The Sickly Hatchling - My Story
The Sickly Hatchling, a severely inbred and disabled hatchling, tells of his life and his thoughts on death.
For some reason, death is a comforting thing to me.
I know it will come. It is not a matter of if it will come or not. It is a matter of when.
But I know for certain that death is waiting for me. Somewhere in the future.
And I am okay with that.
Why am I this way? What kind of psychotic dragon am I? What kind of insanity do I possess, to console myself with death, to find comfort in the thought of silently drifting away from life...?
Perhaps you would understand better if I told you a story first. A story about an egg and a hatchling.
So allow me.
There was once a red dragon egg. It had severe soft shell, and it was tinted a sickly shade yellow in places. Yet it lay in the abandoned page, among the other, healthy eggs. Nobody wanted it. They were all too busy fighting over each other for rare dragon eggs. They did not care about this particular, sick one.
The dragon that picked this egg up was a purple dragon. He was known as a jokester and a prankster, but he was good natured, sympathetic, and tender at heart. He brought this egg, with its fatal soft shell and sickly yellow tint back to his clan.
That dragon's name was Paragon II. And he was a good dragon.
The white dragons looked at the egg. They were very dismayed. But it is not in the nature of a white dragon to leave an egg to die. So they worked through the day, trying various remedies. They worked through the night, too. They didn't get any sleep. They were very desperate.
Eventually they succeeded in getting the egg to hatch. But instead of a normal hatchling, they saw a horrible, mangled, diseased hatchling weakly climb out of the shattered eggshell. They could see its bones. It was very sick.
And it had only three usable legs.
The white dragons knew, then, that this hatchling would never be able to grow up into an adult.
It would probably die.
So they called in a magi dragon. They told him that he should freeze the hatchling, to spare it misery. To spare it the pain, the agony, the horrendous torture the dragon would experience later in its life.
The magi dragon looked at the sorry hatchling. He could sense it's pain and suffering. He summoned up all of his strength and froze the hatchling with all his might, so it would not have to suffer as it grew.
That dragon's name was Merlin's Shadow. And he was a good dragon.
The white dragons released the sickly hatchling to go and play with the other hatchlings. To live with the other hatchlings. To get a glimpse of normal life before the inevitable death that would come. The death that would slowly, silently, but surely creep upon the doomed hatchling. Paralyzing limbs, organs, everything...
As the other hatchlings grew, the sickly hatchling was very confused. How come it didn't get bigger, too? It wanted to be like its friends. Fortunately, the other hatchlings were very nice to the sickly hatchling. They sensed its plight. They pitied it. They tried to go slowly during their hatchling games, so that the sickly hatchling could play, too.
But the sickly hatchling always collapsed after several steps, too exhausted to continue. And then one of the female dragons would come over and shoo the others away, carrying the sickly hatchling back to the nursery to rest in the soft, grassy nests.
The sickly hatchling eventually grew older. He was permanently frozen in his young, hatchling stage, but his mind progressed. His brain, stricken by the disease, but nevertheless strong, began to learn the truth. That he was an inbred dragon. That his disease was inherited. That it was not his fault, but there was nothing anyone could do, and that he should enjoy life while he could.
And that he would eventually, inevitably die.
The sickly hatchling finally understood everything. It understood why the other hatchlings pitied him, and tried to be nice to him, and to let them join in on the little hatchling games that they played. It finally understood why the females were extra-special to him, why they payed more attention to him than the others.
And it finally understood that it would never grow up. It would never have a mate, or kids of its own. That it would never get to live a full life, the life that it deserved, the life that it was denied.
The dragon began to deny the company of others. It decided to let the others live their lives. It did not want to impede the others. It did not want to make them slow down during their games. It did not want to prevent them from getting the full attention of their mothers. It wanted them to have their full, sweet lives, not disturbed by it.
And that was when the hatchling discovered the forest.
It had always heard the birds. When it was tired, and resting, exhausted from the games where it could only run with three legs while the other hatchlings used all four, it heard the birdsong. He heard the gentle swishing, the harmonious humming, the melody of the forest. But it had never had the strength to go there.
And now it was determined to do just that.
Gradually, it worked up the strength. It often suffered pain. Once, a female dragon found it collapsed right by the camp entrance, too tired to drag himself back, unconscious with the sheer effort it took. And it was painful for the sickly hatchling as it recovered from the massive shock and exhaustion.
Sometimes it was so painful the hatchling begged for death. It begged for death to release it from the endless suffering that its cruel life inflicted upon it.
But it never gave up. Against the wishes of the females, who insisted for it to get more rest, it tried again. And again.
The females watched it with pity. They did not want to stop him from reaching his goal. Not when his life was so limited. They admired his determination, his preservation. They had never seen anything work as hard as it did. They silently cheered him on.
The hatchlings, too, came to watch. They applauded when it managed to go a foot, or even an inch, longer than before. They brought him food to eat, and water to drink, and flowers and fruits to keep him company. And the sickly hatchling was reminded that no matter what, it would always be loved and supported.
Eventually, the sickly hatchling made it. Everyone rejoiced, but they left him alone, so that he could be at peace. They went back to playing their little hatchling games or talking with their mates and leaders and friends.
And the little sickly hatchling was able, at last, to find the place where he belonged.
It would watch the birds. The brightly plumaged birds, hopping from branch to branch, singing their equally bright and cheerful songs. The animals, curiously looking at him, darting from bush to bush, tree to tree. The sunlight, filtering through the leaves, creating intricate patterns on the soft, forest floor.
But it was mostly the overwhelmingly peaceful feeling. The sickly hatchling could lie among the pine needles, mossy logs, and pebbly river banks. It had nobody pitying it. It had nobody to bother it. It had nobody to tell it what to do.
And it was the happiest, then. It was at peace with life. It was at peace with itself. There was no pain to suffer, no agony to torture it, while it was in the forest, with its birds and animals and gentle sunlight.
The other dragons knew of the sickly hatchling. They saw him, satisfied, always happy, always content. Dragging himself through the camp entrance and to the nursery for food and sleep. Dragging himself back out to the forest, to enjoy the sights, smells, gentle, natural melodies...
And they began to learn from him. Whenever they complained about their hunting, or how busy they were, or how worried they got, they only had to think of the little sickly hatchling, dragging itself among the pine needle floor, happy, relaxed, and carefree. They only had to think of his suffering when he was young, his agony, his pain. And they felt lucky and relaxed and happy, too. It was admired by many dragons. And its hatchling friends felt happy for it. And the females that cared for him were proud.
I am that hatchling.
I am The Sickly Hatchling.