Chapter 7

Riley didn’t have time to think. She jumped to the side, hoping she could get far enough away to get out of the fire’s path. To her amazement, she didn’t need to jump far.

Where had this rock come from?

She scrambled behind it and crouched, watching the flames blossom around her. Had the rock not been there… Well, she didn’t want to think about it.

She needed a plan. No, she needed a weapon…or, better yet, an army. How did they do it in movies?

It was hard to remember all the movies and books she had read that had dragons. Sure, she had read more than a few where men and women battled the large creatures, but at this particular moment, she couldn’t remember a single one of them. Didn’t one of them have a knight who allowed the dragon to eat him just so he could stab the large creature through the roof of its mouth, driving the sword into its head?

It seemed like an excellent plan. There was just one problem. There was no way she was going to let that thing eat her, even if she did have a sword.

“Riley!” Bruce called, but she couldn’t deal with him yet. She still needed to figure out how to save him.

That was when she noticed the flames had stopped. Now there was a shadow stretching past the rock, and it steadily grew bigger. She had no idea where it was coming from, but she recognized the shape.

“Riley! Run!” Bruce yelled.

She jumped up and took a step away from the rock, then stopped herself.

Running wasn’t going to do any good. If the dragon released its flame, she’d never get away. Where would she run anyway? It was a dragon. It could fly after her. No matter how slowly it moved on the ground, she knew it would be quick in the air.

She only had one option. It was crazy, and there was no way this would ever work, but she had to try. She started bouncing on the balls of her feet as she watched the dragon advance.

“Riley, what are you doing?!”

She heard the fear in his shaky voice as she felt the ground tremble.

The dragon

How massive was this thing? She didn’t have time to contemplate. From what she could see of the shadow, the thing was nearly on top of her. She risked a peek over the rock, stifling a cry. It was right there, glaring down at her. She saw the orange orb starting to form in its mouth again and knew she didn’t have long.

She ran toward it, aiming at the gap between its legs.

The orb extinguished as soon as the dragon realized what was happening, and Riley watched as Bruce tumbled from its claws. She could hear the grunt as he landed, then he rolled away. In moments, he scrambled to his feet and ran, briefly looking over his shoulder to watch her.

The dragon now focused on her, which Riley barely had time to contemplate. She dodged as both claws came crashing down. She rolled, realizing just how bad this idea was. Her options were pretty limited, though, what with the river of lava straight ahead and an endless stretch of nothing in all other directions.

“Go, go, go!” she heard Bruce yell.

Riley agreed. She needed to go, but where? She barely missed being swiped by the beast’s claws. It swung its body around, trying to reach her as she rolled back and forth between its legs.

She saw a flash of red and felt an intense heat. She looked up and saw a spurt of flame shoot up from the river of lava. Hmm.. The only tool she had was the lava… Would that work? If she ran toward it, would the beast follow?

Then what? Was she just going to push the dragon into it? Yeah, that only worked in old cartoons. She remembered her dad showing her one of a coyote chasing a roadrunner…until the coyote ran off a cliff.

That was when her mom was still around. It had caused another one of her parents’ fights, her mom upset he had showed her such a violent cartoon. There had been a lot of yelling, then she was gone.

Riley hadn’t realized she had stopped until she heard Bruce screaming for her to move. She looked up in time to see one of the dragon’s huge claws coming at her. She had nowhere to go. The claws dug into the ground around her. She was trapped.

Published by JasonRDavis

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

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