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The Colonial

The student news site of Freehold High School

The Colonial

The student news site of Freehold High School

The Colonial

The Protector – Dark Dragon

The Protector - Dark Dragon
Photo Courtesy of Maahum Alvi

Ford thrust on his brown leather jacket, snapped on his black glove, slipped into his boots, and stuck his sword in the scabbard that hung off of his belt. He stuffed some rope, a hook, and a flashlight into a backpack before slinging it over his back. He slid down the stair banister and sprinted to the door, but stopped when he saw his little brother standing at the door. His little brother was dressed similarly to him and had a backpack of his own. The only differences were that he had two white gloves on instead of a single black one and that he bore no sword.

“Edmund, you can’t come with me this time,” Ford said firmly. “You need to stay here. Read a book or watch TV or something. There’s leftover pasta in the fridge and some chocolate chip cookies in the cupboard. You need to be in bed by nine, don’t forget to finish your homework before then. Don’t open the door for anyone. If I’m not back before lunch tomorrow, call Jackson and he’ll come pick you up. Have I covered everything?” Ford checked, glancing at his little brother.

“Everything except the part where I come with you. I know where you’re going and what you’re going to do, Ford. If I let you go alone, I’ll actually have to call Jackson this time.”

“Ed, I-” Ford began, but the younger boy cut him off.

“I’m going with you,” Edmund said, speaking just as firmly as his brother had. “I can help. Besides, I’ll be safer with you than I will be where he can find me.”

Ford looked at his brother for a second. He was more aware than anyone just how capable the seven-year-old was. The small boy was even capable of handling a light sword in an emergency. Ford glanced at the time before switching his gaze to the gathering storm outside. He was sending a storm to find them. Not just Ford. Ford and Edmund. They were his first prey. The world was next. He didn’t have time to argue with his brother, and Edmund had made a good point about them being safer together.

“Fine,” Ford said. “You can come. But stay close to me and stay back. Deal?”

“Deal,” Edmund said with a satisfied grin. “Pleasure doing business with you, brother.”

Ford rolled his eyes at him before they set off. As they walked into the street, one of their neighbors stared at them. It was an elderly woman, Mrs. Hill, who was well-loved by the community. She was kind and was usually baking cookies or telling stories to the younger children in the neighborhood. Oftentimes, she would act like she was everyone’s grandmother, especially the Stinton brothers.

“Stinton boys!” Mrs. Hill called from her window. “Now, just where do you think you’re going in a storm like this?”

“To defeat the source of the storm, Mrs. Hill!” Edmund called back.

“Ford, is this more of that fowl business?”

“It’s Fowler, Mrs. Hill. And I’m afraid so,” Ford replied. “I wouldn’t be taking Ed along, only leaving him here is more dangerous.”

“Well then, you boys be careful, now,” Mrs. Hill said. “When you get back, I’ll have ready for you a nice cup of hot cocoa and some fresh-baked cookies.”

“Yes! Thank you, Mrs. Hill,” Edmund said, remembering his manners.

“Yes, thank you, Mrs. Hill. You should close the window now. The storm is only bound to get stronger before it ends. Stay safe, ma’am,” Ford called as he and his brother turned away.

“You as well,” Mrs. Hill called before shutting her window, as Ford had suggested.

The two brothers trekked into the nearby forest, moving briskly. After a few minutes, Edmund looked up at his older brother. “Do you really think the storm is going to get worse, Ford?”

“It’ll be the worst once the transformation is complete, but yes. He’s set out to destroy everything he can land his nasty little fingers on,” Ford said with a grimace.

“Soon to be ginormous, sharp claws,” Edmund reminded his brother. Ford nodded in acknowledgment just as they arrived at a cave.

They entered cautiously, glancing around to ensure they didn’t trip on anything. Ford fished a torch out of his backpack and struck it against the wall of the cave. He held it up to light the tunnel.

“We go deeper into the cave, we’ll find Fowler. We find Fowler, we put an end to his games.”

The two brothers ventured deeper into the cave, watching out for booby traps as they stepped. They hadn’t gone too much further when a taunting voice filled the cave.

“Ford Stinton,” the voice drawled. “You’re back to bother me again. You are quite the nuisance, has anyone ever told you that? Nevermind- I’ll just have to eliminate you.”

Ford snorted under his breath. “As if you weren’t already going to do that!” he shouted at Fowler’s disembodied voice. “Why don’t you show yourself, Mr. Dark Dragon? Or was that a bluff?”

“I was going to spare you my appearance, but if you insist,” Fowler said. There was a slimy, conniving tone to his voice that was unsettling. Ford instinctively stepped in front of Edmund. Fowler seemed to appear out of thin air, like a ghost. Fowler had begun to morph into the Dark Dragon. His scales had not yet fully formed, but they looked like dark bird feathers, the kind that one would find on a wild chicken. His irises had turned a poisonous green and his hands had begun to grow into a dragon’s paws, his fingernails getting sharper by the second. His ears had begun to melt into his head so that only two holes remained. Fowler snarled at them.

“Ha! Am I supposed to be impressed, Voldemort the Dragon?” Ford quipped. “You really should have considered the Pettigrew pathway instead, old man. No one expects much from a rat.” Ford moved his hand so that it was right above the hilt of his sword.

“All I need is the blood of an enemy and the transformation will be complete,” Fowler snarled. He slashed his new claws at Ford’s face, catching him off guard. The claws raked Ford’s face, splattering a bit of blood on the ground. His face burned in agony for a moment before someone splashed cold water on his face. He gasped, but the pain lessened. He looked down to see Edmund holding an empty water bottle.

“Are you okay?” Edmund asked his brother frantically.

Ford nodded, blinking water out of his eyes. He looked back at Fowler. Fowler eyed the scarlet blood on his hand with a hungry madness that Ford had never seen, even from the likes of him. Fowler smeared the blood between his hands just as the walls of the cave began to tremble.

“ED, GET BACK!” Ford shouted, pushing his brother backwards. Fowler’s feather-like scales rippled as he grew larger. Fowler seemed to explode into the Dark Dragon. The Dragon had the same poison green eyes that Fowler did, its ears had grown into a webbed shape, and its mouth was long with sharp teeth. The Dragon had grown into a size that took up a good portion of the cave. It was a good thing the brothers had moved out of the way. They would have surely been crushed.

“Now,” the Dragon said with pure menace in its eyes. “Why don’t I show you what a dragon can do? First your hometown, then the world.”

“Over my dead body,” Ford said, pulling out his sword in one swift motion. He lunged, swiping his sword at the Dragon’s right forepaw. Ford only managed to scratch the leg before the Dragon dodged it. Before Ford could get back up, the Dragon brought its paw back down on top of him.

Ford could barely breathe under Fowler’s hand. The Dragon picked him up by the jacket and brought him close to its face, the way a lion would a mouse. Ford squirmed, trying to loosen the Dragon’s grip on his jacket. The Dragon, noticing this, flicked Ford’s sword out of his hand. The Dragon’s breath was hot as it billowed from its nostrils. Ford had a feeling that Fowler had chosen to morph into a fire-breathing dragon, and not a regular dragon.

“Over your dead body, boy?” The Dragon sneered. He may not have been human anymore, but the Dragon was still Fowler. “So be it.”

“Hey, Chicken Dragon!” Edmund shouted from below. He had picked up Ford’s sword and was brandishing it cautiously, its weight a bit too much for him.

“Edmund, no! Run! Get out of here!” Ford yelled. The Dragon slowly turned its head towards Edmund.

“What is a little boy going to do to me?”

“Put my big brother down and you won’t have to find out!” Edmund called.

“Hmm, let me consider that,” the Dragon pretended to be taking Edmund’s threat seriously. “No, I’m not likely to do that.”

The Dragon returned its attention to Ford. Ford struggled harder, even managing to kick the Dragon’s chin. However, the Dragon didn’t seem to feel the kick. Its impact was trivial in comparison to the size of the Dragon.

“You were one of us once!” Ford shouted desperately. “I’ve heard the stories! You were a hero! What changed?”

The Dragon stared at him, eyes flashing. It tilted its head slightly before replying. “I lost what was most important to me because of my work. So, I switched sides. It’s been very rewarding.”

Suddenly, the Dragon growled in pain, his eyes dilating a little. The Dragon dropped Ford, who grabbed a protruding rock on the wall before he fell to his death. The Dragon’s small growl grew into a roar of agony. Fowler collapsed to the ground. Just before the Dragon hit the floor, Ford heard the sound of a blade piercing the Dragon’s heart. The sword was withdrawn, but its bearer wasn’t able to move out of the way on time. The Dragon fell on top of Edmund.

“EDMUND!” Ford shouted. He slid down the wall of the cave and ran. He grabbed the Dragon and hauled its limp body off of his brother. He pulled his brother into his arms. A tear rolled down his cheek as he felt Edmund’s heart pattering weakly. Ford stood, lifting his brother up with him. He took a staggering step forward and nearly tripped. He rose again and struggled out of the cave, each step getting heavier and more difficult to take.

Finally, he staggered through the mouth of the cave, where EMTs and a few concerned people were waiting. As soon as he exited the cave, Ford collapsed onto the ground, gasping for air. The EMTs rushed at the two boys, taking Edmund from him and trying to wipe the blood off of Ford’s face.

“Edmund! Where’s Edmund? Let me see him!” Ford said desperately, fighting against the men who were trying to help him.

The two EMTs held him back and stole a quick glance at each other. “Kid, I don’t know if you really want to do that,” one of them said.

Ford didn’t listen to them. He pushed them off and ran to where he saw the other EMTs gathered. They reluctantly let him through to see Edmund. Ford couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Edmund looked… dead. That couldn’t be. Edmund couldn’t be dead. Ford fell to his knees by his brother’s side. He placed his hand on his brother’s heart. He waited for the rhythmic beating of Edmund’s heart thumping against his palm. But there was nothing. Tears streamed down Ford’s eyes. His breath was ragged and his body shook with grief he had only felt once before- and yet it was far worse this time than it had been the last time.

“This is all my fault,” Ford sobbed. “This is all my fault. If I had made him stay home, he would be fine! But now he-he’s dead!”

“Son,” one of the EMTs said. “Let’s clean you up and get you back to your parents. Where do they-”

Ford turned his head to glare at them. “They’re dead. Besides, I’m twenty-five, not seventeen. I’ll go home by myself when I’m ready.”

The EMTs looked at each other again. “Alright, but at least wipe the blood off of your face,” the same EMT from before said, taking a cloth and forcing Ford to let him clear off the blood from his face. The EMT frowned when he saw that there was still blood on his face. As the EMT looked closer, he realized that this wasn’t someone else’s blood. It was Ford’s blood. He would probably be scarred for the rest of his life.

“What did this to you, kid?” the man asked softly.

“It doesn’t matter,” Ford mumbled. “The claws weren’t poisonous. I’ll survive. But my brother-”

“That kid’s your brother?”

“Half-brother, but yeah. His dad didn’t want to raise him after our mom died, so I did it. I was supposed to take care of him. And instead, he’s gone.”

“My little brother died when I was about your age. The house was on fire and no one could save him in time. After that, I dedicated my life to ensuring that no one else would ever have to go through that.”

Ford raised his eyes a bit. “Then I’m never going to stop doing what I do. I fight the dark magic in the world and I’m never going to stop doing that.”

“What do they call you, kid?” the EMT asked, gently persuading Ford to get in the ambulance so that he could be taken to the hospital.

“They used to call me ‘The Protector’” Ford said, beginning to calm down and get comfortable talking to this man. “My name’s Ford, though.”

The EMT gave him a small grin. “Well Ford, they’re gonna keep calling you that. You’ve protected a lot of people today.” Ford’s gaze shifted to where a few EMTs were lifting Edmund’s body into a stretcher to be taken away. As if he noticed this, the EMT added softly, “But if there’s one thing I’ve learned as an EMT, you can’t save everyone, Protector. No matter how hard you try.”

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About the Contributor
Maahum Alvi
Maahum Alvi, Staff Writer
Maahum is a freshman at Freehold High School. This is her first year on The Colonial. She is passionate about writing, especially creative writing. Maahum loves reading, robotics, and spending time with her siblings. 

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