Finished! 1613 words. This is a very fluffy fantasy piece featuring the little boy I once drew sticking his tongue out. Aha! Here's the post: Link looking weirded out steals the attention. I really enjoyed writing something that was intended solely to be fun for me. And I think it came out pretty well.
The small boy with the pointed ears and feet green with grass stains crouched with his hands cupping his knees, peering through the latticework of underbrush, tongue poked out in intense concentration. The name that his parents gave him when he was born was Perenthalenstern, but since no teacher, let alone other small children, had any hope of getting it right, he went by Pip, and just as often by Pudge.
The legs of his maroon pants were rolled up to the knees, one higher than the other, and they itched, but he didn’t dare move to adjust them. Through the tangle of the blackberry bush he had just been raiding, he could see it – about the size of a bluejay, iridescent wings flexing in the sunlight – a dragon.
His small handful of partially crushed blackberries forgotten on the grass, Pudge carefully nudged a leafy branch aside so he could get a better look. There was a small stream running through the clearing on the other side, and the dragon sat on a rock in the middle of it. The water burbled merrily, a low background sound that Pudge barely registered because of its constant presence. As he watched, the dragon turned, preening itself in the sun that glinted off its blue-purple scales. Pudge had never seen a dragon this close up before, and he wanted to know what each scale looked like. Were they like a fish’s, flat as mail? Or were the legends true and they were all tiny gemstones, down to a one? The way they winked in the sun, Pudge was beginning to think the latter might be true after all.
The dragon became distracted by something in the water, and it left off sunning itself to crouch on the round edge of the rock. Its head followed whatever it watched with darting snakelike movements. Hoping it was so distracted that it wouldn’t notice his approach, Pudge elbowed gingerly through the blackberry bushes. Just as he emerged into the bright sun on the other side, the dragon looked up like a cat perking its ears and saw him. It watched him intently for a split second in which Pudge tried to stay absolutely still, then it was in the air, its filmy wings beating in a blur. They sounded almost like laundry caught on the line in a swift wind, only this sound was higher-pitched. The dragon tucked its tiny legs up under its lithe body and zipped away over the water.
“Wait!” Pudge cried, scrambling to his feet. The dragon was still in sight, a shimmer of purple against the green trees and bushes. Pudge leapt wildly across the stream, landing on the rock where the dragon had been sitting and pinwheeling his arms to keep from toppling in. He used the momentum to jump onto another stone and then to the opposite bank. A sapphire glint downstream identified the dragon as it moved, fast as a hummingbird, away from Pudge. He ran after it.
After a bend in the stream where Pudge thought he’d lost sight of it, the dragon’s movement against the stillness of a moss-covered cliff face marked its position. It hovered in place for a moment as Pudge drew closer, and then darted into a dark crack in the cliff.
Pudge slowed as he neared, picking brambles off the shoulder of his shirt that he’d forgotten in his chase. The jagged crack was about three feet wide at its base, and it narrowed, widened again, and then narrowed to a wobbly point as it traveled about five or six feet up the cliff wall. Pudge could see a fair way in. The grey stone was dry at the entrance but got darker as it continued inward. He sized up the crack thoughtfully, then stepped into it, immediately skinning his ankle on a bump of rock. He made a noise of pained annoyance and continued on.
The white light of midday behind him began to dim, but in its place, Pudge began to see a faint greeny-purple glow. It was faint enough that he didn't realize it was there until the light from outside the crevice had almost gone away completely. When he looked back, he could still see the bright scar of the entrance behind him - or rather to his left, considering that he had to shimmy sideways most of the time. With the daylight gone, however, he could see that the greenish purple light was rising from cracks in the rock walls down around his legs. He didn't have enough room to bend down and look, but from the way it shimmered, he thought it might be veins of some sort of precious stone. After a few more moments of squirming between the rock, the sides opened up a little more and Pudge was able to crouch down and look at the veins.
The edges were green, but a streak of peacock-purple ran through the middle and broke out in bulbs every so often, resulting in the mingled light that now surrounded him. Pudge poked at a bit that jutted out, hoping to pry some off to take home, but it was stuck tight. He stood up again, careful not to bang his head on the sloping wall, and pressed forward. Even though the crack had opened for a short distance, it was rapidly narrowing, and the part that was getting narrowest was the bottom. Pudge climbed up over a small hill of rock as it rose in front of him in the half-darkness, hands on both walls beside him. The veins of sparkling stone in the wall were beginning to taper and die out, and now he could barely make out the crack a few feet in front of him. The ground rose up again, and he climbed up it on his knees, then met with a much higher rise. He thought vaulting himself up frontwards might send him over some unknown edge, so he turned around and hoisted himself up backwards.
He scooted back, once, then again, and the rock fell out from under him and he saw pinwheeling colored lights as he toppled backwards down a small slope. The spots of firefly glow were still there when he opened his eyes to an upside-down world of flittering, darting things.
Pudge rolled over and blinked hard to make sure the things moving before his eyes were real. Real they were - dragons, some moving together like a swarm of sparrows, a school of shining fish in the air, some hovering in place, some perched on rocks. He caught sight of a purply blue spark and saw his dragon, swooping low over a pool that reflected his light. Pudge stood up and moved forward, but the dragons on nearby stones took to flight and the ones in the air veered their parade away from him. He stopped, and sat down on the rock floor to watch.
After a while, they began to move around him, but none came within several feet. Their light, every color of the rainbow, were reflected in the pool and his eyes. One darted courageously near, and Pudge reached out toward it. Its eyes glittered like wet pebbles.
The dragon slid away through the air, but as he pulled his hand back, Pudge noticed something by his left knee. In the dim light, it looked like a small chunk of rock, but when he bent closer, he realized it was a broken shell. Pudge picked it up carefully like he would a robin’s egg. It was heavy in his hand, though, and when he gently squeezed it with his fingers, it was as hard as if it were made out of stone.
He turned it over in his hand and tried to see inside it. It was in three pieces: one large cup-shaped piece, the bottom of the egg, and two smaller shards that fit together but didn’t match up with the edges of the bottom. It was made of a rough substance that possessed a purplish satiny sheen when he moved it in the dim light. He could see hard, glassy chips on the outer surface that glinted green. They reminded him of the veins he had seen in the rock walls of the crack he had come through. Pudge stood up. He cradled the shell fragments in one hand held close to his chest and used the other hand to scrabble up the incline to the crack that led outside. As he found the entrance, he looked back at the garden of darting dragon-lights. Then he turned into the crevice and made his way carefully, keeping one hand on the wall. The greenish purple light grew brighter as he got deeper into the crack, then bled away again as the white daylight crept closer. Pudge lost his footing, knocked his elbow against the wall, and tripped down a rough slope in the ground. He fell sideways out into the sunlight in an attempt to keep the eggshell uncrushed.
Pudge picked himself up. The shell was so hard he probably couldn't have broken it anyway. It was tough, he thought as he walked down the grassy riverbank toward home. He could probably keep it in his pocket and it would be fine.
He opened his hand, and the sun moved across the broken shell. The green chips flashed like foxfire, and rainbows skipped across the satiny purple surface. Pudge closed his fingers around it carefully. His pocket was a good place for other things, but maybe his father would show him how to build a wooden box for this.