Tail Of The DragonDanielle screamed. She’d seen an artist’s portrayal of fantasy dragons, but those didn’t exist. It must be a hallucination because she didn’t do drugs. It was flying straight at her, and it looked like a real dragon, shimmering purple and emerald scales and all. Amazed, when she first watched the creature fly low and drink from the lake, she realized it came from the storm, and what had caused the down draft. Dragon’s wings. Mesmerized and frozen in fright, she remained astride her motorcycle.
Giant, open talons appeared to be about to enclose her. The claw like nails extended, were six inches long at least. Outstretched wings pushed backward slowing its descent. The creature’s iridescent purple head was easily half the size of her motorcycle. Its green eyes glowed and focused intently on her. She screamed again; it landed so close, but a strange thing happened, it shrugged off a leather backpack and collapsed.
Was it dead? Oh please goddess, don’t let it be dead! A dragon with a backpack?
She shook harder than when she’d seen the beast approaching, something she didn’t think possible. Her legs, unsteady from her wild ride, were wobbly from fright but she couldn’t stay on the bike any longer and was too unnerved to ride away. She slid off the motorcycle’s seat. Danielle’s compassion wouldn’t allow her to leave the injured creature anyway. She stood on unsure legs, and watched the creature in complete, dumbfounded amazement, unsure of what to do.
What constituted first aid for a dragon?
A quick glance to the side fell on the simply made backpack it shrugged from across its incredibly broad shoulders. Her attention returned to the beastie and she noted, too, it breathed heavily.
Danielle took a couple steps back. It drew a great, yet labored breath. She froze. A great exhale of smoke came from its nose.
By the goddess, it breathed fire.
Despite that revelation, her curiosity was quickly winning over her fear, and
she moved closer. Its image shimmered, the dragon’s shape becoming less defined, changing.
She had seen the sparks when it touched the power lines and knew the beast received a nasty shock. One wingtip, singed where it hit, was red and charred. Struck by so much wattage, it might be dying. Danielle didn’t know why, but again, she hoped it wasn’t. She couldn’t stop herself. With a tentative hand, she gently touched it, a light caress and quickly drew back feeling a surge of psychic power from the creature.
Amazed at the sympathy she felt for the mysterious dragon, an almost overwhelming need to comfort him washed through her. More astonished, she watched, drawn closer as the incredible creature’s change became more obvious. Its wings were disappearing as was the tail.
She dared caress him again. It groaned and coughed. The dragon’s changing appearance was becoming—human. She knelt down beside it hoping no other riders came by, wondered why they hadn’t and thankful at the same time.
How could she explain this creature? Why should she have to?
For some reason, Danielle didn’t want to share her discovery.
Other people would come. Who? The sheriff or police and what would they do with it?
More questions, with no answers. She felt strangely drawn to this beast, and instantly protective. He was vulnerable and injured. His vanishing left wing was singed and a charred mark appeared from contact with the power line. Before her gaze, the dragon’s wounded appendage transformed into the muscular hip of a man.
More changes occurred as she watched. Blond hair, with a streak of dark auburn mixed through his thick mane just right of the center of his human head, replaced horns and scales. His color changed from purple and emerald to a smooth, yet fair, tanned complexion with defined, handsome features she thought magnificent.
Danielle scrutinized the rest of his well-shaped muscular body, that of a
warrior. All signs of a dragon vanished. Long thighs tapered into corded thick calves with very human feet and toes. Various scars marred the perfection of his human shape. Somehow, perhaps the psychic intuition her Wiccan mentor insisted she possessed, clued her they were battle scars.
He groaned again, regaining consciousness. He was going to need clothes. She dragged her gaze from the artistry of his form, the sweetness of his face in his unconscious state, and turned her attention to his bundle.
“A dragon with a backpack?”
Danielle walked to where the rough, tanned leather, hand sewn jerkin sack rolled when the dragon shrugged it from his massive back. It wasn’t a small pack and spanned three feet across and five feet long. She stared amazed at the size.
“It’s a dragon. You expected a book bag?”
The dragon/man groaned again. She quickly threw open the flap of his pack to reveal items that would have surprised her had she not found him as he was. If she’d not seen him change from a dragon into his present form, the piece of chainmail and a breastplate of armor would have bewildered her. Somehow, the medieval gear seemed appropriate. It took both her hands to lift the jewel encrusted Pictish sword and pull it from the collection of items.
“I knew these were heavy but geez!”
After much tugging, she found what appeared to be his clothing and another piece of heavy chainmail all snagged together. She understood why the weapon seemed so much heavier than she expected. Carefully, she untangled his garments and found those too were, unusual.
Wrapped in oilcloth and tied with a thin purple ribbon that had snagged and come loose, another piece of clothing tumbled out, partially wrapped. She held up a hand-woven, hand-sewn linen shirt. She admired the small, precise stitching, and the crest sewn on the right breast spoke well of the seamstress’s talent with her needle. Danielle wondered if it were his wife or a favored girlfriend who had taken such care to sew the garment. A pleasing, light lavender scent clung to the piece. A familiar, pleasant smell, although an unusual version of lavender. Generally the scent didn’t appeal to her.
A prickly feeling along her neck warned her of his gaze on her, and she turned
to find intense emerald eyes staring at her from where the man sat on the grass. Her mouth went dry in wonder, each muscle in his broad chest tensed, defined. His legs crossed covering anything immodest. Her attention was drawn into the depths of the ethereal glow of his eyes, capturing hers, holding them. She clasped his shirt to her breast. Her heartbeat revved up, and though she wore heavy leathers, she felt more naked than the nude man. A distant, mechanical rumble reminded her where she was. Other riders were fast approaching. Taking cautious steps, she moved toward the strange man who watched her every move. A little distance away, she tossed him his shirt.
Without a word, he caught the garment, his stare never leaving her except to pull it on over his solid chest. Long enough to cover his body down to his hips, it spoiled her view of the best body she’d ever seen, but it was better he not be naked when the approaching motorcycles blew by. The thunder of Milwaukee Iron grew louder, the roar of the oncoming bikes drawing closer, fast. He struggled to rise. Some effects of the electrical shock still affected him though he was…. Danielle’s thought process stopped, human now. She watched him limp to his pack, pull from it a pair of tight leather pants, and slip them on. He winced, but eased the deerskin over the burned area and turning, laced the front with his back to her. Unlike the men she knew, he seemed modest.
“Sir, can you speak?”
“Ya.” He looked back, his glowing gaze fixed on her.
Danielle took a step away, afraid of this dragon-man. “Do you speak English?”
He looked at her and tilted his head. His warm appraisal made her uncomfortable. Distracted by his serious and fierce expression, she jumped when the group of motorcycles raced by. The riders’ heads moved in the direction of their bikes, they focused on maneuvering the curve. Danielle and the unusually dressed man went unnoticed.
The thunderous sound jolted him, drawing his interest away from her to the group of loud motorcycles. He crouched in a defensive posture and moved a step between her and the group, protectively. Before he could grab his sword, they sped past leaving him with a perplexed and puzzled look.
“Ya, I speak English, yet not as you and know not how I understand you.”
He turned toward her, glancing at his sword. Danielle realized he wanted his weapon, anxiety in his eyes, his body’s stance defensive. He seemed to feel threatened. She stepped away from his pack as she stood between him and where his crafted weapon lay.
“My apologies, maid, you witnessed me unclothed, ‘twas not of my choosing.”
“I kind of realized that, ah…. My name is Danielle. I am sorry to go into your, ah stuff, but I didn’t want you to be naked when others came and since I heard them coming….”
“My thanks, maid, err Danielle.”
It was an extremely awkward situation. Seeing him naked was nothing compared to the fright of first encountering him as a dragon, then watching him change into a man.
“Are you badly injured? I know you….”
Their gazes locked, his expression intense. She just admitted she saw him as a dragon. Maybe he didn’t want her to know.
“There is some pain where I struck the lightning line, but it is not unbearable. You saw me change? Me head hurts where some type of noise entered from that metal structure…. Maybe that is why I can understand you. Words I have never heard before came from the noise.”
“Yes, I saw you hit the line and land. You were unconscious for…a time.”
She was shaking again, fear cold in her blood. Since gaining her black belts in martial arts, she was confident of self-defense against most men. Yet this man was big enough to kill her regardless of her training. Of course, if he could change from a dragon, he could change back. Panic threatened to take over. She stepped farther away and closer to her motorcycle, watching him closely.
What if he should begin to change? How much time would she have to escape before he became a dragon? Can I ride faster than he could swoop down on me?
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