Hello, Believers and Skeptics!
Look, I don’t know what you actually saw, but it definitely wasn’t some big, scaly, roaring mythical creature. What do you mean, how do I know? I mean, it’s absurd, isn’t it? Oh fine. Fine! Then you’ll just have to show me yourself, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Mistaken for a Dragon
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
Now this is a truly fantastical prompt. Dragons are pretty distinctive in lots of different ways, so to mistake something for a dragon is no easy feat. It is definitely the kind that plays on the imagination in more ways than one.
For example, perhaps a hunter is out in the woods, stalking their usual game as quietly as they can, only for a loud and echoing roar to scare the game off. The hunter is just as startled, but decides to follow the sound cautiously. They ponder what this new beast could be. Manticore? Dragon? Only to come across what appears to be a bear stuck in a barrel. Or maybe a palace guard is doing his rounds late into the night. He’s tired, he’s a bit sore, and didn’t sleep entirely well. He stands on the top of the palace wall, staring into the distance at the incoming storm. But then… what was that? Did he really see a dragon diving in and out of the clouds? He rushes to tell his comrades, but they write him off as tired and tell him he just saw oddly shaped clouds, and no matter how he tries they just will not believe him.
Maybe it’s a child who is simply enamored with the idea of dragons, and ends up incredibly excited at the idea of a tiny dragon in a glass tank at the pet store. Regardless of how many times mother tells them it is just a lizard, they know better. It is definitely a dragon and they want it as their new pet. Perhaps we even explore further down the line, where the child is playing pretend as a knight, and must rescue their little sister, the Princess, from this fast, fearsome, possibly fire breathing creature no bigger than a coffee mug. Or maybe it’s an outcast scientist trying every way to prove dragons were real once, but a lot of the specimens they gather end up being from already proven creatures like alligators, sharks, and lizards of all kinds.
So let your imagination wander to kingdoms far far away! Let it stretch and twist and play on the world around you! Show us all the ways our minds can trick us into seeing such fantastic creatures!
But just in case it really is a dragon, please do proceed with caution.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
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What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
- Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
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- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
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- Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
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- You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
- Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.
Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
The first of the gang to die
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
It was night. Our car stopped on the side of the road, it’s headlights already off, and we got out. Before us was an unassuming house. Not even a drop of color in the paint to distinguish it. I looked at my partner.
“Is this the place, Jack?”
“Yeah. This is the dragon, pal. The big one! My source has got it on his life that this house should be filled to the brim with antiques, jewelry, and even bullion! And get this” My partner stifled a laugh. “The place aint even occupied most of the year. It’s just storage.”
I smile. “Well then. What are we waiting for?” I grab my lockpicking kit and immediately head to the gate.
Not too long after, We’re in and we open the door into the house. Instead of being the veritable horde promised, we were left with a relatively empty and destitute normal residency.
“Fuck, I musta got the address wrong.” Jack punches a family photo. “Alright, let’s just take what we can and hock this at a pawn shop.”
We both grab as much as we can from the poor house, but just as we attempt our mistake, we hear the loading of a gun. We turn around to see an old man, probably in his 70s. He looked directly at me, pointing the gun at my face.
“You boys better put back what y- “His lecture was interrupted as Jack immediately threw a heavy stapler at the man. He dodged, turned and fired a single shot. Jack fell dead instantly, as I made a run for the car.
Desperately, I throw the shit we grabbed to the floor and haul ass. Thankfully, the man didn’t
By Giovanna J Fuller
Little Julia sighed.
This small town was boring enough, but it could and was always worse. It was the hottest day of summer and the local pond was infested with flesh eating bacteria. The sidewalk was so hot, the young girl seriously considered whether it was possible to bake cookies on it. Her hair stuck to the back of her neck as she laid back in the cool shade provided by the porch. Her eyes fluttered close as the heat took over and sent her into a light sleep.
After a few hours a loud ‘boom” startled her from sleep.
She sat up and looked up at the sky. A gray figure blocked out the sun. It swirled and writhed as a single bolt of light exploded from its darkness. The silhouette was something Julia had seen only in her picture books.
“Dragon!” she screamed in terror and ran inside.
She found her mother sitting on a plastic covered sofa, feet in a bucket of melted ice water, fanning herself listlessly with her church fan.
“What is it, Jul?” The words seemed to be an effort to form as they came out slow and sloppy.
“There’s a dragon! There’s a dragon outside!”
“A dragon-Jul, I’m not in the mood for games.” She groaned.
“Mama!” Julia pulled on her mother’s arm until the woman relented and allowed herself to be pulled outside.
Once the two came out from under the porch overhang, they looked up.
Her mother sighed and muttered, “Thank God.” In a normal tone she continued, “Looks like rain clouds, Jul.”
The adult retreated back into the house, completely ignoring her crestfallen child. “Lord knows we need it.”
Julia searched furiously for the dragon, but all she saw were blackened clouds gathering. Embarrassed, Julia prepared to take shelter when something shiny caught her eye. Curious, she walked over to inspect.
There she found a large, charcoal gray reptilian scale.
What’s a dragon?
By Jesse Fisher
Well this was not something he was expecting to see this day. He knew that a group of gods had scheduled to have a room so they could hold a conference for some reason. It did not matter to the heterochromic eyed bar keep. This was a common thing, a group comes in wanting to do something. He agreed and they used the room.
This was something that he paid little mind to but on this moment of watching his young draconic hybrid, the beings kept guessing what they were.
Some say a crocodylidae parent, some said winged turtle, and even one thought they were a featherless gryphon. Which confused the father, the scales on his child hide should be a give a way. Maybe the wings give the impression of this, then again being half him could leave some ambiguity.
While thinking this the bar keep turned to a surprised kiss with his draconic mate. The metallic sand yellow scales and emerald eyes grated him.
“So Korun, why was there a group of reptiles that kept guessing my species wrong?”
“I have no clue Oleander, they could not guess Cyan’s other half so I’m at a loss.” The bar keep thought for a moment. “I need to check why the wanted to have that room again.”
Poofing a list from out of nowhere, he reread the paper he kinda chuckled.
The dragoness cradled her child in her arm and had a perturbed look to her mate.
“What is it this time?”
The look on the keep’s face was one of bemusement.
“Here there be dragons: a conference on what dragons look like.”
There was a moment of a silent what, form the dragon in question. At that point her hatchling pulled on her toga, snapping her back to reality.
“You’re telling me that none of them know what a dragon is?”
Her Greater Self (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis
Clay had been exposed to a lot of dragon stories and media. After all, who hadn’t? Dragons have been part of human culture since long before they had ascended to the stars.
That said, with all the books he had read, all the movies he had seen, the games he had played…little compared to the dragon that stood before him now, standing on a scale normally inhabited by great buildings, spaceships, and the mountains themselves.
But the most thrilling, the most terrifying thing of all? It was that he loved her. And he knew that she loved him too, in her own way.
“…Freya? You can still hear me from all the way up there, right?”
The dragon released an amused exhale, the strength of the breath blowing back the grass around Clay. “Of course I can hear you, darling. Just as always.” Her head shifts slightly. “You don’t seem excessively scared. That is good.”
“Why would I-” he blinks, and looks again at her gargantuan form. “Well okay, I understand your concern. But it’s still you, right? Just way bigger than I’m used to!” He smiled, as much for his own reassurance as hers.
Her eyes softened. “Oh, but you have seen my size before. Every day, in fact.” Everything flickered for a moment, and Clay was floating in the core of his world, before a massive shining sphere surrounded by millions of great cables.
Another flicker, and he was in the hollowed-out mantle of the planet, with a city of servers and power stations filling his view.
Another, and he was in space, looking down upon the entirety of Vang, the planet and megacity that Clay called home.
A final flicker, and he was back in the field before her.
“Do you see, darling? To love me, to really, truly love me, is to love something giant, something terrifying, something inhuman – even if my humanoid forms help people to forget that truth. But you deserve to remember, to understand. To see.”
Her lake-sized eyes looked deeply into his own. “Is this – ALL of this – truly what you want?”
Beneath the Earth
by Gerrit (Rattus)
Dr. Bertram cursed his greed, his ignorance, his insatiable hunger for fame. So many warnings that had flown past his ears unheeded. So many opportunities to turn back, to put his damned ego aside for once in his life. But now he was stuck here, trapped within the lithic confines of the chamber that had caved in behind him.
How long had he been down here? It could have been minutes just as easily as hours. When the rocks first came crashing down, he had been convinced that he could just dig his way back out.
But each stone he removed was replaced with two more, some so big he could never hope to remove them on his own. The skin on his fingertips was split and bleeding from trying to claw his way to safety without success.
Nobody would help him here. Deep down, he knew that. They’d probably think he deserved it. He had bypassed all the barricades, the lines of yellow tape and wooden signs that warned of instability up ahead.
They’d probably be glad he was gone. He saw the way they looked at him, the way the conversations died when he drew too near, replaced with muttering and whispering.
Served him right for going this far in. Small rocks had started falling from the ceiling while they were digging for fossils further back, and everything this far in was deemed too dangerous. But he knew this chamber would be hiding the greatest secrets. He had glimpsed them for a brief moment, before it was blocked off.
He sat on the ground, the massive skull sitting next to him. Some kind of as-of-yet undiscovered tyrannosaur, if he had to take a guess. He had managed to dig it out of the wall, the last strike of his chisel becoming the final nail in his coffin. The repeated strikes with his hammer had unsettled the earth and stone, and now he would die here.
His entire adult life, spent hunting the remains of the dead buried deep underground. And now, it seemed, he would join them.
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)
Padas stood on the shore and watched gnarled backs slice through the waves. He knew it wasn’t The Deep One, whose whispered promises echoed still in his memories, by the size of the black ridges that cut the riptide.
Beside him, his granddaughter—or great-niece, he wasn’t sure anymore and called each of the rising priestesses ‘daughter’—stood, holding Karas’ Sword. Its fiery light danced in the waves.
“Is it Him?” she asked.
“How do you know, Father?”
“They’re too small.”
They stood and watched. Horrid black and white faces ogled them from the waves.
“What are they?”
He had hoped she wouldn’t ask. His answer used to be easy to say. There were so many things he didn’t know back when Klajonas or Mazylas asked him questions. It was harder with their children, and their children’s children.
“I don’t know,” he mumbled.
“Is it His progeny?”
Who taught them these words? he wondered. Mazylas or Vienas? It wasn’t enough to distract him from the memories of what The Deep One did to its victims.
“No, He has none.”
Another orcaic body rose, the waves beneath it tinting rouge. It wasn’t from the sunset.
“Father, you know what I have been through.”
He tried to remember. His old mind let things slip these days. No, since Vienas died. How long had it been since she left him behind? He glanced at the flaming sword.
“But this frightens me.”
He nodded, hoping he wouldn’t be called on to reach for the blade. His old knuckles were stiff and ached. The blade was heavy and his body worn.
“More than the hunter in the woods?” he asked.
“More than niekas. The hunter is a just beast, but this,” she lifted her chin to the waves. “This is alien.”
“It is the sea.” He started humming the old poem of seasons. “Nothing but the sea. The Deep One is not in this. Fear not, daughter, I am not going to war today.”
Ramona pulled into the parking lot of the dive bar. She put the car into park, and then turned to her passenger. “So, here we are. Where’s the target?”
Erykah glanced up from her phone. “Hold on.” She tapped at the screen a couple times. “The target left about five minutes ago.”
Ramona took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. “I can’t believe you want me to hunt a dragon with you.”
No, no! A dragonkin. Not exactly the same thing.”
Ramona raised an eyebrow. “What exactly is the difference?”
Erykah opened the car door and stepped out. “Dragonkin are like if a dragon had a baby with one of the mortal species. Like a human, or a fae. They’re considerably less powerful than a full dragon.”
“So, we shouldn’t be worried?” Ramona asked. She let out a sigh of relief.
Erykah shook her head. “Oh, no. Dragonkin can still be exceptionally dangerous. Hopefully we can control this before it comes to violence.”
Ramona checked her handgun in its holster, then pulled her poncho over it.
Erykah brought up a picture on her phone and showed it to Ramona. “This is what he looks like while glamored. But he’s drunk, so his glamor keeps slipping. If you see him, call me. Try not to directly confront him. I’ll head this way,” Erykah jerked her thumb behind her, and then jogged off.
Ramona watched Erykah leave, then followed after. It only took her a block to find the target, leaning on a street lamp and vomiting in the gutter.
Ramona pulled out her phone and dialed Erykah, then slowly raised it to her ear. The target spotted her and started to run.
“Hold it right there, Dragon!” she yelled. She pulled out her pistol and aimed.
He stumbled to a halt and turned around, staggering the entire time. Ramona could see his reptilian eyes.
“Rude!” he said, his words slurred. As he drunkenly swayed, his lizardlike features became more pronounced. “Not all reptile species look alike, you know. I happen to be Iguana folk.”
The Order and the Chaos (Students of the DiamondBridge Academy universe)
by Carrie (Glaceon373)
“Y’know, when I first met you,” Mavthos sauntered down the west wing hallway, “I didn’t really place you as the rule-enforcement type.”
“Mm-hm.” Cypress didn’t look up from their phone. They navigated through a chain of menus, tapping rapidly with their scaled hands. How did that even work? Mavthos felt he should know this by now. He’d been hanging out with this lizardfolk after school for nearly a week now, but had barely learned anything. He just hung around as they made sure no one was messing around.
Mavthos gently elbowed Cypress in the side. “So, uh… you gonna comment on that?”
Cypress didn’t flinch. “What would I say?”
Mavthos’ pace stuttered. “Uh, well, get all defensive? Argue with me?”
“And what would that accomplish?”
“You… really aren’t one for banter, huh?”
“Just brooding, grumpy, sad—”
Cypress stopped and shot an arm out, covering Mavthos’ mouth. “Stay here and shut up,” they whispered.
Mavthos nodded, otherwise frozen.
In an instant, Cypress changed from a coffee-deprived high schooler into Infiltration/Sabotage 101’s top student. They slunk around the corner without making a single sound. Mavthos leaned his head around the corner, just to catch a glimpse of whatever majesty of stealth was about to go down.
About halfway down the next hall, a group of kids huddled around one of the school-provided vending machines. One of them was trying to pry off the glass cover while the other kids cheered her on.
Cypress got within reach of the group without any of them noticing. Then, in a quick movement, they tapped one on the shoulder and asked, “Whatcha up to?” with plenty of teeth.
There was a scream and lots of shuffling and the kids scattered.
The second they were all gone, Mavthos charged down the hall. “That was incredible! You were all scary, and sneaky, and—”
“It was nothing,” Cypress checked over the machine for damages. “Just keeping the school in order.”
“Imagine all the stuff you could do with that! You could be an assassin, a body guard—”
Cypress sighed. “Why do I ever put up with you?”
“The Conspiracy Revealed”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane (CW: minor gaslighting, poison gas, death)
Bright artificial light stung Blazhel’s eyes as he came to consciousness. His body still ached from the beating he’d received in the library. This cold metal table they strapped him to didn’t help things. The weirdest thing to Blazhel was the muzzle they had put over his mouth. While it didn’t impede speech, it made it difficult to open his mouth all the way.
The confused cry echoed around the room. No response. Not from the speaker. Not from the door. Not from the small window near the ceiling. Nothing.
Blazhel tried again. “Hello?! Is there anybody out there?”
There was a pause. With a sudden peal of static, the speaker came to life. It buzzed for what seemed like eternity before…
“Ah! I see our friend is awake. So, how did you sleep?”
Blazhel couldn’t keep the hatred from his voice. “Screw you! You beat me until I was unconscious, you asshole!”
“Such strong words from someone in your position. Then again, I bet with your longevity you escaped from something like this. Not that it will be easy.”
Blazhel’s brows furrowed. “What the hell are you talking about?!”
“Blazhel, was it? We’ve watched your unsanctioned studies into the esoterica of the world.”
“Yeah? What about it?
A coarse chuckle came over the speaker. “You took the biggest bait dragon hunters could think of! Of course, with the possibility you’re not a dragon, we must keep you here.”
“Wait. What?” Blazhel struggled against his restraints. “What the hell? There are no such things as dragons!”
“Oh yes. That old story. It’s cute the first couple of times, but it gets boring fast.”
“But I’m not a dragon!”
Another pause. Blazhel could hear the rustling of papers. The speaker shut off. A panel opened across from the young man, revealing a nozzle. There was a hiss of gas. Blazhel coughed as his vision went blurry. His thrashing became weaker and weaker. His lungs burned. He felt his heart go into overdrive before becoming arrhythmic. Blazhel clutched his chest before laying still on the table, eyes wide open.
In a small nursery, a mother cradled her child. Light streamed in from a window above, casting the room in the sun’s warmth. The child laughed in the golden light. He smiled bright and wide; his eyes shimmered with mirth.
The birds sang their sweet songs as the wind ruffled outside in the trees. The mother traced her finger across her child’s skin, feeling him and giving him her love. The child giggled as she did so, sending his love to her. Even so young he knew his mother for who she was.
And in that perfect silence, the mother knew her child would become something great, for there would be greatness in all he did. He was her son and her son needed only breathe to be great.
She leaned in and kissed his forehead. Her heart swelled with overwhelming love. This was her son! Her son… her beautiful, wonderful, son.
But the wind stopped blowing, and the birds stopped singing. Clouds veiled the sun, and the nursery grew cold. The child’s laughter faded. A rhythmic thud echoed from beyond the nursery. Heavy footfalls approached. The child’s eyes warbled, anxiety smothering him. The footfalls kept coming.
Suddenly, they ceased. For a moment it seemed like they would not resume, but the latch to the nursery’s door rattled and it came creaking open.
A towering silhouette emerged, looming over the room’s occupants. The silhouette – a man – held an axe. It dripped.
The baby’s lip quivered. The man stepped forward, flickering candlelight revealed scratched and bloodied armor.
The baby cried.
But the mother smiled.
She rose and offered the warrior his son.
The father – a ravaged, scarred, and broken warrior – reached out his hand. The baby’s crying shattered his heart. But through those fearful tears, he saw his son. He saw his rosy cheeks and verdant eyes. His axe fell, and he wiped his son’s tears away.
The gentle, loving warmth of the father’s touch comforted the child, easing his fears, and the child knew then who his father was.
And they laughed.
by Lunabear (Please don’t read on stream) (CW: Threat of violence) (Cursed Brothers Universe)
Remy’s tracks disappeared almost instantly in the dizzying flurry. He curled into himself all the more. The bone-biting wind had sapped nearly all of his energy.
Only two things kept his fire going: retrieving his brother, and revenge.
Remy’s long, arduous trek up the mountain had been mostly silent and reflective. He knew Cal to be resourceful enough to survive, but there was still that small, doubtful voice in the darkest corner of his mind.
‘That way of thinking leads to madness.’
Remy grit his teeth and kept pushing.
Time blended into time.
The snow had no end.
The enormous wooden door had a large knocker. Remy rubbed his sore nose while making his presence known.
He blew on his frigid hands and grumbled about the long wait.
The door swung inward on squeaky hinges, and Remy was met with a pair of familiar, amethyst eyes.
The woman’s pallid face paled further, revealing her own recognition.
The embers in his gut roared into a flame.
The cold forgotten, Remy’s face darkened as he rushed over the threshold. He aimed an accusatory finger at her.
She moved out of his reach with a speed he couldn’t match.
“YOU! I’ve seen you, slinking around in every town my brother and I have been in. YOU took him?”
Her forked tongue snaked out and wet her lips. Her gaze flicked up the stairs.
His viperous words made her cower against the wall, but Remy didn’t care.
“I’m a snake–”
He stalked towards her and growled in her face, “I don’t give a fuck WHAT you are! Where’s Cal?!”
She kept eye contact, though he could practically smell her fear. “Cal! Helatia!”
Remy spoke deliberately, “I’ve never wanted to hurt a woman more in my life.”
At her unshed tears, guilt superseded his rage.
“Please. I’m so sorry. My sister bears a curse, and–”
His heart kicked into his throat. “A curse?”
She nodded erratically, sharp fangs worrying her lip.
Elated, Remy looked up.
“Get away from her!”
His joy withered away as a VERY enraged Cal stomped towards him.