Dragon Hunter

Dragon Hunter

A Story by Scott Free
"

This has been too long in coming. I finished it a while ago but still wasn't sure if it was done. If you have any insights as to if I could end it better, then please share!

"
                “Crikey! This one’s a real beauty, mate, real beauty. A rare specimen of the Medieval era—“
                “Why are you talking with that accent?”
                Dint Durwin looked at the cameraman.
                “Bob, people take you seriously if you talk with an accent. C’mon, mate, work with me here!”
                Bob grunted under the weight of the camera.
                “I’m getting tired of running around with this thing. Why don’t you film me for a while?”
                “That’s not how it works, Bob.”
                “Well gosh, man, I’m tired! Can’t I at least have lunch?”
                Dint threw his hands up in the air and pointed.
                “Bob! We’ve been looking for specimens like this for months! Now everyone will know that dragons exist! You’re acting like a ten-year-old at some sort of picnic day!”
                “That is not a dragon, Dint. It’s a naked dog.”
                Dint squinted across the field, examining the thing moving through the bushes.
                “Could be a pygmy dragon.”
                “Ri-i-ight. Pygmy dragion? You made that up.”
                Dint looked Bob square in the face.
                “Need I remind you what I found in the library?”
                Dint held up a small but surprisingly thick and surprisingly ugly book, with a badly drawn dragon on the front. The Compleet Gide to Dragons.
                “Dude!” Bob wheezed. “You found that in this little island’s library! It has no credibility! No citations! It’s more than three centuries old!”
                Dint paid no attention to his partner as he leafed through the old tome.
                “St. George’s Pygmy Dragon—These small dragons live in Libya, Africa and areas about.”
                “The lady at the desk didn’t even know that they had that book in stock!”
“They range anywhere from three to seven feet long, with only two front legs, wings and a long snake-like tail,” Dint went on.
“Nobody had borrowed it in a hundred and twenty-five years!”
“Unfortunately, due to attacks by angry saints and paparazzi, they were chased through Europe and eventually migrated to England and areas about.”
“Paparazzi?”
“Fewer than fifty remain in the wild today. And I’m sure that is one of them.” He turned around and grinned at the empty field.
“It says that? Wow, it is specific.”
“Hey—where’d it go?”
“Probably ran away.”
“Bob!” Dint blinked, accent forgotten. “It was right there! It can’t have just ran away!”
Bob rolled his eyes.
Dint looked around, half expecting to find the creature right next to him. And it was—in a way. Actually, it was basically on top of him. And it was no naked dog, either.
Ahhh!” Dint screeched as he went down.
Bob’s mouth dropped like a portcullis.
“Wow, Dint. You were right!”
“Thanks!” Dint shrieked, trying to hold the dragon’s head back, “I’ll appreciate that in this dragon’s stomach!”
“Nonsense, you’ll be dead, man…oh, right.”
Bob hurried forward at a fast waddle, hefting the camera. He swung with all his 289 pounds and hit the dragon upside the head. A crack ensued, but it wasn’t from the dragon.
“Darn, that was a good camera,” Bob moaned.
“You stooge!” Dint wailed as the beast shook his head and toothed Bob in his beer gut.
Stop.
The word sounded all about the clearing, in the air but also in the mind. Bob, Dint, and most importantly the dragon all froze. The creature whimpered in fear and retreated, folding its wings in, ears flat against its scaly head.
In front of them with her hands in the pockets of her tan leather jacket, gold hair cascading straight down her head, stood an uncommonly beautiful but also uncommonly angry young lady.
The pygmy dragon ran.
“He-hey, there,” Dint stood up and grinned at her, brushing the leaves out of his mane. “Thanks for saving us.”
“What are you doing here?” she snapped her teeth down on a stray strand of hair.
Dint caught no hint of the Orkney Islander accent he had grown accustomed to in the last few days. Up here in the far north of England, accents could get pretty weird, and Orcadian was no exception. He would have noticed it right away.
“Uh…we were…videotaping,” he looked at Bob. “I mean—he was videotaping.”
“What?” Bob looked up from nursing his gut.
“Don’t you know this is a Nature Preserve?”
“We, er, uh…we work for a television station,” Dint lied.
Nobody can come into this preserve. You need to leave. Now.
Dint didn’t like the way she was saying her italics. There was something dangerous about this woman; a hidden source of power. Maybe it was just angst. He never could tell with women.
“Uh…sure. Sorry to bother you, miss. We’ll be going.”
He jerked Bob up by the hand and picked up the cracked Canon. He headed towards the path worn thin by deer and…other things.
“Wait!” the woman stopped them, wincing. “Don’t…go that way.”
Dint raised a bushy eyebrow and a flicker of a grin lit on his face.
“Why not? We’ll be leaving, you can’t choose our way out. This is the quickest way back.”
“It’s not…” she took a breath. “You can’tgo that way. Go a different way.”
“Sorry, Miss Warden, you can’t choose our way out,” Dint called back over his shoulder as he pushed through the knee-high grass. He saw a grimace plastered on her face. And then he stumbled right into it.
It was a dinosaurian footprint. About eight feet in diameter, with huge claws extending at the end. Both Dint and Bob stopped immediately, regarding the immense intrusion in the earth with eager fascination. It’s just like Jurassic Park! Dint thought.
“Both of you. Go. Now.” Her hands were on Dint and Bob’s shoulders.
“Uh…” Dint was speechless at first, but finally managed. “Of course…sure…miss?”
He caught a glimpse of a badge pinned to the left breast of her jacket. It had a dragon engraved on it, with a circle around.
“Adelia. Adelia Zmey.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m—“
“Just get out of here.”
 
#
 
                “We are so coming back,” Dint grinned to Bob.
                “You really think she likes you?” Bob raised his formidable brow.
                “What? No! Not about that! About the footprint, mate!”
                “Don’t start with that accent again. Please.”
                Dint rolled his eyes. “We’ll come back tonight. We are going to find the body of the dragon that made that footprint if we have to break a hundred cameras!”
                “That brings up a problem,” Bob munched his peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a hamburger bun—one of his favorite lunches (‘With a bun, you don’t have to trim off the crusts!’). “We don’t have even one camera.”
                “Oh, shut up,” Dint waved his arm dismissively at Bob. “We’ll get another one.”
                “But not one as good as that one was. That was a high quality camera—good enough to be carried by—munch—any profethional wildlife photographer.”
                “You’re the one who slammed the dragon in the head with it. Excuse me, the naked dog.
                Bob stared at Dint. “Just the other day, I didn’t even believe dragons existed! It’s still kind of hard for me to understand it.”
                That’s Bob, Dint thought, for him, pretty much everything is hard to understand. Bob thought slow, moved slow, talked slow—‘slow’ was just the word that described him. There wasn’t any other word that did. Except maybe deliberate.
                “We’re going back to that footprint, Bob, and we’re going to find what made it. I wonder if it’s in here.” He was already turning pages in the Compleet Gide.
                Bob stared at a drop of jelly that had landed on his shirt.
                “It’s just a dead dragon. A big ol’ scaly dragon.”
                Dint shook his head, feigning compassion for Bob’s misunderstanding.
                “You poor uneducated boy. There are tons of species of dragons. There were French Dragons, feather-winged creatures that liked sitting on hoards of treasure most of the time; Scandinavian Lindworms, no limbs, a flying snake basically; Hungarian Blue-Bellied Zomok, giant swamp living snake, extremely rare; Russian Triple-headed Poisonbreathers; English Razzberry Wyverns, rather small but used to be very common, only two legs; Chinese dragons—their bark is much worse than their bite; Korean dragons, Philippine Fish Dragons, Welsh dragons, Mongolian Crowned Duck Dragons; the list goes on and on.”
                “With you, any list can go on and on,” Bob sighed. 
                “Oh, and here’s—“ Dint scanned the page. “I’ve never seen this one before.”
                “Huh?” Bob popped the last bite in his mouth and looked on with vague interest.
                “The Irish Green Poisonbreath. Rarest dragon in the wild, it is thought. Hugest, too. Sir Tristan (of ‘Tristan and Isolde’ fame) killed the last male.”
                “Then that would be extinct.”
                “Most dragonologists,” Dint read on, “believe that there is one female in the wild. After the death of her mate it is concluded that she went north, perhaps as far as Iceland, but maybe only as far as…” Dint took breath in slowly, “…the Orkney Isles.”
               
                #
 
                “May I take yer order, sar?” the teenager grinned brightly at Bob.
                These Orcadians are too polite, Bob thought, smiling back.
                “Yeah, I’ll have an Extra Large Double Buttcheek Burger with fries.”
                “And wood you like onions on thate?” the boy beamed, typing in numbers on the cash register with carefully manicured fingernails.
                “Uh, no. Just peanut butter, jelly, and—hmm, maybe bananas.”
                The boy looked up.
                “I’m sorry…” he scratched his little paper hat, “…could you, eh, repeat that?”
                “Peanut butter, jelly and if you have any, bananas.”
                “With a sandwich?”
                “A burger, yeah.”
                “A sandwich with moostard and ketchup, lettuce and a patty?”
                “Uh-huh. Yes please.”
                The boy’s smile was gone. “Are ye nay kidding?”
                “Nay.”
                The boy shrugged and called the order back. The cook went into conniptions, but eventually Bob got what he ordered.
                “What? Pickles! I didn’t ask for pickles!”
                Dint made a face.
                “Pickles and bananas?”
                “I told you,” Bob grimaced, “I didn’t ask for pickles.”
                “Whatever,” Dint shook his head. “Now look—here’s about where we found the footprint on that island.”
                “Uh-huh?” Bob dipped his French fry in some stray peanut butter.
                “There’s a large mountain on the island—a dormant volcano, most people say, though the last time it erupted the history books won’t tell you. So, we take a boat back over there tonight and find the body of this dragon.”
                “Do you think it’s lair will be full of treasure?” Bob brightened.
                “Uh…I don’t know, the Gide didn’t say anything about an allure to treasure. We’ll have to see. But, Bob—even without the treasure, this’ll be a goldmine! Just imagine how popular we’ll be when we get this on tape!”
                Bob grinned a peanut-butter and ketchup smile.
                “Yeah!” he said. “We’ll get, like five million hits on Youtube.”
                “No, Bob, this is way bigger than that,” Dint sighed. “We’ll be rich! We could start up our own TV show! Dint Durwin; The Dragon Hunter. Doesn’t that sound great?”
                “Dint Durwin and his Amazing Cameraman, Bob! That sounds better.”
                “Just be quiet. You’re not adding to the conversation.”
 
                #
 
                Night had engulfed the island as Dint and Bob returned via motorboat. To confuse Adelia or anyone else who wanted them off the island, Dint piloted the little boat to the opposite side of the island, grinning the whole way.
                Of course he didn’t register the fact that his navigation method would mean several hours tramping through the forest. He thought himself decidedly less clever after the long hike.
                Dint climbed to the top of a dark pile and gazed up at the volcano above them. It stuck straight up rather like an inverted ice cream cone.
                “That volcano is making me hungry,” Bob nudged his stomach.
                “Don’t play that stock character, please,” Dint groaned.
                “Huh?”
                “Always eating. Anything makes him hungry. It’s overdone, trust me, and it’s not funny.”
                “You think I was trying to be funny? I haven’t eaten since dinner.”
                “You mean dessert.”
                “Whatever. Midnight snack is coming up soon enough.”
                “We’ll head for the mountain and look for a lair or something,” Dint concluded, deciding to leave the former conversation standing and wondering. He looked down at his boots and realized they had begun to sink into the pile.
                “Oh…great…”
                “Dint…” Bob winced, “are you standing on a dragon’s—”
                “Shut up and get me out of this.”
               
                In half an hour more they were ascending the mountain and a terrible smell had engulfed their nose.
                “Dragon-stench, mates,” Dint grinned at the camera. “It was a Poisonbreather, all right.”
                Bob picked his nose, following Dint up the incline and trying to keep Dint’s face in the picture.
                “We’re gettin’ real close,” Dint whispered as Bob almost bumped into him, “If we can find some kind of lair, a cave or such, we’ll find her remains.”
                Dint’s gaze was suddenly taken with a movement at the bottom of the incline. His eyes opened wide in surprise.
                “Ahh crikey! It’s her again! C’mon, mate, let’s go before she finds us!”
                Bob scrambled after Dint and the camera waved in the air as if held by a drunk. The thin little path got even narrower and soon the two couldn’t put both feet on it. And then they came right to it.
                It was a gaping hole in the mountain. How Dint and Bob had missed it was as mysterious as the aura surrounding it. You could say it looked like a mouth, but if this was true it looked the most like a leech’s mouth. Sharp crags bordered in opening on every side like a leech’s teeth.
                “We’re ‘ere, mate,” Dint held his nose as thicker and thicker dragon-stench assailed them and nearly knocked them to the ground.
                “This place smells like a city of pigeons!” Bob put his shirt over his nose and whimpered.
                Dint navigated the crag and slipped into the mouth of the cave. He yanked out his flashlight and shone it into the darkness. Thick layers of dust were descending in the air and the flashlight barely pierced the blanket. It was terribly hot and humid.
                “Makes me wonder,” Dint stage-whispered, “if the knights were ever hot when coming into a dragon’s lair. You know, with that armor on and all, crikey it’d be stuffy!”
                Then Dint felt something alive touch his shoulder. He nearly shrieked turning around.
                “Whatare you two doing in here?” Adelia’s voice hissed from the darkness.
                “’Ello, Miss Zmey. What can you tell us about this specimen we’re about to find?” Dint gestured for Bob to get her on camera.
                “That it’ll rip you from limb to limb if it doesn’t poison your lungs with its breath.”
                “That’s so interesting, is—wait, are you saying it’s alive?” Dint itched his rear and Bob caught it on tape.
                “Of course! What did you think?” Adelia put her hands on her hips. Her eyebrows were so tightly knit they could be mistaken for a piece of patchwork.
                “Well—we, er, thought that…it would be dead, you know, after all these years…I mean, heck, the last male was killed in the sixth century, after all! It would have to be more than fifteen hundred years old, at least!” He took the Gide out of his pocket.
                Adelia raised her eyebrow as he flipped through it.
                “See? Right here! The last male got killed by Sir Tristan, the female traveled here. And that was in the sixth, maybe even fifth century!” He showed the book to her triumphantly.
                Without a word, she smugly pointed to the bottom of the page. Dint turned the old manuscript back around, hand shaking.
                “Oh.”
                “What?” Bob momentarily let the camera point to the ground as he pushed for a look at the page.
                “Can live up to…” Dint nearly dropped the book in his fit of shaking, “…two thousand years, often longer.”
                Then he screamed.
 
                #
 
                She emerged from her lair, the heat rising in her lungs. Human flesh was something she had forgone for nearly two years—the last time she had partaken of it was when that group of tourists came in. Tourists were easier to see than the population. Their shirts were more colorful, and the snapping of their cameras led her to them like a frog to crickets.
                There they were! Two men, one of them looking extremely juicy. But that woman was with them. That woman had interfered with her often—if she did this time it would be her last move. She was hungry, and she was a dragon. Thus, everyone had better stay out of her way.
                She swooped like an eagle at the prey who were scrabbling towards the forest sanctions. A blast of her hot breath wilted a crop of trees, hopefully—she thought—frying her prey.
                But no! That woman had saved those two delicious humans. The impertinence.              
 
                #
 
                Dint couldn’t believe this lady. Now he knew it was more than angst that she had. When a hurricane of poisoned, boiling air from the stomach of this primeval monster struck the trees about them she had done it.
                Spreading her hands about like a canopy she drew a bubble like a white shield over their heads. The blast of poison heat deflected like steam off a pot lid.
                “Are you getting this?” Dint whispered to Bob. Bob gulped in reply.
                The dragon disappeared ahead of them, howling. The field was gone as instantly as it had come.
                “Wow? What was that? Some kind of anti-heat shield?” Dint stood up once more.
                “No,” Adelia was scanning the grey almost-dawn for any sign of the green monster. “Look,” she fixed him with her eyes. “I am an enchantress. Me and my father, and all of our line have protected the dragons of Orkney—and anywhere else that we could—from their enemies.”
                Dint, of course, was not quite ready to believe this, but Bob was getting it on tape, so what choice did he have? He fell in step with her.
                “So why don’t you just let the whole world know about the dragons? Seems that would make it a lot easier, eh?”
                “Ha! You think so?” She wasn’t laughing with humor. “The dragons would go the way of the dinosaurs and the mammoths. Extinct. They almost are already.”
                “So, miss, are there many dragons left in the world today?”
                She glanced with contempt at the camera, but threw her hair back and said;
                “Not many. Other than the Irish Green Poisonbreath here in Orkney, there are few other places where many dragons continue to live. The largest colony of firebreathing dragons is in Siberia. Several hundred Lindworms and zomoks live there. In the Himalayas many Chinese dragons live, some in harmony with the out-of-way villages. Chinese dragons are more disposed toward humans than—“
                “Here she comes again!” Bob shrieked, hurrying for the trees.
                “Is there any way to get her away?” Dint asked as they dove for cover.
                “Magic is nearly no good against dragons,” she bit her lip. “Defending against them—yes. But the best way to kill a dragon is an arrow to the old soft spot, a sword to the head, that kind of thing.”
                “Ah. Then our chances of survival are…”
                “Nearly nil.”
                “Just making sure,” Dint looked up and leapt to the ground. The dragon was diving for them, hunger in every movement of her body like sign language.
                With a tremor of the earth she landed before them, a huge emerald monster that had sent many men to their deaths. Even the grey sky above reflected off her green scales. Her teeth were not actually very white or very sharp—in fact, they were rotting and blackish green. Being a hundred feet away from her was like sticking your nose in a sewage pump. But she smelled worse than any sewage—she smelled like carrion, and death.
                “Go!” Adelia shouted.
                “Now wait a second!”
                It wasn’t Dint. It was Bob. He had the camera pointing off to the side as he approached.
                “Look here, you mutant iguana! Dint keeps telling me to shut up, but I think it’s time for me to speak!”
                Dint’s jaw dropped. The Dragon was watching Bob in vague interest.
                “This is the 21st century, after all! You can’t just go around burning people up and then eating them. For one thing, they’d taste a lot better with peanut butter but that’s just my preference. Now look here, if we get back to the States, you’ll be on Youtube, and on TV and probably Good Morning America and things like that. Or you can just have a little breakfast and be hungry again in a few hours.”
                If a dragon could raise an eyebrow, this dragon did.
                “Nobody believes in dragons, you know, back in the States,” Bob added.
                She looked up at the sky, perhaps wondering if what this round man said was true. Then she turned her emerald eyes back to them and they could hear her stomach rumbling from where they were standing.
                “Awww great,” Dint turned to Bob. “Bob…if we get out of this, I suppose I’d better tell you…you’re…”
                The dragon drew breath.
                “You’re…” Dint gritted his teeth. “You’re not a bad cameraman after all.”
                Bob smiled.
The dragon roared…and crumpled to the earth. Adelia climbed out from under it.
                “Thanks for the distraction,” she nodded at Bob. “I wish I didn’t have to do that, but if dragons won’t move with the times, you know? She’d have been dead in a couple hundred years anyway. It’s not like there’s any children. The Poisonbreathers are done for.”
                “How did you know where the soft spot was?” Dint blinked.
                “Your book has a section on it,” she tossed the tome to him. He caught it with reverence and looked at the dogeared page. The Softe Spots of Dragons.
                “Well…er…thank you, Miss Zmey. We’ll mention you in the acknowledgments.”
                “Ah yes,” she put her hands on her hips, “about that.”
                Dint winced. He knew what was coming. What was more infuriating was that he knew he couldn’t defy her. She had angst, after all.
                “…You may find it hard to convince people,” she finished.
 
                And they did, unfortunately. The media said that it was good 3D animation, and for some reason it did look like that, now that Dint and Bob saw it on tape. It wasn’t the same as being there.
                In fact, the dragon could have been a big naked dog.
                “What a fail,” Bob said, looking at the TV screen—the report; ‘Dragon Video gets Nine Million Hits on Youtube’.
                “Well, Bob, you know it wasn’t really a fail. I mean, before we had this little adventure, I thought you were stupid.”
                “Ha ha!” Bob laughed. “Isn’t that funny? Before we went to Orkney, I thought you were a jerk!”
                Dint laughed too. Then they both stopped and looked at each other.
                “I was, wasn’t I?” Dint looked at the carpet.
                “Yeah,” Bob replied. “But…but you aren’t so much, now.”
                “Aw, thanks Bob. That means a lot to me.”
                The sat for a while, staring at the TV.
                “So,” Bob poked the remote after a minute. “What about Adelia?”
                “Oh…I imagine I’ll be seeing her again. I don’t know…you think she’d like a jerk like me?”
                “If you stop trying to be Australian, maybe.”
                “Oh. Good.”

 
 
 

© 2009 Scott Free


Author's Note

Scott Free
Kind of a rough draft. I would love to hear your comments!

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Featured Review

It's pretty hilarious, I love alot of the word choice and dialogue, especially the sort of spoof of the Crocodile Hunter. It may be a rough draft, but I think you should only focus on the little things, like sentence structure and flow. I agree, the scene where he thought it was dead was confusing, I though they expected it to be alive up until that point.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




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Ha ha, great work man, great work. I love it!

Posted 10 Years Ago


It's pretty hilarious, I love alot of the word choice and dialogue, especially the sort of spoof of the Crocodile Hunter. It may be a rough draft, but I think you should only focus on the little things, like sentence structure and flow. I agree, the scene where he thought it was dead was confusing, I though they expected it to be alive up until that point.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Well first of all, the scene where he finds out how old it is...well he already knew it was alive if he was near it before so why does he get freaked out when he already knew? Other than that great writing, lots of fun, a few grammer stuff but its great. Keep up the good work


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lol!

It's good. Needs a bit of cleaning up, but very funny. I'd like to read more like this.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on April 6, 2009
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Scott Free
Scott Free

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