Hello, my loyal followers. It’s story time. A fantasy tale about a teenage boy and magic.
The trip home to Myers Ridge was longer than Danny Sutton remembered. He sat in the backseat of his father’s Taurus, a bit motion sick, and surrounded by brand-new fantasy novels and superhero comics. His parents, George and Michelle, stared straightaway at the interstate, silent.
Country music—his mother’s favorite—played low from the radio. Their three-day stay in Chicago for the Fantasy Writers and Artists Halloween Weekend Fair was over and Danny had plenty of new reading material. However, reading in a moving vehicle had not set well with his stomach. Now, neither did watching the countryside pass by at 70 miles an hour.
The day had turned to evening and his stomach had gone from feeling lousy to feeling downright rotten. He fished some chewable antacids from his backpack, and then took out his spiral bound sketchpad and an HB drawing pencil. Drawing in a moving vehicle was different from reading in one. Drawing took him deep into imaginary worlds, which would take his mind off being ill.
He found a blank page and scribbled some circles. A clearer image emerged as the circles connected and they transformed into … a … giant … lizard.
No. Keep drawing.
A Tyrannosaurus rex.
A fire-breathing dragon with long, batlike wings.
Chills crept up Danny’s arms.
A black night sky surrounded the dragon. He imagined it flying in and out of moonlit clouds above Myers Ridge, swooping down where the woods met the cliffs near the portion that broke off thousands of years ago during an ice age, making the cliffs steep and dangerous … or so Mrs. Erickson, his ninth grade science teacher, said.
He drew his parents’ house on the other side of the woods while imagining that he flew with the dragon—a girl dragon.
He drew another dragon just above the first. He was the second dragon. He and the girl dragon were boyfriend and girlfriend. He liked that.
He imagined that he, the boy dragon, followed the girl dragon through the night sky, racing with her and frolicking amidst the air currents and clouds. They flew over his parents’ house and a pickup truck parked along the road. A man stood outside the truck, looking up at them. The man lifted a long object to his shoulder. It looked like a rifle.
A shot from a high-powered rifle broke the low sound of wind and the lazy flapping of their wings. The girl dragon twisted, then fell to the earth on her back, landing with a thud in Danny’s front yard, dead from a well-placed bullet between the protective plating over her heart.
Danny stopped drawing. He tapped the backend of the pencil against his forehead, contemplating what he had imagined. Who was the man and why had he killed the girl dragon?
In his drawing, the two dragons still flew together in the night sky. Below them, a man stood outside a pickup truck. In his arms, he carried a high-powered rifle with a scope.
Danny shuddered and slammed shut the pad.
“Well, I’m done,” he announced.
His mother half turned in her seat. “Done with what, dear?”
“Fantasy, magic, dungeons and dragons … the whole nine yards.”
“I thought you had a good time,” his mother said. “Didn’t you have fun at the fair?” A frown scrunched up her nose.
“I don’t know. I thought so. But…” Danny ran his fingers across the spiral wire that held his Magic Brand drawing pad together. Magic Brand Art Supplies had made his pencil too.
“Not many people have the talent you have,” the man at the gift shop had told him at last year’s fair.
It was true. He had to be careful what he drew.
“You’ll feel better when we get something to eat,” his mother said as his father exited the interstate. Soon, they ordered food at a Wendy’s drive thru.
Back on the interstate, Danny ate and thought about his drawing. Surely, he had drawn the man with the rifle and pickup truck. He must have been so deep in his imagination that he was not aware of what he drew.
The triple cheeseburger, large fries, and huge soft drink actually settled his stomach as well as his nerves. He thought about drawing more but the evening sun had slipped below the horizon behind them and home was less than fifty miles away.
Danny put his head back against the seat and dozed. He flew again with the girl dragon. Her name was Tavreth and she was nine hundred years old, barely a teenager in dragon years.
In his dream, he made friends with her, which left him feeling good when he awoke.
He recognized Ridge Road. He and his parents were less than a half-mile from home.
As his father rounded a bend, the rear lights of a pickup truck alerted them of someone parked on the road in front of their home. Mr. Langford stood at the driver’s door, bathed in George Sutton’s headlights.
Mr. Langford turned and hurried toward their car as George stopped.
“What’s going on?” Michelle asked as George rolled down his window.
A sickening feeling of dread came over Danny as Mr. Langford told them a fantastic tale. Danny’s aching heart went out to the black lump of a dead dragon in the front yard.
He had to undo this. But how?
He rummaged in the backpack for his Magic Brand eraser. He had never used it before, so he hoped his idea would work. If it did, he had a lot of fixing to do.
He opened his pad to the drawing of him as a dragon flying with Tavreth, and Mr. Langford ready to shoot. Then he erased the old man, his rifle, and the pickup truck.
Outside, each one vanished. He erased Tavreth and she vanished from the front yard.
His mother was quick to turn on him.
He pulled from her grasp.
“It’s better this way,” George said, pulling her away from the boy.
“We’ll start over afresh,” Danny promised as he found the first drawing he had drawn the day after his real parents bought him the pad and pencil.
He erased his pretend parents, the ones who liked taking him places. He erased their pretend car, which left him standing alone on the road in front of his home. He flipped to the second page and erased the locked cell in the basement where his real parents were.
Picking up his backpack, he headed up the driveway and toward the front door. He paused only once, trying to figure a way to turn himself into a dragon. But he cast away the idea. His fantasy life had gone too far. It was time to face reality.
He took a deep breath, opened the front door, and entered.
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