Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Third and final part of my Dragon tale


If you have not seen them, parts one and two are just done the scrolling bar.

At one time I thought about doing a series of stories about these three, mostly with Star and Penny. But I have only one done, with just Star. A zombie story where zombies appear on a collage campus when someone reads a very ancient curse in its original language. That is the reason for the way I ended it like I did. The ending could use some help but it's easy to get the gist of it. And it does have a bit of horror and Romance in it.

Because of various real life events I hurried through the revising but it is still more readable than the original version.

I stared, as I saw through the corner of my eye, so did Penny and Billy. I knew we all believed.
A real dragon wearing Jerry’s iron dragon sculpture. We gaped at each other. I looked at Penny and saw a look that said she had figured it out already. I nodded at her indicating I knew she had known all along.
She said, “We need to call the Guard out.”
“And what are we goin’ to say that a honest to Betsy dragon is wearing a dang flak jacket?”
Penny looked at me for help, but I just shrugged my shoulders for he was right. I didn’t know what we could do about a dragon wearing “a dang flak jacket” but I knew if we reported it the authorities they would measured us for jackets of our own. Straight jackets in our case.
Penny’s eyes lit up suddenly.
She said, ”I know what to do. We can sic an iron horse on the iron dragon.”
I started to ask where we would get a train engineer when she continued. “I know how to operate a train engine and I know where we can get one.”
I managed to get out “How did you...?” before she continued, “A guy liked me a while back. He was training to be a train engineer and he taught me how to operate an engine. He thought it would be a good bonding experience for us.”
I wanted to ask if it worked, but she said, “I liked him but I think he felt like it took me too long to come around to his way of thinking. He ended up graduating and moving away for a good paying job. He writes now and then but...” she ended with a shrug of her shoulders.
Billy added, “He wanted her to go with him so they could live together while their relationship grew, then maybe get married.”
She looked surprised that he knew, then shook her head as if to say she didn’t want that. I felt relieved that she didn’t have a boyfriend after all.
I think she saw the relief on my face but she didn’t say anything.
She said, “As I was saying I know where to get an engine. It may be hooked up to only one to three cars but that will be enough. We need some bait on the train tracks at the bottom of a small hill I know of. It’s just outside of where the Roger ranch is. I can get the engine going and as it curves around the top of the hill I can shut done the engine and let the momentum carry the train down the hill. If the dragon is at the bottom I will hit with more iron than is around the dragon.”
Billy said, “I don’t know it sounds tricky and the dragon has to cooperate.”
“If we use the right type of bait it probably will. The dragon where ever he came from probably doesn’t know about trains and we will have your high powered rifle as back up. Its either that or let him attack and kill enough people--your friends--to get the authorities moving,” I said.
“You’re right but I don’t like it.”
“I don’t either but it’s this or sit back and watch it start eating or flaming people. If it hasn’t already.”
“Ok, you sure know how to git to a guy.”
We split up at that point. I gave Penny her helmet along with my jacket and two other pieces of equipment I found in the SUV. She rode off on my motorcycle to find her engine. Before leaving she described the place where we should place the bait. Billy knew the hill’s location so he could find it easily. I watched her go hoping that she would come back alive.
I joined Billy in the SUV and we went on a hunt for cows. The tracks ran by a ranch near the place Penny had chosen, which made it fairly easy to find a few cows close to where Penny wanted them. It wasn’t, however, easy leading them but we managed to get four cows to the bottom of the incline and to tie them down. We used ropes we found in the back of the SUV. The cows fur felt rougher than I knew. Billy took it all in stride, probably because he know both things about cows. I also found out how their fur tasted when one jerked to a stop as I pushed at it. My right hand slipped and I ended up with my face too close to the one I pushed.
They mooed and jerked at the ropes-I had to redo one-but settled down and started chewing on the grass that grew around the tracks. Up close I found that cows stunk more than I expected. Maybe that was why Penny figured the dragon would show up for these cows.
One company had cell phone towers out here which allowed us to keep track of each other. Penny found an older engine ready to go with three cars. She figured the engineers had gone for a bathroom break or ran when the dragon flew overhead.
She later told me that she managed to get through the gate and to get on it for the guards stood happy and ignorant lulled into a slack routine because nothing ever happened out here. One listened to what she assumed was music. No one came to check it out when she started it for they had expected it.
I asked Billy to get a cutting torch ready to go just in case we could cut some of the iron bars off the dragon. I had no idea how we would do that but I wanted to be ready.
With that in mind I readied two items I thought might help. I also kept the grenade even though I doubted the phosphorous would hurt a dragon. Distract it maybe which would be good.
Penny thought the dragon might be flying a pattern, perhaps looking for something or just getting used to the land. If she was right the dragon should be flying over head about the same time we got things set up.
Sure enough five minutes after we had the cows tired up and the cutting touch ready we heard the noise the dragon made while flying. A kind of rumble I had heard twice now. I didn’t know if that meant it was hungry or if it talked to itself. We parked the SUV out of sight and scrambled to separate hiding places near the cows.
The dragon circled the area while the cows went crazy with fear. It dropped down landing on the tracks. So far so good but we needed to keep it there for another minute. Penny was on the way, I could hear it. The cows madly pulled at the ropes trying to escape. They pooped in fear. And sweated. I felt sorry for them. Sweat ran down my back and from under my arms and my hair became matted with it.
At that moment something unexpected happened. The dragon turned in my direction and spoke.
“I can smell you, human. I know this is a trap, but your puny weapons can not harm me especially with this metal armor on. I’m protected just like one of your paltry knights.”
Maybe he did know about guns after all. In either case I could see that the sculpture didn’t cover everything which meant that Billy’s rifle would still work.
When I felt the earth move under me I knew the train was approaching. A second later I wondered why he couldn’t smell Billy. Maybe my after shave attracted him or I sweated more than Billy.
“What weapon do you think would be able to do me harm, oh
puny human.”
Deciding to take a chance I shouted, “Oh great dragon you are right all we have is a horse to fight you with.”
I could hear the train so I knew it even closer.
“A horse! You mean one of those unicorn like animals that you like to ride? How could one of those hurt me?
I knew the dragon still could escape but I didn’t know how to keep it there. Two heartbeats later I realized it sounded egotistical, that gave me an idea.
“Hey, snake face. What happened you make you lucky to come here?”
It reared back lifting its head as high as it could go. I thought oh oh I over did it.
It finally spoke, “It took me years to gather the knowledge to change worlds. You humans don’t know of the other worlds but we dragons do. It has been eons since one of my kind was here but we still talk of your world. I had to use almost all of my strength to come, here I made it, as your eyesight can testify.
“I had looked into this world and spotted this armor. I knew instintly that I would become even more invincible with it on. I almost made it on my first attempt so I knew I could do it. I can do anything I want to even fly with this extra weight.”
So Penny had been right, it needed to eat. That thought of her reminded me that I couldn’t hear the train anymore. It must be curving around the hill and ready to ran down that decline.
I hoped Penny would be all right. She wore my riding jacket as well my extra motorcycle helmet. The padded jacket could protect a rider from a fall so it might protect her. The knee and elbow pads, Jerry used in making his art, would help also I thought. All of that may not be much but at least the padding would protect her if the dragon knocked the engine off the track. It helped that the engine weighed tons, probably even more than the dragon and the sculpture combined. Of course if the dragon used its fire nothing we could do would protect her.
A glance showed me that Billy readied the rifle just in case it looked like the dragon was going to breath fire at her. From his angle he could hit it where no iron protected it. How much harm a bullet from that rifle would do probably depended on where it hit, I thought.
I shouted, “We are going to bring you down with a horse you foolish dragon.”
It reared its head up looking for me. I was right even though it could smell me it didn’t know where I hid. At that moment the engine came whistling down the decline. I heard a gun shot and saw a spark as a bullet hit and ricocheted from one of the iron bars. I heard a second shot followed by a second spark. I knew Billy was just trying to distract the beast.
The dragon said, “Your puny weapon can’t hurt me and neither can your horse.”
I shouted, “Its an iron horse.” as it flapped its wings possibly to take off.
My heart stilled for it looked like the train would just miss when the beast shifted its weight as if it would leap upward. A frozen second later though and the engine hit. I saw and heard the smack as iron hit flesh-even the thick dragon’s skin was still flesh. The horrible noise almost made me sick and I tasted bile for a second. The next heartbeat I heard metal tear as iron bars split. The engine continued on after while the dragon fell to one side and tumbled down the slight rise of the tracks.
I moved as quick as I could and grabbed the two devices I hoped would work on the dragon. One consisted of a huge tube almost as big around as a quarter drum. I could barely lift it as I picked up the second tube, a narrow, long cylinder. Both were colored a faded red and both could be operated by pressing a spray nozzle. I ran up to where the dragon lay. I could see one side was torn and bleeding. I almost gagged from the very strong smell of blood. A second odor I couldn’t identify. I thought it might be burnt skin or dragon musk.
I avoided the blood as I started spraying its chest with fire retardant. I have been told that fire retardant felt cold and it did seem to lower the temperature around its chest. When the larger fire extinguisher run out I grabbed the smaller one and sprayed it around the beast’s head. I don’t know if the form helped or not but the dragon looked more unconscious then just stunned for which I was grateful.
I shouted for Billy. He came running up from his hiding place carrying a small cutting touch. He lit the flame and started cutting the sculpture off. I called Penny. She sounded Ok and the engine was still in one piece.
Billy cut two bars all the way through and had started on a third when the beast shook its head. He dropped the torch and took off stumbling down the incline to a ditch. I backed off as fast as I my legs would move.
The dragon shook its body and tried to lunch itself into the air. It didn’t get very far.
It started raining finally with close lightening bolts.
The beast roared, it then looked at me as I continued to back off.
“You think that is all it would take to stop me. I will heal and I will be back.”
Penny voice came over the phone. I thought I heard her say she would back the train up. I told her not to, it looked too dangerous now. I saw the beast flinch as I heard a gunshot which indicated he hit it this time.
I heard the train in-between the thunder and knew that Penny was backing up for another try. The dragon saw the train backing up and readied itself for what I thought would be a shot of flame. I didn’t have anything except the grenade so I pulled the pin and threw at the dragon.
I thought it would at least distract the dragon. I aimed for the partially cut iron bar hoping the explosion would break it the rest of the way through. The grenade exploded against the beast sending a cloud of burning phosphorus over the dragon and iron. It roared in a way I thought sounded humorous.
“Puny human you thought that would harm me. That burns delightfully.”
Shouting I said “No, I thought it might distract you.”
I heard two gun shots, one right after the other and I saw the beast’s skin ripple where the bullets hit. Its head jerked just before it looked down trying to spot where the bullets came from.
A second later looking straight at the train it tried to take off again. It only managed to gain a few yards of height when the train hit it again along one side. It hadn’t been able to build up much speed or kenitic force but it weighed tons. The dragon flapped a wing but dropped from the sky. It hit the ground some ten yards away. I heard a bar break.
The second it came to a stop the beast stood and roared its defiance. I opened my mouth to tell Billy to try another shot when it launched itself into the air. I wondered how it could fly with one side torn apart, it leaked blood from more than one spot, and other injuries. I stared and saw that neither wing had been injured. Maybe that was how it could still fly and just plain determination.
Just as Billy came running up to get a good shot at it lightning hit it. The beast screamed joined with the thunder and blast as the bolt’s power went through it. I thought its roars earlier sounded loud but this one was so loud I covered my ears. I stumbled backward while Billy slipped further down a hillock. I hoped Penny was safe in the cab of the engine.
I smelled burnt meat and burnt metal, making me hungry and nauseous at the same time. The dragon tried to keep flying but failed as another bolt hit one of the iron bars. It screamed again, or it looked like it did. I couldn’t hear after that last thunder clap.
The dragon fell to the ground and after one attempt to raise its head it lay still. I moved closer before backing off again as it moved. A few seconds later it relaxed just before the body started to disappear. Slowly a section at a time it vanished. What was left of the sculpture collapsed to the ground. I stood there staring at it with rain running down my face. From what I could see no part of the dragon remained, hopefully it went back to where ever it came from. Later after a thorough search we decided all of its blood and the torn pieces of flesh had gone back with it.
Penny came along at that moment and I smiled when I saw she was Ok. She looked at me and smiled too.
I think she mouthed the words. “I’m Ok Star. Everyone is Ok. We did it!”
Billy came back up holding the rifle like he wanted to make sure the great beast really was gone.
We walked back to the SUV. Neither of us talked mainly because we still couldn’t hear anything. After a short search we found and collected all the equipment lying around. After we loaded it, we piled in the SUV and drove off. Billy took me home.
The next day when I woke, I could hear a little. I explained to my family that I felt fine, I just stood a little too close to a lightning strike. After they made sure I really was all right I went outside wondering how to get back to Jerry’ place.
Penny rode up on my motorcycle and after getting off she said, “We need to get over to Jerry’s.”
Or I think that is what she said, for as I said my hearing
wasn’t completely normal yet. We got on the bike and rode to Jerry’s.
Once there we met with Billy and decided we couldn’t say anything about the dragon. No one would believe us.
“But what do we tell Jerry about what happened to his dragon sculpture?”
Billy said, “We tell him the truth. It got hit by a train. Some egotistical loon-probably from the city-managed to move it and placed it on the track. Then he or someone else stole the engine, and ran into it. Lightning hit it next,” he shrugged, “who knows how some of those big city people think”.
We agreed to that.
At that point Penny said, “I’m glad we all survived.”
I’m sure that she looked at me when she said it too.
She added, “And thanks for the use of your stuff, Star and for throwing that grenade. I’m glad you did.”
I decided to take another chance and I hugged her. I knew she didn’t mind when she hugged me a tight hug back.
I also shook Billy’s hand and she thanked him for coming along and for shooting like he did.
Billy smiled and said, “I couldn’t have done it without each of you.”
After a moment he explained that besides the bar and tack building, an old unused barn and a trailer had been destroyed by fire. A family lived in the trailer but they were all out for the evening so no one had gotten hurt. Most of the townspeople believed lightning strikes, or the same dang fool who took the train for a joy ride started the fires. The only damage to the engine consisted of easily fixed scratches, even though two ran deep. Four cows came up missing from one ranch while three cows and two horses were missing from another. The authorities thought some outsider with a mobile butcher shop might be responsible for the disappearance of the animals.
At the end of the summer break I went home and back to school. I believe that adventure became a turning point for me. Probably because of the chances I took without thinking, but I no longer felt fear when I wanted to take a chance. I took new classes and reached out to other students making more friends then ever before.
The three of us kept in touch with letters and E-mail. I managed to make it back to visit Penny and Billy a few times in the next years. Billy stayed in town, working with Jerry, where he underwent three similar adventures over the next few years.
Penny and I kept in touch regularly with letters and E-mail with an occasional phone call for the next few years. In the next few months we saw each other as much as possible despite a very busy year of studying for me and working for her. We had another adventure and later I ran into other paranormal events alone and even later with her again. Those were the ones I remember more fondly.

The end

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Second part of the Dragon Tale

Part two of my current tale with a Dragon

Great, exciting fun, 2,159 words this time. Next week will be the ending which will be the longest segment. Most of you probably know what it is but fun having them figure it out and figuring out what to do about it.

It does have a touch of horror and a touch of romance as you may see.

Most people do not like to make comments I see. (Sigh)



So here is this week’s part:


For some reason I couldn’t identify I looked skyward, making sure nothing was up there. I wanted to spit what I thought of as bile from my stomach. Penny glanced at me with an expression I couldn’t read.
“What took off with it?” I asked.
“I don’t know I couldn’t see it very well, but it roared louder than a parcel of trains. The sky answered it with thunder a few seconds later.”
I looked at him, wondered for a second if he was high or being poetic but I recalled the strange noise I heard while in the feed store.
At that moment a flash of fire lit up the sky over a set of short hills that bordered Jerry’s land. It looked like it was a mile or two away.
Penny said, “The lightning is getting close.”
I said, “But the storm is coming from the other direction and there was no thunder.”
Billy said, “He’s right, if any lightning strikes were that close we would have been deafened by the thunder.”
“What was it then?”
“What ever took the dragon sculpture away. It was huge and seemed to lift the whole thing from the inside. I watched it try to lift off the ground three times before it broke the anchors. It roared the first time and later roared louder as it finally lifted it into the sky.”
Penny looked at me with a skeptical look. I would have joined her except for that noise, the fire and an emotion I had that I couldn’t quiet identify. At the same time I stepped closer to see if I could smell Billy’s breath. I didn’t smell any alcohol but you could buy drugs even out here that could make people hallucinate.
That left the question of what happened to the dragon
sculpture. Billy, or someone else, could have used the forklift to knock it over before dragging it away. I remembered that rut in the road.
I said, “Well, it might be a good idea to look around some
more and see if we can find anything.”
We looked around even as the wind blew harder and the storm clouds turned darker. The only thing we found was the rut in the road. It turned out to be part of a larger design. Something that almost looked like a print of some type. Billy had said that it had attempted to take off twice before it succeeded.
As a sudden thought hit me I said, “Maybe someone inflated
some helium balloons in the framework and floated away with the dragon.”
“I’m not sure helium would work that well but maybe hydrogen.” Penny said.
“That could explain the fire we saw. Something ignited the hydrogen.”
“If that’s case maybe we should go see if there were any survivors.”
“If we can figure out where they crashed and if my motorcycle can go there.”
She looked up at a movement than said, “Then again maybe they didn’t crash after all.”
I said, “huh?” just before something flew over head. My head jerked up and I saw something huge go by. I noticed that Billy’s head turned as fast as mine. I couldn’t see it clearly but I caught a glimpse of a reptilian body again. My heart beat much faster, sweat formed in my underarms, all of a sudden I could smell things, like their sweat, more intensely.
We continued to stare as it flew out of sight.
I said, “Well, that wasn’t a helicopter,” stating the obvious.
“What was it?”
Billy said, “Whatever took the dragon sculpture.”
We looked at him, I wanted to make a comment about that being his new favorite phrase but held it in, and he continued, “It looked just like the thing that flew away with the dragon.”
“Oh boy,” was all I could think of to say.
“I think we need to go check on that fire and see if anyone needs help.” Penny said.
I managed to say “But my motor...” before Billy interrupted me.
“I have a large SUV with an almost full gas tank. It’s filled with some of our welding supplies and other stuff but we should all fit.”
Penny nodded, so I said, “Ok, let’s go.”
I walked my bike off the road and leaned it against a tiny raise that lay in shadow, while Billy went to get his SUV which has Four Wheel drive. Good we wouldn’t have to worry about running out of road.
As soon as he pulled up in the older, dull blue SUV Penny and I piled in and even before we fastened our seatbelts he drove off. After a discussion we agreed that the fire streak I saw had flared southeast from our position.
He drove on at full speed with all of his lights shining. As soon as the hill along one side of Jerry’s property ended he turned to the right and drove on. We didn’t see anything for ten to fifteen minutes. Then we noticed what looked like a small fire burning.
Billy increased his speed and as we approached the fire he said, “Damn, that’s what I thought it was.”
I couldn’t tell what type, but it used to be some type of building. Now it consisted mostly of ashes, with a few half
burned, smoking boards sticking up here and there around the foundation. There was a strong smoke smell along with something else I couldn’t identify then.
I asked, “What was it?”
“A bar and meeting hall we use for various club meetings. The bar has been closed for a while, but we sometimes still held meetings in it.”
I looked it over again and said, “I hope no one was in it tonight.”
Billy said, “I wonder what exploded to cause a fire like that.”
We drove around it shining the SUV’s lights here and there. When we finished checking what remained of the building he said, “I don’t see any evidence of an explosion.”
He was right, a blast of any type would have sent debris
flying over an extended area. We finally stopped and got out. He walked over to where a gap in a fence. This section of it was in the same condition as the building. I looked again and saw what I thought looked like a metal bathtub. Now it looked scorched and lay on its side. Something had poked a large hole in one end.
Billy said, “That was for cows to come for water.”
I nodded for I knew what he was referring to. I looked again and thought I saw an imprint in the soil on that side of the fence. What I could make out looked like the design in the road by the sculptures.
Billy walked into the pasture shining his light at something. He stopped and called us over. On the way I could smell blood and burnt meat. The smell created a bad taste in my mouth.
When we stood next to Billy he pointed at something.
I wasn’t sure what it was but it didn’t look pretty.
I heard Penny gasp just before he pointed his flashlight’s beam on it. I saw what might have been the rear end and two legs of a cow. I quickly looked around but I couldn’t see the other part. Billy bent over and examined the part that ended abruptly.
He stood and said, “It looks like it was bitten off.”
My eyes grew round as I tried to imagine a predator that big. I quickly looked around with a sudden feeling that of being watched. Of course I couldn’t see anything.
Penny said, “I don’t think you will see anything on the ground.”
Billy snapped off his light and said, “I don’t know about you’ll but I think we should git back to the SUV.”
I noticed his accent sounded firmer, but I didn’t blame him. I couldn’t convince myself that the SUV would be any protection against any beast that could do this, but I liked the idea of being inside better than standing out in the open.
We turned as one and hurried back to the SUV. Nothing happened on the way but as we got into the SUV we heard that noise again. It didn’t sound like thunder. It sounded miles away but we piled back out to get a good look. Without thinking about it I searched the sky. After a few minutes of not seeing anything, I looked at Penny.
“I think you were right, it’s not going to be on the ground.”
She said, “Yeah, but how?”
“I have no idea but I think it sounded like it might be attacking something again.”
Billy said, “I don’t know what you think that is but we need to see if we can get some help.”
Penny said, “Yeah, call out the Guard.”
“What are we going to say?”
She just shook her head in exasperation.
“Well, if ya’ll think we should go find out what it is we need to stop at Jerry’s on the way.”
I nodded not wanting to go chasing after it, rather it was what Penny and I thought it was or not. But as I thought of my
relatives, Penny’s parents and the others which included Brandy and her family, I knew someone needed to do something. We at least knew about it and could prepare something.
We got back in the SUV and Billy headed back to Jerry’s. This time he drove with the lights off. That was taking a chance, I thought, but I didn’t say anything. I would have done the same thing.
He skidded to a stop near the building Jerry used as a workshop. He ran inside with Penny after him. He came back with a high powered rifle and an oblong object about the size of a fist.
Billy said, “I don’t know where he got this but it’s a phosphorous grenade. It might come in handy.”
Maybe I thought as I considered what we may be after. A few
seconds later Penny came running out of the building.
“I had to use the little girl’s room.”
I knew that expression, so I just nodded at her.
We got back in and we drove off in the direction the thing had flown in. After another twenty minutes we spotted another fire off the road. This time on the other side of a pasture. Whatever stucture it had been was much smaller than the bar had been. Now charred timbers lay about, as if something had exploded this time. Or my mind wanted to add, torn apart and thrown.
As we neared it Penny explained that it had been a tack building for horses. My heart froze. It would be one thing for the thing to eat cows. Horses that someone needed for competition or considered pets was something else. I hoped no one had been out practicing. Most probably no one would practice in this weather but dedicated performers don’t always use common sense. On the other hand horse people might have decided to make sure their horses stayed safe in the upcoming thunder storm. Thinking of that made me realize it hadn’t started raining yet.
Something lay out there that wasn’t wood. Part of a leg my mind insisted. Oh God I hoped it had belonged to a horse if I was correct.
I paused in my study of the ground, a sound. They must have heard it too for we all got out. My head spun around to look at the sky, more because of instinct than the motion I saw. Something in the sky. All of us ducked, almost dived, under the SUV for it flew lower than it had last time. I thought Billy paused for half a heart beat, maybe he wanted to go for the gun, but then decided it would take too long.
Once settled with my hands and knees on the ground ready to take me on a charge across the field, away from it I again found that my sense of smell had grown. I smelled sweat, dirt and oil I thought was from the SUV. At least I didn’t smell any urine, mine or anyone else’s. This time I noticed other senses. I thought I heard Penny’s heart beating at least as fast as mine too, and very large wings beating the air. The dirt under my two palms felt cool, and rough: dry and heated ground. I wondered how I could feel it that well. The darkness under the SUV became clearer.
When the sky looked clear we stood and stared after it. A long moment later we all turned as one and stared at each other. Billy’s mouth was open and Penny’s eyes were wide in fear. From their expressions I knew I voiced their thoughts when I said, “It can’t be”.

end segment

Sunday, July 16, 2017

First of three parts of a new Dragon tale set in our time

I said I would do four or five dragon stories,. This is number three and as the title says it is part one of three. This is another of my older stories. I like it and decided to see if anyone else does.

I revised it once or twice after writing it years ago and yesterday gave it another quick revision. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get to this one because I couldn’t find it and once I did I couldn’t open it. I thought this one was another one I hadn’t updated but when I tried it with the older version of my WP that came with the last update I was able to open it. Once open I could save it to the new version of my WP.

This one has at least a trace of Romance it in.

This segment is 1,980 some words long. I wanted to make it a bit longer but I had many things to do yesterday and it is late. And this is a good place to break.




The Iron Horse Vs The Iron Dragon



For a second I saw something serpentine within Jerry’s iron dragon as I rode past it. I shook my head and rejected that vision. I decided that the combination of the gloom of dusk along with the forming storm made be me see things through my helmet's faceplate.
Because of the storm I decided to rev up my bike. My arms had gotten cold and the heat of the engine but help warm my body. Out of habit I sniffed to see if I could smell rain but all instead I got sweaty inside helmet stink. I wouldn’t be able to taste ozone on the wind or the exhaust of my bike either.
Jerry lives near Grainsville, a very small town in Texas, where he has sculpted creatures out of iron for years. His sculptures are very lifelike even though they are only a frame, almost like an outer skeleton of the creatures he makes. All of his sculptures are life size with the dragon being his largest. The next largest is a camel. If I stopped I knew I might be able to smell hot metal as he cut and welded iron bars to form the beasts he wanted to create. I was introduced to Jerry by my
cousins, but Penny took me out to his place to watch him work.
My bike roared on like a type of dragon. I bought the motorcycle for this trip. It’s five years old, a bare bones bike, mostly black with a faded red gas tank. I liked riding it and it saved on gas so I took it every where. As I increased my speed trying to out ride the storm, I couldn’t get what I saw out of my mind. It looked like a very large reptilian body which just fit inside the framework. However, the iron dragon looked empty when I glanced at it again, when I rode even with it.
Fifteen minutes later I spotted the lights of the depot where Penny worked. I met Penny the first time I stopped at a local coffeehouse. I forced myself to speak to her the first time. At that time in my life I struggled to step out of my comfort zone. I found it too easy to stay where I felt safe. As a child I suffered two separate events that scared me badly when I decided to take a chance. Once I decided to climb a tall fence. When I reached the top I froze for a long time before I finally fell off. Two years later a person I tried to be friends with acted like he wanted to hurt me. After those two events I found it hard to try something new.
When Penny caught my attention the first time I saw her I decided I better force myself to take a chance. She wore a red half sleeved top with blue denim pants. Even though modest she rocked them. Her face looked like a fairy’s. As cliche as that sounds that was my first thought. Her brown shoulder length hair looked great too, After talking with her a few times began to hang around with her which she seems to enjoy. I took that as a good sign.
That night, as part of our routine, I rode out to meet her where she worked at a train depot ten miles out of town. She wanted me to take her home, however with a storm on the way that probably wasn’t a good idea. The forming clouds made the air cold. I wore my padded riding jacket and helmet but I didn’t know how Penny would be dressed. I knew from personal experience that riding in a bad storm wasn’t fun. As I rode on I felt grateful that the storm still hadn’t hit even though it looked like it could rain any second. I fed the bike gas trying to out race the rain.
At that speed I pulled into the parking lot to fast and skidded to a stop. Gravel showered the building. I frowned when I wondered if I would get into any trouble for that stop.
I jumped off the bike, ripped off my helmet, grabbed the extra one I carried before running inside. As I entered I saw Penny at the register counting the money with her boss, Mr. Hardney, standing near the door PDA in his hand. He wore blue denim pants and a long sleeve green short with a blue full size apron. He nodded when I said hi. Despite my fears no one said anything about me spraying the walls with gravel. She was wearing brown denim pants with a long sleeved tan blouse. I thought it went well with my tan cords and heavy rust colored shirt. The place smelled of people, popcorn and
She finished and I said, “A storm is almost here and I would like make it back before it hits hard.”
Mr. Hardney said, “I thought the last of the storms hit two weeks ago and that one was late, but if there’s going to be one more maybe you should leave. It’ll be a bad one this late in the season.”
Penny said, “We’ll make it back in time. You know how those big city people are when it comes to exaggerating storms.”
I looked sharply at her, but by her smile I knew she was just teasing me. She knew I came from a medium size town in California.
She turned to Mr. Hardney and said, “Thank you, I’ll be here early to make up for it.”
“Don’t worry, you’re a good worker so be here at your normal time.”
 She smiled her thanks and grabbed the extra helmet out of my hands. She picked up a blue jacket putting it on as we hurried outside. I could smell ozone and the air felt colder so I knew the rain could start any second. We jumped on the bike, I and took off, I revved it to pick up speed fast.
I enjoyed being with Penny, not only because she looked very cute. She looked nice even with a little extra weight for her height of 5’3”. I liked her a lot. If I wanted just a good looking girl I could have asked out some of the other good looking girls living in the area. One, Brandy, could be a model for western wear. We talked a few times and even though friendly she didn’t attract me-outside of her looks that is. I wanted something more than that.
Penny on the other hand is intelligent, fun and we have a similar sense of humor. She has loads of common sense, is modest and respectful to people.
When I pulled onto the road, she placed her helmet against mine and shouted through both headpieces, ”Come on Star, open it up before the rain starts. You can hear the thunder.”
My nickname is the one thing about her I’m not sure about. My name is Howard but since I told her my last name Stj√§rnahammare meant Starhammer in Swedish, she’s taken to calling me Star. I didn’t dislike it but at the same time I’m not sure if like it either.
She knew thunder too and I think she said that this was going to be one big thunderstorm by the sound of it. While in the store I had heard another noise which I hadn’t been able to identify. I again heard that strange sound in-between the thunder just before I started the motorcycle. I realized that during the conversation with Penny’s boss something had tickled my ears and I realized it had been the same sound only fainter.
We rode at a pretty good clip until we reached Jerry’s place where I slowed. Something felt wrong. In the gloom I
couldn’t see much, but I knew something wasn’t right. I slowed more while I took a closer look at both sides of the road.
Penny leaned forward, touched helmets again, shouted over the motorcycle’s engine, “What’s the matter?”
I shook my head not knowing. When she pointed toward the right it hit me. I couldn’t see any dark patch where the dragon sculpture should be. I have ridden by here at night so I knew it looked like a dark blob until you rode close enough to make it out.
At that point my motorcycle ran over a rut in the road and it took all of my concentration to keep us from crashing. I slowed more and finally came to a stop. I waited for a moment until my heartbeat returned to normal. I told Penny I wanted to look around to see what happened to the sculpture to make sure I didn’t run into a piece of it.
After I turned off the engine I took off my helmet. I noticed that Penny’s dangled from her fingers already. I smelled ozone mixed with something I couldn’t identify. It didn’t smell like hot metal. It smelled almost like a different type of ozone. It was so thick I thought I could taste it. The wind blew through my jacket, but I felt the need to know what had happened. Evidently so did she.
I drew in air through my nose again. Yeah, something that smelled like wet lizard? Or snake? Of course they might all smell the same. Whatever it creeped me out. My heart rate increased and I think so did my sweat. I seemed to hear better all of a sudden.
She said, “What happened to it? The storm isn’t big enough to blow it over. Jerry anchors his sculptures to make sure they don’t blow over.”
“I don’t know but let’s look around. I want to see if any part of it is laying in the road, or had been dragged across the road.”
She looked at my with a puzzled expression on her face.
“We ran through a rut in the road. I’ve been over this road a couple of dozen times, there are no ruts.”
“Maybe Jerry dragged some of his iron pieces over the road.”
“Could be, but he’s always careful or so you tell me.”
“You’re right but a piece may have slipped off his forklift or something.”
“Let’s look around anyway.”
She nodded and we got off the motorcycle. After walking it
further off the road I settled it on its kick stand.
Not surprising we found it hard to see in the gloom. We needed to hurry for I could feel a cold wind blowing as we walked. After a few minutes of looking we saw that the cow sculpture and two others now lay on their sides. A set of four prairie dogs looked Ok as far as we could tell. Most of the other sculptures were either down the road, or on the other side.
At one point I looked up and noticed a light bobbing its way toward us. After a few seconds I could make out a man carrying a large, orange flashlight. When the man got close enough we saw he was wearing a black windbreaker with a hood and black pants, which explained why it took so long to make him out.
He said, “You’ll won’t find the dragon here anymore.”
I recognized the man as Jerry’s assistant Billy.
Penny asked, “What happened to it Billy? Did Jerry move it or sell it?”
I shook my head knowing I had seen it on the way to pick Penny up. They couldn’t have moved it that fast.
When he stepped closer I could see that he looked shell shocked.
He said, “Jerry’s out of town, but he didn’t sell it and we didn’t move it. Something else took off with it.”

end segment