Please accept my apologies for how long you’ve had to wait for this next chapter. I am student teaching now, in addition to going to school, and it’s taking nearly all of my waking time. In the midst of all that, at the end of January, we had a loss in our family. On top of it all, I am trying to finish a new round of revisions on the novel I wrote so that I can query an agent I found who might be perfect for it. I had to stop myself today and say, “It’s high time you wrote the next chapter for Noemi’s Dragon. You can’t work on anything else until it’s done.”
So here it is! If you need to refresh on what had been happening in the story, you can find the previous chapters here. Thanks for your patience!
At lasssst! Damia looked at the two tasty little humans scurrying across the soil. Her injuries from the nasty ones in the rock place she had burned still weren’t fully healed, and the new scrapes, from that bunch in the little straw hill, smarted as she flew. Now, at lasssst, it was worth it. Damia sucked in a nice, full breath. Princess. That most delicious of delicacies, that tenderest of treats, that ever scrumptious morsel! Finally, Damia would have her prize.
It was time to let them know she was there. It would be so funny to watch as they scampered around like silly before she sang them to sleep. She swooped to briefly block the sunlight, just as the short-haired one—the one that smelled like ordinary, simple humans, nothing special—looked her way. It made a startled sound that made Damia chuckle, then the game was on.
Yes, sometimes it was best to eat speedily—but she had worked long and hard for this meal, and she deserved to slow down and enjoy it to the fullest.
The humans sped up—as if they could outrun her. It was hopeless, and so it amused her. Damia leisurely glided after them. Their little legs hurried over the rocky, inclining ground. That would wear them out quickly. Part of her was sad that she wouldn’t be able to prolong this fun, but a bigger part reveled that their sleep would soon come at the height of their suffering from fear and exhaustion. It really, really served them right.
Damia sent a breath of fire after them, just to increase their haste. She expected that to send them off in separate directions, but instead they clung to each other. That was strange. Most humans abandoned each other to preserve their own lives by this point. It put her in mind of something she had seen long before, when she was just a little dragon and her father was training her.
She knew what they were. They were life mates. These kinds of humans stayed together till they died. Well, how lucky for them. They were going to die together.
But wouldn’t it be funny to separate them first? Yessssss. Split them up, then put them to sleep and let them stew until they were sweet and ripe.
Damia set about her plan with renewed energy. She sent stream after stream of flame at their heels, chasing them up steep, thin paths on the hillside. A quick sweep of the landscape showed her what she needed. With confidence and concentration, Damia steered them toward a strip of ground where they would have to walk single file. It took skill and precision to send fire at them at just the right time—but it worked! The princess and her mate sprung in different directions.
Not one to waste an opportunity, Damia swept into the gap between them and chased the princess back downhill. The human stumbled as she ran backward. Honestly, how silly was it, running backward when forward was so much faster?
The smell of fear was strong and appetizing. They were nicely separated, just like she’d hoped. Damia opened her jaws and sang out her song in a loud shriek that split the air.
And nothing happened!!!
That was the last straw. Damia snapped at the princess. The human fell down a couple-foot drop, smacking her head on the way. While Damia hopped down after her, the princess grabbed at her ear, then started shuffling around the ground like she was searching for something. Damia would never understand humans, but at least she would definitely still eat this one—even if it wouldn’t stinking fall asleep!
There was no harm in trying one more time, though. She hated the idea of messing this meal up by eating it raw. Once more, Damia let out her song.
Such was the frustration of the past few weeks that she was actually startled when the princess’s eyes rolled back in her head. It took Damia a second to understand what was happening when the princess slipped down onto the ground.
It worked!! The princess was asleep!
Was the other human slumbering, too? No, she heard footsteps behind her. Damia sprung up into the air. It was a good thing, too. That pesky little ordinary human had one of those sharp sticks in his hands.
She was about to roast him when she happened to sniff the air. More humans were nearby, and if she was not mistaken, they were the same humans she’d met by the straw mound. Damia had no wish to meet more resistance. It didn’t matter now, anyways. Her meal was secure. Though her strange food sometimes hid their dead in the ground, they would not do so as long as it was alive. Damia would leave the princess to ripen for a couple days, then return before she was fully dead.
Feeling reassured and victorious, she sped off toward the horizon.