Fiction

The Dragon’s Den

The hunting grounds of Old Zafar

Matthew Donnellon
The Inkwell
Published in
3 min readJun 9, 2024

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Locke moved through forest in an unnatural way.

Or too natural, as some of the elders said, as though Locke was a part of the forest. He slinked through forest in a manner that the best trackers in his village would lose him, even as a child.

That’s the only reason he had ventured this far, to the land of the time before, the hunting grounds of Old Zafar.

There were monsters in the forest, they said. The governor of their small hamlet, one of the last refuges of the human race, told him a group of men disappeared there when he was young. Only one man survived.

He returned scarred and screaming. He said there were dragons in Old Zafar, and since that day no one had ventured past the cleft in the forest, the boundary between their lands and Zafar.

Locke didn’t listen to governor. He spent his life in the forest. He was every bit a part of it as the trees and the dirt. His long green cloak more often than not had moss sticking to it. And if he stayed still he all but disappeared into woods.

Food was getting scarce. The game was moving farther away, past the cleft and out of the reach of his people.

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Matthew Donnellon
The Inkwell

Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories.