The Boy and the Sea Dragon
The sea dragon broke surface. He floated on the surface. He raised his head He looked around. The sun was beating down on him. White fluffy clouds floated scattered across the sky. The storm was on his left. He let out a sigh of relief. He had cleared the storm. The water was calm. There were small waves. They lapped his right side. A gentle breeze blew toward the storm.
He turned his head around. He looked down at his back. The boy was sprawled out on his back. He was on his stomach. The boy’s limbs were caught in his back fins. The boy’s eyes were covered by goggles. The boy’s hair was dark instead of the sandy blond the dragon originally saw him with. The dragon knew it was because the hair was wet. The boy’s head was laying on its right side. His mouth was open. Water ran out of it and the nose. He was barely breathing. The dragon said to himself with relief, “The boy is still alive.”
The boy was breathing air once more. He coughed up water. He spat it out. All the water was out. His breathing returned to normal eventually. He remained out. The dragon floated on the surface. Occasionally, he splashed water on the boy to keep him cool. He refused to eat for as long as was necessary.
Zuangeng was out for a few days. His eyelids fluttered. They opened. He was no longer in water. He thought, “I must be dead. This must be the afterlife.”
Last year, he was with Iyoseching. He asked him, “Iyoseching, what is it like to be dead?”
“You are in a lovely place. You live there. It is a pleasant place to be in. A better place than Earth is. There is nothing but joy,” Iyoseching explained.
There was no joy. He was confused. He felt heat on his back. Something was hard, rough and scaly under him. Something was pinching his limbs. There was a rough, greenish blue surface. There were protrusions. He freed his arms. He put his hands flat on the surface. He pushed himself up to get a better look. He moved his head to look at the surface. He moved his head up, following the surface. There was a long, tubular protrusion in front of him. He followed that protrusion up.
The dragon felt some movement. He turned his head around. He looked down and smiled. The boy was looking at his head.
Zuangeng saw the dragon’s head looking at him and smiling. His eyes and mouth opened wide. He screamed fearfully, “I’m on the back of a sea dragon!”
“Do not be afraid, little one. I will not harm you. I saved you from a watery grave,” the sea dragon tried to reassure him in Dragonese.
Zuangeng stopped screaming. He cocked his head to the right. He said, “Lenagi ena amia lakang?”
“Oh, I forgot you speak Cingalia not Dragonese,” the dragon apologized in Dragonese.
He repeated what he had said earlier in Cingalia, “Donaka akla mongra, liyonga nonga. Ikala mironaka herama amia. Ikala migiapa amia fulea neqesaga ngaqevala.”
“Igasa?” was all Zuangeng said. He wanted to know the reason for the dragon’s actions.
“Amia aita yotinka. Amia keloma ngakala ngahomia onga amia,” the dragon said.
“Ah!” Zuangeng said. He freed his legs. He rolled over onto his back. He put his hands on the surface at his chest. He pushed himself up. He moved his legs under him. He was on his hands and knees. He raised his right leg. He moved it to plant the foot on the back. He used his hands and leg to push himself to standing.
He turned around to face the dragon’s head. He realized that he was hungry, now that the excitement was over. He could hear his stomach rumbling. He out his right hand on his stomach. He said in Cingalia, “I can’t remember when I last ate. How long have I been out Ikala’y hulianga!”
“It’s been a few days. Ungitaki dilepia ngabiliama unada vulang liga,” the sea dragon warned Zuangneg. The sea dragon dove. Zuangeng was caught off guard. He fell on his stomach. He grabbed a pair of fins, one fin on each side. He got water in his throat. He gagged and coughed. He kicked the sea dragon on the back. The sea dragon immediately surfaced. He looked at Zuangeng. Zuangeng was coughing up and spitting out water.
“Ingayala! Ingayala!” Zuangeng finally said angrily. He hit the dragon several times.
“Seliana. Ikala rikelama mivaleka amia. Dong esa ikala lakang,” the dragon apologized. Zuangeng calmed down. He stopped hitting.
“Give me some time to prepare, dragon!” Zuangeng said in Cingalia.
“Ok. Give me a tap when you are ready,” the dragon said.
Zuangeng held onto two fins as before. He breathed with each breath deeper than the one before. His extremities started to tingle. He took one final really deep breath. He held it. He tapped the dragon’s back with his right foot.
The sea dragon dove again. He flew fast. He beat his wings fast as they raced through the water. Zuangeng had some problems staying on the dragon’s back. He felt the water flowing over his body. The flow tried to push him toward the dragon’s tail. He tended to float off the back. The flowing water getting under him compounded the problem. The easiest solution was to jam his legs between fins and hold tightly on other fins. He felt the muscles around the shoulders move.
The dragon saw a school of fish to his right. He banked toward it. He felt a tap. He stopped. He turned his head. Zuangeng pointed to the surface. The dragon nodded. He headed to the surface. He broke surface. He floated.
Zuangeng sat up. He let go of his breath. He panted. He raised his goggles. He looked around. Water, the sky and the two of them were all that could be seen. The blue sky was clear with not a cloud to be seen. The bright sun was almost directly overhead. A mild breeze blew. The water rippled. The water on his skin kept him cool in spite of the hot sun. Rivulets of water ran from his hair down his back, chest and stomach. He looked for the ship. It was not to be found anywhere.
He recovered his breath. He lowered his goggles. He laid down. He crammed his feet between two pairs of fins. He grabbed two fins. He repeated the breathing ritual. He tapped the dragon.
The dragon dove back under. He searched for the school of fish seen before. He found it. He flew right into it. He caught a struggling fish with his right front paw as the school fled. He resurfaced.
Zuangeng let go of his breath. He breathed normally. He sat up. The dragon folded his wings. He raised his head. He raised his right front leg. He gave his paw a quick flick. The fish flew toward Zuangeng. The dragon said, “Quick, catch.”
Zuangeng brought his arms up. He caught the fish. He held and looked at it. The water droplets clinging to the lenses of the goggles made it difficult to see it. The droplets distorted images. He raised the goggles to his forehead to see better. He looked at the fish again. The fish was silvery grey. A stripe tinged iridescent blue ran along both sides from the gill slits to the tail. He was not certain of what to do next. He said quizzically, “Holianka baente ikala edianpa wileu?”
“Ikala donaka kinala. Amia kelamapa nilimpea ilitu temila amiaka,” the dragon said with uncertainty. Zuangeng felt the dragon’s shoulders rise in a shrug.
Zuangeng looked the fish over, again. It had dried making the scales sticky. They came off on his hands. He noticed that his nails had grown long. He could not remember the last time they had been clipped. He was not a nail biter, either. An idea developed. He used his nails to scrape the scales off. He got scales all over his arms, hands, legs, chest, stomach anf the dragon’s back. Zuangeng apologized, “Seliama.”
“Eh. Mongavilea’y yotinga,” the dragon said uncaringly.
Zuangeng used his nails to slit the bottom of the fish open. He got blood on himself and the dragon. He pulled the guts out. He threw them into the water. He pulled out as many bones as he could. He threw into the water as well. He picked out the meat and ate it. He had eaten raw fish; but, not like this. The raw fish he had before now was prepared. He ate some scales that came off his hands onto the meat. Some blood on his hands got on the meat as well. The dragon watched him eat. Zuangeng offered him some meat. The dragon gladly accepted. The dragon opened his mouth. Zuangeng threw the meat into the dragon’s mouth. The dragon swallowed it without chewing. Zuangeng, however, chewed his. They finished the meat. Zuangeng threw the remains into the water.
Zuangeng looked at the scales and blood on his legs, arms and belly. He said, “Ikala mira nowiling batinga.”
He stood up on the dragon’s back. He walked over to the dragon’s right. He hit one of the fins with his right big toe. He looked down at the offending fin. He traced a row of fins from the shoulders where he stood to the tail. He lowered his goggles over his eyes. He raised his arms above his head. He bent over forward. He dove headlong into the water. He went under the water surface. He swam to the surface. He reached the surface. His head popped out of the water. He let go of his breath. He took another breath and held it. He floated on his stomach with his face in the water. He rubbed his hands together. He got the blood and scales of them. He rubbed his arms clean. He raised his head out of the water. He took another breath. He cleaned his chest and stomach. After still another breath, he cleaned his legs.
The dragon watched him breast-stroke. Zuangeng swam toward the dragon. He swam to the right wing. He grabbed the wing with his left hand. He wedged his left arm between the wing and the body. He righted himself. He rested.
The dragon said in Cingalia, “I’m going under. I need my back clean as well.”
Zuangeng let go of the wing. The dragon submerged. Zuangeng took a deep breath. He went under, too. He swam down over the dragon. He rubbed the dragon’s back. He cleaned the scales and blood off. They resurfaced. Zuangeng swam to the dragon’s right side. He held onto the wing again. Zuangeng said, “I’m going to swim for a while.”
“I suggest you swim close to me. It’s pretty deep here,” the dragon advised.
“I’m familiar with the ocean,” Zuangeng said.
The dragon watched him. Zuangeng swam on the surface for a while. He stayed close to the dragon. He breast-stroke from the dragon’s nose to the tail tip. He rolled over onto his back. He back-stroked back to the nose. He did all this without stopping. He took a deep breath. He dove under water. The dragon got his head underwater to watch him. Zuangeng was completely underwater as he swam. He surfaced. He swam some more. Zuangeng grew tired.
He swam to the dragon. He grabbed the right wing with both hands. He pulled himself up until his arms were straight. He supported himself on his left arm. He looked up as he reached up for a fin with his right hand. He grabbed a fin. He held onto it. He let go of the wing. He swung his left arm up. He pulled himself up. He stepped on the wing’s leading edge. He rested the balls of each foot on it. He leaned over the back. He let go of the fins. He planted his hands on the back. He swung his left leg over the fins. His right leg dangled. He rolled over onto his back. He rolled back onto his stomach. He got up on all fours. He crawled toward the middle. He laid down on his stomach. He folded his arms across each other. He rested his head on the right side on the arms. He rested. He fell asleep. He slept for a while.
Zuangeng woke. He sat up. The dragon was looking at him. The dragon said in Cingalia, “Since we will be together until I get you to an island, we need to introduce ourselves. IN your language and by your people, I’m known as ‘Xianjeng’.” Xianjeng said.
“My name is ‘Zuangeng’,” he said.
“You need to learn my language!” Xianjeng said.
“Why,” Zuangeng asked.
“Aka alang iyokang lakea amiaku langea. Not all people speak your language, either. We start your lessons tomorrow,” Xianjeng said. It was getting dark. He looked at the sun, half of it was below the horizon.
Zuangeng laid back down as before. He fell asleep. Xianjeng floated on the ocean surface. He laid his head on it. He fell asleep, too.