Day 11: Dragon

I stood at the entrance of the cave, staring in, breathing heavily. I knew this day would come, I knew I had to face it. I walked in slowly, not wanting my presence to be known, I knew that my best bets of wining laid in this being a surprise attack. I could hear it’s breath, louder than my own, causing my stomach to tighten in knots.

‘What have I gotten myself into?’, I thought, ‘Why am I here? Is this even worth it?’. I knew the answers to all these questions, so I continued.

The cave was black and my eyes could barely adjust and in defeat I closed them. Losing my favourite sense, I now had to depend on my nose, ears and hands to get me to where I needed to go.  I didn’t even know what I was looking for, I’ve never seen it or been near enough to touch it. All I knew was that today was the day, there was no more delaying it.

I reached out my right hand to feel the rocky walls, and I followed it, going deeper and deeper inside the cave. The breathing getting lounder and louder and my nose was met with the smell of rotten flesh. I knew I was approaching my mark.

The deeper I got the lighter it became, that even with my eyes closed I could sense the flashes of light through my eyelids. I stopped walking and the smell became more poignant and unbearable, and I slowly opened my eyes, and there it was.

It laid there, at least 50 feet tall, with a tail that was taller than my 5 feet 9 inches frame. It had a burnt orange colour, with beautiful, mesmerising scales all around. I reached out my hand to touch, before catching myself in the suicidal act. I knew I had to remember my purpose, I had to remember the plan. It had teeth that no doubt could break my bones in one bite, and horns at the top of its head that were just as sharp. I realised that the flashes of lights came from its nose, that every time it exhaled, puffs of fire escaped its nose, allowing the cave to light up.

I could see a pile of meat in one corner, surrounded by flies and rats. I could see that I did not belong there. That this was a temporary stop, and I had to do this as quick as possible, so I could go back to my life.

As if it could sense me, it opened his eyes and looked directly at me. I froze, not fully understanding what it meant for my plans until it was too late. I knew that facing my dragon whilst it slept was a difficult task, but killing my dragon whilst woke, was an impossible one. I knew I had to act quickly after already losing the element of surprise.

‘Would it have time to fight back?’, I thought as I charged ahead with my sword in hand, ‘Could I possibly win?’. It began to rise, raising its humongous body slowly off the ground.

I struck the sword where I’d been taught to strike, at the throat, before it was even halfway up. The sword pierced through its neck and I withdrew it, as blood dripped from the silver blade. I watched as the dragon fell back, surprise in it’s face.

‘This wasn’t so hard’ I thought, as I suddenly became overpowered with exhaustion. Although the battle itself had only taken minutes, the preparation and planning had taken months. And it all hit me at once. I fell to the ground with the sword still in my hand,

‘Is it dead’ I thought ‘Am I?’.

Thank you for reading.

Day 10: Friendship

I’m dedicating this post to my friend Rebecca.

Rebecca and I met on the first day of university. I remember knocking on her door, just after moving in and asking if she was going to the Freshers party later that night, and she said yes. As it was our very first university party, we didn’t yet understand the concept of pre-drinking. So we got dressed, and soberly walked to the university club. To be honest, I don’t remember that first night of clubbing at all, and not because we were so drunk that the memories evaporated in our brains, but because it was so uneventful that there was nothing to remember. I do however, remember feeling sleep deprived and tired in my very first introductory lecture the following day.  

After living together for all of first year, celebrating birthdays, paydays, good days and bad days, we decided to live together for a second year (with two of our other friends).  Unlike our first year, where Rebecca’s room was 4 flights of stairs from mine, this time we were on the same floor. This meant 5 mins chats that turned into 3 hours, Game of Thrones marathons (separately of course, because we loved Game of Thrones more than each others’ company), me judging her K-pop phase, whilst she judged my bright orange dungarees, and me occasionally stealing her bread and eating her rice.

Our friendship continued as I lived abroad for one year (Rebecca if you’re reading this, I know how much you love it when I talk about my year abroad), whilst she finished her degree. Until I also graduated and joined her in the working world, where our friendship is now mainly centred around us moaning about work. Even today, you helped me answer a very important question ‘am I spoilt?’, by reminding me of who I am and why I love you.

Here’s to many more years of friendship, travelling and ridiculously long phone conversations.

Thank you for reading.

Day 9: Animal

When I was in school, I was obsessed with pandas. I just found them to be the most majestic creatures. I was in love with their big black eyes, cute nose and ears. There was just something about them that made me fall in love. I had to do a school project on my favourite animal and I did the most elaborate project. My mum took me to the library everyday after school for 2 weeks, so I could get all my research done. We would go to bookshops and try to find pictures of pandas, and surprisingly, there were quite a few pictures of pandas in bookshops. I spent hours on that project, learning about pandas and I even created a panda fact file after. We moved houses when I was 10 and I lost my panda fact file during the move. Till this day, it is still one of my biggest regrets, allowing my mum to pack it in a box during the move, instead of me putting it in my bag.

If you were to ask me about pandas today, you would be glad to know that I still remember a fair amount. I know that they sit around most of the time eating bamboo, and the occasional fish. I know that they live in China and eat for about 12 hours a day. I know that baby pandas are blind at birth for 6 weeks, which makes sense as their eyes need to get used to the light. I know that females give birth once every 2 years, which is smart because your body needs rest. And I know that they’re endangered.

As an adult, I want to be a panda, but for different reasons than my younger self. Here’s is a list of reasons why:

Eating for 12 hours? – yes please.

Thank you for reading.

Day 8: Dream-Catcher

I can’t remember a single dream I had last year, I know I had some and that for a moment after I remembered them, but not anymore. When I was younger, I only experienced nightmare-esque dreams, the most bizarre and inexplicable ones.

I once dreamt of feline-like animals, who were chasing and attacking me, and they could create and go through portals and so could I. I dreamt of me going through a portal that bought me to my room and I looked at myself, peacefully sleeping on the bed, dreaming that dream. It was a paradox, the sleeping me on the bed was dreaming of the other me, whilst the other me was watching over the sleeping me and protecting me from the feline creatures and ensuring that they did not wake me up. The other me had the power to turn these creatures into statues, but I could never figure out how I did it.

Another time I dreamt of Dan from One Tree Hill having control of all my dolls. The dolls would watch me as I slept and report back to Dan. There was a part in the dream where he was in my house, on the staircase with me behind him saying ‘I know your secret, I know about the dolls’. He didn’t seem to care or seem vaguely frightened by my declarations, as if he knew there was nothing I could do about it.

The closest thing to a normal dream I ever had as a child was me meeting some old friends at a library. But it wasn’t just a library, it was also a WHSmith, as well and a castle. A real castle with a fully functioning gate that could be lowered. My friends and I spoke, I read a book and I woke up.

Thank you for reading.

Day 7: The Rocket Ship

He took it everywhere he went. He wouldn’t stop playing it. It was a gift from his grandfather, before he passed away, and since then he held on to the rocket-ship as if it were the only thing left of him to hold on to. He loved it like he loved his grandfather.

I remember when he was born, my beautiful baby boy. He smelled so good, I couldn’t get enough of that sweet baby smell. I remember when he would grab my finger with his whole hand and look at me with those beautiful grey eyes. My whole world was complete, just me and him, him and me. My first-born son. Before you have a baby, people tell you about how in love you’re going to be with your baby, but I’ve never taken them seriously. I’d been in love before and it wasn’t everything I thought it would be. But with him, it was different. I loved him fully and completely. Every part of me, inside and outside of myself, loved that boy.

He was four when Dad bought him the rocket-ship. It was a week after we watched Space Monsters. After the movie had ended, he said to me, ‘mummy, I want to go to space’ and I told him he couldn’t go to space because that meant he’d be far away from me. And he looked up at me, with those eyes that I have loved so much and he said, ‘I’ll take you with me mummy’.

Him and Dad were inseparable. Dad always watched him when I was working, and they were always sharing secrets. I loved seeing them like that, the two people I loved the most, loving each other. The day Dad died, I saw a part of my son shut off. I didn’t have to explain it to him, he just knew he wasn’t going to see his grandfather again, he was just 6 years old when he lost his best friend. The rocket ship became his new best friend. It was all he had in the end. My sweet sweet boy. It was all he had.

Thank you for reading.