I looked at my hands once more, “Yeah. That didn’t work at all, did it.” The scales and thick, leather-like hide on my hands was disturbing enough, but, that my fingers looked more like absurdly long toes, and had claws on them that would put a grizzly bears to shame, was too much.
“Really?” I stared at the book of spells I’d been studying for a decade. Ten years. I’d found it on an archeology expedition, in Zambia. At the time, I was a budding archeologist, tagging along with my idol, trying to hone my skills to where I could one day lead expeditions of my own.
We’d been digging for three weeks. Mostly pottery, and a few bones. Building a good picture of a lost tribe from somewhere around 9000 years ago. It was stupidly late one night, and I was finishing up. Everyone had already given up, and returned to camp, resting in their tents. I was brushing away one last bit of loose dirt, when I noticed a metal edge.
Nothing had been metal in the dig until then. Curiosity had won, and I’d dug up what I’d found.
A book. In the middle of a dig from a time before humans were supposed to be writing. Surrounded by clay pottery, and animal bones, there it was. Fully in tact, too. I could open it, and turn the pages. I figured it had to be a plant. A fake. So, I hid it from everyone.
When the dig ended, and we all came home, I brought the book with me, hidden in my luggage. I was amazed no one spotted it, or asked about it. The first night I had it home, I had nightmares about some strange guy, dressed in purple, with green trim, and this funny shaped head, telling me the book was meant for me, and I had to learn what it contained.
Those nightmares happened every night until I opened the book, and took a long look at it. It was in a language I couldn’t identify. I searched the archives at the university, and at the Library of Congress. Nothing. I couldn’t find anything about that language.
It took me ten years to figure the text out. Ten years. It turned out to be a book of spells. I about died of laughter. “A book of spells? Bwahahahahaha!” So, for giggles, I’d read the spell to make a candle light up without a match, or any other source of flame. And damn, every candle in my house lit up. Every candle. I thought the place would burn down before I found them all and snuffed them out.
I spent a few weeks playing with the book contents, trying things. Until one night, after too much to drink with my buddies from the university, and a long discussion of how archeology had demonstrated there was no such thing as magic, or sorcery, and it had all been a show, and psychological games people had once played, I decided to scare everyone, and show them all there had been a time when magic was actually real.
I’d searched through the book, and found a safe spell. One to grow long fingernails on my hands, and make my eyes glow orange. I’d used it.
I was a dragon.
After a few hours of panic, and another few of crying my eyes out, I decided I had to stay at home, and find the spell that undid what I’d done.
Have you ever tried to turn the pages of a book with dragon fingers and claws?
I figured this was going to take a while. And I wondered, “Do dragons use the toilet? And what do they eat?”
I hoped I found the reversing spell before I found out the answers to those questions.
It’s week 100 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.