Response to Writing Prompt Thirty-Four: A palace, lost among the jungle weeds, spiraled upward toward the sky like so many mountains.
A palace, lost among jungle weeds, spiraled upward toward the sky like so many mountains. The once elegant home to the emperor had taken on a whole new kind of grandeur, by my way of thinking. Since it was abandoned by the country’s harsh ruler, only the animals wished to call the palace home. Looking up at the main tower I saw a missing stone that was replaced by a bird’s nest. The grey stone tower was elegantly adorned with long leafy vines that scaled to its uppermost parts. I would have missed the nest entirely had it not been for the bright blue bird that flew in to make itself at home. I watched the opening where the bird had disappeared until I saw a tale pop out and then the tale disappeared and moments later a head looked out. The blue bird looked downward, it’s head titled to watch and listen. Then, suddenly, it swooped down, out of the tower, and swiftly flew towards the ground. I watched, and realized it was chasing a small animal, some sort of large mouse or rat. The brightly colored bird scooped up the creature, carrying it off in its talons.
Moments later I was distracted by a rustling on the forest floor. At the front of the castle was an old wooden gate. The gate had tufts of grass growing between its beams and vines coming up from below. I watched as a tapir ran across the once great bridge. It was a sweet young tapir with a fascinating coat of spots and stripes and his strange long snout wiggling around in front of him, sniffing all sorts of scents carried on the wind. I marveled at this place with its mix of royal elegance and natural, organic beauty.
I watched in wonder as so many creatures lived together in harmony. I was contemplating all of these things when I heard a strange noise, whup, whup, whup. It had its own rhythm, was it flapping? I looked around, expecting to see a large bird, but instead I saw a long red dragon, flying from the trees beyond. Its long body was covered in crimson scales. It was followed by a red forked tail, almost equal in length to its body. I was amazed that its small wings could carry such a beast. I should have been hiding from the great creature, but instead I watched in wonderment as he flew straight for the tower and landed right on top, wrapping its elongated body around until it was almost down to the base of the palace. As soon as it landed, the great dragon lifted his head in the air and breathed hard, its fiery breath stretched towards the sun, casting a shadow across my path. I looked about, the tapir was gone. I could no longer see any part of the bird. The castle has a new emperor and it seemed that with all its new beauty, its inhabitants still lived in fear of the master.