Thursday, June 16, 2011

Writing Prompt Wednesday #4

I had every intention of writing this yesterday. But life--and writer's block--got in the way. I know, the purpose of writing prompts is to cure writer's block and I should have persevered. But I was lazy. And Culver's was calling me.

Todays's prompt: Write a short story using the following as an opening line: "If I must be a dragon," thought Fenwick, "it would be nice if I could blow at least a little bit of fire." (Courtesy of Glen and Karen Bledsoe's Writing for Children website

"If I must be a dragon," thought Fenwick, "it would be nice if I could blow at least a little bit of fire."

But he couldn't even blow a little bit. Not even enough to light a tea candle. Whenever he tried, he started hacking and went into a coughing fit that lasted for five minutes. It would be a comfort if, after those five minutes, a little trickle of smoke snaked out of his mouth. But smoke means fire. And there was no fire. So there was no smoke, either.

His mother told him it was because he had so much mucous in his throat, from his allergies. She would tell him she had the same problem when she was a youngster and she grew out of it, so he would, too. But his mother had also been big for her age, covered in gleaming gold scales that were blinding in the sun. The other youngsters had never dared make fun of her.

Fenwick didn't have it so easy. He was little for his age and his scales were a pale green. So the other youngsters made fun of him. A lot. They called him Fireless and Snot Nose and Froggie. He'd gotten to the point where he used his green scales to hide in the grass. He blended in so well, no one could ever find him unless they heard him sneeze.

He'd crouch in the grass for hours, dreaming of the day he could set the whole prairie ablaze with his own glorious fire. Sometimes he'd try to light a spark, but that hacking cough was so unpleasant he preferred to just lay and dream about it.

One day, he'd daydreamed in the grass so long that he fell asleep. He was awakened by something tickling his nose. He opened his yellow, slitted eyes to see a furry caterpillar inching its way over his talons.

The caterpillar saw Fenwick's eyes on him and stopped. "Why hello," it said to him. "Name's Ichabod. Are you going to burn me now?"

Fenwick blinked. "Burn you? Of course not."

"My cousin was burnt to a crisp by one of your kind just last week," Ichabod informed him. "So I'm wondering why you aren't warming up your fire as we speak."

Fenwick sighed. "Oh, I don't have any fire. But if I did, why would I use it on you? You're not big enough to eat."

"The other dragons don't care about that. They just like showing off their power and picking on creatures smaller than them."

Fenwick was surprised. He'd never heard his kind described that way. "Is that true?"

Ichabod eyed him with a wary caterpillar look. "You don't get out of this grass much, do you? Of course it's true. Why do you think all the other creatures are afraid of you. Well, not you, but dragons in general."

"No one's afraid of me," Fenwick said.

"Do you want them to be? If I was afraid of you, we wouldn't be having this very nice conversation we're having right now."

Fenwick thought about that. He decided he didn't want this very friendly caterpillar, or any other creature, to be afraid of him. Maybe there was a very good reason he couldn't breathe fire. Maybe, just maybe, he was meant to breach the gap between the dragons and all the other creatures they bullied.

"Of course I don't want you to be afraid of me," he told Ichabod. "My name's Fenwick, by the way. I don't breathe fire, but maybe I can do something better."

Have a nice weekend,
The Brown-Eyed Girl