Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used: Go with the flow.
At first I tried to be open-minded, I really did, but after a few minutes my brain probably pulled the emergency brake. I couldn't follow her explanation—nothing made sense to me. For some reason, I kept my eyes on her face to give her the illusion I was listening, but nothing went through.
Shane nipped sharply at one of my fingers, which drew me out of my state of shock. “Ow!” I exclaimed, “What was that for?”
Shane flipped himself over onto his belly, cast me a withering look—and he really could pull that off, even in his puppy form—and stalked off my lap. He barked at me, then snatched the hem of my shirt and pulled.
Marisa raised an eyebrow and asked, “How long did you listen?”
Heat scorched my cheeks and I averted my eyes. At the same time, I tried to pry Shane's muzzle from my shirt. Would it be salvageable? I doubted it. Shane would probably leave tiny holes in it, what with the way he dragged.
I jumped when Marisa laid a hand on my shoulder. “Gil, how long did you listen to me?”
“You lost me rather quickly, and before you say it, yes, I know, I should just go with the flow but...” I gave a half-hearted shrug.
Shane stopped his attack on my shirt. Instead, he dropped the fabric and sighed. He climbed onto my lap again, then smashed his head right into my belly. I grunted at the sudden impact and mumbled, “Sorry.”
“Shane, what do you want me to do now? Should I try talking to him again?” Marisa asked.
“There's another option?” I gazed up at her. The heat that had just begun to fade from my cheeks threatened to reappear in an instant.
“Yes.” She shot a meaningful glance at Shane who nodded.
Marisa expelled a long breath, then rummaged in her purse. She pulled out a small item that looked like an old, rust-colored mirror. She flipped the lid open and, with obvious reluctance, handed it to me. I took it with even greater reluctance.
“So, what? You want me to have a look at myself? Not that I don't know that I've seen better days but—”
Shane's barks rang in my ears but they sounded more like laughs. When he licked my face he panted, then he nudged my nose with his. After slinging his forepaws over my arm that was holding the mirror, he leaned forward and aspirated against it. The mirror's surface fogged and I was about to close the lid when all of a sudden the mirror grew larger in my hand.
The fog cleared only seconds later. Rolling dark green hills came into view. They stretched out till they met against a fast whirling river in the south and a forest colored in bright red, yellow, and orange in the north.
Shane repeated his earlier action and the picture blurred until a new one appeared. On top of the largest hill stood a charcoal-colored castle which had seen better days. The outer walls crumbled in places, and the large, arched gate banged open and shut in the breeze.
The picture rose up into the sky, where loads of fluffy white clouds surged ahead of the wind. I shrieked when something that looked like a black and red-colored dragon tore through the bank of clouds, screaming and breathing fire.
“What the hell is that?” I asked while I willed my fingers to stop trembling.
“This is only one of Shane's enemies. And that”—Marisa pointed at the castle that had seen better days—“was Shane's home when he was little. Now, it's a place for the dragon to nest.”
Shane's growl reverberated through his chest. His whole body tensed up and a fierceness , I'd only known in rare moments radiated from him. That one time when a burglar tried to get into our home, or the other time someone objected to me wearing a rainbow-colored shirt, or... I frowned. Shane had always been braced for a fight when someone threatened us, our safety.
He'd made sure no one could hurt me without much thought for his own safety. We'd argued about his behavior after each of these incidents, but in the end, he'd always distracted me until I forgot that he'd acted completely irresponsible.
My head spun already before Marisa declared, “He needs two dragon scales, a black and a red one, only then can he shift back into his human-form.”
“You heard me.”
“What does he need two dragon scales for?” I asked. I flipped the mirror's lid shut and threw it at Marisa, then gathered Shane in my arms.
My heart thumped even harder when Marisa replied, “He needs to eat them. Only those scales will be able to reverse the death spell's damage.”
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