They needed to get out of there. Riley quickly stood from the chair and ran, not noticing that the chair melted into the ground as soon as she took off.
“We need weapons. Like, lasers and stuff. Any ideas?” Riley yelled over her shoulder to Bruce, then looked to her side as the girl kept pace with her.
“I tried that. The lasers couldn’t get through the scales. My saber barely made it through.”
“What about shooting it in the mouth?”
The dragon let out a mighty roar, shaking the ground.
“I couldn’t get it to keep its mouth open long enough.”
“Really? Seems to always open up around me,” Riley called out.
“Me, too,” Bruce chimed in.
“Well, we need to do something. Any other weapons?” Riley asked, looking up at the descending creature. It was closer than they’d realized. “Down!”
All three of them fell to the ground just as the dragon soared overhead. Its long talons just missed the back of Riley’s head. She let out a relieved breath, then heard a scream. She looked up to see the dragon had Bruce in its claws as it landed.
“Now what do we do?” Riley asked. The girl’s shoulders hunched as they both glanced around them for something they could use as a weapon.
Except the lava river, this place had nothing. This was the worst place to fight a dragon. All it had to do was keep chasing them until they got tired, then blast them with fire breath or just stomp on them.
A thought struck Riley. “Wait. Where did you get your weapons? Did you bring them with you?”
“Did you miss the part where this is a dream? Where do you think I got them? Where did you get your chair?”
Riley shrugged. “I don’t know. Thought you did some kind of weird magic mumbo jumbo or something?”
The girl narrowed her eyes. “Mumbo jumbo? Magic? This is a dream. It’s all in your mind. You think, therefore it happens. You wish to be in Hogwarts, suddenly you’re in Hogwarts kind of thing.”
“Well, why can’t we just wish the dragon away?”
“It’s not our dream, and it’s not a dragon. It’s a dream wraith that was sent after Raz. Either the creature needs to be killed or Raz needs to wake up, but it can’t simply be wished away.”
The ground shook again, a large claw coming down in front of them.
“Split up!” the girl shrieked, and Riley felt her terror. It had gotten closer than they had realized, just missing the two of them.
Riley didn’t really process what she said, but she didn’t need to. There was a large dragon overhead. Her own survival instincts kicked in, and she ran in the other direction.
It was only after she had gone a few feet that she noticed the girl wasn’t by her side anymore. Since the claw had come down between them, she must have run the other way.
Riley partly hoped she’d see the dragon chasing the other girl but would feel like a complete dirtbag if it were. What kind of hero was Riley if she let the dragon kill the girl? She didn’t even know her name. Even though she wasn’t all that nice to her, Riley didn’t want her dead. That would almost make her the monster in this dream.
Well, she wasn’t going to be the monster. She wanted to be the hero. That meant she had to go back and save her.
But when Riley looked over her shoulder, she realized the dragon had turned…to follow her.
Well, Riley, be careful what you wish for.
She was back to being alone and chased by a towering, fire-breathing dragon. To remind her of just how hot it could be, a new spout of fire spewed forth from the creature’s nostrils.
“Riley, watch out!” she heard Raz yell from the dragon’s claws, and it sounded like he was nearly on top of her.
Riley looked up to see the dragon was nearly on top of her. It flew overhead and came down fast. She saw the flare from its mouth, the burst of fire coming toward her.
Riley dropped to the ground with an oof, feeling her skin burn from the flames as she skidded on the rocky surface. She was exhausted. How long had the dragon been chasing her? She felt like she had run more in the last fifteen minutes than she ever had before. She had to do something or this was going to be the end.
The dragon gave a loud screech of frustration, and Riley looked up to see that it swooped around to come back for her.
Okay, this is enough.
She had an idea. It probably wasn’t going to work, but there was always a possibility, right? So, don’t focus on the chances, she thought. “Don’t tell me the odds, kid.” She chuckled inwardly, thinking of the old Star Wars line. That was exactly right. She didn’t want to know the odds. She just needed to get it done. She needed that ray of hope.
Think positive. Keep thinking about a ray of sunshine. Positive thoughts.
I’m positive I’m going to die. How about that for positive?
Wait… Dragons lived in caves, so wouldn’t the sun blind them?
The sun broke through the darkness, and a ray of light struck the dragon’s eyes, blinding the beast.
The dragon flailed out of control before it plummeted to the ground. As it fell, Riley watched it reach for its eyes, as though to wipe away the pain. The light had already disappeared, but the remnants must have still been in the dragon’s eyes, each attempt to right itself thwarted by its disorientation.
It must have sensed the ground coming up quickly because it jerked its wings out wide in an attempt to steady itself and glide back into the sky. Unfortunately for the dragon, it was too little, too late.
It crashed to the ground, its back claws slamming first with a loud crack. If they were human bones, both would have been shattered, but the tough hide made it hard to tell how much damage was done to this monstrous creature.
The ground shook as it fell forward, slamming into the ground as it continued to slide with the momentum.
“Yes! Take that, you oversized lizard!” Riley yelled as the dragon continued to slide.
She wasn’t sure how long it was going to continue…until the claws she thought were shattered on impact dug into the rocky ground and slowed it to stop. Then it stood and looked at Riley, its orange, lizard-like eyes piercing into hers as it let out an angry roar.
Its chest heaved, nostrils flared with anger. If there was a way to know for sure that this dragon was furious, this was it. She didn’t think it could look more ticked off.
“Hi,” she said in a faux cheerful voice.
“What are you doing?” she heard the girl yell from somewhere over by the lava river, confusion and desperation in her voice.
“Don’t worry! I have a plan.”
“Um, Riley?” Raz yelled at her, still miraculously clutched in its claws. “I think you really ticked him off.”
“You should probably run.”
“So… Why aren’t you running.”
“I have a plan.”
She didn’t have time to answer as the dragon ran straight for her. There was only about a football field distance between them, but the dragon covered that quickly. She just stood there, waiting.
“Yeah, I have a plan. A dumb one, but a plan,” Riley mumbled as she took a step back, praying this would work.