“What?” I ask, surprised and confused.
“You heard me. How did you manage to piss off everyone in the US of A?” The guy folds his arms over his gray long-sleeved shirt, with a mildly curious look on his face.
I go wide-eyed and pull through recent memories... nothing. I focus in on the guy's dark eyes as I say to him “I might have pissed off a few people, but not an entire nation!” He blinks slowly “Okay then. I might have been exaggerating a tad when I said that, let's put it at most of the US. And before you ask me any questions, no I don't know what you supposedly didn't do, since I was told this rather vaguely by the others around midnight a few hours ago. And now you can ask the other obvious questions.”
I move and take a sharp intake of breath as a ping of pain raced through my right leg. I get dizzy for a second but power through, managing to sit up on the bed, which was just a bare white mattress. I'm not one for asking questions, but some things needed to be asked or I'd be in the dark... “Okay, obvious question one, where am I?” I look around as I said this and... “And why is there a cage over there?” The cage was shiny and almost like a jail cell, but built into the wall and ceiling, it sat in the far right corner of this basement-like room.
He chuckles lightly “Thought that would be what you noticed first. You're in Montana by the way, in a little town called Wolf Valley. The cage was put there by the rather paranoid and delusional old man who used to own this place.”
“Serious delusion... agh, got any painkillers? My headache isn't getting any better.” He grabs a bottle off of the nearby dusty cabinet, he shakes it, no sound. He puts it back and walks to my right through a doorway, He steps back for a second and says to me “Give me a second, must be some upstairs somewhere. Oh, and don't go anywhere.” He says the last bit with a bit of humor. He pounds up the stairs and I hear a door open and close.
I look around again, taking in the details slower... yep, definitely a basement. The room was big for most basements, but instead of the big square design it was more like a triangle. The place was mostly bare, bits of furniture sat around, a couch here, a chair there, and even a pool table sat in the center, though it showed as much disuse as the rest of the furniture. The basement was lit with fluorescent lights, the ones above my head were turned off.
I spot a dusty floor to ceiling mirror across from me next to the cabinet that the guy had pulled that bottle from, the mirror was against the left wall on that side so I couldn't see myself directly. Well,I'm not paralyzed. I try and stand up, and gasp as more pain arcs up my leg, coming from the shin. I stumble and almost fall, but brace a clawed palm on the nearby wall, handy having them place me so close to the entrance. I see the scars on my arm... I stop counting at twenty and focus back to my leg, and get wide-eyed at the damage.
Dear god... I think as I see the blitz of scars across my scales and scutes. The scales had grown over plenty of the scars, but it didn't cover them completely, the scarred skin was a lighter gray, they weren't puckered like some scars, so they healed well, yet they gave a odd color pattern. My right leg was swathed in bandaging, there was blue staining the bandaging at the shin, where it hurt the most. The scars on my scutes were much worse and more telling to how close I came to death. Most gouges in the scutes had healed over, but were the same lighter color as the other scars, but what really drew my attention was the great jagged hole in my scutes right next to where my lung and heart would be, the skin underneath was just barely healed, a pink color compared to the gray scars.
… what happened to me? I sit down, not wanting to see the rest of the damage. My thoughts go in a dozen different directions, like it always does when I want to be distracted.
A minute or two later the door to the basement opens, and the mysterious benefactor returns with a bottle of aspirin, which he tosses to me. “Here.” He holds out a bottle of water, which I take while murmuring thanks. I pop three aspirin and and take a long drink of water, which only reminded my body of how hungry it was.
“What's your name?” I ask, capping the water bottle. Confusion flicked on his face for a moment, like he didn't know what to tell me, then he said “Anthony Deathridge.” He offers his hand and I shake it “Shane Smith.” I say as I look at him. He didn't seemed fearful or even disturbed by the fact I was a dragon, more as if he had been friends with dragons his entire life.
Okay...” He says while dragging a dusty chair over opposite to me, before sitting “Any more obvious questions?”
I chuckle, which hurts like hell in my ribcage. “Ow, a few. First up, couldn't you find out what 'I' did to piss everyone off with your phone?”
“You could, if it were activated. But it isn't, and if it was someone would probably track the signal here, and voila! Find us hiding out here. If you want to find out about that, wait for Cody to come back in an hour, he'll tell the tale.” He pulls out his phone as he's saying this, and sets some music going, it wasn't loud this time, but I could still hear it.
“Okay, next question, who's basement are we in?”
“For now, no-one, this place is considered abandoned since the last occupant died.”
“Died from what?” I ask, a little on edge.
The guy shrugs “Cody says it was from a heart attack, or at least that's what the coroner said.”
“Damn, that must've sucked for the guy. Now new question, who's Cody?”
He leans forward in the dusty chair, like an old man about to tell a story. “Cody... is a resident in this little town, him and his friends found me, and subsequently you. If it weren't for them finding you, then you would have died out there from blood loss. Cody doesn't look like much, beach blonde hair, roughly 190 pounds, as I said, not much. If i'm right, him and all his friends are going to step in this morning so that one of their group who was out of town can see for herself that there's a dragon in town.”
“Oh hey, going to be the show in a few hours. Anyway, I'm sure that you knew this question was coming... but can you tell me how I got so fucked up?”
“Well...” Anthony's face loses a bit of that placid look, seemingly becoming much more serious “What do you remember?”
I search my thoughts, and get almost nothing, almost. “I... I know I was flying, that was about all I can remember.” Okay, I was lying on that part. What I didn't tell him was that I had just escaped from people who would have killed me in a rather brutal fashion.
He goes into a deep sate of thought, staring at the wooden floor like an enemy. Seconds tick by, and I get more questioning in each second, until I can't stand it and ask “What is it?”
He looks up, calm as ever, and bluntly states “I'm wondering weather or not to tell you i'm partly responsible for your injuries and near death.”
“What?” I state, surprised at the response “Are you kidding me?”
Anthony shakes his head “Sadly no, i'm not kidding. I'm inadvertently the reason you were almost a corpse.”
“Busted the news to him did you?” Comes a voice form the doorway... I never even heard the door move. A kid steps through the doorway carrying a box, definitely not Cody or the other one I saw. He sets the box at Anthony's feet. He addresses me “I'm Seth, and welcome back to the world of the living, and my my, you are in one hell of a mess.”