It's a lovely day for a walk, especially if your walking companions happen to be of the fire-breathing variety. Let's hear the tales you have in store for this lovely lady and her unusual entourage.
This week's piece is "Afternoon Walk" by Julie Dillon (via The Art of Animation). I highly recommend checking out more of Dillon's work in her deviantART gallery; Simon & Schuster recently contracted her to create the covers for the new boxed set of Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence, due out this June.
As always, please post your story in the comments. Here's mine:
A lot of dragon walkers complained about their jobs: What kind of person, they'd ask, spends all that money on a dragon and can't be bothered to walk it? But Amanda-Lynn liked her job. She liked spending her afternoons in the fresh air (even when crowded with sulfurous breath). She enjoyed the company of her grunting, snorting companions. And the karmic rewards of dragon-walking couldn't be beat.
Of course, she wished she could have given her charges a bit more exercise, but until the city's contract wizards finished placing the wards around Briarcliff Park, the dragons would have to stay on-leash. She did enjoy the stares she and her menagerie received from passing nannies and joggers.
She and the pack rounded the path, heading toward the boulders in the middle of the park. Some of the larger beasts liked to sun themselves there while she worked on training the kangaroo bats, tempting them into obedience with handfuls of almonds and tugging on their thin diamond chains. But the smell of brimstone greeted her nostrils, and she turned to see which of her charges was squatting.
But it wasn't one of her dragons that had unleashed the foul smell. Just off the path, she spotted a feather-winged lizard fertilizing the park grass. As she scraped her talons against the grass, as if proud of her fecal feat, her owner turned to walk away.
"Hey!" Amanda-Lynn called out, and the dragons picked up the pace half a moment before she did. She imagined they were quite a sight, that galloping mess of scales and wings. "You've got to pick that up, you know!"
The owner turned, and Amanda-Lynn saw that he was chattering away on a Bluetooth. Their eyes locked for just a moment before he shrugged and turned away.
Amanda-Lynn yanked a poop bag from her belt. "You can't just leave it there!" The dragons continued to match her gait as she waved the bag at him. "There's all kinds of errant magic in dragon shit!" And she hated to think what low-grade chow this guy was feeding his dragon. The ground beneath the turd was probably sprouting polar bear fur as they spoke.
The owner looked down at her leather apron and the tattoos spread across her broad, bare shoulders and smoothed out a crease in his suit. "You can pick it up," he said, nodding at the bag in her hand.
Amanda-Lynn laughed, startled. "That's really bad karma, getting someone else to do it."
The owner just turned away again, yanking his dragon's leash and resting a finger on his Bluetooth. "God," he said, "don't let me turn into one of these crazy dragon people!"
Amanda-Lynn did pick up the dragon poop. She dropped the bag straight into her Satchel of Holding and marched to the nearest magical waste bin. And the next morning, when her local newsfeed posted a story about a bigwig law firm partner whose sext to a summer associate went out to the whole firm, Amanda-Lynn just smiled over her coffee and began plotting a new walking route.