A narrative of Louis Baston’s first field assignment, Case No. 58-017
[Released for publication, 26 January 2018, J. Feldman, Mythography Division, Bureau of Dragons.]
Louis Baston set his charred valise down and searched his pocket for the handkerchief he’d always kept there. A pity, he thought. It had been a present from his grandmother and now it was missing. A loud crash came from behind him. He could feel the ground shake as the dragon landed clumsily in the grove of pine trees nearby.
Louis adjusted his spectacles to get a better view of this last moment of his life. The dragon was nestled among the splintered trees. His head was the size of the battered antique desk Louis was used to sitting behind. The creature’s teeth were easily a hand span in length. Smoke curled lazily out of its nostrils as the creature swung his head in the air.
This dragon, Louis had discovered, was terribly nearsighted but he had a good sense of smell. With it, the dragon found his prey. Normally one might feel abject terror in viewing such a creature, or even just a bit of misgivings, contemplating a life soon to be cut short. Louis Baston was a very peculiar individual. Instead of throwing himself down on the ground to plead for his life, he sat there contemplating the dragon’s dental structure.
It was just this trait that saved Louis Baston’s life. The dragon pushed itself up on its hind legs. Its copper scales gleamed dully in the morning. Rearing back, the dragon was getting ready to breath fire upon its prey. With one gout of flame, it could melt metal, but the fire didn’t come. The dragon looked confused as it stopped in mid breath.
Confused and angry, it made a tentative snap at Louis, missing him by several meters. Even so, Louis could feel the rush of hot air and smell the creature’s sulfurous breath. As interesting as this was to the young clerk, he was interrupted in his musings by a rough tug on his collar.
“Monsieur! We’ve worn out our welcome! We really must be leaving now.”
Louis spun around and saw the person speaking to him. It was Rosa de la Cruz. The woman grabbed his collar roughly and half pulled, half carried him down the mountainside.
The dragon halted his assault. No fire streamed out, only smoke and hot ash. Instead of attacking the two humans, he raked the dirt in front of himself, catapulting dirt and stones with a heavily clawed paw. Louis and Rosa retreated under a hail of stones ricocheting off the trees.
“Madame, unhand me, please! It is quite unseemly for a young lady like yourself to be dragging me down this mountain,” Louis gasped, all the while trying to straighten his bow tie.
“But monsieur, the dragon does not care one bit. Would you rather that I spare your dignity so he may make an hors d’oeuvre of you?” Rosa smiled.
“What makes you think he’d make an hors d’oeuvre out of me?”
Rosa laughed, “but of course, he is a french dragon!”