My camera is in its bag. My Jeep is ready to go. I think I’m all set! Never in my life have I been this excited about something. Going on a cross-country road trip has been on my bucket list for such a long time, and it’s finally coming true.
I throw the rest of my clothes in the back of my Jeep and start it. I run back inside to grab my dog Jake. Jake is a wonderful seven-year-old German Shepherd. Jake runs ahead to the Jeep and jumps into the passenger seat. I slam the door to my house closed behind me and don’t look back. The top is off the Jeep, and it’s a beautiful summer day. “Ready to drive?” I called over to my furry travel companion. He enthusiastically barked back like he understood what I said.
I turn the radio up and blast “Chicago” by I Fight Dragons, since that’s our first stop. I have missed Chicago-style pizza more than you could imagine. Everything goes smoothly and we arrive in Chicago around 4 in the afternoon. I dial up an authentic pizza place and order three deep dish pizzas for carry-out. A girl and her dog… and three pizzas. What more could you want in the world?
We drive out to the Navy Pier for a phenomenal sunset. Jake enthusiastically begins eating his bone that I brought from home, as I begin on a pizza. We happily sigh and lean against each other in the Jeep- this is exactly what we wanted.
As the night comes to a close, we realize we need to find a place to park. We find a small lot on the outskirts of Chicago that has free overnight parking. Jake and I slip the fabric top onto the Jeep in case it rains, and recline our seats. We slowly doze off.
We are awoken in the middle of the night by a low-pitched growling noise. Jake and I jump awake, thinking there is a bear. We’re ready to drive away, when we notice a figure behind the bushes that is definitely not a bear. “Hello????” I call out. Jake begins sniffing at the door. I calmly warn him to please stay in the Jeep.
The figure saunters closer to the Jeep, not seeming intimidated by the humanity of it whatsoever. “What… is that?” I mutter to myself. Even my big, brave German Shepherd perks his head up to look what the heck is approaching us.
“That’s…. a DRAGON!” I loudly whisper to Jake. The green figure hears me, and turns as if it is heading back into the woods. I quickly make my way out of the Jeep and crouch down to the right of my headlights, in plain view of the little creature.
He was the most marvelous thing I’d ever seen. He had green, scaly skin and small green wings. His feet were webbed like that of a duck, but significantly thicker. He had the most beautiful blue eyes.
I had Jake come next to me and brings a can of veal from the backseat. I pop it open and lay some on the palm of my hand. I gently ask the little reptilian creature to come closer, and whisper words of support to him.
In the blink of an eye, the little guy comes forward, takes the veal off my hand, and returns to his spot about 50 feet from me. “Holy shit” I whisper to Jake.
Suddenly, the growling came back. I realized it was coming from the 3-and-a-half-foot-tall reptile in front of me. I then realized… He’s clearing his throat!
The creature pranced forward joyfully, and sat three feet in front of me and Jake. He began to speak. In the deepest, most majestic voice I’d ever heard in my life, the little guy said: “hi, my name is Dexter. But you can call me Dee for short. I’ve always wanted to travel cross country, but I’ve never found the courage to approach anyone before. You and your furry… what do humans call it..?”
“Dog!” I interrupted.
“Ah yes, dog” continued Dee. “You and your dog seemed so friendly, I thought I’d give it a try. May I join you?”
Jake and I looked at each other for a second, but we knew exactly what we wanted. “Absolutely!” I smiled back at Dee. Jake barked enthusiastically.
The next morning, Dee, Jake and I departed Chicago and headed west. “Let’s go to Reno!” Dee suggested. The little guy had a strange fascination with cars. All he wanted was to see the National Automobile Museum in downtown Reno. Jake and I agreed, and off we went. Following the Interstate 80, we drove through a bunch of states. We saw Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, and quite a few others. Every now and then we’d pull over and we’d stretch our legs (and wings), take a few photos, and enjoy the fresh air. On the border of Nevada, we decided to take the top back off the Jeep. Dee was a fantastic help in doing so. He had wings, so he could fly. He flew kind of like a chicken since his wings were incredibly disproportionate, but he flew nonetheless.
We were munching on cold pizza when we arrived in Reno. The weather was warm and the sun was shining, and our odd entourage was more excited than ever. Dee pulled on a Hawaiian shirt and a baseball cap that he found in the back of my car. Jake was wearing his bandanna with cactus prints, and I was wearing a short white skirt with a crop top. We were ready to hit the road.
My camera hung from my neck and Jake’s leash loosely wrapped around my arm, the three of us approached the Automobile Museum. That’s when everything changed. Dee disappeared.
I called his name. Jake barked. We asked around to see if anyone had seen a 3-and-a-half foot tall dragon with blue eyes, a Cubs baseball cap, and a Hawaiian shirt. Everyone looked at us like we were insane. I looked through the photos on my camera. There was nothing there. All the photos of Dee were gone.
I panicked as Jake pulled me back to the Jeep. “I finally met a friend” I whispered, hyperventilating.
I noticed the most beautiful red charm laying on the dashboard of the Jeep. Next to it was a small note, scribbled on the back of the pizza receipt.
Written in perfect cursive, it read:
Thank you for taking me to Reno. I am afraid this is where our journey must end. You see, every year a dragon makes its way to Reno to star in a movie when we’re older. They raise us, they train us, then we’re eventually cast in a movie. I am going to be starring in a fantasy movie, much like Harry Potter. I sadly will be slain in the end, but so is life for a dragon. I was afraid if I told you my real intentions, you’d never take me.
I am also very sorry about your photographs. If the council of the dragons found out about my means of travel, I’d be slain right away. I am the 346th dragon to take part in this program, and there are very few of us left. I am going to start a revolution, to save my kind.
Left for you here is a piece of my heart. Thank you for helping me follow my destiny. Please don’t try to find me, or you’ll only hurt me.
I will remember you always.
I was sobbing into Jake before I knew it. We decided to drive to California to get our minds off of Dee. I hung the pendant around my neck and proudly wore it. I proudly displayed that I was one with the Dragons- that I had Dee’s heart and I would never let it go.
March: Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly?
I hope you enjoyed this freewrite! I’ll be back-tracking and posting February’s soon. It’s in my drafts, I promise.