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Understanding What Cannot Be Understood

Understanding What Cannot Be Understood
Laurie Archer

I stand, shivering, on the earthy knoll, an old leather notebook in my left hand and a dull wooden pencil in the other. They’ll be here soon, silver armor and milky talons. Dragons – supernatural beings beyond our control.

I was set the task of understanding – caring for, loving and embracing these animals we fear so; deciphering the code that makes up their world and becoming a friend.

If I fail, our tiny village will be gone by the next full moon, and so will everyone I love, probably. I have to do this, muster the courage to stand up for the things we have and care for our future.

Soon the dread filling my insides will become a part of me. A shiver of fear trickles down my back and I go to turn away.

Too late. I see them, appearing one by one in the star-infested sky. Tails encrusted with iridescent scales and eyes filled with the memories of a thousand battles, they rise, like ghostly silhouettes, towards the shining moon.

Unworldly beings scream, shattering the serenity of the crystal dark. The temperature drops and I’m shivering spasmodically, yet I keep watching.

The beat of wings, whistle of death as these translucent stories collide in the sky.

I have trouble believing I’m actually seeing them. The way they flip, turn and blunder, jagged wings and fiery breath. The after-product of their roars a shower of saliva that looks like engine oil, feels like soap.

Gradually, silence begins to fall. I crane my neck up towards the quiet sky – these deadly fighters fading seamlessly into nothing. “And still I don’t understand,”
I murmur. “I still I can’t decode you.”