The Szechuan Dragon… a short story



Part One…

Yes, I did slay the Szechuan dragon, and it was delicious!  I know, I know, but don’t judge me too quickly.  If you only knew the turmoil this rascally dragon had been causing in my life, and my family, you too would have taken drastic measures.  Let me bring you up to speed.

A few months back the kids and I went for a hike in the Imperial forest.  It was a beautiful day, and we just couldn’t see ourselves spending it indoors.  I asked the kids if they would like to go on an adventure.  I figured they’d want to play on the swing set or go to the park.  Nope!  They surprised me with wanting to go to the Imperial forest.  Now, I recalled reading something lately about a strange mist and small fires occurring in the forest, but it never occurred to me that this was something that would become both a first-hand reality and a personal dilemma.

Regardless, we packed up some water and snacks in our backpacks and hopped into the car and headed to the forest.  The forest itself is several thousand acres and is protected by the Imperial Guard and, more importantly, His Majesty’s decree.  Anyone may go into the forest for whatever reason if they do not meander off the main trails and they don’t litter or destroy any part of the park.  Pack it in and pack it out as cave explorers do.  Simple enough, right?  Right!

Well, we were probably about 45 minutes into our hike when there was an odd shadow traversing our path.  It was a sunny day, so we assumed it was a flock of birds.  How wrong we were.  When we stopped to have a quick snack… it happened!  A not so pretty, little dragon, about the size of a motorcycle, came swooping down and knocked over my youngest son while it snatched his snack right out of his hand.  It goes without saying, but that scared the daylights out of all of us.  We have always known about dragons, but we never really had any fear of them.  After checking my boy and ensuring that he was okay I raised my fist and, under my breath, cursed the little dragon and dared him to try that again.  My mistake…

What transpired over the next few hours involved our constantly looking to the sky for the dragon rather than simply enjoying our hike.  When we got back to the car, not having seen the rascally dragon again, we dropped our backpacks on the ground and went to the restroom before heading home.  When we came back out, what do you think we saw?  Yep, that sorry little bugger was tearing open our backpacks and eating whatever it could find.

Without thinking I rushed the dragon, once again cursing, and to my surprise it stood its ground.  It must have been a rather funny sight to the kids as I heard laughter even as I was sliding towards the creature trying to stop my progress and turn around to run back.   So, the standoff began.  After the dragon decided it had enough it lifted, surprisingly gracefully, into the air and flew away.   After a moment we looked at one another, shrugged, and cleaned up the mess, loaded back up into the car and drove home.  We had no idea that we would see this beast again, much less sooner than later, as it turned out.

To be continued…

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