Tag: Creative Non-Fiction

The Dragon of Komodo

Upon the islands of Komodo in the farthest reaches of Asia lives a mighty beast known as the Dragon of Komodo. A relative of the dragon, the largest are said to reach lengths of ten feet or more, and weigh more than a fully-grown man. His scaly belly drags across the ground as he walks, and tongues of flame lick from his mouth as he searches for prey. His head is like that of a dog, but hairless and noseless. At first glance, the Dragon of Komodo seems to have no teeth, only gums, but the teeth are hidden from sight underneath the gums, to lull the unsuspecting into a false sense of security.

The Dragon of Komodo’s teeth are long and serrated, and carry a deadly poison. Even if his prey escapes, having suffered the Dragon’s bite, his victory will be short lived. Within hours, the poison of the Dragon of Komodo will take effect, and the prey will suffer illness until he is deceased. The Dragon of Komodo has a preternatural aptitude for finding carrion, and he will travel miles to find his escaped prey after it has expired. The Dragon prefers to find dead carrion to the tiring process of hunting out prey himself, but this does not make him any less capable of indiscriminate murder. He is a deadly creature who has truly earned his title as a Dragon, with sharp claws that can slice through hide, meat, and bone, and armored scales that can turn aside the heaviest of blows. Sadly, leather made from the hide of a Dragon of Komodo does not function as functional armor, though it is as hard as steel when worn by the Dragon.

With his poisonous bite, his sundering claws, and his armored skin, it is no surprise that the Dragon of Komodo is the greatest predator on the island that is named after him. No animal on this island is safe from his hunger. He will eat anything he can sink his teeth into; livestock, birds, man, and even Dragons smaller than he is. The hunger of the Dragon is endless, and he will travel many miles a day in search of food. All creatures flee when the Dragon approaches, but the mighty predator can pursue his prey in short bursts of great speed, before tearing his prey limb from limb with terrible claws. The Dragon has shown the ability to open his mouth wide enough that he might swallow whole animals as large as a goat. After filling his stomach, the Dragon drags himself into the sunlight to sleep, and after several hours, will regurgitate a sticky pellet made of the parts of his meal that were indigestible.

Despite his many natural weapons making him an ideal hunter, the Dragon prefers others to do his work for him. The main staple of the Dragon’s diet is carrion, and the beast has shown a preference for the meat of Christians. When given the option, he will always choose to consume the bodies of the faithful before all other types of meat. Astoundingly, he finds the flesh of heathens to be revolting to taste, and he would rather starve then consume the body of a Jew or a Muslim. After consuming a Christian, the Dragon of Komodo has been seen to regurgitate the Christian’s immortal soul as part of his disgusting pellet, and many have reported seeing the Devil himself come to claim the Christian’s soul and reward the Dragon for his service.

The Dragon has a keen sense of smell, being able to find carrion that is miles away; however, his sense of hearing is incredibly weak, leaving him unable to hear even the loudest of screams. In particular, he has no visible reaction to the name of the Lord, or Christ, or any of the saints or any passage of scripture. This is likely a boon from his master, the Devil. The Dragon cannot be deterred from hunting his favored prey, Christians, even when he (the Christian) invokes holy words to protect himself. Were the Dragon able to hear the words of his Christian prey, he would likely be turned back by such a show of faith, as all animals do when a devout Christian yells out “CEASE, FOUL CREATURE, IN THE NAME OF THE LORD OUR GOD, LONG MAY HE REIGN IN HEAVEN” at the top of his lungs.

When Dragons hunt in packs, it is the largest of Dragons that eats his fill first. The smaller wait until their leader has filled his stomach on carrion before they begin to eat, showing a strict hierarchy with the strongest Dragon at the top. However, if there are any arguments regarding the pecking order, they are addressed not through diplomacy, but through single combat between the two opposing parties. The Dragons fight fiercely, tearing through scaly armor with tooth and claw, ripping at throats and stomachs, while sharp tongues of flame flicker from their mouths. When the battle is over, the loser must obey the victor, usually by allowing him to eat his fill first. This is only in cases where the loser is still alive afterwards. In many of these arguments, the outcomes are fatal, and the victor is the Dragon who remains among the living while his foe bleeds in the dirt at his feet. Frequently, the victorious Dragon consumes the corpse of the defeated, a horrible cannibalistic act that is his final declaration of total victory over the weak.

The Dragon thrives in hot and dry places, indicating a choleric disposition. The Dragon’s connection to fire can be seen in the tongue of flame that sticks out of his mouth, though the Dragon of Komodo cannot release great infernos from his jaws like true dragons. Further evidence that the Dragon of Komodo is a choleric beast can be found in the fact that he mates in the hot and dry months of the summer, the season most closely connected to the choleric humour. After the mating has been finished, the female Dragon digs a hole and lays her seeds in the dirt. Months later, in the end of the months of spring while the air is thick with insects, a number of Dragon hatchlings will burst from the ground. These hatchling Dragons will spend their youth in the branches of trees, to escape the predations of elder Dragons who have no scruples about eating the flesh of their own young.

In many ways, the Devil is extremely similar to the Dragon of Komodo. When hunting, the Devil, like the Dragon, lies in wait for his prey, and hides his true nature behind a harmless façade, appearing to his prey as a harmless friend. When his prey, the innocent Christian, is within his reach, unsuspecting of the Devil’s true nature and most susceptible to his corrupting charms, he strikes, claiming the soul of the Christian and carrying it down to Hell to nourish his unholy palate for all eternity. Even those who escape the clutches of the Devil’s sinful ways are not truly safe. The allure of hedonism is a constant companion to he who has escaped its clutches, and one day will prove to be too strong to be resisted. The innocent will succumb to the poison of the Devil still flowing in his veins, and the Devil will have his prize. The Devil delights in deviously deceiving the downtrodden, drawing them deeper down into disgusting derelictions of duty, dooming them to dark depravity and damnation. Only through a life of worship and penance can a Christian who has been tainted by the Devil’s poisonous hedonism find forgiveness and salvation, and only then can he truly escape the Devil’s clutches. Furthermore, the Dragon and the Devil share the same talents at seeking out the vulnerable, the easiest prey for both creatures, and both breathe tongues of flame that do not burn their flesh. Beware the Dragon of Komodo, for he is the ally of the Devil!

As I have said previously, the Dragon of Komodo is the favored monster of the Devil, but recent discoveries have shown that this may not be the case. In the past, some female Dragons in captivity have conceived hatchlings, despite never having come into contact with a male Dragon. The eggs that survived long enough to hatch produced sons, born untainted by the Original Sin in the same way as our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But why? Why has God given the Dragons of Komodo a shepherd to lead them from sin? Has He deemed these creatures as worthy of salvation as Man, His favored creation? Do these pure Dragon hatchlings truly share the same blood as Christ? Is the Lord our God the father of a lizard? Does the Lord see the Dragon of Komodo as equal to Man? Is He trying to steal one of the servants of the Devil from him? What does it all mean? Are the Dragons of Komodo somehow superior to us, with their armored skin and their sharp claws and their gluttonous, slothful, rage-filled lifestyles? Why has God forsaken us in favor of a creature that has shown a preference for the taste of His children? Is this an omen of things to come? Truly, we must work to regain the favor of the Lord, and reclaim our rightful place as His favored creation. Besides, the Dragon of Komodo would not find any solace in Heaven, and would much prefer the climate of Hell, where he, by all rights, truly belongs.

Author’s Notes: Something a bit different this time. This is an essay I wrote for a medieval literature class I’m in. We’ve been reading old medieval bestiaries recently, so our assignment was to take an animal and write a bestiary entry about it, using modern knowledge about the animal.

See, medieval bestiaries weren’t what would be considered ‘scientifically accurate’. Many of the entries we read not only contained information about animals, they also had moral lessons, most frequently by comparing the animal to some Christian figure (usually Jesus). There was also a lot of information that was by no means accurate at all. For instance, the strange case of the goose barnacle. Medieval bestiaries actually believed that goose barnacles were the ‘eggs’ of barnacle geese. Which meant that geese were considered vegetables.

I’m not joking.

As an added bonus, the bestiaries contained very bad drawings. Most pictures of snakes had wings and/or legs, a lot of animals looked like they had dog heads, etc. I like to think of the middle ages as ‘Europe’s deviantART stage’.

So that’s the story behind this. I took modern knowledge of the Komodo Dragon and spun it to sound like it was written in a medieval bestiary. It was fun to write.

An Apple Seed

It had been a wonderful looking dinner, Benson thought to himself as the car rolled down the dark road. Chicken, squash, and a light salad. He hadn’t had lunch at work, and had been looking forward to having dinner with his wife. The kids (Robby, age five, Ben, age three, and Brooke, age one) had been put to bed, leaving Benson and Catherine alone in well-earned peace and quiet.

In hindsight, perhaps letting Robby have an apple for a bedtime snack had been a bit of a bad idea. Most children his age could be trusted to eat a piece of fruit without adult supervision. Most children (Benson hoped) had the intellectual capacity not to do what Robby had evidently thought was a good idea.

After being left alone for not even ten minutes, the little moron had come downstairs to the kitchen just as Benson was about to take a bite of squash. Catherine had asked him what was wrong, and their stupid son said thirteen simple words that Benson swore he would remember for the rest of his life.

In the aftermath of Robby’s simple statement, silence fell. Catherine successfully held back a burst of laughter. Benson just sighed, his fatherly instincts telling him that his dinner was going to be cut short.

Not wanting to risk trying to pull it out and accidentally do more damage, it was decided that he and Robby would be taking a quick trip to the hospital. Catherine stayed to keep an eye on the younger children, since they’d just seen what could happen when their eldest was left to complete a simple task (eating an apple) without supervision.

Benson looked away from the road for a second, angling the rearview mirror so he could see his idiot son in the back seat. Robby had a finger in his ear, and was twisting it around in an attempt to dislodge the offending object. “Stop it,” said Benson. “It’s already in there, don’t try and push it in any further.”

Robby pulled the finger loose, and even in the dark, Benson could tell that his son was looking embarrassed. “Sorry,” the young boy said.

There was silence for a little while. Benson focused on the road ahead of him, wondering if any of the other drivers on the road were dealing with the same problem he was.

“Dad?” Robby asked, sounding as if he was about to say something that had been bothering him for a while. “Is a tree going to grow in my ear?”

“No, Robby,” Benson answered automatically. “A tree isn’t going to grow in your ear.”

“But James told me that his friend once put a seed in his belly button, and he grew a tree,” Robby said, obviously believing that everything his cousin told him had to be true.

And then it all fell into place. James, the son of Catherine’s brother, had a well-documented habit of making things up, and Robby had a similarly well-documented habit of being a gullible moron. Clearly, James had told Robby that yarn about his friend growing a tree in his belly button, and Robby had taken it to heart. And then, lying in bed with an apple core, he had gotten the idea in his head (in far more ways than one) that he should try it out.

Which was why he had, not long afterwards, come downstairs and said:

“I have a nut in my ear and I can’t get it out.”

The receptionist, her mouth hanging slightly open, stared down at Robby, who was standing on tippy-toes to see over the front desk. She looked to Benson for confirmation. He nodded. “Apple seed, right ear. Didn’t want to risk pulling it out myself,” he elaborated. ‘I’m a good parent, I swear to god’ was left unsaid.

“I – I see,” the receptionist responded, nodding to make it seem like this was completely normal. “If you’ll just take a seat, I’ll check who’s available.”

Benson smiled at her, and guided Robby over to the waiting room chairs that were probably designed to be the exact opposite of ergonomic. No matter how much he shifted around, he simply couldn’t find any way to make himself comfortable. He amused himself by watching the receptionist speak into the phone in hushed tones, periodically looking over at them as if to make sure they were still there.

The waiting room was mostly empty, Benson noticed. Three other people were waiting, and they were all looking at Robby (who was still digging around in his ear) with barely-contained grins. The young boy, being five years old, hadn’t yet developed an ‘inside voice’, and his response to the receptionist’s statement of ‘he looks fine to me’ had been broadcasted to the entire room.

Still, Benson thought, he was glad that an apple seed stuck in an ear was the only reason they were here. It was simple, harmless. It was the sort of humorous accident that would be brought up at family dinners for years, the kind that would be used to efficiently embarrass Robby, the kind that could be used as fodder for writing assignments. A slice of humble pie that nobody would ever let him forget.

The sensation of the cushions that felt more like wooden boards made Benson remember the last time that Robby had to go to the hospital, just last year. He could still clearly remember the mélange of fear and panic that he had felt as he and Catherine rushed the screaming boy, a bloody rag pressed to his scalp, into the emergency room. He clearly remembered the look on the receptionist’s face, remembered handing his son, skull cracked from a fall in the driveway, off to a doctor. Catherine had paced back and forth until she left furrows in the waiting room carpet, while Benson had simply sat down and wallowed in quiet fear.

The drive from home to the hospital normally took fifteen minutes. On that day, it took Benson six of the longest minutes in his life.

Thankfully, Robby had been fine. The injury wasn’t as bad as the panicked minds of his parents believed it to be, and the young boy was given stitches, painkillers, and a cherry-flavored lollipop.

Benson had prayed that he would never have to go through such an event ever again.

A week later, he went through it again, after Ben had tripped while they were on a walk and hit his head against a railroad tie.

…And then a few weeks after that, when Robby and Ben accidentally dislocated baby Brooke’s arm while trying to teach her how to walk.

Social Services had, understandably, been very cross with Benson and Catherine for a while after that.

All in all, he was glad that an apple seed was the biggest thing he had to worry about.

Robby tried to get his father’s attention by pulling at his sleeve. “Dad, dad, dad,” he said urgently. Benson looked at his son, who was grinning a grin that was missing a few baby teeth, and at the hand outstretched to display something.

In the palm of Robby’s hand was an apple seed.

“I got it out,” Robby said proudly.

A bit of backstory behind this. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that this story is based off of something that actually happened to me. Yes, Robby is me. I somehow got an apple seed stuck in my ear when I was young. I wrote this story for an assignment where I was supposed to take some event that had happened to me in the past, and rewrite it in a more creative way. I chose to use this event, and changing the point of view to my dad. It’s creative non-fiction, and I later was informed that there were a few things that I got wrong.

Starting from the beginning: I was only three when it happened, and thus my little sister hadn’t been born yet. It was actually my mother who took me to the hospital (sorry, Mom!). I don’t think my cousin told me that putting an apple seed in my ear would make a tree grow there, but knowing him, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. I do not know if I was actually given a cherry flavored lollipop, but if I had been given the choice, I probably would have gone for strawberry instead. All those accidents that happened to me and my siblings might not have happened in that order, but they did happen.

Yes, I probably was that stupid.