In the edges of my vision, exactly where consciousness aligns with a drugged hallucination, a brightly lit day is swallowed by the night. A few sporadic screams escape from someone’s lips. It’s probably Ioan, the crown prince, I tell myself. Then, my breath starts to come out in slow puffs, like each breath is loaded with poison and it pains to inhale and exhale.
My breaths are numbered. I don’t know but the information just, sort of, dawns on me like I was told about this news before I was put into my cradle. Before she died of heartache, Mother told me that I used to cry a lot as a babe. The nursemaid told her that children who cried a lot foresee something bad in their future. They only don’t grow old to remember what they saw.
My foot twitches in sleep as I break into a sudden fall. All I can feel is a sharp descend into the belly of pitch-black. It’s probably the belly of the monster that I have become. Or the monster that my father has turned me into. But something else catches my attention before I descend any further to see if I live to make it after the fall. At the same time, slow whispers start to hum into the background.
I tug at my foot, the one that twitched. In reply, a force pulls back at my foot. Slowly, my foot feels sharp teeth around it and the chain that entraps my foot comes back into my mind; a factor that slipped into oblivion as a nightmare in my soft sleep that temporarily took over my reality. I tug again and feel the heavy chain with its clawed opening on my foot and a sigh escapes me.
It comes out as a huff. At any other time of the day, I might have heard someone scream, “the dragon’s angry” but in the thick of the night, nobody hears me. And I can finally shed a tear. I, Prince Mihai of the Kingdom of Wallach, its weakling, is a breathtaking, scream-wiggling, and fear-inducing mighty dragon.
For my skin, I feel scales, for my nails, I see sharp claws, and instead of teeth, I have fangs that hold venom or so I am told. As if the look wasn’t menacing enough, troubling children in their sleep, I have a breath that can turn anyone to stone.
Sometimes, I think Father should have been careful with that wish he asked the witch to concoct in the potion she gave me as part of my punishment. I could simply breathe fire into his face, when he visited to mock me with his wicked smirk. But he knows me well for I have a soft heart that would not hurt him or his rule in anyway. As per him, he could probably do without the softness that he calls weakness.
But in the middle of yet another fateful night, I seem to agree, as I tell myself, “A weakness indeed!”