I wrote this short story a really, really long time ago for the Laura Thomas Communications Fanfiction Challenge, but STILL haven’t sent it in…
A Brief Account of How I Met Jegry
By Jaslyn Thienbunlertrat
Normal people wake up to an alarm clock ringing. Others wake up to their moms opening the window blinds. Some even wake up to cold water in their faces (but that’s the army, never mind). But I manage to wake up with a dragon inches away from my face. And a dragon in your face is never a good thing.
“YARGH!” I shouted, bolting upright, consequently hitting my head against the dragon’s. (Let me tell you, it is not a pleasant experience. Especially since those fire-spitting monsters have really thick skulls.)
“What are you doing in my room?” I shouted, once the splitting headache I had earned began to ebb away.
(I have a tendency to get very angry when awoken before the usual seven thirty. It got a bit worse than usual because, adding insult to the injury, I was growing a violet and green bruise on my forehead.)
The dragon rubbed its head, and gave me a very injured look.
“Jeg er ked af,” it said.
“It means sorry,” it said. “Don’t you speak Danish?”
I gave it a disgusted look. Did I look like I spoke Danish?
“That didn’t answer my question,” I said, tenderly touching my bruise. “What are you doing in my room?”
“Jeg kender ikke. I don’t know,” it added. “I was doing fine at home, and there were plum tarts, and suddenly a vacuum sucked me up and now I’m here.”
“Who are you?”
The dragon blinked and stood to its full height. Its large, catlike eyes, which had been quietly observing my room so far, settled. All its scales, coppery red in colour, aligned neatly in overlapping rows and flattened. It straightened its wings and made ahem, ahem noises.
“Jeg hedder Jegry– I mean, my name is Jegry. I like plum tarts. And I’m not an ‘it’.”
“Nice to meet you.” It took effort not to make my tone too sarcastic, in case I made the dragon offended. Being roasted ‘à la dragon’ (if we were to start speaking in European languages) was not on my to-do list.
“Who are you, though?” said Jegry.
“My name is Stripy-Cat, but you can call me Cat,” I said, and waited for a reaction. Most people do not think ‘Stripy-Cat’ is a good name.
“Stripy-Cat?” said Jegry. “You’re not stripy and Gud forbyde, you are most definitely not a cat. Can’t stand those creatures. All whiskers and no substance, them.”
“We have cats in this complex,” I offered. “Four of them.”
“Kaere mig! Are you sure?”
“Yes. One orange cat one silver long-haired cat, and two black-and-white cats.”
Feeling that this conversation was taking far too long, I got up from my bed.
“What time is it?”
Jegry stole a look at the alarm clock. “Six twenty-one.”
Great. Just great.
“Mom and Dad aren’t awake yet,” I said as I tried to pull my hair into a ponytail. Said attempt did not succeed, so I gave up, got myself a scrunchy, and wrapped it into a knot.
“I guess I’ll go find us some plum tarts.”
“Plum tarts!” Jegry bared his teeth in a wide smile. “You wouldn’t!”
“I would, if the bakery is open. Now, please sit here and wait. Mom always said that being a good hostess is important.”
Obediently, Jegry sat down.
I rummaged around for the bike keys and yanked my helmet from the closet. As quick as I could, I went to the washroom and changed out of my pajamas. As I put on my socks, Jegry eyed me anxiously.
“It won’t be too much of a problem for you?” he asked.
“No,” I said. “Besides, I like plum tarts, too. Just not the sour ones. And the bakery’s just around the corner.”
“All right.” Jegry contented himself with my beanbag chair, and began mumbling.
I shrugged, unlocked my bike, and rode into the street.
About fifteen minutes later, I returned with a small box of plum tarts. I locked my bike, took off my shoes, and went to my room. Jegry was immersed in my copy of Pickwick Papers, and had another stack of books beside him (I could see Prince Caspian, Les Miserables, and Sherlock Holmes alongside many others; he had good taste).
“Are you a reading dragon?” I asked him. “You seem to be one, at least.”
“Absolut– er, definitely. I do specialize in literature, especially exciting novels,” said Jegry.
“But not romantic books,” he continued. “Adventure, yes, but not romance. Squishy, mainstream stuff. I don’t approve.”
“Have a plum tart,” I said, handing him a little plump pastry.
Jegry put down his book and accepted it, swallowing it in one bite. He eyed another and I nodded.
“I’m not usually this hungry,” he said between munches. “It’s just that I didn’t get a chance to finish my breakfast. I am an early riser, you know, and I have terrible memory.”
I waited until he had swallowed, and cleared my throat.
“So… besides reading, speaking Danish, and eating plum tarts, what else do you do?”
Jegry stopped chewing, licked the corners of his mouth, and gave me a large, toothy smile.
“I’m an editing dragon as well,” he said.
And that’s when all the trouble began…