Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used the following prompt: “Watch me.”
Just fucking great.
My assumed-dead boyfriend was against all odds still alive, but after a death spell had gone wrong he'd ended up as a German Shepherd puppy and the only way for him to revert back to his human-form consisted of eating two dragon scales—one red and one black.
I breathed in and out deeply, or at least I tried. I only managed panicked gulps that showed more resemblance to hyperventilation than anything else.
“Sure,” I croaked when I found my voice back. “Nothing easier than that.”
“Young man, sarcasm isn't going to help you,” Marisa chided me.
“Lady, sarcasm is the only thing that's keeping me together at the moment,” I snapped back.
Her expression shuttered and the ever restless winding hands stilled in her lap. She might know the answers, but she was sure starting to tick me off.
“That won't help you a single bit in a fight against a dragon. And that one”—she pointed at the closed mirror, then closed her hands around it—“wasn't even a grown-up dragon.”
My eyes must've been circular by that point. Even though I'd only gotten a glimpse of this creature, it had seemed gigantic—bigger than a two-story house. I swallowed and dug my fingers deeper into Shane's fur. I loosened my grip when he yelped.
“Sorry,” I mumbled.
Shane licked my hands before he cast an expectant look at Marisa. She scowled at him and, for a moment, I wasn't sure what was going on or whether I even wanted to know if they were holding some sort of silent council.
In the end, Shane broke the silence with a bark. Marisa's shoulders slumped as she said, “Shane... it's dangerous for you to go back. You can't even fight against the dragon in this form.”
“Does he have to fight at all?” I asked. “It looked as if the ground was littered in scales. Can't he just wait until the dragon leaves his nest and pick some up?”
Marisa gaped at him. Shane went completely still. In fact, he sat so quietly that I feared he'd stopped breathing.
“Guess I just said something incredible stupid, huh?” I asked.
Shane's answering barks rang like laughter and even Marisa chuckled. I gazed from one to the other, not understanding anything anymore. Not that I'd understood a lot in the beginning. Or at any point in the last twenty-four hours. Maybe I'd gone to Wonderland?
Shane climbed up my chest, wiggling in excitement. Enthusiastically, he slobbered puppy spit all over my face, all the while yipping softly.
“What?” I asked.
Marisa smiled at me. “Your idea is a stroke of genius. I can't believe no one ever tried to do it the way you suggested.”
“You mean everyone who needed dragon scales waited until the dragon showed up and fought?” I countered, bewildered.
She nodded. “From what I've learned, yes.”
Shaking my head, I said, “Why would anyone endanger their lives like that? Sounds stupid to me.”
Shane bounced from my chest and then over to the table with the tiles. We waited until he'd spelled out what he wanted: THIS IS WHY I LOVE YOU.
My breath caught in my throat. Since I didn't trust my voice, I simply held out my arms for him. He bulleted against my chest and I closed my arms around him.
“How does he get there?” I asked Marisa.
“He'll have to use a portal. I'll open it for him. A watcher will receive him and help him travel toward the ruin.”
“Great, I always wanted to travel between the worlds,” I said, half-joking, half-serious.
Marisa tilted her head sideways, obviously mulling something over. “No,” she said.
“No? What do you mean no?”
“You will not go.”
“Shane can't burden himself with you. You will not go.”
Anger surged to the surface and I welcomed it as it lent me strength and determination. I snarled, “Watch me.”
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