|The Return of the Dragons von Peter Lässig|
He stood infront of the biggest book-store of the town, Paul, a programer of 35, married, 1 daughter, somewhere in Germany. He looked at the notice in his hands: "The Return Of The Dragons", that's the name of the book his daughter asked him to get here. "Childish stuff", Paul muttered entering the store. Dragons! Why can't a 15-years old teenager not become grown up; other girls in this age are reading about movie- and popstars etc, but she spends and wastes all her time with this childish stuff. And then, she always uses his computer Paul needed for his job as programer for travelling through the internet, always looking for dragons. And now also this book, about 200 $ for such a foolish piece of paper!
Paul went to the information-desk: "Excuse me, I am looking for this book here." He passed the note to the young employee. She looked at it, frowned: "Well, I don't remember this title. Let me just see if it is available. I am sure we don't have it here, but maybe we can order it."
She typed the title and the name of the author into her computer, waited and ...frowned. "I can't find it. Let me now try it with the ISBN-number..." She tried again, but again without success. "I am sorry, Sir, but this book is not available. Are you sure it is the correct title?" "Yes, quite sure. My daughter told me it would be available without any problems." "Strange, but wait a minute, we could ask Mr. Reichelt, he's the boss for the fantasy-department. Maybe he knows more...Mr. Reichelt?". Mr. Reichelt was an elder man. "May I help you?" "Well, yes, I am looking for this book. My daughter told me it would be available, but it can't be found in any lists." Mr. Reichelt took the note and frowned. Paul could tell, Mr. Reichelt seemed to get a little bit pale in his face, reading the title. But it was maybe only for half a second. " >The Return Of The Dragons< I know this book...it is for years that somebody asked for it. You are sure you are looking for that book? Where did your daughter find this title?" "Oh, she has access to the internet and knows lots of strange people, who believe in dragons and other foolishness", Paul answered. "Dragons are not foolish", the man muttered under his breath and added, louder to Paul: "I see. Well, it is a special book. Maybe we have got it here, please follow me.". He lead Paul through the whole store and stopped infront of a door "for staff only". "May you go in. It will take a few minutes to get me the
book. Anything to drink? Coffee? Water? I need to talk to you, but first let me get the book." "Water, please". Paul answered puzzled and opened the door. Behind the door was a small corridor, a metal-door on the other end. "Yes, go through the other door and wait for me". Paul did so and crossed the corridor, he stepped through the second door and stood in a dark room, smell and the sound of a working coffee-machine in the air. Paul grope after the light switch...he couldn't find it. Bang, the iron door was closed. Strange. Where is the damn switch...Paul got in panic. "Hey, what's that for a game? Where's the light?" Paul wanted to step back through the door, but instead of feeling metal, he felt...nothing. No door, not...even a wall. Paul stood somewhere in the open, darkness around him...and a light breeze. Paul now really got panicked: "Where I am? Is here anybody? What happened?"
"Who is making so much noise here in this peaceful night?!?" - Paul jumped some steps back as he heared this powerful rumbling voice. "Ahhh! What's that? Who has spoken? Why is there no light?" "Light?", the voice roared like thunder, "You want >light<?! You should get your light, mortal!!", and out of the dark shot a gigantic flame. Paul stumbled and felt to the ground, incredible heat engulfed him. "Attention! And better come away from here before you burn down to cinder", the incredible voice rumbled. Before Paul even could react, he felt getting grapped and somehow flying through the air. He screamed in fear. "Relax, human, relax", the voice said softly, "besides, who should hear you here?". "Who are you? What are you? Where do you bring me? What do you want from me? What the hell..." "Shut up!", the voice roared interrupting the human, "Not cursing in my presence, ok? Then: first, calm down. Then, don't ask so many questions. I take you with me, there's someone who wants to meet you! By the way, my name is Tocca." "Tocca?" Paul struggled "Let me down, I won't run away, please." "Let you down? Can I trust a human? But...well, sure, you won't run away for sure - I would burn you to cinder if you do any attempt. But I think so foolish even a human can't be to try to escape from a dragon." "Dragon?!?", Paul asked in disbelieve. "Yes. D-R-A-G-O-N. Dragon. What you humans call a >fabolous creature<. Surprised? And now go on, I don't want to spend the whole night here." And with these words, the dragon pushed the human forward. After a walk of about 15 minutes - during this time, the dragon refused to speak at all - they arrived infront of the entrance of an huge cave. "Welcome, mortal", the dragon roared and without any warning he grapped the human and carried him inside. The cave was lit by torches on the wall, and the first thing Paul saw was a pile of skulls and bones. He shivered and swallowed hard. The dragon chuckeld: "It won't be you, besides you annoy us. Here we are." The dragon put the human down and now Paul recognized a moving shadow in the background of the cave. "So, you are the human we are waiting for, welcome. May I call you >Paul<?". A gigantic head with impressive horns appeared infront of Paul's face...it belonged to a gorgeous body with 4 legs, with sharp taloned claws, neatly folded wings. The dragon's golden scales were glittering in the flickering light of the torches. A breathtaking view. Paul swallowed: "You know my name?" "Oh, I know more from you than you ever guess, although I am only a stupid, foolish fantasy-creature, good enough for children.", the dragon grumbled ironically. "Welcome in my kingdom. I am Lahkoona, queen of the dragons. And this", she moved her head towards the smaller dragon who brought Paul into that cave, "is Tocca, my daughter. "But before we talk further, you should relax a little bit. And then you are certainly hungry", she added. Now Paul lost his nerves. " What the hell is going on here! Where am I and what do you want from me", he screamed. But it was more out of panic than anger. "Quiet!", the dragoness roared. "We will have enough time to talk about it." "Time? Why >time<? I have got a family and I must go home,. They are waiting for me." "Home?", the dragoness shook slowly her head and in her face appeared a sad expression. "Well, I am afraid, I can't let you go now, my friend." "What do you mean?! I can go where I want to", Paul protested. "Unfortunatly not. You are in *my* kingdom and *I* will decide about your departure! So far, you are my guest. Don't force me to treat you as a prisoner. And now lets eat." With this, Lahkoona turned around and motioned the human to follow her. Paul recognized it would be senseless to try any flee. He was deeply afraid and puzzled...and tired. He followed the dragons into another, even larger cave. The ground was covered with blankets and furs, in the middle of the room a large table with lots of fruits, roasted meat and vegetables on it. "Eat!", Lahkoona invited her guest. "Then we can talk."
After they had finished their meal, Lahkoona said: "Well, it has become late now. Too late for talking. You need to rest, it was a heavy day for you. You can sleep here" - she pointed towards a pile of furs on the floor - "Next to me. So I am in your reach if you need anything during the night. Here in the back of the cave, you will find a little brook with fresh, clean water. And, please, don't try to escape. It would be useless and I don't want to hurt you. You needn't be afraid. I don't mean any danger to you. No dragon wants to harm a human. But this and much more we will discuss tomorrow. And now prepare yourself for going to sleep."
Paul woke up in the night. The both dragons slept quietly and deeply. Carefully the human got up and moved slowly towards the cave's exit. There must be a way back to his world, a way out of this nightmare..."Are you looking for something special?" - the growling voice behind Paul made him turn around. Tocca stood there, showing a toothy grin. "I...I...I was just ...I just wanted to get a little bit of water...I ...I am thirsty, you see?", Paul stammered. "The water is in the opposite direction, my friend", Tocca reminded him friendly. "Better go back quickly before my mother notices you were not in her cave. She can get quite angry easyly, you know?" 'Damn!', Paul thought and followed Tocca back into the heart of the caves....
Something was tickeling Paul's face; it was not only one single ray
of sunlight coming from outside of the cave, but also something warm and
moist flickering over his face. Those sensations together with the appealing
scent of fresh roasted meat let Paul open his eyes...and a little scream
escaped from his mouth as he found himself not in his own bed but on a
cave's floor, two scaley, tooth-showing dragon-faces close to his face.
"Good Morning, mortal. Hope you slept well", the golden dragoness greeted
her guest. "So ist wasn't just a nightmare", Paul muttered and got up.
The elder dragoness sighed and whispered something to her daughter Tocca.
She nodded and left the cave. Then Lahkoona motioned Paul to follow her.
"Let's have breakfast. I hope, you like well-done meat and fruits." Although
the human actually was hungry like a wolf, he was still too frightened
and confused and nervous to eat. So Lahkoona took a slice of the meat with
her claws and forced it gently into Paul's mouth. "I am sorry, but I must
insist that you fill your stomach. You need it, so eat, I won't accept
any "no". Understood?".
After the silent breakfast, Lahkoona started: "I know, you are full
of questions. And I regret that I had to be a little harsher with you.
But all this now is far too important to be taken easy. I will answer your
questions now, telling you a little story. But first I want you something
to view. Follow me."
Back in the cave she told Paul to take a seat and made herself comfortable,
as well. Then she started. "Paul, what I will tell you now is very important.
I will tell it to you only once. So listen and don't interrupt me. Later,
you can ask me questions - if you still insist to ask. And one thing you
must know, before I start. I *know* you; I know you better than you know
yourself.". Lahkoona took a deep sigh and muttered. "Well then, let's do
it.", and she started to tell in a soft, deep voice which hypnoticed Paul.
"In former times, my ancestors lived in your world in peace and harmony
with the human race. But then mankind started to search for the "meaning
of life" and finally its reflections and researches ended up in an institution
you call now "God" or "Allah" or "Manitou". You have invented different
names for one and the same thing, the fountain of all life, the creator...You
have invented different religions. But who ever wants to believe in God,
the Good, must also believe in the Evil, called "Satan". And here the whole
mess started. Someone has had the glorious idea to equalize us dragons
with this Satan. We dragons don't know the reason for it and we probably
will never get to know it. Maybe it's because we have from time to time
hunted cattle and sheeps from human's herds. Maybe because a human was
killed once by a dragoness defending her hatchlings, who knows... Anyhow,
the humans started to attack us and to drive us away from our homes. And
we dragons have been so incredible evil and satanic to defend ourselves,
our lifes. For every human lost its life in that senseless battle, at least
two of us got killed. Even as we retreated into other dimensions and worlds,
we still have been pursued.
"Seeing this success, hope raised among us and the younger dragons
thought of returning to earth. Of course, we could not appear in our true
forms, this would have caused chaos and panic among your people - although
more and more people started to accept the idea of dragons not being evil,
they didn't believe in us. So we had to wait and to watch: Volunteers were
sent to earth, "reborn" as humans living among humans to watch and to study
them. By the way, the same did also other races like griffins for example
Lahkoona's words faded in Paul's head. He moved uncomfortable, wanted to stand up and just run away. But the dragon's gaze pinned him where he sat and the story went on:
"Also my daughter, Tocca, lives that way as a human on your planet. But she is lucky enough to be of royal blood so she can return to her home whenever she wishes it, the other dragons living in your dimension were captured on your planet until their human body dies. Well, Tocca was also lucky enough to find a friend among you humans; and their friendship became so strong that she brought her friend several times to us and introduced her to me: Tocca's friend is...*your* daughter, Paul. A charming girl, congratulations: wise and full of love, a real uncut diamond among your people."
Lahkoona lowered her head and showed a toothy grin as she pushed gently her snout into Paul's flanks and whispered "Unbelievable that she has got such a father." She chuckeld a little and became serious again.
"You have seen my son. You can guess it, he lived also among the
humans on your planet? Also he was an outcast in your society, but also
he found some human friends. By the way, his name is >Akathan<.
He has had a very special friend and soon there developped even more than
friendship between them. This human and my son were connected by a bond
of love. Now the meaning of love for a dragon is something different than
the human's definition. Love for us means a deep care for someone, which
can also end up to a mating-ritual. But love for us is something very precious
and we believe in it. So we are very careful to use this term to describe
Lahkoona stopped as she noticed Paul stood up. "Why are you telling
me this story? Why should I listen to this nonsense?", the man exclaimed.
"My daughter never would talk to a fantasy-creature. She's not insane!
It's a lie you are telling me. And about your son, only a fool could fall
in love with an animal. Such a person is mad and belongs into the hospital.
I don't want to listen to that bullshit any longer. Let me go! Now, at
"Wait here for an instant. I trust you enough not to run away, I
will be back in a minute."
He felt something hot and liquid pressed against his lips and a sharp
pain...then he noticed, first blurred then sharper, the presence of Tocca
and Lahkoona. The younger dragoness was cushioning gently his head,
while the dragon-queen prepared different things next to him. "Here's something
to ease your pain, and to heal you quickly", she softly speaks. "Drink
of it; I know, it will taste terrible, but it helps your recovering." Paul
did as him told, knowing that he has lost that game; if you can call it
a game. There was no sense any more to deny. Yes, he knew that dragon...and
indeed, long time ago he was a so called dragon-lover. But soon he was
captured by daily business, by his career and dragons didn't fit into his
life anymore, so he broke all connections to his former friends. But he
never guessed that some of them have been *real* dragons, not just any
role-game-players as Paul always believed. But...*killing* dragons? Paul
shivered and moaned. The pains in his leg and his shoulder drove him nearly
crazy and he felt like being sick. Lahkoona took carefully the shattered
leg in her claws and muttered some words Paul couldn't understand; but
he felt an incredible coldness rushing through his bones, narcoting his
pains. "I will put a healing spell on you now. You soon will fall into
deep slumber. And when you wake up, your wounds will be gone. Your physical
wounds, at least. But before you fall asleep, let me say a few things,
Paul....""I...I also must tell you something", Paul whispered, "I am sorr...".
"Sshhh!", interrupted him Lahkoona. "Stay quiet, don't talk now. Stay calm
and relax; let my healing powers do their work, but is shoulder...the spell
did work perfectly. "Lahkoona? Tocca?". No answer, all was quiet. Paul
sighed and stood up. The entrance to that chamber was not closed by the
rock, he could leave...."Lahkoona?".
The carcass was still where they have left it. Paul stood infront
of the dead dragon's snout in silence. Finally he knelt down infront of
it and made the sign of the cross, starting to pray. Finally he spoke to
the dragon: "Forgive me, Akathan. I..I never wanted *this* to happen. I
never could imagine..I...", Paul collapsed and started to cry. He cried
as he never did before in his life. The deepest corners of his soul and
his heart turned upside-down and he let his tears flow. He petted and kissed
the dragonsnout passionatly. Then he looked on the sharp, deathbringing
talons of his former dragon-love. "Yes, Akathan, my dear, beloved friend,
my brother. Your mother is right, my act must be punished. And I can't
think of another way of paying off my guilt than..." Paul wanted to use
the talon as a dagger to cut his vein on his wrist. But a yell stopped
his actions. "For heaven's sake! Paul! Stop it, you fool" and than he felt
pushed away from the carcass, from the talon. "Paul! Your dead is not what
could Akathan let return. Your life is not wanted as prize for his love
to you.". Lahkoona looked at Paul and added softly. "Come over there, to
me. Let's sit down and talk." Paul nodded. "I am so sorry, Lahkoona. I
never knew that I would kill him by not writing him anymore. That I really
didn't want, please, believe me." Lahkoona sat down next to the human.
"Please understand me, when I say you now these things. It is not only
you have killed *him*. I told you once that there are several ways to kill
us dragons. You don't need a lance or a sword or a magic spell. You can
also kill us by actions, for example calling us in your world >fabolous
creatures<. Calling the believers in us >foolish< and >childish<.
Everytime one of you humans does so, we dragons feel a pain. And if it
is done often enough, a dragon finally dies. But you, Paul, have killed
Akathan twice and even more cruel: First, you hurt him by denying his existence.
And then, you killed him by not loving him anymore without telling him
the reason *why* you have left him. He always hoped to hear from you again,
to meet you once. He was longing for your love, like a thirsty wanderer
in a desert. Finally he dried out, he died of thirst for your love and
friendship, Paul." Paul started again to cry; the words Lahkoona spoke
hurt even more than the shattered leg. "What can I do to pay off my guilt?
I know, I can't change anything anymore, but, what should I do? Tell me,
I will all do what you want." Lahkoona looked Paul deeply into his eyes
and Paul felt her look penetrate his eyes, his brain deep into his heart
and soul. But she remained silent. After some minutes she finally whispered
softly "Follow your heart, my boy, listen to your heart", and she folded
her wing over him.
"You can leave now, as I saw in your heart that you have done atonement.
Return to your world and follow your heart". Lahkoona broke the silence.
"You mean, you will let me go, I am free?". "Yes, my friend. But never
forget what I have told you".