Click here to read Part One, here to read Part Two, and here to read Part Three.
“Ahhh!” screamed Matt, sitting up and panting. He looked around at the blank faces of his companions who were sitting around the fire, cooking breakfast. “Did I fall asleep?”
“Yes, you did,” said Mr. Tickleten, smiling, “and from the sounds of things, you had quite a dream.”
“It wasn’t a dream!” said Matt. The others drew in close to hear what he had to say. “I think I heard,” he paused, “a dragon in my head!” His friends snorted with laughter. “It isn’t funny!” said Matt, panicked.
“Did he growl? Or maybe he invited you in for tea!” said one of the crew members, still laughing.
“No, I heard him in my mind!”
Once again, the four crew members roared with laughter. One of them reached into Matt’s bag saying, “I know! Let’s label the map ‘Dragon Island’!”
“No, don’t! It isn’t finished yet!” said Matt frantically.
“I’d like to see your progress,” said Mr. Franklin. “After all, you were working on it late into the night.”
Before Matt could stop them, they pulled out his map and unrolled it. All gasped as they saw the terrible mess of lines that sat on the page. “What is this?” asked Mr. Smith, looking at him.
Matt hung his head, “It’s my map.” He could feel everyone’s eyes on him. “I’m not a mapmaker. I’m just a handyman.”
A long pause followed. Matt waited for the harsh words and angy tones, but they didn’t come. He looked up to see Mr. Smith’s gaze resting on him. “I suppose we could always use a handyman when on the Bella Fawn,” he said, beginning to smile.
The company nodded their agreement, remembering their ‘seaworthy vessel’. Several of them laughed, but this time, it was a kind, encouraging laugh. Matt turned to look at Mr. Franklin. All emotion Matt had seen in him the night before was gone. His face was blank, his jaw set like stone, and he seemed to have grown a foot taller, but his eyes were filled with pain and hurt. He turned away from the others and walked off into the trees and out of sight.
“Just give him a bit,” said Mr. Tickleten slowly. “Let him cool off.”
Once again Matt remembered their delima. “Mr. Smith, we have to leave!”
“Because of the dragon?” asked Mr. Smith doubtfully.
“Yes!” Matt sighed at the crew’s muttering. “Listen, just stay here and don’t go anywhere until I get back!”
“Where are you going, lad?” asked Mr. Tickleten nervously.
“To find Mr. Franklin!” called back Matt, sprinting into the trees. As he followed Mr. Franklin’s path, he found himself getting ever closer to the mountain. Just great, he thought. He went to the mountain.
Good, replied a deep cruel voice in the depths of his mind. He will come right to me; see if you can stop the inevitable, little human. I’d like to see you try. Matt broke into a cold sweat, and he doubled his pace, running as fast as he could.
John Franklin huffed and puffed as he made his way up the mountain. He looked up to see that he was making good progress. “If we are to ever conquer this insane island, we must know what we are up against. Dangers on the mountain, huh? We’ll see about that, Mr. Smith. Stay safe with your handyman as I truly discover the reason we are here. I wonder how much farther to the top.” said John Franklin to himself.
As if in answer, his mind replied, Most likely a while at the pace you are going. See that cave up ahead? If you rest in it a few minutes, you will be able to continue on faster.
“True,” replied John, “but it’s so dark in there, almost unnaturally dark.”
All the better, a place away from the hot and torturous sun. John nodded and turned towards the cave. As he walked to it, a hand touched the back of his shoulder.
He spun around to see Matt behind him. “What are you doing here, handyman?”
“I’m here to get you!” said Matt. “You can’t be up here. It’s a long story, but I can sense evil up here. Can’t you feel it? It’s like a stench that won’t go away!”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” snapped John. “Don’t you talk to me about evil. You told me that people were different than I thought. You told me to trust. I trusted you, and look where it got me!”
“John, calm down!”
“Call me Franklin, Mr. Franklin!”
Matt stepped back. Once again, the voice rang out in his head. Ah, he has come right to me. Die, human! From the terrified look on Mr. Franklin’s face, Matt knew that he heard it, too. A fiery white glow shown out from the cave.
“I’m sorry for what I’m about to do!” said Matt. As fire shot out of the cave straight at them, Matt jumped at Mr. Franklin and pushed him back, sending him rolling down the mountain. Matt flattened himself just in time to dodge the flames that flew at him. When he stood up, he looked down the mountain to see an unconscious, but breathing, Mr. Franklin, lying on his back in some bushes.
Well, looky here, said the voice in Matt’s head again. He turned to the cave to see two glowing eyes. You seemed to have ruined my good time. Come with me, human. We are going to have a nice long chat.
Matt sighed. Even he knew it generally wasn’t a good idea to refuse dragons. “What are you going to do with me?”
Oh, little friend, said the voice as the eyes seemed to smile darkly, trust me, I know how to treat house guests. Especially… unwelcome ones!
Written and Illustrated by Sabina B.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Welcome to The Flabbit Blog! Here you will find writings by the many members of The Flabbit Room, most of which will be set in the world of Ildathore.