It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Help ATS via PayPal:
learn more

The Imaginary Dragon

page: 1

log in


posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 06:29 PM
Enthralled, the Baby looked at her mother's blouse and smiled – her first, ever smile.

Her Mother started to smile back but realised, with some disappointment, that the smile wasn't intended for her. It was aimed at the rather large, red embroidered Dragon on the front of her blouse.

She sighed, every time she wore this blouse the Baby would stare at it, fascinated, for hours if she was allowed to. It was hard to feel resentful because it did buy a bit of peace and quiet but there was always the pang of regret that the Dragon was garnering more attention from the little one than the Mother could ever hope for.

The Baby gurgled and the Mother could almost swear that she was communing with the Dragon. Intently, the Mother looked at the Dragon, looking for some clue as to whether it was, indeed, holding a conversation with her small daughter.

The Dragon moved slightly with her breathing and, for just a moment, looked for all the World as if it was alive and paying close attention to every gurgle and bubble emitting from the Baby.

The Mother was an imaginative woman but didn't go so far as to give the notion any credence. She snuggled the Baby a bit, hoping for some reciprocal warmth but the Baby reached out a tiny hand and caressed the Dragon's face. Somewhere, in the depths of her soul, the Baby knew that the Dragon could offer her more protection throughout her life than her Mother ever would.

And so it proved to be. The Mother became a bitter and neglectful person as her marriage failed and, as her depression set in ever deeper, she failed to provide the nurturing and guidance that her Child would so greatly have benefited from.

The Child found refuge in books – any that she could get her hands on - and read voraciously. She'd forgotten about the embroidered Dragon and cocooned herself in her own little World of make-believe. She'd run through the woods and over the hills pretending she was riding a horse, but never a Dragon.

Until, one day... she was reading a book about China. Fascinated, she looked at the many beautiful illustrations of Chinese art: vases, clothing, screens, a wonderful array. And, most of these items displayed Dragons. How she peered at those Dragons, how the Dragons seemed to peer back at her. She imagined herself in conversation with them, asking them questions about life and trying to find answers to all the things that puzzled her. Was it her Childish mind that provided so many answers?

There was one Dragon in particular that she kept coming back to, a beautiful Red Dragon who seemed more kindly than some of the others, who had more patience with her. He'd been painted onto a large vase and was surely the most noble and impressive of them all. And he found her, a little girl, fascinating. Or so it seemed.

The Child spent her day immersed in the book and was unusually quiet at tea-time as she ate the sparse meal provided by a Mother who could no longer even pretend to have any interest in her. After taking her turn at washing the dishes the Child picked up her book about China and settled herself on the sofa in the living room, quiet for the rest of the evening.

Her Mother was relieved but didn't notice the content of the book and so neglected to feel resentful at the Child's renewed interest in Dragons. The Mother sank into her own World of despair and barely noticed how early the Child went to bed that night.

The Child climbed the stairs to bed, labouring under the weight of her rather heavy book. She took it to bed with her, intending to read it, but bedtime was a bit of a ritual. First she had to settle her little bed-mates, Teddy was rather large and had to be put down in the cot, with Panda for company.
Blue Rabbit always snuggled in close to the Child in bed, along with her favourite doll. A few small others got loaded in too.

Then she had to make a decision as to when to say her prayers, she thought best get it out the way in case she got tired after reading. And so began the litany, God bless a whole host of stuffed toys and, last of all, God Bless Mummy, who thankfully hadn't found any cause to smack her today.

After racing through her prayers the Child propped herself up and looked at her book, opening it at just the right page to find her Red Dragon. She gazed at him and he gazed back, she felt a surge of protective force washing over her. It was strong and held a promise – her Dragon would be there throughout her life to watch over her and all she ever had to do was find him when she needed him.

Sleepily, she thanked the Dragon and hugged the book close. She kissed him Goodnight, being careful not to make marks on his picture. She tucked the book next to the wall so it wouldn't fall in the night and, with some anticipation and excitement, she went to sleep.

She was rewarded with a Dream, so vivid that it must have been real. She was in a mountainous, stone city riding on the back of her Red Dragon. He was striding through the streets so proudly with her on his back, inviting all the other Dragon inhabitants of the City to look and admire his prize. Look the other Dragons did, but their looks were not of admiration. They looked scornful or puzzled, a couple of them rolled their eyes and one coughed up a small ball of smoke. They surely weren't impressed by the sight of a large Dragon sporting a small girl on his back, however pleased he looked with himself.

When she woke in the morning the Child realised it was Sunday and Mummy was still asleep. If she wanted her breakfast she'd have to make it herself. Down the stairs she went, thoughts of Dragons stalking majestically through her head, making her smile and, just once or twice, hug herself.

She rushed through cooking the bacon and eggs, she wanted to please her Mother but she also wanted to tell her about the Dream. Carefully, she put the breakfast on a tray and tried not to run up the stairs and risk spilling everything.

She walked into her Mother's room, sure that Mummy would be grateful for her breakfast and eager to hear about her Dream. Sadly, Mummy was in no mood for either her breakfast or idle chit-chat.

What the Child could not understand was that Mummy had been drowning her sorrows the night before and facing a fried breakfast was actually the last thing she wanted to do. Well, second to last – an excited child banging on about a Dream would have been the very last thing. Irritably, Mummy thanked the Child for breakfast and told her to go away and eat her own before it got cold.

The Child slunk downstairs, forgetting to collect her book from her bedroom. She felt her day had already been ruined and, as soon as she could, she went out to play and found solace galloping around on her imaginary horse.

That night she went up to bed and found her book, still in its place on her bed. As last night, she settled down her toys, said her prayers and then looked at the picture of her Dragon, intending to talk to him. But, tonight, he was quiet. She sensed disapproval. Perhaps he thought she'd been ungrateful. She said she was sorry and tearfully closed the book. As she went off to sleep it occurred to her that Dragons were easily offended and might need careful handling. It didn't occur to her that they had a lot in common with her Mother. Or that she ought to have been well-qualified to deal with one.

posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 06:30 PM
For several more months the Child nurtured her relationship with her Dragon, who hadn't stayed offended for very long. He was warm and wanted her company, he seemed to enjoy being with her just as much as she enjoyed being with him. Imagine that, a Dragon finding a little Human girl so interesting and captivating – how happy they made each other.

The Child dreamt more than once of being paraded through the streets of the Dragon City but was too shy to ask her Dragon why she was not well-received by the others.

Sometimes, he'd take her to his house which was ornate on the outside, but cave-like on the inside. He'd invite her to look at his treasures and would watch her intently as she marvelled at the items he had accumulated. Non-commitally he'd asked her if she liked anything in particular. At first, she was uncomfortable with the question, she was afraid of looking as if she wanted to take things for herself, but as she realised that she could never take any of his things back to her Realm she started to pass favourable comments on one or two vases.

One day the Dragon looked on as she picked up a small, but valuable goblet. Gold with emeralds encrusted around the rim. She smiled at him “This is so beautiful” she beamed. The Dragon frowned, just slightly and turned away, a small tear escaping from his eye.

Taking it that he was cross, the Child put down the goblet and said “Well, everything is beautiful. I mean, you have such good taste”

She was careful after that to be very polite in his house and not upset him again. The Dragon noticed the change in her behaviour and cursed himself for creating a distance between them.

Back in the Real World the Child was in for a nasty and abrupt disruption to her life. Mummy had been failing to manage life on a grand scale and, as a consequence, they faced eviction from their house. The sad day came when they had to move out to a small apartment, miles away form where the Child had grown up.

The Child was sent away to relatives on Moving Day and wasn't there to see all her belongings packed away and put into storage. She had with her a small suitcase containing a spare set of clothes and her school uniform. Mummy had assured her that one day they would get all their things back but, until then, they would have to make do in a cramped and furnished flat that saw them sharing a bedroom.

The Child grew into her teens in that flat, introverted and atheistic. No more snuggling up with Blue Rabbit at night and asking God to Bless anyone and everything that she'd held dear. She'd forgotten the night she'd included an earthworm in her prayers because she'd felt sorry for it earlier in the day when it looked as if it had been pecked by a bird.

Her book on China had been forgotten, too. She thought no more of her Dragon as she struggled to cope with new schools and an ever more depressed Mother. She'd had to come to terms with the loss of all her things, and couldn't dwell on her Childish possessions.

The strength of the Dragon and the comfort of his presence was felt no more. There were no pictures of Dragons in her life now through which he could manifest. Mummy's embroidered blouse was a distant memory even to her Mother.

The Teen somehow managed to grow into an Adult, far too early by most people's standards. She'd survived the batterings and belittlings of her Mother and had run away from home as soon as she saw an opportunity.

Life was hard for a sixteen year old, living on a pittance and with no friends. She continually made the choice to starve over missing a payment of rent and so at least kept a roof over her head. There was no money for books and the loneliness could be crippling.

Eventually, she made her way to the City and, slowly and painfully, made a better life for herself. She earned more money and found that she could eat more and even afford the odd book. There were Museums in the city, too, and so it was that one day she found herself in the Chinese section of the largest one of all.

Her old fascination re-ignited itself and, as she wandered the vast halls, everything she saw had a ring of familiarity. How could that be? She'd never been to China. And slowly, she recalled her old book, the one with a Red Dragon. An idea took hold and, excitedly, she searched the entire selection of artefacts looking for a Dragon just like her own. She tried, she really tried, but they were all mute, staring past her as if she wasn't there. Just like the ones in her Dream, she remembered. She wanted to cry, where was he? Where was her Dragon? Surely there must be one here that he could manifest through? Was he being stubborn? Was he cross with her? She vaguely remembered a time when she thought he had been piqued because she'd forgotten him until bedtime.

All those years ago – had he missed her? Did he know she'd never had the chance to say “Goodbye”? That she'd been led to expect that she would see him again when she was re-united with all her possessions, only to never see any of them again?

She tried so hard to convey her thoughts to any Dragon who might listen and was alarmed to feel a slight 'nudge' to her left. She looked over at a large yellow vase that sported a translucent Blue Dragon. Tentatively, she wandered over and peered at it. The Blue Dragon seemed kindly and as if it had something to say. She felt a small wave of reassurance, but “That's not you is it?”

Something prompted her to follow the Blue Dragon's gaze where it fell on a display case. With some trepidation, she wandered over to look at the book under the glass. The book was open at a page featuring a beautiful Red Dragon. She gasped and look gratefully over at the Blue Dragon who acknowledged her not at all.

The Red Dragon, however, looked as if he might have something to say. She listened carefully and then tried to explain herself. She made herself cry as she recounted the tale of loss and misery that had led her to forget all about him. She tried to convey that now, now that life had picked up a bit, she had thought of him again. It was only her being in the depths of Misery that had separated them.

She felt a pang of something coming from the Dragon. She didn't know if he'd understood, she felt that if only she could be in a Dream with him again she might be able to explain herself better. But, he was here, trapped in a book that she would never have any hope of owning.

So deep was she in her communications with the Dragon that she didn't hear the Museum's chucking out bell ringing and had to be approached by a security guard who, unbeknownst to her, had spent an hour or so wondering what the heck she could have seen in that book.

Sadly, she went on her way and was cross to find that outside it was raining. She darted over to a side-street, hoping to find shelter under a shop awning. It was fortunate that shops near Museums tended to feature artefacts and books. They tended to stay open quite late,too.

An idea took hold and she ventured into a promising book shop intent on buying a book that featured Chinese Dragons. It would have to feature just the right Dragon though, and she hoped against hope that the Dragon wouldn't be having a fit of pique but would choose to manifest itself here in the shop so she'd know which book to buy.

posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 06:30 PM
It seemed that all her time communing with the Dragon in the Museum had not been wasted and her Dragon virtually leapt out of the pages of the first promising book that she picked up. Excitedly she made her purchase and almost skipped to the bus stop, hugging her new book close to her chest.

Back at home, she spent a very happy evening poring over the picture of the Red Dragon. The happiest evening she'd had since she'd left home. In fact, the very happiest time she'd had since her Childhood.

That night, she took her new book to bed and dropped off to sleep, fully expecting to dream of her Dragon. She awoke the next morning feeling bitterly disappointed that she'd had no such Dream.

Her day was heavy after that, and she felt all the enthusiasm drain out of her. It seemed that her life was just going to lumber on as usual because, as an Adult, she hadn't the same avenues into the Dream realm that she'd had as a Child.

She tried to content herself with communing with the Dragon in her book but often wondered if she wasn't making it all up. She started to believe that she'd made it up as a Child, too, and that there was no such thing as her Dragon. He was just imaginary, after all.

Gradually, she gave up her book and her Dragon and concentrated on her work. No more Fantasies for her, she would face Reality and do a Damn Good Job of making something of herself.

She did, too. She knuckled down and got experience and promotions. The battered Child with the Dragon fantasy became a force to be reckoned with in the Business World before she left the City behind and went to live amidst the woods and the hills.

She roamed the countryside, taking an interest in the horses in their fields, fondly remembering the time she'd had an imaginary horse that she used to ride over the hills at home. A place that wasn't 'home' any more. A place that more than likely contained the remains of her Mother.

She thought more about Death and what it would mean to her. She knew her days must be numbered by now and all she had to do was wait it out. She kept herself as busy as she could in her solitary life and tried to find ways to make herself useful.

She wasn't at all concerned when her health suddenly took a nose-dive and she was reconciled to visiting the Afterlife sooner rather than later.

As her activity became compromised and her body became more uncomfortable to live in she started to think that perhaps she could lie in bed reading. That wouldn't be too strenuous, and so she browsed her very extensive book shelves, looking for just the right book to take to bed.

Somehow, it almost jumped out at her – the way books had a habit of doing when she needed to research something. She half-smiled, it was nice to know she still had the knack of calling books. And so she found the book that contained her Red Dragon.

At peace with herself, she went to bed and settled to look at his picture. How much clearer things were without the stresses of City life and now that the loneliness had been conquered.

A secure Woman, happy in her own company and reconciled with her life, gazed at the picture of a large Red Dragon. She smiled as the Dragon responded. She explained that she'd had her life and that he'd enhanced it. She was sorry that she hadn't let him in more, she realised that he might have made more of a difference than she could have anticipated.

The Dragon expressed his regret for his sometime lack of empathy, his impatience, his pique. But he had a Dragon's nature and Dragons were proud and fierce. He didn't express any sorrow that she was dying, he seemed to be almost delighted with the news.

The Woman finally put down her book and wondered if she'd Dream tonight. Perhaps she'd die whilst Dreaming of the Dragon World and could stay there. She rather hoped that she might.

She woke up painfully the next morning with no recollection of a Dream and realised that her last days were going to be even more of a struggle than she'd expected. She kept her book close and looked at her Dragon often, hoping for some Wisdom about Life and Death.

None came, but she felt his protectiveness and his fervent desire that they should be together. She was careful to never close the book again and died with it clasped to her chest.


In a mountainous region a large Red Dragon heard a distant bell – not a real one – but he heard it nonetheless. He knew what had happened in that other Realm, the one where his Human had lived, and was soon out, rushing through the streets.

A couple of other Dragons watched his haste as he headed for the Dragon Nursery. “He's looking for that imaginary Child again” said one. The other, a Translucent Blue, nodded. “Well, he has his reasons....”

In the Dragon Nursery the Red Dragon looked at all the new eggs, carefully laid in rows in the warm, firelight. He watched as the Souls of the Dragons hovered over each egg, waiting to take up residence before they hatched. He scoured them all, and then hung his head, and went home. For three days he visited the Nursery and then, sadly, had to give up and make his way home again.

In he went and carefully picked up a Gold goblet, the one with the Emeralds round the rim. Her favourite – not just the Child's but his Wife's. He'd given it to her and she'd prized it above everything before... before the Event.

The Event that saw them scrying and she'd discovered a new Realm that they'd never seen before. A beautiful planet with strange creatures living on it, a place that had fascinated her rather too much.

Somehow, and he was never sure how, she'd decided to explore this Realm and attempted to manifest in it. Maybe she hadn't been careful enough, but too much of her essence went to the Earth and her beautiful green Dragon body had been left vacant, and it died.

He'd grieved for centuries, going to the Nursery often to see if her Soul would ever come back but had started to realise that she probably was trapped in the other Realm. And so he'd started to look for her, and she wasn't all that hard to spot amongst the other inhabitants. Her Dragon Soul tended to stand out, but through so many of her lives he'd had no way of contacting her.
He'd seen her live through barbaric, illiterate ages. He'd seen her live through enlightened ages but with no access to books or knowledge. But, just now and then, circumstances would be right and he could manifest to her through pictures or statues or Dragons. And, sometimes, she would respond.

He'd invite her into Dreams and she would be with him at last, riding on his back as a Human. He'd take her through the streets and test her at home to see if she recognised her things. She always did, but she never realised who she truly was. Her Dragon Soul, even though it was home, inhabited a Human and couldn't entertain the idea that really she was a Dragon.

Every time she died, he'd rush to the Nursery to see if she'd found her way back home, but she never had.

The other Dragons, who listened to his story never believed a word of it. They were all used to Dragons reincarnating but would never believe that the reason his Wife wouldn't come back was because she was trapped in another Realm.

A Realm where, often, she felt the bite of her loss. Where life after life she'd suffer neglect from Human mothers who couldn't quite understand her, where she'd lose her things and live a life of loneliness, aching for something, or someone, that she could never have.

posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 06:31 PM
The sort of life that really ought to have prompted her memories and helped to spur her home. But even with her Husband's best efforts, even now she was trapped in the Realm of Earth, about to be incarnated yet again as a Human Being.

Perhaps another one who he would parade through the streets in a Dream, who none of the other Dragons could see and would write off as her Husband's imaginary friend.


This story was supposed to be an entry for the Competition a couple of months ago, but I took my time writing it. Thanks to Night Star who suggested Dragons as the topic for the stories.

posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 06:54 PM
Wow! I like it.

Sad ending, stuck in a never-ending cycle. One day the Dragon will forget and move on completely. Or maybe that's just me being pessimistic.

You know, you should really round up all of your short stories and take them to a publisher. Turn it into a book of modern twisted fairy tales.

posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 07:00 PM
a reply to: DAZ21

Thanks Daz - I've considered putting an e-book together but I dunno, it feels like cheating since all my stuff is free on here already.

And I'm buggered* if I'm going to write a shed-load of new stuff

* You were so naughty - you know perfectly well that word wasn't intended as an acronym

Anyway, thank you for the support - I really do appreciate it.

posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 07:08 PM
a reply to: berenike

guilty as charged.

Well even if you do it to get your stuff out to a larger audience, it's worth it. Don't just waste it on us...

Right I'm off, see you later.

posted on Apr, 23 2015 @ 12:20 AM
Truly delightful yet tragic. Great story! Kind of a shame that you missed entering our dragon story contest as it sounds like a winner to me! I really enjoy your stories and agree that they should get published! Thanks for the smile!

posted on Apr, 23 2015 @ 06:43 AM
a reply to: Night Star

Thank you - some stories need to fester a bit before I feel ready to write them.

Nothing festering at the moment though

Perhaps I'll look in to see what the topic is for the May competition.

posted on Apr, 27 2015 @ 09:47 AM
a reply to: berenike

Wow! That was really good

I enjoyed the read a lot. So much sorrow but my gosh so good!!!! I'm glad you shared it with us.
Much peace

posted on Apr, 27 2015 @ 10:27 AM
a reply to: natalia

Thank you very much - I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Some of my stories should come with a misery warning though

posted on Apr, 27 2015 @ 10:56 AM
a reply to: berenike

With a story about Reincarnation and Dragons,
You can't go wrong!

This is very good Beren! I Loved It!!!

posted on Apr, 27 2015 @ 11:02 AM
a reply to: SyxPak

Thank you, Syx. It's good of you to drop by to comment

posted on Apr, 27 2015 @ 11:20 AM
a reply to: berenike

Hey You're Welcome Beren! Loved this! Syx.

new topics

top topics


log in