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 Dragon Feathers!?! - #3

Science FictionSherlyn Meinz
AlienLove Staff Writer

The sun rose, still low in the sky, and a beam of light reached under Wilanona’s wing. The elder dragon slept on peacefully, but Annaw squawked, hungrily, as the light hit Aunt Hildie in the face. Bianca woke to her dragon’s appeal. It was only seconds before Wilanona became consciously aware of the movement under her wing, lifting it slightly, as she peaked beneath, to sing good morning to her friends.

Bianca was awe-struck, Annaw sang in harmony with Wilanona, Aunt Hildie closed her eyes and just enjoyed the dragons' welcome of the new day...

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When they were finished, Bianca found her voice and said, “You never told me you could sing, Annaw, I never even imagined that dragons could sing! That was so wonderful, both of you," including Wilanona in her praise. "I have never heard anything so wonderful."

“Yes,” answered Aunt Hildie, “It’s such a shame so few people can hear their song, it envelopes you in love and joy, doesn’t it?”

Wilanona offered to take Annaw out with her to find breakfast, knowing a growing dragon would always need to, at least, supplement whatever food it’s human could provide. The little dragon responded with excitement, landing briefly on Bianca’s shoulder and nuzzling her, before zooming into the sky, asking Wilanona what she was waiting for.

Wilanona, good-naturedly replied, “I’m coming, young one.” Aunt Hildie burst out laughing, clapping her hands together in delighted remembrance of Wilanona first weeks after hatching. She nodded to Bianca to follow, and explained that they had better stop at the garden and begin preparing additional food. Young dragons tended to be unfillably ravenous.

The pang of separation from her dragon left Bianca watching the two as they flew off, before grabbing the handle of the wagon and catching up with her Great Aunt.

She was full of questions again, “Did dragons sing often? How much would Annaw require to eat. How quickly would she reach Wilanona’s size? Were there other amazing things dragons could do besides being real, able to fly, talk and sing?” The walk to the garden and picking of ripe vegetables went quickly, as Hildie tried to answer the child’s multiple questions as she best she could.

When they got back to the house, Hilde’s answering machine was beeping, Bianca’s parents had called. The girl returned the call, assuring her mother of what a wonderful time she was having with Aunt Hildie, certainly not mentioning they had spent the night sleeping outside, under a dragon’s wing. Promising to call again the next day, her parents spoke briefly to Hildie, who assured them again, that Bianca was no trouble.

By the time the call ended, Annaw was back, alighting on Bianca’s shoulders, then slipping down into her arms to fall asleep. Hildie smiled and showed Bianca an old baby carriage in the spare room, where Annaw could spend the next few hours, until she was hungry again.

Aunt Hildie went out back and had a few words with Wilanona, then returned to continue teaching Bianca about her new friend. The child learned that while dragons were usually quite capable of finding water and bathing themselves, they often need to have their feathers combed, and any small insects or bits of dirt removed. The skin below their metallic feathers also need occasional oiling, especially when growing. Aunt Hildie had some pleasantly scented oil she gave to Bianca, but told her that plain olive oil would work fine, and would be easier for Bianca to obtain.

Despite Bianca’s objections, Hildie also gave Bianca a hundred dollars, explaining that there would be times when Bianca would have to buy the oil and other items her dragon would need. “Right now, your dragon is small, your parents won’t miss a few tablespoons of oil, but what are you going to do once she gets bigger? You can’t very well tell them you need it for your dragon, you know. I know it will be hard to keep this kind of secret, and you are young for it, but it is the way it must be. Since most others can’t see Annaw or any dragon, they will not understand what you are talking about and will think something is wrong with you.”

Bianca nodded solemnly, “But why so much money Aunt Hildie, olive oil isn’t that expensive, is it?”

Hildie laughed, “No, of course not, child, but there are other things that are needed in the care and raising of a dragon. Sometimes they need nutritional supplements, particularly in winter, when the available food in the wild is limited. It is true that they can fly hundreds of miles in a very short time when they wish, but it is still better for them to stay close to their partners and to eat local food whenever possible.”

“Actually, when you get a couple years older, I will open a bank account for you, so that you can draw money when you need to. If something happens to me before that, now don’t look so shocked, I am old. Anyway, as soon as you were born, and Wilanona told me that you had the gift, I made out a will and began putting money aside for you. My grandfather did the same for me, you know. I was not certain that I would live long enough for you to grow up, but Annaw had trouble waiting too, and hatched a bit early, so here we are,” she smiled.

“Of course, in a couple years, Annaw should be big enough for you to ride, at least short distances, you know.”

“Ride? You mean like sit on her back while she flies? Oh, I can’t believe you didn’t tell me that before. How could you have left it out? How incredibly, deliciously, wonderful!”

Hildie, smiled, remembering her own and Wilanona’s early days. What a time that had been!

To be continued...

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