Joy loved the Rising Road
since the days of school. She found it once, when she was looking for shortcuts
and interesting places on the way home. It was a place of peace and quiet, the
old dirt-road, rising up the side of the hill, across old pine forest. The
place seemed almost like it was not part of the park, but a piece of some wild
landscape somewhere in the mountains. But the most enchanting part of it was
the Dragon. Actually it was just old pine log, lying hidden in the bushes above
the road. One of it's ends looked from some distance
like a head of the dragon, hiding in the grass. Joy used to think it was Dragon
that gave this place quiet and safe feeling, as if the Dragon was guarding it.
But quiet and lone places are not always as safe as they look. Joy heard the
rumors more than once, the rumors about a man, attacking lone people in more
secluded parts of Grand
Park, but the Rising Road was
never mentioned. And she believed in the Dragon. Nothing bad can happen to her
on the land it's guarding.
So she went along Rising Road,
lost in through, and didn't pay any attention to the man, who was jogging down
the hill after her. They met right under the Dragon's hiding place. Joy didn't
have time to yell, before strong hands grabbed her throat from behind. And then
something very odd happened. Later Joy couldn't explain it even to herself.
From the Dragon's hiding place something came rushing toward them, big, dark
and roaring shape. And then the fire came. Suddenly bushes and grass around
them were burning. The man released her, yelling in fear, and Joy bolted down
the road. On and on she ran without stopping, till she came to the gates of the
park. Then she finally stopped and looked back. Over the pine forest raised the
pillar of smoke.
Joy was too terrified, so it took her several days to fight off the fear and to
force herself to come to the Rising
Road again. But she had to know, if there was the
Dragon, or it was something else, that saved her. Large spot of bushes and
grass under the Dragon's hiding place were burnt, but the log itself
disappeared. Joy climbed to where it used to lay, checked the ground downhill,
under the road. Maybe, fireguard team took it away, but why?
The smells of smoke and burned wood still hang over the place. Rising Road was
not such a nice place any more, at least not for Joy.
She walked down, to the civilized part of the park, sat down on the bench and
tried to think. Was the Dragon real? Was it something else? She heard rumors
about old and odd beings that were supposed to live in the innermost parts of Grand Park,
but used to dismiss them, just as she dismissed the rumors about attacker…
Day faded, but the park still was the lively place. People were passing by her,
walking along the paths, taking along dogs and children, talking, playing
football on the meadows.
High above the park the Dragon circled above pine forest and the Rising Road,
half-invisible against the clouded sky. But who would look up in this twilight