"Hey ... hey, come on, wake up ..."
"Wstfglmuthafug." I peeled my face painfully off the ground.
"Oh, thank God. Look, we should get out of here." Blaine grabbed my arm with those eerily cold fingers of his and hauled me to my feet.
"Had a ... a dream, like," I muttered, wiping dirt and small pebbles off my forehead. My nose felt like it was bleeding, and my elbows burned where I'd scraped them when the explosion knocked me down.
"Riiight, right," he said, steering me away from the smoldering ruins. "Look, there'll be no end of trouble if I'm found around here, come on."
"People ... arguing ... did you ever feel like someone else was directing your life?"
He pulled my face toward him with his free hand and peered at me. "What is it you people get when you're concussed?" he asked. "Different colored pupils or something?"
"Different sized." I batted his hand away. "I'm not hallucinating, Blaine, it was just a dream."
"Right." He glanced behind us as if he heard something, then leapt for the shelter of a narrow alleyway, jerking me behind him.
The creature that emerged from the ruins of the explosion was pissed off. Very pissed off. Here She was, enjoying a few thousand years' hiberation beneath whatever civilsation had come along after her catnap began, and then something loud and hot and bothersome had woken Her up.
The dragon -- for that was certainly what She was -- lifted Herself out of the rubble and onto the street. She was certainly not amused -- definitely not from Her rude awakening, and certainly not from the sight before Her. The world before her. What in all the seven flames had happened to Her world?
Typical. A Divine Being decides to take a short nap and now look -- the world goes to pot in their absence. Damnit all to hells.
Movement distracted her from her worries. There, in the narrow gap between buildings, hid two shadowy figures. From the sounds of things they were trying very hard to have an argument and be quiet at the same time.
For a moment the dragon indulged in the whimsy that they were humans -- what else would explain their odd, stupid behaviour? But, rather than judge the creature by the smell, as it were, She decided to take a closer look.
The dragon stuck Her thin, tapered muzzle into the alley and took a deep breath.
Blaine rolls his eyes. "OK, now, let's focus. We can write the paper later."
"But the dragon..." I said. "Come on, you have to admit, it's a great idea. Who writes about dragons?"
Blaine darted down the alley, looking for a way out. Anything, anywhere. One door, no handle, just a lock visible. He pulled a small black case from his pocket and chose a few thin metal probes. "Hmm...well, there are quite a few people who have written books about dragons," he started. "I believe Anne McCaffrey has touched upon the subject. C.S. Lewis wrote a bit about them in 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader'. And Carl Sagan wrote 'Dragons of Eden...'"
"I don't think that's about dragons," I said.
He inserted both probes into the lock just as I caught up with him, eyes wide. The lock clicked, and Blaine carefully pried the door open. He grabbed my arm and drew me inside. The door closed and we were in darkness.
Awestruck, I was silent, but only for a moment. "All those tools...are you...a dentist? I whispered.