Bulkheaded Dragons by Maria Thomas

The sky was full of dragons. Ridge-backed and horned, fanged and scaled. Dragons with tails, long and spiked, coiled like ammonites. Dragons of alabaster and anthracite, pewter and basalt. The sky was full of dragons, bulkheaded and angry.

The sun was blistering, oppressive, the air heavy, heavyweight. Insects dive-bombed the lake – wasps, ants, grasshoppers, beetles. They didn’t creep, or crawl, they launched, they tumbled and piked and somersaulted. They swam, they flailed and they drowned.

Danny lay in the long grass. He was half and half – sleeping and awake, anxious and calm, ecstatic and furious. He lay in the long grass and waited.

Sophie lay in the long grass. She was half and half – sleek and sticky, excited and weary, wary and hot, hot, hot.

Danny watched Andy approach. He knew where Sophie lay. He knew through the taste on his tongue, the scent in his nostrils, the vibrations in his groin. He knew why Andy had come, knew what Sophie had offered, knew what it might cost her, them, him. Knew as a grasshopper knows when to drown in a lake.

Andy lay in the long grass with Sophie. Lay in the long grass on Sophie. Lay in the long grass in Sophie. Sophie moaned and Andy moaned, and in the long grass close by Danny grew as angry as bulkheaded dragons.

A large flat stone found its way to his palm, maybe it was basalt, maybe not. It was flat and ridged like a dragon’s tail, and heavy, heavyweight, fierce. Danny picked his way through the long grass towards Andy and Sophie, the rock, basalt maybe, firm and fierce in his hand. Sophie barely had time to scream as the storm broke, as the thunder blasted and the lightning cracked and the rain tumbled from the sky like basalt.

The dragons roared and Danny roared with them, and the basalt fell and fell and fell.Afterwards as calm as the eye, Danny lay in the long grass, watching the rain wash blood from his hands, staining the earth red, waiting for the storm to return


This story was runner up in the Amok themed quarterly flash fiction competition

About the author: Maria Thomas is a middle-aged, apple-shaped mum of two. She has work in EllipsisZine, Funny Pearls, Levatio, Fiery Scribe Review, Paragraph Planet, VirtualZine, Free Flash Fiction, Punk Noir, Roi Faineant Press, Cape Magazine, Story Nook, WestWord Journal and (upcoming) Punk Monk and Yuzu Literary. Maria won Retreat West’s April 2022 Micro competition. She can be found on Twitter as @AppleWriter.