The Maker hums as he finishes his work for the day. Tools get laid out in a row at the back of his wooden bench, drawers are pushed in and scraps are tossed into their respective bins. Metal clinks in the copper bin, bits of jewel flash in the jewel bin, and fabric gets folded for cutting later. In the center of the bench lies a half finished dragon. She’s going to be slender and majestic.
The shelves around her are filled with other perfectly crafted dragons but, even half finished, you know she’s going to be something special. Not all dragons are created equal, as you well know. Some have wings intricately designed so their metal plates fold smoothly against the dragon’s ribs. Others boast jeweled eyes that sparkle as they see in the night. And still others balance on edges with needle like claws. All these dragons are useful, beautiful and graceful.
You are not one of these, however. You hide amidst the pile of discarded metal parts and watch the others through a single murky glass eye. The Maker tossed you aside when he found your thin wings were too small to carry your weight. Months have passed since that day and other discarded bits weigh down upon your frame, sharing their rust with you right along with their weight.
The Maker’s current project holds a lot of hope for you, though. She’s small, like you, and many of the parts not deemed worthy of her perfect shape might fit you. One in particular caught your eye while the Maker worked today.
You wait as the Maker finishes putting everything away. The half finished dragon’s new ruby eyes flash as he turns out the light. Although she’s not finished, she can now see the world.
The Maker closes the door and the lock clicks. You wait even longer, watching for those ruby eyes to darken into sleep. Finally, when they do, you work your way from beneath the discarded parts.
The shop’s wooden structure absorbs the grind of the metal pieces like a sponge but many of the sleeping dragons have excellent hearing.
You pause once free of the rubble to see if any of the graceful creature awaken at your noise. None do.
Early that morning you watched the Maker toss a green jewel because of a flaw, a small crack, deep within its depths. That jewel would work perfectly beside your murky glass eye. You might actually be able to see the whole room for once in a casual glance.
The tiny green piece lay atop the discard box of flawed jewels. He’ll return the lot of them later and receive more perfect pieces in return. That’s why you have to make your move tonight. The jewel seller will be by in the morning and then your chance at a second eye will be gone.
The other pieces in the box are of varying sizes. This is the first time you’ve seen one that might fit your small frame. The others are too large.
You tuck your thin, useless wings against your sides and step lightly to the workbench. The jewel box sits on a shelf just to the right of it. If you climb the drawers of the bench, you can reach the shelves from its top.
Your claws grasp the handles easily but you find the next drawer handle too far away.
Thankfully the Maker finished most of your tail before he gave up on your wings. You turn upside down and reach for the next handle with your tail. Its metal coils encircle the ring with a faint clicking and you haul yourself up.
You repeat the process until you gain the top of the workbench. It’s scarred from long, daily use.
The green jewel glitters with light from the overhead window. You tiptoe past the half finished dragon and grasp that wonderful
piece in your claws. It’s perfectly sized. You snap it into place with an audible pop.
The world turns green to your gaze. Beautifully layered in shades of emerald, aqua, and jasper. There’s a gray quality to it from your glass eye as well, but this is familiar to you, comfortable even.
“What are you doing?”
In your moment of triumph, you did not see the half finished female open her eyes but now those ruby gems burn with life. She’s lacking wings and a tail yet, so movement is not easy for her, but she’s obviously aware and fully capable of waking the others.
“Cleaning up,” you say.
“Not likely,” she responds and opens her mouth to give one of those piercing calls only a small female can.
Thinking quickly, you can either offer her one of the other sparkling gems from the box beside you or roll off the table into the discard heap in order to hide.
A. Offer a gem?
In the comment section, please cast your vote for which option you’d like to explore. Next Thursday, we’ll see how you handle this new turn of events.