Deidre knew she should have left earlier that evening. It was a long walk back from the village to her farm and as the light began to fade she suddenly felt extremely vulnerable. She clutched her basket close to her as she strode quickly along the path that led to the copse; she knew that once she was through that, it was only a short way from the safety of her farm house. She pulled her cloak hood up and gripped it firmly in place with her spare hand, shielding her from some of the cold of the late evening. It was then that she noticed how quiet everything was. There were no bird calls or animal noises and it even seemed like the trees were holding their breath.
Deidre quickened her pace and almost broke into a jog. Her heart was racing and she knew that something wasn’t right… then she heard a low, booming growl that set the hairs on her neck on edge. She immediately dropped her basket and ran towards the copse and as she did so the growling moved from her right to her left, keeping pace with her. It seemed so close but she kept running. The copse was only a few metres away and she knew that once she was inside it she would have a chance. She reached the edge and thought she had made it until she tripped and tumbled roughly to the floor. She immediately tried to regain her feet but she was trapped; her ankle was caught firmly in the grip of a tree root and she reached down to free herself. When she touched the root, she froze; it was covered with smooth scales. She tried desperately to prise her ankle free but the more she struggled the tighter the grip became.
Deidre started to cry with panic as she struggled in vain to free herself. Then she heard the deep, booming, growl again and turned sharply to face it. At first she could see nothing but then two fiery orange eyes appeared from behind closed eyelids and stared directly into Deidre’s soul. Deidre’s eyes opened wide and her mouth opened in shock as she stared into the Dragon’s eyes, the low resonating growl rumbled through her body as she finally gave way to terror and wet herself. She couldn’t even bring herself to scream as the Dragon tilted its head to shift its view of her. She noticed every tiny detail of the Dragon’s face; the dark shiny scales, the rough texture of its eye lids, the flicking, forked tongue but mostly the fiery orange eyes. The Dragon almost seemed to be grinning…
… Suddenly Deidre felt the grip on her ankle loosen and instinctively pulled herself free and dashed into the copse. There was a well trodden path and she rushed, headlong down it, as fast as her feet would carry her. She could see her heavy built, stone house in the near distance and she knew that once she was inside, she would be safe. Without thinking, she burst from the copse and continued her panic-stricken run towards her house. She was wailing and screaming as her tears streamed down her face. She was so close that she could see the dim light of the fire through the window and smell the animals in the yard.