Short Story: The Dragon's Cave Part 2
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Go ahead and enjoy Pt. 1 here: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/short-stories-the-dragons-cave-pt-1

I'm suddenly being pulled from the peace of darkness by the sound of a crackling fire. The sound comes with aching that flows down my spine and my brain. Sounds of popping and snapping replace the black silence, and I grudgingly open my eyes. Red light floods my vision, the brightness hurts, sends a wave of pain through my head. I blink a few times to adjust to the fire's light. Though I can see, the light still sends waves of pain behind my eyes.

Where am I?

I can see grey rock walls come into focus. It looks like I'm in a cave. I don't remember how I got here. I remember being on the mountain. I remember the wind. The snow. The mission. I sit up slowly, wincing as the pain intensifies with movement.

Where I had been laying were soft skins, and a small clay mug, with what looked like water. Hoping the water is clean, I pick it up, and tilt the cup back, swallowing most of it in one sip. The feeling of water down my throat is glorious. The cup is emptied quickly. Who was in here, who had helped me in from the cold? I try to think back, but I can only remember climbing the mountain.

Why was I sleeping?

How had I gotten here?

I stretch then stand up. The flames cast dancing shadows onto the walls around me. I'm in an alcove, an area that's small enough to keep a little extra warmth. A similar bed to my own was on the floor on the other side of the fire. Also on the ground I see supplies. A few dishes, a bag that looks so full it bulges. Moving around, my clothes feel heavier than normal. I glance down and see I'm wearing more than before. Another, thicker layer of furs covers my old thin one.

"I hope you don't mind," A calm, soft voice from behind startles me. "I put one of my spare coats on you while you were unconscious."

I turn to the mouth of the alcove, where a girl wearing similar furs stands. In her hands are two fish attached to string, and a bowl that I hope is filled with water. I clear my hoarse, scratchy throat.

"No, uh. That—that's nice. Thank you." It hurts to talk, after so long of being silent.

She smiles, and with a quick nod enters the room. Her thick white furs contrast with her deep, messy red hair and pale complexion. My eyes follow her as she sets the fish next to the fire, and stands again. She shrugs off the coat, revealing green pants and a cream shirt with sleeves, and a thick vest over it. She tosses her coat to the other side of the cavern. When she's finished, she turns back to me.

"You hit your head fairly hard out there. I'm going to check the wrap I gave you. Good?"

"Yes, thank you." I nod, thinking on how to phrase my questions. She brushes her hands on her pants, picks up a bowl, some light strips of cloth, and the other mug I had seen on the rocks next to the fire. She then moves to kneel in front of me.

"Um," I begin hesitantly, "I don't wish to sound rude but…who are you, and how did I get here?"

Without pausing, she dips the balled-up cloth in the cup. "I'm Sophia; I live here. I help lost people like you. They recover, I send them on their way. Don't get too comfortable here; you'll be leaving soon. You were found unconscious, lying in and under snow." She quickly dabs the cloth in an area of my hair that I can't see.

Warm water drips down the side of my head. I feel her tug at something. Quick but sharp pain stabs in my head where she tugs. I assume it's the bandage she said she put on. She continues working, switching between dabbing my wound with the water, and peeling back the bandage.

"You know a little about me, but what about you? What are you doing so high in the mountains? I can tell from your clothes and build you don't climb. Why would you come this far?"

I close my eyes, thinking back to why I left the village in the first place...


Ready for Part three? Look for the flashback next week!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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