‘What are you reading?’ Alys asked, glancing over the steaming cauldron at her diminutive dragon. His pointy tail was twitching with agitation as he read from the crumpled piece of parchment in front of him.
‘It’s a letter from my Uncle George. It just arrived by doormat.’ Sparky put his head on one side. ‘I didn’t know I had any family.’
‘Nor me. What does it say?
‘It says he wants to visit; something about a family tree. At least I think that’s what it says. His writing is terrible.’
Alys peered at the parchment. ‘Well, if he’s a relative of yours I suppose we should invite him.’
The room darkened. Something very large was squashed up against the window. Alys hurried over to see what it was.
‘Oh, I think this must be Uncle George.’
Sparky flew to her shoulder and together they opened the back door to a huge scaly green flank which undulated as its owner turned around. A large but friendly-looking face appeared. ‘Hello,’ it said, yellow saucer eyes gleaming.
‘You must be Uncle George.’ A welcoming plume of purple smoke issued from Sparky’s snout.
‘I was expecting someone… er, smaller,’ said Alys, edging around the door and stepping into the only part of the yard which wasn’t occupied by Uncle George. His great paws sunk into her carefully-tended herb and flower beds and his tail was draped inelegantly over the little garden shed which complained crossly under its weight.
Alys remembered her manners. ‘Pleased to meet you,’ she said politely.
‘So, this is young Sparky, is it?’ Uncle George grinned toothily. ‘I haven’t got long, I’ve lots of relatives to visit.’ He rummaged under his left wing and retrieved a battered book. Then he felt under his chin and pulled out a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles which he perched precariously on his huge green snout.
Sparky flew up and landed on Uncle George’s head, so as better to see the book. He read the title: Who’s Who in the Dragon World.
‘What are you doing up there, boy? Can’t you see I’m trying to read?’ Uncle George said sternly.
‘Sorry, I just wanted to look at the book too.’ A little steam of sapphire smoke seeped from his snout.
‘All right, but keep still.’ Uncle George leafed through the pages with a golden claw.
‘You don’t look like each other at all,’ ventured Alys.
Uncle George ignored her and continued his perusal of the pages. ‘You know, boy, you could be a high-born dragon just like me. Caves and castles, riches and…’
He was interrupted by a big booming voice. ‘George, there you are!’ A bearded face appeared over the wall.
Alys looked around in alarm. Another giant! She’d only just repaired her ceiling after the last one visited.
‘Sorry, Miss,’ the giant apologized, flashing an identity card at her. He smiled sympathetically at Uncle George. ‘My name’s Arthur, I’m afraid George gets awfully confused.
Uncle George looked up. ‘Oh dear, I’ve been rumbled again.
Sparky flew over and perched on the wall, just out of Arthur’s reach. ‘What’s going on? This is my uncle.’ A handful of indignant indigo sparks flared from his nostrils.
Arthur sighed. ‘He’s escaped from the Home for Delusional Dragons again. Not your fault, of course, his letters can be very persuasive. I expect you invited him, didn’t you?’
Alys and Sparky nodded.
‘It breaks the Spell of Confinement if you do, you see.’
‘Perhaps you need to change your spell,’ suggested Alys.
‘Yes, Miss, we will. We don’t want to be too harsh on him though. He’s had a rough time. Gambled all the family riches away…’
‘And I’m not part of that family?’ asked Sparky.
Arthur chuckled. ‘I don’t think so young’un.’
‘I’m fully grown,’ replied Sparky stoutly.
‘Well then, you’re not likely to be related to a dragon like George, are you?’
Sparky stared at George, who was folding his horn-rimmed spectacles. ‘Don’t I have any family?’ asked Sparky plaintively.
George shrugged his huge shoulders.
‘Ready, George?’ asked Arthur.
George nodded happily. ‘Lot’s more family to visit, eh?’
Arthur waved a giant-sized wand and both he and George vanished. The garden shed sighed with relief.
Alys turned to her diminutive dragon. ‘You’ve still got me, Sparky.’
‘And you’re all the family I need, Alys,’ he replied, sending up a pretty plume of purple smoke. ‘I’ll fetch your wand and we can tidy up the garden.’
Alys smiled. Sparky was all the family she needed too.
Image credit: sqbr on deviantart.com