No one really said anything when the dragon appeared on the hill.
I wasn't sure why. I mean, they all noticed it, but it seemed
like it was something which happened every other day. That night,
sitting in the pub nursing my pint I listened to the conversation.
It was strangely normal, well, normal with a twist.
Old Paddy was talking to Earnest.
"You see that dragon," said Paddy to Earnest.
"Oh yes," came the serious reply. "That definitely be a dragon
For a moment they would both be silent nodding knowingly. Then
somewhere a single neuron would fire and one of them would burst
into life again.
"Can't say I remember seeing a dragon like that before," was the
Nothing unusual about that. Paddy and Earnest were unknowingly
cast as the two yokels destined to a limited and familiar life.
However, for some reason I could not quite accept it that easily.
It was a dragon for Pete's sake.
This was the twentieth century. Dragons were not suppose to
exist, yet here one was, nestled on the hill above the town, just
sitting there, almost as if it had roosted for the night.
Walking home from the pub, I thought it over. I found it strange
that I accepted such a thing at all, but the proof was above me.
I turned and looked at the hillside in the dark, feeling its
presence looking down at me.
The next day I sneaked a glimpse out of the curtains and yes, it
was still there. I had to do something. It seemed placid enough,
so I decided further inspection was needed.
Calmly I completed my morning routine, finishing with breakfast,
before walking out my backdoor and into the paddock beyond.
I had to cover several fields and make it through the woods, but
pretty soon I was close enough to the dragon to make out the
scales on its hide. They were a deep, almost emerald green colour
and shimmered in the morning sun. I did my best to sneak up on
the massive beast, but just when I thought I was going well, its
eye slits widened and suddenly I was staring at two glowing golden
I swallowed and hoped it would be a quick and painless death.
Instead I heard a soft purr before me.
"At last, the curious arrive," rumbled a voice softly.
The dragon shifted itself and propped its head on its forepaws,
rustling its wings softly as its tail tip flicked besides it. I
felt like I was a mouse staring at a cat ready to pounce.
"Ummm... s...s..sorry?" I stammered.
The lips parted, in what may have been a grin, except there were a
lot of very sharp teeth in there, then it sighed.
"I was hoping for more than one," it replied. "But its nice to
see you noticed."
I looked a little confused.
"You are a dragon, right?" I ventured.
"Top marks M'boy," came the sarcastic reply. "An educated man no
I ignored it.
"Can I ask what you are doing on our hill?" I was growing bolder
An eye glared at me.
"Your hill? Since when has it been your hill. This hill has been
here for centuries. From a time long before when you hairless
apes graced the planet and God willing, it will be here long after
you all pass."
I swallowed again. That may have been a little tactless of me. I
made a mental note to watch what I say.
"Errr, ok," I madly tried to recover. "How about, why are you
here. Why have you taken this interest in our town all of a
Almost immediately its body language softened.
"Ahh, yes," it said. "I suppose I owe you an explanation. Put
simply, I long for the old days. The time before man and his
science. Back to the days of might and magic. I suppose you
could say this is my little project."
"Project?" I ventured, not liking the sound of it.
"Turn around," the dragon said. "Tell me what you see. And look
closely no less."
Turning slowly I looked.
At first everything looked normal. There was the old mining
village, spread out before me, nestled in its valley. There were
not many buildings, time and the big city slowly taking its toll
on the old town. Not to mention the highway bypass which almost
wiped it out a few years back.
Then I paused. I should have been able to see the bypass from
here. It should have been just over there, behind the substation.
Come to think of it, I could not see the substation either. I
couldn't see any power lines actually. And the road was wrong.
It should have been wider.
I turned back to look at the dragon. It just nodded slowly.
"Ahhh, don't worry laddy," it said. "You'll like it. A land away
from reality. I could not change the world, but I needed to start
"But.. what?" I was speechless.
The dragon just smiled.
"A land without humans and science," it repeated softly. "Just
might and magic..."
I shook my head, not fully comprehending and found myself breaking
into a run. I needed to get down to the village. To see for
As I drew closer I began to noticed other changes. Buildings
changed slowly, tile roofs changing to thatch, brick chimneys
turning to stone. Trees started to extend above them and a thin
cloud of smoke started to appear above the town.
I ran down the laneway between the buildings, not noticing the
smooth weatherboards, changing to rough sawn ones. The road felt
funny beneath my feet and I looked down, watching the tar
seemingly melt away, leaving a thing covering of loose gravel over
Paddy and Earnest were sitting on the bench on the veranda of the
pub, still nursing their beers, despite the fact it was still not
lunch time. As I watched two horns slowly emerged from their
foreheads, their feet pushing out of their shoes as hooves
appeared. I did not stay to watch the rest of the change, instead
turning towards my house.
As I ran down the main road, I felt my body growing tight against
my shirt. Ignoring it I passed two orange furred fox morphs and
lunged for the relative safety of my house. The door seemed a lot
larger than normal and I stumbled inside, collapsing on the floor
as my feet gave way.
I let out a groan as the concrete floor dissolved, leaving packed
earth. My head seemed heavier and my feet ached. Looking down I
watched in mute horror as my toes fused, then split forming
hooves. My ankle twisted on itself, as muscles writhed under my
I was aware of my jeans seeming to shred off my growing frame and
my head pushed forward into a muzzle. Something began to appear
in front of me and I let out a loud groan, shaking my head.
"Ted?" came a worried voice from outside. "Are you ok?"
I looked towards the door, dimly aware of my eyes changing, as a
centaur appeared in my field of vision.
"Ash, yeah," I replied. "Just tripped on something."
Slowly I pulled myself up, automatically tightening the apron
strings around my waist. I dipped my head to clear the dust from
my antlers in the mirror as Reanne opened the swing door to allow
herself to enter.
"Just the reshoe thanks Ted," she said with a grin, backing her
draft half into position, lifting the closest one for me.
I nodded, reaching for the pliers before stroking the coals of the
forge, dimly aware of something which a few moments ago had been
incredibly important, but had just slipped my mind. Nestling her
leg between my furry thighs I began to pry the old show off.
Far above me on the hill, the old dragon smiled and lay its head
back on its paws. Things were good again...