Senior. Years 10+

Emerald Scales

By Rachel Quick, year 10+, The Ladies’ College

The torturers had left, but the boy remained. The earth sighed as they left with their steel-capped boots and smug grins. The boy had been perched in a tree, observing it all. As he climbed down, the blood-stained grass beside the dying dragon looked flat,empty. Emerald scales lay broken beside the boy as he sat with the beast. It looked like a pile of unwashed clothes: tired. He didn't like saying 'it'.

"Are you a boy or a girl dragon?" he asked the creature tentatively. No reply, which wasn't surprising. Why should the dragon trust him? He had done nothing to help.

"Listen, I'm sorry. But you're going to be okay." Slowly, it opened its eyes. They were the most beautiful colour the boy had ever seen. They reminded him of the ocean, yet they shimmered like the flap of a bird's wing. He was hypnotized.

All of a sudden, the dragon stirred and raised its head slightly to face the frightened child. Now the boy could see what damage had been done. Ugly green bruises coated the animal and blood dripped from a gash on its left side. Then he remembered. In the tree, he had seen the rare leaves the elders often talked about. It had definitely been them, the red spots on the underside were their main feature. They contained ancient healing properties, or so he'd heard.

"Wait here," the boy whispered as he sprinted to the trunk of the mighty tree and began to maneuvre his way up. On his journey, he kept the image of those entrancing eyes at the front of his mind. He selected the leaves, skuttled back down and ran to the resting place of the dragon. Except it wasn't there. He had done nothing, and now there was nothing.

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