There Were Dragons

When men first stumbled, bleary eyed from their caves and out into the world, there were dragons.

During those early days when the mountains were but foothills and the first tribes offered up sacrifices of their own kin to appease the crackling and howling in the skies, there were dragons.

Once words had been formed and ideas could be shared, men learned to craft the world around them and cities of stone and timber began to take root. Like silent sentinels, watching from the distant clifftops, there were dragons.

As wheels carried trade between lands and war between borders, there were dragons but only in rumour and in song.

When the skies grew blotted by artificial muck, when streams shimmered only with their cargo of refuse and silt, there were dragons but only in the eroding minds of a handful of elders.

Soon there were no new lands left to occupy, no oceans left to possess and so with bullets and binary, mankind began to devour itself. Under the shadow of blinding mushroom clouds, once thriving streets and avenues echoed and crumbled. Those that survived retreated back to the caves from where they once came, knowledge was forgotten and the shadows of the landscape grew fearful again.

Eventually those last peoples winked out of existence as well. The valleys were silent, the forests still and between azure skies and unending plains, there were dragons.

Title image courtesy baccharus

Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 9:08 PM  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I wonder what sort of cultures and things dragons got to without their favorite classical food source and antagonists.

    • Certainly an interesting concept John – in fact there’s an idea for a story, a bunch of dragons eat all the humans in the their land… what happens next when there’s no one to terrorise?

  2. A sort of a sad cycle, and yet, the dragons return (or always were here, but were forgotten).

    And a bonus random comment… that photo makes me want mint ice cream for some reason 😉

    • Yeah I was definitely going for something melancholic (yet poignant) with the dragons being a metaphor for the planet, once we’ve gone and screwed ourselves all over the birds and the fish will all still be here (hopefully).

      Now that you’ve point out the mint ice cream thing… yeah I’m totally getting that as well. It’s a close up of an iguana (I think) btw. A mint flavoured iguana.

  3. You’ve captured an intriguing voice and viewpoint into this world. I love the way you touch on “there were dragons” at the ends of many of the paragraphs. This is an example of a great prologue for an epic fantasy novel (it’s got what I like, short, great voice, and draws me into the world described.)

    • Hi there Aidan, thanks for the kind comments. I was aiming to do something that almost felt like poetry, hence the repetition of the title. Not sure about it being a prologue though, I’d deliberately left everything very vague to let the reader paint the details themselves.

  4. This is nice. Kind of like ‘Here Be Monsters’ with the dragons filling in gaps on the maps of knowledge and understanding until (we think) we know everything…

    Flash fiction will always have the opportunity to borrow devices and share some ground with poetry, particularly in structure and repetition and circular concepts. There are some quite poetical phrases too, like “with bullets and binary” and the final phrase, “between azure skies and unending plains, there were dragons.”

    Quick grammar check, I think you want a ‘were’ not a ‘was’ in the penultimate paragraph, as both lands and oceans are plural.

    • Cheers! The “Here Be Monsters” angle was totally unintended yet know that you’ve pointed it out, really works. Bonus!

      I also particularly liked the “bullets and binary” line – will almost certainly reuse that at some point!

      And cheers for the grammar pointer, that’s now been amended.

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