The Dragon’s Lair – B. Huddleston


Sitting in class isn’t fun. Especially when the enemy is standing in front of you, screeching its hypnotic screams that make you smarter, or so they say. I think it’s just a trap to make you believe it’s good for you, meanwhile they brainwash you to be their slave forever.

The only escape from the torture of this classroom is my friend, Aubergene, or Genes for short. She is sitting next to me, writing me secret messages by dotting her I’s with hearts and looping her ‘E’s with a slight lean towards me, writing as the teacher keeps screeching. She’s using a purple glittery pen held by her delicate hands with half chewed nails and chipped black nail polish. She is my best and only friend at this prison –Interlochen Art Academy- that my parents so un-expectantly decided to put me in without any consent of mine.

Me, I don’t like art; art is not my forte, nor my piano for that matter. I can’t paint, draw or doodle. Not even stick figures. My version of stick figures consists of three dots (two on the top for eyes, one on the bottom for a nose) a really curvy line for the mouth, and a demented circle for a head. No hair because it would be only two or three strands sticking straight up with no real shape or form to be considered hair. And with all that, it would have a really pathetic excuse for a body. Genes, on the other hand, details her people. She makes a perfect head, to match her perfect head, she makes perfect eyes to match her perfect eyes, a really cute button nose and silky soft glossed lips: the color of light red. Her golden brown curly hair floating from her head, held by a very glittery purple headband. Her perfect complexion glowing with the lights of this horrid- which doesn’t seem so horrid anymore- classroom.

I am stuck here by accident, I am not supposed to be here, I was abducted by evil aliens as parents. They put wires on my brain, trying to see what I was worst at and forced me to do that. They need to get revenge on me, a poor human that had nothing to do with what humans have done to them, the poor aliens, having nothing to do with the famous crop circles, yet blamed for all of it.

Well, enough about aliens. Why talk about aliens, when there’s a mystical creature right in front of you. It doesn’t even look real, doesn’t even sound real. All I really understand is when it says, “it’s over”, or “moving on to a different subject”.

The clock is ticking, it’s mocking me, it’s saying, with every beat, ‘HA-HA-HA, you have to stay here longer. NO-NOT-YET, class isn’t over yet. HA-HA-HA…’ Three minutes pass; three minutes of mocking; three minutes of screeching; three minutes of torture. Can I take this any longer? Time is passing so slowly. Waiting for the day to pass is like waiting for a pencil to bleed ink, but if I get out of line, or do something disruptive, she’ll get me: she’ll take me away into The Place.

The Place is a place where you don’t want to be, a place where all you can hear is your own heart beat and a slight buzzing of machinery. You feel more than you would imagine, being a small dark room. I’ve only been there once, and once is all it takes for even the toughest of guys to whimper down and never say another word. It’s a form of keeping everyone in line. Like in 3rd grade, if anyone got up to go to the bathroom without asking, they got a ‘whack!’ on the hand with a wooden, actually metal, ruler.

“Peter!” the teacher screeches, “pay attention to how I curve this line.” I don’t care how to curve a line, my lines are perfectly curvy, and they can out-curve her curve any day. “Peter!” the teacher screeches my name once again, “put your head up, and sit up straight!” And with that, she flies over to me with her dragon wings and burns my back with her fire breath to make me sit up straight and pay attention. That’s check one for me, anymore and she’ll send one of her slaves, former student, in to get me and take me away. Genes is looking at me with the most disgusted look I’ve ever seen. I look back at her with a sorry look on my face, but I see she’s not looking at me. She’s looking at some people passing the class room.

Dragging something along, or someone.

Maybe it’s a student that they took to The Place and kept them there for too long, until they fainted. Darkness can do that to some. A weak heart and fear can’t help you in situations like this. I reassure Genes with a side smirk, I sometimes do to that to cheer her up, but she still has that look on her face, the look of worry and it troubles me to think about what she’s thinking about. Maybe she’s thinking that might happen to me. Maybe she’s worried that I might get taken away from her and she won’t be able to survive the wrath of the monster standing there screeching at the students for not paying attention to the way she curves her lines. Her tests are drawing curved lines, curved lines that look exactly like what she has drawn on the board, and “if you have paid close attention,” she says, “you won’t have to do it.” As she scans the room, floating past, looking at everyone’s paper ,searching for notes on her dreaded curved lines – which by definition, a line is straight, but I wouldn’t dare mention that little piece of information. I shouldn’t have known that in the first place.

A guy comes in with fine brownish tan hair, skin the color of freshly baked cookies and a confused look on his face. “Is this Ms. Ere’s class?” Clearly he isn’t aware of the rules; if you want to talk to the teacher, you must wait until she acknowledges your presence and asks you if you had a question. But as he’s waiting for a reply, he walks in peacefully, unaware of the danger he is in. He sits down next to me, smiles at me briefly, and looks around for the teacher. The monster I have grown to be scared of put on a never-before-seen fake smile and glides slowly towards him. Oh no! She’s coming towards us, and I haven’t written anything down! What will I do? I look at Genes for help, and she sees that all I have on my paper is my name and the date. She hands me one of her notebooks filled with doodles and notes from the classes before, filled with dreams and hopes of becoming a great artist, with a slight scent of vanilla…She’s almost here, five more steps and I am doomed to be in The Place for a lifetime. As she passes my desk, she doesn’t look at my paper, but just keeps on staring, and keeping a close eye on the new meat: new soul for her to destroy, a fresh brain to wash, and a clear set of goals to blur away from, in this young person sitting next to me.

“What. Is. Your. Name?” She speaks in syllables as if he was deaf, and waits patiently for a response. He looks around as if to hold a lot of pride in that huge head of his, and says short and clearly, “George.”

“Well, George,” she stops and looks at him directly in the eye, to add more emphasis to what she is going to say, “the way you came in right now was not acceptable, and I want you to go outside, knock, and wait for me to tell you to come in.” This was completely expected, I wasn’t shocked. Unlike the eight other people sitting down glaring at this new, and already dead meat, I sat up straight and breathed in really loudly to take all of the given, not earned, attention off of him. When I did that, Genes nudged me to stop. But it was too late, I had already caught the attention of our enemy. I had exposed our hide-out, like blowing up fireworks in a battl field, giving away our position. She turned towards me with those snake green eyes, and glared with utmost hate for having disrupted her speech. As she did, I looked back at her. Once I did, I was trapped, trapped in her evil hypnotic glare. I couldn’t look away, and I knew I was in trouble.

“What was that?” she asked me. I waited for a second, she asked again, “Did you want to say something?” I couldn’t speak. It was like her eyes held my throat shut and prevented any sound from coming out. She repeated herself once more, “Do you have something to say?”

At last I found my voice and let out a meek, “No.”

I could feel her hate towards my ignorance growing. She was giving it off as heat. Heat so powerful she glowed a fiery red-orange. Everyone in the room felt it. Even poor Genes sitting next to me, and the new face proudly sitting on the other side. I was wondering if she was ever going to go back to Georgey over there, and tell him to get out again, but I knew she had completely forgotten about that when she rushed to her desk and picked up a piece of brown paper that looked more like dead skin than cardboard, wrote a few words on the skin, and screeched for one of her minions to come a get me. I wasn’t scared; how could I be? I’ve been there before, I know what to expect from it. Besides, I couldn’t act scared in front of everyone. Not new face Georgey over there, not monster way over there, and not even Genes. What would she think of me if she sees I’m scared? I need to show her that I can’t be scared, or else she will be scared.

Like how I stood up for her and told all the bullies from our school to get a life. She called me her hero that day, and we’ve been friends ever since. Right now is almost the same, except that they aren’t picking on her, they’re picking on me.

Right as Ms. Ere’s former students came into the classroom, Georgey stands up and says he’s been put in the wrong class, but they ignore him seeing as they have no idea what is going on and they’re only following their master’s voice and commands. One grabs a hold of my arm. I don’t struggle, because I know that the more I pull and tug the more force they will be required to use against me, and trust me, it isn’t fun.

Well, we’re leaving now, one minion wrapped around each of my arms, holding tightly with a close watch on me, trying to avoid any skillful escapes they suspect I would pull. I see the snake-eyed monster laugh obnoxiously as I walk out the room, and I can still hear it down the hallway.

We arrived at The Place a moment later. They let go of me and push me, violently, into the 3 foot deep 5 foot tall hole in a wall. There goes the door, slammed on my face, extinguishing any light from the black hole. Light that I won’t be seeing again for a while. As I wait, trapped with ever drowning hope of getting out, I hear commotion outside. I press my ear on the cold hard metal door that holds my liberty, but I can barely hear what’s going on.

Just as I give up trying to care about what awful things are going on, I start to back away from the door, but it abruptly swings open. I close my eyes from the blinding light, but I don’t have time to react. I hear a voice telling me to “GET UP!” I can’t respond “GET UP!” I hear once again. I don’t know what’s going on, “GET UP!!!” I open my eyes slowly and look around confused for a while. “What’s going on?” I ask. A familiar face looks at me with a strict, but compassionate smile and says, “You’re going to be late for school.”


Ben took advantage of our free program for emerging authors. Do you have a story you’d like to share? Share Your Story


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