Excerpt from The Lands of Forever: A Real Monster

In this excerpt, Serena has met the discovery team and has traveled to Forever, crashing on the shore and miraculously surviving. A bedraggled and exhausted team crawls into a seemingly vacant Cave on the Coast. This excerpt is the team’s first encounter with a Foreveran resident…

Excerpt from The Lands of Forever, Part 1: At Home, Chapter 8: The Lost Continent and Chapter 9: Humble Beginnings

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Something moved.

Serena, unlike the majority of the others, was a light sleeper. As the faint scuffling, scratchy sound met her ears, her bright blue eyes snapped open and she lay still.

A young voice whispered in a crisp British accent,

“What are they, Mum?”

“Humans.” rasped an older female voice in reply. “Sun Humans.”

Serena gulped as her heart rate shot through the ceiling. Sun Humans? They didn’t come from the Sun! She wondered who the British voices were as she laid perfectly still, trying to pretend she was still asleep.

“Should we eat them?” said the young voice again.

Serena’s skin pricked in fear.

“No, Sun Humans are almost extinct. Let them sleep and we will scare them off later when they are awake.”

More scratching and shuffling. Serena felt a cool, dark shadow creep over her and resisted the urge to get up and flee, terrified. Sweat poured down the back of her neck and she clenched her eyes shut tighter, gulping and trying not to shudder.

“It’s got your skin, Mum.” the young voice chirped, very near to Serena now. “Should I take it back?”

The voice of the mother heaved a sigh further down in the Cave. “There’s no use worrying over a shed piece of skin, Keffle. But, I suppose, if you would like to keep it, you may take it back.”

Serena bit her lip, nearly drawing blood. She felt the presence of something larger than her reach down and grasp hold of the shed skin she clutched in her sweating hand.

She could resist no longer.

She opened her eyes.

Chapter Nine: Humble Beginnings

“Ahhh!” she screamed, releasing the skin and backing off.

“Ahhh!” screamed a little Girl Dragon, dropping the skin at the same time and taking a couple steps back.

Serena’s breath came in short, terrified gasps. She looked at the thing that had not moments ago been nose-to-snout with her.

It, that is, Keffle was most definitely a Dragon – with bright orange and yellow scales and leathery orange wings that folded against her back. Her full height reached to Serena’s chest as the Dragonling stood on all fours. She wasn’t much longer than a common door is tall from tip to tail. She had a short, stubby spinal crest of bright yellow that ran from the top of her head to the tip of her long tail, which was about as long as her whole body, and swayed side to side in a curious, mischievous manner. Keffle sat back on her hind haunches like a Cat would, brandishing four small feet filled with needle-sharp claws. On either side of her little head sprouted two rounded stubs, presumably the beginning of horns. But the thing that had Serena taken aback the most was the little Dragon’s eyes. They had been very close to her face, and when she opened her own eyes, Keffle’s eye color had changed from a curious yellow to a surprised orange very quickly. Now the eyes of the small Dragon burned an even brighter yellow than before.

“I didn’t mean to wake you.” said the young speaking Dragon in a half-whisper. Serena marveled at the pleasant ring of the little British voice and gulped, sitting up very slowly.

“Th-that’s o.k.” she stuttered, looking about to see if the others were awake.

And realization struck her like ten pounds of bricks to the head. Her eyes snapped back and caught the gaze of Keffle’s blazing yellow eyes.

“D-did you just… talk to me?” she said incredulously. The Dragon, obviously very curious, stood and inched forward. She stretched her little neck out and scuffled closer.

“Yes, why?”

Serena opened her mouth to say something, but with the figure of the Child Dragon growing nearer, she was in the absence of words and closed her mouth quickly.

Suddenly, an overwhelming power of curiosity mounted upon her chest, and she sat up straight.

A Dragon.

A real, live Dragon.

A myth.

A legend.

And she was looking at it.

Keffle sat just feet from her and blinked in awe, her yellow eyes shining.

“Wow.” They said in unison, and then caught each other’s gaze.

“Now don’t tell me you’ve never seen a Human before?!” Serena giggled finally, deciding that the little Dragon was harmless. Keffle chuckled and her eyes changed to a merry blue.

“I will if you tell me you’ve never seen a Dragon.” sang the Child-like voice.

Serena’s laughter echoed off of the wall of the Cave like many voices.

“Where I come from, Dragons are only a myth.” she explained.

“Where do you come from?” twittered the orange and yellow Dragon. She stood and came snout-to-nose with Serena once more. “And why is your hair the color of gold? And why are your eyes the color of the Sky on a Cloudless Spring afternoon? And why do you speak so differently, though I can understand you? I’ve never seen-”

Serena!

Jerry dashed for Keffle, having only just awoken and believing that Serena was under attack.

The Dragonling squealed and made to run, but Serena leaped in front of her before Jerry was even halfway there.

Whoosh!

BOOM!

“AHHHHHHHHH!”

A twenty-foot-long body of claws, teeth, horns and scales landed between Serena and Jerry, uttering a low warning growl.

Serena heard screams echoing from the other side of the Mountain of protective Dragon flesh, and knew the others had awoken. It was not yet dawn.

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