Hats off to JJ at Purgatorian for his diligence in keeping the masses entertained! I’d love to know how he comes up with these starting lines. Okay sports fans- here is my newest attempt. No one-sided-first-person-conversation this time… but I can’t make any promises for next week.
The sound it made when it broke…
…couldn’t have been much louder than about five decibels. But it woke every single one of the somnolent giants almost instantly. So much for getting in and out unnoticed! The would-be egg thieves stood still, frozen in their tracks. Each of them trying to be invisible. Each with a gorgeous blue, bronze and silver football sized egg cradled in one arm under their shirts. And each with a small torch in their free hand. The noise had come from somewhere near the back of the group; Min had tripped over her own feet in the near dark and dropped her torch, shattering the small lens. They could all see the half open eyes reflecting in their little torch lights. Leo held his breath and prayed that the creatures would be too deeply asleep to worry about little noises…
It had all started a couple of years after World War IV had ended. Leo didn’t know the whole story, since it all happened more than thirty years ago, and he was just a kid himself now, but history said that in the year 2033, Canada- after having been taken over by a dictator claiming some ancient royal lineage in 2021- revealed a HUGE nuclear arsenal that no one had apparently known they’d had. The lunatic dictator then decided she wanted to take over the world, and by 2035 everyone was bombing the bejeebers out of everybody else.
There was still a lot of speculation around what really happened, but the official theory (put forward by the few remaining officials) was that the radioisotopes following the nuclear fallout re-activated an ancient hidden stash of reptilian eggs that had lain hidden and dormant under the Sahara desert for thousands of years. Or something along those lines, Leo was never really big on history.
Of course, the first ones anyone saw were only about a foot tall, and there was immense excitement around an apparently new source of protein. There wasn’t much left on earth by way of wildlife after 2037, but because most of Africa had been third world at the time- and so minus nuclear weapons- it had escaped the worst of the blasts. It wasn’t the wildlife paradise it had been, but compared to Europe and the Americas- where all that survived were roaches- Africa was overpopulated! The newly discovered creatures very quickly proved they were more than worthy adversaries, armed to the teeth (literally) and growing at least a foot every month! They didn’t start breathing fire until they got to 6 feet. By then a lot of them had fallen to the frying pan and they developed an extreme wariness of humans. Despite the scientist’s claims that these animals were freaks and would die out in a few years, they were breeding by the time they hit 20 feet and the males grew to 50 feet long!
Once it was established that they were in fact Wyvern (Draco africanus), anyone and everyone who had ever so much as cracked the spine on a dragonology book- let alone actually studied it- crawled out of the woodwork claiming to be an expert on these immensely powerful two legged, winged creatures! According to all the surviving books (mostly mythology), the wyverns were native to the African savannah, which the Sahara hadn’t been for a loooong time. Their preferred prey was large herbivores like rhino and elephant, but the few that had survived the fall out had long ago been eaten. That left precious little for the voracious wyvern to eat- besides humans. It didn’t take long for the dragons to spread out across the planet either since they had no competition anywhere. They were highly intelligent and remarkably adaptable.
Of course, it didn’t take long for people to try and tame them- man has always thought he was master of all. The first few attempts were absolutely disastrous. The chicks were not in the least interested in tolerating the clumsy flightless beings that pestered them no end. People lost fingers and hands and eyes- and often got roasted when they tried to tackle a bigger one.
Then someone discovered a nest. It was a huge find- over twenty eggs! The guy who stumbled across it was almost instantly gutted by the queen guarding the nest- but the news spread. Many people became expert nest hunters and charged exorbitant fees for their services- but people paid up because everyone who could afford it wanted an egg. The Wyverns were indeed tamable, provided the tamer was the first and only living thing they saw on hatching. But it was tricky. Take the eggs too soon and they didn’t hatch at all. Leave it too late and they hatched before you could get away from the queen! And now they had started nesting communally it was even harder!
Leo had long dreamed of having his own Wyvern to raise from a chick, but neither he nor his parents had the means for purchasing and supporting one. So the day Milo came running into the café with his eyes as big as saucers whispering that he thought he’d found a nest- Leo thought it was too good to be true. And now, when they were so close… had sworn a secrecy pact… watched the queens for days to work out how to get into the cave.,.. Min had screwed everything up with her clumsiness!
There Is Never An Excuse
One in three is not a statistic - one in three is a crying shame.