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A Walk With the Dragon

Summary

Pipa's mom has asked her to deliver medicine to a sick friend. Like many times before, Pipa abliges and takes the same trail to the neighbors house, but this time it will be different. 

Leisurely strolling along, she gets an uncanny feeling she's being watched; but by who?

Magical, dark, and thrilling describes this journey as the young heroine hopes to safely travel between her house and the neighbors!

Chapter 1

"Pipa are you dressed?"
"Yes mom I'm coming." Pipa grabbed her cloak and tied it tightly around her neck. She was late. The sun was setting and she hadn't taken Mrs. Foxcoat her medicine. Rubbing lip gloss on her lips she checked her self once more in the mirror.
"Pipa!" her mom shouted.
"OK. OK I'm coming!" Slamming the door to her room she tried to signal to her mom she was on the way. Rounding the corner down the hall way, she whisked into the kitchen.
"Thank you baby." Her mother added as she wiped her hands on her apron. 
"Sure"
"Now give this medicine to Mrs. Foxcoat and come right back. It's late and I don't want you staying there long.
Pipa nodded and grabbed the basket. 
Placing her hand at the back of her head, her mother kissed her on the forehead.
Pipa sighed frustratedly and grimaced. "Mom I gotta go before the sun goes down."
"OK. OK go ahead!"
Readjusting her cloak, she slid her hands down the length of her garb to remove any wrinkles. With luck, she hoped she run into Randy Newhall like last time. He was so freaking cute! And recently single!

Closing the door behind her, she exhaled as her heart raced with anticipation. The sky was illuminated with a purple like glow. The moon had caught her. But it was OK. She'd still be home before it got terribly late.

 

Walking at a steady pace, she pulled her cloak over her head shielding her ears from the night air. Mrs. Foxcoat had been sick for a long time, but she'd always sworn by her mom's famous cough syrup. Pipa received the benefits of the syrup too. When she was younger, anytime she started to get sick, her mom always went to the forest to gather herbs to make her syrup. 

As the fresh scent of lilac crawled up her nose, Pipa hummed leisurely.Now it was about here that I ran into Randy last time. She stopped for a moment and looked around. Not a soul stirred save the occasional call of a Hoot owl. 

Shoot!

Pushing the cloak off her head, her eyes darted from left to right. Reaching into her pockets she pulled out a pack of crackers. Well since I'm here, I may as well feed the ducks. Besides I think they're happy when they see me because I always give them food. 

Diverting from the path, Pipa made a swift turn at the old weeping willow's tree to Miller's pond. Stepping over vines and thickets she pushed drooping tree limbs from her face until she reached the clearing. A gathering of ducks swam leisurely in the pond; flapping their feathery wings occasionally as their tiny legs propelled them through liquid bliss. With a cluck of her tongue, Pipa sprinkled crumbled crackers in the water. Picking up the scent of food, all the ducks raced to the water's edge. Discarding the wrapper in her cloak. Pipa pulled the hood over her head and returned to her path. 

When she arrived at Mrs. Foxcoat's house, all the lights were on. She bit her lip nervously. I hope I'm not terribly late. She knocked on the door. 
"Who is it?" a voice called.
"It's me Pipa."
The door swung open. "Hey Pipa!" Melody's voice was warm and friendly. "Come on in!"
Pipa stepped inside, pushing her cloak off her head. "I hope I'm not terribly late. This is for your mom." She handed her the basket.
"Thanks. Mom!" Melody yelled as she casually glanced over her shoulder. "Your drugs are here!"
Mrs. Foxcoat stepped around the corner. Her eyes lit up when she saw Pipa and the basket. "Hey baby, thank you for bringing that by." She grabbed the basket from Melody. "And stopped calling my medication drugs!"


"Mom, news flash. They are drugs!" Melody rolled her eyes. 


Mrs. Foxcoat diverted her gaze to Pipa. "Pipa how is your mom doing? Come in sit down."
Pipa stumbled. What the...? She grabbed Mrs. Foxcoat to break her fall. A tiny action figure darted across the floor. 
"Charlie!" Mrs. Foxcoat called. "Come get this mess off the floor!"
Melody sprinted across the room and grabbed the toy as Charlie stood in the doorway. 


"If you don't keep your crap out of the way. This is the last time you will see GI Johnny alive again!" She held the tiny toy in front of the fire place.


"Mom!" Charlie called as he screamed in terror. His stomach rippled with knots. "Give it here. Stop playing!" He ran towards his sister. Jumping up and down he tried to retrieve the toy from her grasp. Melody smiled wickedly dangling the action figure high above his head.
"Give it back you witch!" He was getting angry now. His face was turning red.
"Oh my god. Did you just call me a witch?" she laughed devilishly. "Well since you think I'm a witch, you better watch out least I put a spell on you and you meet the same fate as the Fosters!"


"Mom...mom. Melody's threatening me! Make her stop!"


Mrs. Foxcoat intervened. "Melody stop tormenting your brother. When you're old and gray, you'll be begging him to chauffeur you to your doctor's appointments."


Melody's brow raised. "Oh no I won't because I'm going to be rich. I'm going to marry a prince and leave this god awful place."
"Well good luck with that!" Mrs. Foxcoat smirked. 

Pipa's brows raised. The Foxcoats were a lively bunch. That's why she didn't mind coming over. She found their dysfunction quite entertaining. She crossed her legs. "So Melody what's going on with you? Written any exciting stories lately?"
Melody's eyes lit up. "Yes, as a matter of fact I have!" She shoved the action figure in Charlie's face and grabbed her notebook.


Charlie ran off and didn't look back.


Folding her legs under her bottom, she slipped on her glasses; opening her tablet. "I was inspired by the Foster's tragedy this weekend. Does that sound bad? God, forgive me if it does."
Pipa readjusted in her seat. "What happened to them?"
Melody's eyes blared. "Pipa, Oh my god! I can't believe you haven't heard anything!"
"Umm... no I've been in the house all day and usually busy with chores."
"Dang, Pipa. You're only seventeen in a half and you're already a modern day Cinderella."
"Yeah, tell me about it." Pipa rolled her eyes. "So what did I miss? What happened to them?"
Melody pushed her glasses up on the bridge of her nose. "Their entire farm was destroyed. Massacred!"
"What...what do you mean?"
"I mean, someone or something burned their barns and massacred their animals!"
"Geez!" Pipa put her hand over her mouth. "That's horrible!"
"Yeah. It's the creepiest ish ever !"
Pipa thought for a moment. "But I don't understand. The Fosters are nice people who would do such a thing?"
"Well it's more like what did such a thing."
Pipa crossed her legs. "And what do you mean by that?"
Melody closed her notebook and took off her glasses. "Pip let's be frank here. You know I always said that there was something about Ellie Foster that was not right. I mean..I'm sorry. Something about that girl...although I could never put my finger on it; has never been right."
"Ok?"
"I think she's behind all this?"


"You mean you think she desecrated her own family's property and killed all their revenue?" A hint of sarcasm resounded in Pipa's voice.


"Pip...no not like that. I think she was playing with fire and got burned."
"Melody, I don't understand..."
"Pip we all know that Ellie practiced dark magic and I think this time the omen fell on her. I think some monstrosity that shes been playing with in the past has turned on her."
Pipa leaned back in her chair, folding her arms across her chest. "You mean like a demon?"
"Pricisely!"
Pipa's eyes narrowed and she let out a nervous sigh. "Well thanks for telling me this now that the sun has set and I have to walk home by myself!"
"Oh for heavens sake Pip, the things not coming for you. You didn't summon it. No...it only comes for the one who calls it."
Mrs. Foxcoat stepped from around the corner. "Oh Melody stop telling her stories like that. You're always trying to scare people. Pipa don't believe anything she says. It's total nonsense. The Foster's barn caught on fire because Joe always smokes in the barn. And the cattle was massacred by some wild coyote or starving wolf."

Pipa nodded slowly and breathed a sigh of relief. Mrs. Foxcoat eased her nerves a little bit.
Melody glared at her mother through squinted lids. "Mom... really? So you're ease dropping on me now? Is that what we've come to?"


Mrs. Foxcoat looked at her daughter and casually turned her head. Melody rolled her eyes and returned her attention to her guest. "Pip, I'm telling ya..what I'm saying to you is true. Stay away from Ellie. She's bad news."
Pipa shifted nervously in her seat. It was time to go. She was certain it was full blown night time now and she had to walk home alone after hearing that kind of story. She grabbed her cloak and slipped it around her shoulders.
"Well...I'll certainly keep that in mind." Standing, she tied her garb around her neck.


Melody stood to escort her guest to the door. She could tell Pipa was nervous. "Look Pip. I didn't tell you that story to make you upset. I'm telling you this as an fyi. Be careful. There's a lot of strange stuff going on out here and I don't want you to get hurt."
Pipa nodded. "Point taken. See you at school." Pipa grabbed the door handle and turned it. 
"Hey, Pip wait!" Melody grabbed her by the arm. "Stay right here." She ran to her room and when she returned she had a metal object in her hand. "Here take this."
Pipa looked at. "What is it?"
"It's sort of like a talisman. Keep it with you. It will keep you safe."
Pipa smiled. "Thanks" she answered and then slipped out the door.

 

Against the moonlight, the trees looked like towering giants forming a canopy over her head. Pipa's legs moved like lightening as she quickly placed one foot in front of the order. So much for a romantic evening with Randy. 
Now her nerves were on edge. She was afraid that at any moment some being was going to jump out of the woods and snatch her. Normally she wasn't afraid to walk alone. As a matter of fact, she'd done it hundreds of times before. But this time was different. She was a little afraid. When she was at school she never paid Ellie any attention, but Melody was leery of her. What if what Melody said was true? What if Ellie had been playing with the devil and now he'd come to claim his prize? 

 
A slow chill crept up her back as her neck hairs stood on end. Well no matter what Ellie did. What did that have to do with her? She didn't play with dark magic, so why should she be afraid?
 
A soft crackle resounded in the woods. Pipa slowed her pace and looked around. She heard the call of a Hoot owl in the distance. Her eyes narrowed as she peered through the darkness of the trees. It looked like she saw something moving but she wasn't sure. A ball of nastiness crept up her throat as her belly twisted in knots. 

"Is someone there?"
 
The shadow stopped moving. She listened again but didn't hear anything else except the occasional howl of the wind. Pulling her cloak closer around her neck, she resumed walking. She was tempted to run, but she wasn't exactly wearing runners shoes. Her shoes had a slight heel to them. After all, she thought she was going to have a romantic run in with Randy tonight. She had no intention of fighting off ghouls or goblins. 
 
Swallowing hard she resumed walking. This time a louder crackle rustled in the darkness. She stopped in her tracks. Her breathing grew hitchy. Now she knew someone was there, but who? Suddenly an eerie feeling crept over her, like someone was watching her from the bushes. She could feel its eyes crawling down her back.
 
Some one's behind you. Her consciousness said. Turn around and you'll see it! Grabbing the side of her cloak, she pushed it back and slowly peered over her shoulder and there it was. Someone was standing on the trail some distance behind her. 
 
"Aghh!" Pipa screamed as she took off running. Her hood blew off her head as she ran for her life! Her cape danced behind her back like a great bird as her feet beat against the soil like quick lightening. "Oh my God, its him, its the demon and he's coming for me!" Glancing over her shoulder she could see the shadowy figure running behind her. It's legs moved at the speed of light and there was no way she was going to out run it. She was wearing heels. 
 
The night air pummeled down her throat, causing her lungs to swell. Her eyes started to water as her legs burned with fatigue. The shadowy trees flickered against the moonlight like dancing giants. Playing with her irises, the tiny hints of light and shadow made her dizzy. She blinked and the next thing she knew she found herself suspended in the air with huge claws clasped tightly around her waist. 
 
Oh no! God help me! Please help me! She blacked out. 
 
Pipa awoke to a pair of yellowish eyes staring down at her. "Ma'am, ma'am are you OK? I'm not going to hurt you. I only wanted to ask you a question."
Pipa grabbed her head. A dull ache burned behind her neck. The ground was cold and hard. When she fell, she hit her head pretty hard.
"Ma'am, ma'am are you OK? Where do you live? I will help you get home. Can you tell me where you live?"
Pipa opened her eyes again. The dull ache in her head was subsiding and now she was sliding back to consciousness. The stranger softly stroked the side of her face. When her eyes clearly focused, she gasped and shrieked away from him with her palms in the air.
 
"It's OK ma'am. I'm not going to hurt you but you took off running so fast, I didn't have time to explain."
 
Pipa leaned back on bruised hands. With the moonlight slightly illuminating his face. She could see it was a man. And a gorgeous young man at that! Nervousness enveloped her. And she stuttered slightly when she spoke to him. "Oh yes...yes I'm OK. I think I'll live. Now she felt really stupid. She was running like the devil himself was after her. 
 
"Well can you stand? Or would you like to sit here for a minute? I can walk you home. I promise I won't hurt you. Scouts honor!" He raised his palms in the air innocently. 
 
Pipa let out a soft chuckle. "No..no its Ok. No sense in you going out of your way. I'm almost home now. She wiped the dirt from her hands and grimaced. Her palms bled slightly.
"Oh are you hurt? Let me see" said the stranger.
Pipa opened her palms. A long wrinkle swept across her forehead.
"Oh I'm so sorry this is all my fault. Had I not chased you, you wouldn't have ran and fell. But I was trying to call you from way back to let you know not to be alarmed. I'm sure you didn't hear me though."
Pipa smiled and wiped her brow with the back of her palms. "No...sorry I didn't."
"It's Ok."
 
After the young girl collected her wits, she stood and straightened out her clothes. She could see better now. The stranger was gorgeous. He had shoulder length dirty blonde hair and his eyes were as clear as crystals. When he looked at her, it seemed as if he were peering straight through her; into her soul even. Nervously, she cleared her throat, trying not to ogle him so much.
"Pardon my rudeness, but what's your name?"
"Pipa" said the girl.
"Pipa? Why that's a lovely name. My name is Draconius. I'm new in town."
Pipa smiled cordially. "Pleased to meet you Draconius." Wow the gods must be smiling down on me tonight. This guy is a total babe! "So..um..you say you're new in town. Do you have any relatives here?"
"Yes, I do. But we're kind of estranged. We're not very close at all. However, do to some other  unfortunate events that has taken place in my life, I have been forced to stay with them for a spell."
"Oh." The young girl nodded understandingly. "And whose your kin folk out here?"
"The Fosters. Do you know them?"
"Yes. I know them; quite well actually."
The stranger smiled and leisurely stared up at the sky. "Well, I promise I won't chase you anymore. I don't mind walking with you the rest of the way. After you." he motioned with his hands for Pipa to lead the way.
Pipa smiled and nodded.
"Oh and sorry to here about what happened to their farm. Please let them know that my family is willing to help them any way we can."
The boy didn't say anything. Yet stared blankly ahead.

The pair walked on until they reached the path to Pipa's house.
"Well, here we are. This is my stop. Thanks for walking me home."
"Oh no problem. Anytime. It looks like I'll be around here for awhile; so I'm sure I'll see you again."
"Likewise" added the girl. Pulling her cloak tighter about her shoulders. "Well...goodnight." 
Swiftly turning on her heels, Pipa made her way down the path to her house. The lights were on when she arrived. She was sure her mom was worried sick. Slowly she pushed the door open. Martha was sitting by the fire place knitting. When she heard Pipa she glanced up casually. "Where have you been? It took you longer than normal. I was about to send a search party out after you."
"Oh. I got caught up with Melody. Her mom baked cookies and they invited me to stay a little while longer to eat. Sorry it took me so long. I totally lost track of time."
"It's OK. So how is Lois? Did you give her the syrup?"
"Yeah. I did and she was very appreciative."
Martha nodded. 
"Well. I'm heading off to bed. I'm really tired. See you in the morning."
"OK. Goodnight baby."
"Night mom." Pipa hurriedly dashed to her room and closed the door behind her. Her heart was beating a mile a minute as thoughts of Draconius danced in her head. Oh my god that guy was a total knock out.And here I was wasting all my time on Randy. What a joke. Draconius is...is.. She smiled to herself and slipped off her cloak. Walking to her window she stared outside; lifting her gaze to the stars she closed her eyes.

 OMG..I think I'm in love...