Down A Dark Hall II – Robert G. Wertzler

“Is this that I see your true appearance, your real shape?” Margie asked.

“No, and it does take a bit of effort to maintain. I wouldn’t mind a bit of a break. Do you think you are ready to see the real me?” Elurra replied.

“I’m all but consumed with curiosity. Yes.”

“Then we should go over to the old castle. Revealing that in here could be hard on what is now your furniture.”

“Let’s go then.”

“OK. We’ll go by the secret way.” Elurra said, rising.

They came to a tunnel behind a trick panel. When the panel closed behind them it was completely dark.”

Standing there, Margie observed, “Maybe we should go back and get a flashlight.”

Ellura said, “No need. Watch this.” Her glamour began to glow, growing bright enough to see around them. “Now, you try. Visualize it.”

Margie’s surrounding glamour flickered feebly and then became a steady glow. “Wow! I did it. This is very cool.”

“And that, young lady, is lesson number two. Off we go.”

The two glowing women set off down the dark hall, talking about their similarity to the apparitions in some ghost stories. They came to some stairs, and going up, came out into the ruins of the walled courtyard of the old keep.

Ellura directed Margie to stand a bit off and began to transform, her “clothes” melting into her lengthening body, the cloak unfolding into leathery wings, tail uncoiling, head lengthening, and the reflective glasses becoming large silvery golden-green eyes with reptilian slit pupils. Finally, turning to the side, she let out a burst of flame.

Margie watched with an expression of mixed amazement and joy. “I’ve always wanted dragons to be real, and now I know one. Ellura, you are so beautiful! I had, I suppose, like most people imagined dragons a good bit larger, but you are amazing.”

Ellura spoke with more of hiss in her voice than in her human shape. “Oh, we can be much larger, or smaller still. We don’t get fat or skinny, just bigger or smaller depending on how much we eat. The shape shifting can change my appearance, but not my body mass. So, I manage my diet to stay the right size. Actually, these days most of the dragons who don’t care to go among humans stay smaller so as not to be noticed. Some have gone small enough at times to be mistaken for fairies.”

“Fairies? Are you going to tell me they are real too?”

“I think not. At least, in some millions of years, I’ve never met one, sorry.”

They spent the rest of the morning in the courtyard talking about dragons and their peculiar abilities and limitations, and magic. When Eldest came to tell them that Margie’s lunch would soon be ready, Elurra shifted beck to her human form to go back into the modern castle.

Photo by Photos_frompasttofuture on Unsplash

Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

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