Short Story by Iris Carden
Isabelle glanced out her kitchen window and dropped the plate she was drying. Either she was hallucinating, or there was a dragon in her back yard.
Dragons didn’t exist, so rationally, she must have been hallucinating. Despite that obvious fact, she carefully stepped around the shards of shattered plate, and ran out to the back yard.
The dragon was huge. Well, it looked huge. Whether it was large for a dragon, she couldn’t tell, as she’d never seen any others to compare it to. Its sinewy body was wound around the mango tree, large front claws rested in the vegetable garden, one wing lay over the clothes line, and the other seemed squashed against the colour bond fence.
It was a sickly yellow colour, and its huge eyes looked quite jaundiced. It might have been ill. But then again, that colour might have been normal for dragons.
Once she was in the yard inspecting it, Isabelle realised she had no idea if dragons were the friendly beasts of The Neverending Story, or the vicious monstrosities of The Lord of the Rings.
The dragon lifted its head weakly, made a moaning noise, and dropped the head back down on its forelegs. Something that smelled like petrol dripped from the beast’s nose.
It was definitely ill, Isabelle decided.
What could she do? She had no idea how to look after a sick dragon.
“Do you need a drink?” She asked, realising it was unlikely she would receive an answer.
She found a bucket, and filled it from the back yard hose. Carefully, she approached the dragon, and placed the bucket on the ground near its head. A long tongue shot out and lapped the water just as a dog or cat would. The bucket of water went in two laps. Isabelle refilled it. After ten bucketfuls, the dragon put its head back down to rest.
“I suppose you need food, too.” Isabelle said, again not really expecting an answer.
What would dragons eat?
Isabelle decided she really needed an expert to take over. She searched online and found a phone number for a wildlife rescue organisation.
She told them she had a large lizard in her yard that appeared to be unwell.
The wildlife rescuer asked her to catch the lizard in a box and bring it in.
Isabelle tried to imagine how she would do that. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I really don’t think I can do that. Do you have someone who could come here to get it?”
There was no-one available to do a pick up until the next day. In the meantime, could Isabelle please keep the lizard warm and offer it a small piece of meat if it seemed to be hungry.
What would a small piece of meat be to a dragon? Isabelle looked in the freezer and found a leg of lamb. She defrosted it in the microwave, took it to the back yard and placed it in front of the dragon.
The dragon lifted its head, sniffed at the meat, and then dropped its head again.
Isabelle went through all the meat in her freezer, and found nothing the dragon seemed to want.
A couple of times through the day, Isabelle was able to get it to drink. She found that filling the wheelbarrow with water proved more satisfactory than using the bucket.
At nine the next morning the wildlife carer arrived. He was a young man, who came with a cat carry box. Isabelle looked at the box doubtfully, and told the young man that the lizard was too big for that.
Isabelle didn’t catch the young man’s name, but he reminded her of a comic book character, and in her mind she dubbed him “Archie.”
“It’s OK,” he said. “I’ll just shove it in. They tend to curl up.”
“Wouldn’t squashing it in a box hurt it?”
“Nah, lizards are tough. They can take pretty much anything.”
“Well, you’re the expert,” Isabelle said, and lead him through the house and out the back door.
Archie screamed when he saw the dragon.
The dragon, disturbed lifted its head, and breathed a massive blue flame over the young man, then ate him in two bites.
“Oh,” said Isabelle, “You wanted your food cooked, did you? Do you feel better after your meal? Are you still hungry?”
The dragon gently nudged her with its head.
“Would you like to meet my ex-husband?” she asked.
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