Dragon in the Mist


Something had upset our little dog, Sugar. One fall morning she came whining to the door of our bedroom aboard The Phoenix. Ears straight up, forehead wrinkled in a no-nonsense expression of pure doggy concern.


“What the matter, Sugar?” I peered over the top of the quilt. The pooch looked at me as if to say, “Get up! I have something to show you!”


“And hurry!” her troubled expression added. Dogs talk if you know how to listen.


“Ok, what is it girl?” I got out of bed. It was time anyway. I enjoy sitting on the front deck, drinking my coffee and watching the sun come up. These are the quietest moments of the day and can be the most rewarding, next to suppertime.


Prancing with uncontainable excitement, Sugar led me to the door. Out on the deck I sat cross-legged in the chair looking at the fog that often shrouds the lake in autumn, so thick I could have stirred it into my coffee. Sugar jumped into my lap but didn’t relax and cuddle as usual. Instead she stared intently into the stillness of the wet blanket morning, ears perked and legs quivering.


“What’s the matter, beautiful?” I peered into the sky trying to discover what had captured her interest so intensely, but nothing could be seen through the dense gray mist.


Then I heard something strange overhead, completely foreign to the world we live in – a muffled roar from nowhere at all, from everywhere at once. It shattered the stillness and echoed across the lake. Sugar barked once, twice, then looked at me with something like reproach. “See? See, I told you something peculiar is going on!”


I could give her no reassurance. This fearsome bellow from the fog-blinded sky resurrected old myths, making me think what a dragon might sound like if dragons really existed. Childhood stories came to mind of great winged monsters swooping down on peaceful villages, breathing fire and spewing terror. “And eating little dogs!” I teased Sugar, then regretted it immediately when she responded with a whine and a trusting lick to my cheek.


“Don’t worry,” I comforted, “There’s no such thing as dragons!” She cocked her head to the side as I added, “At least I don’t think so, not anymore…”


 Although I do not believe in dragons overly much, goose bumps managed to march up my spine and sprinkle themselves across the back of my neck. We turned our eyes to the sky again, physically willing our eyesight to penetrate the depthless gray. What is out there?


That voice shook the peace of the cove again, an unspeakable snarl and closer, much closer! Sugar, the bold little terrier, jumped to the deck and assumed her fighting stance, ready to defend our boat against any intruder. When the unknowable monster bellowed its rage again she found a new strategic defense position under my chair. I probed the fog and this time saw … something. A light? No, a flame!


Flame? Flame, like dragons breathe? Utter nonsense.


Sugar wasn’t so sure, asserting with a growl that she is as dreadful as any dragon and at least twice as brave. Whatever was approaching through that morning fog, Sugar was determined to tear it to pieces, and I was determined to get a picture! I ran into the cabin, grabbed the camera and hurried back out.


A screech split the stillness right over our heads! Sugar stood in fearless challenge, ready for anything as long as it happened under the chair. (There is nothing in this world quite so fearsome as a Jack Russell Terrier in full dragon attack mode.) I pointed my camera into the mist, waiting, waiting, waiting…


The ghostly shape materialized over the treetops, roaring furiously and now clearly spitting fire! Amazed, I pointed the camera and snapped the button.


As far as Sugar was concerned the thing might as well have been a real dragon. Eventually she scared it away, of course. Then we both went inside for breakfast, and I think she forgot all about it.