This is the start of a longer work of fiction!
I was young, bored and alone when I decided to break into area 51. The middle of the night was too obvious and they would be on guard. Mid-afternoon, I climbed in the back of a truck as the guard checked his ID. I was driven straight to the main building and after the garage was empty, I climbed out into the dark room. Sneaking into places was a waiting game. I stood behind each locked door until someone came through the other side of it. Then I just slipped behind them and didn’t touch the door until after it was closed. Lucky for me, a lot of people were swarming around the building.
I was 15 at the time, young enough to be spotted in a crowd of scientists and old enough to think that I wouldn’t be. Everyone seemed to be gathering on one end of the laboratory to watch some kind of test so I went the other way. I ended up in a room with no lights on but something red and glowing at the other end of it. That’s what I wanted to see. I was careful not to make any noise, getting caught at this point would be traumatizing to me. The closer I got the more and more hot the air felt around me. Six eggs sat in an incubator. Not just any eggs either, tire size, glinting gold and brown eggs.
Something thumped inside the glass and I peered around the side. One egg had broken open. Yellow slime was cast over the shells. My eyes got wider and wider as I saw more of the creature. First I saw its tail. Almost a foot long and dark purple with little fins at the end. Then I saw its feet and claws. They scratched against the tub, black as a void. I walked fully round to see it. Sharp teeth, glistening golden eyes, and two wings folded on its back.
The dragon let out a little fireball blast and the goo caught on fire. It wallowed down into the flames, toasting its new found body. Then little eyes looked up to meet mine. A crackling hiss met my ears and it scurried back to hid in the parts of its shell that wasn’t broken to bits. I clicked at it, and put my hand on the glass, the way you do at a pet store when trying to get the attention of a puppy. The little dragon marched right up to the side of the tank and lifted its head to the lid, both of its front paws pressed against the glass.
I pulled down my sleeve, over my hand, and lifted the lid. Three feet long, it slithered out of the few inches I had opened the tank. It sniffed my hand through the cloth and then I felt its tiny talons tearing up my arm as it climbed to perch on my shoulder. Grinning, I gently pushed him into the hood of my sweatshirt and pulled the fabric over him. Then I started on my escape. I knew the route, all I needed to do was not get caught or have the dragon burn me.
I slipped through each door as quickly as I could. When I had gotten into the garage, I looked at the hundreds of truck and realized I had no idea which one would leave first. I went to the person-sized door and pushed it open, hoping I’d be able to sneak past the cameras on foot. The alarm rang out and I got stiff. I spun around to already hear guards rushing my way. To my surprise, the first person to show up was around my age. I guess he was 18 because otherwise he couldn’t work there but my point still stands.
He had a white lab coat and a clipboard. Our eyes locked. The guards flooded in around him.
“Good grief,” He ran a hand through his black hair, “how did you guys even let him get this far? Get him out. Now.” He shook his head and looked at his clipboard and muttered, “on hatching day too, how awful.”
I was taken out beyond the gates and given a stern warning. No one really checked me because they must have thought I hadn’t gotten in very far. I’m sure if I had been older there would have been worse consequences. As soon as they were far enough away, I started running. The dragon hissed as my hood bounced up and down. Little claws tugged at the cloth on my shoulder. He peeked over my shoulder at where we were going. I wasn’t old enough to drive but I had a wicked awesome moped that got me back home.
I shut all the windows and doors and dumped the baby onto my bed. He rolled over and looked up at me. I ran off and got a heating pad and a fish from the fridge. It had started getting dark out. I didn’t live near area 51 so it took me quite a while to get back. The dragon gulped down the fish, bones and all, then let his eyes drift back up to me. It was a good thing I liked fishing. When I went to bed he curled up on my chest, apparently the warmest place in the house. I didn’t fall asleep for a while, I was trying to think of what to call him.
By the next afternoon, he had eaten all the fish I had caught for me to eat, and I still didn’t have a name for him. I tucked him inside of my jacket and walked him through town to the hills where I went fishing. For a dragon, he was pretty passive, letting me move him around wherever I liked. Once we were in the mountains though, he was jumping after every little lizard and bird. By the time I had my rod in the water, he had already figured out how to swim. His thin little body wriggled back and forth like a snake, and he could just barely keep his head out of the water.
Then I saw him dip under and up he came with a fish. It was funny how he would smile when bringing it to shore. Then he would nip the head off and down the whole thing. He was very good at swimming, so naturally, I named him Fish. He and I could only go to the river in my hoodie for so many days. Fish ate more than three times his body weight a day and was quick to rip the seams of everything I wore.
Smuggling a dragon past your neighbors is a tricky thing to do without looking like you gained 25 pounds overnight, that’s why we started practicing flying. I bought a dog harness at the store and some thin but sturdy rope and then strapped him up like a kite. He didn’t get the idea at first, but after running around with my arms like an airplane, he started to get the picture.
By the time I was 16 he could fly like a pro and would meet me at the river. He grew considerably during that first year. When he slept on my chest at night, I could hardly breathe. Fish was about six feet from nose to tail, I tad bit taller than me. When I was 17 we had to start going to a lake because the government set up a fish rehabilitation program for our river. I couldn’t have him sleep on my chest anymore. He was about eight feet then. When I was 18 was when the adventure really started. He was ten and a half feet, taking up a majority of the bed, but instead of his tail tickling me awake, there was a knock at the door.
This was particularly odd. No one ever came to see me because I was the weird one. I stayed inside, went fishing every day, never got a job, stopped going to school. As far as everyone else was concerned, I was a recluse who would have a new burn mark every time I stepped into the sun. You could say fireball training wasn’t going too well.
I yawned and answered the door. Two men stood at my door. They both wore uniforms but I couldn’t tell what they were for. These men were not officers but they didn’t have ties and wore mostly black.
“Hello, there sir. We have received some odd complaints about this residents. Do you mind if we talk to your parents?” one said.
I looked at their car and saw one more man step out of it. He held a clipboard and was reading some papers on it. He let out a breath and pulled a hand through his black hair. I got stiff, recognizing him instantly.
“Sure, they aren’t home right now. If you go to the graveyard they are four rows down and two columns over.” I smiled falsely and tried to close the door.
The scientist kid walked up to the door and studied me. “Well I would hate to bother them, may we come in?”
I nodded and opened the door wide, hoping I wouldn’t seem suspicious. The two guards stepped inside and were followed by the scientist.
“I’m sorry,” I smiled, “who are you?”
His hand darted out as though he were going to stab me with it. “Dougless Freit.”
“Nice to meet you.” I gently shook his hand.
He turned my hand over and looked at the burn mark on it. “You have quite a lot of burns.”
One on my hand, one on my shoulder, two on my back one on my front and two for each leg.
“Yeah, I’m really bad about watching the grill.”
His eyes looked into mine with a ferocity that I hadn’t even seen in Fish’s. A large thump came from my bedroom, pulling Dougless’s eyes away from me.
“That’s just my puppy.” I smiled and went to my door, “He’s probably excited to see you. But you know, now that I think about it, he hasn’t been on his morning walk.” I put my shoes on and grabbed the rope, “You know how puppies are, I better take him out.”
I slipped into the room and closed the door. Fish lifted his head and unfolded part of his wings before tucking them back in place. I tried to think of what dog people say.
“Hey Fish, Hey. You want to go for a walk? Huh? Want to go to the lake?”
Fish knew the word ‘lake’ and wiggled his body slightly to say yes. I opened the window and slipped the rope around his neck.
“Come on buddy, let’s go!”
I jumped out the window and looked up at Fish. He got his head through the hole and then looked at me. If the men had any doubts about whether or not I had a dragon, they weren’t about to.
“Fish.” I looked at where he was trying to get his paws through the little window, “breath.”
The wall was on fire in an instant. Fish pushed through the wall, making a cracking sound fly through the air. I jumped up on his back. Never before had I tried to ride him.
“Up. Up.” I said, holding onto his neck for dear life.
And up we went. His wings spread open wide, his feet tucked up under him and we were above the clouds like a bullet. It was partially cloudy so I could see my house catch fire. Three people ran out of it as a fire truck howled in the distance. Dougless pointed up at me and raced back to his car, and then he was a speck.
I had never been up that high. The houses shrunk and the cars turned to toys. We went over the mountains which were more like hills from this height. It was hard to breathe so I held myself close to Fish as we swam through the air. His powerful wings beat on either side of me. From time to time he would look back to make sure I was ok. I politely asked him to keep flying for hours and I didn’t underestimate him, what I did was underestimate the government.
We were over the Midwest when the first helicopter appeared. Five or six more followed shortly after. Where there were roads there were black cars streaming along beneath us. We were encircled, I couldn’t live if we went up any higher and there was nowhere to hide. I looked at Fish and pet his head gently.
He turned his head to look at me. I nodded and pet his cone ears that were tucked back against his neck. He groaned slightly, baring his teeth and then dropped like a stone. If I hadn’t been holding onto one of his horns, I would have flown off. I fell off into the grass and the quickly stood up to defend Fish from all the weapons pointed at us. Fish bared his fangs and hissed at the black vehicle around us.
“Fish, it’s ok,” I rubbed my hand along his neck as he folded up his wings.
Dougless, held out a hand to keep everyone from moving or shooting. Then he clicked open a pen and started scribbling on his clipboard. When he had finished, Dougless walked up to Fish and me.
“You must have been the one who broke into 51 all those years ago.” He said not looking at me but Fish.
He moved away slightly when Fish snarled. I nudged my friend and Dougless noticed.
“I’m surprised he hasn’t eaten you, but it does seem to regard you as it’s mother.” His eyes flicked to me.
Gaze washing over me, I shivered at his dull eyes.
“Having a dragon in the city is terribly dangerous. We will be taking him back immediately.” He raised a hand up and all the men readied their guns. “It’s just a tranquilizer, don’t worry. Come stand over here.”
Such reassuring words from a glare so cold. I shook my head and placed a hand on Fish, his heart was racing, knowing something was wrong with me. Fish understood the look in my eyes. He made himself as small as possible and nuzzled his head into my chest. Dougless’s eyes got large. He lowered his hand slowly. I looked over at him in his lab coat.
“Can you make him do anything you want?” He asked me.
He looked off into the crowd and then back to me. “Bring him over him over here and get him in the truck.”
I clicked to Fish and watched his ears perk up. I followed Dougless and Fish trotted after me. Something like a large horse trailer was parked in the center of all the helicopters that had landed. They knew what they were doing, it was just big enough for Fish to lay in comfortably. I looked to Dougless and then walked to the back of the of the trailer and clapped my hands. Fish trotted in and when I sat down, dropped his head into my lap.
Dougless climbed into the trailer behind us and the door shut. Fish got tense when he stepped over his tail. I stroked Fish’s head as the car started up. Dougless set down a gun beside him when he sat down cross-legged and leaned against the side of the truck. His pencil was gliding across the page before the truck had even started moving.
“What are you going to do to him?”
Dougless shrugged, not looking up from his page. “Basic tests.”
That made my stomach roll. “I-is he going to-” I looked down into his gleaming eyes. “Are-Are you guy’s going to-” Fish nudged my face.
“No, he’ll live out a full lifespan if we can help it.”
The only sounds were me exhaling, pencil on paper, and the bumps on the road. Dougless got out a tape measure and started walking around. He looked at the length of the claws, legs, horns and then he came over right in front of me to get the teeth. While writing down the recorded length he put on a slight grin.
My laughter caught in my throat and I ended up signing instead. Dougless looked up at me.
“What do you call him?”
I was surprised a scientist would ask such a question. “Fish.”
He nodded and wrote on the page; 17831 – Fish.
If you would like to read the rest make sure to like and comment so I know this is the type of short story YOU like. And if you’d like to read the start of other fiction I’ve written take a look at The Business of Kidnapping. Have a sparkling day!