I Am the Storm

She stood with the quiet defiance of a self-assured queen. While the tempest around her raged on. The wind howled with a ferocity not seen in decades. Rain battered everything like an array of rapidly fired bullets. Still, she remained firm. Slowly stepping forward. One bare foot placed in front of the other.

All she had to do was make it across the natural stone bridge. Everyone deemed it impossible, that she would never make it to safety. But she would show them that she was the master of impossible. Her slender arms rose on either side of her.

Lightning struck the turbulent sea below her, sending salty spray to mix with the rain. The wind whipped her ebony hair about her face. Unfurled her crimson gown across the stone. Her pale skin contrasting the ash-colored skies. Still, she pursued onward.

Her striking eyes trained on the villagers that waited on solid ground. She was soaked to the bone, but she never felt the cold. Thunder rumbled the earth. Piece of rock plummeted into the crashing waves. More lightning streaked through the clouds. Yet, she crossed the natural stone bridge without hesitation. Startling the villagers as she strode by them. One called out, desperately trying to hang on for dear life, “How can you withstand this storm?”

She looked over her shoulder. A confident smile on her lips before she faded into the squall. “Darling, I am the storm.”





Goodbye, Alice


Alice woke to the pleasant humming sound of her alarm. Rubbing her eyes, she looked to her white robot plugged into its charging station on the other side of the room. “Thank you, R.B.B.T.”

The robot’s white, glowing eyes flickered to life as the sound ceased. Ethereal voice sounding. “Good morning, Alice.”

She watched it rise with the grace and fluidity clearly not based off human movement. The exotic android was sleek, built for speed. As per the alien race that inspired its design. Why it was her household robot, she wasn’t sure. But she had it ever since she could remember.

“Morning request, ma’am?”

“The usual.” She performed her morning ritual of stretches as the tint of her windows changed from black to almost clear, letting in the simulated sun. Then she moved to her bathroom. The door slid open in response.

R.B.B.T. entered the bedroom. “Breakfast is ready.”

Alice braided her light hair in a ponytail. Paused. Studied the mirror. Tilting her head, she ran her fingers down her neck. Her brows furrowed at the faint bump and discoloration that traversed around the middle of her neck. Something she never paid attention to before.

The android shifted. “Breakfast is ready, ma’am.”

She leaned closer to the mirror. “I know, but how did I get this? I don’t remember doing anything that could cause this. It’s like a scar.”

The robot’s eyes turned red as it sent a beacon to its true master.

There was a flash of light in the front room of the virtual house. The feminine voice of the home echoed. “General Cooper has arrived.”

Alice poked her head out of the bathroom, running to the front room. “Dad!” She threw her arms around him. Then frowned at his stern face. “What’s wrong?”

He sat her down. “R.B.B.T. has notified me you discovered the scar around your neck.”

One of her brows lifted. “Yes? What is this all about?”

Sighing, he sat across from her. Put a hand on her knee. “Do you remember you’re an agent for me and the government?”

“Yes…I just went on a mission not too long ago…”

“Well, last rotation, you were assigned to a highly sensitive mission. One I didn’t even know all the details for. Our greatest enemy traveled back in time to rewrite the future to her design. You were sent after her, you being our top agent. With its impressive shifting abilities, R.B.B.T. was sent along with you.”

Alice glanced at the exotic robot.

General Cooper continued. “Our enemy had been there long enough, she killed the king and placed herself as queen. We didn’t know at the time. We sent you straight in to explain a pre-scripted situation to the king. She had you beheaded on the spot. Thankfully, R.B.B.T. is equipped with the most advanced in medical science. It killed the queen and saved you simultaneously. It was able to fuse your head back on. Our damages team handled the rest.”

She sat in silence, blinking. Not given enough time to process the information. “This doesn’t make any sense…why don’t I remember any of this?”

“The queen, the enemy, was your mother.”

Her eyes lifted, realizing why her memory had been wiped. “How many times have we had this conversation?”

His expression stiffened. “About three times a week. There is so much we keep you from remembering. It’s why we keep you in constant surveillance at this facility. Your world that you think exists no longer does. You loved those Wonderland myths so much, your mother wanted to emulate them. In a way, I think she succeeded.”

“Why are you telling me this now?”

“Because your memory will be wiped once more. Goodbye, Alice. I’ll see you the next time this happens.”

“What? That’s it? You incredulously deceiving person!” She rose from her chair. Only to be forced back down by R.B.B.T. She screamed and kicked, but nothing set her free.

General Cooper transported out of the virtual house to monitor the rest from a station in the corner of the simulation room.

The last thing she experienced before she would forget was seeing the android’s white eyes blending into one piercing light, blinding her vision. And its mellifluous voice growing more distant as consciousness faded.

“Goodbye, Alice.”

The Man of Mystery

The queen awoke with a dull sensation in her head. She blinked a few times and looked around the room. Everything seemed dull. Her gaze lingered in the other side of the large bed. It was empty. A smile crept across her face. That meant she could find the man in her dreams without anyone stopping her.

She went to her wardrobe and threw open the doors. What to wear? Perhaps red would be a suitable color for this excursion? The eye was more attracted to the color red. Yes. That seemed fitting. She also needed the finest silk. Her lips pursed as she pulled out a dress that she hadn’t had the courage to wear before. Until now.

After a soothing bath, she smelled of the best flowers and slipped into the form-fitting gown. A backless number with a precarious slit up the leg. Gold embroidery danced along the edges. A gold sash tied around her slim waist. She accessorized with a few gold pieces. Finishing with a gold circlet upon her head.

Then the queen headed for the royal gardens. Completely ignoring everything going on around her. Though she assumed many stared. But she was determined to find the man plaguing her dreams the past week. She strolled down the stone pathway. He had always shown up under the giant tree in the center.

Her eyes darted around. The mystery man hadn’t appeared yet. She walked under the harboring branches of the great tree. Looked up and sighed. Was it only a dream? Lifting her hands to her chest, she sighed again. Why did it have to be only a dream? With a wistful glance back up at the branches, she turned around.

The stood the man in her dreams. Tall and well-formed, he smiled with the grace of a gentleman. His long, fire-red hair flowed with the wind. Black symbols of magic tattooed his bare chest. “So it is you.”

The queen unusually adopted charmer, cocking one hip to the side. “Unless this is but another dream.”

He approached her in one easy stride. Swooped her down and stared into her eyes. “Have I ever done this in your dreams?”

“No.” She blushed a bit. “How did you know to find me here?”

His voice lowered to a rich tone. “Because you have been in my dreams, my beautiful temptress. You have been in this same exact spot all week. I had to know if you were real.”

“That’s why I’m here. I had to know if such a specimen of a man existed.”

The peculiar man flashed another grin. Until he noticed the ring on her left hand. “Will your husband mind?”

Her cool demeanor didn’t change, sliding the ring off her finger. Tossed it off to the side. Not caring where it landed. She matched his smooth tone. “What husband?”

V and the Red Dragon

“I am a dragon, and you will respect your queen!” Velokitari roared in the ancient tongue shared by all dragons who spoke.
The red dragon laughed. “You are nothing but a fleshling. You are more human than dragon.”
She slowly rose from her throne, multi-colored eyes boring into the beast. “Dragons come in many forms. A creature of your low intelligence should know at least that. I am the most different, therefore I am queen. Do you understand?”
The enormous throne room filled with silence, save for the rushing waterfall. Then the red dragon’s bellowing laugh echoed among the stone. “Is that how it’s run around here? Whoever’s the most special gets to rule the lands?”
“I think I’ll see the council now.”
“The council is not to be bothered with petty dealings. If you wish to join our Sanctuary, you are required to go through me.”
“Certainly.” Running his tongue over his rows of teeth, he lunged towards the throne. A pair of black dragons stopped him before he reached the base, however. He snarled.
Velokitari hadn’t flinched. “The twins hatched at the same time. There was a third that hatched minutes later. Let’s just say they shared it in no time flat. The twins are my brothers. It would be wise not to provoke them.”
“You call yourself a dragon and claim dragons to be your blood. I’ve never seen such blasphemy! I shall devour you where you stand.”
The identical guards rumbled low warnings. Their red eyes glinting with ire. Simultaneously, their shoulders settled into place as their rear haunches braced for launching.
Her head tilted. “So I take it you no longer wish to join the Sanctuary? Your request will not be considered a second time. But know this.” She took each throne step at a deliberate pace until she stood between her brothers. “If you remain here, I will clip your wings and keep you under surveillance. Your scales are not to be trusted.”
“I will take no more of this!” Rearing back, the red dragon gathered strength. Blew a stream of fire at the queen when he landed back on his front legs. A smug grin controlled his lips. The fire died.
She remained unscathed. “Is that your best? Though I must say your surprise to my fire resistance amuses me greatly. Didn’t I tell you I was skilled with flames? You should know I also have power over earth, water, and darkness. Four elements I have so far mastered. I am superior to you in every way.”
He bared his fangs. “I shall return with an army of dragons. We will rid this place of the monstrosity you are.” But he was attacked. Before he could even turn to the ledge for flight.
The twins were on him in an instant. Biting and clawing as they neared the outsider to his death. They kept their wings folded tightly against their bodies. Wings were too vital to be lost in a skirmish such as this. Bloody moments passed, and they brought down the larger dragon. Fought over which body parts they desired.
She watched with delight. One of her favorite things was witnessing death brought on by her brothers. They were skilled, quick, and efficient. It was always a pleasure. Once the pair gorged most of the meat, she sent the miniature dragons that prowled around the throne over to the corpse for scraps.
The small bunch scurried over, chirping and eagerly sharing in the prize. Two tugged over a piece of tough meat while another kept being shoved aside by the twins. The fourth scavenged, staying out of the others’ way.
Crossing her arms, the queen walked to the edge of the open throne room. Staring down the waterfall that flowed from under the palace. The red dragon was not the first to claim her human. Her hands clenched. She was no filthy fleshling. Though, if she was to be honest, she had never been past the guarded walls of the Sanctuary. Sure, the occassional knight came though, but they were armored.
She huffed. And it didn’t help she ordered their executions before she saw what they looked like. An idea rushed over her. She would go outside the Sanctuary. She would travel and see the outside world. Meet the humans she supposedly looked like. Her eyes rolled. Why was it so hard for some creatures to accept? Pivoting, she marched to her quarters. She was clearly a dragon!

A Day in the Life of Kliiera

Kliiera stretched her wings to their full span and greatly yawned, fangs showing and tongue curling out. She shook her head and neck. Sending her back fins into a rocking frenzy. Then she rose to stretch her front legs followed by her rear haunches. Today’s sun had made a nice, warm nap. And with her rest, came new energy. She walked a few paces in each direction. Surveying for other dragons. She was, after all, royal blood and could not be seen playing amuck like a youngling. She determined the coast clear. Then dropped to her side and rolled throughout the plush grass. A shrill roar of happiness escaped her. It felt so wonderful against her leathery skin and wings. It tickled her underbelly scales. Her mouth opened, bright pink tongue hanging out one side. She froze. The sound of flapping wings made her curl up under one of her wings. With her wings being jade green on the topside, they made for perfect cover when she was viewed from above against a lush landscape. Not even the tracking dragons could find her most of the time. She was the last of her kind. It was survival instinct not to be found. She waited until she could no longer hear beating wings. Then her bright blue head poked out. The coast was once again clear. She eyed the surroundings one last time before springing to her feet. Bounded a few steps, tumbling back to the grass. She rolled onto her back and wiggled. Her wings stretched, mowing down the grass. All four limbs reached for the sky. The sky always seemed so funny from the ground. Her tail swished happily. Tail fin also smothering the grass.
A high pitched whistle carried on the breeze. Everything fell limp as she let off an aggravated huff. She rolled to a sitting position. Really? The Pet wanted her now? She huffed again and launched off the ground. Strong strokes carrying her higher. She soared to the palace. When she got close enough, she flattened her back fins so the Pet could land on her without slicing herself in half. She understood the Pet was their queen, but was she the only one who noticed how different the queen was from them? Yet, the Elders had raised her like a normal youngling. The queen guided her with simple pressure from her knees. Like a good dragon, she obeyed. Then she realized the Pet wanted to go swimming in the crystal pool. Nuh-uh. She was not about to go swimming. Once she was over the natural pool, she rolled, dropping the Pet into the water. A simple glide landed her on a fallen tree perfect for her size. She perched upon it and waited.
The Pet surfaced. “Hey!” she called in the ancient draconic tongue. Splashed the dragon.
Kliiera hissed and arched her wings. Sat proudly with a lifted head turned away. She preferred grass. Not water. She remained sentinel for quite some time as the Pet swam about like a sea serpent. Carefully avoided splashes. She grew rather bored until two one-year-old males landed on the shore. Her attention went to them. They wrestled with each other a bit. Snapping and clawing. They stopped only when they butted heads. Then they noticed something. She settled on her front haunches, ready to pounce. The mischievous pair took flight and circled like vulture vermin. Began dive-bombing, one after the other, at the queen. Pet yelled at them, furious to have immature brats ruin her swim. Outraged by the show of disrespect, Kliiera jumped into action. She grabbed one with her talons and the other in her jaws. Diving to the shore, she slammed both into the sand. They quickly recovered and faced her. She stretched out her wings. Roaring with all her might. They scrambled. Fell over each other as they fled. Her wings folded back with a proud nod of her head.
Pet emerged from the water. Stood next to her. “Thank you. Those insolents were annoying.” She tilted her head. “Do you want me to pet you now?”
Her head rose higher. She didn’t need to be petted. So she began walking away. The Pet caught up to her. Stroked the favorite place on the dragon’s neck. She finally gave in and allowed it, rumbling low. Yes, that did feel quite nice. She leaned her neck into the queen’s hand. Not wanting her to stop.
The Pet laughed a bit then sighed. “The Council wants to have a meeting. Will you escort me?” She fidgeted. “The Elders will be there, and they do make me a tad nervous. I feel like I don’t meet their standards.”
Kliiera gave a nod. Flattened her back fins and nudged her up with her head. No, she didn’t like the Elders, either. Or the Council for that matter. But she would go. Taking flight, she headed to the marvelous stone palace carved into the mountainside. It was big enough to house the largest of dragons. She landed in the vast throne room. Taking notice of how edgy the other dragons became. They were never sure of her. They knew she was the Pet’s favorite. Yet, she held her head high. Didn’t make eye contact. Occasionally twitched her tail in annoyance. She posed on the platform behind the throne. Regally kept tabs on the ensuing meeting.
It lasted several hours. She remained on the stone slab, but now she lay down, lapping her tail fin through the air. The Council dragons whispered among themselves when they weren’t engaged in conversation. They didn’t discuss the queen, who was handling herself quite well. They gossiped about the exotic dragon. Kliiera eventually glared at a pair. Just because she didn’t speak the old language, didn’t mean she didn’t understand it. None of them dared even look at her afterwards. She had been in a fight before. She had healed just fine. But her adversary still couldn’t fly right.
The boredom finally ended. The Council and Elders finally left. Pet retired with her two guard dragons for the night. She stretched and jumped off the platform. Walked across the throne room to the large opening, gold talons clicking against the stone. She lifted her head to view the night sky filled with stars. Yes, she was Pet’s favorite. Yes, she couldn’t speak. Yes, she didn’t look like any of the other dragons. Yes, she was the only one without any kind of family. She took flight. That’s what happened when your species was ruthlessly hunted. Her eyes closed as she rode an air current. Perhaps she had been saved, but she missed her home. Missed the Aura Woods and the freedom she once had. Here, she had to answer to a queen that she didn’t think was even dragon. Maybe this was her freedom? But it felt like captivity. She landed in her field of plush grass. Paced several circles then plopped down with a sigh. Now she could fall asleep and wake up in another day of paradise. Her eyes rolled. She would do what was expected of her. For now. But eventually, she would return to the Aura Woods. Just as she promised herself every night. Covering herself with her wings, she fell into slumber.