© Peter L. Barnes October 2021
Drazzle was warming herself in the bright sunshine as she sat on the cliff edge looking out at the sparkling waves. Drazzle had acquired a taste for seafood after a recent phishing expedition, but it did leave her wings very draggely. She had learnt, watching local cormorants, that a good stretch in the sunshine warmed her blood after diving to the cold depths of the English Channel.
Phishing was fine except of course for the jostling fishing boats and their desire to denude the channel of all life, in the pursuit of the main chance, whatever that meant. Drazzle had had great fun tying all their nets together so that a shoal of fish had escaped. Well, you say escaped, Drazzle and her cormorant palls had had a whale of a time.
“Morning Drazzle, have you had a good morning,” said a little girl, settling down beside her.
“Oh, hello Lei. Yes wonderful, caught a few silver snacks.”
“You mean a lot.”
“Well, define ‘Lots’”
“More than ten?”
“Maybe, but the other seabirds had quite a few as well, so it wasn’t all me.”
“Leave some for others and make sure there are enough small ones for the next generation.”
“No, the fish silly.”
“Anyway,” said Lei. patting Drazzle’s tummy. “You shouldn’t eat so many at one sitting.”
“They shouldn’t taste so nice.”
“I’m surprised that the way you gulp them, that you have time to taste them.”
“I can only taste them when I regurgitate them.”
“I didn’t know you were a ruminant.”
“I’m not luminescent.”
“Not a bright spark either.”
“Nevermind. No, a ruminant regurgitates food to mix in more saliva with the food to make it more digestible.
“Yes, I like a digestive before I go to bed.”
“I give up,” said Lei, talking with dragons was always a strain.
Far out to sea, a flash of white revealed a beautiful yacht, tacking up the channel, racing through the waves. Hoping to beat any impending storm.
“Have you ever sailed?” asked Lei. “It’s very exhilarating.”
“I can accelerate faster than anyone. Anyway, tried it once but was thrown overboard for burning a sail.”
“Why does that not surprise me.”
The peaceful scene was broken by a sudden squall racing across the waves, whipping the water into a frenzy behind the boat. Lei and Drazzle stood as tall as possible, trying to warn the crew of the yacht, only to get cheerful waves back.
Pointing and shouting was wasted on the crew, until it was too late and the whirlwind struck, knocking the mast clean off and tipping the boat on its side.
A yellow rescue raft automatically deployed and inflated, allowing the crew members to scramble aboard, but they were not out of danger yet. The swell threw them up and down like a roller coaster, whilst they clung desperately on to the ropes.
“Quick Drazzle help them.”
Drazzle faced into the wind and slowly lifted herself into the air but overloaded with fish she was not her usual self and was in danger herself of falling down the cliff.
Drazzle realised what Lei meant and regurgitated a ton of fish back into the sea. Many were amazed at their freedom from the stomach acid and splashed far below into the life-giving waters and swam away to live another day.
Drazzle, unburdened by the weight of her excessive meal, took off and flew down to the life raft. Talons to the fore she prepared to land on the raft. The crew looked up in horror as the sharp talons landed on the yellow raft and ten sharp hisses quickly deflated on one side of the raft, leaving it lopsided with the crew hanging on in fear.
“Sorry,” said Drazzle. “Hang on, I think I see something.” Drazzle flew off to the top of a cliff where some intrepid explorers were about to take off in a hot air balloon.
“Can I borrow this please?” asked Drazzle politely, before grabbing it and with a quick puff of flame had it gliding across the sky towards the stricken castaways. Tempering hot puffs and releasing hot air she was soon hovering over the life raft, allowing the crew to board the basket. Puffing strongly the balloon lifted away from the possible watery grave and started to approach the cliffs. But by this time Drazzle was running out of hot air and its was touch and go if they would reach the top.
They almost made it before the basket clipped the highest point of the cliff and started spinning around before tipping over onto the grass. All the crew members were thoroughly tied up in the ropes.
Lei and the balloonists raced to help but were overtaken by a group of police constables. “Sorry,” called Lei. “Don’t hurt Drazzle, she didn’t mean to steal your balloon, she was only rescuing the boat crew.”
But the police didn’t seem phased by a proud dragon, standing tall, her small front claws held out, meekly waiting for the handcuffs.
“No,” said the first policeman. “We aren’t after your dragon.”
Instead, he was clipping handcuffs on to one of the trapped men.
“These guys are serial drug traffickers and your dragon has helped us to capture them. They’ve been evading us for years. I’m sure that there will be a reward for what she’s done.
The balloonists came across and untangled the ropes, freeing the handcuffed drug runners ready to be bundled into a police van. After checking out the basket and balloon they were pleased that there was no damage.
“That was some pretty impressive flying there, dragon.”
“Come on Drazzle time to go home.”