Select a book on your shelf and pick two chapters at random. Take the first line of one chapter and the last line of the other chapter and write a short story (no more than 1000 words) using those as bookends to your story.
I’ve been looking forward to this one most of all. I picked up one of my very favorite books, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight. The first sentence is the first sentence of the book, the last is from a few chapters later. I started to use other character names from Dragonflight but they weren’t working for me, but I did borrow the idea of the mating flight from McCaffrey as well.
This isn’t really a “story,” it’s really more of a scene, and ordinary I wouldn’t post a story in such a first-drafty condition. But hey, I accepted the challenge, so here it is.
Lessa woke, cold. Sluggish, her mind clouded, she reached with one green scaled hand to toss a dry log on the fire. As the flames licked at the wood, she slid closer to the warmth and spread her wings wide to catch as much heat as possible.
“Mmmmm,” her mate rumbled deep in his throat. “You look lovely. Will you fly soon?”
“I think soon, yes. Come, get closer to the fire.”
Nichs crawled out of the shadows, his movement languid, his eyes half lidded. He felt the cold as well. He settled next to her, flaring wings wide to wrap around her.
“You were late last night,” she said, hoping to catch him while the blood was still slow in his veins.
He wrapped a red scaled arm around her shoulders, under her wings. “You were asleep when I got back.”
“I heard you,” she said, her tongue flicking between her teeth. The damn thing always betrayed her true feelings.
“You’re angry with me?”
She hissed. “Kenyn flew yesterday.”
“So I heard.”
“You weren’t there, then?” The warmth of the fire soaked through her, quickening her blood. And her temper.
“Oh, you’re jealous, are you?” He hissed out a laugh and wrapped his arms around her.
Squirming, she pushed at him. “Did you fly her?”
“You know you’re the only one for me.”
“Did you fly her?” Lessa took his jaw in her hand and turned him to face her. His red eyes narrowed and his tongue flicked, tasting her wrist.
“No, my love.” He pulled her hand away from his jaw, braving the claws skating over his scales. “No, I didn’t fly her.”
“But did you try?”
Nichs stood abruptly and Lessa immediately missed the shield of his wings against the cold. “You suspicious little lizard,” he snarled, his words teetering on the edge between anger and affection. “Kenyn isn’t half the dragon you are. She’s craven, she can’t hunt, and she clutches only six eggs at a time! Not to mention her skinny tail and small wings.”
Lessa flicked her tail and hid her smile when he turned his gaze to the golden-green scales at the base. He did love the shape of her tail.
She could have dropped the subject there, but instead, she pushed. “You didn’t say no.”
His powerful jaws opened in a roar, a roar that likely terrified any prey animal in earshot. “No! No, I didn’t try to fly her! I want you. I only want you, you infuriating newt.” He turned away into the depths of the cave. “You must be close to flight to behave this way.”
She’d thought to appease him, but after that comment, she let him go. Instead, she tossed more wood on the fire to warm the cave and made her way to the entrance, gazing out over the green valley she and Nichs called home. The tall mountain kept away unwanted visitors, the rocky slopes were home to goats and sheep better for the challenging hunt than the quality of their meat, and the valley home to more succulent prey.
In fact, the more she thought of it, the more she longed for a mouthful of a fresh kill. The joy of swooping down on a mountain goat, anticipating its leap and snagging it in her claws. The feel of its blood filling her mouth, the hot flesh…
And then she laughed. Nichs was more right than he knew.
“Nichs!” she called, “Nichs, my love. Come here!”
A few moments were not enough for his anger to fade. His claws clicked against the stone as he strode towards her, his tongue flicked from his mouth, his tail swept back and forth with agitation. His deep crimson scales were rare among the dragon folk and she loved the way the rising sun shimmered against them in an illusion of flames.
“I brought you this as a gift, you ungrateful lizard,” he snarled, and tossed something with a metalic glint. She caught the bauble, a red gem on a golden ring, and slipped it onto her smallest finger.
She laughed, giddy and flush, and settled her wings about her body. With a roar of challenge, she raced for the cave entrance and launched herself. She dived down and down, gaining speed before opening her wings with a snap, using her speed to climb high into the clouds.
Nichs flew after her. He was cold from sulking in the depths of the cave. That would make him slow. His anger from their spat would distract him. She would fly high before he caught her. She was too, too clever for him.
What fools dragonmen have become.