Last night I dreamed of dragons.

Not the heavy footed type that scores the earth with deadly sharp claws, but creatures of liquid smooth motion that soar through the air with majestic faces cutting through the wind. They had no appendages, these dragons in my dream, only serpentine bodies and glistening scales. No one knew where they had come from, they’d just appeared one day. I had been searching for turtles and puzzling over large chickens when I first spotted the red line twining with the purple one just above the horizon. Nothing had been the same after that.

Law and order fell apart, not because the dragons reduced the world to ashes but because they were corruptible. Something had happened to me, as well, the day the first two appeared; I’m not entirely sure why or how. I quickly discovered I was able to hear the dragons in a manner unlike anyone else. They did not have vocal chords, these creatures from ancient Chinese embroidered silk, though they understood our words without any difficulty. No, their silent language traveled through the air unnoticed by everyone else and sounding audible only to me. They had personality, these thought communiques; variations in tone and timber that made distinguishing them easy enough as I got used to it. It was because of this ability that I was able to discern their weaknesses and hide from them when they came hunting.

It wasn’t so much that they were violent creatures, they didn’t seek out to harm unless they had been convinced to do so by their human counterparts. And even those counterparts didn’t suspect how intelligent the dragons were, how dangerously close they could be to turning on them. I happened to be on the second floor of a house when I heard two dragons approaching with lightening speed. Quickly I instructed the child I cared for to run into the hallway and get out of view. I barely had time to flatten myself against the wall adjacent the window when I noticed the blinds swaying unnaturally.

I didn’t dare turn my face toward the window as the blinds puffed into the room and then slapped against the frame rhythmically. They would notice the movement, they would feel the push of air the motion would cause and then they would come through the wall. Straining my eyes I saw red metallic scales glistening through the screen and held my breath.

The dragon was talking about someone; she was hunting the one who'd caused her mate to disappear, or perhaps it was the one who'd help her find him again. She didn’t speak menacingly, there were no growls of anger and the steamy breath that caused the blinds to move was not decorated in spittle. It was determination I picked up in her thoughts. My eyes moved toward the open doorway and I willed my charge to remain motionless. Eventually the two dragons moved on, satisfied no one was inside the house. Their departure was as silent as their arrival, only the softening of their thoughts told me they were gone. It was their lack of heavy body appendages that made them so stealthy. Their streamlined forms sailed through the air in spirals and whips and their heightened senses detected movement with great accuracy.

I alerted the child it was safe and we quickly left the house. As we moved across the lawn we noticed a crowd of people on the street moving in the same direction. In the middle of the crowd was a man who seemed familiar. I had the feeling I had argued with the man on that morning so long ago, the morning the dragons appeared. I had caught him doing something once and had alerted the town to it. It didn’t surprise me that he was now one of the unglorious kings who had risen to power. His eyes passed over me as his entourage walked by but there was no flicker of recognition. Looking up I saw the trio of black dragons braiding in and out of the clouds that verified his claim to power. They swept down into the neighborhood and dispersed the startled crowd momentarily before rising again into the atmosphere.

I was the only one who heard their chuckles.

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