Happy Thursday, everyone!
Thunder Valley Press has been doing some fun things with my short fiction. In addition to publishing the five-story collections which I’ve been featuring for the past few weeks, they’ve been pairing up my stories kinda like the old Ace Doubles, only with short fiction. Cool, right?
This week’s Free Fiction Thursday story is from one of my first short-fiction doubles. “A Most Unserious Dragon” is one of two stories I’ve written about Mordived, a dragon who doesn’t want to slay knights and eat virgins — he’d rather do stand-up. Thanks to the fine folks at Thunder Valley Press, when you buy either “A Most Unserious Dragon” or my follow-up story about Mordived — “A Most Romantic Dragon” — from Amazon, the iBookstore, or Smashwords, you get both stories at once. Nifty!
A whole bunch of my short stories are now available as doubles, and I’m told there will be more to come. For now though, I hope you enjoy “A Most Unserious Dragon.”
A Most Unserious Dragon
Copyright © 2011 Annie Reed
Published by Thunder Valley Press
Cover and layout Copyright © 2011 Thunder Valley Press
Cover art Copyright 10-19-10 © julien Tromeur
Dragons, or so Mordived’s father told him often and most sternly, were very serious creatures.
“Our birthright is to rule the land,” Mordived’s father said, his chest puffed out proudly and little wisps of steam escaping his nostrils. “Ruling is serious business. Men believe they rule the kingdoms, but true power belongs to the dragons. Slaying knights is our duty, and eating virgins our reward for such serious business.”
“But I don’t want to slay knights and eat virgins,” Mordived said.
Even eating cattle gave Mordived indigestion. He could only imagine what eating an entire virgin would do to his digestive system. As for knights, all that shiny silver armor gave him headaches.
Mordived’s father stomped his foot so hard that the ground trembled and the walls of their cave shook. Little rocks and frightened bats tumbled from the ceiling, the bats fluttering back deeper into the cave and the rocks pelting Mordived and his father on their wings. His father didn’t seem to notice.
Undaunted, Mordived said, “I want to be a comedian. Not a fighter.” Nor an eater of virgins. Mordived would much rather make the virgins laugh.
Mordived’s father reared back his head, drew in a great breath, and let loose with a stream of fire that toasted what few tree roots dared to grow through the ceiling of their cave.
“Enough!” Mordived’s father roared when the fire burned itself out. “No son of mine will ever be anything but a serious dragon!”
Mordived slunk away, not wanting to be mistaken for a tree root.
His older brother was a most serious dragon. Gilgamule had slain numerous lesser knights, although he had not yet eaten his first virgin. Gilgamule was nearly half the size of their father, with a fine crest of spikes down the ridge of his back and a nice purple hue to his streams of fire. He would be leaving soon to go rule his own kingdom far from the land ruled by their father, for such was the way of serious dragons.
Mordived didn’t want his older brother to leave. While Gilgamule might be a serious dragon, he was also someone Mordived could talk to.
“What’s wrong with not wanting to slay people?” Mordived asked his older brother. “But rather, wanting to make them laugh?”
“Why not make them laugh while you slay them?” Gilgamule replied. “It would certainly make their deaths more enjoyable.”
Mordived wondered sometimes if his older brother truly understood the concept of comedy.
(read the rest of the story here)