Morgan Kensing pushes through the door to the antiques shop. It’s brand new, even though it sells very old things. She wonders if there will be any dragons here. Morgan loves dragons.
She knows they’re not real, but dragons fascinate her. They’re magical- but not magical like unicorns. Dragons are wild creatures. They are monsters and beasts. They breathe fire, have huge claws and vicious teeth, and swallow animals whole.
In short, she loves them.
Morgan is pulled from her thoughts by a thin elderly man who must be the shop owner. He’s so old, he matches the items for sale. “Hello,” he croaks. “Welcome to my shop. What is the young lady looking for today? I am Mister Blodt,” Morgan shivers. Blodt sounds like blood to her.
She shakes herself mentally before saying, “I was wondering if you had anything with dragons on it.” The old man looks at her curiously. Then he nods and leads Morgan into the very back of the shop.
She hesitates a minute before following, thinking of all the warnings she’s heard about not going with strangers. In the end, Morgan decides she could overpower him if she had to. Mister Blodt is so thin and frail, he’s almost not there at all.
By the time Morgan catches up, the old man is pulling a cloth off of a dusty mirror. Then he blows on it, causing a cloud of dust to fill the air between them, and all Morgan can think is she’s glad she doesn’t have asthma. When the dust settles, Morgan gasps so loudly it drowns out the sound of Mister Blodt’s wheezing.
The mirror is rectangular and slightly tarnished. It looks very old, but someone has taken very good care of it. That’s not the unusual thing, though. What makes it amazing is the carefully carved golden dragons all around the edges: three on each diagonal side, and two on each horizontal one.
Each dragons is different, and the artist has captured them perfectly, in Morgan’s opinion. They are ferocious yet beautiful, monstrous yet graceful, all powerful but still realistic. One’s mouth is open in a roar and another’s wings are spread. Each dragon is six inches of pure, unchecked, and terrible magic.
“Ah, you like it. It is beautiful, yes. But with one flaw… such a shame.” Mister Blodt looks incredibly sad as he points out the gap in the carvings. The middle dragon on the left side is missing. Morgan reaches out and strokes the spot. The empty space doesn’t really take away from the piece- it adds a touch of mystery.
“I don’t care, sir. How much for it?” She asks quietly.
“To a young lady like yourself,” he wheezes, “Free. If you’ll do me a small favor…”
“Like what, sir?” Morgan says suspiciously. The old man smiles and stares into her eyes.
“Find the missing dragon.”
Morgan nods and clutches the mirror to her chest. Her finger, looking for something to do, finds the biggest dragon’s eye and rubs it. The mirror glows brightly green and Morgan looks at it in surprise. “Mister Blodt?” She calls shakily. But he’s not there. No one is.
As the mirror pulls Morgan away from her world, there’s no one to hear her scream.