Written by Blue-Eyed Devil
“You know, I’ve never really got Halloween,” he said to himself, trundling down the street. Packs of squealing children ran wild, with worn-out adults trailing after them like old sheepdogs herding baby sheep. Scratching absent-mindedly at one of the patches of dead skin that afflicted his face, half hidden by an unkempt beard, he continued chattering away to himself.
“Kids spend their nights terrified of the monsters under the bed and in the closet, but once a year they dress up as little monsters and go around knocking on doors, demanding candy. Trick or treat, they say. What is that? Is it like the saying: your money or your life? It’d make sense; I’ve never once seen one of the home-owners give them a trick.”
If he noticed that most of the adults were steering the kids as far away from him as possible, he did not show it.
“Or maybe they’re just worried about getting egged? Kids expecting sweets and getting a show of someone pretending to pull their thumb off might very well get peeved. Or maybe they’d use toilet paper? Or rocks? I’m not sure what kids throw about these days but -”
“Who’re you talking to?”
He jumped, making an odd yelping noise as he did so, when he heard the little voice, wondering for a second if his mind had actually started talking back to him. But it was just a little girl, all dressed up as a little princess. The tiara that was loosely placed on her head wobbled a bit. She tilted her head to the side in her curiosity.
“Talking to? Me? No one. Who else is there?”
The girl shrugged, not offering any possible answer. Noting that she was alone, he looked around for someone who seemed like they had lost something but could not see anything of the sort. Itching his neck, he looked back down at the little girl.
“What are you, a princess?” He asked the question to fill the silence, since she did not appear to be in a hurry to leave. She nodded enthusiastically.
“Yup! What are you meant to be?”
At first, he was taken aback. He was homeless; he was not out knocking on doors for candy. But the happy look on the girl’s face stalled him from telling her the truth. Still, he didn’t really feel like lying to her either…
“Me? I’m a dragon,” he pronounced. The little princess look at him, scepticism etched onto her small face.
“You don’t look much like a dragon,” she proclaimed.
“Don’t I?” glancing down at himself in confusion. His tattered old coat and holey clothes did not exactly scream dragon, he realised. “So… what’s a dragon supposed to look like?”
The girl thought to herself for a moment before answering, tapping her chin with a chubby finger.
“Well, they’re big. And scaly. With long, sharp teeth and really big wings,” she told him, stretching out her arms to emphasise her point. “But the most important thing of all is that they can breathe fire!”
Suddenly his face lit up and he knelt down to get face to face with his royal companion.
“Then you see, I am a dragon! I can breathe fire!”
“No you can’t,” the little child protested smugly. “Dragons are just make-believe. People can’t breathe fire.”
“Oh really?” he retorted gently, a crooked smile wrinkling his mouth. He waved at her to get closer and when she did he cupped his hands around his mouth, took a deep breath and puffed it back out.
And the little princess ran away screaming like a banshee when a small streak of flame shot from his mouth.
Standing back up with a stupefied look on his face, he noticed with surprise that everyone in the street was staring at him. He gave an embarrassed chuckle and raised his hands out in a show of innocence.
“I told her I was a dragon.”
Blue-Eyed Devil’s piece ‘The Princess and the Dragon’ was submitted as part of Inkblots’ Fiction Frenzy competition. Out of all the entries we received, we felt BED’s piece used the theme in the most interesting way, without it expressing a wad of clichés. His past written works include ‘You’re Home’ and ‘Thankfully Forgetful’. He also writes quite a number of Haiku.