The swirling mist obscured the tall, sharply pointed rocks, which plunged into deep valleys below, leaving a few flat plateaus in between. The rising sun momentarily tinged the clouds a pale apricot. A gentle breeze plus the slowly warming air lifted the cloud like a duvet being moved by a sleepy child. The intruder into this peaceful, still life gazed upwards in wonder and felt a visceral shock when she took in the depths, plunging mere inches from her feet and hands as she clung to the rock. Unable to go up or down, she gazed at a dark triangle in the rock ahead, opening onto a tiny patch of sand.
She had to reach that before it got much lighter.
Her heart was pounding, and biting her lip, she inched her hand towards what looked like another handhold. She held her breath, imagining the worst, a sudden slip which would plunge her into the dark valley below and certain death. The rock held her weight as she shifted, ready to try another move.
Dripping with sweat and shaking like an autumn leaf in the wind, she made it to the relative safety of the sandy patch. Her legs were shaking, and her breathing was ragged when she heard a noise deep in the cave ahead.
She closed her eyes momentarily and implored the gods to keep her safe or at least make her invisible to whoever was about to exit the cavern. She crouched low. The gods heard her.
The creature emerged. Thin tendrils of smoke rose from its nostrils. Her eyes grew enormous and round as she watched a dragon crawl forward and stretch its great leathery wings. She thought, “Ah, so the legends are true. There are dragons here.”
Its glittering eyes raked the base of the rock where she crouched. Seeing her squeezed down as small as she could make herself, she heard clearly, “So you have come at last. You took your time.”
She blinked, and her mouth fell open.
“Shut your mouth, you silly girl and get into the cave.”
She knew better than to argue with a voice in her head. She was so frightened it was difficult to stand and walk, but she would not crawl anywhere, especially in front of this dragon.
She wore tight leather trousers and a matching bolero over an embroidered blouse when she emerged. Her hair was tied into a knot on top of her head.
“Come on, girl. We have to go. The sun is high”
She climbed onto the dip at the base of the dragon’s neck. It was a perfect seat.
The dragon’s leathery wings flapped twice before they soared high into the sky above the clouds. At last, she knew why her grandmother had kissed and hugged her before sending her to the mountain in the predawn. Her words, “It is time for you to fulfil your destiny.” only made sense now as they streaked through the sky.
© Felicity Edwards