This mess, this entire mess started last year, while I was still in secondary school. All I can say about it is this: "Why do these things always happen to me?" I continued thinking, as I stared at the black dragon lying opposite me, regarding me with those sad eyes, as if he wanted to say the same thing. Dragon. Bah. That idiot was the root of all my problems. If only I could just migrate and leave him behind, but of course, he would just fly after me. Damn creature. This nonsense had been going on since he had hatched, and imprinted me as his damn rider. I had never wanted the job, and that had been no secret from the start. I made it plain that I didn't want him, he was irritating, and the biggest nuisance that I had ever encountered. He knew it, I knew it, and he knew that I knew it. Still the damn creature stuck to me, and refused to put me out of my misery, by leaving.
However, I was the one in the wrong. I was stupid enough to do the wrong thing, and it took an episode of pain and suffering to make me realize that. Now, both of us were paying the price for my brainless actions.
Location: Tanjong Katong Secondary School
It started on the eleventh of August. I was in the midst of revision for my preliminary exams, and the school, as usual was supporting us students by providing extra lessons after curriculum time to aid in our revision. At the same time, the Riders had just sent a clutch of dragon eggs to the school. They were incubating somewhere in the biology lab. The procedure was that once the dragons hatched, they would be fed, then allowed to roam around the school freely, so that they could choose their riders. Of course, I saw that as none of my concern. I had no intension of becoming a rider. I just wanted to get a decent score for the O'level examination, and get into a good Junior College, and eventually, a decent university.
The school had been kind enough to give us an hour for our lunch break, and I having slept ridiculously late the nigh before had quickly finished my food, and was heading back to my classroom. Since the chance to sleep had presented itself, I was going to seize it. As usual, the curtains in the classroom were drawn, and the lights had been switched off. Some of my classmates had skipped lunch altogether just to catch forty winks. I silently pushed the door open, careful not to disturb the others, and went to my desk, where I promptly sat down, and plonked my head onto the table, eventually falling asleep.
After some time, I became aware of something nudging me. Dismissing it as part of a dream, or just the wind, I ignored it, and continued my slumber. The next thing I knew, I felt a sharp pain in my right palm. That jolted me straight out of dreamland, and back to the real world in seconds. I looked up, annoyed at been woken up, expecting to see the culprit. I did, but it was not who, or for that matter, what I had expected.
I looked up to see a pair of slit pupils peering back at me. I nearly jumped out of my chair. On the table was a small black dragon, obviously a hatchling. It was around thirty centimeters high, and it was a male, judging from its muzzle and general body shape. I quickly inspected my palm. Luckily, the bite had not drawn blood. If he had drawn blood, he would have had imprinted me, and I would have become his rider.
I quickly got up, and attempted to exit the room, hoping to get away from the creature. No luck. Before I so much as touched the doorknob, I felt the dragon pounce on me, and bite my arm, drawing blood. At that point, I didn't bother to keep down my swearing. My colorful vocabularies of swear words poured forth, as I opened the door, and went to the car park. There, I shouted, "fuck!" as I scowled at the blasted creature. The dragon in question had perched happily on my shoulder and was attempting to nuzzle me. For some reason or other, that made me angrier. I picked him up by the scruff of his neck and tossed him roughly onto the bonnet of a car. I then turned tail and ran, hoping to put as large a distance between the dratted animal and myself as I could. Eventually, I stopped, realizing that I had left my bag and books in the classroom, and that I had to attend a lesson later anyway.
Defeated, I returned to class. When I was halfway there, I encountered the dragon again. It chirped at me, but I completely ignored him, as I walked back. If I could not get rid of the damn creature, I figured that would just ignore him. I made my way back to the classroom, and went back to sleep, but this time, I plugged in my earphones, and played music as well, to drown out the noise that the dragon was making. He seemed to sense that something was wrong, and kept nudging my leg. I somehow knew that he wanted me to pet him, and to reassure him, but I ignored that as well. Hopefully, he would just give up eventually, and go away.
Those hopes were in vain. Throughout the entire lesson that started later, I had to deal with him nudging and occasionally nipping my leg, and this was coupled with him warbling and chirping at me non-stop.
After the first five minutes of all the noise and prodding, my patience ran out. Luckily, I sat in a corner of the classroom, so I could do whatever I wanted, as the teacher paid little attention tm me. So, I kicked him. He warbled in shock, as he momentarily experienced projectile motion, before landing on the floor.
I felt a sudden torrent of emotions, ranging from shock to sadness to betrayal, which I knew came from the dragon. He looked up at me, those feelings evident in his eyes, but he made no noise. He seemed to give up, and curled into a ball next to one of the legs my table. Ignoring him, I returned my attention to Physics. I needed to ace that subject.
Around an hour later, we were dismissed, and as usual, I packed my bag and left, leaving the dragon, who seemed to still be asleep, behind. "Maybe he wont follow me
" I muttered, as I plugged my earphones in, while walking to the bus stop.
Of course, my hopes were dashed again, when I saw the very same dragon walked around the corner, and towards me, as I sat there, waiting for the bus. He seemed to brighten up upon seeing me. He probably assumed that I was waiting for him. As if. I would never let my life revolve around that animal.
However, the bus arrived before he reached the bus stop. Without a second thought, I boarded the bus, and as the doors shut, and the bus began to drive off, I caught a glimpse of the dragon again. He was running after the bus. Too bad he was just a hatchling, and had to give up after a very short distance. There, he sat, staring at me. Once again, I felt his sadness, and glimpsed it in those eyes. Then, I turned away.
As per normal, I alighted at the bus stop, only to see the dragon glide over, and land next to me. "Can never bloody win huh." I muttered under my breath, as I walked into the station, still ignoring the dragon, which was fast becoming the bane of my life.
Thanks to the accursed dragon, my journey home was torture. He kept trying to get my attention, and I didn't dare do anything to him in public. I made do with turning my phone's music volume to the maximum, and continuing to ignore him. "The message should get into its thick skull eventually
" I thought, as I listened to the music blaring from my phone.
However, by the time I was outside my house, I had reached the end of my rope again. My uniform was crumpled, and the pants had some holes in their helm thanks to the damn dragon. I completely lost my temper. I snatched the offending creature off the ground, and looked it in the eye and told it straight to the muzzle. "Fuck off! You are not wanted here!" His eyes widened, as he cocked his head at me. Once again, I felt a rush of sadness and betrayal from him. "Oh, no you don't! I have no fucking sympathy for you!" I yelled again, as I started to focus on blocking out those emotions. I was successful. I went into the house, still holding the dragon, put down my bag and grabbed a cardboard box and some tape
I then went to a nearby field, where I forced the struggling dragon into the box. I then closed the box, and used a small piece of tape to hold the flaps together. As I closed the box, i could have sworn that I saw a tear rolling down his muzzle. I only wanted to keep the dragon away, not kill it.
When I turned to leave, I heard keening coming from the box. It must have noticed that I had completely blocked it off. Still, the sound of it's keening was enough to thaw even my feelings, and I stopped mid-step for a split second, but made up my mind, and left.
Strangely enough, the dragon did not come looking for me again. Like any other student, I took my O'levels, and managed to get a decent score. I managed to get into my first choice school, Anderson Junior College.
It was when I went to my new school, that the dragon made its reappearance. It was just after our orientation program had ended, and normal lessons had resumed.
As I strolled from the Auditorium, across the school square, I saw two shadows race across it. I continued, unfazed. There was a training center for dragons nearby. I continued onwards, bound for the canteen. However, before I even set foot in the building, I heard a loud snort come from behind me. I froze.
"So you are the one
" I heard a voice behind me. I whirled around to see a young man, in his late twenties standing next to a red dragon. He had spoken. Next to the red dragon, was a black one. It looked familiar, but the reason why it did so eluded me.
"What?" I asked, confused. "Please establish the context before speaking" I continued, saying my default line.
"You can't even recognize your own dragon! My goodness! So, all those rumors were true
." He replied, sounding disgusted, and shocked at the same time.
"Dragon? What dragon?" I asked, even more confused now.
"That dragon! The one you abandoned in a cardboard box!" He replied, getting worked up.
My expression darkened, and I scowled. "Oh. That dragon."
Turning to the offending creature I demanded, "What do you want? Just spit it out and fuck off."
He looked me in the eye, then looked away, but said nothing.
"If you have nothing to say, then leave. I want nothing to do with you." I said again, turning to leave.
"Stop! We are here to take you two for counseling" The man exclaimed.
"Counseling? Bah. It's not going to make a difference." I said, as I continued walking.
He then came up to me, and dragged me back. "Mount your dragon. We are going."
"It's at the center right?" I asked.
"I'll take a bus." I snapped, and started walking to the gate. The dragon somehow managed to break through to my mind, and I was overwhelmed with his emotions.
"Why?" The dragon finally spoke. His voice was soft, and there was an undercurrent of hurt in his tone.
I had had enough. "Are you that dumb? I thought I already made it clear to you. I don't want you, I don't like you, and I don't need you. You shouldn't have bothered looking for me. I didn't ride you before, and I wont ride you now." I then turned and continued on to the gate, not giving him a second glance. Of course, I had absolutely no intention whatever to go to the training center. I simply made a show of walking to the bus stop, and sat there for a short while, watching the buses come and go.
After I was sure that they had left, i went back into school, and went for my lesson.
I was such an idiot to think that they would not come looking for me. However, this time, they sent only the dragon.
As I walked to my homeroom for a tutorial lesson, I once again saw a shadow race across the square. This time, the dragon landed in front of me, effectively blocking my way. He had grown to the size of a small house, and as I turned to run, he simply wrapped his tail around me, effectively boxing me in. Knowing that game was up, I simply stood there and swore at him. He seemed unfazed, as he nudged me gently. Not wanting to have any physical contact with him, I roughly batted his head away with my file, and looked around, looking for a way out, ignoring the hurt look i received from him. After a few seconds, i spotted a hole. So, I bolted. On the way out, i stomped on the tip of his tail, making him grunt in pain. I ignored this, and continued running. It was to no avail. His head snaked over, and he picked me up, and he place me gently on his back. It seemed like the damn creature had some brains after all. Before i could do anything, he took off, taking me with him. All i could do was sit there and cuss at him.
"Don't you enjoy flying?" He asked, seeming to hope that I would at least make conversation with him.
"Fuck off. Don't talk to me. As for flying, i don't care for it, especially if it's with your kind." I spat, scowling at him. Maybe it was dumb after all. Was it not obvious that i wanted nothing to do with him?
With my reply, he clammed up, and the flight lapsed, and ended in silence. At the center, a petite middle-aged lady, who I presumed to be the counsellor sat at a table, waiting. The man from before was also there, and he instructed me to sit at the table, and told the dragon to do the same. Then, he left.
The lady began, "Hi, I'm Dr Lim, and I'm here to help. You are?"
"It's none of your business." I replied, scowling. She looked taken aback, but acted as if she was unfazed.
"Ah, right..... And you?" She asked, looking at the dragon.
He gave me another of his sad looks, and shook his head. "I have no name. My rider didn't give me one. Could you give me one now?"
I said nothing, and merely gave him the finger.
His head drooped, and he looked away.
The counsellor seemed to sense my hostility towards the dragon, and changed the subject. "Do your parents know about him?"
"Their dead. Remember the rouge dragon killings in 2007? They were eaten. Of my family, I am the only one left." I spat, four years worth of hatred, sadness and bitterness welling up in my psyche. Not bothering to let her reply, i continued. "I was lucky. When the dragon came for the bus, i was in the toilet. I survived by accident. I made a vow that day, not to have anything to do with dragons, at all." I then pointed at the offending creature sitting next to me. "And now, you want me to actually care for that...animal! Fucking dream on! I'll sooner die than have anything to do with it!" Having finished my rant, I gathered my things and walked off, tears streaming down my face, as the memories of the fateful day replayed in my mind, over and over.
However, before I reached the exit, the dragon flew over and I heard him land behind me. "Wait! We can work this out, together! I can help you through this..."
"Please, don't do this..."
"I said go. Go far away, and never come back. I don't want to see you again. Ever. Don't even come for my funeral."
"But I can help you!"
"You can help me by getting the fuck away from me, and not coming back."
"If there is nothing else, go. Just go, and never show your bloody snout in my presence again."
Not caring about what he had to say next, i walked off. Finding that i could not force myself to go back to school, I walked to the train station and went home.
To my horror, as I walked towards my house, the first thing I saw was the dragon.
"Please, at least hear me out."
I said nothing. I simply put my bag and file on the floor.
"I can help you."
I opened my bag and rummaged inside, taking out my pencil case.
"I can support you."
I opened my pencil case and took out my penknife.
"With me, you can move on, and leave the past beh- Wh-what are you doing?!"
I extended the blade to it's maximum length.
"First, you insisted on taking me as your rider. I rejected, then I told you to leave. You didn't listen. Now, you come here to my home and violate my last refuge with your vile presence. I've had enough." I said, as I adjusted my grip on the knife. "It's either you go, or I go. Looks like it's going to have to be the latter."
"No!" he roared, as he wretched the knife out of my hands and spat it over the fence, into the neighbor's pond.
somehow, something stopped me from bothering with anything anymore. I simply stood there, like an idiot. He then walked over to me, and curled around me, crooning softly, and nuzzled me. Somehow, that made me angry. Very angry. This animal had gone too far! Was my life not even mine to take? As he nuzzled me, I threw a punch, and another. Soon, I was raining blows on his head.
"Stop.... It hurts more than you think!"
"The, leave! Go!"
"No! You need me, and I need you!"
"I don't need an animal like you! Go!"
"No! I am not an animal! I have feelings too!"
"You are an animal, and I don't want you! Leave! I never wanted you, and never will!"
"P-Please stop.... I-I'll g-go." he muttered, tears streaming down his muzzle.
I stopped, and he left, his head hung low, and the occasional tear falling off his muzzle. he kept looking back, hoping that I would change my mind. I did not.
I never saw him again, until today. It had been a year since I had chased him away. I was now doing my second year in the course. I had finished early today, and left school. However, history was about to repeat itself.
As I walked home from the train station, I was suddenly knocked over by a strong gust of wind. The next thing I knew, a huge orange dragon landed next to me, and pressed on me with one of it's forelegs.
"Wh-wh-what d-d-do y-you want?" I stammered.
The dragon merely roared in my face. In it's eyes, I saw no intelligence, only a predatory gleam.
I was a dead man, and I knew it. I closed my eyes, and waited for the inevitable.
However, it did not happen. The next thing I knew, I was tossed to a corner, as another dragon tackled the orange one.
"No!" I heard a familiar voice roar. Could it be?
I sat up, and saw the two dragons fighting it out in front of me. However, I could not see clearly, as the initial impact had knocked my spectacles off, and I was as good as blind without them. While they fought, roaring and growling, I felt around, looking for my glasses. Eventually, I did find them.
When I put on my glasses, I saw the orange dragon lying on the ground, dead. Next to it lay the black dragon. He was still alive, but was bleeding profusely from several wounds. I got up, and attempted to walk to his side. The moment I tried to move my right leg, a series of bursts of excruciating pain shot up the leg, and I collapsed. It was probably broken.
Instead, I dragged myself over, and put my hand on his side. I felt his surprise, as he sat up, and stared at me in shock, with those sad eyes of his.
'Thank you for saving me
" I said, choking back tears. I did not deserve him. I had treated him like trash, like an unwanted child, yet he still came to my rescue when I was in danger.
"I-I cant move my leg
" he said, his voice trailing off. I turned and looked at his right foreleg, and turned away. It had been all but destroyed, and blood was gushing from a ruptured artery. I knew that I had to stop the bleeding.
I dragged myself over to the wound, and forced myself to stand up, despite the pain. "Don't worry, it will be alright
" I said, as I winced, as the pain in my leg returned. I knew that I was lying. It was not alright. He was probably going to loose the leg. I opened my bag, and took out a T-shirt, which I tore up, and used to bandage the wound the best I could, and to staunch the bleeding. "I'm sorry." I muttered, head hung low. We were both paying for my dumb actions now. I was sure that if I had accepted him, that dragon would not have dared to attack me, and this entire mess wouldn't have happened.
He muttered something inaudible in response, and growled in pain as I tended to the wound. When I had done all I could, I stumbled to his head, and collapsed next to it. Once again, he looked at me with those eyes.
"You lied. It's not going to be alright
" He mumbled, weak from the blood loss.
"It will be alright
" I repeated dumbly, and put a hand on his neck to reassure him.
At some point, the police, riders and an ambulance arrived, and we were both whisked away to a hospital. My leg had been fractured, and apparently, my moving about had worsened it. I would never be able to run, or walk long distances again. The dragon, whom I named Talorath lost his leg. It was so badly mauled that the doctors had to amputate. His wings had also been very badly injured, and he wouldn't be able to fly for several months. That, for a dragon would be like a living hell.
I wheeled myself out of the ward, and out to the field behind the hospital building. There, he lay in the sun, the stump that was the remnants of his foreleg bandaged neatly, along with a large portion of both his wings. He looked depressed, but brightened up somewhat as I wheeled myself out onto the grass.
He moved closer and nudged me gently, nosing over my leg, which was in a cast. "You are not in pain?" he asked, concerned.
"No. I ought to be asking you that, not the other way round."
He snorted, and shook his head, but looked down.
"What's the matter?"
"They told me this morning that I wouldn't be able to fly for three months, and that you would be discharged soon, so I will be left here, alone and flightless." He muttered his depression leaking into my mind, and he looked like he was going to cry once again.
"Who said that you will be alone?" I replied. Apparently he had not gotten the news yet.
"You don't want me around
"I do now. What I did last year was incredibly stupid, and I regret it. I'm sorry. Please
.forgive me." I muttered, holding back my sobs
At that, he became ecstatic, and nearly knocked me over with a caressing nudge. "Of course I forgive you! I understand how you felt then
What matters is that you are here now!" he seemed to weep tears of joy, as he placed his head on my lap, and crooned happily.
"Thank you" that was all I could manage, as tears streamed down my face.
"Ill ask them to let you come back with me." I said, as I stroked his muzzle.
"Yes, I will."
He become even happier, and curled around me. Still, I couldn't help but feel guilty. I had made his life hell, yet he forgave me so readily. I could not take it anymore. I broke down and cried like I had never cried before, hugging his head tightly. He just stared at me, but in the place of sadness, there was happiness in his gaze.
A few days later, I was discharged, and I after going through a mound of paperwork, the hospital also allowed Talorath to come with me. He absolutely refused to let me ride in an ambulance. Instead, he lifted me out of the wheelchair, and placed me gently on his back. He carried me all the way home, and there, he set me down, with my crutches.
Eventually, I had to return to school. Talorath, however, was far from making a full recovery. However, he was unable to follow me to school, thanks to his size. He was now around the size of a two-story house. The first day I went to school, he watched me limp my way to the train station, lonely and sad. When I got home at the end of the day, he was waiting for me at the train station. Even before I walked down the steps of the station, his head had already snaked its way up to me, picked me up, put me onto his back, and he carried me home. I could feel his boredom and loneliness, although he didn't mention it.
When he set me down at home, I called the school, and explained the situation. The principal was very accommodating, and made arrangements for me to be home-schooled. I would only need to go to school to take the A'level examination, but as a private candidate. What I didn't realize that Talorath had heard the entire exchange, and knocked me over while nuzzling me, my phone skittering on the floor.
I am not made of glass you know."
Then we just laughed together.
Everyone makes mistakes, some graver than others. What matters is not the severity of the mistake, but whether one makes amends. I made a terrible mistake, and both Talorath and I paid for it dearly. I righted the wrong, and he forgave me, and I wont make it again. That's what matters.