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The Dragon With a Smoker's Cough

The Story of Berny the Dragon

Berny was a dragon who lived high up on the hill. Every day, he'd wake at dusk and swoop with giant, flame-coloured wings down to the long river that separated himself and the village. His thunderous footsteps echoed through woods which made the squirrels scutter up the tall trees and hide. His head was the cage for two deep, black eyes. Berny's body was the size of the large hill which excluded the village from the rest of the land around them. 

Berny bowed his giant head, his neck like a venomous snake moving one part at a time. His mouth crashed down on the rippling water beneath him. Torches vanished like villagers at this time of night, and everyone stood shivering in their houses praying the beast didn't decide to guzzle them up. 

Berny took off suddenly, soaring into the midnight sky, dancing with stars he twirled in the light of the moon. He was a ballerina, showing off his fluorescent scales to the world below him. He tucked his wings in and began to fall like a comet towards the dark cave in which he slept. He landed perfectly on the boulder in front of the opening. Thump! Thump! His feet crashed down on the earth, shaking stones as he stomped carelessly inside. 

Berny had lived alone for years. That's how it was for dragons. Thus he had no one to talk to. In his room lay packs of cigars. There were cigars on the stone bed, the floor, and there were even some lying inside drawers that he'd forgotten about. Berny curled his whole body upwards so that his head almost scraped the top of his cave, then he slumped back down on his tail and lifted a cigar to his mouth. The monstrous Berny sneezed a small flame and soon filled the whole room with a thick smoke. 

Berny didn't remember passing out that day but he quickly arose as the sun descended on the crashing waves knocking against his cave. He shot out of his cave, eager to have his first meal of the week (he tried not to feast too much in case he ran out of men). Tonight was a warm night and so the villagers were out on the green of the doomed land. A loud bellow from the clouds startled the small people and they stared up in shock as Berny descended relentlessly. Doors slammed shut and children wailed. Many of the poor people fainted as they knew what he had come for. 

Berny snatched a small, plump man into his bloodied teeth without hitting the floor first. He circled round the village once more and inhaled deeply, ready to burn down the wooden structures that hid the wailing townspeople. Berny's eyes grew wide, not with greed but with shock. His lungs would not take anymore and the fire was burning out. His wings cramped suddenly and Berny spluttered as he collided on the dry grass. Unable to move, he screeched in agony. 

Silence. No one moved for several minutes until one man yelled and ran forward. His swords cut through the scales of the dying beast and blood splattered from within the hellish creature. Berny lay still on the ruined plain of land before the villagers. He tried one more time to engulf them in his fire but only a loud cough came from the creature's jaw. 

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The Dragon With a Smoker's Cough
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