The cold night had brought a chill to the early morning. I felt the wind through my hair as it lashed against my face. Standing on top of the hill I could see the horizon, not the sun rising but a black smoke rising slowing over the land. The end was nigh, I could feel in my bones.
Wrapped up tightly in my Grandmother’s shawl I had decided that I wanted to see it coming. If we were all to perish, I at least wanted to meet this end face to face. There was still time to run but to run to where, there was nowhere to run. All will perish. Those were words predicted. All will perish.
I squinted to see further into the distance, my eye sight had also grown weaker and without my glasses I could make out only colours and shapes. As I narrowed my eyes, the black smoke looked like liquid, oozing out from a wound, covering trees, homes, fields, everything it passed. Strange to say, but it didn’t feel as threatening as I had thought. It looked as if the smoke was cleansing the lands. It felt as if, when smoke cleared or parted, what would be left would a white slate, clean.
The pace of the smoke didn’t quicken, it’s stayed at steady pace. I heard the others calling out to me.
‘Get down from there! We have to leave, NOW!’
I ignored their calls. I was compelled to stay, not just out of my own curiosity but because I had promised to wait, as long as I could. I had tried to explain to the others the need to stay but they had not thought I was telling the truth. I had promised to stay and I will stay.
‘HELLANA! Come down from there! We must keep moving!’ I heard them call once more.
‘Go on without me!’ I called down to them without turning my gaze.
I heard loud murmurings below and rustling of belongs, the sound of people starting to leave. I sighed with relief, I could finally wait without being disturbed.
The wind had picked, it was now harder, faster and it felt like ice against my face. I wrapped the shawl around me tighter, trying to shield myself from the cold. The clouds that were on the horizon turned from grey to almost black, flashes of lightening striking every few minutes, creating a light, a glimpse to what was behind those clouds.
The clouds above me began to turn dark, along with the air becoming thinner while I stood on my perch. The black smoke, still miles away, was closer. I shut one eye and held out my hand. I could almost touch it. Then the rain fell.
The rain was hard, I flinched when it first hit my cheek. When it hit the ground with a terrific force, I felt a slight shudder move up my entire body. With the rain falling, the wind began to howl and thunder in the distance looked as if it were emerging with the clouds above me. I gasped and held my breath in awe at the display around me, still my eyes fixed on the black smoke that was coming ever closer.
Then without warning, a still ness came over me. All at once the elements quietened down, leaving only my breath as the sole sound. I stopped and looked about me. I heard a rushing noise get louder and louder. Turning around I saw a break in the clouds and an object move closer to the ground. Squinting my eyes I saw what or who it was.
‘Stormbrake’ I whispered.
He landed inches from where I was standing. He curled his tail around his feet and lifted up his left wing. I looked up at him. His large scaly body radiating heat, not deterred by the weather, not warn down by the presence of the inevitable end. He had expected this, he had told of this day. Smiling that someone else was to share these last moments with me, I turned back to the blackened horizon, it seemed far closer than a few minutes ago.
‘What took you so long?’ I asked him.
There was grumble from within, a loud stirring as the dragon exhaled. ‘The rain slowed me down.’ He said in his calming deep voice. ‘I had to fly over the clouds in order to get through.’
Slowly the surrounding became normal again, the rain began the fall, the wind started howling and the thunder crashed. He lifted his wing further my head as droplets of water fell onto my shoes.
‘It happened just as you said.’
The dragon looked down at me. ‘And the others?’
‘They left. I told them to.’ I replied blankly.
The dragon nodded. He understood. He knew that they had not believed me. After almost crossing to the other side I was brought back by a bright light, a dragon who breathed white fire, it had awaken me to life again. After that day I could see other dragons, hiding in everyday life, yet no one else could. While walking in the hills, Stormbrake had spoke to me, warned me of the end. I tried to tell the others, but of course they wouldn’t believe me, even after a worldwide warning was sent out, warning that a storm was coming, all would perish.
The dragon leaned his head towards my face. ‘We must go now’
I turned, surprised at these words. ‘What do you mean? Where would we go, there is no way to escape.’
‘We can out run a storm Ilana.’ He said turning slowly away from the blackness. He removed his wing, once again exposing me to the rain.
‘But it’s the end! The end is near!’
The dragon turned his head and smiled. ‘It may be the end, but there is always another beginning.’