The air that night was still and cool, steaming the windows of houses along the road. Warm spots of light glowed from within, spreading a gentle orange glow onto small, well-kept gardens. There was little activity in this small, residential area. The only company to the moon was a small white cat, and the distant roar of cars in the town centre. The cat flicked its tail in annoyance, licking a paw carefully, before leaping off its wall and darting off into the bushes, chasing after an unfortunate mouse.
Every other house had a few bins outside, parked there in anticipation for the morning’s collection, standing to attention as they waited. Some stood by low walls, others on the curb of the wide pavement. There was a brief spell of chatter as somebody opened a door, and the rush of paws on slightly damp grass. Then all fell silent again, as another cat began its own hunt.
Heavy footsteps echoed down the cobbled street. A man was walking down the pavement, alone. Distant cars seemed to grow silent as he strode, quietening in respect for him. The road he walked by was empty. The only cars around were those tucked neatly into their own garages and driveways, keeping the black tarmac free of clutter. The moon was bright in the sky, a crescent nestled among the clouds. A scar glittered in the moonlight, the tissue more reflective than the rest of his face. The man felt his sword through his long, heavy coat, glad to have the metal pressing against his side. It had been seven years since he had unearthed himself, and he had managed to settle into his new situation just fine.
At the end of the street, bins rattled furiously. He narrowed his eyes, his footsteps suddenly becoming lighter. He mimicked the cats, watching the area keenly. He had found it.
He allowed himself to smile to himself, as he reached into the heavy coat, brushing past his shirt and laying his hand on the hilt of the sword. With one long, smooth movement he drew it, allowing himself to savour the sound of metal against metal for a moment. He held the long sword lightly in one hand, and kept walking.
The bins kept moving, with the occasional clang as something fell out. Every now and then there would be a mad scramble of claws on stone, as whatever it was darted for a small piece of food that had dropped off. The man approached the bins carefully, readjusting his grip on the hilt of his sword. As he got closer, the scuffling got quieter, before it stopped all together. The main raised his sword, gripping it with both hands now.
A head emerged from the bins. It wasn’t human or cat. It wasn’t a fox, it wasn’t a dog. It looked reptilian, with small plated scales around its wide mouth, and larger, more rounded scales along the lower part of its neck and chest. Sharp, yellow eyes looked at the man, pupils narrowing to adjust to the dim light of the street lamps. It cocked its head to one side, long mane falling free. The man glared back at it, and began to swung. The creature ducked, darting out of the bins and screeching at him. His sword crashed into the bins, splitting one particular bin bag which was already at bursting point. He yanked his sword out, turning to face the reptile. It spread small wings out either side, wings similar to those of a bat. Red scales shimmered in the moonlight, as more of the creature’s thin body was revealed.
It had four legs, each rounded off with a four-toed foot, with long, curling claws tipping each toe. It had long, sharp teeth which accented its black horns. They curled around its head like a crown, coming to a point. A long trail of pale hair came out of the back of its head, running down its spine until it got to the tail. Its tail whipped back and forth like an agitated cat’s, and the spines on the tip scraped along the cobbles of the pavement.
“Bloody dragon.” The man muttered, readjusting his grip on the hilt of his long sword, before charging toward it, swiping to his left as he did so. The dragon snarled, letting out an indignant puff of flame, before leaping to the side. The tip of the man’s sword grazed its shoulder, and then sliced up into its wing shoulder as he jerked the blade right and up. It snapped at him, curling around and holding onto his right shoulder, its teeth digging into his flesh.
This time, he didn’t curse. He didn’t utter a single word, and instead let go of the sword, holding it only in his left hand, before he pulled it out. He twirled it around, plunging the sword into the creature’s chest. It released its grip, letting out a screech of pain as it staggered away, the man’s sword still lodged between its rib cage. It fell to the ground, writhing in pain as dark red blood dripping down the sword, pooling on the pavement. The man gripped his sword, pulling it out with a spurt of blood. He looked down at the dragon with cold, unforgiving eyes, before he swung his sword and severed its head. The dragon’s body started to disintegrate, turning to dust before his eyes. The man turned away, wiping the blood off his sword with his coat, before sheathing it. He left through the cloud of dust, continuing his lonely walk along the road, looking up to the sky.
That was one more down. He had ended the one he had been tracking for the past week. He adjusted his coat as he walked, shifting the weight so that it didn’t look like he was carrying a 45 inch bastard sword with him. The white cat ran out in front of him, hot on the trail of a small mouse. It froze before him, as he came to a halt. Its fur puffed out, and it let out a hiss, baring its teeth at him. The man shook his head, and walked on as the cat scampered away, its hunt forgotten.
He was a few streets over when he heard it. It was distant at first. The quiet sound of air being shifted at the same time- the sound of dark wings on a darker sky. Its roar was just as fearsome. It echoed through the town, the sound of something angry. The sound of something that wanted revenge for something. The man stopped, his hand reaching inside his coat for his sword. He put his hand on the hilt, and looked up to the sky. He couldn’t see it yet- it was too dark.
On the next street over, a woman walked alone. She was called Lucy, and was on her way home from work. She was dressed in a knee-length skirt, with smart, flat shoes on her feet. She walked without any joy in her step, and stared at her feet as she went. It had not been a good day for Lucy. She sighed, holding her bag close to her chest as she walked along the pavement.
She had decided not to take the bus home on this particular night- she needed time to clear her head. It had been a long day, and far too much had happened. Today had been her last day at her job, as she had been ‘let go’. They had told her it was nothing person- that they just needed to cut down the amount of people they had employed. There wasn’t enough money to keep all of the staff they had, so they had said. She needed that job. Panicked thoughts rushed through her head. What was she going to do from now on? She had no source of income- she was running low enough on money as it was, she didn’t need this extra stress.
Lucy kicked a stone as she walked, watching it skittering across the cobbles mournfully. She did not know how she could continue. There was no way she could get a job before she ran out of money. She was in debt, and, by the looks of things, about to lose her home. She kept walking, ducking into an alley. It was quiet at this time. A lot of people had decided to call it a night, preparing for the work that would follow the next day. There wasn’t anybody in the streets except her at this current moment in time.
Somewhere in the distance, a clock started to chime. She counted twelve, and sighed again.
She came out on the other side of the alley, and froze. In the middle of the street, a man stood in a trench coat, brandishing a sword and staring up at the sky. Lucy looked at him strangely, guessing he must be some sort of reenactor, or possibly crazy. She glanced around, looking for somebody else to perhaps take care of him. There was no one. Only people cosy in houses, oblivious to the man. Nervously, she called out. “Excuse me?”
The man looked at her, and his eyes widened slightly. “Run away,” he yelled back, glancing back up at the dragon. He’d made a mistake. The dragon he had killed earlier hadn’t been as old as he had thought it was. “Run away now, and you might just live.”
“Haha… very funny… uh… are you reenacting or something?” she said, walking closer. All the man could think of was how stupid she was being. Ever since he had unearthed himself, he hadn’t met a single person that had any sense whatsoever. The girl kept coming closer, her hands out in front of her as she attempted to look friendly.
“Run. Away,” the man stated again, watching as the mother dragon got closer and closer, snarling and spitting flames. To him, it was deafening. To her, it was silence. “How stupid do you have to be? You have to leave now, or you’re going to die.”
Lucy frowned. The man really seemed to believe she was in danger. She switched her approach. “Do you have a carer around here somewhere?” she asked, taking another step forward. “Where do you live?”
He glared at her, waving the sword threateningly. She thought he was crazy, he guessed. He could, at the very least, use this to his advantage. “Get away from me!” he cried, widening his eyes as much as he could, waving the sword as close to her as he could without cutting her. If the dragon smelt her blood, it would switch targets in favour of a meal. His ploy worked, and she staggered back, startled. She took a couple of steps back, wincing as the blade cut through the air near her face.
Swords waving in her face was not something Lucy felt she could deal with. She staggered back further, almost tripping as the curb came up behind her. Her hand flew out to try and steady herself, and she fell against a fence, as the man alternated his gaze from her to the sky. She glanced up, following his steady glare, and saw nothing but sky. Crazy. She thought to herself, and, in a flash of indignation, she decided to turn around and go home. Whoever it was looking after this clearly deranged man could find him themselves, she thought.
Shaking her head, she backed off down the street, only turning her back on him when she turned the corner. From there she switched to a hurried jog, and went back home. She hadn’t signed up for something as crazy as this. It wasn’t her place.