I sit on a log. Its weathered and soft from the rain. The wet of the wood and moss, seep into my pants.
Shivering, I hunch closer to the fire billowing in front. It crackles, snapping at the skewered fish surrounding it. As the scales blacken, I reach for one, blowing cold air at it before diving in.
My teeth rip the scales of its soft belly out before digging into the soft treasure of the fish’s meat. My eyes shut, a happy hum breaking from my lips.
“Gimme a taste!” a small voice shouts from the other side of the fire. My eyes snap open and I glare at the small hog-nosed dragon blinking up at me. She’s as big as my foot, her tongue splaying out of her mouth as if she were a dog.
“Catch your own fish,” I tell her and I scarf my food a bit more greedily. The dragon puffs out her chest, pouting. “Come on,” she prods. “Just a little one?”
I ignore her. That’s what my dad always said to do. He called hog-nosed dragons pests for a reason. If I fed her, she’d only come back for more.
She waddles around the fire and curls up by my feet. I close my eyes again as her warm body sucks the chill out of my bones. “Pleeeeease?” she begs and I frown down at her.
I think about kicking her away but then I feel the chill of the wind. “Just a little one,” I tell her and I spit a hunk of meat onto the ground. The dragon snaps it up, cooing happily.
When she finishes, she curls up around my legs again and takes a nap. My own eyes become heavy, my body not used to the warmth of another. I fall asleep, snores carrying with the cold spring wind.
When I wake up, I feel like I’m boiling. I open my eyes to find the hog-nosed dragon curled up on my chest. She’s eating one of the fish skewers from last night. Surrounding us are several other tiny dragons, all of them emitting a soft heat as they chew on scraps of meat.
“Human! Human!” The hog-nosed dragon calls. “Let’s go get more. My friends are starving.”
I drop a hand over my eyes. I can see my father behind my eyelids, shaking his head. “It was just a taste,” I grumble at him. He laughs at me, saying, “that’s all it takes.”