By Elaina Abbott

A couple of years ago there were no dragons in our land, Thunderland. I was the one who changed that. Well Markus and I. We brought a dragon into Thunderland. Well, we didn’t bring it in. We found it and made it our pet! Yes, I know that dragons are scary, and no one wants to be friends with them, but my dragon, Buddy, is the nicest pet ever!

Thunderland is a very small community placed in the middle of nowhere. No matter what was happening we always had to follow the rule of the high priest or whatever he is called these days. My family doesn’t like to follow him. My dad says, “He doesn’t know anything. I could do a better job than he can.”

So, I just listen to whatever my father says. My father and mother teach me and my brothers and sister that no matter what we listen to my parents and to the high priest even if we don’t like him. My father and mother are the people who always let us their kids be whoever we want to be. We have grown up in a household that no matter what, we can be whatever we want to be. My older brother did not follow in those footsteps. He followed in the direction of my father and now runs the store with my dad. My older sister followed in my mother’s footsteps. She went off got married and lives in a house near to ours. Like she seriously lives in our backyard. I am the one that gets to go to her house every day and help out with my little nieces and nephews. At home it is just my other older brother, Markus and I.

Now Markus and I do not really get along at all. I am the one that is always ready for an adventure and he is the one that just wants to stay at home and be a bump on a log. No, seriously, all he likes to do is sit in the backyard and read his books. There are times that he has to go to the store and help dad out, but besides that, all he wants to do is read his silly books. I am Tillie. I guess from what I have heard other people say about me, I am a free spirit and don’t like to follow the rules. And I guess that probably is me. I never follow the rules and always like to go on adventures. (I call them adventures but everyone else calls them breaking the rules.)

Now, Thunderland has not had dragons in the land in a really long time, like before my parents were alive which was a long time ago. There are always stories that people tell each other about dragons. We hear about dragons from a lot of different stories. There was this one story about how a dragon came and got mad and ruined the main town of Thunderland. The dragons ruined all of the buildings downtown and made everyone in the land mad at them. People were fighting with the dragons to try and get them away from the land. People and dragons died that day. Before I met Buddy, I thought that this story was fake and just a story that someone made up and that dragons were not real, but that soon changed for me. And eventually, I soon changed everyone’s idea of dragons.

On just an ordinary boring day I had to go over and help my sister take care of my nieces and nephews. I walked on over and was kind of dragging my feet. Here was my day, just an ordinary day, where nothing exciting was going to happen. I was not very happy. Little did I know it was going to actually be the best day ever! I am getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the boring part. I was just cleaning and taking care of my little nieces and nephews and watching the day go past. My sister walked into the room to tell me what I thought was another chore for me to do, but instead she told me that I was able to go! Like leave and go on an adventure that I was so ready for! I ran out of my sister’s house right to Markus. He was sitting right where I thought he would be on his log reading a book.

“Come on Markus! Let’s go on an adventure! Let’s go find some new thing to do instead of just sitting here reading.”

“Ummm I think not. I think I will stay right here in a place that I already know and not go on some silly adventure with you.”

“Ummmm I think yes! You need to get away from this stupid log and book and go on a real adventure instead of just reading about them.”

Markus just rolled his eyes as I went inside to get a backpack full of gear ready to go on our adventure. I know that he will say yes to an adventure once I get all ready and prepared for it. He has to come with me because I am not allowed to leave the backyard without someone else coming with me, because I am still way too young to go out all by myself. I am only a year younger than Markus and he can go out all by himself. As I was getting my backpack ready with stuff to take on our adventure mom stopped me in the hallway.

“What are you doing there, Tillie?”

“Markus and I are going on an adventure. I am packing us a bag of things so that we are ready for anything!”

“Okay. But remember, stay with Markus at all times and do not go too far away from our backyard. Don’t forget dinner is at 5, and do not go into the woods!”

I gave her a thumbs up even though I was not listening to her and I dragged the full backpack to the back yard.

“I am already Markus! I got the backpack already to go! We can go now!”

“NO. WE. CANNOT! I am not going on an adventure with you!”

“Too late, I already told mom that we were going, and she said you had to come with me.” I was walking out of the backyard while Markus was yelling at me from behind. I knew that if I walked away he would come because I am not allowed to go by myself and mom already knew that Markus was coming with me. And Markus is a person who always has to follow all of the rules so I knew he would come with me out of the backyard.

“Why in the world do you want to go on an adventure outside of the great backyard?”

“Because I want to know what is happening in the outside world away from our house. I want to be able to go to someone else’s house and to be away from sister and her children.”

“I don’t know why you would ever want to get away from our family.”

“Oh, just come on Markus! Let’s go!”

“Fine.”

Markus followed me out of the back yard and into the unknown world. I could see all of the different and cool houses from the neighbors and to be able to see the world that I never see. Well, actually, I have seen all of these things before, I just have never really looked at them this closely.

“I was thinking we could go to the woods.”

“No. We are not allowed to go into the woods.”

“Yes, we can! Mom said nothing about not going into the woods.”

“Okay fine.”

I was running straight into the woods. When I turned around to see if Markus was coming he was seriously dragging his feet.

“Oh, come on Markus! You are so slow. We are going to get to the woods and have to turn right around because we have to be home in time for dinner!”

“I am coming! I am just being slow.”

I mumbled, “You are being more than just slow!”

“Hey! I heard that!”

We were getting closer and closer to the woods and I was so excited to get there! My parents have always told us to never go into the woods. Every time I would ask why they would never tell me a reason. Well, a couple of nights ago, I was listening in on a conversation with my mom and dad as they were talking about the woods. My dad said that Mr. Fall said that there was a dragon spotted on the edge of the woods. Mr. Fall was trying to kill the dragon so that it would not kill any people or hurt our land again. I did not really listen to the last part. All I could think of was a dragon! A real-life dragon! I was so excited to know that animals existed outside of chickens and sheep, which seems like the only animals that live around here. But a real-life dragons! I totally want to see one of those! Maybe even take it home with me. It could be my adventure buddy because Markus obviously doesn’t like to go on adventures with me.

“Come on Tillie! We don’t have to go to the woods. We can just go back home right now. We can just stay away. Also why do you want to go to the woods anyway?”

“Oh, you know why! I want to see the dragons!”

Markus stopped dead in his tracks “Did you just say dragons?”

“Yes! I heard mom and dad talking about them last night. There are dragons in the woods. Mr. Fall spotted one in the last couple of days and we are going to find it! We are totally going to see a dragon!”

Markus then ran up right next to me, “Are you sure that you heard mom and dad right? Mr. Fall likes to make up a lot of stories.”

“I know what I heard Markus and how could Mr. Fall make up a story like this?”

“Come on, Tillie. He tells all kinds of random and weird stories.”

“What if he is actually telling the truth with this story? We will never know until we go into the woods and look for the dragon.” I went running toward the woods so the only way Markus would catch me is if he ran right after me.

“No Tillie stop!” Markus ran after me and by the time he caught up with me we were already in the woods and there was no point in turning around now.  

“Come on Markus you should be excited to see a dragon. You always read those books all about dragons and now we are going to see one!”

“Yes, I do read books about them, but that does not make me want to see one of those dragons. They are a little scary.”

“Well, we are already on the way, so no changing your mind now!”

“Fine I will go with you, but you know, Tillie, we are just going to look at the dragon from far away. We don’t need to do anything crazy like touch it or something.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever you want to say.”

Little did he know I was going to make this dragon my best friend! I had everything all planned out.

We walked for what seemed like hours to try and get to the woods. When we finally made it, there were giant trees everywhere! I had never seen trees that were that big. That was when Markus decided to be a chicken again.

“Maybe we need to just go back home. We came and saw the woods, but I think that we should just skip the whole part about the dragon.”

“No. We made it all the way here! We need to keep on going!”

I kept walking into the woods and just hoped that Markus was following right behind me. Every single time I turned around Markus was a couple of steps behind me. The deeper that we got into the woods the scarier it was. I was really sad that I was not going to find my new friend. But also, the woods were kind of a scary place. I decided to stop and wait for Markus so that we could be right by each other. We slowed down but kept going all at the same time.

Step by step we were making our way deeper and deeper into the woods. Pretty soon we came to a weird opening in the trees. There were trees knocked down and the sun was shining really bright.

“I don’t think anything is here. Let’s go around this way.”

I started to follow Markus and then Markus stepped on a stick and the crack of the stick echoed all around us. We both stopped in our tracks and looked around making sure that nothing was around us. We looked at each other and kept walking around. Pretty soon I stepped on a stick and the echo was even louder than when Markus stepped on one. When we looked around and began to start walking again there was a really weird noise that sounded like a bird flying over. A big swoosh and the thing landed right in front of us. Flapping its wings as our hair was going all over the place from the wind. The beast finally stopped moving and I was looking right at a dragon that was about ten feet away from me. I felt like I could reach out and touch it.

The dragon was huge! It looked like it was as big as my house. The dragon was a dark red that had scales all over it. It had two really big wings for its really big body and a really long tail. There are spikes going all the way down the dragons back all the way to its tail. The dragon was standing in front of us as Markus and I were both kneeling in the grass looking at the dragon.

I looked over at Markus and both of our faces were the same. Our mouths were wide open, and we had no clue what we were looking at. We both wanted to see a dragon but did not expect it to look like this. We were both in complete shock.

There was a real-life dragon sitting in front of us. Dragons are actually real. What are we going to tell our family? What are we going to do? How are we going to be able to move? We were both in the sun and the dragon could see us.

“What do we do?” I said.

“Just stay right where you are Tillie. Don’t move a muscle.”

I didn’t listen to Markus. I slowly walked out into the sun more so that the dragon could see me better. I stood right in front of the dragon, and it seemed like we were looking right into each other’s eyes. I stuck my hand out and took small steps closer to the dragon. Pretty soon my hand was like two inches away from the dragon’s face. I took one more tiny step and closed my eyes and put my hand right on its face. As I put my hand on its face I looked, opened one eye, and saw that I was actually touching a dragon. I heard Markus gasping behind me as I was touching the dragons face. I was as surprised as he was. I took my hand away quickly and just stood in front of the dragon. I slowly began to walk around the dragon so that I could see all of it. That is when I saw that the dragon was hurt. There was a trap of some kind on one of his wings. I wanted to make sure that the dragon was okay, so I climbed around and went and took the trap off of his wings. I was so surprised that the dragon let me do this. After I was done getting the trap off of the wing I came down and went back over towards Markus.

“What do you think?”

Markus still in complete shock didn’t know what to say “Ummm uhh what just happened?”

“Well stupid, we found a real dragon and I actually was able to touch it! Now it can be my best friend.”

While Markus and I were talking the dragon was running around and moving with its wing not caught in a trap anymore.

“Wait, no, Tillie, you CANNOT keep that! There are no dragons in Thunderland. There are only chickens and sheep for the farmers. Everyone else is not allowed to have a pet. You know that rule.”

“Yes, I know. But I am keeping it. He needs a home and a name. I think that maybe I will call him Buddy.”

“What kind of name is that? And he won’t even fit in the house let alone the back yard. What will mom and dad say?”

“Yes, it will! I will make it a house in the backyard.”

“We don’t have a big enough backyard!”

“Well I will make one! Come on Buddy lets go.”

I started walking away and Buddy followed right behind me. Markus was standing in the same spot where we first found Buddy. Buddy was following me all around the wide-open space. I was so excited. I finally had a pet and not just any pet but a dragon!

I started walking back towards our house to go home because we were most definitely going to be late for dinner tonight.

“Mom told us that we have to be home at five. We are going to be so late. Mom is going to be so mad. We are going to be late to dinner and we are going to bring home a pet that no one ever talks about. What are we going to do?”

I didn’t listen to anything that Markus was saying. I just kept talking to Buddy.

“It’s okay Buddy. We will find a place for you to stay once we get back home. We need to leave very soon so that we can go back home to see where your new home is going to be! You can stay with me and my family and we can do many fun things together.”

“Tillie! Tillie! There is no way that we can ever bring a dragon home without getting in so much trouble!”

“No, we will not! Once they see how nice he is then we will be fine! They will have to accept Buddy as a member of the family.”

“No, they will not! We have to go now so that we are home in time for dinner! Tillie we have to go right now!! Mom will not be happy if we are not home.”

“Oh, come on Markus. Come over here and pet Buddy. He is so nice. Mom and Dad will have to let us keep him.”

Markus walked over towards me and stood right next to me to pet Buddy. I put his hand in mine as I stretched my hand towards Buddy. Pretty soon Markus was petting Buddy. He had a huge smile on his face.

“This is so cool! Just like the dragon from my book! But Tillie we really need to be headed home like now!”

“Okay fine. Lets go. Buddy is going to come with us too.”

“Fine.”

We took the long trek home. The whole time we were walking home Buddy followed us. There were people all over making faces and gasping and running away from us. But Buddy just walked right behind us the whole way. When we finally got home we were of course late for dinner. We walked into the backyard to see my brother and sister with all of her kids and husband over at our house as well as more people than I had ever seen. All the people that were there were waiting to find us. They were waiting for us to come home and were also about to go and find us. I guess we were a little more than 5 minutes late for dinner. Markus and Buddy and I all stood in the backyard and when I screamed “Hello” everyone turned and looked right at us.

My mother screamed in complete horror as well as my sister and some of the other people that were there. Markus went running over to my mother as my father came running right to me and before he could Buddy went right in front of me. Everyone gasped. Markus was trying to tell everyone that Buddy was a good dragon and not mean. In the middle of everything Markus and I were trying to explain that Buddy was good and not bad and not going to hurt anyone. The more everyone talked and yelled the more scared Buddy got. He got so scared that he flew away.

My dad said, “You cannot bring that animal here again! There is no way that you can be nice to this animal. They ruined everything. They ruined all of our plants and animals and houses. That is why no one wants to do anything with them anymore. They are terrible and mean. Don’t ever think about going back there to get it again. Both of you are in trouble, big trouble.”

Yes, my dad was correct. We were both in trouble. We were grounded for what felt like years but was only about three weeks.

While I was grounded I was just around the house and not really allowed to do anything, so I was able to hear everything! I was listening to all of the conversations between my mom and dad.

“Maybe we need to tell Tillie about dragons. We should tell her about our family and dragons. Not what Mr. Fall says all about dragons and those crazy stories.” my mom said.

“I know. Maybe we should just tell her about what we know about dragons and not what everyone says about them because what everyone says about them is not true.”

After I heard this conversation I was ready to hear all about dragons and our family! I wanted to know so I walked right into the room where my parents were having this conversation.

“What do you mean our family and dragons?”

“Hi Tillie. Let’s talk about dragons. Our family was one of the only families in Thunderland that actually was nice to dragons. In our family we took care of the dragons. Your great grandpa had a whole building where the dragons were able to come, and we would feed them and help them out if they needed it. There were lots of other people in Thunderland that did not think it was good for my grandfather to help and take care of dragons. One night someone came out and set the barn on fire so that all of the dragons would die. When that happened, there were lots of people and dragons that were not seeing eye to eye. Lots of yelling and chaos made it so no one then wanted to have dragons in Thunderland. After that night and a battle between my family and all of Thunderland there was a decision that dragons would be kicked out of the land and not welcome anymore. That is what really happened. Not all of the stories that Mr. Fall would tell you. Our family would do anything to help out a dragon and it seems to me that you have that in your blood as well.”

–::——><——::–

After learning all about our family and dragons I really wanted to find Buddy again. I had to go and find Buddy again, but I had to wait for my punishment to end.

I had not seen Buddy in almost 4 weeks, and I was not really sure how he was going to act once I was done being in trouble. I went out and decided to be just like Markus. We both grabbed our books and sat like bumps on a log because we were. Days and weeks went by and I was really missing Buddy. I figured that we should go and try and find him again.

“Come on Markus. We need to get Buddy back here so that he will be safe.”

“The last time I followed with something that you were doing we got in big big trouble. I am not going to do anything with you again. I am just going to sit here and read my book.”

“Fine then I will get Buddy back myself!”

So that is what I did. I went out and found Buddy myself. I did. I went into the woods and started yelling his name and he came right to me. I found Buddy and he was going to come home with me. Once I was ready I brought Buddy back home. I was ready to get him home and to be my new pet. I brought Buddy home and Markus was as excited to see him as I was. We were able to play with Buddy all day.

Once my dad and older brother got home from work I took my dad straight out to Buddy so that he could meet him. I was so excited for my dad to meet Buddy. He would be so proud of me bringing the peace back to Thunderland. I talked to my father before we went out to the backyard to see Buddy. He was not very happy that I brought the dragon back to our house. Once I said that Buddy was in the backyard my dad went running out there. What he saw was Markus petting and running around with Buddy. I grabbed my dad’s hand and went up to touch Buddy’s face like I did the first time that I saw Buddy. In that moment I could see that my dad liked Buddy just like me. Pretty soon all of my family was around, and everyone was able to pet, and all of my nieces and nephews were running around and playing with Buddy. We were showing that dragons were not what everyone in Thunderland had always thought. They were harmless and just wanted to have a home.

That was a couple of months ago. Buddy has now been living with us for four months. Thunderland has been a little skeptical at letting Buddy stay as my pet but my whole family loves Buddy and he is not a mean dragon but a happy one that would do anything to help my family. There was this one time that Buddy got a little mad at someone coming and looking at him because he can look kind of scary, but that is a story for another time. That boring day brought me to my closest friend, Buddy. It also allowed my brother to become one of my best friends. Now we all sit not on the log in the backyard but on Buddy’s tail as we read our books. We go on adventures with Buddy all together. Buddy did not only bring me a friend, but he brought my brother to be my friend. It is so nice to have friends like Markus and Buddy!