Sketch a Day, Day 517 – St. George & His Dragon, Page 6

George and the girl pushed the boat into the surf and climbed aboard. The girl took the tiller, guiding the boat out as the tide pulled them further from shore. The boat hardly seemed to need anyone to steer it, though the girl kept her hand on the rudder just in case.

The boat sailed for days, until nothing was visible except sky and sea. There was nothing else in sight, no signs of another living soul or even that anything else existed in the world except for the water and the air. The boat became their entire world, a floating pebble in a galaxy of blue.

After what felt like two weeks, a sliver of something not blue appeared on the horizon. Eventually, the sliver grew to become a shoreline, with trees and sand dunes visible. The boat scraped against sand, and George and the girl clambered out, splashing through the last few feet of surf to reach dry land. They dragged the boat up onto the sand behind them, leaving it beached as they lay out on the dry expanse next to the sparkling ocean.

“So, where are we going?” George asked,staring up into the empty sky.

“Wherever the journey takes us,” the girl replied quietly.

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Sketch a Day, Day 516 – St. George & His Dragon, Page 5

George scrambled up the embankment to the dragon. She laid down on the ground, allowing him to clamber up onto her back. When he was settled, she rose to her feet, spread her wings, and leapt off the precipice, giving a powerful flap just as George’s stomach sank through the bottom of his feet.

They flew for what seemed like days, crossing an ever-changing landscape far below. The mountains gave way to a forest, the forest to a waving grassland, the grassland to barren desert. The sun rose and set overhead, unheeded, and still the dragon flew on. She seemed to never tire, never need rest. George himself felt very invigorated, and never closed his eyes even once.

Finally, after what seemed like weeks, the dragon girl began a slow, spiraling descent towards the ground. George looked down and saw a massive expanse of beach, sand dunes as far as the eye could reach. The tide was lapping at the shore, the tang of salt was on the air, and George could now hear the waves crashing. “Where are we?” he called above the wind and the waves.

“At the beginning of the end,” the girl dragon replied without looking back. George was startled by her answer; he’d never expected something like that to be her answer. But he resolved to not let her see his disappointment.

They finally landed, the dragon kicking up spouts of sand as she slid to a halt. George climbed down gingerly, stretching muscles that hadn’t really moved much in ages. The dragon stood before him, then began to shift suddenly, shrinking, scales melting away and revealing a young girl. Her dress, which had been white, was now deep blue.

“Come, we must hurry,” she said, grabbing George by the hand and dragging him towards a boat tied up further down the beach.

“Hurry?” George said, stumbling along behind her. “Where are we going?”

“To destiny,” she replied cryptically.

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Sketch a Day, Day 515 – St. George & His Dragon, Page 4

George watched in amazement as the girl’s body elongated and grew larger. Much larger. She sprouted wings, grew horns, and suddenly had a very large tail. She looked down at George, whose features had changed more subtly than the girl’s. He seemed older, more muscular, and his wooden sword was a real sword, longer and shiny. He pulled a helmet on and looked up at the girl as she flapped her wings and took off.

She swooped around in broad, lazy loops overhead, stretching her wings and getting the feel of the wind under her. She tilted and took off to the north, flapping her wings in slow, powerful strokes. George took off in a loping run under her, crossing rolling green fields with sword in hand.

They traveled that way for over an hour, moving from the fields into a more mountainous region. As the climbing became more difficult, George began panting with exertion. The dragon swooped down and alighted on a rocky promontory, flapping her wings to maintain balance. “Getting tired?” she asked, her voice a rumble.

“Nah,” George panted, bent over with his hands on his knees. “I–I’m…good.”

“Want a ride?” she asked, grinning a wide, toothy grin.

“We can do that?”

“Of course,” she replied. “Climb aboard.”

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Sketch a Day, Day 514 – St. George & His Dragon, Page 3

George stared after the girl as she walked off, his jaw hanging open. He found his voice idling somewhere in the back of his throat and called out, “Hey! Wait!” The girl stopped and whirled back around to face him, her eyes staring daggers through him.

“What?” she asked so icily, George actually thought he felt a brief chill.

“I…I wanted to say I’m sorry,” he stammered, looking down at his feet as if the sight of his dirty tennis shoes might give him courage. “What I said was, um…” He trailed off.

“Stupid?” she suggested. He nodded mutely. She sighed and thrust out a hand to him. “Well, I guess your apology is accepted. Just try not to be so…stupid from now on, okay?” Again, George replied with a mute nod.

“Wanna play dragonslayer wit’ me?” he mumbled. “You can be the knight, if you want.”

“I’d rather be the dragon,” she replied with a wicked smile. “But you won’t be slaying me.”

George looked up, confused. “Why not? That’s the whole point of dragonslayer. It’s right there in the name.”

“Well, we’re gonna do it differently. We’re gonna have an adventure together.” She sounded very certain, as though the game had already been played and the outcome was an inevitable fate.

George shrugged, “Okay, what do we do?”

She grinned again, and her teeth look a bit sharper, her skin a bit scalier. “Follow me.”

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Sketch a Day, Day 513 – St. George & His Dragon, Page 2

George kicked a tuft of grass as Benjamin disappeared around the corner of the house. “What good’s a knight without a dragon to slay?” he muttered to himself, scowling. He his wooden sword into the one of the belt loops of his pants and marched around the side of the house after Benjamin, determined to convince his friend to return to the game.

Benjamin was nowhere in sight as George reached the front yard. The street was empty except for a young girl, about George’s age, drawing absentmindedly on the sidewalk with chalk. George decided she was a better playmate than no one at all and walked up to her.

“Hey,” he said, hands thrust deep into his pockets in what he hoped was a nonchalant way.

“Hey,” she replied, not looking up from her doodling.

“Whatcha drawing?” George asked after a moment of silence.

“Dunno,” the girl replied. “Just stuff.”

“Wanna play?” George asked.

“Depends,” she replied.

“On what?”

“On what you want to play,” she answered, finally looking up at him. She had dark hair and bright blue eyes that seemed to see right through him.

“Well,” George said, reaching for his sword, “I was playin’ dragonslayer earlier, but Ben decided he didn’t wanna play anymore. We could do knight and princess, an’ I could rescue you from a castle or somethin’.” He showed her the sword, swinging it around for effect.

“No thanks,” she said, returning her attention to the sidewalk.

“Why not?” George asked petulantly. “You’re just doin’ some dumb drawings.”

The girl’s head snapped up, and she stood. She was George’s height, but seemed much bigger in his mind. “Because I’m not some stupid princess waiting in a stupid castle, you….you stupid boy!” She whirled around and stormed off.

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Sketch a Day, Day 512 – St. George & His Dragon, Page 1

George was already winded as he brushed the hair from his eyes. Sweat mingled with the dirt on his face, creating a brown streak across his brow as he wiped at his forehead. The ground around him was singed, but he remained unburnt so far.

“You cannot hope to defeat me,” the dragon said, its tail curled around its forelegs and smoke billowing out of its flared nostrils. “Give up, boy.”

George took a deep breath and grinned. He hefted the sword in his right hand, felt the ancient weight of it against his palm. This would be a good death…

“For the dragon,” he added, to himself.

“Hmm?” the dragon rumbled. “Do you have fight left in you still, boy?”

George looked up at the dragon and grinned. “Of course I do,” he said casually, “I’m the hero of the story.”

George charged in, sword raised, weaving back and forth to present a harder target. The dragon reared up on its hind legs and flapped its tremendous wings, buffeting George as he dashed forward. With a roar, the dragon unleashed a line of crimson flame, the fire flashing out to burn George to a cinder.

The boy raised his sword, catching the flames along the weathered blade. The sword seemed to absorb the heat, drawing the fierceness out of the fire. The dragon roared in anger.

“That’s not fair!” the dragon snarled. Or was it more of a whine?

George stopped. “Of course it’s fair. It’s a magic sword. Everyone knows magic swords can absorb dragon fire.”

“You should’ve said before we started!” the dragon cried, turning its scaly back to George and stomping off for home,

The world around him seemed to melt away. George stood in his backyard, a wooden sword clutched in one hand, his friend Benjamin stomping off around the corner of the house.

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Tuesday

I’m not sure this short story has any sort of actual point, I just wanted to write something. And it happened to be Tuesday at the time. Make of that what you will.

​”God, today fucking sucks,” Walter said, collapsing into his chair at the cafeteria table like the fall of empires.

Molly sat silently for a moment, expecting Walter to elaborate. Clearly, he wanted to say more. You could see it in his face. And though she was curious, she would not give him the satisfaction of asking why.

​“Why?” she finally said, despite herself.

​“It’s Tuesday, Molly,” Walter replied, as though the answer were self-evident.

Molly pondered this for a moment, probing the statement’s depths and finding them infathomable.

​“Okay, I’ll bite: is it this particular Tuesday that sucks, or Tuesdays in general?” she asked.

​“Tuesday,” Walter said, with the air of someone about to impart great wisdom, “is the worst day of the week.”

“That seems…well, that just doesn’t make any sense,” Molly said, frowning.

“It’s quite simple,” Walter replied, wagging a finger at her. “Mondays, for all of their horror and frustration, are really not to be feared. Most folks are still too hung over from the weekend to really notice Monday is even happening. We have the afterglow of the weekend to keep us warm on a dreary Monday.”

“I’m not entirely sure I agree with that, but I’ll give it to you for the sake of argument,” Molly said doubtfully. “What about Wednesday?”

“Wednesday is New Comic Day,” Walter replied bluntly, as though no one could possibly not know that. “Thursday, of course, is the day before Friday. There’s anticipation. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. There’s hope.”

“And Friday, of course, is Friday,” Molly finished for him.

​“Of course,” Walter said. “Which leaves only Tuesday, that poor, misbegotten naïf with nothing to recommend it. Think of it: every other day has at least something happening. Tuesday is the week’s equivalent of an hour spent in a doctor’s waiting room.”

Molly considered Walter’s assertion. “I still maintain Monday is pretty horrible,” she said tentatively.

​“Oh, I’m so sick of everyone going on about Monday!” Walter cried, rising to his feet and startling people around them. Molly scrabbled at his arm, trying to drag him back down into his chair and mentally willing everyone in the cafeteria to look the other way. Walter returned to his seat without appearing to notice. “Monday is a much-maligned day, I tell you, a day with much to be joyful about! Why, it gives you the opportunity to reconnect with comrades, to discuss the events of the weekend and dissect them with excruciating detail among friends and confidants. Monday is the chance to strut back into your place of work or what-have-you and proclaim, loudly, ‘I got laid on Saturday, even with this haircut!’ Monday is the weekend’s victory lap.”

Molly’s brow furrowed, her left eyebrow arching in barely-sustained suspension of disbelief. “Okay, so let’s say Tuesdays are as bad as you say,” she began. “For the sake of argument, we’ll go with that. If your big problem with Tuesday is that it’s got nothing to it, why not give Tuesday some deeper personal meaning? Why does it have to be the ennui of the work week?”

Walter gave Molly a look of mixed sadness and condescension. “Molly, my dear, dear Molly, it does not work that way,” he said pityingly. “One cannot simply ascribe any old meaning to a day and expect it to stick. Reality is not so easily convinced.

“Let us say I were to, as you put it, ‘give Tuesday a deeper personal meaning.’ What then? Will everyone else take up the change? Will Tuesday become a personal day for the whole world? And if it does, how do we benefit? No, Tuesday must remain as it is, unloved and unfulfilling.” He sighed as a Byronic poet might, gazing off longingly into the middle distance. Or possibly he was staring at the pudding, Molly couldn’t be sure.

“Whatever,” Molly replied, giving up on the conversation and gathering her empty lunch things onto her tray. “I’m off for Physics. You coming?”

​“What’s the point?” Walter asked somberly. “It’s Tuesday.”

​“Well, we’ve got that test today…” Molly said.

“Oh, right,” Walter said, his eyes suddenly refocusing. “Off we go, then.”