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Inktober XII: Dragon

DA sat on the rock and started to meditate. He could feel everything around him - the soft gusts of wind whistling along the craggy boulders before being caught against his hard scales, the soft babble of a small brook running just past his tail. He could even hear the sound of new seeds cracking through layers of ice above them after a few minutes. Though he could feel the motion of all these things enough to picture it in his mind, he focused on the inky blackness of his eyelids.   To sense everything in the world around you and eliminate it - that was what the hermit had said, DA told himself. That was the path to the true self. He shut his eyes tighter, only to feel his surroundings' presences invigorated to his senses. A gushing river swept by, sure to engulf his lower body. Billowing winds assaulted his ears and body, deafening him and chilling him to the bone. Roots burrowing into the new earth sent tremors through it, shaking DA to his very core. Still, he focused enough to let it all sink in and to become aware of the world around him.   He sat still amidst the chaos and took a deep breath, filling himself with air to the very bottom of his core. Nature roared in retaliation around him, overwhelming him with light and noise. Even his body resisted his desires, filling his chest with the pounding of a battalions' worth of war drums. At last, inhaling enough to fill his self to the brim, he let the world sit inside him. He no longer felt the gale-force winds or heard the torrent. Only the war drums beat on inside him, rattling him to the very core.   DA let go.   He found himself buried in a golden field of wheat. Even as he stood up to try and regain his senses, the stalks stood well above his head. Fabric hung from his scrawny, hairless and scaleless frame. He looked about and above, turning every which way until he toppled over. Regaining his balance, he pushed behind him and turned around. No tail sprung from his spine, and as he felt himself over, no jagged fangs called his mouth their home.   A voice called out from somewhere far off. A woman. He couldn't understand her language, but he knew who she was. He sprung up and sprinted to the voice, nearly tripping over himself and the large stalks forming a labyrinth all around him. At last, he knocked down another wall of chaff and saw a small house painted red, with a small white porch out in front. Behind it, he could see more endless fields of golden grain before they faded into the pink horizon.   From the house came a woman of fair flesh and height twice his own in a billowing white gown and red apron. She called out the same unknowable words once again, waving at him. She opened her mouth wide, exposing a set of brilliantly white teeth. Though he longed to keep his distance, he found she didn't - couldn't - be hostile. He felt an unfamiliar sensation inside his chest, as if it was now coated in warmed wool or cotton.   Without knowing why, he ran to her. She grew quickly into view before she swept him into her arms, twirling about in the air and emitting a series of short, shrill cries. He had heard it somewhere before. Laughter. It was not something enemies did, it was not nessecary for survival. It was something for levity.   As he whirled in the air, in this familiar stranger's arms, he felt something else welling up inside him, wedged between the cotton and wool. He couldn't help as they escaped - the short, high-pitched bursts called laughter. Even as he tried to push them down, he felt the corners of his mouth peel back and reveal his own teeth as well. A smile. Happiness.   The skies quickly grew grey and dimmed. Fields of wheat dissipated into nothing in the ever-growing nothing around him, and even the woman was turning to dust. Within moments, he was left all alone in the darkness once again, spinning without realizing why.   DA opened his eyes, and the world came back into focus. However, something was different now. He took a claw and touched it just under the base of his eye, coming back wet but clear. He stared at it, wondering what could have happened to himself.

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