Heartstone

9 – Dragon Selfies

“…Love is all you need

Love love love

All you need is—“

“Dude,” Jason groaned as if tortured by the stereo, “would you turn that old crap off? Who even listens to that garbage anymore?”

“Yeah!” Jason’s girlfriend Cindy chimed in, eager to jump on any bandwagon of contempt. “Put on some RnB or hip hop. Something made in the last decade.” She laughed, voice full of scorn. Then she snuggled even closer to her boyfriend and squeezed him tight. 

Jason, Cindy, and four other friends lounged in the back of a blue pickup truck under the wide, pale-blue sky. The sun was a bright yellow blaze high above. It was the end of May and warmer than usual, thanks to global warming. They were in the prairies. A farmer’s fields, freshly manured and seeded this spring, and a cattle-filled ranch, stretched out on the other side of the gravel road from them. Their truck was parked next to a smaller field and nearby forest, the latter a wall of slim, scraggly, prairie pine trees, now mostly gray and dead from beetle infestations over the past few years, also thanks to global warming. A pile of beer cans, some still unopened and others empty, filled the spaces between their legs in the truck. A cloud of marijuana smoke hung in a haze around them, mixing with the scent of the all-natural fertilizer nearby. 

A black-and-white cow in the ranch looked up at them with placid eyes, chewing lazily on some grass. She didn’t seem very impressed by the loud humans. 

Jason’s best bud and roommate, DeShawn, shook his head, not one to listen to RnB or hip hop. “Hell no! Turn it to some country. Let’s get some real music going.” He laughed and took another pull on his bong. Marijuana smoke bubbled in the bottom and then burst into his lungs.

Three girls crowded around DeShawn, their bare, nubile arms and legs draped over him in the back of the blue pickup truck. They all cheered his musical taste. But then, they’d cheer just about anything DeShawn said. Two of them, best friends Babs and Soniq, were a good five years younger than the boyfriend they reluctantly shared with each other and slightly older Christine. Recent high school grads, the younger pair were super eager to please their cooler, older lover, a fact that DeShawn constantly exploited, without any sense of guilt whatsoever. Which is how he’d talked the young pair into bed together, then into bed with his regular girlfriend, and then into doing drugs and into regularly shoplifting for him. 

Christine, a weak-willed creature, had long been doing anything DeShawn told her, without question or complaint, ever. She wasn’t very bright, had little self respect, and would do, and had done, anything for some free weed, free beer, and to occasionally hear someone say that he loved her. And when he did, she was desperate enough to believe it, even when DeShawn afterwards told her to go and fuck his friends so that he could have some time alone with Babs and Soniq. Christine didn’t care. Whatever made DeShawn happy. She’d do anything not to lose him. And whenever she slipped into Jason’s bed, he’d tell her nice things and he always let her know just how happy he was to see her, and her huge boobs, usually by offering her a doobie or two as he pushed himself into one orifice or another. She craved love almost as much as she craved free drugs. Even if that love wasn’t actually real, she did her best to believe it was, and was too inexperienced to know the real thing anyway.

Jason, relaxing in Cindy’s arms in the back of the pickup, admired the way that Christine’s glorious knockers half spilled from her low-cut tank top. Seemingly unnoticed, one nipple was visible. Jason tried not to let Cindy see him glancing the nipple’s way, pulling his girlfriend close for a hug with one arm so that her head remained below his own, allowing him to freely ogle DeShawn’s pet. He silently chuckled to himself. Cindy was the jealous type. If only she knew just how many times Jason and DeShawn had banged Christine together, sometimes right after Jason had been with Cindy and then sent her home. He liked Cindy, liked having her around, liked sleeping with her. But Christine was a dirty slut, which was a hell of a lot of fun, and her tits were three times the size of Cindy’s. He loved playing with them. 

Feeling himself growing hard at the thought of being with Christine, Jason quickly covered it up by grabbing his girlfriend’s ass. 

Cindy’s hand strayed to the tent in Jason’s pants. Thinking herself the cause of it, she gave him a knowing smile and kissed him in a way that promised they’d take care of his excitement later. But of course they would. Jason wouldn’t be dating her otherwise. 

“This is the life, eh?” Jason said. “There’s nothing better than bitches, beer and doing absolutely nothing with your day.” He was content. 

Cindy laid her head in his lap, a wide smile on her face. “Absolutely,” she agreed, evidently taking no offence at being labeled a bitch. They called the boys worse sometimes. She stretched and got more comfortable, making sure not to spill the beer in her hand. It was her sixth. Jason was only on his third but that was because the others had all started drinking before they’d left the apartment that day. He hadn’t started drinking until getting behind the wheel and driving the others out here. Though he had started smoking up right after breakfast. That was fine. He was a much better driver stoned than when he was drunk. 

DeShawn heaved himself out of the pile of half-dressed girls and jumped over the side of the truck. He ambled drunkenly over to the nearby fence and unzipped his pants, not caring that the others were only a dozen meters away. He let fly with a satisfied moan. 

Jason busied himself with grabbing Cindy’s firm buttocks and sliding his tongue against hers. His hand started making its way down the back of her pants. But a minute later, he heard DeShawn calling from outside the truck.

“Guys! Guys! Get over here! You gotta see this!”

Heads turned DeShawn’s way but, at first, nobody really moved. Then the girls closer to that side of the truck started getting up.

“What is that?” Babs exclaimed in her high voice. She swayed in place, quite intoxicated. 

Soniq went wide eyed. “Oh my gosh, what the hell?”

“Is that real?” Christine asked. “Or am I just super, really, like, high?”

Jason, finally curious, disengaged from Cindy and stood so that he could get a better look. Cindy scrambled up beside him. 

A small, baby-pink animal scampered around in the long grass at DeShawn’s feet, sniffing and investigating him.

“Did someone dye a cat or something?” Christine wondered out loud. She still hadn’t noticed that her nipple was exposed. Or she didn’t care. After all, Cindy was the only one here who hadn’t sucked on them at one point or another.

Jason jumped from the truck and came closer. He watched the pink creature flex a small pair of bat-style wings. “Holy fuck! It’s a fucking dragon!” he exclaimed.

DeShawn was giddy. “I know, right? How freakin’ cool is this?”

Soniq, still in the truck, tilted her head skeptically. “A dragon? Seriously, guys?”

The other girls, however, eagerly raced over. Soniq, never one to be left out or stand apart, hurried after them. Soon, everyone was oohing and awing over the shocking creature.

“This can’t be real, can it?” Babs wondered, kneeling down in the grass next to the animal. “I mean, it’s, like, a lizard of some kind. Right?”

Cindy reached out and gently petted the dragon’s back. The animal glanced at the hand, but made no move to stop her. “It’s so smooth.” She leaned closer. “Guys! Its breath smells like cinnamon!”

“No way!”

They all sniffed and laughed at the absurdity of it. 

“Look at the wings!” Christine pointed out. “Like a butterfly.”

The dragon had tiny little wings, no doubt too small to fly with. While they had the shape and bone structure of bat wings, the webbing between the bones wasn’t leathery. It was patterned pink and clear and red, much like a butterfly’s wings.

“Selfie! Selfie!” Soniq chanted, jumping up and down and waving her cell phone around. 

Instantly, the other girls crowded around her, everyone with a phone out, pictures snapping. They posed and took photos from every angle, trying to find the best shot, a blend of showcasing this incredible find and making certain that each girl appeared perfectly cute. All part of their social media marketing campaigns.

“Here, I want to carry him,” Jason laughed. He grabbed the beast by the tail, then under the stomach and roughly heaved it up into his arms. It was surprisingly heavy. 

This got a big laugh from everyone and soon they were taking more pics. Then everyone wanted to handle the dragon, passing it eagerly from one person to the next, laughing and posing for one selfie after another. They pulled its wings out for the camera, even pulled lips back to reveal baby fangs.

The little pink creature grew increasingly distressed from the way it was being manhandled. It bleated and wailed.

Christine spoke up. “Hey guys, I think it’s, like, hungry or something.” She offered it the joint in her hand but the dragon hastily shied away, not liking the smell at all. Christine giggled. She blew smoke into its face.

“Give it some beer!” DeShawn snickered. Soon enough Jason was pouring beer down the little dragon’s throat while DeShawn held its mouth open. The girls half-heartedly protested, but smiled too at the sight, taking more pictures. No one bothered to stop the boys. 

“So much for dragons being scary,” Jason laughed.

DeShawn held the dragon up. “Man, we have to take this back to town. We’re gonna make a fucking fortune! You’re our little, pink gold mine, aren’t you? Aren’t you?”

The little dragon squealed unhappily.

A shadow came over the group. 

Soniq looked up — and screamed. 

Jason’s gaze shot upwards. 

The air shimmered. From that shimmer extended a serpentine neck and a massive, pink, scaled head. The head alone was even larger than the big, blue pickup truck. The obviously older and more mature dragon, while still pink, was deeper and darker in hue, at least on the outside and back, while remaining pale pink and white on the inside of the legs and belly. Giant, reptilian eyes angrily glared down at the humans and the big momma dragon snorted pure, white smoke. Then she roared with a maw full of very large, sharp teeth.

Jason felt himself bowled over backwards, a leaf in cinnamon-scented wind. Blinking, he looked up just as the adult dragon breathed sparkling orange fire over his friends. The sudden, intense heat, popped Christine like a balloon of fatty meat, her ragged flesh flying in all directions. DeShawn went up like a human torch, screaming through the roar of flames as he staggered around the grass, leaving flaming footprints behind him. 

Jason scrambled to his feet and took off. He clumsily made it about three steps before something large and heavy bowled him over. Teeth chomped through his legs and he screamed. Then he was swinging upside down and rising into the air. 

He saw Soniq pawing at the door of the truck, tears streaming down her face, too panicked to get inside.

Cindy lay crushed under the dragon’s foot, a talon through her gut, her eyes unseeing.

Christine’s greasy remains sizzled in a messy pile. DeShawn slipped in them and went down, screams getting quieter fast as he barbecued. 

Jason felt the dragon’s mouth bite clean through his legs. Then he fell. He landed hard on his back, not far from his dead girlfriend. He glanced down and saw blood fountaining from his cut-off legs. “N-no! No!” This couldn’t be happening! He looked back up. 

The momma dragon had fully pulled herself through that shimmering air. She was the size of a house. She tossed his cut-off legs back and swallowed them whole. Then she flared her beautiful dragon-butterfly wings and roared again, a hundred times fiercer than any lion. Whipping around, she slammed her tail into Soniq and the truck, crushing the poor girl like a bug on a windshield and sending the truck tumbling side-over-side. 

The dragon looked down. 

Babs huddled miserably on the ground, frozen and shaking like a terrified bunny. Her gray sweats were soaked; she’d wet herself. She clutched the baby dragon in her arms, unable to let go. 

The mother dragon bent her head down low until her nose almost touched Babs’s own.

Babs shook. “P-please don’t. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” the girl babbled. 

A rumble sounded in the mother’s throat. Then the terrifying creature spoke! “Let. Her. Go.” 

Babs nodded uncontrollably and thrust the baby dragon towards the mother, arms trembling. 

The baby safely darted off.

“I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry,” Babs blurted. She hugged herself and shook back and forth. 

The mother snarled and then spoke, her voice booming. “Stupid humans. You have no respect for other creatures.”

Babs burst into frightened tears. “I will. I will, I promise. I promise I’ll never hurt another living thing ever again. I’m so sorry!”

The mother snarled again and opened her mouth. Her head came down until Babs was entirely within those humungous jaws.

Babs wailed helplessly, tears streaming down her face. 

The dragon paused there, then slowly withdrew. 

Jason was shocked to see that Babs still knelt on the ground, alive and unharmed except for the extreme emotional trauma this event would no doubt cause her. The girl collapsed in a tearful heap, getting a head start on her upcoming mental disorder. 

The mother turned around and made for the shimmering air. 

Movement to the side caught Jason’s attention. He turned his head and saw the baby dragon happily scurrying towards her mother, dragging one of Soniq’s crushed legs by the ankle in her toothy little mouth, like an ambitious puppy with an over-sized bone.

The mother cooed the little one and shooed it towards the oddly iridescent air and the baby vanished. The mother glanced over Jason’s way once more. She turned back towards him. Her jaws snapped down around him and lifted him up into the air once more as she headed towards the portal. But Jason knew no more pain, nor saw anything more as he slid down her throat and into her belly. 

Yes, it definitely smelled like cinnamon in here. Weird.

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