If you stare into the abyss....
...The abyss stares back into you.
The boy crouched on the edge of the cliff overlooking the sea, he couldn't have been over thirteen or 5 foot 3 as he stared down over the edge to the rocks below with green eyes, tan cargo shorts and a navy blue t-shirt made up his attire. A tiny forest bordered the cliff behind him as two people, obviously his friends make their way through this forest to him...
"Max!" the older of the boys called to the boy on the cliff...
I sigh and look back at Kyle, his black hair moving just enough to see him standing a few feet behind him.
"What?" I asked causualy.
"Why'd you leave?" Jake asks, stuffing his hands into his baggy jeans, he was 6 feet tall and had spiky brown hair and a scar that ran just under his left eye, which was blue. He had taken off his shirt, reavealing the sweaty muscles underneath.
"That last hit from that giant just about made me lose my lunch... besides my asthma's acting up." I say as I stand and look over to Kyle, He was 5 foot 8 and had a gray sleeveless and a pair of blue shorts on. We had left out with a bunch of each of their friends for a day of competition. I had came for the airsoft part, but first up was football. Around the middle of the game I had been hit by a truck of a kid, around 230 pounds while running the ball, after I managed too get back my bearings I tapped in one of the waiting kids and let them take my place. Asthma had always gotten the best of me during sports and it sucked, never being able to play most games through. I came out here because I liked water, just staring at it would fill me with a calm feeling. I turn back and look from the edge down into the water... it must have been at least a 40 foot drop down.
"Well, the game's over, they scored three touchdowns in a row." Kyle said with obivious disbelief on his voice, Kyle didn't like losing at all which probably means that the next match is going to be where he makes his payback.
"What's next?" I say still looking over the edge.
"Well..." Jake says "It's the one we lose to you..." Airsoft! I'm going to love paying back eveyone else, I may be the second youngest kid there... and it was reflected on the dispositions of the older kids, but when airsoft time came up I was the best one here at camping. I chuckle as Jake says...
"Come on, lets go." I turn to leave when...
I stop as I hear the cracking sound and so do they... they turn and look, and that's when the cliff edge gave...
The dragon sitting on the ocean floor watched with interest as the cliff broke and the one boy on the edge fell, he was the same blue color as the water and he blended in perfectly except the eyes, which were yellow, the dragon wondered if the human would survive the fall, the dragon doubted it however. He had been living here for the last year and if the boy didn't make it there would be a search, something that would end up making the dragon move again. He marks where the boy will impact and his eyes widen as he realizes where the kid will land...
The cliff gave way at an angle, first sliding then tipping over. I andrenaline hits to late for me to hop off the edge to saftey and I start tumbling...
"Max!" Jake yells after me as he rushes forward.
I see rock rushing past me as I flail and end up facing the oncoming ocean... a scream ripped from my mouth as the distance closed. At the last second I remember how navy seals dive, feet together with toes pointed and arms crossed on the chest. I try this as fast as I can but all I acomplish is flipping me back around... The water hits like concrete and I almost get knocked out, the force of falling carries me under and I smash into something, I was turned around so I couldn't see it but I feel it shatter and in a flash of light everything goes dark...
Kyle and Jake look over the edge and see Max hit the water, what they didn't see was the 12 foot tall dragon rushing through the water to the area where Max impacted or the subtle flash of light from where max went under. They turn to each other and Jake says...
"Go get his brother, NOW!" Kyle rushes off and Jake turns and starts running along the edge down toward the only beach within a mile... Max's 23 year old brother was lounging against a tree on the other side of the mini-forest in blue jeans and no shirt, his black hair was cut short unlike his brothers and a silver necklace glinted in the sun and on it was a shark tooth and a bear fang. Kyle tears through the woods at top speed and misses him, but Max's brother doesn't miss Kyle...
"Kyle!" He says and Kyle skids before running back up to him, "Kyle where's my brother?" he asks and Kyle replies with...
"Shane! Max fell of the cliff!"
"Say fucking WHAT!" The shout attracts the attention of several other people, who turn to see Shane run into the woods and Kyle follow him, they all knew something was wrong and they go to follow them. Shane easily out-distances Kyle as he cuts through the forest towards a much smaller cliff overlooking the only beach. He keeps running and leaps off the 15 foot edge to the beach, he enters a roll as he lands and he turns it into a sprint towards Jake and the prone body of his brother on the shore. He slides as he reaches his brother and Jake backs away, Shane places two fingers on the side of Max's throat and checks for a pulse... it was there and it was strong, then he checks and finds his brothers breathing was normal. He checks his brother for wounds and all that he finds is a bad scrape on the back of his left shoulder. He leans back and puts his hands on his thighs and says...
"Thanks for saving my brother Jake."
"When I got here he was just lying there."
Confusion runs rampant on Shane's face as other people along with Kyle get out onto the beach.
Kyle gets close and asks "Is he...?"
Jake just says "Alive." and Kyle relaxes. Jake goes to tell the others that Max is alright as Shane stares out over the water, searching for anything that could tell him
who or what had saved his brother...
The dragon keeps a mental image of the child's brother as he swims away unnoticed, He had to wait for them to leave before breaking from the cover of the ocean...
I wake to find myself in the backseat of our ford explorer with a bad headache. The radio was on the local rock station playing AC/DC's "back in black". Shane had put his black sabbath shirt back on."
"Uhhh... what happened?"
Shane glances back to me and I see a smile light up his face.
"You fell of a cliff, that's what happened." It sparks my memory and it comes rushing back, maybe a little too hard because my headache intensifies.
"My head... where are we going?" I ask as I sit up and see that we are on the highway and it was sun-down.
"I was taking you to the hospital, you were out for more than four hours and i was beginning to think you'd never get up. Now that i know that you're awake and not in a coma we can just go home." He takes the next off ramp and starts heading in the direction of home...
The dragon tracks the black explorer easily, even from this height. He keeps following them all the way back to the one-story building that served as their home, He had to keep a close eye on the boy until the effects could be determined... and action could be taken...
We pull into the driveway as darkness sets and get out. The house was in good shape with the fresh coat of dark red paint across the boards. I wait for my brother to unlock the door.
"I hope you've learned to stay away from cliff edges in the future." He says as he turns the key.
"I wouldn't think of it." I say to him as he opens the door. We head inside and he grabs a can of hawaiian punch from the fridge for him and a dr.pepper for me. We were the only ones living here and I wouldn't have it any other way... except having my mom back, memories flood back and I stare as I remember how I came to be here... when mom died dad's normally angry moods went something way worse, Shane was only 17 when she died and he already hated dad, how he couldn't control his anger or keep a job and more things he won't tell me about. At eighteen Shane got kicked out for standing up to dad right before Shane's 19th birthday, I had accidently broke something of dads and rather than take the blame for me he kept dad from hitting him or me, it turned violent and he ended up having the cops forcibly take Shane away, but before they did he promised that he would come back and get me away from dad and to wait for him. I waited a year and he held up to his promise, getting into a custody battle with dad... Shane won easily with the bruises that where seen when I walked into the courtroom and the personal account of a neighbor that Shane had called to help out. Ever since then Shane had done a far better job than dad ever did, the house itself atested to it. Shane lounges on the couch and turns on the tv before saying...
"Go take a bath so you can get all that salt out of your hair." He knew I had a flashback and was trying to keep me busy so I wouldn't think about it.
"Alright." I pop the top on the can before taking a drink and setting it on the counter. I grab some fresh clothes out of my bedroom before heading into the bathroom that was right next to it. I run the water and look at my face in the mirror while the tub fills, still the same, but considering what has happened today I was lucky to still be here, guess a thank you to god was needed, I'd do it when... I forgot to ask Shane who saved me! I walk back out and ask.
"I don't know." Is all he says.
"What do you mean you don't know?"
He turns around to me "When Jake got to the beach you where there laying face-up in the sand with no-one in sight... I know, miracle right?"
"Still don't believe in miracles do you?"
"No, something saved you life today, and it was watching us when I got to you, i know the feeling of being watched and it's been going on ever since i took you off that beach."
"You're just paranoid."
"If i wasn't neither of us would be here today. You should go check the water level, we can finish this later." He says as he turns back and lays down on the couch. I walk back in and see that the tub was at the right height so I shut the tap off, check the water and shut the door, undress and lower myself into the water, I felt ten times better with the warm water resting around my chin. five minutes later a weird feeling started in my hands. I hold my palm up and my eyes widen at what's happening, the first layer of skin was peeling away to reaveal blue skin underneath!
"What the?" The skin continues to peel away and more blue skin is revealed, it keeps going over my entire hand and then it starts heading up my arm, I feel pain and something busts out of the back of my hand, I turn my hand over to see a scale as blue as the sea erupt in the center of my palm... and several more around it. I started to freak out now and I stand up out of the water as the same weird feeling starts in my legs and the rest of my body. I step out of the tub as I get a bigger pain in my hands, I hold them up to see white claws push their way out of my fingertips, the sight makes me stop completely... something pushes it's way out of my back and tailbone and I look back to see something long growing it's way out of that area and up near my shoulderblades! Something steps away from the wall and shimmers into visibility, a dragon was standing before me! I take a step back out of fear and slip on some water, the last thing I see is the bathtub rushing towards me...
I gain concousness for a few seconds to see sideways woods rushing past before blacking out again...
I have another burst of awareness to see i'm in a clearing turning this way and that before passing out again...
The dragon sets the unconcous Max, who was completely human again, against a tree and starts trying to think how the boy was human again, the last he saw the boy was almost a complete water dragon like himself, even more curious was the question on how he would go from here. The dragon stiffens as the boy starts to stir, the dragon steps back and blends into the tree across from him and waits...
I come to laying against a tree right next to a river with no-one in sight. I look down and realize I was naked, which made me blush and double-check to see if I was alone, then the realization of me having no idea where I was hit.
"Please tell me this is just a bad dream." I say to no-one, so I was scared out of my mind when I hear...
"I am afraid i can't lie to you about that." It comes from everywhere and I start freaking out.
"What the... Who's there!?"
"Somone who is interested in you not shouting." As the dragon steps away from the tree and the chameleon effect broke. I would've backed up farther but the tree prevented that. The dragon was aquamarine and there was a small ridge running up his head, the two tails both were plain, the wings had white membrane along with the webbed ears that he had flattened against his head.
"I do believe that you are afraid of me?" he said with his head cocked to the left side a little.
"Your.. y... you're a dragon... what do... what do you want with me?" I manage to sputter out.
"I will take that as a yes. What do i want with you? Do you not remember the cliff? Do you not remember the occurence right before I revealed myself to you?"
"Did I break something of yours?" I say, fear still evident on my voice.
"Actually you did, and it's the reason why i have followed you, what you broke did something to you, and i needed to see what."
"You mean that... that was real?" He doesn't answer but moves two of his fingers up and makes a circular motion for a few seconds before flicks his fingers to his left, and that's when a ball of water about 2 feet in size slams into me. I get completely soaked and the same thing that happened in the bathroom happens... only much, MUCH faster. I get pushed forward as wings and a tail form and my legs switch into a digigrade stance and I get a headache as horns form on my head along with having my ears turn webbed, my face cracks and forms into a muzzle in seconds along with scutes forming up and down my chest in a W style shape. The space between fingers and talons grow webbing in between them. The entire tranformation happened in five seconds...
"What did YOU DO TO ME!" My ears ring from my shout and they move back along my head as if to get away.
He holds one hand against his head and says "Not me, the water did that to you."
"How can water do this to me!?" I lowered my voice so I didn't hurt my ears anymore.
"The elemental sphere, the thing you broke, apparently made this possible to happen to you."
"I did not know what it was for, and much less about what it could do."
"Then why did you have it?"
"Because i was appointed it's guardian, ever since then i have kept it under my watch until the dragon could return and claim it... they never did." He seemed sad, almost depressed even.
"How long have you watched it?" The fear was gone, replaced now by curiosity.
"600 years." My jaw drops, 600 years! This dragon was from the medival ages!
"But that means... is saying sorry enough for you to forgive me?" I ask
He gets a far-off look in his eyes "I... i do not know, i have not heard from others in over 400 years... It seems that you are now a dragon and you will have to come with me."
I was shocked "But... I don't want to!"
The dragon seemed unsure of himself...
"It would not be that bad..."
"But I don't even want to be a dragon! That's something my brother would want!" The last part slipped out.
"How is it that you know of it?"
"Umm, I found out his password and broke into his computer and saw most of his..." I get a blank stare from the dragon "You don't know what I'm talking about... do you?"
"I do not, i have no knowledge of this "computer" you speak of. I have not been out of the ocean since your "great war" many years ago." if that was the case, he was completely ignorant of human society... the great war he was talking about must have been world war one.
"You don't know much then..." a thought pushes it's way into my head as I stand unsteadily. "If you don't know what the sphere does than how do you know that I will stay like this?"
He starts to say something but turns and thinks for several seconds before turning back to me and saying "Maybe... maybe the sphere gave you the ability to shift between human and dragon... focus and try."
I close my eyes and concentrate and a feeling of falling followed by the wings and tail no longer being felt. I open my eyes and see that I was human again... and naked. In a feeling of embarresment I concentrate and end up back a dragon, nothing showed in this form and I felt a little better for it... another thought hits and I get the urge to ask...
"Where are we... and how did you get past my brother?"
"I do not know how you measure distances..." he starts over to the river when a shot rings out, it causes both of our ears to hurt and we both see the shot blast into the river between us. We both to look where the shot came from...
Shane advances from the trees on the other side of the clearing at least 30 meteres away with his 308. bolt-action rifle leveled, there was no scope and he didn't need one. He had watched the entire scene from his perch in a tree with a stone-cold look in his eyes, he couldn't hear what was said but watching told him everything he needed to know. A woodland camoflauge cap was pulled backwards on his head and he had tracked the dragon a mile out into the forest from the house. He had pretended to sleep so that whatever had been following them could make it's move, he had heard the thump when his brother had hit the tub, and he could hear the quiet footsteps as the dragon had left with Max held under-arm. The dragon had left footprints the entire way there, made even more noticable when the dragon broke into a run.
"Step away from my brother, dragon." He says it coldly and it made a shiver run up both his brother's and the dragon's spine. He gets close and takes a glance at his brother, there was three horns, one ran streight up the middle while the other two veered off to the sides before going back, a mane of silver hair ran down to his shoulders and some of the hair fell into bangs in front of his eyes, his eyes themselves had turned to a purple shade and the pupil was still round. His wings and ear membrane was tan, the tail had frils halfway down and on the tip was a spike. All-in-all he was an 7 foot water dragon.
"It appears that i never did..." the dragon says as he backs away until he was knee-deep in the river. eyes never breaking contact with Shane's. Shane was five feet away from his brother when he says...
"You know... i told you so just doesn't cut it here, someone had saved you but you didn't believe me..." Then he says to the dragon "What do you intend for my brother?"
"I... do not mean any harm to him." Shane stares for several tense seconds and Max was starting to think that his brother was going to shoot the dragon, then he lowers the rifle... but doesn't take his finger off the trigger.
"Then thank you for saving him... oh, and why is he a dragon?"
"Shane, you don't seem very phazed by me being a dragon." Max says before the dragon had a chance to speak.
"Because i take everything in stride, besides... you already been on my computer and seen all the dragon related stuff... what? You thought i didn't know about that?"
Max didn't and was put off by his brothers now causual tone.
"Now tell me how he became a dragon."
"I can tell you that Shane." Shane lounges against a tree while Max explains that and they conversation that he couldn't hear earlier to him.
"So you can turn human again, well that's good to know... but now I want to hear the dragon's name." He says as he turns to the dragon, he had the gun laying on his shoulder now and the dragon noticed this small act.
"My name is Drajek."
"Well Drajek, why did you guard that sphere for this long?"
"Because I was it's guardian, we do not shirk our duties like you humans have done."
"And this was the only one?"
He takes his time before answering "No, it is not the only one." Max thought his brother would snap his fingers and say "I thought so." but Shane remained oddly quiet.
"And there are others guarding them as well?" Shane said as he seemed to be prodding for something.
"I..." Drajek trails off as he seems to have something go through his mind.
"You want one of them I take it?" He said it with underlying annoyance in his voice.
"Yes I do, and before you say anything, you haven't had contact with other dragons for 400 years, I think that qualifies as them being dead." The blunt words suprise Max and angers Drajek, who lets out a subtle growl before saying...
"You dare? We dragons live far longer than you and are much harder to kill... they are just isolated!"
"Have you ever checked up on them, then?" Shane's cold voice echoed through Drajek's skull as reality hit him, he had never went to see if they were okay, he had just kept moving, month to month, year to year... never a thought to those he knew... not even his closest friend...
I stare as Drajek acts as if he had been ran over by a truck. He turns away before muttering "400 years... not once in 400 years did i... not even her..." Both me and Shane hear it, and I give a sideways look at my brother and see his lips tighten at the words... his coldness dissapearing when he realizes he went to far.
Shane turns and starts walking away, he stops after several feet and calls over his shoulder "Drajek, I'm sorry... Max come on, he needs time alone." I couldn't argue with him because he would drag me back if I did, I look back to see that Drajek had dissapeared. I start following my brother through the woods and I get the urge to ask...
"Why were you so cold with him?"
"I think it was because I actually had a chance to become a dragon... i... i'm normally not like that but just the idea of it had fueled my imagination for years and to finaly have the chance to do it..." He trails off for a minute before saying "At least my brothers a dragon now, heh... imagine what you can do now... no impressing your friends or anyone else, understand?"
"What would you think would happen if a dragon appeared in the middle of a school? Military would go nuts and try to put you in a cage... or a table. Get the idea?"
"Ummm, sure but I'm going to have a hard time doing that if I turn into a dragon at the touch of water."
"I'm sure you control it." He was silent for most of they way and I decide to break the silence...
"Do you think he'll be alright?"
He looks down for several seconds before looking up and saying "No, I've always thought for the worst... but Drajek seems to young for a dragon his age, living under the water must have kept him from most of the horrors of the world. He will probably go check on them and find what he fears, if i am right... he will be scarred..." He gets the look on his face like a cross between a frown and sadness that tells you that he wasn't going to say something because it was dark or depressing beyond reason. We reach our backyard and I could see the tracks that Drajek left. He opens the door and closes it behind me...
"Right... go get some clothes and turn human again. Tomarrow we get to see what you can do."
"Shouldn't you already know what i can do?" I say and he makes a short laugh.
"Yeah, fly and breathe underwater, i can see the gills on your neck, you said that Drajek controlled water? Well maybe you can do that too, anything else isn't apparent except you don't seem to have any problems controlling yourself, so just be lucky that tommorow's labor day and not a school day." He grabs the dr. pepper that I left on the counter and hands it to me. there was still some fizz in it and I down the rest of the can. I accidently crush it when I go to throw it away... looks like I'm a lot stronger now. He takes out the clip and lays it on the counter along with the rifle after cycling the bullet out of the chamber before he goes into his room. I head into the bathroom and grab the clothes I was going to wear and head back into my room before shutting the door. I shift back into human and put the clothes on, it felt better being clothed as I lay on my bed and try to absorb everything that happened today... and I slowly drift off to sleep.