Jen DeSantis’ Choice: 2
Title: The Night of the Dragon
They’d gathered, as their ancestors had done before, in the town square. It was just before midnight on the eve of Samhain. Many came in their plain clothes, but for some it was a badge of honor to wear the garb of their forefathers.
They milled around, murmuring quiet hellos and muted welcomes to their neighbors. In the center, the elders erected the wooden idol, raising the hand-crafted wings in a reverent salute. Even the quiet murmurs faded as the dragon took shape. Children cowered beneath their mother’s shawls, husbands reached out absently for their wives -- touch providing the reassurance that all was well.
As the hands of the clock drew closer to midnight, the congregation drew together around the effigy. A single man with hair of pale silver approached the wooden form. With trembling hands, he raised the match stick to light the dragon and dispel the monsters for another year.
It was only a single puff of air, but it blew the match out just before it touched the fuse. The crowd held its breath as the man fumbled in his pocket for another match. Three wooden sticks fell to the ground from his robes. He clutched one between his fingers, triumphant, and moved to strike it.
From the East, a screeching sound like giant nails being raked across a sheet of metal split the night’s silence. The group turned as one toward the noise, eyes wide with terror. Leathery wings flapped noiselessly in the distance, sending an ancient, sour stink toward the center of town. The old man holding the match swallowed hard, his fingers clutching the wooden stick tightly as the creature drew near.
Another shriek brought most of the crowd to its knees, hands clutched tightly over their ears. Still the elder stood his ground. He drew the match over body of the dragon effigy, igniting it. The dragon snapped its red eyes in the man’s direction, a thin trail of smoke billowing out of its nose.
“No.” The elder moved quickly, reaching his match toward the fuse.
A curling plume of blue flame erupted from the dragon’s mouth, engulfing both the effigy and the elder in fire.
Human screams mingled with the furious screeching of the dragons. The great beasts had returned to set the night aflame.
Jennifer DeSantis is a Horror and Paranormal Author and host of the #FridayPictureShow. She lives near Philly with her family. In her spare time is an aspiring ninja.