The Dragon’s Treasure. Sunday Scribbles 2018, Week 8 (Sweet) #shortstory #sunscribbles

Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!

Introductory post: Sunday Scribbles Writing Prompts
Past prompts: Sunday Scribbles Short Stories

This Sunday’s prompt is: Sweet

ssbanner 25th feb sweet

This week’s story is about a dragon who lives in a giant castle, and two young people who journey through the forest to find it (and its treasure). It’s inspired by my love of dragons, and the turtle writers weekly writing prompt image.

This week’s top tip is:

listen to people talk advice.jpg
‘To write better dialogue, listen to people talk. It’ll help bring your writing to life!’

Onto the story!

In the lush jungle, the short blonde boy stood out. His pale skin drew Sierra to him the instant he entered her small jungle village, and that was before he mentioned the dragon. Tall, with jet black hair and even darker eyes, Sierra knew how to blend in with her jungle home. Which was more than could be said for Rory. Still, at least he spoke her language.

‘How much farther is it?’

‘A few miles yet,’ Sierra replied, hand on her hip as she turned to wait for him to catch up. ‘After three years of searching for this castle, I’d expect you to be fitter.’

‘Usually take a jeep,’ Rory replied. He huffed and bent over, hands on his knees.

Sierra rolled her eyes. ‘So why not this time? We’re not far from the road.’

‘There’s a road in this jungle? Seriously?’

‘How do you think we get around?’ Sierra asked with a glare. ‘We’re remote, but we do have them. Come on, I’ll show you.’

‘How do you know where you’re going?’ Rory asked, as she led the way through trees and brushed aside hanging vines.

When Sierra turned he was a few yards behind, again. ‘I grew up here,’ she replied with a glance at the sky. Nearly noon. If they wanted to be back in the village before nightfall, they needed to pick up the pace.

‘I grew up in New York, doesn’t mean I know everything there is to know about it,’ Rory said as he caught up to her. ‘You’re- Woah!’

He pushed past her and onto the edge of a narrow dirt track filled with rusted cars. ‘What happened here?’

Sierra frowned as she joined him. ‘I don’t understand. I was here no more than two moons ago and the road was clear. These look years old.’ 

Rory bit his lip and clambered on top of one of the cars. ‘Do you think any of them work?’

Sierra shuddered and glanced ahead, at the sea of cars enveloped in lush ferns. ‘Does it matter? Even if they did ain’t no way we’re moving them.’

‘We could try.’ Rory jumped down and reached into the drivers side of the nearest car. ‘If I can just find the key- Ew, gross!’ His hand recoiled and he staggered backwards.

‘I don’t like this,’ Sierra said. She grabbed his hand and dragged him away from the road.

‘Hey, slow down. It’s not that bad.’

Sierra stopped and swung around to face him. ‘Those people were burned alive. The further we get from the road, the better.’

‘All right,’ Rory replied. He jogged after her as she resumed her fast pace through the undergrowth.

After a few moments of silence, Sierra spoke again. ‘Are you sure you want to do this? I don’t think your dragon’s friendly.’

Rory shrugged. ‘It’s rumoured to have the sweetest treasure, and I’ve been chasing it for years. No sense giving up now.’

Sierra nodded and gestured ahead, where the trees began to thin out. ‘The cars were fleeing from that direction.’ She sucked in a breath. ‘If we head towards it, we might find your dragon.’

Rory took a determined step forward and turned back to her. ‘Right. Still coming?’

‘Against my better judgement, yes,’ Sierra replied. ‘But we have to be careful.’

They continued their journey in silence, and after a few hours they reached the base of a mountain where burnt out houses stood in silence against the setting sun.

Rory grimaced. ‘Looks like the dragon attacked here too…’

Sierra shuddered and tugged him away from the fallen husks of men, women and children. ‘We’ll go around, not through.’

Rory gestured to the mountain. ‘Up there’s where I want to be anyway.’

‘In the mountains? There’s nothing but clouds up there.’

‘Look closer.’

Sierra squinted and raised a hand to shield her eyes. On the peak of the mountain a building of pure white stood, cloud like, but not a cloud. ‘A house?’

Rory shook his head and grinned. ‘A castle. Come on.’

This time Rory led the way. Sierra followed, eyes trained on the castle for any sign of movement. A dragon with a castle in the sky. It was like something out of the legends the elders in her village told, of creatures the like she’d only seen in tapestries. Until now at least.

She gasped and tugged Rory behind a tree as a large purple shape swooped overhead. Flying in circles high above them, and breathing bursts of fire every few seconds, was a large dragon.

Rory grinned and peered out from behind their hiding place. ‘Told you it was real.’

Sierra nodded. She hadn’t believed him either until now, but unlike the others in her village she was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. If a dragon existed it could mean trouble.

They continued walking, using the thinning jungle for cover. As they reached the base of the mountain there was a gust of wind high above them. Sierra shielded her face from the cascade of leaves and looked up. The dragon descended towards the castle and vanished from sight.

‘It might be sleeping!’ Rory said with an excited smile. ‘Come on, let’s climb up and take the treasure whilst we have the chance!’

‘All right. There’s a path this way.’ Sierra led Rory around the base of the mountain until they came to a small rocky path. ‘It’ll be hard going. Sure you can make it?’

Rory’s eyes glinted. ‘Yes. We’re so close I can almost taste it.’

By the time they reached the top of the mountain dusk had fallen, but Sierra could still make out the wall of the castle. She ran her palm along it. ‘Is it made of clouds?’ 

Rory staggered up beside her and reached out a hand. His fingers dug into the wall and he tore a segment away to press to his lips. His eyes went wide. ‘Better. It’s marshmallow. Try it!’

‘What’s marshmallow?’ Sierra asked. She tore a piece of the wall off and bit into it. Her eyes closed and she moaned around a mouthful. ‘Delicious.’

Rory nodded and grabbed another piece. ‘If I’m right the best is yet to come. Let’s find a way in.’

He led the way around the castle, but the only entrance they could find was a pair of large dark shutters set above them in the wall. ‘No doors,’ Rory muttered. ‘Of course not. It’s a dragon, it doesn’t need doors. Help me push this window open.’

Sierra nodded and stretched to help him. The heavy frame crumbled under their hands and shuddered against the marshmallow walls, but they managed to push it ajar.

‘What’s it made of?’ Sierra asked.

Rory broke a piece of the shutter off and stuffed it in his mouth. ‘Chocolate biscuit,’ he replied around a mouthful. He stretched and grasped the edge of the windowsill. ‘Give me a boost!’

Sierra helped Rory struggle upwards. He hauled himself onto the windowsill and huffed for a moment before he turned to offer her a hand up. She brushed it aside and leapt to grab the edge of the windowsill to pull herself up. Rory looked at her in astonishment.

Sierra shrugged. ‘Been climbing trees since I was old enough to walk.’ She glanced around the large hall, illuminated by large flaming piles of wood. On the roof a large biscuit skylight remained open to the elements, and Sierra could see the stars twinkle above her. ‘Beautiful.’

A snuffle drew her attention away from the sky and onto a large pile of objects of various shapes and sizes, but it was the creature atop the pile which captivated her attention. Large purple scales covered its body, and cavernous nostrils flared as the dragon snored lightly atop a pile of hoarded sweets.

Rory took one look at the hoard and began to lower himself to the floor. 

‘Be careful!’ Sierra whispered.

Rory nodded, but his eyes were on the sweets and Sierra didn’t think he’d heard her. She watched his progress across the room, and let out a breath when he reached the hoard of sweets without waking the dragon.

She lowered herself down from the ledge and took cautious steps towards the pile, but when Rory’s hand closed around a candy cane, a beady eye blinked open. Sierra froze. Rory grinned back at her. Sierra sent a pointed look behind him. He turned and gasped.

‘What’re you doin’ boy?’ the dragon said with a growl.

‘Um,’ Rory said, and looked back to Sierra with terror shining in his eyes. He gulped and turned back to the dragon. ‘Just, looking?’

‘I weren’t born yesterday,’ the dragon grumbled. It yawned and scratched its nose. ‘I can see the biscuit round ya mouth.’

Sierra stepped forward and lowered her head. ‘You murdered a lot of people. The least you can do is let us have a bit of biscuit.’

The dragon blinked and appeared to swallow around a lump in its throat. ‘Humans aren’t fireproof?’

‘No! You really think that?’ Rory asked.

‘I’d rather hoped. I couldn’t stop sneezin’, an when I sneeze-‘ A sneeze cut the dragon off, and a fireball shot up into the air. It rubbed its nose and gobbled down a biscuit. ‘How unfortunate.’

‘Unfortunate?’ Sierra glared at the dragon. ‘People are dead!’

The dragon looked at her. Its eyes began to water. ‘It wasn’t on purpose… Oh no, not again-‘

This time the dragon’s sneeze shot a fireball straight towards Rory. He dived into the pile of sweets just in time, and Sierra watched as the fireball tore through the half open biscuit window.

‘Oh dear,’ the dragon said. It shuffled around in the pile, sniffling as it went, and grabbed some biscuits. It arranged them on the floor in a large circle and sealed them together with a gentle stream of flame. That done, it dragged the large circular biscuit to the window and sealed it over the fireball shaped hole. ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’

Sierra frowned. She’d seen her mother sneeze like that before, when she’d eaten foods that didn’t agree with her. ‘You must have an allergy to something in here.’ She gestured to the hoard. ‘All you need to do is figure out what it is and avoid it.’

The dragon frowned. ‘How do I do that?’

‘Well, what’s new here?’

The dragon dug around in the pile and pulled out some nutty biscuits and praline chocolates. Rory looked at the little pile. ‘The sneezing only started when you got these?’

The dragon nodded and began to sniffle. Rory bent to look at the labels on some of the wrapped treats. ‘They all contain nuts. You must be allergic.’

The dragon blinked. ‘How odd. Thank you humans. I’ll throw them away.’

Rory’s mouth dropped open. ‘All of them?’

‘Of course,’ Sierra said with a glare. ‘Unless you want any more deaths? Come on. Let’s go.’

Rory sent a longing look at the pile. ‘You know if you give us a lift, I could take those off your hands…’

The dragon blinked. ‘I spose’ you’ll be wantin’ the rest of me hoard too?’ It scoffed and blew smoke through its nose. ‘I ain’t stupid, human. Take what you can carry, or stay a while and eat your fill. Consider it a reward for helpin’ me out, but you can walk back. You wouldn’t believe how much sugar’s in this stuff.’

Thanks for reading!

I had to speed edit this one – Might be a couple of things I’ve missed!

When I mentioned this story idea to my fiancee he compared it to Hansel and Gretel with added dragons. I didn’t want to kill my beloved sweet toothed dragon though, so this is the result. Writing about dragons makes me want to go back to my other work in progress, Dragonspire, which would be a shame as I’ve just sorted out the plot of Merlin!

Each week I encourage other writers to write a short story around the weekly prompt. The prompts for March are:

ssbanner monthly mar
4th: Story. 11th: Danger. 18th: Origin. 25th: Spring.

One word not enough? I post expanded prompts weekly on Pinterest:

SS expanded writing prompt 25th feb sweet.jpg
‘All the sweets in the world could not replace her sweet smiles.’

If you use one of the prompts, feel free to share your story links below.

Feeling creative? I also run a weekly hashtag game on Twitter, #sunscribbles, where you can share one off lines or quotes from a #WIP around the weekly prompt!

See you next week!

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