When I woke up, all was darkness.
I wasn't worried though. The fact was, I was simply face-down on my pillow, caught in that blissful state between sleep and wakefulness.
In other words, I had absolutely no interest in getting up.
As I was in this befuddled state, it took me a couple minutes to realize something.
Where was my alarm?
This may seem like a stupid thing to worry about when you're lying peacefully on a nice, fluffy bed, but I had recently (and in-voluntarily) come into the possession of a very annoying alarm which I nick-named "The Grouch". In reality she was simply the caretaker of the orphanage I lived at, but she performed all the basic functions of an alarm: she was really loud, always on time, and would never shut up unless you turned her off. And the only way to turn her off was to get up.
The part that actually had me worried was the fact that I couldn't hear her. This was not normal. The Grouch had her schedule burned into the very filaments of her being: if it was a school day, she woke you up at 6 AM; if it was any other day, and you where out of bed by 10 AM, she didn't have any quarrel with you. If you where still in bed by 10 AM, she went into the basement, got a big bucket, filled it with ice-cold water, and poured over your head with no warning whatsoever. And she would do it again if you stayed. I learned this lesson the hard way, in the first few weeks I was at the orphanage.
As I was contemplating this, I tried to remember what day it was. While I couldn't recall the name, I was fairly certain that yesterday had been a school day, and the day before had been the weekend. That made it Tuesday, a school day. But that didn't make any sense.
If its a school day, why am I still asleep?
The Grouch had only been here a couple of years, but in those years she had never missed her wake-up call. Even if she was sick, she would still drag herself out of bed and started yelling at us like any other day.
She woke me up on my freaking birthday. Why wouldn't she wake me up today?
Whatever the reason was, it had to be big. Maybe she got fired I thought hopefully.
As I was thinking up reasons for the absence of the Grouch, it occurred to me that I didn't feel tired anymore, which was weird to say the least. It usually took me over half an hour to drag myself out of bed, and yet here I was, awake for barely five minutes, and already I was itching to get up.
I lazily turned over and opened my eyes.
What I saw got me fully awake in no time.
I was lying on my usual lumpy bed, but the rest of the orphanage was completely gone. Instead, my bed and myself were planted smack in the middle of what looked like a huge field, with rolling, grassy hills.
I slowly sat up and looked to my left: more grassy hills. On my right, a forest stretched almost as far as the eye could see.
One thing was certain: there were no buildings.
As I tried to grasp where I was, I noticed something else: It was warm, and the sun was out. That shouldn't be happening. It was the middle of January and freezing cold outside. Plus, there wasn't any forest within 50 miles of the orphanage.
And yet here I was.
I looked around for other signs of life, but saw none. That didn't mean anything though. With all the hills in this place you could easily hide anything car-sized or smaller in one of the many little dip-like valleys created by said hills.
Well, I may have been transported half-way around the world in one night without me even noticing, but I still felt okay. So naturally I tried to get out out of bed.
The effect was immediate. As soon as my body left the bed, all my joints stiffened up. I groaned and fell back onto the bed. My entire body felt as if I hadn't moved it in ages.
Okay, so maybe I don't feel fine.
It took me 15 minutes to be able to stand up without falling back onto the bed and another 10 minutes to get all of my joints working properly again. I then turned back to my bed and started walking a circle around it, trying to see if I could figure out how I got here.
If anything, the search yielded more questions. There were no drag marks or footprints in the grass surrounding the bed. It was as if it had simply pooped into existence with me on it.
As I sat there, wondering what to do, I happened to glance down at the grass in front of me.
My heart skipped a beat.
According to a large and dangerous-looking shadow on the ground right in front of me, there was a creature about my size with a ton of spikes adorning its head and two bat-like wings standing right behind me.
Perfect. Just perfect.
I slowly turned around to face this creature, hoping against hope that it was not hostile, or, if it was hostile, it had very short legs.
There was nothing there.
Perplexed, I turned around and looked at the shadow again. Other then some faint movement, it was still there.
What, is it invisible?
If that was true, and with my luck it probably was, then my chances of survival had just decreased dramatically.
But it couldn't be true. Even if this creature somehow possessed the ability to turn invisible, when I looked done at the spot where its feet should have been, there were no depressions in the grass that would suggest a pair of invisible feet.
The only reasonable explanation was that there was simply nothing there.
As I turned back to the shadow, an explanation clicked into my mind. I immediately dismissed it as impossible, but upon farther study I realized it was the only explanation I had that made any kind of sense.
If the shadow is still there, and yet there is nothing behind me and no other living being in sight, then the shadow must belong to...
I looked at the shadow again. It had two arms and two legs, like a human, but there were spikes poking out of its head and the two bat-like wings were almost as big as its body.
I cocked my head and the shadow mimicked me.
I raised my arm and the shadow raised a clawed hand in response.
I didn't want to look at my arm, or any other part of my body for that matter, but I had to find out if this was true or not.
I took a deep breath and looked at my arm.
The first thing I noticed was that my pajamas were gone. The second thing was the arm itself: it was covered with blue scales and at the end of each finger was a claw at least an inch long.
I flexed my new arm. The weirdest thing was that it felt familiar, as if I'd used the same arm all my life. I of course know that wasn't true. My old arm had been human, like the rest of my body.
So has my body changed too?
Swift inspection raised an affirmative to that question.
As I studied my new body, one thing became apparent: I was covered in blue scales. They ran all the way up both my arms and down both my legs, which had also received some changes. They were more muscular, with a clawed foot at the bottom of each.
I couldn't get a very good look at my head, and since my entire body felt as if I had used it since the day I was born I couldn't tell if anything was different. It felt as if my body hadn't changed at all.
And yet I knew it had.
As I resolved to find a stream, pool, or some other mirror-like surface, I glanced down at the shadow- my shadow I guess-and again noticed the two bat-like wings on it.
I turned around again-just my head this time-and starred at the two appendages sticking out of my once-smooth back.
Yep, they were wings alright. Blue, like the rest of my body,with a single claw on the end of each and scales along the edges.
My first thought was: Can I flap them?
As they didn't feel out of place and I didn't know how to use them, I had to manually try and move every body part I could. Sure enough, I came to a pair of appendages that felt perfectly natural, and yet I knew I had never possessed before.
I flapped them a few times, buffeting the grass in front of my with a blast of wind.
I then thought: Can I fly?
The very idea filled my with excitement, but after a few failed attempts, I realized I simply did not know how.
Note to self: learn how to fly.
As I became familiar with the look of my new body (except for my head, which I still had no way of looking at), I returned to my bed, which looked very out of place among the grass and sunshine. I settled on the bed and began to think.
So, I have been transported away from the orphanage, into a place that may or may not be earth, been transformed into a lizard-like thing with wings that I don't know how to use, and still I am not panicking. I thought in wonder. Certainly not one of my average days.
As I thought about a course of action I decided the best thing to do would be to search the bed to see if I could find anything useful inside. I could, of course, make the covers and sheets into clothes, but for some reason I discarded that idea. I was warm enough, and I had just been turned into a lizard creature that somehow had wings, so I saw no use for clothes.
My search did yield something unexpected however: a satchel, tucked away underneath my bed, as if waiting for me.
The satchel contained several items: a little bag that jingled when I shook it and turned out to be full of coins; a bedroll; a good portion of assorted gemstones (I had no idea what those were for, as I already had coins); a small mirror; and a book.
The book was old and incredibly expensive-looking, with jewel-encrusted bindings and a leather lock to to hold it shut. What caught me eye was the title:
A Guide to Dragons
My eyes riveted themselves on the word "Dragons".
I reached one hand-er, claw- behind me and fumbled for the mirror, which I had tossed onto the bed along with the other stuff. Finding it, I pulled it in front of my face and took a good look at myself.
Staring back at me was... a dragon.
There was no other word for it. My face had taken on all the aspects of a dragon. My eyes were still the same, but other then that everything was different.
My entire face was covered in scales, even my muzzle, and there were several spikes poking out of the back of my head. My hair was gone, leaving a smooth head. I smiled and the dragon smiled back at me through the mirror, somehow mixing a warm smile with a bunch of very sharp-looking teeth.
I let my hand drop and the front-row view of my new face vanished.
I sat down on my bed again, harder this time, and tried to come to terms with what I had just seen.
I was a dragon. That much was obvious. I didn't know how, and I didn't know why, but I had been inexplicably and undoubtedly transformed into a beast that was only supposed to exist in fairy tales.
Upon comprehending that fact, however, I was immediately besieged by a million other questions:Why me? Is this real? Am I even on earth? What can dragons do? What do they eat? Can they breathe fire? Can they do magic?
And most importantly: How did this happen?
I glanced down at the jewel-encrusted book again.
A Guide to Dragons
Sighing, I picked up the book and prepared to do some research, hoping I would have at least some of my questions answered.
-End of Chapter 1-