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The Dragon and the Serpent

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Murky green darkness. Underwater.

Then, a flash of brilliant red, receding into the gloom. Another.

Suddenly a huge head rears up, surrounded by a ruff of magnificent red spikes tipped with gold. The mouth opens, slowly, showing needle sharp teeth. The serpent’s eyes hold endless sadness -

The scene changes. A perfect, cloudless blue sky. A red bird in the distance flies closer, and closer, and closer still, and it is not a bird but a dragon, its impossibly red scales blinding in the sun. It hovers, stretching out its neck until there is nothing in the world but its head and its ageless, accusing eyes.

I sat up in bed with a start, the bedclothes tangled around me and my breath coming in short gasps. The same dream again. I’d had it for four nights running.

After a moment I swung my legs over the side of the bed and stood up, shrugging into a light robe. I sighed; there would be no more sleep for me tonight. I drifted from the bedroom into my shop. Light from a streetlamp outside fell on bins of beads and shelves stocked with wooden cups and figurines. It was comforting, to be surrounded by the work of my own hands.

I went into the back and found a carving knife and two small elongated pieces of wood, taking them to a chair set in the window. I did not light any lamps. I didn’t need to see, only feel.

The dragon and the serpent. I hefted one of the pieces of wood in my right hand. What did it mean?

A tiny curl of wood fell to the floor.

I sat in the dark and carved a dragon and a serpent, and I thought about destiny.