Chapter 1: The Beginning
I sat bolt upright in my bed, instantly awake. For a moment I thought it was just my imagination playing tricks on me again, like those times when you think you heard something but you really didn’t. I quickly realized that the sound of glass shattering was real as a flicker of movement from the bedroom window to my left caught my attention.
Both curtains were pulled aside, revealing two human-like silhouettes contrasted against the moonlit landscape outside, standing on the sill of the now-broken window. With inhuman speed, the figure on the right made a dash for my bedroom door, which was on the other side of the room. They were apparently burglars, but there was no time for me to get angry as the second figure took aim at me with what resembled a gun.
I panicked and, without bothering to get my covers off me, I reflexively rolled off the bed to my right to dodge the impending bullet. I heard a faint click
come from my attacker’s gun. I felt the projectile barely graze the back of my neck while I accidentally bonked my forehead on the wooden drawer next to my bed in my haste. It took a moment for the disorientation and the white-and-purple stars to subside as I lay stunned on the floor.
Unfortunately, that moment was all that my attacker needed to get on top of my bed so he could get another shot at me. Before I could react, there was another click
from above me followed by a sharp, needle-like pain in the back of my neck. A pleasantly warm sensation rapidly spread across my body from that point on my neck, along with an intense urge to fall right back to sleep. It was a sedative.
Normally, I’m scared to death of sedatives, but this one worked so quickly I barely knew what was going on. I instantly felt drained of all willpower to “fight back” against the sleep drug. The last thing I experienced before my mind was forcefully thrust into the dark depths of unconsciousness was the painful yelp from my dog in the hallway outside my room.
I was aware. There was complete darkness and silence, and I was completely physically numb. None of my five senses were doing their job, or so it seemed. All I could do was think.
My thoughts, when they came to me, were foggy. It was a peaceful, blissful existence. That moment of zen didn’t last long, however, as the voice of a late male teenager spoke from all around me.Acknowledge.
The word wasn’t so much a command as a test to make sure I was receiving the message.What? Who’s there?
My befuddled mind apparently wasn’t running on all cores. How else would I be startled from just one word?
The voice the proceeded to talk with a calm urgency that one would use to talk to a toddler who just did something naughty.I need you to listen very carefully; your life will depend on how well you carry out these next instructions. I’m not threatening you, I’m helping you escape. There isn’t-
Wait, escape from what?
Do not interrupt. There isn’t much time left to tell you before you awake. At the end of the corridor that comes from the room you are currently in, you must jump. More importantly, you must jump as hard and as fast as you possibly can. I am confident that you will survive if you are successful.
Do not think, do not hesitate. It will be your undoing. Good luck.
Suddenly my thinking became crystal clear, as though a switch had been flipped, sending my brain into overdrive. Now I’m definitely
running on all cores and
A second later, my senses returned with a shocking intensity that made me jump a little. That movement was enough for me to notice that my body was far different than what I was used to. I could tell I was lying on my back and my body felt warped and stretched in so many places. It felt like I had another leg that protruded from my tailbone and it was much more flexible than my legs. Probably a tail. There were also two additional arms that were where my shoulder blades had been and the hands on these arms were enormous. It didn’t take long for me to realize that these were wings. My neck seemed a little stretched as well and my face felt like it would fit nicely inside a traffic cone. With all this information compiled, that makes me a …. dragon?
I opened my eyes, noticing the blurry white muzzle at the bottom-left and bottom-right of my vision. I was in a small room, which looked to be square-shaped with walls of about 15 feet in length. The ceiling above me looked maybe 7 or 8 feet high. All the walls and the ceiling were black and engraved with circles that were arranged in rows and columns. There were dim white lights where the walls met the ceiling and the floor. I wondered what the purpose of this room was, although it was fairly obvious it had something to do with my changing from human to dragon.
Still laying on my back, I brought my hands in front of my face. A small shock went through me as my eyes verified my hypothesis: I was a dragon. My arms were covered in white overlapping scales and my hands were slightly more claw-like in structure, but they still had all the dexterity of normal human hands. They had 5 fingers, each with a one inch silver claw at the tip.
After experimentally opening closing my hands a few times, I looked down at the rest of my new body. My front side, oddly enough, did not have the traditional scutes that many dragons of mythology had. Rather, all the scales on my front were the same as the ones on the rest of my body, but about three times as big. My tail was basically just an extension of my torso, and I could see that the structure of my body was what you would get if you crossed human DNA with that of a quadruped dragon. I was still bipedal but my feet, which had four toes with claws, were now digitigrade, so I was going to be walking on the balls of my feet from then on. I also realized that I didn’t have any spikes running down my back. Instead there was something soft.
I put my hand on the back of my head, clipping my pointed, animal-like ears. Indeed, there was hair, about 3 inches long, that extended into a mane down my neck and back to the end of my tail. I lifted my tail off the floor so I could see the back. The hair was silver. Interesting.
Curious, I rolled over onto all fours so I could stand up and get a good look at my wings, but I noticed that something was odd about the way I moved. I stood up, ducking slightly because I was too tall for the ceiling. It was as if I weighed almost nothing, each movement was effortless. Was I just really light? The amount of pressure on the bottom of my feet told me otherwise. I wasn’t light; I was strong, very
But how could that be? Sure, I had some
muscle definition and bulk, but I was no Hulk!This must be a dream.
I mused. This is too unreal.
I counted my fingers. I still had ten fingers, whereas in a dream that probably wouldn’t be true. I tried levitating just by thinking about it and nothing happened. I covered the nostrils at the end of my muzzle and tried to breathe. I couldn’t. I was then forced to conclude that, somehow, all of this was real.
I wasn’t sure how I should’ve felt about that.
As if on cue, the wall in front of me opened with a hiss of air, revealing a long corridor. It comprised the same black walls and lights of the room that I woke up in, only without the engraved circles on the walls. Other passages split off in a grid-like fashion. There was a blue wall at the end of the hall, where it forked into two perpendicular hallways. Also, my room was apparently a part of another perpendicular passage that intersected with the main hallway.
I took a few tentative steps forward, paying close attention to my balance, and poked my head out of the room, looking left and right down the hallway. Nobody was there.
I was about to move forward again, but suddenly I got an intense headache. I dropped my head down, closed my eyes, and growled in annoyance as I tried to cope with the pain. After a few seconds, the pain had increased to an almost unbearable level, leaving me collapsed on my belly on the floor, my hands on the sides of my head in agony. It was like my head was about to explode.
Just as the pain reached the level of torture, it started to fade away, more quickly than it had come. I groaned in relief as the last of my discomfort disintegrated. What the heck was that? It came out of nowhere…
I opened my eyes and got up, a faint tingling sensation in my head and eyes. I recalled the strange dream I had had before I woke up. Go to the end of the hallway. My life depends on it. Great.
I looked at the blue wall at the end of the corridor and started on my way towards it. I glanced left and right every time I came to an intersection. The place seemed eerily empty, like a futuristic ghost town. The only sound was my claws clicking on the floor as I walked.
I was nearing the end of the hall and I could see more definition on the blue wall. I could make out some white, wispy streaks on top of the blue texture. It was almost as if…
//* Attention readers!!! These comments are optional. Please read the description for details. Mountains – Hans Zimmer: YT Link
I sped up my pace as I had the revelation. I couldn’t believe it took me this long to figure it out! That was no wall; it was a window, and I was in a space ship looking down at a planet from a low orbit. With this information, I also discerned that this was an alien ship. I mean come on, artificial gravity without rotation? Humans are nowhere near that level of technology!
I skidded to a stop when I reached the window, looking left and right in the last hallway a final time to confirm the spaceship’s emptiness. The window was about 50 feet wide, allowing a fantastic view of the big blue marble: Earth.
I stared, my mouth hung open in awe, for a few moments before an almost imperceptible vibration in the floor got my attention. I could’ve sworn it wasn’t there before. I also noticed there was a low-pitch humming coming from somewhere in the massive ship and it was slowly getting louder.
I felt a rush of adrenaline as I remembered that I shouldn’t be hesitating. What do I do now? I was supposed to jump. But to where? Into the vacuum of space? And then die within seconds? Even if I survived that, I’d burn up on atmospheric reentry!
Fear rose in my chest while the humming continued to get louder, urging me to make up my mind. It was either jump, or see what the supposedly evil aliens had in store for me. For all I knew this ship was about to explode. I decided that, even though it was insane, I would jump, and hope this turns out to be just some crazy dream.
I looked around me again. No dragon-shaped space suits in sight, oh well. Looks like I’m going naked.
With the humming and the vibrations getting more extreme, I estimated I had only a few seconds left. Feeling more alarmed than anything else, I inhaled as much air as I possibly could, clamped my mouth shut hard, and put both hands over my nostrils to prevent air from escaping in space. Three, two, one…
I jumped to the wall I was planning to push off from, planting my feet vertically on the surface and letting my momentum put me into a horizontal crouch.
As I committed to the jump, I felt a powerful surge of energy from within my legs, and I shot off way faster than I thought was possible, ripping through the glass like it was a sheet of paper.
I was now in the vacuum of space.
Several things happened at once: ice crystals immediately started to form on the scales all over my body, my body inflated a little as the air pressure dropped to zero, my ears popped several times as the air rapidly escaped, and I had to squint my eyes to prevent them from escaping my skull. I shivered from the biting cold that was the vacuum.
The only thing I could hear was my racing heartbeat.Look what you just did, you IDIOT!
I scolded myself, How could anything good come out of this!?
As if I wasn’t scared enough, my jump wasn’t perfect either, and I was slowly tumbling head-over-heels. In the absence of air I wasn’t able to stabilize myself, but that didn’t stop me from flailing my wings around in desperation. The slow tumbling eventually pointed my head away from Earth, where I expected to see the ship that I escaped from, but … nothing was there.
My hands didn’t have an airtight seal on my nostrils, thus the air in my lungs was slowly escaping. I didn’t want to die! Not like this! The fact that I was helpless was more than enough to petrify me in terror. Each thought became an incomprehensible mess as my mind was assaulted by a vicious panic attack.
Meanwhile, the side of me that was facing Earth was getting progressively hotter as I continued my descent. The atmosphere around me was thickening and I began to burn up as a result. My lungs were also starting to hurt as they begged for oxygen.
My vision was starting to tunnel. The lack of oxygen was causing my thinking to slow down, pulling my mind out of its panicked state and into a trance, where everything seemed more peaceful. I was now only vaguely aware of what was happening. I lost almost all sensations, except for the center of my vision and the sound of my heartbeat, which was steadily slowing down to a crawl.
I struggled to remain conscious for a few more seconds while I observed the distant stars millions of miles away be blocked off my the orange air in which I was burning. My vision continued shrinking until it was only an infinitesimally small point of orange light far, far away, which then dissolved into the void while the last of my consciousness faded away with it.
First, there was the sound of wind ripping past my ears. Second came the feeling of the chilling wind tossing me around carelessly. Third was the harsh tingling sensation on my entire backside.
Slowly regaining consciousness, my brain struggled to make sense of this new information. It wasn’t until I opened my eyes that I understood I was falling. A giant blue mass was circling about the edges of my vision.
I flared my wings as wide as they would go in order to stabilize myself. I could see that the blue mass was the ocean, and I roared in surprise when I realized I was only a hundred feet above the surface.
There was only enough time to get in one flap of my wings before I performed the World’s Highest Belly Flop.
Curiously, it did not hurt all that much. Instead of the extreme pain that I expected, it felt more like the kind of belly flop you do on your bed after a hard day at work. Could that be a byproduct of my super strength?
After some momentary disorientation, I swerved my head around, looking for the surface. It was above me and was receding. I wasn’t very buoyant.
I kicked hard to get back to the surface and I accelerated with surprising speed. I broke through the surface with a velocity that carried me 20 feet in the air. I opened my wings and flapped to stay aloft, but was unable to get any real lift for some reason. I plopped back into the ocean, shaking my head to get the water out of my ears.
Treading water, I scanned the horizon for land but found none. My first priority was that I needed to find a direction in which to start swimming, but everything looked the same. The sun was about 20 degrees above the horizon, but I couldn’t tell what time of day it was so that didn’t do any good. What ocean is this?
I thought back to when I was looking at Earth from above. I remembered that the mass of water was enormous, so I was probably in the Pacific. I live in California, so that means I should go east. But which way is east? I don’t have a compass!
As soon as I thought about direction, I was compelled to look off to my left. There wasn’t anything special in particular about that direction, just that it held a significant value that I couldn’t identify.
An idea popped into my head about what it could be. I remembered that some animals could tell the direction of north and south. Could that be the case with me?
I was skeptical, so I decided to do a little experiment. I memorized the cloud formation in exactly that direction, then closed my eyes and spun myself around in the water. I kept spinning for a good half-minute, just to make sure that I had lost sense of direction. The only way that I could end up facing the same direction was if this “sixth sense” was real. I stopped spinning, my eyes still closed, and pointed my head in the direction that I thought was north. I opened my eyes, and there was the same cloud formation. I could tell where north was.
It was so weird. This “north sense” was as intuitive to me as up and down. It was so obvious.
Now that I knew where north was, I could figure out a couple of things. The U.S. was to my right and, judging by the position of the sun to my left, I had maybe
two hours of daylight left.
//*Outlands – Tron Legacy – Daft punk: YT Link
With that in mind, I aimed myself east and started on my way. Clearly, flying wasn’t an option currently as there was some hidden technique to flying that I had yet to discover. I began kicking and accelerated with a reasonable amount of speed, but far too slow if I wanted to get anywhere in a timely manner. I took a deep breath, submerged myself a few feet below the surface, and pulled my wings in as close as I could, making myself more aquadynamic.
I felt like I could go faster, despite me already moving faster than Michael Phelps. I kicked faster, amazed that my legs weren’t even working that hard. I kept kicking faster and faster, until the motion was more like a vibration than a kick.
The experience was like nothing I’ve ever done before, and I wasn’t even flying yet! I felt so powerful as I watched the surface above me zoom past. My body cut through the water easier than a lightsaber through butter. With my wider field of view, I noticed I was making an enormous wake in the water. I smirked as I was reminded of the scene in The Incredibles
when Dash had to use his super speed to propel his mother and sister across the ocean.
After about ten minutes of speeding along underwater, I had to come up for air. That’s when it hit me. I had held my breath for ten minutes? With the amount of energy I was using, how was that even possible? To be honest, it wasn’t that surprising considering I had just survived exposure to the vacuum of space, atmospheric reentry, and collision with the ocean at terminal velocity. I checked the horizon for land before submerging underwater and continuing onward.
After another 10 minutes, I decided I should use this time to learn how to fly. Keeping my speed up, I broke through the surface and snapped open my wings. I was able to glide easily a few feet above the water as I thought about how to control my flight. I tilted my right wing up experimentally and I made a wide curve to the left. I switched wing positions and returned to my original direction. Easy enough.
I was slowly losing speed and I flapped to stay in the air, but once again my noob flying skills showed as I failed to stay airborne. I plunged back into the water and picked up speed again.Maybe flapping isn’t a straight up-and-down motion.
I pondered. It’s not like I’m too weak.
I came up out of the water again. I tried to remember how birds flew. I wasn’t very knowledgeable, so I would have to guess. I tried a more circular motion with my wings, much like the butterfly stroke for swimming. Though it wasn’t perfect, his was far more effective than what I did before. Not only was I able to stay in the air, I could keep a constant velocity against the wind. I could get used to this.
I closed my eyes and smiled to myself, enjoying the moment.
This wasn’t something that was on my bucket list, but it was just as satisfying. Gliding effortlessly over the glistening water, I felt so powerful, so free. I could do anything. Well, anything that I was willing to do. I didn’t have plans to take over the world.
Staying low to avoid being seen by airplanes, I kept a healthy pace for another hour. By this time, the sun was setting and my mind was getting tired, and quick. My thoughts were slower to come and my eyelids were getting heavier despite my strength. It turns out forced sleep and blacking out doesn’t count as real sleep. I felt like I had just pulled an all-nighter.
My body showed no signs of fatigue, which added to my mountain of curiosity.
I was so thankful that I had chosen that moment to glance to the right. I almost missed it. A few miles off, there was an island!
I steered myself in that direction so I could get a closer look. It was uninhabited and about a mile wide, decorated by many palm trees and ferns. Perfect place to stay for the night.
I landed on the beach, my sleepiness growing rapidly. What a day it had been. It was definitely not your average Tuesday. I still had trouble coming to grips with reality. Was this real, and not some childish dream?
I wanted answers, but the sand was so soft under my feet, seducing my mind into a sleepy trance. I fell flat on my belly, arms and wings spread out beside me, not caring to get into any sort of comfortable position. My mind needed rest. I let the cool sea breeze wash over me, calming my mind and relaxing my body. The muffled pounding of the waves on the shore slowly faded into white noise as I drifted off into bliss.