed that would make it easier to grab onto something, but the weight would also make it easier to throw.

“Riley!”

Dang. No time to think about this now.

She spun the rope as hard as she could, looking up at Bruce. He wasn’t paying attention to her but to the glowing orb forming in the dragon’s mouth.

“Get ready!” she yelled up to him.

Bruce looked at her, doing a double take at what she held in her hands.

“Where did you get that?”

“Don’t worry about it. Just catch.”

She threw the rope at him, but he missed it. It flew past Bruce and bounced off one of the enormous teeth of the dragon. She started pulling the hook back, but it was already too late. The dragon looked at her, and she could tell that she had just ticked it off.

“Um, Bruce?” she choked out.

“Run!” he yelled, just as she saw the glowing orb escape in a blast of fire aimed at her.

Published by JasonRDavis

Author of the #zombie apocalypse trilogy Invisible Spiders and the Edge of Darkness series.

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