Dragon Rescue (short fiction) Part 4.

As Katie gets to know Jamie she starts to question whether Jellicoe needs rescuing after all.

Jellycoe (Jellybean), the opal dragon (www.pixabay.com).

Dragon Rescue (Part 4).

“Why are you here? Get out of my room, now!” 
For a horrible moment, Katie was frozen. Realising that her only chance to save the hatchling was slipping away, she snapped to attention at last.
“Fly away, Zeke. Save Jellicoe”.
Zeke flapped his wings, preparing to make his get away. He made it all of the way to the window only to get a face full of glass. Jamie had sprinted across the room and slammed the window shut.
Katie ran over to comfort her for her concussed friend. Poor Zeke had started to wail, more so because he had been frightened than because of his throbbing head. 
To Katie’s amazement, Jamie dove for the falling lantern. He caught it, sighed in relief and then untied the lantern’s string. The very dizzy opal dragon stumbled out.
Jamie scooped up the hatchling and held her closely.
“I’m so sorry, girl. I promise that I will not let this drake elf steal you away. You are my little buddy and I will always watch out for you”.

Katie’s jaw dropped. There was so much about this situation that she did not understand.
“You, you know who I am then?”
Jamie nodded. 
“We can both see dragons. It wasn’t too difficult to figure it out”. Jamie approached Katie and placed his hands over her eyes. He cast the reveal spell that countered his glamour charm. Facing her as a fellow drake elf, Jamie then gave her a look, daring her to reciprocate. 
Katie faced Jamie and placed her hands over his eyes. With the reveal spell cast they were now facing each other drake to drake.

“Now then, start talking, thief. Why are you in my bedroom and why are you after my dragon?”
A thief? Katie hadn’t set out to steal the hatchling, she was saving her, wasn’t she?
“I’m not a thief and Jellicoe is not your dragon”, she snapped. “Dragons don’t belong to anybody. They deserve to be free”.
“What about your dragons?”, Jamie argued. “I saw the large purple dragon in our yard and the Zircon making that horrible racket in our kitchen. You are fussing over that Citrine like you are his mother. Why is it okay for you to look after dragons but not me?”
Katie sat down next to Zeke again and gave him a rub behind his ears. At last he was calming down.
“That’s different”, she insisted. “Chime and Azrael are free dragons. Their home is the sky and they can come and go as they please. As for Zeke, he doesn’t have a mother or a family to fly back to. He isn’t ready to live in a clan yet but when he gets bigger and stronger we will send him to live in the tranquility plains. We care for dragons, yes, but only the ones who cannot care for themselves. We prepare them for life in the wild. Jellicoe needs a safe place to fly and fresh meat and lessons in how to hunt and how to behave herself around dragons and humans too. Even if you do care for her, that isn’t enough”. 
She then met his eyes with a determined gaze.
“My family has always rescued dragons. Jellicoe deserves much more than a cage and some jellybeans and I am going to makes sure that she gets it”.

Katie then snatched Jellicoe out of Jamie’s grasp.
“I’m taking you to my father, Jellicoe. He’ll protect us”.
Katie started to sprint.
“Jellybean, no. I’m begging you. Please don’t take her away”.
Katie slowed as she felt a sudden pain in her chest.
Jamie! Take me back to Jamie!
Suddenly Katie’s vision went black. She shivered unexpectedly. 
So cold! Where am I?
“Are you a dream, little one? I didn’t know that dragons were real”.
Jamie Is that you?
Katie then felt a woollen grasp upon her shoulders. They rubbed against them, softly, warming her up. 
Snow. Katie could see it now. All that she could see was falling snowflakes and the relieved smile of a six year old boy. 
“Hello, girl. I am so happy that you woke up. I wasn’t sure if you were going to make it”. 
Katie then heard a very familiar cry; Jellicoe’s. Was that what was going on? Was she seeing one of the hatchling’s memories?
“You’re scared. I’m sorry. I know that I am big and scary. My name is Jamie and I am not going to hurt you”.
Still, the terrified hatchling continued to cry.
“Shhh”, Jamie cooed. “It’s alright. I’m all alone as well. I’m scared too but everything is going to be okay. We have each other now and I will always watch over you”.

The boy fished around in his pocket.
“Hey, are you hungry? Would you like one?”
Jellicoe stopped crying and sniffed Jamie’s palm. This coloured pebble smelled yummy. She gobbled it up and smiled. Delicious!
“You like jellybeans as much as I do. You are very welcome, my little Jellybean”. 
Then as tenderly as any dragon whisperer, Jamie sang Jellicoe to sleep. The hatchling took a while to settle but finally she purred and then closed her eyes.

He saved me and I saved him. I belong to Jamie and Jamie belongs to me. Leave us alone.
Katie McPhee found herself back inside of Jamie Miller’s hallway. The opal hatchling was gazing back at her, pleading with Katie to let return to him.

“What do I do?”.
Katie was torn. Her head was telling her that Jellicoe still needed to be rescued but her heart was screaming at her to return the hatchling to the devastated boy. Jamie dashed around the corner. With his eyes still brimming with tears, Jamie held out his hands.
“She’s my only friend. Please give her back”.
Katie’s resolve was failing. She would have handed Jellicoe over right then if she hadn’t remembered why she had come to rescue her in the first place”. She took a deep breath. It was time to confront Jamie Miller once and for all.

“You are keeping your only friend in a cage where she can barely spread her wings. Why would you do that?”
An expression of guilt washed over Jamie’s face.
“I didn’t want to”, he replied. “I let Jellybean fly around the house at first but then I found how much she loves to explore and get into mischief. I couldn’t let my Dad find her. He’s a drake too and he would only send her away if he knew. Jellybean got into enough trouble at Kinderhaven and that was in the country. Now that we are living in the city I was worried that she would get lost or hurt. I only used the cage to keep us together and to keep her safe”. 
Katie frowned. In her eyes keeping dragons in cages was inexcusable. 
“Surely you knew that she was miserable in there? That is why we are here in the first place. Zeke heard her crying through the window. So did my Dad”.
Jamie’s eyes widened with surprise. Katie was flabbergasted. 
“How could you not know? Everybody knows that dragon’s hate small places and having nowhere to fly. Couldn’t you hear Jellicoe crying?”
Jamie shook his head.
“I swear that I had no idea. She must have been hiding it from me”.
He looked at Jellicoe.
“Is that true? Are you unhappy here?”
Jellicoe shook her head. Then she noticed Katie’s astonished glare and felt guilty. When the hatchling sighed and nodded, Jamie realised the truth. 
“You were just pretending to be happy? Jellybean, I am so sorry”.

Jamie looked back at Katie, deflated.
“Maybe you are right after all, drake. Jellybean does deserve a better home. Go and fetch your Dad before I change my mind”.
Jamie, no! I don’t want to go. Please don’t make me.
As hot dragon tears ran down Katie’s hands , she hesitated. Was she really the reason why this boy and his hatchling were crying? It made sense to follow through with the plan but Katie’s heart was still screaming at her that this separation was wrong.

“If I do let you keep her you must get rid of that cage”, Katie said, trying her best to problem solve. “I am sure that we can think of a better way to keep her safe together. Is that something that you can agree to?”

Jamie nodded. He would do anything to make this work.

Katie smiled. Maybe this story would have a happy ending after all.

“I’m going to give Jellicoe back to you now, but first you need to make me a promise. You need to swear to me that as long as she is your friend, you will never make Jellicoe light another fire for you. Burning mailboxes, burning anything with dragonfire is dangerous. You need to stop being a firebug, forever. Promise me, Jamie”.
Jamie paled.
“How did you know about the fires?”
Then he examined Katie more closely.
 “You’re that girl from this morning, aren’t you? The one who yelled at me. I didn’t recognise you without your school uniform on”.
Katie nodded.
“If you keep this promise I will leave you alone. If you break it I will turn you into my Mummy and her firefighter friends and take Jellicoe away from this house. Now, do we have a deal?”
Katie waited for the smile. All the boy had to do to keep his best friend was to make a simple promise. What could be easier? Instead Jamie grew paler and hung his head. At last, in a tortured whisper he gave his answer.
“I am so sorry but that is a promise that I cannot keep”.

End of part 4.

Thank you so much for reading.

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