The Small Adventures of a Desert Dragon, Part 4

The morning is pleasantly warm when Little Owl and I go hunting. After a breakfast of beetles Little Owl returns to the cactus to sleep. But the warm breeze feels nice under my wings, and I glide on it as far as it will carry me.

All too soon the sun hangs up at its highest point in the sky, and the pleasant warmth is now a searing heat on my spine. Luckily I spy Tortoise’s burrow and land right at the entrance.

Tortoise, soaked in the shade, nods in greeting.

“Good afternoon, Tortoise,” I say, hopping off the hot sand two claws ata time. “May I stay in your burrow until it cools down?”

“Off course,” she says and backs up deeper in the hole. “Rattlesnake, if you could curl up a bit tighter so we can all fight.”

Rattlesnake hisses, but does as he’s asked. I lay down next to Tortoise and tuck my tail underneath by belly so I don’t accidently poke Tortoise or Rattlenake. Rattlesnake is really a Snack-Sized Rattlesnake, but he is Tortoise’s guest, so I won’t eat him today.

“How have you been, Tortoise?” I ask.

“Oh, same old, same old,” she answers in her craggly voice. “The rain will be coming soon.”

“Real soon or Tortoise soon?”

She waves her head and scoffs, “Real soon, you impatient Dragon. I will need to dig out a well soon.”

“If I help you, can Little Owl and I drink from it?”

“Have I ever told you no?”

“No, but I wanted to be polite.”

We make a little more small talk about cactus flowers and the weather before I finally tell her about Coyote, the man, and his goats.

“I can’t stop thinking about the man’s leg. I just have a feeling that it’s going to get worse, just like you have your feelings about when the rain comes.”

Tortoise nods. “When the sun cool, you should go and see him to know if your hunch is right.”

I chew on this for a moment, because I could feel that the man did not like me being there and would not like me to return.

I jump when Rattlesnake hisses behind me, “Or don’t be seen. Look through his window, and if he is well leave him be. If not, ask him if he wants your help or not.”

“You are wise, young Rattlesnake,” Tortoise cooes.

“Yes, I suppose you are right, Rattlesnake,” I sigh.

Rattlesnake peeked his head over his dark brown diamond coils, his black eyes glittering.

“It might be better to let the man die,” he added. “I hear they kill rattlesnakes and tortoises. I’m sure they kill dragons too.”

My quills fluff up a little out of irritation, but I take a breath and lay my head down on Tortoise’s cool shell.

“Young Rattlesnake, you are wise to be cautious, but if your caution means letting this man die by Coyote’s bite by protecting his herd, then I will not be cautious. I will be reckless. I will be rash. I will be foolish.”

“You will be overdramatic,” Tortoise chuckles.

I snort in response, but she is right. No reason to get my quills up over a rattlesnake that I will eat as soon as he leaves this burrow. He needs to be cautious, I don’t have to be.

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