Ian's Realm | Book 1 | Chapter 1
Fierce flames burst from the dragon’s scales; its eyes lit white with wrath. A fountain of molten fury poured from its mouth as sparks flared from its nostrils. The blaze roared at Ian, boiling his blood, and drawing sweat from his pores onto his cheeks. Ian, panic-stricken, covered his eyes and rolled away from the inferno, his heart pounding when—
The sparks turned into the popcorn texture on the ceiling, and he opened his eyes. He listened to the thumping of his heart as he caught his breath. He squeezed his eyes shut, opened them again, and blinked the sleep away.
Once Ian realized where he was, still in his bed under the covers, he moaned. The moon cast a cool glow across his blanket and illuminated the cluttered desk, his homework, and an empty soda can. The pencil drawings of swords he’d created that afternoon still fluttered in the draft from the open window. Sounds of the lazy neighborhood filtered into his room. A motorcycle engine switched gears in the distance. Someone’s television across the street announced the baseball game and was hastily turned down.
Ian propped himself on one elbow, eyeing the closet door which was held slightly ajar by yesterday’s jeans rolled in a bundle on the floor. Dirty socks peeked out from the dark beyond.
Ian laid back down, rolled over and closed his eyes while the breeze cooled him, bringing comfort, and hopefully sleep.
Soon the draft from his window turned into an icy wind that numbed his body. He fell, plummeting past the cold jagged boulders on a dark, lonely mountain. Landing on the cliff, bits of gravel stuck to his flesh as his body rolled. The salty taste of blood filled his mouth. His burning hair sizzled and curled before finally being snuffed out in the dirt. He trundled off a ledge and again dropped through the air. Hands raised over his face, he shielded his body from stones and rubble that were airborne with him.
Men dressed in deerskin with quivers on their backs, and carrying bows ran out of a cave as he flew by. Arrows spun past him toward the dragon. Whether any hit the flying serpent, he did not see. He crashed into the icy bank just as one of the arrows planted itself deep in the snow next to him. A tombstone. The shaft vibrated as a silent lament.
It was then Ian realized he wasn’t the one who had fallen. A stranger lay in a snowdrift, limbs hanging loose at his side, face bruised and swollen. The man smiled at him and then his blond lashes sealed his eyes shut.
A voice broke the silence. “Father!”
Ian woke again.
Beads of sweat dripped down his forehead and trickled past his ears. The curtains that framed his open window ruffled like ghosts dancing in the night. Neighborhood dogs barked at the moon.
Letting his heart settle he lay there as he did every night, hoping for a restful sleep, one that didn’t take him back into the world he’d been seeing ever since his mother died.