The Dragon Bone Flute
Elzibeth just wanted to be left alone to play the flute her grandfather gifted to her on his deathbed. However, three brothers in Elzibeth’s village seem to think she needs a lesson to bring her down from her fancies and to stand firmly on the ground like everyone else. These brothers take Elzibeth’s flute and challenge her to seek out the dragon’s cave, even though the last man who went there never returned. While no one has seen any sign of a dragon in decades, they still have the good sense not to go off stirring up old trouble. Elzibeth must risk stirring up old trouble or lose her music forever.
This one challenge sparks of events that change Elzibeth’s life forever. She learns that fancy and wonder can be both wonderful and terrifying, that the magic of dragons is more than skin deep…and sometimes old trouble is not nearly as bad as new trouble.
Even with all my logic and sound reasoning, stepping across the threshold of that cave was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. As I write these words, my heart pounds at the memory. My stomach nearly emptied itself of the cheese and bread I’d eaten hours before.
The light of the lantern went before me a few paces and then faded into a gloomy haze. The air in the cave felt heavy, as if pressing down on me and stamping out my light. Still fearing the wolves more than any potential nastiness I might find in the cave, I went further inside.
A gust of wind caused the candle light to flutter a bit, and I thought I saw something move across the floor to my left. I nearly dropped the lantern and ran screaming from the cave. As it was, I gave a squeak of surprise but managed to stay in place. I held my breath and tried willing my heart to slow as I waited for the light to steady. When the wind died down and the candle ceased flickering, I realized it was my own shadow. I had the lantern in my right hand, and my shadow stretched out into the darkness. It weaved and danced every time I moved the lantern a bit. I released my held breath in a long, steady exhale.
It was still light enough to see outside, so I placed the lantern on the floor of the cave and went to gather firewood. This area didn’t have as many trees as some parts of the hill I’d been through, but I’d noticed more than a few branches that would make a nice fire and more than enough twigs for kindling. In only a few minutes, I had enough wood to build and feed a nice fire to keep me warm until I was ready for sleep. A few minutes after that, and thanks to the candle in the lantern, I had a fire burning fifteen paces into the cave.
The light of the fire fared much better at pushing back the darkness than my little lantern. Placing another small piece of wood on the fire, I stood up, stretched, and looked around.