Apprehension choked my breath and I clung tighter to the upper most branches of the elm tree I was dangling off of.
This had to work! I thought, and yet I couldn't quite convince myself to let go of the branch; every fiber of my body fighting the inevitable, even with Sam, her amber scales glistening in the afternoon sun, physically trying to pull one talon after another out of the tree, I wasn't letting go. Sticky sap ran down, oozing between my claws. I wanted to, I just couldn't.
"If you're going to learn how to fly, you have to take a chance!" she hollered at me, jerking one of my stubborn talon from the tree.
"Can't I just be a land dragon?" I begged. Better yet, I could just stay in my human form for the rest of my life. It didn't matter that much to me about being able to transform, other than it being a pretty cool party trick, you know, one that I could NEVER actually do at a party.
"Fuchsia, you know you have to master these things." Sam was getting breathless, and I was suddenly pretty impressed with my strength. Sam, although was technically younger than I was, she was impressively tough. She was the closest thing I had to a sister, but I was the one who discovered her egg, and was there when she hatched. In high school we told everyone she was my cousin. No one ever suspected we were dragons underneath the magic that transformed us, although I always thought Sam's features were a little reptilian and was convinced that one-day people were going to find out.
"Just. two. more. talons." said Sam in a staccato fashion, fighting my fingers. I was loosing my grip. If only I could just ignore this part of me. "You don't have to fight me; you know you have to do this!"
"No I don't!" I squeezed my eyes shut, and curled my tail around the branch for extra support. The tree swaying under the force of the two of us fighting.
"Don't be so stupid. If you don't get control over all of this, things are going to start happening with out your consent! This is for your own good."
"Easy for you to say," I pouted, although, a dragon pouting looks fiercer than anything else! Sam never had these problems. Where I struggled, she didn't. She never spontaneously transformed, and she never accidentally set something on fire. She did everything with enviable ease. I, on the other hand, was getting worse by the day. During my last music class, the totally hot teacher's assistant, Mr. MacKissable, sorry, Mr. MacIntyre, had reached out to adjust my flute position, and I blushed, sending pink shimmers floating down, signalling a transition, I threw my flute down and had to run for the bathroom just in time to turn completely into a dragon complete with my hot pink scales, and then was stuck there until I calmed down and could change back. Thank goodness we were more or less our normal human size as a dragon. If not, I don't know where I would have hidden! It had been happening a lot, well, especially in music class. My dragon existence was creeping into my human existence, and they do not cross well. I needed to get it under control, the flying, the fire, and control over my transitions.
"Fine," I said, and sucked in my breath and released my talons and tried to ready a proper flying position. Little sparks shot out of my nose as I snorted, just as I jumped, wings spread out, hoping desperately not to die on the way down.
"Fire!" yelled Sam after me as I dropped like a stone. I looked up to see her frantically patting down the leaves, putting out the fire I had accidently started when I snorted.
Looking up caused me to veer slightly to the left, and half a second later I was in a free fall banging my head from one tree branch down to the next. I landed hard on the ground. A few moments later Sam gracefully landed a few feet from my crumpled heap, and I changed back into a human.
"Well, that didn't exactly go over well, did it?" I said, rubbing my shoulder that stung a little from bouncing off of it on the way down. I knew it could have been worse, my scales had protected me.