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By , wrightwood, CA
Chapters:   « Previous 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Next »

Chapter Five

May was terrified when she realized that they were heading away from the village. Would she see her family again? Her friends? Would they forgive her? Or would she be shunned, when she returned?
If she returned.
May broke down in to sobs. She tried to resist them, tried to hold them back, but they came out anyway. Instead, she stifled them with gasps about being this high in the air.
Tom obviously knew what she was trying to do, because he glanced back at her. “You can cry, May. It’s all right. I know how hard it is to lose your home.”
This only made her cry more. Lose her home? So she would never go back?
“If we go back, they’ll kill us for being traitors,” he said in a more gentle voice. “We can’t risk that.”
May sighed. Her flow of tears lessened, and she sniffed. She felt a feeling of resignedness. She knew she could not go back, yet she didn’t know what they would face in the outside world. This was going to be frightening, sure enough. Was she ready? Could she do this? Or should she just demand that he set her down, and then walk back to the village?
May looked down against her better judgment, and found that they were in a completely new landscape. There were trees everywhere, and not a village, town, or city in sight. “Where are we?!” she asked before she realized.
“I don’t know,” Tom replied, truthfully, but painfully. “Away from the village.”
May let out another sob. There was no way she was going back now. She couldn’t. She didn’t know where they were, didn’t know which way to go to get home. She was lost.
“Well,” she murmured. “It looks like I’m staying with you.”
“You don’t have to, you know,” Tom said softly. “I could drop you off nearby a town.”
“And be on my own, with no one I know?” May asked incredulously. “No way! I’d rather be with a traitor than be alone.”
“Very well,” Tom said. “We need to find a place we can stay. Flame, we’re far enough away now. Land in that clump of trees.”
The dragon willingly obliged, eager to get this unknown rider off his back, and weary from unusual exercise.
May couldn’t help but feel a wondrous awareness as the dragon landed. She was flying! And dragons weren’t evil, and they could actually be nice! It was amazing. She was thrown off guard when they actually landed.
The sharp impact of hitting the ground jolted her back from her reverie, and she nearly fell off into a prickly thorn bush. “Ow!” she exclaimed, feeling the scaled digging into her skin.
Tom was also thrown off guard. “Flame! What was that? You’re usually so smooth!”
The dragon tilted his head to stare at them both, narrowing his huge eye at May. She didn’t understand his language, but the message was clear: I normally don’t have two riders on my back.
May cringed.
Tom had also interpreted the dragon’s body language. “Flame. Chill out. She’s staying with us now, so get used to her.” he slid off on to the ground. “This seems like a good place for right now,” he commented. “Come on, May. You’ve had a rough day. Sleep.”
And while May didn’t like taking orders from anyone who was not clearly above her in station, she had to submit. She was worn, and the excitement had further drained her energy. She also just wanted to get away from reality. So she followed Tom to the ground, and had barely cleared the brush away so she’d have a relatively soft place to bed when she was asleep.

It had been her goal to escape from what had happened these past few days, but the experiences followed her in her sleep.
In her mind’s eye, she saw images of Flame snorting angrily at her. She saw Tom calming him, but never succeeding. And then she saw Flame spurting fire at her -
The dream changed, and she was flying. She felt the amazing feeling of the wind blowing through her hair, the sting of it against her cheeks. She saw Tom in front of her, leaning forward to talk to his dragon. He thought she couldn’t hear him, but she could. He had to stop Flame from killing her. He had to make the dragon obey him…
May tossed and turned in her sleep. She rolled over and scraped her elbow on a tree root. She still did not wake. This was the most realistic dream she had ever had, complete with sound, emotions, and nerves. Tom watched her, biting his lip.
“That must be some dream,” he murmured.
Flame agreed with a small burst of fire.
Tom gazed levelly at him. “I know you don’t like her. But give her a break, Flame. She just learned that one of her classmates was a Rider, and that I was hiding a dragon in my home for nine years.”
Flame lowered his head to the ground and pretended to fall to sleep.
“I know you can hear me, Flame.” still, he did not respond. Fine, Tom thought. If that’s the way you want to be. “You’ll grow to like her eventually.”
Flame did not think so. He would be forever loyal to Tom, never trusting anyone who held a sword like the Slayers – and that meant May.
It began to rain.
Tom grimaced. He glanced around, half-heartedly looking for shelter. Then, miraculously, he spotted a cave. “Piece of luck,” he murmured, and started off. But then he remembered May, and glanced back at her. She was still asleep. Was she really that worn out? He sighed and walked back to her, shivering. Taking hold of her torso, he hoisted her up over his shoulder – surprisingly she was not too heavy. He hauled her to the cave, and found that Flame was already inside of it.
The dragon was not pleased to see May. He pawed his talons against the ground, making unpleasant sounds.
Tom laid her down on the ground and frowned at his dragon. “Give it a break. Seriously.”
May woke with a start. Her dream had just ended in a horrible scenario of her falling off a cliff and Flame refusing to save her. “Where – where are we?” she asked in a state of confusion. Hadn’t they been outside before she fell asleep?
“It’s raining,” Tom explained, gesturing to the mouth of the cave.
“Oh,” May said. Then she sat up abruptly. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” Tom asked, straining his ears.
“No, it’s gone now,” she said. “Wait – there it is!”
This time Tom heard what May had. And he knew what it was, despite his weariness. He had heard it before, many times in his own cave.
Another human was in the cave with them.
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