I got some great feedback on my Sparkler Monthly contest entry and made some changes based on it. The story is essentially the same, but I’ve tried to clarified some things, and changed the ending, which I wasn’t happy with anyway. But the edits changed the intent of the story, so I had to change the title as well. “A Start” didn’t fit anymore. I think “Someday” does.
“Mommy! Look what I found!”
Maya looked up from the book she was reading as her daughter bounded over. Her small wings covered something she hugged close to her chest.
“What is it Aisha?” Maya picked her up just as Aisha started to climb onto her chair, settling her in her lap, adjusting her wings, which were wrapped around her shoulders, to accommodate the young L’enti.
“A book!” Aisha held up a hide bound book, grinning broadly.
“Where did you find that?”
“In the library on a tall shelf waaayyyy in the back being all shiny, but I got it all by myself!” She said proudly. “Grandfather said it’s all about our ancestors.” Aisha opened the book. “See? It’s got blue dragons, and green dragons, and even a white dragon!” Aisha flipped through the pages, skipping the words and only pointing out the pictures. “An–and look at the red dragon!” She held the book up into her mother’s face, the page almost touching her nose. “Isn’t he scary looking?!”
“Yes he is,” Maya said calmly as she slowly pushed the book away from her face.
“Why is he being so growly Mommy?” Aisha lowered the book back down into her lap. “None of the other dragons look like that.”
“Did you ask your Grandfather?” Maya knew if Aisha was in the library, then so was Ryu.
Aisha nodded her head. “I did asked him, but he just told me ask you.”
“I see,” Maya said, nodding slowly. She took the book from her daughter, her hands trembling ever so slightly, and held it up so both of them could see it. Aisha snuggled in closer to her mother, her silver, reptilian eyes brightening. “Well, a long, long time ago, when the world was still young, the youngest of the five dragons, a red dragon who burned with the flame of life, was flying through the night sky. He looked up at the stars sparkling above him, and he thought, ‘I can sparkle just as bright as any of them…’”
Maya closed the book slowly. Aisha was fast asleep. She hadn’t even made it halfway through the story before Aisha had drifted off. She looked at the book. The black iridescent scales in the hide were still as brilliant as the last time she saw him alive. She brushed a talon over the scales, a coldness forming in the pit of her stomach. She thought the book had been locked away. Maybe her father-in-law couldn’t bear to part from it. She hadn’t wanted to either, but seeing it hurt too much. She clutched the book close to her chest, hugging it just as she hugged her dozing daughter. Someday Aisha would have to learn what happened to her father. Tears rolled down her cheeks, dripping onto the cover. The scales sparkled where the tears hit, emitting a gentle warmth. Maya smiled despite her heartache. Her mate may be gone, but his love wasn’t. Aisha would know that someday as well.