The postman arrived unusually early with a large lumpy package under one arm. Amy signed for it and the postman hurried away, looking back over his shoulder at the delivery. Amy took the parcel and placed it on the sofa in the front room. The delivery began to wriggle and squirm to try and free itself from its brown-paper confines. This was curious and unusual behaviour for a package. Most of them, in Amy’s experience, did not do this. She decided to intervene. Tearing open the paper, she saw a small dark blue Dragon that was struggling in a doomed-but-determined sort of a way against the cellophane that bound its wings, and trying to bite through some duct tape with little success. Amy fetched the scissors and freed it.
Once free, the Dragon took to the air and soared around the flat, wheeling and whooping. Amy watched in wonder as the glittering blue wings left sparkling trails in the sky like firework ghosts. The Dragon performed a pretty impressive triple somersault just to show off, and then landed with a swagger on the arm of a chair. The swagger was a bad idea. Its claws skittered and clutched at the arm and it adjusted its balance desperately, trying very hard to make this look deliberate and failing. Stifling a giggle, Amy came and picked up the blue drake that was preening.
“Where did you come from?” Amy asked. By way of response, the Dragon flew down to the scraps of packaging on the floor and pulled free a piece of crumpled paper. The paper was stuck to the detritus by means of a small piece of sellotape. The Dragon stuck out it’s tongue in concentration and carefully extended a claw to pry the sellotape from the paper. This was achieved and the Dragon grinned up at Amy, biting the paper and holding it out to her in its teeth, while it tried to shake loose the sellotape now stuck to its claw. Amy took the paper and read it.
“Dearest Lady Amelia,” It began. “I do hope this letter finds you well. Of course, I know it shall. In your timeline, we have not met yet, but we will. I would love to be able to explain more to you, but suffice to say that you are in a mild and manageable peril. I have therefore taken the appropriate response of sending you a suitable Dragon. His name is Mishap.” Amy looked down at Mishap, who had got three of his claws tangled in the sellotape, and was chewing it apart and rolling around to find a better angle. She continued reading. “He will be of use and hopefully also of comfort to you. I wish you all the best on this most fateful of days and hope that you have a lovely twenty-sixth birthday. All my love, your Great Grandson, Peter.” Amy reread the note, and then looked down to see Mishap, now a ball of mostly sellotape, rolling past her with a look of extreme irritation. She scooped him up, and deployed her fingernails to free him, a curious look upon her face.
“Hmmm. That’s quite the most cryptic note I’ve received all day. Particularly since I don’t have any grandsons; great, mediocre or otherwise.” She said, adding, “Come along then, Mishap. Let’s go and get some breakfast.”
Amy offered Mishap cat food, leftover pizza and vegetables but Mishap was having none of it. When Amy made her own breakfast of eggs and bacon, however, Mishap got very excited and clambered around the hobs, climbing up the sides of the saucepan to look in and burning his tail in the process. He mewled sadly, and curled up, but cheered up immensely when Amy put an extra two rashers of bacon in the pan for him.
“You’re going to be an expensive pet.” She said. “Are these done enough for you?” She asked, offering Mishap the bacon. In response, Mishap plucked a piece from the pan and flapped upwards to eat it. The bacon dropped from his claws and landed on Pebbles the cat. Pebbles yelped and fled the dangers of the kitchen since it was apparently under scalding-bacon bombardment, for the safety of the cat-flap and the outside world, taking the bacon with her. Mishap saw his breakfast vanishing and gave chase, plummeting after Pebbles and ignoring Amy’s cry. Pebbles, having never been chased by a hungry dragon quite so early in the morning before, put on a burst of speed and out-distanced Mishap to the cat-flap, squeezing herself through and leaving the bacon on the floor inside. Mishap was heading after her at speed and when he saw the bacon still inside the house, he attempted and failed to brake at the last minute, leading to a pinwheeling Dragon flying in an uncontrolled cannon through the cat-flap.
This had surprising and far-reaching consequences. Mishap careened through the air and collided with a large square-set lady wearing a bowler hat and sporting an impressive, though clearly fake, moustache. The hirsute woman had been on hands-and knees, and fell prone at the collision as Mishap was brought to a tumble at her feet. Amy came running to the door just in time to see the Lady right herself by means of a bulky umbrella which she levelled at Amy.
“Not so fast, Amy!” The mustachioed woman cried, “It is I, your grandfather!”. This gave Amy pause for significant thought, but after careful deliberation she declared:
“My Grandfather doesn’t have an umbrella like that.” The woman looked a little wrongfooted by this, but raised her umbrella to point directly at Amy with a snarl.
“I’ve very recently acquired it, now let me inside!” She insisted, but Amy was growing more and more certain that this person was not in fact her grandfather, being neither the right height, age, or gender.
“No, I don’t think so. I consider it unlikely my grandfather would have been eavesdropping through my cat-flap.” Amy said, making to close the door. The lady outside became dangerously aggressive and cocked her umbrella, stepping forwards to fire a net made of miniature harpoons from its tip. Unfortunately for her, as she stepped forwards, she trod on the prone form of Mishap, who rather resented being stood on by the woman in the bowler hat and yipped loudly to let her know. He made for particularly unsteady ground, and her shot went wide, capturing not Amy, but the unsuspecting Rosemary plant on the windowsill next to the door.
The angry woman reeled in her harpoon-net and leapt backwards into the basket of a hot-air balloon which had been there the whole time. She threw the net, umbrella, harpoons and Rosemary plant all into the basket and tore off her fake moustache. “Ha-HA!” She shouted at a very bewildered looking Amy. “It was not your grandfather after all, but I, your nemesis-to-be!” She said with a flourish and pulled on a chain, firing the balloon and sending it up into the sky. As she floated higher and higher, she called down “You haven’t seen the last of me, Amy! I’ll get you and your little dog too! You haven’t-” And it was clear that she wanted to say more, but the balloon was taking her higher and higher, and she was now out of earshot. Amy watched as she fought the controls, losing her Bowler hat as a particularly strong gust of wind carried the balloon off and over the sea.
The bowler hat landed on the floor of the garden and Amy reclaimed it with one hand, offering the other to Mishap who gratefully clambered aboard.
“What an odd encounter.” Amy remarked. “It rounds out a curious morning which has presented nothing but questions, Mishap. Who was that lady? What did she want? Why did she pretend to be my grandfather, when she bore such a striking lack of resemblance to him? Why didn’t we notice a hot-air balloon in the garden until it became narratively relevant?” Amy asked and Mishap, who’d had a pretty rotten morning thus far said nothing. Amy stroked him fondly and he smiled at her, nibbling at her fingers as they played over his scaly head. “Of course, if it wasn’t for you, Mishap, she’d have taken me instead of poor Rosemary. I thank you for your services.” She said. Mishap stood up straight and attempted a salute with one wing, which overbalanced him and he fell off of the kitchen table. Amy scooped him up absent-mindedly, as a sudden realisation hit her.
“My Rosemary plant is being held captive by unknown and hostile forces. This situation is intolerable and demands remedy. We must make plans and enquiries, Mishap. But first, we neither of us have had breakfast. You shall have my bacon and I shall cook myself pancakes.” She said. Mishap gave her a look that conveyed with surprising accuracy that he found it an irresponsible waste of time to make pancakes whilst Rosemary-allies were hostages to maniacal strangers. Amy ignored him and went to find eggs and milk, as was her prerogative. It was, after all, her birthday day.
This is for my lovely wife @AmySuttonActor on her birthday day. I love her more than Dragons. It’s a little bit of nonsense. I’m attempting to write in a style a bit similar to Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events). Think it’s spot-on? Hate it? Think you could do better? Just want me to write something different for you? Let me know in the comments below, or on twitter @SellPen