The car slowly came to a stop.
"Here we are," said Sage, "Shawnee Outlook"
Sage was taking Dahlia on her very first camping trip. He promised Mama and Dad that he would take very good care of Dahlia.
"Are we going to set up the tent now?" asked Dahlia.
"In a moment," Sage answered, "I'll get the tent from the car, then we'll look for someplace to pitch the tent."
As Sage was getting the tent out of the car, Dahlia took her things and scouted ahead to find a good place to set up camp.
"How about here?" Dahlia pointed next to the fire pit.
"No, the tent would catch on fire," Sage warned.
"How about next to that view of the hils?" Dahlia suggested.
"That's on a cliff," Sage noted, "We might fall."
"How about next to that tree?"
"Hmm..." Sage hummed. Dahlia crossed her arms and sighed.
"All right," he said, "But the roots won't be very comfortable!"
Dahlia beamed. An uncomfortable place to sleep didn't seem to matter to her. Sage shrugged, rolled out the tent, and looked to Dahlia for help. The two of them strung the tent upright, then staked it into the ground. Once the job was done, they gave each other a high-five.
"So, now you know how to pitch a tent, Boy Scout-style!" Sage boasted.
"But you're not a Boy Scout," Said Dahlia.
"Shoosh!" Sage retorted, "I was a Boy Scout once."
"Shoosh, I said!" Sage exclaimed.
Dahlia laughed again, and so did Sage.
"Well, it's hiking time," Sage said once the laughter was over, "Are you ready to go hiking?"
Dahlia nodded, and the two of them promptly went on their way.
The hike began in a thick woods. The tree leaves painted a green roof that only let sunlight through if it were tinted by the leaves. Sage and Dahlia happily shuffled through the gravel pathway ahead of them as the forest became thinner and thinner.Just as soon as they exited the forest, they found themselves by a cliff to the left of the trail. Dahlia stuck close to Sage, who stayed to one side to keep Dahlia away from the edge.
A dozen steps along the cliffside, Sage and Dahlia stopped simulateously, as if on instinct.They were both suddenly entranced by the sight beyong the cliff.
Fields stretched before them, further than their eyes could see. The landscape reached out further and further, and Dahlia didn't even know that she could see as far as the land wandered. Power lines were strewn across the landscape, linked together by towers of twisted metal beams. On one side of the row of towers, a corn field was illuminated by the orange afternoon sun. Its rays reached acoss the violet sky and set the clouds alight with shades from orange to indigo.
Afraid to break the silence, Dahlia hesitantly spoke.
"Sage?" She whispered.
"Yeah?" Sage's voice was soft in return
"Can we come here again?"
Dahlia looked up at Sage, and Sage looked back at her with a grin spread across his face. He turned to face the view, and threw his hands into the air.
"We'll keep coming back here until the world stops spinning!" He shouted into the distance.
"Ye-e-a-ah!" Dahlia yelled.
The two of them ran off, racing through the rest of the hiking trail.
* * *
That night, as Sage was fast asleep, Dahlia was still wide awake. She stared at the tent ceiling with her eyes wide open. Eventually, she sat up in her sleeping bag and looked toward Sage.
"Sage?" She whispered.
Sage replied with a snore.
Dahlia laid back down and started counting to 500. Sage had told her before that it helped him to fall asleep, so Dahlia decided to do the same.
The counting was long and slow. Dahlia found herself slipping off to sleep as she counted past 300.
301... 302... 303... 304...
In her tired state, Dahlia eventually lost count. She wasn't asleep yet, but by the time she realized that she lost count, Dahlia was wide awake again. She sat up once again and rubbed her eyes.
She yawned, crawled out of her sleeping bag, and headed towards the tent flap. She grabbed the zipper and carefully opened the tent slowly, so she wouldn't wake Sage.
As she crawled out of the tent, Dahlia's eyes were captured by the blazing light of a tall bonfire in the firepit. The flames blazed like a pillar, connecting the sky to the Earth.
"That's weird," Dahlia thought to herself, "Why didn't I see the firelight through the tent?"
The blaze was bright enough to turn the night into day, yet somehow Dahlia saw no light coming into the tent while she was in there.
A low grumble suddenly shook the earth. Dahlia went pale, and her knees trembled. What could possibly be lying in the forest's shadows, cast by the flame?
As if to answer her question, a scaly figure slowly crept out of the shadows of the surrounding trees. Dahlia watched, paralyzed by fear, as the figure's reptilian face came into the light. Black scales glinted in the firelight as the figure inched closer and closer to Dahlia. Black wings with purple undersides soon came into view. The dragon brought its head behind the bonfire, then passed through the flames to look directly at Dahlia. The dragon's mouth opened slightly. Dahlia squeezed her eyes shut, and then...
Dahlia felt the dragon nuzzle against her and lick her face.
Dahlia couldn't help but giggle as the dragon's tongue set off every nerve in her body.
"Eek! Stop it!" She said through her laughing fit. The dragon obeyed, and stopped licking, but still nuzzled against her torso. Dahlia hesitantly reached out to pat the dragon's head. As it let out a soft purr, Dahlia felt safe.
"You're a good dragon, aren't you?" She commented. The dragon hummed softly in response. Then, it suddenly spread one massive wing to touch the ground beside Dahlia. She looked at the wing, which made a ramp leading up the the dragon's back.
"Do you... want me to ride you?" Dahlia asked. The dragon huffed and nodded.
"Well, all right..." Dahlia carefully walked up the dragon's wing to mount its back. As soon as Dahlia grabbed hold of the spikes on the dragon's back, it lifted its wings to the sky, then brought them down to launch itself into the sky. Dahlia held on with all of her strength as the dragon rocketed up to the sky. The dragon spun around and around, and so did the world around it. Dahlia became dizzier and dizzier until the dragon stopped spinning. The world, too, stopped spinning around the two of them. Dahlia's dizziness slowly wore off, and the dragon then let out a huff.
"What is it?" Dahlia asked. The dragon nodded towards the landscape below. Dahlia looked down, and was amazed by what she saw.
The Earth below was black, speckled with golden lights. As they glowed, there were small patches of land which could be seen around them. Somewhere down below, more lights traveled in pair along a strip of road.
Headlights! Dahlia thought to herself as she watched the lights speeding down an illuminated highway. As they raced by, Dahlia saw a beacon of lights in the distance. They came together to form tall brick buildings, forming the downtown city. Dahlia gazed in awe at the glowing city and wondered how so many people could sleep through such a beautifully lit world. All of these glowing lights illuminating the world came together to turn it into a mirror of the starry sky just above.
The dragon turned around, going back to the camp. Dahlia continued to watch the earth, observing every last touch of light coming from the ground. Eventually, the pair arrived to the campsite, and lightly touched down beside the campfire.
At this point, the campfire had gone down to a dim ember, glowing through a dark night. The dragon lowered its wings to the ground, and Dahlia cautiously climbed down. She walked around to the dragon's head, then wrapped her arms around its snout.
"Thank you," Dahlia whispered with a voice of excitement. The dragon closed its eyes and purred. Dahlia kept her arms around its snout until it gently pushed against her. She slowly let go of the dragon, which then lifted its head. A line of smoke came from its nostrils as the dragon looked at the tent. Dahlia heard a rusltling from inside of it, and turned to face the tent just as she heard Sage's voice.
"Dahlia?" He said worriedly, "Dahlia! Where'd you go?"
Sage crawled out of the tent, muttering to himself.
"Oh geez," His voice trembled, "Mama's going to-" Sage stopped short as he saw the dragon in front of him. The dragon sat, motionless, staring directly at Sage. Sage stared back, not in amazement or in fear, but with a stern expression on his face.
"Garmeth," Sage said. The dragon - Garmeth - huffed. Sage's mouth broke into a smile as he ran to Garmeth.
"I'm so glad to see yo-ou!" Sage shouted as he jumped up and attached himself to Garmeth's snout. He climbed up onto its head.
"You... You know each other?" Dahlia asked with a tone of wonder.
Sage and Garmeth both leaned toward her, and Sage grinned.
"You bet!" Sage said, "We were always together when I was your age. Only... Garmeth was a lot smaller than he is now..."
"Really?" Asked Dahlia.
"Oh yeah. It was a long time ago."
Garmeth bent his head down, and Sage slid to the ground.
"Listen, Dahlia," Sage knelt down and placed a hand on her shoulder, "Garmeth found me when I was your age... Maybe a little older. Regardless, he always stood by me," Sage tapped his temple, "In my mind. Even though I haven't actually seen him in years, he was always right beside me. That's the true power of dragons. They have the power to be with you in your mind, and will always protect and support you."
Garmeth huffed and nodded. Dahlia looked into his eyes, which lit up with power. Garmeth didn't speak; his lips didn't move, but Dahlia could hear his voice clearly in her mind.
"I'm with you, Dahlia," Garmeth said, "Today, tomorrow, and every day afterwards."
The great dragon then lifted his wings, took one last look at Sage and Dahlia, then took off into the night sky.
As Sage and Dahlia waved goodbye, Dahlia felt a sudden surge of drowsiness take over her.
She pulled at Sage's sleeve and headed towards the tent. It had been a long night, after all, and Dahlia needed some sleep.
Dahlia and the Dragon is a story that I wrote for my little sister, who's about 3 years old at the time of me writing this. I wrote it to be about her, and changed my name in the story to emphasize on it being about her. After I finished the story (which was really a first draft; I don't think I'll ever revise it since it wasn't supposed to be a great story in the first place), I read it to her as a bedtime story. Being a toddler, of course, she didn't pay any attention. My mother, however, loved the story and it actually brought her to tears.
When it comes to my mother, though, she can be easily impressed, especially if it's by something that I made. It's just how mothers are, haha.