Universal Invitation

“Ah yes, Daphne is it?  Welcome to my home.  I see you have received my invitation.”

She heard a voice that was smooth, and soothing as hot molasses.  The floor was covered in red velvet.  There was a sweet humidity to the air.  Her sense of danger melted away with each moment.  The great hall had a half oval of ivory tusks perfectly laid on the floor and the ceiling.  They looked white and glossy, freshly polished and cleaned for the expected guests.

“I am so glad you are here.  Daphne, won’t you join me in my study, it is just beyond the foyer.  Just follow the light.”

From the front room to the back room, she walked slowly savoring every step.  Her bare feet squished on the soft floor.  The red velvet pushed up through her toes.  She smelled butterscotch, her favorite.  She saw a lantern hanging from the ceiling, in the darkness of the inner room.  It seemed to hold a hand full of hot lava, it looked like a birds nest made of tree branches.  Orange light swayed. The walls looked like old splintered wooden planks.  She felt its jutting, bark-like texture, it was wet and sharp on her fingers.  Her heart fluttered.  What fantasies were waiting for her in this room?  She both feared, and desired the answer.

“Yes my dear.  Yes that’s it!  Come inside my sweet Daphne, I have been waiting for you!”

A dragon is a liar.  It holds its mouth open, while it lies patiently in your path.  The smoke from its belly seduces you with hallucinations of your wildest dreams.   In expert craft, it offers a soothing invite, a sweet promise, and then like a clap of thunder, delivers death.  Daphne wandered deep into the dragons throat and was squeezed to death when it swallowed her.  Its teeth, held a frozen, glossy, open mouthed smile, that never moved.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

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