He shrugged. “Yeah, I thought it would be funny for your birthday.”
“Thanks,” the chuckle stopped and I turned to Mum. “Please tell me you didn’t continue with the theme.”
Mum’s fingers tighten on the small box in her grasp.
Oh shit. “Um, you did,” I swallowed hard. “I thought we agreed no more dragon stuff.”
“This is different,” as if it was a great treasure, she offered the box with both hands.
I hesitated. If it’s something different, then it can’t be anything good. Maybe it would be best if I didn’t open the box, never found out what was inside and so wasn’t responsible for it at all.
Mum stared at me. “You have to accept it.”
Sighing, I snatched up the box. “What is it?”
“Open it.” Even though it came from Riley, his tone lacked the usual sarcasm.
It was a jewellery box, the type from a store, but it was worn. What must’ve been a shiny black was dull. Flipping the lid, I gasped at what I found.
The serpent dragon bracelet.
“It’s your turn to protect the last dragon in existence.” Mum quickly lifted the bracelet from the box and wrapped it around my left wrist. “Don’t let anyone ever take this off you, or let anyone know what it really is.”
My voice was gone. So was every thought. What…
“Remember your heritage, it is your destiny to be the friend of dragons and protect them.” Mum planted a kiss on my forehead.
I’m the real deal, the friend of dragons. Sounds lame, I know. But it’s true.
Don’t assume I’m running on a 4am energy drink induced delusion just because I’m talking about being a friend to dragons. I’m telling the God honest truth.
And it all began with my ancestors.
For generations, my family have had these abilities. And because of them, we work best in places with fire. Firefighters, chefs, circus freaks. It can’t burn us. The flames are not hot to our touch.
And that’s because we’re friends to dragons. Or were. Until they were nearly hunted to extinction.
Now, only one remained and he was hiding in plain sight as a bracelet.
I lifted my arm up. The dragon tightened his hold. I gasped. That was unexpected. His scales were warm as he hugged tight.
“Hi,” I spoke to him.
He turned his head and nodded once in acknowledgement.