Rated: E · Book · Children's · #1922493
A young boy writes himself an epic adventure...which starts to come true!
|The next morning, Caitlin burst into Jayden's room, almost banging the bedroom door in her excitement.
'Shhh!' Jayden hissed at her. 'You'll wake Mum and Dad!'
'Sorry,' Caitlin whispered. 'I'm really excited. We're going to Scotland!' She danced around in a circle, wiggling her hips, a huge grin on her face.
Jayden rolled his eyes, then frowned. 'What are you wearing? Seriously?'
'What?' Caitlin looked down at the kilt she was wearing. 'It's cute. And we're going to Scotland, duh.'
'Oh god, kill me now.'
'Jayden, don't be mean.'
'Sorry, sorry. Come on then.'
Caitlin scurried over to the bed and sat down beside Jayden. 'You're going to write Callum in again, yeah?'
'Yeah. Seems appropriate, right? He was in the last Scottish one, and he had such a cool accent. I'm kinda looking forward to hearing it again, actually.' Jayden picked up his pencil and started writing in the journal.
Callum, Jayden and Caitlin were at Loch Ness in Scotland.
'Guid mornin',' they heard from behind them. 'It's been dunky's since I last saw ye.'
Caitlin shivered, and as she spun to see her cousin Callum, her feet nearly slid out from beneath her. 'Oh!' she exclaimed, waving her arms madly to regain her balance. 'It's snowing!'
'Nae snowin',' Callum corrected. 'No' the noo. But aye, there's snow on the ground. It's winter.'
Caitlin wasn't paying him any attention as she started gathering handfuls of snow and exclaiming over the drifts that had collected against the low walls of the ruin.
'Hello Callum,' Jayden smiled. 'Are we at Loch Ness?'
'Aye,' he replied. 'This is Urquhart Castle, and that,' he said, indicating the expanse of water beyond them, 'is Loch Ness.'
'Erkit Castle?' repeated Caitie, looking up with a frown from where she was building a snowman. 'What a funny name.'
'Urquhart.' Callum spelled it for her. 'It means beside the wood. It's verra auld. They think there's been a fort here since the 5th Century. That was well over a thousand years ago. Actually,' he corrected himself, 'closer tae two thousand years.'
Jayden had wandered away and was looking at the water. 'It's bigger than I expected it to be.'
'Ye thought a verra big creature loik Nessie would live in a pond?' Callum asked with clear skepticism.
''Course not,' Jayden scoffed, rolling his eyes. 'It just looks bigger in real life. It's not frozen either. Is it not cold enough?' Jayden rubbed his arms. 'It feels cold enough.'
'Nay,' Callum replied. 'Loch Ness doesnae freeze. It's too deep.'
As Caitlin made a snowman, stopping regularly to blow on her hands to warm them, the two boys discussed the monster and how best to write it in the journal and make it appear.
'No one's ever spoken to it before, I don't think,' Jayden said. 'But we also don't want to go for a ride on its back or anything because it might go underwater and we don't want to be stuck out too far from shore. Especially in this cold air. Hmm...'
'Maybe write it so it's near the shore?' suggested Callum.
'Yeah, that might have to do,' agreed Jayden.
The Loch Ness monster appeared near the shore, where they could see it clearly.
'Och, aye,' Callum breathed. 'Tek a keek at that!'
Jayden looked out and saw a creature that put him in mind of a water-based brontosaurus. A long neck soared from a thick body that was mostly submerged. The head looked exactly how Jayden imagined a brontosaurus's head would look, and despite its size, seemed peaceful and friendly.
'Woah!' Caitlin came and stood beside the boys, shaking her hands. 'Is that the Loch Ness monster? It looks like a dinosaur.'
'Yeah, that's what I thought too,' Jayden commented, nodding.
'Hullo,' Callum called out. 'Me name is Callum.'
There was no reply.
'Helloooo?' Caitlin called, her voice echoing over the water.
The large head moved, the eyes clearly watching the children. Still no reply.
'I wonder if it doesn't understand English,' Jayden mused. 'How about Gaelic, Callum?'
Callum shrugged. 'Halò ciamar a tha thu?' he called to the creature.
As the three of them watched, the mouth opened and an inarticulate noise emerged. It was similar to the noises the kids had heard sea lions at the zoo make. Not a moo, like a cow might make, but a wordless noise that gave no indication that the creature either understood them or intended for them to understand it.
'Oh, that's a shame,' Jayden sighed, his shoulders slumping. 'I was hoping it would talk.'
'I dinnae ken why a dragon can talk, and Nessie can't,' Callum agreed.
Caitlin threw her hands up. 'Fail. This is going to be a boring one.'
'We are in Scotland though,' Jayden reminded her, 'where you wanted to be.'
'That's true,' Caitlin conceded. 'It's a lot colder than I thought it was going to be. You said it was like New Zealand!'
'It gets cold in parts of New Zealand in winter too, it just doesn't snow in the part where we live. But I agree, it's freezing. Literally,' he laughed.
'I wish I'd worn warmer clothes. Is there something else we could see while we're here?'
'I suppose. It seems anti-climactic, doesn't it? I've been dreaming of seeing the Loch Ness Monster for so long, and now we're here, and it's here, and we're just going to ignore it.'
'Yeah, but what else are we gonna do?' protested Caitlin. 'We can't talk to it. It can't talk to us. You're not thinking about riding it or swimming with it, are you?' Her eyes widened.
'No, no,' Jayden reassured her. 'And I'm not even sure it'd be safe to try and touch it. It's so big. It's just a bit disappointing. But you're right, we could do something else. Are there any other Scottish mythical creatures, Callum?'
'Aye, there's a wheen o' them,' Callum nodded. 'Kelpies, selkies, brownies, Ghillie Dhu...'
Callum stopped short when the Loch Ness Monster made a loud noise.
The kids watched in confusion as the monster swung its head back and forth.
'What's it doing?' Caitie wondered aloud.
'It looks frightened. Or..something,' Jayden replied, his head tipped to one side as he studied the agitated animal. 'I wonder what's wrong.'
The monster brayed again before moving away and sinking below the dark blue waters of the loch. Before the head disappeared beneath the ruffled waters, they heard one last call.
'That was weird,' said Jayden, watching as the waters slowly calmed, leaving no sign of the creature.
'Aye, muckle unco,' Callum agreed.
Caitie shrugged and started walking away. 'So what are we going to see next? And can you write me a jumper and some trackpants?'
Jayden opened his mouth to reply, only to close it again. He cocked his head to the side and listened. 'Can you hear that? It sounds like...flapping?'
'Maybe a helicopter?' suggested Callum.
The kids looked up to the sky, spotting a dark smudge heading toward them.
'It kinda looks like a dragon. Oh, maybe it's Blue,' said Jayden.
'Nay, it's dark, nae orange,' replied Callum, squinting.
'No, it's blue,' Caitie said. 'It's a blue dragon.'
'Yeah, but Blue is orange,' Jayden tried to explain. 'Never mind. It's a blue dragon?' He was still peering at the smudge trying to see what his sister's better eyesight was looking at.
'Hmm... A blue dragon. I suppose if an orange dragon is a lava dragon, a blue dragon would be a water dragon, or an ice dragon,' mused Jayden.
'A water dragon? Like a taniwha? I didn't think they could fly,' said Caitlin.
'Hmm. Maybe the European ones can,' suggested Jayden. 'I don't know. Maybe we can ask it.'
'What if it's not fr-' Callum stopped short when the dragon neared and let out a roar that boomed and echoed off the hills. 'Hide!' Callum shouted.
Caitlin screamed and turned to Jayden, who grabbed her wrist and tugged to a section of the ruins that was still partially covered.
Callum tucked himself in beside them, the three of them panting, eyes wide.
As the eldest, Jayden tried to reassure the other two. 'I'm sure it's fine,' he said, before wincing as another roar caused dust particles to rain down on them.
'I ken why Nessie left now,' Callum whimpered. 'She kenned it was coming.'
Jayden turned and looked at his cousin. 'Oh, yeah. I hadn't thought of that. That makes sense.'
'Quick, Jayden,' Caitlin said, tugging on his arm. 'Write in the book that it's friendly or that it goes away or something.'
'Good thinking.' Jayden looked about for his book. 'Where did I put it?'
'What do you mean, where did you put it? I didn't see you put it anywhere! Oh no, you've lost it! We're going to die! I don't wanna die!' wailed Caitlin, tears rolling down her cheeks.
'Shhh, shh. Don't freak out.'
'I am freaking out,' she countered with a wail. 'You lost the book and there's an angry dragon going to kill us!'
Callum held his finger to his lips. 'Haud yer wheest, I think he ken hear ye,' he whispered.
Caitlin's eyes went round and rasping breaths sawed in and out of her mouth but she made no further sounds.
'Children,' came the purring of a loud, feminine voice. 'Why are you hiding? Come out and talk to me.'
'Who are you?' asked Jayden. 'And what sort of dragon are you?'
They heard a rumbling chuckle. 'Ah, your precious wee book didn't tell you? I'm Deighe.'
'Ice,' Callum whispered.
'What do you know of the book?' called Jayden.
'More than you, I expect. You wield it like a blind boy wields a sword, all clumsy ineptitude.'
Jayden frowned. That didn't sound so friendly.
'We only came to visit the Loch Ness Monster. It's time for us to be going home now,' he informed Deighe.
'Is that so? And how are you going to do that without your book, may I ask?'
'Um...' Jayden turned to the other two, but they were both looking to him to save them. 'Do you know where it is?'
'Of course,' came the silky reply. 'I have it right here. Why don't you come and get it?'
Jayden gulped, and Caitlin whimpered.
'We can't go home without the book,' whispered Jayden. 'I need to go and see if I can get it back.'
'No, don't go!' protested Caitlin.
'I have to! We can't stay here forever! Your lips are turning blue, and besides, we don't even know if we're even in the same world as Mum and Dad, and if we could catch a plane even if we could afford one, or if we're stuck in a story world.'
'But I don't want you to be killed by the dragon,' sobbed Caitlin.
'I have to try and get the book back.' Jayden stood up and dusted off his jeans. 'Callum, you stay with Caitie. If I don't come back, stay here. She might not be able to reach you in here. Maybe some tourists will come to the castle and you'll be able to get them to send you home.'
Callum nodded, his expression solemn, as he put an arm around Caitlin. They both watched Jayden walk out of the ruins.
As scared and worried as he was, Jayden couldn't help admiring the dragon. She was beautiful, in shades of light and dark blue. Graceful lines. Not quite as large as Blue had been, but still enormous.
Jayden eyed her head, thinking about the large teeth he'd become all too familiar with when he'd met Blue.
'So, Jayden,' Deighe murmured, 'we meet at last.'
'Indeed. I have been hearing the tales of your grand and epic adventures.'
'Grand and epic...' Jayden stilled, remembering the words he'd written in the journal.
'Exactly,' the dragon hissed. 'I know everything.'
'Oh. Are...' Jayden paused to think. 'Are you angry at me?'
'Oh, no, no. It's only that I can think of much grander uses than your mediocre dabbling.'
Jayden suddenly recalled what Brian had said about the book getting into the hands of the wrong people. He looked around, but couldn't see the book anywhere.
'Oh, are you looking for this?' Deighe asked, and when she moved one huge, clawed foot, the battered journal was lying in the snow.
Jayden looked the dragon up and down, but knew he was outclassed. She was faster, bigger and stronger. No matter how fast he was, he could never get to the journal, let alone write in it, before she stopped him. He started to sweat, despite the frigid temperature.
'The only decision now,' Deighe sneered, 'is whether to abandon you here, or kill you before I leave. Either way, the book is mine.'
Jayden slowly nodded. 'Without the book, we're no threat to you. Why would you bother killing us?'
'Because you're awful lit-' She stopped speaking, mid sentence. She whirled, causing Jayden to duck as her might tail swung around. 'How dare he?!'
'Who?' mouthed Jayden, but he didn't want to attract her attention again, so he stayed quiet. He crept back toward the others, even though he wasn't sure how much safety the dilapidated ruins actually offered.
A roar shook the ground, leaving Jayden wobbling on his feet. That hadn't been Deighe. What was that? Jayden looked around, and squinted. Was that another dragon? Was the situation not bad enough?
As Jayden crept closer to where Callum and Caitlin hid, the new arrival drew closer, until Jayden recognised Blue.
Deighe snarled at Blue. 'Stay out of this. It is nothing to you.'
'You're wrong,' Blue replied. 'That journal in your hands concerns everyone. Jayden, are you and the others okay?' Blue's eyes never left Deighe.
'Yes,' Jayden replied. 'We're all cold, but we're fine.'
'Good. Deighe, give the boy back his journal.'
Jayden watched the two dragons stand off, wondering if he was actually going to witness a dragon fight. He had reached the doorway where Caitlin and Callum were, and he felt Caitlin's small hand sneak into his. He squeezed her hand, hoping to reassure her, but all three children instinctively stayed quiet, not wanting to distract Blue or attract the attention of Deighe.
After more sniping back and forth, Deighe spewed forth an icy blast in Blue's direction. The orange dragon countered with fire, but started moving away.
'Oh no, don't go, Blue. We need you,' whispered Jayden.
As Blue countered Deighe's next attack, the steam generated from the fire meeting the ice sent the children scurrying into the ruins for cover. They listened to the battle, the scrapes of claws against stone, the woosh of wings, and the sizzle of steaming water.
When the sounds reduced slightly, Jayden poked his head around the doorway. The two dragons were up in the air a little way away, still battling. Jayden saw the journal on the ground and raced toward it, snatching it up and holding it protectively against his chest. He ran back to the ruin, and sat down with back against the rock, panting.
'You got it, Jayden!' Caitlin exclaimed, her teeth chattering. 'Quick! Write us home!'
Jayden nodded, reaching in his pocket for the pencil.
'I hope Blue knows how grateful we are. And I hope he's going to be okay.'
'Dinnae fash yerself, he'll defeat the crabbit dragon, I dinnae doubt it,' Callum assured him. 'Quick, I'm afeart she'll come back doon when she realises we 'ave the book.'
Jayden nodded, and sticking his tongue out the corner of his mouth, he pressed the pencil to the paper.
Jayden, Caitlin and Callum were safely back home.
Jayden heard Caitlin burst into tears, and worried that he'd been too late and the ice dragon had returned. When he looked up, he saw Caitlin sitting on his bed, her head in her hands.
'We're home!' he exclaimed in relief. 'Oh wow, I was really beginning to worry.'
Caitlin slapped at his legs. 'We are never going on another adventure,' she sobbed. 'That was so scary. I thought we were going to die, Jayden!'
Jayden's bedroom door opened, and Jayden's dad looked at them both. 'What's wrong, Caitie?' he asked in a concerned tone.
'Bad dream,' Jayden supplied quickly before Caitlin said anything else.
'Y-yeah, about a mean dragon,' she hiccoughed.
'Aw, come here, and give Daddy a cuddle,' her father crooned. 'You're okay now. Want to help me make pancakes for breakfast?'
Caitlin nodded, holding on him.
When they left, Jayden leafed through the journal. The encounter with the ice dragon had used up a number of pages, and even if Jayden had felt safe going on another adventure, he knew that if anything went wrong he might run out of room to write himself home. He sighed, closing the book and resting the pencil on the cover. He thought of all he'd seen and done, and smiled. They really had been some pretty epic adventures. He'd cleaned a dragon's teeth, swam with a mermaid, talked to fairies, and met Thanatos, Hypnos and Charon. There had also been the taniwha, Brian the Bigfoot and the elves.
Jayden opened his dresser drawer and carefully placed the journal beside the puzzle ring. Yeah, it had been pretty awesome. He grinned and closed the door before heading to the kitchen in search of pancakes.