Bogwart's dream comes true on his birthday. HM in Creature Features, September 2021.
|Bogwart’s Best Birthday|
It was Bogwart Scumdrop’s tenteenth birthday. Not only was it the day he would enter the terrifying teens, it was also the day long-promised when he would receive whatever gift he had asked for, regardless of what his parent trolls had to do to obtain it.
The tenteenth birthday of any trolling or trollette was the dread of parents everywhere. The necessity of keeping up the tradition of tenteenth birthday presents weighed heavily on them as the days to find impossible presents became fewer. And Bogwart had asked for the most unlikely gift of all.
His father’s first reaction on hearing of Bogwart’s request was revolt. “What? A dragon? How’m I s’posed to give the little blighter a dragon? ‘Ard enough to find ‘em these days, let alone catch one. Tell the bugnibbler to choose somethin’ else.”
“Now, now, Crumsquish,” soothed Mrs. Scumdrop, “You knows I can’t do that. Like it or not, you ‘ave to get the thing for ‘im.”
“Bloody stoopid tenteenth birthdays,” grumbled Crumsquish. “This’ll be the death o’ me, I swears it.”
He was not quite right in his prediction. Crumsquish survived until, the day before his trolling’s birthday, he returned home after a long absence of dragon-hunting in the wilds. Under his arm he carried something bulky, wrapped in some old sacking material. Seeing that Bogwart was down by the river, playing stomp-the-frog with his sister, Crumsquish marched into the cave and set down his bundle on the kitchen table.
Mrs. Scumdrop eyed the sacking suspiciously. “Is that a dragon?”
“Yes,” replied Crumsquish confidently.
“Why ain’t it movin’ then?”
Crumsquish shifted as though uncomfortable. “It’s a dragon but a very young one,” he explained.
“I guess it would ‘ave to be, considerin’ its size,” said Mrs Scumdrop. “Just ‘ow young is it?”
“Very,” answered Crumsquish.
Mrs. Scumdrop narrowed her eyes at the troll and then, in one swift movement, she reached forward and swept the sacking off the object.
A large, blue egg lay exposed on the table.
“It’s a dragon’s egg,” said Crumsquish. “I told you it were young.”
His wife was shaking her head in resignation. “Well, I s’pose it will ‘ave to do. Hide it in the pantry and we’ll wrap it when Bogwart’s in bed.”
And so the deed was done. All was prepared and ready when dawn broke on the momentous day of the tenteenth birthday party. Relatives and friends began to arrive at the cave, bringing gaudily-wrapped parcels of promise that were piled at the foot of the most magnificent and imposing gift in the centre of the table. The sound of trollish chatter began to mount as the adults greeted each other and Bogwart’s friends discussed how likely it was that the largest package would contain his heart’s desire. The scattered bowls of delicious snacks, honeyed beetles and fricasseed worms, were quickly emptied.
When all the guests were present, Crumsquish called Bogwart to him and stood to address the crowd. “As you all knows, today is the tenteenth birthday of my son, Bogwart Scumdrop. On this important occas...” His voice was abruptly cut off by a hammering at the front door.
“What the ‘ell is that?” asked Crumsquish of no one in particular. Obviously furious, he marched to the door and swung it wide.
The view outside was blocked by a landscape of green and orange scales mounting from the ground to the ceiling. As the watching crowd stood transfixed in surprise and horror, a massive, spiked and armoured head lowered itself into view until it filled the doorway. It opened its mouth and flames flickered around its tongue.
“Mr. Crumsquish Scumdrop?” A hollow and echoing voice issued from the mouth.
Crumsquish, his anger dissipated instantly by the awful vision, managed to croak, “Y-y-yes, sir.”
“I believe you have something of mine,” announced the dragon. “And it’s madam, not sir.”
“So sorry, ma’am,” stammered Crumsquish. “Something of yours? I d-d-don’t think so.”
“You may have mistaken it for something else,” continued the dragon. “It is, however, distinctly egg-shaped and its hue tends toward blue. Also, it calls to me. Dragon eggs emit a high-pitched sound that is way above your hearing. The fact remains, Mr. Scumdrop, you are an egg thief.”
Crumsquish took a frightened step backward. “Oh, that egg, you means. I found it in the wilderness and brought it 'ome for safekeeping.”
The dragon produced a sliver of flame that blackened the front of his waistcoat. “Do not lie to me, Scumdrop. You have taken my egg as a gift for your son’s tenteenth birthday and I will have it back now.”
“Yes, ma’am, right away, ma’am.” Crumsquish turned and hurried towards the table.
This removed his bulk from the doorway and allowed Bogwart to see the dragon’s head. “Oh Dad, you brought me a dragon!” he shouted and rushed toward the door.
“No, wait!” yelled Crumsquish but it was too late.
Bogwart ran straight up to the dragon and hugged the armoured muzzle. “My dragon. My beautiful, lovely, fiery dragon!”
The dragon’s eyes widened in surprise. “Well, this is a plucky little thing, isn’t it?” She looked up at Crumsquish, frozen in horror at the foolhardiness of his son. “It seems you’ve bred yourself a good one here, Scumdrop.”
Crumsquish remembered the egg and quickly snatched the great parcel from the table. “Yes, ma’am, and 'ere’s your egg. So sorry for this misumber-, mussinder-, misunderstandin'.”
Bogwart had slipped beneath the dragon’s chin and was now cuddling the enormous expanse of the dragon’s belly. “Can I keep 'er, Dad, huh, can I, can I?”
To Crumsquish’s surprise, the dragon winked at him. “I think we can reach an agreement on this, Scumdrop. Far be it from me to break a trolling’s heart on his tenteenth birthday. I can’t stay but I do promise to visit regularly. And certainly on this young fellow’s birthday each year. Will that suit, little trolling?”
“Yes, ma’am,” replied Bogwart, “We’ll belong to each other.”
Word Count: 998
For Creature Features, September 2021
Prompt: 1. It's your creature's birthday and the big surprise is...