Here it is. The second week of the prompt challenge. Same prompt, whole new story. I’m having a ton of fun with this and again, I am sorry it’s so long. Let me know what you think. Join the fun and write your own story.
My name is Elliot and I am a Dragon whisperer. Yeah, It’s exactly what you think it is. I talk to dragons. My father is one of the world’s wealthiest dragon farmers, and he has me to thank for that. I am the only one who can speak to them, but no one else knows my secret other than my father. While I helped my father grow his business to a new level, our relationship has not been the best. I wanted to become a veterinarian and focus on dragons as a specialty. After all, it would be easy to help them, being able to talk to them.
Of course, my father didn’t understand why I needed to go to college to learn what he deemed unimportant. He figured that since he already had an empire built, I would just take over and be happy with it. I wasn’t going to be happy with it. I wanted to learn medicine. I wanted to help dragons, not breed them and sale them to rich brats that would throw them away like garbage. It’s no different than a dog to some people and it makes me sick.
I own a dragon, his name is Shadow and he is one of the largest dragons in the world. My father specializes in large dragon breeds. Dragons can range in size from small pocket dragons to the kind you see in movies. Most people want smaller dragons, the ones that are the size of a horse are the most popular. The people with more money want dragons like the ones my father breeds. Though, there are not many of them in existence. Most of them do not live long, dying after about 5 years. But that is because no one knows how to properly care for them. I do. Shadow is 17 years old. My father gave him to me when I was 5. It was the greatest birthday present I have ever received.
It was also the last gift I got before my mother passed away. Because of her passing away when I was so young, I pretty much raised myself. My father was busy building his business and I was left alone with incompetent nannies that wanted nothing to do with me. They fed me and put me to bed, the rest was on me. I started teaching myself everything I could. Books became my escape, my only happiness in my lonely world. I excelled in school and even graduated from high school two years early. I was picked on a lot, but I had Shadow to come home to, so the kids at school didn’t bother me. They were just jealous because I came from a rich family and had everything they wanted. If they had known how little my father cared about me, they wouldn’t have been jealous.
I went right into college, even though my father protested. My mother had set aside a college fund for me that I was supposed to inherit when I was 18. She knew how my father felt about college, but she always wanted me to go. Because of circumstances, I was allowed to get my inheritance early for college. I even graduated college a year earlier than they predicted. I may be a bit of a nerd, but I finished all my schooling before my father made it his prerogative to bring me home.
Now, as I stand here in front of my father’s home, a place that never felt like home to me, I fear what is to come. I always promised that I would return after college and I never back out of a promise. So here I am, back at the beck and call of my father. I take a deep breath, pick up my suitcase and wave goodbye to my taxi. I look up at the three story home and shake my head. It was just my father and I that lived in the house, there was never a need for such a large house. My father says that growing up he didn’t have much of anything, and now that he could afford it, he would get everything he could ever want.
He lives a big life and doesn’t let anyone forget his fortune. I, on the other hand, would rather everyone forget that I exist. I am happy among the dragons, and they provide all the conversation I could need. I promise you, a dragon talks more than a teenage girl, especially when you are the only human that can understand them.
“May I take your bags to your room?” Izzy, our maid asked me when I opened the front door. Izzy had worked for my father for several years now and her hair was turning grey. I smiled at her and handed her my bags. She wouldn’t carry them up to my room, she would set them aside for one of the service men to take it up. Izzy was just the face of the operation.
“Thanks, Izzy.” I said to her. “Is my father awake?” I asked. Concern crossed her face. My father had grown ill in my last year of college. I had put off coming home for as long as I could. You may think I am a horrible son, leaving my father alone in his moment of weakness. It’s not like I ever had much of a bond with him anyways. Really, we were more like coworkers than anything.
“He is eating breakfast as we speak.” Izzy bowed and walked away. If I were a guest, she would have shown me to the entertainment room until my father was able to make his way to meet me. Being the son of the billionaire that paid her, I was allowed free roam of the house. It was, after all, my home too, even if I had been gone for several years. I made my way up the stairs and stood in front of the wide double doors that led into my father’s chambers. We don’t live in a castle, nor is this the 15th century, but my father’s chambers are too big to be called a room.
I raised my hand and gently rapped on the door, hoping he would not have heard me. Even in his ill state he has better hearing than anyone I know. “Come in already.” He shouted through the door. He sounded annoyed, meaning he had heard me walk to the door and waited, while I stood there contemplating what I would say to him. I rolled my eyes and opened the door. “I thought I taught you better than to doddle in front of someone’s door.” He said, his mouth in a disappointing frown.
“Sorry sir.” I said to him, bowing my head. Even now my father made me feel like a small child who was just caught playing in the dirt in his Sunday clothes.
“Go on, take a seat.” He said, waving to the chair that sat at the foot of his bed. He looked small sitting in the middle of his California king sized bed. I should point out that he didn’t look sick at all. His hair was grey and his skin was wrinkled. I noticed that his hands shook slightly as he raised his cup of coffee to his lips. But he was also plump and his skin was tan, and his eyes still had that spark of greed shining brightly at me.
I sat down in the chair and looked around the room. The tall windows were blocked by heavy red curtains, keeping out the sun. In one corner sat my father’s desk, a desk that he had spent many hours in. He had an office downstairs, but he only worked in there when he had clients to speak with. He always told me he felt safer working in his room. Of course, behind the desk sat the vault. And you know what is kept in a vault. My father once owned a bank, just so he had a place to keep all his money and could physically touch it whenever he wanted. He didn’t like it being too far away from him, so he brought his money home and shut down the bank. Several people lost their job and my father did not offer a severance package.
“Are you done playing student?” My father asked me, sitting his coffee mug down.
“I have graduated, yes sir.” I told him. I pulled my degree from the briefcase I had kept with me and held it up to him.
“That is an expensive piece of paper.” He said, waving for me to put it away. It was moments like this where I missed my mother the most. I sighed and put away the degree that I was so proud of. I would visit my mother’s grave later and show her. I knew she would be proud of me.
“I am hoping to open my own practice one day.” I told him. He scoffed and took a bit of his eggs.
“There is a reason you are home now.” He said, not looking at me. He had not met my eyes since I had walked into his room. Of course, that was not unusual. I don’t think my father had looked at me in a long time. I think it was because I looked so much like my mother.
“Because you are sick.” I told him. There was no beating around the bush with my father. He was all facts, all the time. No time for silly business.
“And you need to learn the trade.” He said, pulling out a notebook that sat under his food tray.
“Father.” I said slowly. I really didn’t want to take over the family business, but I didn’t know how to tell him. I thought it was wrong what we did. We raised dragons just to sell them to the highest bidder.
“No.” He said quickly. “I let you do your thing. Now, it is time that you step up and do what you were supposed to do.” He held out the notebook and a butler from the dark corner walked out, grabbed the notebook and brought it to me. I was startled at first, I had not noticed the butler in the corner. I took the notebook when the butler handed it to me and watched him disappear back into the shadows. “That is my will.” He said taking another bite of his breakfast. “You need to read it, and sign the agreement in the back.”
“Okay.” I said, standing from the chair. I knew this conversation was over. Though, it wasn’t much of a conversation at all. I walked to the door and grabbed the handle, pausing before I opened it. I waited, hoping my father would say something, just a “welcome home” was all I wanted. But he was as cold and closed as I remember.
I found my way to my own room. It was smaller than my father’s room, but that was on request from my mother. She didn’t want me blinded by money like my father. Is it wrong that I sometimes wish it was my father who died when I was younger instead of my mother? With a deep sigh, I sat at my desk with my father’s will in front of me. I opened it up and prepared myself for disappointment.
Before I could delve into the will, I heard a loud roar outside my window. I smiled, knowing Shadow had been told I was home. I didn’t even make it to the door when I heard him call my name. To the rest of the house it would sound like another roar, but I told you, I can understand dragons.
“Elliot!” Shadow called again. I opened the front door and was instantly picked up by a claw. Shadow brought me to his eye level. I could see a smile in his eyes. “If I was human I would hug you.” He said with a chuckle. It was more like a giant clearing his throat, but I knew what it really was.
“Shadow.” I said smiling. “It’s good to see you buddy.” He sat me back on my feet and let out another roar, summoning the other dragons. There were three dragons that belonged to the farm, they were not for breeding, nor were they for sale. They were the family dragons. They all came to say hello to me, leaving almost as quick as they had come.
“They are happy to see you.” Shadow said cooly.
“Really?” I asked him. “I couldn’t tell.” I laughed.
“Would you like to go for a ride?” Shadow asked me, bowing his head so that I could climb on his back.
“I thought you would never ask.” I patted his head and held on.
Riding a dragon is unlike anything in the world. I have ridden in planes, I have hang glided, and I have sky dived. None of it was like riding the back of a dragon. The wind blowing through my hair and the freedom of the open sky. There were no restrictions, no limits. Of course, I couldn’t go to high because of the air issues, but that was the only limit. There was something magical, riding the back of a dragon, telling Shadow where to go, when to dive, and when to ride the wind.
The years I had spent away from home caused me to forget how amazing it was. I had missed Shadow and home. I only wondered how long I would be here this time. Father wanted me take over the business, but the conditions that these dragons were forced into just to breed, it was wrong.
“What are you thinking about?” Shadow interrupted my thoughts.
“Just this place.” I told him. “How much I missed it and how I don’t want to continue my father’s business.”
“He does love you.” Shadow said, shocking me. “He may be hard on you, and you may disagree, but your father loves you and he is proud of you.”
“He doesn’t show it very well.” I whined.
“He shows it in the only way he knows.” Shadow was the descendent of the greatest dragons in history. He had lived among his kin a few years, learning the history of dragons, soaking up their wisdom. If I hadn’t raised him myself, I would have thought he was hundreds of years old. At one point, dragons did live that long, but once domesticated by humans, they couldn’t survive as long.
Shadow landed, and bowed his head again. I slide off his scaly back and thanked him for the ride by bowing at his claws. “It is much appreciated, great one.” I said. I wasn’t being snarky or rude, it was the way you thanked a dragon for letting you ride on their back. If you didn’t thank a dragon properly, they would refuse to let you ride again, or throw you into the air and watch you fall. It was harsh, but it was the way of the dragon.
“You should take a look around.” Shadow urged me. “Things have changed around here. I’m not sure what is happening, but things have gotten better.”
“Is that so?” I asked the dragon. His green eyes focused on me and he nodded before turning away and disappearing back into the clouds. I sighed deeply and shook my head, raking my fingers through my hair to tame it from the ride. I would look around, but I would still disagree with what my father was doing.
It was only an hour later and I had seen all I needed to see. Shadow was right, things had changed. My father was no longer breeding dragons. He still had hatchlings, but they stayed with their mothers, until the mother pushed the baby to go off on his own. It was no longer the cold, cruel process of taking the egg and incubating it. It was what I had been asking for since I was a teenager and understood how wrong breeding was.
There was even a ward for injured and sick dragons. It was broken down into different sized dragons as well. My father was no longer dealing with just large dragons. I stopped one of the women in scrubs, she was rushing away when I called to her. “What is going on here?” I asked her.
“This is the hospital ward.” She said with a smile. “Most of the dragons here have been abused and abandoned by their owners.”
“What?” I couldn’t clear my mind. “What happened to the breeding stables?”
“They were torn down last year.” She said with a smile.
“My father agreed to that?”
“It was your father’s idea.” She looked at me, an eye brow raised and her head cocked to the side. “Did he not tell you?”
“No.” I said quietly. I had to see my father, he had to explain this.
I rushed back to the house, up the stairs, and through the door of my father’s room.
“Elliot.” Izzy said with a gasp. “I was just coming to get you.” She said. Her eyes were red and I noticed the streaks of black that ran down her face. She wiped her nose and cleared her throat.
“Where is my father?” I asked, my heart racing. I looked to the empty bed and my heart dropped to my stomach. “Where is he?” I asked again.
“Elliot,” Izzy said through her tears. She moved closer to me, putting a hand on my shoulder. “He held on long enough to see you one last time.”
“What?” I asked. The room started spinning. “Where is he?”
“He is gone Elliot.” Izzy said.
“I was just here. I just came back home.” My eyes began to sting and water. I wiped at them, refusing to let the tears fall, refusing to believe what I was hearing.
“He was lucky that he made it as long as he did.” She said, a sad smile spreading across her face. “He was a changed man.”
“This doesn’t make any sense.” I shook my head. “He looked fine.”
“He had a brain tumor.”
“What?” I knew he had been sick, but I didn’t know it was cancer. I didn’t know that he had a tumor. Why hadn’t he told me? I would have come home sooner. I thought he was just getting older. I thought he was exaggerating the doctor’s visits. I honestly thought it was all a front to get me home sooner.
“He didn’t tell you because he knew you would rush home.” Izzy wiped her tears again. “Something changed in him and he didn’t know how to tell you sorry. He didn’t want you to suspect anything.”
“Sir.” The voice came from butler, who once stood in the corner of my father’s room. “The papers that your father gave you, you must sign them for the lawyer.” He said, his face emotionless. “I am sorry for your loss. Your father was a good man.”
What? I didn’t understand any of this. I walked out of the room and back to my own room. I sat down at my desk and opened the packet my father had given me. On top was a note, handwritten by my father.
I know I have not been the greatest father to you. I know that I was not there for you when you needed me and your mother would not have been very happy with me for the way I have treated you. I was blinded by my own greed and when I lost your mother, I lost myself.
I could see her in your eyes. Even the way you dreamed reminded me of her. I was so lost in anger and pain that I ignored the one part of my wife that was still around. I missed so much of your life and I am so sorry for that.
I realize that it may be too late for this, but I am proud of you. I am proud of you for sticking up for yourself and for doing what you dreamed of doing. You have become a great man and I hope that you continue your quest of making the world a better place. You made it better for me.
There are no conditions to your inheritance other than to open your own office. Help the sick dragons. Don’t breed them anymore, help the homeless ones and the abused ones. Change the meaning of our name, son. Make our history great.
I know it seems that I have changed my ways out of nowhere, but something happened to me. The brain tumor pressed against something in my brain. I heard the dragons, Elliot. I heard them talking about you and me. I heard how much pain some of them were in and how much they hated where they were. I heard it all. But what changed me was a homeless dragon that came to our farm. Had I not been able to understand him I would have shooed him away without a second thought. But he told me of all he had been through, how his own abused him even though he was a massive dragon.
I see what you see now. And I am sorry for everything. I spoke with Shadow about you. He helped me realize what I had done so wrong. I hope that you do better with your life than I have done with mine.
Build your practice, help the dragons, fall in love, get married, and have children. Raise your children, unlike me. Be a part of their life and teach them your passion.
I love you Elliot.
I wiped the tears from my cheeks and set the letter aside. I read through the will and signed on the dotted line. My father was gone, but I would not let him down.