Sophia hid in her closet, it was her only safe place. Hanging on a ceiling was a mobile with a handcrafted dragon. She remembered thinking the dragon was frightening, but whenever the darkness in her room swallowed her, the dragon’s eyes flashed; the shadows were obliterated.
She also remembered when her mom first hit her. She scrubbed Sophia’s cut and it was excruciating as was the burning stringent liquid her mom poured on it.
Suddenly, Sophia heard yelling and stomping. The closest door flew open — her mother was drunk again.
Instantly, the dragon’s eyes above her caught fire. He grew into a monster with golden scales and the scent of fire and ash, spreading and filling Sophia’s entire bedroom. He blew a blaze of fire at her mom but only the bottle of Kirkland Tequila (1.75 Litres/$20.00) in her mom’s hand disintegrated.
In words veiled in smoke the dragon hissed at Sophia’s mom who nodded; she understood the dragon’s warning. He breathed out his last plume of smoke and except for the acrid smell, it was if Sophie’s dragon had never awoken.
She crawled out of her hiding place and petted the handcrafted dragon hearing him purr.
“I had never been summoned to Number 208 [by the park] before; I nervously adjusted my coat . . .” A person could book a pick-up online or by phoning into FedEx but you couldn’t summon a particular delivery person, could you?
“April, it means what I said,” Becky from the warehouse told me on the phone, “I’m not being rude, the lady who lives there wanted you, specifically, at her home.”
The door was open when I arrived. “I’m here,” a frail female voice rasped.
Walking into the house I heard the respirations of a woman on a ventilator. She was all hollows and sallow skin. Her hair was whispy white and thinning. Eyes the color of blue-bells greeted me but they were bloodshot.
The woman grasped a yellow envelope with a trembling hand. She shook the envelope and a key dropped out.
Her shaking fingers held it out, “For me?” I asked.
I took the key staring at it in confusion; it appeared ancient. As I examined it I heard the woman gasp something. I moved closer to her and held her hand attempting to hear her strained voice. She shook her head with a ragged sigh and breathed her last.