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Emily Grist

"Black Soot Lover" by Emily Grist

SciFi/Fantasy text 4 out of 31 by Emily Grist.      ←Previous - Next→
 
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I had to write a 'hero' story for my English class, and so I wrote this because I've never written a story about dragons before (not up close and personal at least). But, then I saw 'Reign of Fire' (after I turned this in and got graded), and it really broke my heart... This story is almost exactly like that. I'll have to be more original next time then.
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←- Background Laughter | Licorice Shadow -→

 

 

            The gravel pathway twisted all over the country; debris lying in the paths while houses burned. The sky was ominously dark, the soot billowing from burning wood and melted plastic dolls. No one ran in the streets and no screams echoed in the gray, crisp air.

The world seemed gray and black, no white except for the white in the eyes of people and their ash-like skin. The world had been taken over by the grotesque masses of scales, bones, muscles, and fire. What was left of mankind fled underground and grew crops as carefully as possible, being kept in secret so as not to attract the dragons that had become the new Gods of the world. Although the dragons dominated, very few people had ever seen one, let alone seen the disaster one of the beasts could construct.

            In the warm air the sound of rubber crunching gravel seemed to reverberate against the soot-filled sky. It was the slow, steady pace of a girl. She was alone with her hands shoved deep into her pockets, her long legs carrying her like a lazy cat with a straight back and relaxed shoulders. Her hair was tied into a ponytail. It was glittering despite the dark sky. She was clean, cleaner than the average person walking around in the streets of a burned city of abandoned lands, and the clothes she wore weren't singed in any way, but mended gently together from holes that had probably formed from rapid growing.

            The expression on her face was not terror or worry, but also like a lazy cats, with her eyes half-closed, almost rectangular, and her mouth curled up in a soft, mellow smile. She gazed unsurprised at the burning houses, hearing the wood crackle with anger, almost roaring about how hot tempered fire is; about how angry it can get when touched by objects that it may burn in irritation.

            The girl walked away from the town slowly, escaping into a vast land of mountains and roads. The grass was lush at bottom, but brown and crusty near the tops of the hills. She observed in silent appreciation as some clouds separated themselves and sent a stream of light down from a strangely cerulean sky, making her stop and look at it. It was a clear rivulet of golden light, and little speckles of sunshine and silver floated in it, clear against the gray. It seemed happy even though it felt as if the world were ending. The girl, Maganee, smiled wider and walked on, walking through the light and feeling it kiss her bare skin with a warm, rough sensation; the clouds closed and the light was gone.

            Maganee watched the dusty coals of soot float up into the sky, crashing into the gray clouds above; demolishing the gray haze with such a fusion that the vapors separated and let little holes of light sneak through. Maganee imagined that if the lights had voices, they would be giggling jovially.

            She looked up for a moment and said aloud, "I won'er if it'll rain?" Her voice dripped an unknown accent.

            She sighed and trudged forward, her hands becoming restless in her pockets, her feet moving forward more quickly, and her eyes wider than before, now round and curious.

            When the gravel road ended, she stood at the edge, glaring at the large electric wires and gigantic metal rusting fence before her. Huge watchtowers creaked and swayed very gently in the slight wind that was picking up. The watchtowers were covered in black, most likely from fire. Maganee smiled, wondering when the next dragon would come along to this place and destroy it for fun. She nearly laughed at the notion, when a barely audible voice sounded.

"Beep. Hello? Who's this, aye? A li'le gurl?"

            Maganee felt confused and yelled back, unknowing where the intercom was, "I'm no li'le gurl, sir. I've come for some food."

            She heard chuckling over the intercom.

"Beep. N'aught the brigh'es' thing, are yeh?"

            Maganee scowled. "Excuse me, sir, but I'd simply like some food. Gimme some an' then I'll be on m' way." She waited.

"Beep. Alrigh', ge' in here, bu' don' make much of a racket."

"Where do I en'ah?"

 

"How'd you survive?"

"Dragons."

 

            Maganee slept in a bed, half-asleep, her forehead sweaty. She twitched slightly, not waking as her body jolted. Beneath her eyelids her eyes darted back and forth, as if she were rapidly reading a book or watching a movie with intense interest. She frowned, because in her dreams she dreamt of dragons, blowing fire onto the small community she'd come across. The first community she hoped would be spared, just once. She gasped, her ears created sounds within her head, the sounds of dragons squealing in joy, crunching the bones of a human or of cattle.

            She bit her lip and woke up, blood dribbling down her chin. She sat up, her eyes wide with panic, glowing green at certain angles of the kerosene lamp. The room was underground, damp, and dark. She heard people laughing down the hallways and she whined as the bells began to ring.

            She closed her eyes, about to collapse when her brain and muscles screamed, SLEEP.

            When she closed her eyes, however, the vision of a dragon being tied down unwillingly engulfed her vision, and she couldn't wake up from her reverie. The dragon's leathery wings beat against the net, and it blew fire, exposing its chest. Men screamed, burning, others cried, and there was Maganee, standing at the sidelines, watching with interest.

            No hatred, no fear, just interest. Like a cat watching a struggling mouse being dangled in front of it, getting ready to pounce on it when it was at its climax of fear, when the heart was racing the fastest.

            She heard the dragon's heart beating; she could feel it trembling within the Earth.

            She stood up from her bed and stumbled through, the buoyant laughter and voices ceased and now silent. Maganee wondered inquisitively, and stepped up the stairs to go outside, the dirt walls drenched in rain from outside; the rain in heavy drops like little seeds from flowers in clouds. It felt cool against her flushed face, and through the bellow of the rain she heard men crying out instructions. Pull tha’ rope, grab th’ net, stop hesitating, else we all die!

            She appeared from the hole in the ground and fell as a flame of fire shot in front of her face, and an angry howl cried in protest. A gunshot sounded off and Maganee cringed.

Silence.

            Maganee stayed where she was, and when she decided it was safe she came out from the hole and looked around. The scene was nothing but a vast burnt land, the watchtowers about to fall over in pieces. It smelled like iron and burnt hair, making it hard for her to breathe as she stepped out into the open.

She continued to hear nothing and turned around. Almost a dozen men had formed a circle around a dragon that lay on its side, its mouth slung open, gasping. It seemed to be wounded.

Tha’ was a tough one ta get down. Nice job, gen’lemen,” said the captain. He patted the man’s shoulder besides him and turned around. The other man stood there, still looking at the dragon with a curious look, his hand still grasped around a gun.

He took a step forward and the other men went back. The dragon’s eyes stopped rolling and looked at him cautiously, suddenly frozen in a state of pain, its belly not even moving to show it was still alive.

Apparently the man thought the dragon was dead, because he approached it and placed a hand on its muzzle, stroking it. The dragon lashed out with a snap of his neck and took the man in its mouth, swallowing whole; the man went down the dragon’s throat screaming.

Maganee gasped and ran forward; a man grabbed her instantly, trying to push her back into the hole where it was considered safe. Maganee scratched and bit him until he let go, and he yelled after her, “You’ll die out there!”

“I don’ care!” she roared in reply.

Maganee was then abandoned and left alone. The portal hatch to the hole closed with a loud metal cling, and the only sound was the sound of rain splattering against mud, Maganee’s heavy breathing, and the dragon’s high pitched whining.

The dragon lifted itself up with a grunt, getting itself upright onto its four claws, and looked at Maganee as if saying, “I play dead well, don’t I?” Maganee flinched slightly and stepped back, stopping in mid air as the dragon took a step forward.

She put her foot back where it was, daring the dragon to come closer. She waited, simply feeling the air. It felt compressed between her and the dragon, like a string was attached from its nose to hers. She took a deep breath and studied the dragon.

It was male because the pattern on his head suggested it. His forehead had a line of gold, reminding her of the light she had seen and the light she had felt. He was a dark green color, and each of his individual scales seemed to be outlined in silver and metallic blue.

When he breathed she could see the difference of color it made. She could feel his hot breath on her face and her clothes began to heat her up to a sweating point.

His eyes were like auburn colored leaves, with the veins running through them in exotic colors, like dirty water, opaque in color, translucent in thoughts. Maganee did not think of him to be a beast, but simply something misunderstood. He was angry at the world, not at people, but if they dared to harm a living creature he would lash out and take a life in return. She felt she could almost read his thoughts in his own language, and she reached her hand out.

The dragon did not resist, and stood still, continuing to breathe deeply and slowly. Maganee pushed her feet through the thick mud like a sloth, slowly working her way to a destination.

When her hand was simply inches away from the dragon, the dragon’s wings twitched and flapped, the wind nearly knocking Maganee off her feet, but since her feet were planted firmly into the mud, she did not go flying elsewhere. Maganee thought that was the dragon’s intention, just to see if she were capable of staying at the ground or not. It almost seemed like a slow motion to Maganee, and she touched the tip of the dragon’s muzzle with her palm. It felt like the light did, crusty, hard, and warm. Her palm was hardly even bigger than a nostril, but the moment their exposed skins met each other, it was as if their hearts had been uncovered as well. Maganee could have sworn she’d seen a neon green light emit from her finger tips and shoot out across the land. When it ended, she fell onto the dragon in a heartfelt embrace, rubbing her cheek against the hard, cool scales. The dragon did not attempt to hurt her, but continued to stare lazily in front of himself. Maganee turned around and looked at the line of men, women, and children staring at her in surprise, with their jaws open and their clothes bundled up to get away from the cold.

Maganee looked at the dragon, and his eye whirled to look at her. She looked back at the people through the gray pouring rain and stood, picking her feet up hastily out of the mud and onto the dragon’s scaly back. She sat between two horns that protruded from his back and wrapped her arms around it, hugging it tightly.

The dragon began to beat his wings, getting air with the new weight that had been added onto his load; his feet slowly rising off the ground, and his claws scraping against the earth. Maganee watched as everything below her became smaller, and she was nearly touching the clouds, feeling that she should separate them and let the light flood through for the people down below, who still stood flabbergasted, loving that they had let the mysterious girl into their community, the girl who had become their hero.

 

 

←- Background Laughter | Licorice Shadow -→

DateNameComment 
20 Feb 2004:-) Dtauri
Re: cliches - as they say, no story in the world is ever original. There're only something like 12 possible storylines in existence (completely random number as memory eludes). Its all in how the story is executed rather than the actual storyline itself - especially when it comes to short stories. At least with a novel you can hide the familiar plotline in a myriad of subplots and extra characters.

Reign of Fire was not the first to come up with the post apocalyptic dragon thing either so they weren't exactly original. And the 'love story' or 'happy ending' thing is common and popular - not cliche (again, 'cliche' is in the execution, not the actuality). Downbeat endings are just as common and popular.

This story would've been cliche if the dragon had killed her father, then been wounded by an evil man intent on taking over the world, crawled to her as the last of its life blood was ebbing away and begged her forgiveness as she suddenly found a hidden power within her that allowed her to speak 'Draco' (the dragon's telepathic language) and discovered that the dragon (called Abbadon-Myrathian) was actually the transmuted form of her mother who'd been cursed by a vengeful ex-lover of her father's. Now *that's* cliche.Well, depends on how you look upon it. To my much great distaste and bitterness, I don't really want to admit the truth of my own philosophy that imagination is really just taking parts of reality and rip them up to fit the surreal. And I think that in itself, all stories are original (if not copied that is), because they have different characters and most times different adventures (that all relate to another... kind of like people).

I must be deprived, because the thought of dragons taking over really never occured inside my head until this assignment was given.

That is confusing, and to me that is original... lol.
23 Feb 2004:-) Jeff Burke
Oh, do you live near a borders? how about Barnes and Noble? Those two stores always have WoT in stock...Barnes and Nobles, eh? Yeah, I live near about nine of those ^_~

LOL seventied Reign of Fire? Go figure...

I don't necessarily like it that I can't make my characters totally original: someone somewhere has already done it before !! I like being original and different, but thanks, and I agree with Damien too.
23 Feb 2004:-) Jeff Burke
No, I work at Target (c) and there is this really old movie that looks just like reign of fire. It has to be from the seventies at least (shudder).

Anyway, Damien has a point. Yes, the charecters are new and original, but there are only so many basic plots one can use. revenge, love, tragedy, being thrust into saving the world (classic video game plot there) ect.

Oh, you have to get your hand on The EYE of the World. It's figgin' awesome! Just keep trying.
J. Atlas Burke
5 Mar 2004:-) Jeff Burke
Hmmm... I thought the HTML might work...it did for some other people...what's their secret?

12 Emily Grist replies: "-Whispers- When I reply to the comment, the HTML is activated. "
5 Mar 2004:-) Jeff Burke
I'm gonna lay on the tough love: Quit your whining!

Don't look at me like that... With those moist, teary eyes, those pouting lips, those furrowed eyebrows...

Okay!!! I'm sorry! Complain as much as you like! (Just make sure you get your hands on The Eye of the World, then cry all you want.) Weeergh?? I don't love anyone!! What're you talkin' about!?!?! -shifty glance-

Yeah, yeah, I'll try I'll try...
6 Mar 2004:-) Jeff Burke
Ahh...
11 May 2004:-) Tyrel Taylor
Awesomenem ^_^ I love it

:-) Emily Grist replies: "AHUNGEREDDDDD! 1"
10 Jun 2004:-) Jeff Burke
HEY! Just because you don't like it doesn't mean we can't! (but I know how you feel, I hate the only Mod's choice I have...)

Oh, Hi, and long time no see- err, type.Yeah, I don't have a computer... O_o

FINE! FINE! LIKE IT! LIKE IT! O____o
7 May 2007:-) Frances Monro
>Maganee turned around and looked at the line of men, women, and children staring at her in surprise, with their jaws open and their clothes bundled up to get away from the cold.

This is an awful sentence! Their jaws open and their clothes bundled up? Rephrase.

>Maganee looked at the dragon, and his eye whirled to look at her.

This is not good. It implies that his eye is capable of movement and volition independent of it's owner.

>She looked back at the people through the gray pouring rain and stood...

Hang on a minute, she was already standing, remember? Because she was so firmly mudded down that she couldn't go flying.

>She sat between two horns that protruded from his back and wrapped her arms around it, hugging it tightly.

She wrapped her arms around his back? How big is this dragon's back?

>The dragon began to beat his wings, getting air with the new weight that had been added onto his load...

He was carrying a load? In addition to Maganee?

>loving that they had let the mysterious girl into their community, the girl who had become their hero.

Hmmm, I'd guess that thier feelings might be a little more conflicted than this...

Overall not a bad story, it's very descriptive and well paced, although obviously it doesn't come to a satisfying resolution. However you need to pay attention to your sentence construction and writing style. Try cultivating a plainer style of writing, and try reading your writing out aloud to someone.

Che
7 May 2007:-) Frances Monro
The opening paragraphs are certainly descriptive but they don't flow well. Also the subjects of the sentences are not clear and the reader can stumble and become confused about things like whether the path or the country is twisting or whether the people keep to the underground or are kept there... And you describe people's eyes then say there are none above ground.

>It was the slow, steady pace of a girl.

Actually girls are not the only ones who can walk slowly and steadily, and not all girls walk that way.

>her long legs carrying her like a lazy cat with a straight back and relaxed shoulders.

A lazy cat with straight back and relaxed shoulders? A cat that is being carried... by her legs? Cats are usually carried in your arms. This is not a good sentence!

>It was glittering despite the dark sky.

Hair shines. Diamonds glitter.

>She was clean, cleaner than the average person walking around in the streets of a burned city of abandoned lands,

There were no people walking around, remember? They were kept underground?

>but mended gently together from holes that had probably formed from rapid growing.

Bleh. Bleh bleh bleh!

>The expression on her face was not terror or worry, but also like a lazy cats, with her eyes half-closed, almost rectangular, and her mouth curled up in a soft, mellow smile.

Cat's. Apostrophe. How about describing what her expression was, rather than what it was not? How can you describe an expression that is not, anyhow?

>Maganee pushed her feet through the thick mud like a sloth, slowly working her way to a destination.

More bleh. Canna ye just say that she walked forward slowly?
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'Black Soot Lover':
 • Created by: :-) Emily Grist
 • Copyright: ©Emily Grist. All rights reserved!

 • Keywords: Black, Cities, Dragon, Girl, Maganee, Soot
 • Categories: Dragons, Drakes, Wyverns, etc, Vampires, Zombies, Undeads, Dark, Gothic
 • Views: 590

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